Weekly Photography Challenge: Dialogue

Another challenging challenge…it’s an intriguing idea that two pictures can be seen to be in dialogue with each other. Without  the examples given by Frédéric Biver  I think I would be struggling with this one!

In 2005, I joined the Long March in Melbourne, before which a representative of the traditional owners of the land we were on invited everyone to take a gum leaf as a token of friendship. I still have my leaf. On Sunday, I was waiting  to take part in the March in Melbourne, when a fabulously coloured gum leaf drifted down and settled on my hand. I have kept it as a memento of the day, which was also my daughter’s birthday. We ate cake.

I don’t know why I find laneways so appealing, but I do…These two are in Brunswick, Victoria, and Aberdeen, Washington. They are the same, only different…

Friday Poem: Spinney

I decided to reach deep into my back-catalogue for a poem this week, and chose one fairly randomly. Often when I pick an oldie I look for something written around the same time of year, so that it is seasonally appropriate (for southern Australia, anyway), but that doesn’t apply to  this one …a spinney 2

Is there a spinney
That overlooks the sea?
A sacred grove
Where people rarely go:
Is there a pure spring
That rises from the earth?
Are there wild flowers
Scattered in the grass?

Is there a spinney
That overlooks the sea?
A sacred grove
Where people rarely go;
Where the leaves flicker
Tossed by the gentle breeze,
And the songs of birds
Float about the trees?

Is there a spinney
That overlooks the sea?
And if I find it,
Will you meet me there?


a spinney

I’m a little hazy on my inspiration for this because it’s about 18 years old, but I’m fairly sure I was reading something on Ancient Greece, hence the sacred grove. Once more I have chosen pictures from The Trip of a Lifetime. Technically, I think that’s Puget Sound, seen from Discovery Park in Seattle, and the path through the birch trees is in Seattle’s Sculpture Park.a spinney 1

Creativity: It’s what You Make It

I had a friend who was always making things, and had a house (and shed) full of materials for making things, and who regularly declared that she was not at all creative. Nothing I or anyone else could say would shake her conviction that because she was German and used patterns, she was not and never could be creative. Yet everything she made, despite the offending pattern, was quite obviously her work and no-one else’s. Her home was full of unusual and beautiful handmade objects, including a lizard made in a class with Mirka Mora many years ago. She told me more than once that Mirka had admired her work, but still could not acknowledge her own creativity, which I think is an enormous shame.

Whatever we make, we are creating that thing, whether it is a quilt, a cup cake or a garden bed. Creativity is part of being human, and can be a great source of joy for ourselves and those around us.

Recently, I have been making an Eye-spy quilt for my grand daughter, who turns one next month. The point is to have lots of pictures of things on the blocks, and half the fun is collecting bits of suitable prints. I had a pattern, but I didn’t follow it very closely – but doing so would have saved me a lot of bother!

“Creativity is the ability of a person to respond to visual and other sensory stimuli in an original way, and then share this response with passion, individuality and spirit.’

Gerald Brommer.

My friend was most definitely an original, and Juniper’s quilt is too, even if I did use a pattern!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Fray

This weeks photography challenge is Fray, a word with several connotations and therefore very open to interpretation. I had to think about it for a day or two, and I guess that’s a good thing! I have chosen frayed textiles, because textiles are my ‘thing’ (or one of them…) and I also love the concept of Wabi Sabi, the beauty of imperfect, old, worn out things.

All of these things have been ‘rescued’ from the Op Shop/thrift store where I volunteer one day a week. All too gorgeous to discard, even though they are beyond use. The fabulous ’60’s fabric was a cushion cover,  but look at that print! The colours! And the flamenco doll – she’s pretty armless, but what a face! I had to bring her home, and one day I’ll figure out what to do about her missing limbs. The piece of pale satin with the hooks and eyes is a very old pair of ladies knickers, made long before the days of elastane-powered stretchy underwear.

All of them are frayed, and all of them have a beauty and a value far beyond any newly minted item with the function they once fulfilled. Well, I think so, anyway!


Friday Poem: Winter

I wrote this on the bus on my way to Ararat last weekend. It was one of those days, typical of winter in our region, in which warm sunshine came and went all day, taking turns with the clouds and a stiff, cold breeze. I didn’t take photos – I don’t think they would have worked very well through the bus window – so I’ve picked some with shadows from our Trip of a Lifetime, which was three years ago this month…a shadow 2

The clouds part
Brilliant sunshine
Paddocks glow green
Crisp shadows
Stripe across the road.

Then it’s gone again
Dull light
Flat-green paddocks
A smudge of tree shadow
Blurs on the road.

a shadow 3The top pic is in Tacoma, opposite the Washington State Museum, the second in Seattle, and the last in the glorious urban forest in Portland, which adjoins the Arboretum, Japanese Garden and an amazing Rose Garden. It was on that walk that we saw our first Hummingbirds, and our first Banana Slug. The slug is much easier to photograph…a shadow

Weekly Photography Challenge: Silhouette

The Challenge this week is to show a silhouette, something that makes me think of the clever man with the scissors and black paper who used to travel the countryside with the other Show People. In a matter of minutes, he could produce a readily recognisable silhouette of a customer’s profile. My mother had them done of all us children – I wonder if she still has them somewhere…

I was in Melbourne earlier in the week, where I took a few photos of buildings both old and new silhouetted against the sky – plus trees opposite my daughters place, because Melbourne is proud of having plenty of green and growing things. That new building behind Southern Cross Station is growing faster than a gum tree, though! The ornate tower is part of the beautiful old Forum Theatre, on the corner of Flinders and Russell Streets. Certainly worth a closer look!

Friday Poem: Ordinary Things

We had (another) frost this morning, but with the clearest of skies and brilliant sunshine, it would be hard to complain about the icy start to the day. The temperature climbed to the high teens (Celsius) in the afternoon, bringing sweet promises of spring just around the corner…but not just yet, I suspect.frosty morning 3

I can’t write all the time
Of sorrow, grief and love and pain,
Sex and Death
The Great Themes of poetry:
Well worn and self-renewing,
The Happy Hunting Grounds
Of countless poets;
Fertile fields fresh-sown
And constantly reaped;
Always compelling, large and intimate.

Sometimes I must write
Of ordinary things:
But even ordinary things
The common garden clay,
Weather and clouds and days,
Nod more than a little
With familiar courtesy
To the same Great Themes -
Comfort and grief and love and death
Really are ordinary things;
No topic is unfit for poetry.
The magic lies in
How you look at things.frosty morning

I took my camera out into the frosty morning, even though I thought that maybe there was nothing new to see in it. However the brilliant sunshine behind the trees was ravishingly beautiful. And, back inside and thawing out my fingers, I found the winter sunlight just as lovely in the kitchen.

frosty morning 2

In photography. as in poetry, the magic lies in how you look at things!