Weekly Photography Challenge: Heritage

My Dad was an inveterate collector, obsessed with the rich heritage of Regency England’s gunmakers. He was famous amongst the arcane circle of gun collectors for his encyclopedic knowledge of the guns, their makers and their wealthy, titled owners. As a boy he loved pirate stories, and tales of derring-do, which morphed and grew as the years went by. He always excused his expensive habit as “investment”, which has proved true. Most have them have been sold now, which is rather sad, but inevitable.

I didn’t inherit Dad’s  passion for “Old Guns”, but I definitely have the collector gene, if there is one…None of my collections are going to realise much fiscal value in years to come, but that’s not the point. I like tracking down and looking at this stuff!

Some things I collect become parts of mixed media art – such as the wind-chime I made from a bit of  a broken coffee plunger and a lot of detritus. Then there’s vintage orange plastic (sometimes I buy green, too, but mainly orange), coloured glass (seen alongside a Russian samovar, which was Dad’s, not sure why he bought it!), vintage textiles, which I actually use, eventually, and a shelf of books about Kurt Cobain/Nirvana. Oh, and fake plastic (and ceramic) cacti, because…why not?

Weekly Photography Challenge: Wish

Share a wish…I could have found more iterations of this wish for peace love and empathy, but three seems like enough for now. The yellow background piece is a page from an artist scrapbook I made some years ago – lots of bits of junk and scraps of paper went into it, and it was great fun to make. You can see it here.

The rocks I collected over a period of time – “freedom” and “rock’n’roll” are in there too, and I wish I had more of both.

The last image was done digitally, using an art programme the kids had. It was fun, but frustrating trying to draw with the mouse. Much more sophisticated versions are available now, and that programme is well and truly out of date now, but I’m glad I thought to print this one off to keep.

I’ve found a rock with “Love” carved into it since taking the first photo, so that’s at least one wish fulfilled. I also wish someone would come and do my dusting…IMG_1227edit

Weekly Photography Challenge: The Road Taken

Every day, we take one road or another, and where we end up depends on the road taken. Most days it’s the same old road, and sometimes it’s an adventure. This adventure began last September, when I booked tickets to see Pixies play in Melbourne. The concert was the day before my birthday, which made it “meant to be”!

We live in country Victoria, so it was a longish trip by coach and train to the city, before a leisurely stroll along Southbank (via the food court for a burrito), then along the banks of the Yarra, and across a bridge to find the Margaret Court Arena among all the other sports venues. We sat outside for a while, watching other patrons arriving, because people-watching is half the fun.

Once inside, local band the Merlocs got things started, and I couldn’t resist the image of red light and moving shadows. If the floor had been full, as it was an hour later, it wouldn’t have looked like that! The Pixies were, of course, awesome, and ended the night with Into the White in a cloud of white smoke. After that, it was a brisk walk back to the city alongside dozens of other people, under the light of the moon.

Weekly Photography Challenge:Path +Poem

The week between Christmas and New Year is always rather strange – days seem to stretch and contract in the wake of the rush leading up to the holiday for some reason. We’ve also had some days of tropical heat and humidity, which are difficult to deal with in a normally Mediterranean climate…So it’s Friday already, and my path has at last reached WordPress for the Weekly Photography Challenge.july-aug-2011-584-large

This path is in the Japanese Garden in Portland Oregon, which we visited in 2011, and hope to see again some day. That’s a physical path. This poem travels a path too, and I took another path through my photos, looking for some to illuminate the poem.

I walked out the gate
And saw a rainbow
(Symbol of peace and hope)
My heart
(Symbol of love and passion)
Leapt up
sending the blood
(Symbol of empathy and life)
Coursing through my veins.

I couldn’t find an image of an actual rainbow, but I love prisms in the windows and the rainbows they cast around the room on sunny days. Tran(s)cendence (oops) is an image taken when I had a film camera and had to wait to have my pictures developed to find out how they turned out. It became part of a series of “Sukie’s Original Covers” – handmade CD covers using my work that I thought looked like “Cover Art”, inspired in no small way by Pixies “Dolittle”with Simon Larbalestier’s amazing photography in the inlay booklet.

