Creativity: On the Mat

I’m a regular volunteer at Ararat Regional Art Gallery, and one of my tasks is to help out with children’s workshops. A Mini-Maker’s Art Club started recently as a monthly story-and-craft session for preschoolers. I thought story time needed a suitably magical carpet for the littlies to sit on, and so I began to crochet one. It has grown a little bigger with each session, and all being well, I aim to have finished it by the July one.

I was inspired by the work of Alexandra Kehayoglou , but I don’t have the carpet loom or skills to copy her work. I do have free-form crochet skills and a stash of yarn that needs busting, so that’s how my “Moss carpet” has been growing.

One of our mums commented that it needed a pool, so I did one in blues with silver sparkles. Last night I made an arigurumi pebble to fill up a little round hole, and I will be making some more – can’t imagine why I didn’t think of it earlier!

The idea is to have a soft and tactile place to sit during story time – we have a supply of cushions as well – and to include little lumps and bump and many different textures so that it is always interesting. Ararat Regional Art Gallery has an international reputation with our permanent collection of textiles, so my story time mat complements that, too.

At present we are hosting a wonderful exhibition from NGV of Central Asian textiles and jewellery – a must-see for lovers of embroidery and textiles generally.

The creativity of the children’s clothing in particular is incredible – so many hours and loving stitches, amulets and protective symbols put in by mothers to clothe and keep their precious children safe. Have at look at the Gallery’s Facebook page (and like it while you’re there!) for a taste of what’s on show.


Weekly Photography Challenge: Spare

My first thought from the prompt “Spare” was sparseness, but I couldn’t think of any subject that would convey that and be interesting. I don’t have a desert nearby…so I’m going with spare in the sense of extra, additional, excess even. A few years ago, a determined gang of needle-crafters yarn-bombed trees and railings outside the Ararat Regional Art Gallery,in time for the 45th anniversary of the institution.

Anyone who knits and/or crochets (and even people who just think about doing it!) end up with a stash of spare yarn. Some of it is leftover from finished projects and some is odd balls that we buy because…well, there’s bound to be some reason. A yarn-bombing project, fortunately for our cupboards, requires lots of yarn in no particular colour, ply or texture. Nor does it matter if it’s wool, nylon, cotton or whatever else. It just has to be yarn….

Here are six pics of the lead-up and yarnbombing at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery, plus two spare ones of a yarnbombing at King’s park in Perth, September 2013, ( I think.)

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

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.

Friday Poem: All Black

jan 2012 147 (Large)

On the evening before working (as a volunteer) at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery, I realised rather sadly that everything in that pile of clothes was black…I sometimes have trouble finding a particular garment, because everything in the drawer is black…I think I need to do something about this!DSCF4321 (Large)

Me all in black.
Strange, when I love
so much colour
That I wear so much

I don’t live in Melbourne.
I’m not a beat poet.
It’s not a uniform,
but it becomes uniform,
And I end up
all in black
on some of my days.

“Black clothing indicates a superior degree
of fashionable taste”,
So someone* said, a long time ago.
I think it might be lazy,
a short cut to get dressed.
This goes with that
as long as it’s black…

IMG_5722 (Large)

My favourite black t-shirt. I don’t wear it any more, but I want to “do something” with it.

After writing about my terrible predilection for wearing lots of black, I went and bought a top in my favourite pink’n’orange – now I just need for the weather to warm up enough to wear it!

july-aug 2011 154 (Large)

I wish I could have this cladding on my house – it’s one side of the Experience Music Project building in Seattle. I bought the pink’n’orange button in the first pic on Bainbridge Island on the same trip. I also packed a lot of black clothes, because they all go….tsk.

  • *Castiglione, “The Book of the Courtier” 1528

Creativity: Escape XV


Back with my altered book “Escape” this week…The left-hand page of this spread was roughly painted over with ‘dirty’ acrylic, giving uneven colour, and over top of that background I have doodled bright colours of  Peerless watercolours, trying out both the paints and a marvellously portable Aquash brush which has a reservoir of water in it’s handle. They are available online from the lovely Jane Davenport’s Institute of CuteEscape41

Both pages have  fragments of a photo from an Ararat Regional Art Gallery  show  – the artist had made a giant graffiti piece on the wall to complement his ceramics exhibition (hence the spray can). I put him in because I liked his work, but now I can’t remember his name…David something, I think –  should have included it somewhere! An old dictionary is good for cutting out definitions of words used on the page – or just for fun.Escape42

Another page on which I obscured the text with “Kirkwood” paint, leftover from painting our dining room (waste not, want not!) I left a few fragments of text, which gain fresh meaning for being redacted. The page is edged with scribbly layers of coloured pencil, framing the “notes to self”, written in fine Sharpie and my own evolving font.

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: 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

Friday Poem: Visitors

galleryOne of my jobs as volunteer at Ararat Regional Art Gallery, is to keep a count of our visitors. I would have had no hope of counting this group myself, but fortunately Kris, their teacher, wrote the number in the visitor’s book…paperblooms

In the gallery this morning
32 children
32 four and five year olds
Noisy, colourful and curious
a crowd, a flock, a swarm
Like a flock of lorrikeets
as noisy
as colourful
as curious
as that
Darting from work to work
Looking not touching:
Then they are gone.crobot

I don’t have any photos of the surprise visit from Jack and Jill Kinder, so I picked three that seem to fit. The one of the Gallery entrance, I took after completing a yarnbomb to celebrate the Gallery’s fortieth birthday. You can see me reflected in the glass of the door. That’s the door the Kinder kids came through (with 12 adults, I should add!). The paper flowers are on the office desk in the gallery. We were making them for Children’s Week – school children made hundreds for an installation in the Ararat Library. The arigurumi crobot (that’s ‘crocheted robot) is just a curious and colourful little character.

The children looked at (but didn’t touch!) an exhibition of quilts by local and regional artists ,”Integrate/Separate”,  “Organic Intimacy”, featuring works from “ten women artists working with a range of textile related processes”, and a small selection of works from the Gallery’s permanent collection. Hopefully some of those youngsters might have acquired a taste for art and art galleries, and come and visit us again!

1 Day 1 World Project: 11am – 12pm

Lisa’s 1 Day 1 World Project has reached it’s final hour – it doesn’t really seem like 24 weeks, but I guess it must be!

I worked at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery again today, and arrived to find that Mark was still busy installing the new exhibition – Organic Intimacy, curated by Sara Lindsay. I was given the task of finishing installing the work of Ruth Hadlow, which entailed attaching many pieces of paper to the wall with tiny pins, which are tapped in place with a small hammer. My 11am to 12pm hour was divided between a restorative cup of coffee with Mark, and working on the installation.

The final touch was to hang threads loosely across the face of the grid, which required a lot of walking across the room and contemplating the effect before I was satisfied. Way more fun than stuffing envelopes or filing!