Creativity: The Party Props in Action

My recent Creativity posts have been all about making props for my 60th birthday party – Punk’s Not Dead. Today I’m making a gallery of some photos from the party, featuring those pieces. It’s not every day (or year) that I have a sufficient excuse to hire a band and the local Hall, so I thought I may as well make an event – an art project – of it.

Guests were invited to dress up in Punk Rock Style, and most of them did, with a broad range of interpretations. To me, Punk (Rock) represents freedom of expression, a DIY aesthetic and a can-do approach, so I was little bit surprised at how many of my guests associate “punk” with obnoxiousness – there was a lot of face-pulling going on! There was even concern expressed about the possibility of violent behaviour, despite the fact that my friends are very mild mannered, middle  class types who would never dream of such a thing. Thinking about this afterwards, I realised they were reflecting the biases of the Murdoch Press reporting on the Sex Pistols et al way back when…sad!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Boundaries

The past few days (seems longer than that!) has been spent packing and unpacking boxes, and minding my grand daughter while her parents get on with packing, unpacking and organising the many aspects of moving house. The photography challenge theme for the week is “boundaries”, and I guess you could say that the boundaries have changed for Juniper and her parents, and the three cats.

The old”backyard” was a generous balcony, bounded by brick walls, with the only greenery supplied by pot plants.IMG_1326 (Large)

As of Monday, the new backyard has much bigger boundaries, and plenty of grass and shrubs and trees to explore.

Her Mum and Dad will have their work cut out keeping the periwinkle and ivy within bounds,but there’s scope for veggies and herbs and flowers, and plenty of room for both Juni and the garden to grow and run (a little) wild.

Creativity: Escape XVII

Escape 46

Creativity is often linked with suffering – the idea has a long tradition. Maybe it’s because the creative life brings joy and freedom, on a mental level at least, to the creator, so that someone who suffers has added incentive to create. On this page of my altered book, “Escape”, I pasted a sheet of note paper over the text, wrote myself a note on it, and stamped on a hand-carved image – which is blurred a little, probably from the moisture in the paste. “Explore” is another carved stamp, and a reminder of an important factor in creativity. “Try it and see” doesn’t always have the result I would have liked, but I can always learn something from it!Escape 47

In a “try it and see” state of mind, the next page was painted over with just watercolour, a portrait of a cup and saucer – very colourful, but with the original text clearly visible (and somewhat gloomy…) I’m not sure I like the result. I did cover a bit of the offending text with a home made sticker, featuring a photo of a cross-stitched teapot. The embroidery is the work of my daughter Zoe.Escape 48

I did have an open studio once, for the Moyston Art Show (now sadly defunct). It was kind of fun, but since my studio is pretty much my house, it took a lot of setting up. I’d like to do it again someday…I think.

I covered most of this page with a sheet of notepaper, torn up to fit, and to frame a scrap from an art magazine with the words “open studio”, then I repeated the words with shiny gold stickers. The image of the  collage  was printed onto sticker paper, which had lost it’s stickiness – so I improvised and stuck it down with the lacy black frame, bought in the craft section of a cheap shop.

The craft section of a cheap shop is always worth a look for the artful and crafty, because they randomly stock all kinds of useful and interesting bits and pieces…from time to time. Explore!

Friday Poem: Desire

a red shadowIt’s St Valentine’s day tomorrow – I’m not sure whether that makes this poem timely or quite the opposite…The ideas expressed in it are influenced in part by reading Polly Young-Eisendrath‘s book “Women and Desire: beyond wanting to be wanted”, alongside my wide reading of Buddhist ideas.a yab yum

To be desired
is not desirable to me;
I complete
no-one but myself.
Desire wants
to acquire some object.
To be
in relation to
is a better way
to be.

to be simply,
to simply be:
To be an object of desire
or to desire objects-
Neither of these
will do.
to be emptied of desire
To be Free.a rock tray

Creativity: Escape X

A couple more pages form my altered book, “Escape”, which is built around the theme of creativity and the glorious escape that brings…Escape 30

My favourite quote from Kurt Cobain, written in felt tip onto a background of yellow house paint. There’s a bit of the pink from the opposite page mixed in in places (and the reverse on the other page), because you can be as sloppy as you want, as long as it’s good…There’s a doodle of green ink in the margin, and a sticker from a pack intended for scrapbooking…I’ve no idea what that thing is, but I love the colour!

