Friday Poem:

A few weeks ago a large grass fire burnt past our tiny town – too close for comfort. Two houses were lost, as well as kilometers of fence and hundreds of unlucky sheep. On it’s way around, the fire went through the cemetery, which is now bright green after 30 ml or so of rain, due to it being a refuge for native Kangaroo Grass, as well as the dead. I’ve taken several walks there with my camera since the fire, and it was only on the third visit that I noticed that many Victorian grave decorations – glass domes with white porcelain flowers inside – are still there, in varying states of repair.a walk 1

The glass dome
reflects the changing sky
passing clouds moon
stars sunset and dawn.

Inside the dome
porcelain flowers
wire and metal leaves
remain unchanged
unchanging in
deathless inert repose.

Late in the day
the sun slants across
the sleeping stones
wind sighs
among the graves.

The glass dome
full of flowers
rests on a grave
reflects the ever-changing sky.a walk 2

On a summer evening, the cemetery is a quiet place, peaceful and open to the sky – an ideal place to wander for a while with a camera in hand, and contemplate life, death and the whole damn thing.a walk 3

Creativity: Out With the Newish, In With the Quite Old

She was fine really – a little unsteady on her feet – but quite attractive, and she’d been lighting up my life regularly for several years. Still, I always knew she was temporary…A replacement had been waiting in the background for almost as long as I’d known her. All  the new shade needed was a suitable base, and the old girl would be out. Well, this week the perfect base has come in to my possession, and the shade I was planning to re-cover with a gorgeous flower print tea-towel has been done…

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I made a pattern for the lampshade by laying the plain-jane shade on a sheet of brown kraft paper, and drawing around it in pencil. Start at the seam, and carefully draw whilst rolling the shade along until you reach the seam again. Add seams and turnings, and then cut the fabric according to your pattern. It should fit neatly! I slipstitched the side seam, and glued the top and bottom turnings with white craft glue. My base was a bit grotty, so I gave it a good clean before putting on its new shade. Voila! Some old things are new again!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Express Yourself


Co-incidentally, this weeks Photography Challenge theme, Express Yourself, is also the name of a kid’s creative activity programme organised by NGV in Melbourne with fashion label Romance Was Born. Ararat Regional Art Gallery also had the activity available for a couple of weeks of the school holidays. On Sunday, the second last day, no children came in – so, loath to waste all that pretty stuff, I made a necklace for myself.

Although the programme has finished for Ararat, it continues at NGV  until April 12. The necklace (or tiara) is only one of the options for kids (and kids-at-heart) to Express Themselves with. I plan to wear my necklace to the Valentine’s Day Ball at our local Hall – I can be fairly sure that no one else will have one the same!

Creativity: Designer Date

On Monday, I went to NGV in Melbourne, and queued up with lots of other people (mainly female) to see the big exhibition of the work of French fashion designer, Jean Paul Gaultier. Visitors are not just allowed to take photos – they are encouraged to do so, and to share them on social media. It’s a little challenging, because of mainly low light, and crowds of other people milling about, but an eye-popping show, both for the clothes and the way they are exhibited! The quote featured on a wall is “To conform is to give in”, which certainly illuminates the designers approach to his creative life.IMG_3216 (Large)



Some of the garments, whilst creative, are eminently wearable and elegant. Others were only ever meant for the catwalk – no mere mortal would leave the house in them. I did overhear some conversation that was all about garment construction and embellishments. The beading on some pieces was incredible and beautiful. IMG_3274 (Large) (2)


This knitted and crochet jacket was very impressive – but not beyond the skills of many craftswomen…it would certainly help to have a team on the job, though…

I loved this tartan punk-inspired outfit – even thought about the mohair travel rug I have at home, but I suspect it would be much too warm, not to mention itchy!IMG_3240 (Medium)

I tried to get a closer shot of the jeweled neck piece, but without a tripod, it was not to be. The various rooms of the exhibition had themes based on M. Gaultier’s enormous and varied output – mermaids, sorceresses, sci-fi, punk, the famous pointy bras and more. It’s worth seeing if you are in or near Melbourne, but be quick, because it ends on the 8th of February. I’d suggest booking on-line to save queuing, also.

Unless you enjoy shuffling along in a winding line…

The surprise highlight for me was this Anton Corbjin portrait of Kurt Cobain. I was familiar with that photo, but had no idea he was wearing a garment from a Jean Paul Gaultier pret-a-porter collection…I would not have been surprised if it was from a thrift store, but there you go!IMG_3277 (Large)


Weekly Photography Challenge: Serenity

serene 3For this week, the Photography Challenge theme is “serenity”. Participants are invited to publish a photo that conveys serenity, and for mine, I took another walk to the Moyston cemetery towards sundown. I went because it was bright green with new Kangaroo grass shoots only two weeks after being burnt, and I wanted pictures of that. It’s a good place to go, though, to be alone with one’s thoughts in a beautiful spot, especially late in the day, when the low sun gleams across the quiet graves…

On the way back home, I paused to take one more picture of the sun glinting between the trunks of the old pine trees of our iconic Avenue of Honour – planted in the 1930’s to honour the local boys who had gone off to the Great War.serene 1

Friday Poem: Summer

This is from the vault, but it’s summer again, so I though I’d share it. After the big fire two weeks ago, we have had more than 30ml of welcome rain, and some really cool days – so the landscape is not so very dry just now, thankfully.bird bath

Grey sheep on the grey bank of a dam
In the summer landscape.

