Weekly Photography Challenge: Quest

Every week, the Photography Challenge sends me on a quest to find images that fit in with the week’s challenge – this week, that challenge is – Quest!. I’m staying at my daughter’s place in Canberra, cat and dog minding while they visit family back in Perth. If grand daughter Juniper was here, I’m sure I’d get some brand new pics of a quest to a playground, (with which Canberra is well supplied) but instead I’m sharing these from a few weeks ago. Juniper adores trains, she has a growing collection of engines from the Thomas stories, and she’s had rides on several miniature railways.

But this was her first real V-Line train ride, and it was exciting! I took this set of photos before we’d even left Ararat station on out quest to Melbourne. We had a ride on a suburban train later, but by then, the novelty had worn off, and she was much less impressed…img_8263edit

This photo is from April – she has even more trains now, and she knows and loves every one of them, but she’s always happy to go on an engine quest to a toy shop for more!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Framed

How an image is “framed” when taking a photo can make all the difference between ‘meh’ and a great shot. This week’s challenge asks us to put a frame inside the frame, as it were. There’s plenty of theory to be learnt to help with framing, but some lucky people just seem to have a good “eye”, and frame their shots well without even thinking about it.railway inspector

The miniature railway at Elmore is framed by the station on one side, and the fence on the other. We all climbed inside the frame of the carriage to ride around the tracks with Juniper – she loves trains. Can you tell?

On the previous day Bryan I visited the aptly named Reedy Swamp near Shepparton. I looked for a frame of trees, and found this one. The old Blitz crane is at my parents house – it was a part of my childhood. Now it’s rusty old radiator makes a frame around a Bridal Veil Creeper, and at Buda, an historic house in Castlemaine, I took a fancy to this window, which resulted in framing myself.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Cherry on Top

A cherry on top isn’t necessary, but it makes a good thing even better. As a theme for the weekly photography challenge, I find it, well, challenging. Most of the week has flown past, and I’m still thinking about it! I’ve decide to share images of our grand daughters with Bryan – and of cake. There are no cherries on these cakes, but one lot has tiny Oreo biscuits, and the other has Tim Tams, so that’s probably even better, really!

Juniper is a couple of years older than Matilda, but they are both around 6 months in this pair of photos. I think you can tell that they are cousins, and that Grandpa thinks they are pretty okay.

Fruit trees are shady, they have lovely blossom in spring, and, best of all they make fruit! These peaches and nectarines all grew on seedling trees that “just growed” from compost – better still!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Details

I love macro, I miss my old film camera and its set of macro lenses, but I still get as close as possible to things to capture details that might otherwise go unnoticed. The Weekly Photography Challenge this time is to share such images, and I have LOTS. But I’m restraining myself.

I work with textiles a lot  – I crocheted the pink and green Soft Vessel and I seem to have a collection of ethnic textiles without even trying – the embroidery is on an Indian child’s garment. It needs some repairs, but is too lovely to throw away.

I took a photo of Matilda’s Daddy’s hand in mine about thirty five years ago, which I need to track down (and scan, since it’s on a slide/transparency) so I can put the two together.

The “love frame” pic is a detail of a random, chance pairing of things on my messy/creative work table. The cake stand is a mini one. I love coloured coloured glass, pink’n’orange is my favourite colour, and I’m quite keen on cake, so it definitely had to come to my house. It’s especially lovely with early winter sunshine to light it up. The ripples in the old shelf echo the fluted glass of the stand.

Creativity: Layers

I’ve been working on this piece for a while – a Story Time Mat (must think of a catchier name!) – for Ararat Regional Art Gallery’s monthly Mini Makers Art Club. It is now almost done, and was in use this morning. The crochet layer is stitched in a fairly ad hoc way onto an old woolen blanket, a relic of the days when every Australian town of any size had a Woolen Mill.IMG_20160706_101507

You can see that there are “dimensional objects” scattered over the surface, and many different textures of yarn to make it as tactile a piece of textile as possible. There are leaves, pebbles and a few flowers – all crocheted and layered onto the background, which is meant to suggest a mossy forest floor, but also looks a bit like an aerial view of a golf course.