The fiercesome chaps – not sure if they are demons, or demon-destroyers – are cut from an art catalogue. Whatever they are, they definitely have passion! I have painted out the background, blending it into the page. This is a great treatment for photos where the background isn’t wanted in your image, whether they are personal photos or borrowed ones like this. The text on that page is from me – a play on a quote used in publicity for a movie called “Love Story” many, many years ago. It was “Love means never having to say your sorry”, which can be taken in the entirely wrong sense of never apologising, rather than having no regrets.

Freedom is accepting everything you like, making your choices without regret, accepting responsibility for yourself, letting go of all that you cannot control (which is a lot!).

Dominator Culture

A social chat at the gallery soon came around to politics. The arts community tends to be left-leaning, from my experience, and no one was impressed by the current government’s policies or budget plans. The director commented that he doesn’t want to hate them, and that he thinks they believe they are doing what is right. Which set me thinking…KDC

Dominator Culture operates from a paradigm of fear, giving rise to wars and rumours of wars, spikes in doorways to deter rough sleepers, economic “rationalism”. Fear of change, fear of the ‘other’, fear that the poor will take advantage of the wealthy, fear of women in power. So we have isis wanting to bring back a caliphate in the Middle East, and the Australian Liberal Party wanting to deny economic support to unemployed youth, for example. No one can believe that reducing a jobless young person to utter poverty is a sensible way to get them into paid work, unless they are mired in Dominator Culture and really need to get out a lot more…

I could go on about the obvious, and vast, flaws in this policy. Bizarrely, the Government is aware of the flaws. Whilst “saving tax payer’s money” by not providing welfare to unemployed youth for six months at a time,(welfare that is barely enough to get by at  best ), a large sum of tax payers money has been put aside in the Budget to cover the inevitable problems. Community Welfare agencies are stretched to the limit already and consumer confidence has sunk. Is that policy rational? I don’t think so.

We have been told that there is a debt crisis, and that everyone has to share in “heavy lifting” – a story created by wealthy men who lift no more than the pen that signs the story. Our “enormous debt” is less than the personal fortunes of a few individuals who have control of our country’s mineral wealth – helped along with subsidies and tax breaks funded by struggling working and middle class tax payers…Is that rational? Is that the Fair Go we Australians are so fond of?the key

Our “Leaders” – under-parented, unempathic, strongly sociopathic, product of a bullying culture, dishonest, wealthy and triumphantly and smugly on top of the heap. What if the democratic process included extensive independent psychological testing of would-be candidates, allowing only the fittest to stand?

That’s psychologically fit,not “able to ride a bike and can swim” fit.

There are only two feelings.
Love and fear.
There are only two languages.
Love and fear.
There are only two activities.
Love and fear.
There are only two motives,
two procedures, two frameworks,
two results.
Love and fear.
Love and fear.

Michael Leunig

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (sic) to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 18

I’m posting this week from Canberra , which is far away from where I live – higher and further North, and a little colder, perhaps. There are lots of creative people living here – hand-made and farmer’s markets every weekend. I brought Sukie’s Life’s Journey with me, so I can look at the pages as I go. On this page, there is a photo of the way I wore my hair for years and years. Under it is the newspaper clipping that inspired it – “futuristic mod with a punk attitude and stronger colour”, “chunkier or block colour or heavily streaked hair…” Yes please, I thought, and went straight  to my hairdresser….Now it’s natural grey, but still with the punk attitude…
as62as61There is also a quote written around the perimeter of the page –

“…the idea, however, is not to build up a system of philosophy, but to free us from our egoistic impulses and the idea of permanency, for those are the source of human miseries, are not intellectually tenable and are spiritually altogether unsound.”

D. T. Suzuki    Zen teacher

and a Nirvana lyric –

“”…the thing is, what we lack doesn’t matter anyway.”

Which is kind of the same thing.


The next page is pretty messy, with an odd selection of mementos loosely tied together with some coloured pencil and another two quotes.

“Once you realise that God knows everything – you’re free.”

Ram Dass

“The central psychic fact remains that our connection to meaning, passion, soulfulness, and the deep nature is something we have to keep watch over”

C. P. Estes   Every creative person should read her “Women Who Run With the Wolves” at least once.as65 as66

A corrugated card heart, tied to a fortune from a  cookie are slotted into a little pocket that once held a chai tea bag (my favourite kind). Packaging often has attractive art and text, and is worth keeping to embellish scrapbooks and collage – especially little pockets! There’s a charm key hanging loosely on a piece of string on this page as well. as64

The Journey in this case refers to a weekend in Horsham , almost nine years ago. I went All By Myself and stayed in a motel and attended a workshop about Women’s Stuff. Bliss. Especially the All By Myself part….It became an important catalyst on my Life’s Journey.



