Friday Poem: Requiem For An Owl

My poem for this week  is a sad story but, sadly, true. Dozens of creatures must die on the nations roads everyday, but it seems worse somehow to find the corpse of a bird so rarely seen as a Boobook Owl. You might hear one calling from time to time, or glimpse one when driving at night, but to see one in daylight is a rare treat – unless it is dead on the side of the road…IMG_0465 (Large)

Walking home Monday
I found an owl
Infinite sadness
Dead by the side
Of the road.

Picked it up
By a wingtip
Confirmed -yes – a Boobook
Its face smashed flat
On impact with
A fast-moving vehicle
Emphatically dead.

Soft silent feathers spread
Like angel’s wings
Beside the tarmac.

I moved the body out of reach
Of wheels.

Soft silent spotted feathers
Spread like angel’s wings
On sticks and grass.

(So,too, we all will pass…)wreath (Large)

Somewhere in my files, I have a photo or two of a (blurred ) young owl fleeing from my camera, but I have been unable to find it. I have contented myself with a view of the road in question, a wreath I made from old rusty wire found in our paddock (for remembrance), and an owl pendant my youngest son gave me. DSCF8682 (Large)

Creativity: Making Mobiles

And now for something completely different (from the altered book I’ve been posting about for weeks).

Inspired by some odd earrings collected from the oppy (thrift store) where I volunteer one day a week, I made a mobile, dangling the earrings from pieces of florist wire.IMG_5483

Then I made another using bits and pieces from the collection on my work table – and another.IMG_5482

Then I made another one with some old earrings and an Indian bell that had belonged to my late sister, adding in a few beads and extra pieces.IMG_5484

I haven’t managed to get very good pictures (yet) as it’s a very dull day and mobiles move…However, I think these give some idea. They are all hanging together from an Ikea candelabra until I have a better idea of where to put them.


I’ve used florist’s wire and some copper wire from electric wiring (picked up of the ground somewhere!) plus some of the thinner copper wire I collected from a broken TV on the roadside in Scarborough Beach WA years ago. I’ve chosen beads that fit the colours of the main pieces, and also used a couple of buttons.



Believe it or not, those big metal blade-y things are a pair of earrings, never worn. The crystal heart dangling on a chain behind it swings freely on it’s wire and hits the metal piece with a pleasing tinkle.IMG_5490

Most pieces I’ve simply linked together with loops of wire, but I also used a few jump rings, which allow freer movement. The triangular earring came in a tangled box of assorted costume jewelry, all of it genuine vintage 80’s gorgeousness.



Honestly, would you wear that? What happens when the wind blows!


Weekly Photography Challenge: Macro

This week in the Photography Challenge, it’s time to get up-close and personal in macro , with “Close Up” the theme. i have enjoyed macro photography ever since my late father-in-law gave me an old SLR camera and a set of macro lenses more than thirty years ago. The old film cameras (I’ve had several…) all wore out, and those vintage lenses don’t fit on my modern cameras, but they do have a macro function (a factor in choosing a digital in the first place). I can’t always get as close as I’d like, but I get by, and I have fun trying…

First I got as close as I  could with a popular subject – food and coffee! I quickly discovered a snag with taking a close-up of freshly brewed coffee – the lens fogs up! I’m having a love affair with lime marmalade at the moment, so that’s what’s on the toast. I bought the stack of china plates at the op shop/thrift store where I volunteer. Sadly, there were no cups to match any of them. Maybe next week…

And here is some nature up-close – probably the favourite (and vast) subject for macro. First, frost on the buds and leaves of a shrub, and two shots of a beautiful case-moth I found this morning – it looks quite like a Chinese lantern made from brown silk.

Friday Poem: Brotherhood

The politics of this country is a sore point with me, more so than usual, as it is, I’m sure, for every disgruntled idealist, so I’m sharing a sort-of political poem this week. (I just typed “plotical” for “political’, which may well be a Freudian slip…) Please note that I use the term”anarchists” in the ancient sense that humans are able to behave decently (with peace, love and empathy) without needing rules imposed on them to do so. The more modern bomb-lobbing type misused the word to put themselves outside of the law and also the common decency originally implied…rainbow heart (Large)

Transcendental misfit poets
Wild softhearted anarchists
Strike a blow and strike a chord
With a paradox absurd.
what’s the point and what’s the matter?
Smug complacency must shatter.DSCF4507 (Large)

I suspect that creativity and art are the way to go in countering dominator culture. “Fighting” it is just joining in, so that doesn’t work.

