Monthly Archives: June 2014

Pushing on through…

DSCN5221Still working on the Black and White Skinner Blend push the envelope activities.  More results pictured! I have played with overlapping discs for years with varied success.  Louise Fischer Cozzi taught a great technique in her Craftcast class which I applied in the necklace on the left.  When I strung up the large bead necklace (below right) it looked reminiscent of Melanie West’s necklace which became the Travelling Sisterhood necklace!  I acknowledge the spirit of that in this creation even though that was not my original intention!!

Today I was looking for the exact words of a loved quote to send to a friend. Christopher Robin says to Winnie the Pooh: …there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”DSCN5216

And in looking I found some others I love: One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.

And “What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”  

DSCN5218And finally, as a deaf person, I loved: If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear [Ed: or deaf].

Self imposed limits

DSCN5174One of the things that Melinda got us to work with in Sunday’s workshop was a favourite creativity boost of mine: working within self imposed guidelines or limits.  Since my return to the Hill, I’ve restricted myself to working only with black and white and only on variations of a Skinner Blend.  It’s been part of my preparation for the course and has been really fascinating. I have looked at creating different visual effects and different forms and have experimented with both sanded then polished and lightly textured surfaces.

Even within those restrictions, there are still lots of options!

DSCN5192As a passionate lover of colours though, I am ready to give vent to my desire for more colour as I work on another aspect of the course later this week.  But there’s more Black and White exploration to come tomorrow!

Found Objects: Melinda Young

So much to write about but that can wait. Today I just want to rave about Melinda DSCN5198Young’s fabulous workshop yesterday at BHRAG.  Balm to my soul in an inspiring, affirming, joyous way. Melinda is a fabulous teacher, providing thoughtful experiences of the ways to nurture creativity that I already love: self imposed limitations and rules; pushing your creative envelope (like using media/ colours you may not always choose to use!); collaboration (or outrightly* using another’s palette!) and a spirit of play and exploration.

She created an accepting and stimulating environment, provided wonderful resources in addition to things we bought (no coincidence that three participants met at our wonderful Depot shop on Saturday I think!)  People made the most fabulous things but I was so utterly absorbed that IDSCN5196 forgot to photograph them. I have it on reasonable authority that pieces will be exhibited when Mel comes back next year as the second part of her Artist In Residence stint to exhibit.  It will be GREAT!!!! Her work is wonderful and I am really looking forward to seeing more of her exhibition pieces. A range of her production pieces are now available at the BHRAG shop.

I had some lovely pieces made for me and I made several things including a ring, single earring and blingy choker that pushed me out of my comfort zone. The one that I am wearing now (life’s too short not to wear your jewellery even at home on your own) is one inspired by the materials I had and shamanic jewellery.  And to my great delight uses so many of those things I KNEW I WOULD USE ONE DAY!!! In spite of popular perceptions. Like my DSCN5182children’s baby teeth, tiny spindles from my grandmother’s sewing machine, bones, an Inecto vial and seeds collected on local rambles, Nepali rupee and Chinese yuan notes, coins from Nepal, shards of flint. All those things that simply had to be carried from house to house over the years.  And now used for something! Told you I would one day!

The collecting of stuff in a wonderful walk on Thursday galvanised me (no punDSCN5207 intended) to finish a scrap metal collage too! It uses some of my favourite bits of scrap and I like the sense of a door.  And the fabulous blue bit. Nothing like using up stuff eh?

*Is that an actual word? Should be.

Cross Paulination


In this post I wrote about when Samunnat was contacted by Paulette Walther of Kazuri West about selling loose beads.  We were hesitant, to say the least, but were totally won over by Paulette’s patience, transparency, clarity, and commitment to the well being of the ladies.

The reality was…I was terrified.  We’d had our fingers well and truly burnt in the past and I did not feel anywhere near up to the step that was looming ahead. Paulette’s compassion, coupled with our experience that courage wasn’t not feeling scared but about feeling scared and still doing what needed to be done, meant that we did take that next step.  Albeit falteringly.  And the rest, as they say, is history.  Nearly two years later, the bulk of the ladies’ income, and our capacity to provide legal services, counselling, emergency support and income generation training comes from the money we make from the sale of loose beads.  We love her.

And now, Paulette has established her presence on Facebook!  To celebrate, she’s running a wonderful contest where all you have to do is LIKE the new page andct_paulette_helen make a comment. For this, you are in the running to win one of three prizes:

Helen Breil’s new e-book;

Cynthia Tinapple’s Extruder Disc set; or

5 Samunnat Nepal beads!!!

Hope over to the Facebook page and LIKE and comment and we will have our fingers crossed for you.  Doing this means you are helping us. Tell your friends about the new Facebook page and check in regularly to learn about projects to use our beads, new products, exciting contests and lots more!

The bottom line is that the more beads we sell, the more we can do at Samunnat Nepal.

More about the as yet unnamed course!