Sukie’s Original became the name I use for all my artwork, and the Trancendence image is now printed on beautiful scarves by Vida. That’s a path I never expected to travel, but I’m happy that I did.scarf

Weekly Photography Challenge: Relax

At this time of year, with the clarion call of “buy! buy! BUY!” ringing across the land, “relax” is truly a challenge! Cats don’t have any urge to do Christmas shopping, so maybe that’s why Morgen can manage to sleep most of the day (and night). Me remaking the bed was only a temporary interruption…

I like my old eiderdowns (I’m not sure why they got the name – there’s no down in them) with their sweet rosey prints. They’ve usually got some wear and tear (literal) that has to be underneath out of sight.One of my cushions was made (upcycled) from a Nirvana Muddy Banks tee-shirt (wear and tear again!). The back of it features photos of the actual banks of the Wishkah River, from our visit there 5 years ago (they really are muddy…). Sewing is a way I like to relax, but I like to get the tidying up done first, unfortunately.

Friday Poem:To The Poet II

More than forty years ago, my husband joined a Record Club (LPs!). The deal was to buy six quite cheaply, and promise faithfully to buy more at the normal price. He ordered the five he liked, and Songs of Leonard Cohen to make up the six. I don’t know what the others were now, but I knew a poet when I heard one and bought all his albums over the years. I used to stack them in chronological order (can’t do that any more) and listen to Uncle Leonard while I painted. And now he’s gone, it seems, on that inevitable journey…still

Leonard where are you?
Where in the widening world –
Across what sea, what ocean,
On what continent?
In what house, what room, what space?
Beside what window;
Looking at what view –
What street, what hill, what trees,
What flowers?
Where is your mind, your art,
Your style?
Leonard where are you now?dscf4440-large

I wrote the poem in 1981, it seems so long ago (Nancy…)

Friday Poem:Spread My Wings

a-poppy

It is 21 years this week since I sat down on an ugly-but-practical brown couch and watched a Rage TV special – Nirvana Unplugged in New York. I’d heard of the band, I knew how the singer died, and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I know it’s cheesy, but it’s also true – that record changed my life.

I wrote this poem during the following year, expressing frustration with the constraints of my ordinary life. Nirvana fans might notice the influence of “Sappy”, but there’s a dash of Hank Williams in there, too.

cologne-s

This jar is far too small.
There is no room for my wings;
There is no room to fly;
I want to spread my wings.

I’m not a moonbeam in your jar;
I’m not a pretty toy;
I need to move, I need to breathe;
I want to spread my wings.

These air holes are too small.
You must not smother me;
I want to take the air,
I want to spread my wings.

Let me loose, what’s the use
Of keeping me in here.
I might not fly away,
But I want to spread my wingsa-collage-2

One of the things I did as I escaped from the jar of proper lady-like behaviour, was to stick anything that appealed to me on my wall. Nowadays, that’s an “Inspiration Board”, but twenty years ago, it was weirdly adolescent for a forty-year old woman with 5 kids…At some point, the collection came down, and was upcycled into a series of collages, of which this is one. There’s an apt quote on there-

“Our lives improve only when we take chances – and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves”

Walter Anderson.

I also got rid of the brown couch, and as much other ugly-but -practical-with-kids brownness out of my house, and started surrounding myself with things that I actually liked.

After ordering and waiting patiently for “Nirvana Unplugged in New York (on cassette), I expanded my music collection, my library and my stash of art supplies. I now have the Melvins “Gluey Porch Treatments”, and  I’m reading  Bessel Van der Kolk’s ” The Body keeps The Score”, about the ongoing effects of trauma. When Micheal Azzerad asked Kurt, “Is your’s a sad story?” , he hesitated, and said “…No…”, going on to say that the events of his childhood were commonplace, which, unfortunately, they are. But it is a sad story, they are all sad stories, which Dr Van Der Kolk and his colleagues are learning to address with proper treatment – too late for Kurt, but there’s hope for another generation to have more than numbness – they will be able to spread their wings.