Monthly Archives: March 2015

A love song…

In two days I leave Broken Hill for 7 weeks.  In 6 days, my daughter gets married.  DSCN1078In 8 days I leave for a month or so doing my thing in Nepal. Last week I submitted ten pieces to Montsalvat in Eltham for their Gallery shop. (Thank you darling Caterina for getting this happening)  And just over a month after my return from Nepal we are moving.  Again.  I am sure that tied up in that imminent move is my desire to enter the most artistically ambitious thing I have ever attempted into our Outback Art Prize. It has been gestating since we moved to this isolated and amazing place and I…am compelled… to make it now. It is a good-bye love poem in polymer.  It is a desire and not a should because I feel excited, physically alive, almost tingly. It is flowing. In between the other stuff that I choose to do.

(One may have wondered why the afore-mentioned love poem needed to includeDSCN1081 many hand made, hand textured, hand painted bones and hundreds of paper thin polymer clay gum leaves.  One could ask if I really needed to do this right now* but one hasn’t asked this because one has been married to me for two weeks shy of 31 years and knows it wouldn’t help. Instead, without any fanfare or fuss, one sweeps, cooks, and picks up the neglected pieces.  One has encouraged and helped and been generally amazing. Sometimes you can get really lucky.  I know I did.)

DSCN1083I know, at other times, all this going on would be freaking me out. I am a little freaked but to my surprise, am feeling more energised than freaked. I realise that so often, the person saying Do it better; Do it faster; Be more on top of things is me.  Other people can handle it slower, less organised, well down vs perfect!  I can choose to do some things in a good enough way so I can really dedicate the time I want to other things. There is still that tiny part saying  Don’t worry. Tomorrow you will wake up and be REALLY panicked and then you’ll be sorry but for now I’m running with I’m going OK.

Here are some I hope tantalising glimpses of what is to come. Even if I don’t get accepted, it has been fun.  I am learning about creativity, trust, embracing life by the metaphorical balls and going with the flow.

*I do need to do it right now because it is a tad time consuming and the deadline is ten days after my return.

A long time coming

And I am not talking about the regularity of blogging!  Darling family members and friends have DSCN1037put up with me banging on about something for nearly 12 months now and the great day has finally arrived. I made a decision last year that I chose not to implement until today.  I celebrated it with these pieces.

Today I had my last colour. If I had done this when I decided to, my hair would be at a dreadful, horrible, disgusting stage right at the time of my gorgeous elder daughter’s wedding (next week) and the temptation to hit the bottle again would have been, I feared, too strong. So I am a brunette for the wedding but am now steeled for 2 years of skunky hideousness and potentially vibrantly emerging hair authenticity.DSCN1077  No plans for a pixie and at this stage hoping to be brave enough to go cold turkey. Euck.

Months of people thinking I have really let myself go. Maybe two years of ombre awfulness.  People thinking my husband looks really young.  I have studied the Pinterest pages of good transitions and great looking long haired silver sisters. For a while I avidly read the experiences of others with long hair on Going Gray, Looking Great. I bought Anne Kreamer’s book.  I have looked admiringly at long haired silver lovelies like Yasmina Rossi and Jodee Anello. I may have got a tiny bit obsessed.  But now it’s time to act. Or not act.

I suspect posts about going grey are really, really boring to anyone not choosing to do this so I will not talk about it again, maybe occasionally posting a photo or two of the journey, but otherwise, just letting nature take her course.  Some of my tribe think I’m mad, some think I’m brave and my already magnificently silver buddies (some well under 50) think it’s fantastic. Who knows. I approach with tenderness, curiosity and hopes that I can be very very patient.

Joy – an exercise in vulnerability

Last week, at WOMADELAIDE (a nearly annual pilgrimage) I spent three days listening to world music in Adelaide’s beautiful Botanic Park. The weather was delightful, the breeze cool, the food delicious and the music wonderful. I reconnected with old friends; I swayed with delight listening to Toumani and Sidiki Diabate, I sang along to Black Boys on Mopeds with Sinead O’Connor and I lay down for an hour and let the music of The Gloaming reduce me to joyful tears.

DSCN1065Within an hour of my return I was in a state of deep flow in a basket weaving class guided by my dear friend Ann Evers.  I learnt about the story telling of basketry; learnt about how plants and grasses from my local environment could be woven to create functional and beautiful items. I wove into my basket, farewell kattaks from Nepal and Tibet and a silk scarf over 35 years old that I bought in New Zealand.  It was hand printed, a serene and delicate mint colour and had become brittle with age but I could not bear to throw it out, so  I combined it with bells and reeds to make a very wonky but happy looking basket.

All this loveliness and I hesitated to write about it because I felt a bit guilty! Guilty DSCN1067for owning up to this seeming sustained self indulgence.  I felt like I should somehow justify it by sharing that I had a great need for something nice after a period of hardship. Perhaps I should itemise all the challenging things that have cropped up.  Perhaps I need to state that I am totally aware that the world is full of bad things and that having this joy doesn’t minimise my knowledge of that.  Why do I think this? Why is joy sometimes accompanied by a sense of…guilt?

The other thing I noticed has been so wonderfully described by Brene Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection.  She writes: Joy and gratitude can be very vulnerable and intense experiences. We are an anxious people and many of us have little tolerance for vulnerability…we think to our selves I’m not going to allow myself to feel this joy because I know it won’t last; or Acknowledging how grateful I am is an invitation for disaster.

I know as I lay there, feeling the power of the music of The Gloaming, tears of joy quietly rolling down my face, there was indeed that tiny little voice saying Yup and ain’t you going to come a cropper after all this loveliness?  And I realised that Yes, I might. I might be diagnosed with a terminal illness; the plane might drop from the sky on the way home; my hearing might finally give up its tenuous hold on usefulness and call it quits. Any number of disasters could befall.  But whether they happened in the future or not, right then and there, in that moment, I was experiencing joy.  I could miss it worrying by the future mights, or I could enjoy it.  And the memories of experiencing that joy could sustain me and give me resilience to face what comes.

So I did. Experienced joy. Grinning like an idiot. Counting my blessings – the dappled sunlight, the music, men with the voices of angels, the ears to hear it, the lovely bloke lying next to me (making it work!), gluten free cider….



Just a tiny bit excited…..

My darling friend Tory sent me a link yesterday to a talk Maria Popova gave about the combinatorial nature of creativity.  It contains many gems but this really resonates:

…creativity is combinatorial, [in] that nothing is entirely original, that everything builds on what came before, and that we create by taking existing pieces of inspiration, knowledge, skill and insight that we gather over the course of our lives and recombining them into incredible new creations.

Tory Hughes is someone who has contributed so much to the creative output of socollage 15P1 v1 many artists. It is no coincidence that she and another fabulous mixed media artist, Dayle Doroshow, were mentioned in several of the articles in the current edition (Diversity) of The Polymer Arts magazine.  Not just mine.

(Was that the Segue of the Century?)

That’s right. If you look at the collage of pages shown here, you will notice a magenta coloured one headed Exploring Oblique Strategies. THAT’S MINE!!!!  The article is about using Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies to enhance creativity and diversity.  I am so excited to be in this terrific magazine which brings joy, stimulation and delight with every edition, and exceptional joy and delight when I am in it!

Read about Wendy Jorre de St. Jorre, Heather Campbell, Wendy Wallin Mallinow, Ann and Karen Mitchell and other diverse artists.  Be inspired. Be very inspired!