Weekly Photography Challenge: Split Second Story

I took the camera along for my Monday morning walk today, looking for a photogenic moment in time to capture. I had no idea what that might be, because on the average Monday morning (or any other morning, for that matter) not much is happening in our tiny hamlet…Mist rising from the dewy grass in the bright winter sunshine perhaps? Dewdrops on the fence? Then I spotted a dog taking himself for an illicit walk along the main road…IMG_0415

That’s the big story for this Monday! He stopped to look at me for a moment, and went about his business. I’m fairly sure his people didn’t know he was off around the town. I guess he was innocently back home before they were!

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 14


Here are some more pages of my scrappy art journal – this one on white cartridge paper – three pics from newspapers and magazines, and one of mine of water-washed sand on a beach – beautiful texture. A Pisces horoscope with a couple of pertinent words highlighted is attached with a red paper clip. All sorts of bits and pieces that you collect or salvage can find a purpose in this kind of project!as45

The facing page (a green envelope with paper pasted on top to cover the address) has a longish quote from Buzz Osborne of the Melvins. That’s him on guitar in the first pic. No prizes for guessing how he got his nickname…as46

On the back of the page/envelope are two more quotes with a similar intent to the first – I don’t know who the flamenco dancer is, unfortunately, but the other is a verbatim quote of Kurt Cobain in response to a journalist who wanted to know the meaning of the lyrics of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – “Whatever you want”, he said, “It’s your crossword puzzle.” as47

Another collection of horoscopes, each with a few words or a sentence underlined in hot pink pen – “Your rebellious outlook will continue…break out of your confines and look for greater personal freedom at work or play…there’s absolutely no benefit in trying to fit into a square paradigm…who wants to be stuck in a repeating pattern like music caught in a groove…Try out new tastes and flavours…Yours is the gift of imagination..To believe it is to achieve it”…etc. Whatever appeals to my prejudices and seems like good advice for anybody!as48

On the reverse, a scribbledy drawing of my teddy, Berkeley, and a quote which says much the same as all my underlined bits from before! There is absolutely nothing wrong with repeating an idea over and over in different ways. It’s the foundation of much art, music and poetry.

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 13 (OO!)

I messed up on posting this last week, by dint of not paying full attention, and as far as I can tell, no one saw it…So here it is again –

This time, more brown paper, more Tibetan script…it looks like an odd collection on this page, but there is some coherence!as40

The tiger-eye stone refers to courage and freedom, as does the Feminist poster, which is about equal pay for equal work (we’re still waiting on that one…), and Circe (the sculpture at the bottom) is a woman of power! There’s a quote highlighted from Australian jounalist George Negus, refering to his relationship with his “CEO” –

“I think it’s presumptuous of  a man to think that his life is so absolutely fascinating and his personality is so enthralling that a woman will never get tired of literally tying the loose ends of his life together.”

The tiger-eye pendant was given to me when I was maybe 13 – 45 years ago…as41

My poem to Shiva forms a flap over an image from Tamil Nadu (10th C), and the horoscope remarks on the coincidence of Fred Astaire’s birthday with India’s celebration of the marriage of Lord Shiva, along with a claim that Pisces dancing skills will peak on that day.as42

In the background is my timetable from a music festival – Offshore, the year it was held at the Melbourne Showgrounds instead of in a paddock near Geelong. Ben Harper was a highlight, as were Mark of Cain. Bryan sat in the stands, for reasons best known to himself, and complained about not being able to hear properly…the stages were fairly close together, and he got to hear both at once…Good times!as43

Another part-page, this one on card, printed with an image of some free machine embroidery I’d done, and a transfer pic of Kurt from the paper. These transfers are fun and quite easy to do. All you need is clear tape (packaging tape is good, because its fairly wide), and an image printed on paper (with waterproof ink – inkjet prints won’t do). Simply adhere the tape firmly onto the image – rub with the back of a spoon, or similar, to make sure its well attached. Have the tape overlapping the edges of the paper. Immerse the whole thing in warm water and leave it for 5 minutes or so, until the paper is soaked, then gently rub away the paper, leaving a translucent image on the tape. Stick it in your book – or where ever you want to use it. Because it’s part-transparent, you can get beautiful layered effects. Once you’ve tried it, it’s habit forming!