Friday Poem: Insomnia

Everyone suffers from insomnia every now and then, just like everybody hurts. I find moonlit nights especially challenging, since darkness is the best condition for sleeping. I wrote this just before bed, having slept badly the previous night – and then I turned out the light and went straight to sleep, moon or no moon…nocturne (Large)

The moon in my eyes
and no sleep
makes a night long
I can’t keep
doing that every night.

Lucky the moon fades
and weary bones
melt into sleep sweet sleep
sometime before dawn.

nocturne2 (Large)

I also had a play with my camera, messing about with settings to see what happens, and sometimes having an accidental extreme effect, having forgotten about taking pictures in the dark earlier. I liked the bleached out roses enough to keep the photo – but I made the necessary adjustment and took a ‘proper’ one as well!  The rose is a florabunda called “Hot Cocoa”.

Creativity: Carving and Printing

The invention of printing is one of the most important for our culture, allowing for multiple images or words to be produced with minimal fuss and effort. This led eventually to the tabloid press, but let’s not think about that just now…

Carving an image into a flat plate means an artist can make many versions of the same image, all the same, only not quite identical. I helped recently with a children’s week workshop at Ararat Regional Art Gallery in which the kids made simple plates by drawing into a sheet of foam, the images then printed on paper to take home and keep, and a second print onto a large banner with their school mates work. This activity re-whet my appetite for print making!

I’ve been carving and printing when I get a few minutes – often when I ‘should’ be going to bed. The old truck was done a few years ago (the actual truck is no longer trapped amongst saplings), and the Ginko leaf I’d drawn but not carved until I rediscovered it after the workshop. The red-inked one is of two peony flowers, taken from a Japanese textile design. I found the multi-image frame, and decided to put 5 themed prints in it, starting with the Ginko leaf. The Japanese stone lantern is from our visit to Portland, Oregon, and the teapot from tea related stamps I’ve done for cards and tags. I think I’ll use a conifer from the three I’ve made so far, and I did a Japanese style tea bowl to complete the set. I’m pretty happy with it – I just have to make a print on suitable paper and add it to the frame.

Being creative so often involves all kinds of practicalities and problem solving,but that’s all part of the fun, don’t you think?

Weekly Photography Challenge: Trio

Another week has gone, and a new challenge is here…“Trio” – so three of something, anything, use your imagination! So simple, and yet…hmmm.

Like Mike Hardisty, I’ve chosen a trio of trios – one from my garden, and two from the performance at our local Hall at the weekend: three of the cast presenting a song (a conventional meaning of trio), and a trio of Anne’s famous jelly cakes (alongside a sad little lamington finger) at suppertime. They were all gone soon after…(the cakes, not the cast).

Friday Poem: Relative Time.

That title sounds a bit like I’ve written something about Christmas, or some other family get-together occasion. But it’s not that at all…I had the help desk to myself on Thursday at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery, and although there were phone calls to answer, and visitors to greet, time was slooooow….20151119_150733

I’ve been here for hours…
And it’s only half past ten;
How can that be
When I came in at ten?

I’m sure its been hours
And not only half
Am I not having fun
While I’m sitting “in charge”.

On Relative Time
Mr Einstein was right.
It flies if your busy
But crawls if you’re not.2015-11-19 15.11.59

I’ve usually got some knitting or crochet to occupy my hands if there aren’t many tasks waiting for me. As a volunteer, I don’t have any regular chores, but just fill in and do whatever is needed at the time. Which is not much at all on some days, and non-stop on others. I used a ball of vintage Patons yarn to crochet a Soft Vessel – a handy little catch-all basket. I thought about using balls of yarn in a textile pattern, and photocopied the yarn to see what it looked like…and I drew a cup in my notebook. And kept the show on the road, as it were!2015-11-19 15.09.04

Weekly Photography Challenge/Creativity: Victory


This week’s photography challenge is all about the win – Victory – and a handful of scarlet cherries from my tiny cherry tree is definitely a win.victory jar

Likewise finding this old Agee “victory” preserving jar at the Salvos. I’m guessing it’s older than me, but in perfect condition. I don’t know who Roy may have been, but he must have had some sort of win to have his name engraved on a cup!

When Moyston Art Inc formed, our plan was to introduce some public art around our township. In March, just before the famous Sheep Dog Trials, Andy installed his Border Collie and three recalcitrant sheep (all sheep are recalcitrant…) on the fence of the sportsground. Ollie’s Emu was the first piece completed, and after months of applications and negotiations with Council and VicRoads, the Emu has finally, victoriously, landed on the roadside near the sports pavillion. My own piece, “Resurgence”, is well under way with the winning assistance of Moyston Primary School students (and Mr Cain). It should be “up” by Christmas, all being well, and if it draws attention to the empty shop, and someone buys it and gets it running again….well, that would be the biggest win of all!