“Ah, the dreamers  ride against the men of action, Oh see the men of action falling back…”

Leonard Cohen

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The images I’ve used are from mixed-media artists books I’ve made.

Creativity: Escape XXVII


I have come to the last few pages of my altered book, “Escape” – next week I’ll have to find something new to share! On this page, I simply crossed out most of the text with a medium-tip sharpie, and painted it out with watercolours. I’ve stuck on the frame from a sheet of postage stamps, then filled the spaces in various ways – redacting words from the original text in some of them, and stamps and a sticker for others.

I didn’t do this all at once, coming back and adding more from time to time. I generally work over several pages (at least) at any one time. This tends to unify the whole book, I think, since colours, stamps and styles of doodles etc are repeated through it.DSCF9445

I like what happens when a macro shot of a detail blows it up so much bigger than the original, and tiny details become visible.DSCF9446

This page was a simple matter of the Kikki-K sticker, lots of colour and a reminder of what I love to do – Create! Plus a butterfly, which, although I used black ink, has gained colour from the paint underneath.DSCF9447

This is the second last page of the book. Most of it is covered with a big yellow sticker. My late father-in-law loved garage sales, and buying all sorts of (potentially) useful things, and I think that’s where the multiple sheets of yellow stickers (various sizes) came from. The key – a jewelry charm – is held in place with a piece of wire. You can see the ends twisted and stuck down with tape next to “create” in the previous image. The music notes suggest joyful freedom to me.DSCF9448

Last of all, the inside back cover. Out of a  stack of maybe 15 pages, I cut an arch-shaped hole, working through several at a time, after which the whole stack was glued together, to create a niche. It so happened that the old novel had a character called “Kurt”, which I didn’t know when I bought it in a junk shop for it’s cover (50cents, if I remember lately). The name appears from an accidental tear beside the niche, so the last page went from there. The image glued into the niche is printed on a paper made from a mineral rather than tree pulp, which has a pleasing matte finish. I coloured it in with felt-tip pens. The arrangement of seven hearts, drawn in a continuous line and rainbow coloured, is a symbol I have been using for years for Peace (the rainbow) Love (the hearts) Empathy (the blood drops). I left the last sentence on the page, because it fit with the drawing of Kurt Cobain.DSCF9450


Weekly Photography Challenge: Half and Half

Doing anything by halves is generally discouraged, but this week’s photography challenge is asking for Half and Half images, whether explicitly divided in two, or depicting opposites. I went to Melbourne for the day on Sunday and took my camera along with the expectation that I would see something that would fit the brief. And I did.

It was ‘good’ frost on Sunday morning, with views from the train window of glittering white paddocks all the way to Ballarat and beyond. The camera stayed in my bag while I met up with my daughter at the White Rabbit Collective in Brunswick, had a burrito for lunch and enjoyed the John Wolsley exhibition at the Ian Potter Centre (Gallery of Australian Art). On my way back to Southern Cross Station, I took it out to photograph the sky and tall buildings – some reflecting the sky in their many windows. On Monday morning, back home, there was another ‘good’ frost, and although I’ve taken dozens of photos of frost over the years, I took some more, including the two ‘half and half’ here.

I love frosty mornings, but only if the sun is shining all day afterwards!

Friday Poem: Dream On

reachI read an article recently about people who have lost loved ones, and had vivid and consoling dreams that have helped them through grief. Some of them also spoke of another kind of dream, in which the loved one is nearby, but can’t be reached, which gave me the idea for this poem. I remember a dream like this involving my late sister, in which she was walking ahead of me, but would not turn around – so I know how distressing it can be.IMG_4303 (Large)

Eyes closed
he leans toward her,
lips pursed.
She closes her eyes,
leans in
and waits,
breath bated.

