Tag Archives: Rosalie Gascoigne

Finding and Searching: Lessons from a red feather

I love the art of Rosalie Gascoigne and recently, in preparation for going to The Daylight Moon, an exhibition of her work at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, I read a number of interviews she had done. Here’s one where the link works! In one with James Gleeson (and alas this link is NOT working!) he asks if the material she works with is material that she has searched for and found almost anywhere? She took great pains to correct his choice of words:

I have not searched for it—I have found it…Yes. I just look at what’s available, and I think ‘I like that’, or ‘That does something for me’—and that’s what I take.  

I was intrigued by her distinction and decided that during the week I would do some  writing about searching and finding. It would make tortured reading but was enlightening and fascinating for me.  I am a finder.

Recently, as I walked up Mt. Ainslie (conveniently situated behind our back fence) I found a gloriously vermillion feather just off the path. It was possibly from a crimson rosella or a King Parrot. And fortunately for you gentle reader, it summarized my photo 2cumbersome writing. I was not searching for the feather. I had no expectation of finding the feather. I noticed it. It was there, ready to be found.  I could have stayed warm in bed and not found the feather.  I could have been powering up that hill (unlikely!) so fast that I did not see it. I could have been so intently searching for blue feathers or lovely bark that I didn’t notice this fabulous feather.

It did something for me and I picked it up.  I might use it in something and I might not. That is not the point.  For me, finding means being in the place where you might find things. It means being open; it means being mindful and observant and grateful. It means being playful and exploratory and open to receive.

Thank you Rosalie, thank you red feathered bird.



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.