Monthly Archives: March 2020

Always make multiples

Make multiples.  I always try to and thank Dayle Doroshow and Cynthia Tinapple for making it so clear in their gem of a book, Creative Sparks  . It is fascinating to watch how something evolves when you make multiples. But what has that got to do with the earrings I am wearing today? Everything.

One day as I sat doing my shift at Trove Canberra I was looking at the lovely packaging used by Rachel of Lucian. (The scent of her Watermelon and Eucalyptus Reed Diffusers is divine.)  I am often inspired by combinations of colours, be they hidden in sun kissed lichen on a rock or flamboyantly shouted on someone’s sari!  As soon as I got home I started to mix colours to get as close as I could to those she used. Then I started on my multiples. These first earrings show the early ones that I made…pretty close to Rachel’s packaging design.

Then my voice started to be heard more clearly. I love adding textures and you can see the influence of Katy Way from Bullseye Art Studio who also loves combining texture and bold strong colour. Katie often uses acrylic paint to highlight the textures (as do I) but I decided not to for these earrings.  Mixing the striped background from Rachel’s packaging and the bold repeated circles was fun.  The process of making marks* using things I had found around the traps was like writing letter to the future wearer of the earrings.  If I had just made one veneer, and stopped pushing and playing and exploring at that point, I may not have felt like I was making something authentically mine.

The final photo shows the earrings I am wearing. And they were made with the scraps from the play! And this is one of the many things I love about working in this medium. Nothing is wasted!!

*And if you want to have enormous fun learning more about mark making and design in general, subscribe to Sage Bray’s Virtual Art Box.  This month is all about mark making!!  Such a wealth of ideas. I know I hyper link a lot and rave  about various things but there are no affiliate links (not for someone with readership in the single figures) and I just rave about stuff I love.  Which is a lot of stuff really.

My Heidis and the Ainslie Opera Singer

I refer to my earrings by the name of the makers. The other day I wore my Kates and later you will see my Gens and my Lindlys. Today it’s My Heidis.  I like to think I was one of  Heidi Helyard’s   earliest fans.  In a world abundantly well supplied with earrings, Heidi’s shine for being so distinctive.  She sings so clearly with her own voice (little link to the singer I mention later!).  I love these ones which combine Heidi’s love of colour and design with her love of needlework! You can see in the detailed photo to see how she has embellished my earrings with cotton as well as texture.

Heidi nurtures the community of polymer artists and approaches the medium with freshness and enthusiasm without ignoring techniques and artists from the past.  I subscribe to only a handful of things but one of those things is Heidi’s Studio Scraps, a weekly newsletter of inspiration, tips and ideas.  She’s a gem. I am a bit in awe of her and if she wasn’t so gorgeous I might even feel a bit inadequate and lazy!!

Today when I wore my Heidis up on the hill I heard opera singing. Hearing anything in my case is quite something and hearing opera singing in the Australian bush is REALLY something. I was following one of my kangaroo tracks and there she was: a tiny lady with jet black hair wearing bright yellow pants and a blue cap singing opera from a red folder. Just standing there! I sat on a rock, she didn’t notice me, and just listened until she finished and we smiled at each other.  No photos because I forgot my phone which I see as a sign of personal growth.

I wonder whether she went home and blogged about a silver haired woman wearing tattered black leggings, a threadbare maroon T shirt and FABULOUS earrings just wandering through the bush like she owned the place?

The best laid plans…

Today’s photos was meant to be be in a hospital bed with a bandaged head or an apology for no photo due to drug induced grogginess. I had it all planned!

Last year I was going to have a cochlear implant*. The plans for that were blown out of the water when I had to have surgery for cancer.  Today I was going to have a second go at that cochlear implant. Those plans got blown sky high by COVID19. I’d been expecting cancellation call for days and when it came I was a bit relieved as I didn’t want to end up with a heap of chunky, expensive hardware in my head that then couldn’t be activated due to a lock down. But…part of me was a bit sad. Another go at the build up, at readying myself for the months of post operative therapy. As they say in Nepal, ke garne?**

So today I am wearing earrings and a necklace that help me to connect with that positive, optimistic part of me who knows that if this is the worst thing the virus can mean for me, I will be happy!  I love these earrings and wear them a lot. Maybe because I wear purple a lot! But also because this ensemble makes me feel brave. I wore it to several medical appointments last year. When I wear this I remember that I am not just a scared woman but that I am a WELL ACCESSORISED scared woman. And that makes a difference!

*I am as deaf as the proverbial post. Fortunately I am a red hot lip reader but that is useless when people wear masks!

**Trans: What can you do? It is an expression of resignation accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders.

Earrings for rediscovering rocky canyons

Yesterday’s post was short. Today’s is a bit longer with more pictures. You have been warned.

These DIVINE earrings were made by the immensely talented and very lovely Kate Lee Foley.  Yes, I am a big time fan girl.  Kate and I had connected via Instagram but then properly met and discovered we had a lot in common: we both loved using polymer clay in our work; we were both colour fans; were both just a tiny bit introverted and both had huge respect and love for Tory Hughes. When we met we were further united in our grief at Tory’s recent and sudden passing.

Kate and I were to have travelled to Nepal on a Colourful Journey together and Kate eventually went but I had to pull out due to my rearrangement of bodily bits.  Her photos were so wonderful though and she actually wrote about the experience for the latest edition of Polymer Week magazine.