Creativity: In The Garden

I’ve had a few days at home alone (hurrah!), which means I’ve been getting various jobs done, including some creative ones in the garden. Washing the floor doesn’t count,but it was about time….

I fixed up the wallaby proof fence using Alex’s old bed base (blue), which is a lot neater looking than the piece of wire that was there. It makes for a nicer back drop for Plum Tree Cafe, under the shady tree. I’ve re-purposed an old stepladder (unsafe as a ladder) as shelving and hanger for plants. The toadstool farmer lives on the bottom shelf, and he’s collected a fallen leaf in his wheel barrow. Must be to feed his toadstools…

A while ago, I built a box from pieces of old shelving  (themselves made from salvaged boards), and it makes for a handy place to keep all the little plants that are waiting to be put out into the garden. Last week, I bought a pair of hanging wire half-baskets, which had no liners. Where do I get half liners from? I’ve no idea.

I had a couple of old bamboo fibre singlets I was discarding, so I made my own. I simply cut off the bottom of the singlets – about 30cm/1ft – and sewed the raw edges straight across to make a basic bag, folded the edges over the top of the basket, lined the base with some plastic from a shopping bag (with a couple of holes for drainage), then filled the basket up with potting mix and popped in some seedlings. And hung it up in a spot the gets morning sun  and where I should remember to water. Clever me!

I made that wire wreath a few years ago, from rusty old fencing wire that was lying about in our paddock. I’ve added various bits of decoration from time to time for variety. Red beads catch the light and look Christmassy.

I wonder if there’s any more old wire down there…

Weekly Photography Challenge: Ornate

A challenge indeed for this week, since ornamented things are not my favourite to photograph. But the Weekly Photography challenge is to show something Ornate, so I have been thinking and thinking, and finally remembered the photos I took at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne when my daughter Lucie took part in an ornate graduation ceremony there.


The building is huge, completed in 1880, when minimalism was a concept no one had thought of yet, and too much decoration was never enough…The paintings of nearly -naked angels(?) gods(?) are a sight to behold! On the day I took the photos, hundreds of Melbourne Uni Grads and their families were seated downstairs for the ceremony, after which we all retired upstairs, where a feast of finger food had been laid on, and Lucie caught up with a young friend for a chat, and to admire the vast space below.

DSCF4904 (Large)

The words “Carpe Diem”painted high on the wall seemed particularly appropriate for the occasion!


Friday Poem: Ache

I’m mining the back catalogue for this week’s poem. I have not been to that place where the hums are lately, but I need to go there soon….20151103_105959

Wounds heal

But, God, the scars ache.

Broken hearts and broken bones

Will both be mended

But, God, they ache

Whenever the days are bleak

And cold.

Time heals

But, God, it aches,

The memory of pain,

Raw where the scars are

Brutal at the mend.

The poem is one of those in “Rainbow and Rope”, which I made nearly 20 years ago. I worked out how to put it together by looking at old cloth-bound books, and made three copies, each slightly different. I had an electronic typewriter (since deceased), which I typed up all the pages on, with a lot of messing around to get them in the right order once cut up and sewn together. Some of the poems have coloured illustrations, all individually drawn. To do something like that now, I would probably do it all digitally – perhaps scanning hand drawn illustrations, but not doing them individually.

I have produced a book of my Christmas poems (which I’ve added to our Christmas cards for years), but I did it online, and used photos for illustrations. Is that lazy? I do remember that working out how to make a book and then doing it was pretty exciting at the time: but then, so is designing a photo book of poems.

The photo at the top I took in Ararat, under a blooming bottlebrush, which was alive with Little Lorrikeets enjoying the nectar. I’m not sure if was them or their much larger cousins, the White Cockies, who snipped off the flowers.

Creativity: Carving It Up Some More

I was going to write a Creativity Post about taking one’s makings to markets, but  I went into my workroom instead of the study, and did a print of my dad’s old Commer truck, from a stamp I did a couple of years ago. I made it in two colours, by selectively inking the surface. I think I need to have another go…IMG_6522 (Large)

I’d pulled out several stamps, including a leaf than had a drawing of a ginko leaf on the reverse, which I hadn’t “got around to” carving. So I did it there and then, and made a print. I’m pretty happy with it!IMG_6521 (Large)

I’ll have to look out for a buttery gold ink to print it in, to match the ginko’s autumn colour.IMG_6524 (Large)

The large feather is another design I’m revisiting, but the little feather and peonies I’ve done this week, and used to do some tags to take to the Makers Markets. Every pic I’ve taken of the peony carving has turned out soft and unfocused! I more or less copied the flowers from a vintage kimono piece, which I’ve made into a small purse, and use as a cosy for my Tablet.IMG_4874 (Large)

Of course, they are reversed from the original, which isn’t very important for flowers, but vital for text!