Weekly Photography Challenge: Rare

If something is Rare – it follows that it will be a challenge to get a photo of it…What is not so rare is for me to dither for several days, trying to come up with images for the Weekly Photography Challenge.IMG_9547 (Large)

To capture this particular image, the sun had to be in just the right spot, glowing through my 70’s orange glassware, and I had to notice, and pick up the camera. Quite rare…

I’ve been crocheting Soft Vessels for a while now, choosing interesting thrifted yarns to work together to create unique little bowls or baskets. The one being modeled by Olympia is made from a linen yarn alongside  fine crochet cotton and white baby wool (3 ply, I think). Spotted Owls are rare, their habitat threatened by forest clearing, and I’d really like to see one! Olympia is spotty, and named after the capital of Washington State,but she’s not a Spotted Owl…They are brown and look more like our Boobook Owl.

There was baby wool and crochet cotton left over from the Vessel which the owl is wearing for a hat, so I made a quite tiny one with those two yarns. It is the only one of it’s kind, and will remain so, because I’ve run out of the baby wool. I really like the effect of the two yarns together, though,so I think I’ll be doing some similar pieces in future.

Olympia is also wearing a very old woolen baby singlet/vest, which is seriously out of shape for baby wear, but just right for her.

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: 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: (Almost) Instant Lightshade

A quick post today, I hope…After painting one wall of my sewing room, and re-organising things in there as a consequence, I felt it was time to update the light fitting. The frame originally had a handpainted silk shade, which I did about 30 years ago to match curtains in the lounge, where it hung for years. It then spent some time ‘in the shed’, the silk perishing with age, until I steeled myself and tore it off. I dressed the now-naked shade with a piece of mutton cloth, which I’d dyed in shades of orange. I just stretched it onto the frame, and stitched it at regular intervals. Nice enough, but it had been there for too long now, and I snipped the stitches and took it off.old shade

I’d got bored with it earlier, and tied a bit of gauze around it…I’m like that! For my new one, I found a crochet table runner long enough to go around the shade, fastening it with little gold safety pins along the ‘seam’. I then threaded some narrow ribbon through the ‘top’, pulling it up to fit the rounded top of my shade. A drum shade would be even easier! I now think a lining of a thin white or cream fabric would have made for a softer effect when the light is on, but that’s for another day.almost-instant lightshade

My new shade is both hipster-ish and nana-ish, but maybe they are the same thing.

And there’s nothing wrong with that!

If something isn’t working for you anymore, take a look around the house (or an op shop/thrift store). Maybe you can fix it your way…

Just do it, as the Greek goddess of victory said….

Weekly Photography Challenge: Object

lace3 This weeks challenge is to photograph an “object”, any object, so that it is the hero of the shot – whether or not it appears front and centre. I probably have dozens of photos in my files that would fit this brief, but I happened to have a lovely object to hand, which I had just carefully washed to remove the nasty stains it had suffered during long years of storage. When I came across it, I thought it was a tablecloth that was not only stained, but in need of mending. However, once I got it home and unfolded it, I realised it is actually a bedspread, and in need of more mending than I thought… After repairs, and laundering, I hung it on the line in strong hot sunshine – and then fetched the camera. It was almost dry before I was done – not because I took so long, but because the temperature was around 40C  – well over the century in Fahrenheit.

I’ve included two shots I took earlier, as I was doing the mending – in one, the object is clearly the star, in the other, a mere shadow…

I don’t know how many hours the maker spent on this piece, or who she may have been, but I am happy to have rescued her work and repaired it, so that it can shine again.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Pattern II

cafe chairs 2These are the photos I meant to post for ‘pattern“. Only I’d left the camera at the gallery…cafe chairs 1

There’s the embossed pattern on the seats of these chairs, plus the random repetition of the curves.Autumn in the city

Here’s a fractal pattern of leaves. I shot it without the benefit  of a tripod. Can you tell?
I actually like the softness of it, like an autumn haze.

crochet tree

Several days this week have been devoted to installing a ‘yarnbomb’ outside the Ararat regional Art Gallery.
That’s how I came to leave my camera behind…yarnbombed tree

The Gallery is celebrating it’s 45th anniversary this year, and as it is best known for it’s fibre and textile art focus, it seems the perfect time to embellish the surroundings with many colours and patterns in yarn.flower pole

All those flowers follow one basic pattern, yet they are all different. Just like us!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Pattern

There are patterns all around us.
There’s knitting sewing crochet butterfly wings, the fractal patterns of leaves and mountains; grids, grates, sidewalks, windows.
The world is full of patterns and we love them.
We’re always on the lookout for patterns, and we build them into stories and into scientific theories.
Flocks of flying birds make patterns, from skeins of geese to ullalating clouds of corellas.
There was a flock of New Holland honey-eaters in the garden.
If there was a pattern it was hard to see.
They stay within calling distance of each other, but apart from that, seem to move around independently.
And continually.
Like a mob of school kids in a park or candy store.
See, I just found a pattern!

Weekly Phoneography Challenge: Future Tense

Vague reflectionThe future is unknown, and unknowable in it’s details, as mysterious as I hope this picture is!

But we can make educated guesses.Yarn stash

This bag full of yarn, which I rescued from the op shop/thrift store where I work, will in the future be transformed by clever people with knitting needles and crochet hooks, after which it will become a Yarnbomb – to celebrate my other place of voluntary work, the Ararat Regional Art Gallery.

Flower bomb

Which is where I was today, crocheting flowers (amongst other things) for that future yarnbomb.Follow your dreams...

The best way, I think, to approach the unknown future, is to follow your dreams. It might not (probably wont!) go according to plan, but you can have fun trying. And maybe, despite everything, you may succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

The great American philosopher, Garrison Keillor, had this to say on the pursuit of dreams, however…

“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.”

Baby Giraffe

In the future (not terribly far into the future) I will be adding ‘granny’ to my list of attributes. It’s not something I thought I wanted, but I’m guessing I would have if only I’d known!