Tag Archives: Ann Evers

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….

 

 

It’s Erin’s fault!

Shards on machineI am blaming Erin Prais-Hintz for the mess in my laundry.  She made me do it.  She told me to take a staycation.

I signed up for Erin’s 2nd Annual Challenge of Travel (strap yourself down for the blog hop on Saturday!) and the subsequent local walks reawakened my fascination with broken china and bottles.  And bits of metal.  In recent years, our slightly nomadic life meant that I had to abandon my bower bird tendencies andGobind tins until now I have been managing quite nicely.  I should have seen a relapse coming when I collected these tobacco tins on the Upper Mustang trek. ( There are actually three but one has been filed away and could not be located for the photo).

Shards 1Broken Hill is a mining town and it would appear that after a hard day’s mining, the good folk of the Hill enjoyed nothing more than hurling their china and glass around the Outback! Or so the evidence I have collected would suggest.  Fascinatingly, one could pick up 15 shards, were one inclined, and each one would be different. The hoard on the washing machine was collected from several sites…not just one place. My suspicion is that they would not match up and represent a popular set of the time rather than remnants of one plate.

Thanks to Erin, I had been taking my camera out on our walks with our dogs and consequently was entirely459.2001##S UNPREPARED for discoveries that required collection rather than recording!  I filled two pockets of my jacket but knew I would have to return with bags.  On the second foray, my darling parents accompanied us and of the four of us, three were like pigs in junk collector’s mud.  Mum focused on metal scraps, channeling Rosalie Gascoigne, inspired by her wonderful assemblages and collages.  Dad focused on glass and turned up some really old bits and pieces in beautiful colours. I was wildly non-selective and just focused on the ground.  The non collector of us just walked on ahead with the dogs, stopping them from racing off after the roos or waking the sleepy lizards!

Surfing the net for information about some of our finds (an old Lea and Perrin Worcestershire Sauce bottle and a nearly intact BalsamExciting shards of Horehound bottle) was fascinating.  I had to go back.  Fortunately I knew my friend Annie was a partner in crime. The the extent that she had to reclaim a bag of stuff she had collected that was so heavy she had to return to pick it up in a pack!  The day dawned dusty, windy and pretty awful really but undeterred, we headed off and my hoard is what you see on the washing machine.  I was especialy excited by a few fragments, scattered far apart, of some china that was a deep maroon on one side and fabulous mint on the other.  Which side to choose!?  As a more experienced collector, Annie was selective.  I do my selecting post gathering!

Annie's basketWe talked about what we’d do with our treasures.  Annie weaves wonderful baskets (here’s mine pictured here with some of our bottles) from grasses she grows and dries herself.  She then incorporates shards of china, hand made paper, fabric and other found objects to make magical vessels that are so full of a sense of time, history and stories. They are snapped up at the Art Gallery and she was a great companion for the day!

Our foraging time is limited as it is already warming up and starting to get a bit snakey in these parts.  The sleepy lizards (shingle backs) just flare up angrily if you disturb their dreams but the snakes may be less impressed with us!  We think we can fit one more trip before we have to hang up our bags for a while!

Erin, NONE of these bits and pieces was used in my necklace! Not a bit. But thanks for getting me out there and hooked.  Something will happen with my treasures found*!

*Treasures Found is the name of Erin’s blog.  Have a look. Lovely stuff.  Great challenges.