What will you get from this course?

iris-apfel-portrait_bruce-weber_The space, time and encouragement to reconnect with your innate creativity;
Knowledge about how to nurture and sustain that connection beyond the classroom;
The energy and resources of an enthusiastic, generous and experienced teacher;
The opportunity to explore in-depth a variety of polymer techniques and ways to make them part of your creative vocabulary;
The chance to make numerous pieces of varied and gorgeous jewellery (for giving or keeping!)
The chance to connect with like minded people;
yummy soup and bread to feed the creative stomach; and
Special surprise gifts and some materials (others will be available for purchase throughout the course)
I have accompanied this post with Bruce Weber’s photo of the inimitable Iris Apfel because I think that her innate creativity oozes from every pore of her body! And because I always smile when I look at it!

Help wanted

DSCN5116I’m preparing a 6 week course which will run in Broken Hill next month. I’m ridiculously excited about it but can’t think of a title that really conveys all I want.  If one of you can think of a title I use, there’s one of my pendant/ brooches (they can be worn either way) in it for you!

Who is the course for I hear you ask.

If you think you are NOT creative but would love to be proved wrong…this course is for you;

If you want to create (with anything-not just polymer!) but don’t know how to make the time…this course is for you;

If you need some self nourishment…this course is for you;

If you want to learn more about the incredible potential of polymer clay…this course is for you;

If you want to make some home made gifts (think Christmas for the women in your life) this course is for you; and

if you are someone for whom too much jewellery is simply NOT ENOUGH, this course is for you.

Dear reader, if any of you can come up with a title (fast!) that I end up using that encapsulates the essence of all that, LET ME KNOW! As I said…there is a prize for this one!  So far, I am calling it Explorations in Polymer but would love it if something better came up!


Procrastination for the multi passionate

I’m into productive procrastination. I made a mindfulness tile (L) reminding myself to observe when and why I procrastinate.  Here I wrote about polymer procrastination (valuable indeed as it resulted in nicely decorated tools). I wrote here about exploratory procrastination – valuable in leading me to the gorgeous Katwise. And here I alluded to my current, almost desperate need to have the luxury of ANY procrastination.

After three exhausting months, I am trying to be gentle with myself.DSCN5112 There’s a long list of reasonably urgent to-dos, but I know I have to slow down.  I tend to push until I drop. And then drop big time.  I am trying to avoid old patterns and to acknowledge my need to muck around….procrastinate.

I am using the strategy of timed blocks of activity.  Whether enjoyable or slightly onerous, required or seemingly pointless, I am doing things in short blocks of time.  If there is flow, I will go with it and work for longer, if not, I know I have a time limit and this helps me focus.  I’ve found that tasks become more manageable once I start them if I have this I will just do twenty minutes mind set.  Sometimes, I even finish what I had to do!

DSCN5123This is why Daniel Torres‘ post here in his Creative Entrepreneur Daily blog really resonated.  Daniel talks about being ready, having a few projects on the go.  I have several polymer related projects on the go, an online course I am doing, a course I am writing, and Samunnat work.  Working on each of these for short periods has meant I have actually done something instead of getting so overwhelmed that I just do Sudokos or read blogs about going grey. (Yup, G-Day is April 2015)  This is part of what Daniel describes as procrastinating to SOMETHING. He says:

Never procrastinate to nothing. Now, reading is an occupation. Writing notes, cutting out pictures from a magazine, are occupations. Going for a walk is an occupation. Meditating is an occupation. Sleeping is an occupation. Watching TV is an occupation.
All of them are occupations as long as you are into them actively, mindfully, positively and joyfully.  If you are procrastinating with something that makes youDSCN5112 feel guilty or just uneasy, stop and change it. You can come back to it later. Switch between tasks. Choose the one that will make you free of any unrest, fear or guilt by the sole fact of doing it, at that very moment and place. Then go for it and enjoy it. 

For me this works.  Part of it is reframing how I labelled my work style.  Rather than seeing myself as scatty and unfocussed, I am learning how to work with my multi passionate nature and going with it mindfully. I am getting more done and feeling less stressed. I think I am lowering my expectations of myself too but that may not be a bad thing!  I have posted some photos of my polymer procrastination.  Limiting myself to a palette of Black and White and varieties of Skinner Blends was a deliberate way to focus. It’s been fun.

More soon!



Thank you darling Tony!

In her wonderful book The Gifts of Imperfection (which I reread regularly and refer to often!) , Brene Brown says:

Without exception, every person …who described themselves as joyful, actively practised gratitude and attributed their joyfulness to their gratitude practice.

She defines joy as being different to happiness: Happiness is tied to circumstances and joyfulness is tied to spirit and gratitude.

I try to incorporate gratitude into every day and to do that, I have a gratitude practice.  And often my gratitude is for the people in my life. Today I am particularly grateful for the presence in my life of gorgeous Tony Byrt who took the joy filled wedding photo that I posted here the other day.  For me, a central part of gratitude is connection and these photos of Tony’s seem to me to celebrate moments of connection.  I like that.  Several friends took great photos which we are all eagerly looking at, wondering how the professional ones could be much better!

I did add a thank you to the actual post but no-one will be seeing that…yesterday’s news.  And the observant reader will note that I mentioned Tony here in this website. Here is one more of his wedding photos-the other set of proud parents.  Truly, that’s it now.