Nothing happens,
and she awakes
with him not there.

follows her
all day.

she will sleep once more.
she will dream again.

Maybe this time
He will not
disappear.IMG_4353 (Large)

Once again, it’s tricky to find photos of dreams, so I’ve picked some that I think reflect the mood. I had some fun editing the top one from a fairly prosaic shadow of my hand on the wall of our house into something completely different. The fabric suggest the “veil” between the living and the dead, and the balloons floating away in the sky…I think you can figure that out.

Creativity : Escape XXVI

Escape VIII

This page of my altered book “Escape” is dedicated to my favourite daydream/future plan – I’m not completely convinced that the universe will drop a craft cafe in my lap, but there’s no harm in trying, I guess!

The old text was obliterated with thick white acrylic, and pink and orange watercolour used over top of that. New text isemphatically written in black Sharpie. The old photo of two little girls is a sticker from a pack I bought in a “cheap shop” – it contained multiples of both photos and text stickers, including clocks, flowers, hearts and sweet old photos like this one. Escape IX

The stamps on these pages are ones I made, drawing the image on an eraser, and cutting around it with a set of Japanese wood carving tools. they’ve been hand coloured after stamping – especially the piece of chocolate cake.

The clock sticker is from the same pack as the little girls on the previous page. The cups, petit four and spoon are stickers – slightly 3-d – that I found (once again) in a cheap shop. They are very pretty and olde worlde. I bought a second pack when they reappeared in the store – I like them!Escape X I used a finer pen to write on this page – Do what your heart desires and walk only where you can see the the truth. Unfortunately, writing in black across a dark coloured cup stamp makes the advice difficult to read. Learn from my mistake, don’t do that! I should have either worked around the cup, using the pale background to write on, or used a lighter colour – perhaps a gel pen, for the text.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Symbol

We are constantly surrounded by symbols in our day to day life, many so mundane we barely notice them. I’ve been thinking about them, because this week’s Photography Challenge theme is “Symbol”, which asks for something more profound and personal than, say, the symbol for “ladies loo” or “left turn only”-  symbology


I made this beaded artwork a few years ago, following the kind of pattern that gives a general outline, and then says, do your own thing.

It began with the disc (symbol of wholeness) and then the triangle inside it, with symbols at each point. The top one is “your idea of God”, for which I chose a copper washer, backed with a shisha mirror, the lower left is “how you see yourself”, for which I picked a turtle, as symbol of self-containment/introversion, and the right is “how your friends see you”, with the kettle symbolising comfort and friendship – tea and sympathy, even.

Having put those symbols in place, the rest is packed with tiny beads in random colours, and with  more symbols here and there. The beaded fringe has even more, although you can’t see them in this photograph. As a further symbol, my reflection in the glass of the frame could be a symbol of this piece being a reflection of how I see myself…screen tea cup screen tea cup 3 screen tea cup 2 bowl edit


I have quite a collection of bowls – I just like them, and they come in handy – but they can also be read as symbols of The Feminine, being containers, receptive and all that. My husband thinks I have too many, but what would he know? Here are three of my tea bowls, and one lovely green vintage cereal bowl.

Friday Poem: Night Walk

I think I slept pretty well last night, and even the night before, but here’a a poem about insomnia anyway. Maybe I drink too much coffee some days, but I also think being social gives my poor introverted brain too much input, which keeps me wide AWAKE whether I like it or not – in which case some creative visualisation is a passable substitute for actual sleep…late July2011 111 (Large)

I don’t want to go to sleep.
What do I want to do instead?
I want to step out of my body
+ go for a long walk,
naked as before I was born.

I would walk through the woods
to the cabin that
overlooks the sea,
and the chapel across the bay
+ the little stream that runs into it,
and the sliver of beach.

I could stay all night
and come back just before dawn,
naked as before I was born.

late July2011 106 (Large)

It’s tricky to take photos of places that exist only in one’s imagination, so I have hunted out some images which I hope convey something of the mood of the poem. I love to take photos while driving (as a passenger!) because there is so little control over the result – you never know quite what you’ll get. late July2011 050 (Large)