The shorn paddock lies
Bleached and drying in the sun.

Blue bowl of sky,
Dirty with clouds at the edges.

White hot sun floats
Higher by the minute.

The land is hot and thirsty
And the heavens bare and dry.


The ‘shorn’ paddock in this photo had also been burnt a week or so before I took the photo. Now that we’ve had some appreciable rain, a faint veil of green is appearing from the bare earth. If the weather turns hot and dry again (as it well may) the new plants might not survive, but for the moment, they are a very welcome sight!cactus

This cactus, a forbidding denizen of my eldest son’s old cactus patch, is not bothered by hot and dry, or cold and wet, and stays green all the time. It just stands there looking handsome but unfriendly all year long…

Creativity: Escape XI

It’s been several weeks since the last episode of my altered book “Escape”, as I’ve been doing other things, but I’m back to the book today.

This page is fairly simple – yellow paint slapped over the whole page (but not to the edges), and then a rough block of pink in the middle. The flower stamp has been hand-coloured with some green on the leaves, and a quote added. I’ve said it before, I may say it again, you can’t have too many stamps! Or inspiring quotes…

Escape 31


The facing page has a similar foundation , only the pink is in two patches. A scrap with a graphic print is pasted on, and doodles inspired by the print are done with green metallic pen. Then a camera sticker and  Jung quote to finish – a very apt quote in an altered book playfully dedicated to creativity. Escape 32

On this third page, the original text is completely obscured with a page torn out of an art magazine – and used upside down. There a some splodges of the pink paint used elsewhere, and the border of the page is filled in with closely packed little circles. drawn with a brush pen. The text written over the photo uses a white ink pen. Once again, I have used the book as a place to try out new art supplies – to just have a play, and see what they do. I’ve also used a gold filigree heart sticker (hiding text) and I’ve stitched a sequin at the top of the page. The Ararat Regional Art Gallery, where I work as a volunteer, shares the building with the Performing Arts Centre: sometimes there are dance events and competitions, which lead to me finding sequins lost from the costumes of dancing girls. I keep them and add them to books – why not?! They sparkle…Escape 33

Weekly Photography Challenge: Shadowed

The WPC theme for the week is ‘shadowed’, which offers so many possibilities that it is difficult to choose a handful, let alone only one (not that I ever limit myself to only one…)

My son Alex and I went for a walk yesterday evening, along the recently burnt roadside to the Moyston cemetery, taking photos as we went of the lovely evening shadows spreading across the landscape. The orange glow of the sunset reflected eerily on the polished stone of some of the graves, as the lone angel stood watch on her high perch. Click on a photo to see it better…shadowed 7

This morning, Bryan and I went to town for a coffee (and more legitimate reasons!), and I couldn’t resist pulling out my phone to try to capture the shadows cast on the wall – the strong sunlight reflected off the window of a car parked outside.

Friday Poem: Moonshine

It was a windy moonlit night, and I was awake. I don’t know what woke me, but once I’d noticed the bright moonlight flickering through the wind blown leaves, I lay awake for some time just watching it – and composing a poem in my head. There was no pen handy on the bedside table, so, too lazy to get up and find one, I instead rehearsed the lines over and over while I dozed off again, hoping to remember it when I woke in the morning. I have found that this is a good technique for doing away with unnecessary words and ideas, since I tend to forget whatever isn’t really vital…


It’s after 2am:
The full bright moon
is sending me signals
from behind the
photinia tree.

It must be moon code:
the dashes and dots
of diamond brightness
dart between the leaves.

I wish I knew
what she’s
trying to tell me.


I’ve found two photos of the moon – the second reflected in a mirror ball, and to complete a trio, the seed pods of Lunaria annua, which reliably appears in my garden year after year, all by itself. honesty

When the outer layer and the seeds are peeled away, the remaining central membrane looks like a little full moon – a silvery white disc, once popular in dried flower arrangements.

Weekly Photography Challenge: New

The first Weekly Photography Challenge theme for the new year is — “new”. I was at a bit  of a loss with this one – what new thing could I photograph, what do I want to do this year that’s new – and nothing was really calling to me. But I went for a walk this morning to photograph some of the aftermath of the big grass fire that just missed our little town on Jan 2, and I’ve picked out 10 of those to show you…The new water level in the school dam, the new roadside, stripped of everything but trees and ash and unburnable litter, the cemetery, blackened in places and a view of Mt William made new by the frame of a burnt, fallen tree.

This is how we began the new year, but we really don’t want more of it, thanks very much! Here is one of the helicopters over our house on Jan 2 – that was new, too. We have never seen so many aircraft over Moyston, never want to again, but are extremely grateful for their work in fighting the fire.helicopter