Creativity: Carving It Up


I’ve been pretty busy this last week, so not much creativity has been going on around here. However, I have managed to fit in some stamp carving. I did the stylised peony while I was volunteering at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery on Sunday. I was there again on Monday, helping out with Children’s Week’s Printing workshop – which reminded me that a stamp doesn’t have to be a picture of something, so I did the wavy lines – which has some extra texture, because the eraser I used has a pattern on the sides already. Last of all, I did the feather, while I was perched on the edge of my bed in my P.J.s.stamp detritis

It made some mess.treasure trove

Here is another cheap eraser waiting to be carved, lying on a bed of what may be junk, or treasure, depending on one’s point of view! I have stalls at two Maker’s Markets on the weekend,which I need to prep tomorrow, then after going to see the Archibald Prize exhibition on Monday, it will be back to making for me. I hope.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Careful!

Careful is the theme of the week for the Weekly Photography Challenge, and a word often on the lips of anyone who spends time with toddlers. Mostly it’s the child’s health and safety we worry about (or the cat’s…), but when my two year old grand daughter got her hands (at last!) on Granny’s glasses, it was my favourite specs I wanted her to be “Careful!!!” with.

So long as I am wearing them,she won’t touch them (except to push them back up my nose where they ‘should’ be – ouch), but one evening after her bath, she found them lying all alone on the dining table…of course, she had to put them on, and of course, she looked delightful…

BUT, being a two year old, she also took them off, folded and unfolded -Careful!! – the arms, until Granny could stand it no longer, and persuaded her to hand them over. I made sure I didn’t put them down again,but also bought her a packet of clear, coloured play glasses, which were even better than mine. The arms kept coming off, but I just kept putting them back on. Carefully.


Friday Poem: Running Wild/Climbing

I had nothing in mind for this week’s poem post – it’s been busy around here, what with the Festival King and his various duties – but the Daily Post prompt caught my eye with the mention of American poet, Mary Oliver. I only discovered her work recently, when three separate references to her seemed like the Universe making a suggestion.evening light

So, I read the prompt, and thought…what poem have I written that would answer, opened a notebook, and there it was, a poem about finding my place in the world. Serendipitous synchronicity!

I’ve waited so long to make this journey:
Holding back, stayed by the family circle,
Not ready to leave the safe familiar;
But now I am impelled to climb and climb.

It’s a long way up, and steep and slippery,
But I will make it if I just keep on.
The path is marked with pointers showing me the way,
That give me comfort and confirm my choice.
If I grow weary and stumble and lose my way,
My guide just waits to lead me on again.

My reason says it’s crazy to go climbing,
But my heart knows it is true and it must be.
My spirit grows and opens up within me,
And when I reach the top, I will be free.poster wall 2

One of the pointers on my path away from being the Good Girl was reading Women Who Run With The Wolves, amongst other dangerously freeing and eye-opening books. So off I went spiritually, on a big adventure, in search of my own kind, which led at last to writing a blog…


I’m turning 60(!) in a few months, and the “Punk’s not dead” poster is for my party.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Extra-ordinary Creativity

Albert Einstein — ‘There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.’

Whether something is ordinary or extraordinary just depends on your point of view, and that is the theme of the photography challenge for this week.

While my husband was performing his extraordinary duties as the Golden Gateway Festival King (I know!), attending a variety concert in the iconic Ararat Performing Arts Centre, I spent a few hours at my friend Wilma’s open garden event. She seems to have endless energy and a great imagination when it comes to incorporating interesting…junk…into her sprawling garden. She puts ordinary things to extraordinarily creative use – this is not all of them, just a sample!

The vignette near the cottage window is so elegant – but then there’s the enormous spider on the gate…I think the arrangement of objects on the yellow chair is the work of her great-grandson – clearly an artist in the making!

There were also (extra)ordinary flowers, such as this glorious yellow bearded iris.IMG_6346

Friday Poem: Birthday Obituary

I was eight-and-a-half when my sister was born. There were two brothers in between, so it was good to have another girl around. I remember Mum sneaking into my room in the middle of the night to kiss me goodbye when she went to the hospital. After school the next day, I came home to  a kitchen that was strangely clean and tidy (Mum was never into ‘housekeeping’ – we had skinks living on one of the benches for a while, and she put them there…). My maternal Grandma, and Dad’s Step-Mum occupied the space, having spent the day cleaning and reorganising while Mum was safely out of the way.

In 1964, babies were kept away from’germs’ and relatives for as long as possible, so we kids didn’t get to cuddle her the way my kids held their siblings within 24 hours of birth. She was safe behind glass, in a crib that was tilted slightly so she could be seen.

It’s her birthday again in a couple of days. She would have been 51, which I can’t really imagine, because she was only 27 the last time I saw her – in the same hospital as where I saw her first.DSCF5120 (Large)


I remember the pink and white bundle behind the glass,
I remember my sister at my mother’s breast;
I remember the last time I saw her, too.
Her head, bald from chemo, tied with a scarf;
Her dangly earrings, her grey-goose eyes
That were almost empty,
But she squeezed my hand
As I drank her face for the last time here.