Most of the yarn used was either sourced from op shops/thrift stores or donated to me. I have used two yarns together over most of it, for a thick soft surface that is lovely to sit or walk on. We had an unprecedented crowd of around 25 children this morning, so they didn’t all fit onto the mat. They all had a wonderful time listening to the story and making fanciful (and inedible) icecream cones, though!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Opposites

Curiously, when I went looking for images for this weeks Photography Challenge, the word in my head was “contrast”,  not “opposites”.  Almost the same, but not quite!

Is “spiky” the opposite of “pretty”? I’ll claim it is with these cacti – and the real ones are opposite of the crochet ones I made for my cactus-loving son, Simon. He grew the real ones when he was a school boy, planted a cactus patch, then left home for uni, leaving his cacti behind…He does come and clean it up when he can, but he lives at the opposite end of Australia from us, so not very often!

Here’s another “opposite” with crochet – a living tree’s smooth bark in contrast (I did it again!) with the textured yarn. The last pic is of regrowth on a eucalypt after fire went through months earlier – young growth being opposite of the dead burned roadside. We are getting lots of rain this winter (unlike last year), so that roadside is now lushly covered in green growing grasses.

Friday Poem:Road Song

It’s winter “downunder”, and our capital, Canberra, is a long way from the moderating influence of the sea – which means plenty of frosty mornings, hopefully followed by bright clear sunshine. On such days the afternoons seem quite warm, even though the thermometer says otherwise…sunshine

We are leaving
On a frosty
winter
Canberra morning;
7.30 and minus 2 –
So beautiful
and so cold.

Later
On the homeward bus
Dozing in a sunbeam
Beautifully warm.sun and shadow

These two photos were taken on the day before we left – it was only about 10C, but it seemed much, much warmer in the sun!

When we left, the grass was crisply white, and wisps of fog around the hills were lit up with golden light from the rising sun. We moved twice on the bus, trying to escape the aching brilliance of morning light on our faces, but the warmth was very welcome.frost

The view from my daughter’s dining room window – it’s usually green over beyond the fence…

Weekly Photography Challenge: Partners

Luckily the “partners” Weekly Photography Challenge came up while I was visiting Canberra with Alex – staying at his sister’s and playing with his niece. They formed a productive partnership with Legos and trains.

Alex was born when Zoe was four (and a quarter), and as far as she was concerned, he was her baby, and I was just the surrogate and nanny. Now they are both adults, and Zoe has a child of her own, making Alex a proud Uncle. Juniper is not yet three, so I was very impressed with her imagination and dexterity using the Lego blocks. Unfortunately she was equally good at demolishing her partners creations! The house with eyes is a collaboration, though – Alex made the house, she added all the eyes.

 

We live a whole days travel away from them, so visits are infrequent, but as lengthy as we can wangle. On the last of our six days, a heavy-eyed Juniper snuggled on the couch with Uncle Alex watching Thomas videos, and was soon sound asleep…13555601_10153566533747466_24239339_o

 

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I snapped Zoe taking photos of the pair on the couch, just before she scooped her up, and took her to bed. She was still sound asleep when we left next morning at sunrise…

 

Creativity: A Top Top…

 

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A couple of months ago, I uploaded some of my photography to Vida, from where anyone can order custom garments with these images printed on them. The photo above of a small blue plastic top (possibly from a Christmas cracker) spinning in a patch of rainbow light is one of them.You can see more here.

It was hard to choose, but I had to order at least one to wear myself, if only to find out what they actually look like!

This morning, the parcel finally arrived…

Beautifully wrapped in brown tissue paper, and tied up with ribbon – my Top of the Rainbow top, all the way from Karachi, via California.It really is a global garment! The makers are provided with literacy programs, which enables a better life for them and their children, which for me is a considerable “added value” for designs on Vida.

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.