A while back as I wondered around on my beloved Mt. Ainslie, I met a bloke who built stone circles. We got talking, bloke and I, and, one thing led to another and before you know it I had accepted his invitation to come up and see my etchings…no, sorry… stone circles. Totally innocent…just two slightly eccentric people recognising one another’s eccentricity. So he took me on a walk which culminated in a fabulous and unexpected small canyon. I tried again a few weeks later to find it from another direction and found it but was physically unable to do the steep climb down to it still being in the recovery phase from the aforementioned bodily bits rearrangement.

Anyhoo, today, to my ABSOLUTE DELIGHT, wearing my Kate Foleys, I found it! I was almost in tears as I approached…partly thinking about how much better I was physically than last time I was there; and partly from joy at working out how to find it again; and partly because I feel very sad about how things are right now and in beautiful places this tenderness is almost too hard to bear.  There was a sense of sacred amidst the horror.

And because I was wearing these particular earrings, I was perfectly accessorised.

They Call Me the Wild Rose…

The sound track to accompany these earrings would be this and that was the sound track I tunelessly hummed as I made them.  Lucky I work alone!

It is one of those days when overwhelm is lurking at the edges of everything.  I got a text this morning from my elder daughter saying that my 2 year old grandson asked, out of the blue, Grandma Wendy train? Well that nearly did me in because Grandma Wendy can’t come on the train and it all seems a bit hard and sad. So…simple and fun earrings for complex and not fun times! My mum talks about golden moments and in times of shittiness we remind each other about them…noticing and savouring the golden moments; not missing them just because they are fleeting. Or small. Or not the ones we wanted or planned.  We need to see the ones that are here in this present moment and savour them. Not grasp them. Just savour them. Om.

I learnt how to make the lovely loose spiral in the top of the earrings from a free tutorial here that Cynthia mentioned in a PCD years ago. I love the graphic spontaneity of it.  And the bottom component was cut from a veneer I made using slices of lace canes which I made using a technique similar to that shown here.  And the gorgeous pink is Honeysuckle which I made from one of Carolyn Good’s fabulous colour recipes. Hoping that these little earring tales bring a smile however slight. Maybe even a golden moment.

Small earrings

Another walk in the hills. Lots of people were up there. We all kept the appropriate social distance of course and said hello in that we aren’t going to mention it either kind of way.  I suspect there will be an increase in walking in the hills, gardening and cataloguing earring collections.  I collected some pink leaves to replace the browned ones in one of my garden mandalas. Some walkers passing by told M that they call our house Doris’s House because they have christened my lady Doris.  I think I call her Ghausala when I don’t refer to her as my lady!

Today I am wearing serious face furniture. My gorgeous earrings are created by the ever so clever Anna Small of A Small Art Factory. Anna and her husband usually make garden sculpture so technically I guess this is garden sculpture for the ears.  I love them because of how they look and how they remind me of being at my beloved WOMAD many years ago and actually meeting Anna when we bought a garden sculpture. As you do at world music festivals. The earrings accessorise a slightly grubby There is No Planet B t shirt in lichen green and grey running leggings. (Apologies to Kitty Flanagan but I was being active until ten minutes ago!)

Thank You Anna. I hope you are and stay healthy.

Earrings for hill walks


Today’s earrings accessorised the walk I did up the hill- taking a friend to the labyrinth and other favourite pilgrimage sights on Mt Ainslie. We kept the required social distance apart and I took his mountain goat comments as a compliment.  My earrings were made by the truly amazing Wendy Jorre de St Jorre.   A few years ago Wendy and our friend Pam stayed here after they taught at the Cotter Contemporary Craft Retreat. (Speaking of which, all things being equal, I will be teaching at in October this year. Come and join us!!)

I saw Wendy making and reducing her amazing canes and was stunned to learn that she was relative newcomer to polymer clay art. My goodness she’d learnt a lot in a short time! Her canes are astonishing and what she makes with them is beautiful and immaculately finished.  Things you just love to keep touching because they are so smooth and beautifully crafted.  I couldn’t resist earrings and a pendant and could easily have bought so much more. I had this image, before I met Wendy, of what someone who made canes like this would be like. Kind of deeply introverted, intense and aloof. THIS IS SO NOT WENDY!!! She is utterly down to earth and so generous sharing her tips and knowledge.  Every time I wear these I feel lucky to have met her.  Here is a great interview that Ginger from Blue Bottle Tree did with her which talks about the tree project.

Socially Distant Earrings

This will be the second time in less than a year that earrings have been part of a stress management technique.  I am more or less self isolating so matching earrings are not such an issue. For as long as social distancing/ isolation goes on,  I thought I’d wear a different pair of earrings from my close at hand collection. That is, the ones stored in my up-cycled dart board earring storage*.  I was going to say that there was not a whiff of Marie Kondo about this collection but that is not true! If they are up here it is because they do bring me joy! Every day, I will photograph the earrings I am wearing (maybe sometimes even of me wearing them) and upload them and a short comment to Instagram at @sociallydistantearrings

So…today’s earrings!

Strange times call for slightly strange earrings. These girls fit the bill. My polymer journey really began when I wanted to make a face cane having seen some beads in a market in Sydney’s Rocks district. This was decades ago, pre internet, pre guilds, pre related books really. There were hardly any books on polymer in Australia and so it was all trial and error. Pretty much all error really and my first face canes looked enraged or demented.  With years of practice and learning from all that error, I now teach a technique (when we can gather together again!) where people can make a face cane with a reasonable expression on their first go!!

As a friend pointed out when we passed at a safe social distance, she has to be at least 1.5m away to really focus on these girls so they are almost disease management.

*Well it seems I have not done a post about my up-cycled dart board earrings storage so I will!