I remember the first time I saw her, and the last;
And in all the years since she left,
I have learned to miss her less.
But I have only dreamed of her once,
When we climbed a hill together
And I planned to cook a meal.anniv5

I don’t seem to have a ‘baby’ photo of her – there are hundreds of Juniper, but times, and cameras, have changed. This photo was taken when we were on holiday at the coast – Dad never wore shorts any other time! I’m guessing Merrilyn was two-and-a-bit, and not happy about being sat on the bonnet, for some reason. I vaguely remember the photo being taken – it’s around 50 years ago  (groan).DSCF5121 (Large)

I made this quilt as a memento of her – there’s an outline portrait of her as I last saw her in the quilting. The quote is of Kurt Cobain, and a good summary of my sister’s approach to life and art.


Creativity: Playing With (Virtual) Paint.

I have a pretty white tissue paper (Christmas) decoration hanging in my study window, and today I took a quick photo of it. IMG_6307 (Large)It seemed like a good idea to edit it in paint.NET to make it coloured – what if? And how?

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Adjusting hue and saturation produced pale pink. Nice – so I saved it, and went back to “hue and saturation”, without changing the settings from the first shot. I did that another six times – saving the new colour combo, and making another at the click of a button. I only wish I’d numbered them so I’d know what order they came in.

That was not what I would have expected to happen, they got brighter/more intense as they went along, and the shadows seem to be the “contrast” colour for the main one. Interesting! It’s a bit like a 60’s psychedelic music poster, and definitely something to play with some more!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Happy Place

This week the challenge is to show “where you go to get your groove back”, and I think I need to go there right now, because I’m having trouble coming up with an idea of what my Happy Place looks like. It’s more a state of mind, I think, than a physical location for me, although the garden, or my studio would be obvious choices. I’ve been away fromhome for over three weeks, so the garden needs weeding, and my studio is a muddle of things that need sorting, so…not so restful at present! Instead, I’m going with the crystals and rainbows in a sunny window of the study – the room I escape to to write blog posts, amongst other things…


And of course, there’s music, which has “charms to soothe a savage breast”* (and is the “brandy of the damned”, according to G.B. Shaw). Listening to Nirvana, fittingly, is a sure way to my Happy Place.

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*William Congreve.

Creativity: Art away from Home IV

Only another day or so before I get up bright and early and catch the bus to Albury, the train to Melbourne, another train to Ararat, to arrive back home 12 or 13 hours after leaving Canberra.

In the meantime, I’ve carved out a little space in my daughter’s new craftroom, IMG_6243 (Large)which is doing double duty as place-to-put-things-for-now room.

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It does have built in storage – hurrah!- and I’ve unpacked some boxes of Zoe’s craft supplies and stacked it away. At least it LOOKS organised, even though Zoe doesn’t actually know where anything is yet! It’s amazing how possessions seem to expand as they emerge from boxes.Where was all this stuff before the move? I’m sure there was less…

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Mostly I’ve been watching Juniper play and adapt to her new home, but I have had a little play with Inktense pencils and watercolour on paper which I wet/stained with the remains of my chai tea.IMG_6247 (Large)

First I scribbled in a flowery shape. The paper was still quite wet with tea, so the ink spread around to some extent.

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That seemed wishy-washy,so I added watercolour in a similar pink, and then used a dark blue too give some definition. It’s certainly not my greatest work, not remotely considered, but a good exercise in “what if” – something that little kids do continually until we adults constrain them with rules about the “proper” way to do things!

I find the brush pen with it’s reservoir of water and the portable packs of watercolours are great for travel, or even to have handy at home for quick, small pieces. They are quite modestly priced, too, happily.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Boundaries

The past few days (seems longer than that!) has been spent packing and unpacking boxes, and minding my grand daughter while her parents get on with packing, unpacking and organising the many aspects of moving house. The photography challenge theme for the week is “boundaries”, and I guess you could say that the boundaries have changed for Juniper and her parents, and the three cats.

The old”backyard” was a generous balcony, bounded by brick walls, with the only greenery supplied by pot plants.IMG_1326 (Large)

As of Monday, the new backyard has much bigger boundaries, and plenty of grass and shrubs and trees to explore.

Her Mum and Dad will have their work cut out keeping the periwinkle and ivy within bounds,but there’s scope for veggies and herbs and flowers, and plenty of room for both Juni and the garden to grow and run (a little) wild.

Friday(ish) Poem(sort of)

IMG_6225 (Large)It’s no longer Friday, and this isn’t exactly a poem, but it’s been a busy week here in Canberra, playing with little Juniper and helping her parents pack up the house ready to move.

In the process of packing some books, I got, um, distracted by a magazine, and came across the Eric Fromm quote.

I copied it into the book l’m making – Make Art Not Craft – and followed up with some thoughts on abandoning certainty in being creative.

Sort of a poem…I bent the rules and messed with the pattern…