Friday Poem:Prayer

IMG015I had another poem in mind, but I found this one first…It seems appropriate as the Australian Government is being forced to close Manus Island refugee detention camp – not that they plan to exercise any mercy if they can help it. I’m not sure if that is forgivable…it’s certainly not excusable.IMG_6295 (Large)

Give me compassion
Big enough to forgive
Those who have none.

Heart of Compassion,
Give me the power of love.
Burn out my ego –
It’s better to burn out
Than fade away-
But either will do
For my ego.

Burn out my obscurations!
Fade away my false self!
Empty me of everything
But Peace and Love and Empathy.IMG_6297 (Large)

If only governments could be emptied of ego, obscurations and falseness, and filled instead with compassion. I can dream…

The first photo is a drive-by shot with my old phone during a hailstorm – very obscure! then we have a crystal from a broken chandelier, and last, the rainbow light that the sunshine summons from a faceted crystal, always so pure and beautiful, I can’t help but fetch a camera if I have the chance.

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.

 

Creativity: Playing with Paint(.NET)

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As you may know by now, I am celebrating turning (gasp) 60 by having a punk-themed party. I am also a Nirvana fan, and a feminist…I decided a detail of a collage would add something to the party decor, but the slightly blurry photo wasn’t all that exciting. So I decided to jazz it up a bit, using paint.NET.

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After fiddling with brightness, contrast and saturation, I played around with curves until I had a look I liked (making the discoloured old newspaper clippings pink and orange). But that still seemed a bit dull, and I felt the dark spaces needed…something.

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Writing using the mouse is a challenge – so I did that. I was surprised how neatly I managed to write the name of my “event”. I filled some more empty space with my “peace love empathy” bleeding rainbow heart symbol, and wrote in the words. Filling in the colours of the rainbow took a lot of effort, and frequent use of “control Z” to fix mistakes…because the original background is unevenly coloured, it was not a simple matter of filling the space between the lines, and the lighter section (the newspaper clipping) read as the same as the heart outline – resulting in the whole thing being coloured in….several times before I gave up and left that corner “as is”. Finally, in case anyone missed it, I underlined the more pertinent parts of the quote about women. I made the collage from bits and pieces that had been stuck on a wall in my studio a long time ago – 18 or 19 years – so unfortunately I have no idea who it was that said/wrote either of the quotes.

Creativity: Party Prop

I’m having a major birthday in a couple of months, which is a major excuse to organise a party (otherwise someone might spring a surprise party on me…) So, my party, my rules. Having discovered that there is a local band called “Kerplunk”performing “90’s alternative and punk” covers, they were booked and “Punk’s Not Dead” became my theme. Looking for ideas on Pinterest, I noticed that painted photo backgrounds are a thing, and decided that would be a fun thing to do.

I bought a huge photo print on canvas for $25 (half price). It didn’t fit in our small car until some (ahem) adjustments were made, requiring some repairs later…I had a few practice goes on it with spray paint, but I knew I wanted multiple layers, and the look of a much graffitied  wall. IMG_6917 (Large)

I had the good fortune to come across this book – inspiration sorted! IMG_6990 (Large)

A lot of band stickers featured on CBGB walls, and I don’t have many around, so I’ve improvised with what I’ve got. I found they don’t stick very well on the canvas substrate, whether because of the finish or movement, I don’t know. I resorted to gluing them.IMG_6993 (Large)

I’ve painted over some of the old writing (emptying the brush from painting walls), and done a bit more spray painting, including using a stencil (from Typo).IMG_6991 (Large)

Today I hunted out some permanent markers from my supply stash, and added a few more pieces, including my “peace love empathy’ heart design, which I’ve been doing for around twenty years. I’m missing yellow and violet from the rainbow, so I’ll have to remedy that!

“Anarchy Rules” had to be in there (funny!) and “Party” in bubble writing is on message for the occasion. What it really needs is a variety of “hands” – different people writing in their own style. Also more variety in the markers used.  I’m going to be working on that – visitors be warned!

Friday Poem: Running Wild/Climbing

I had nothing in mind for this week’s poem post – it’s been busy around here, what with the Festival King and his various duties – but the Daily Post prompt caught my eye with the mention of American poet, Mary Oliver. I only discovered her work recently, when three separate references to her seemed like the Universe making a suggestion.evening light

So, I read the prompt, and thought…what poem have I written that would answer, opened a notebook, and there it was, a poem about finding my place in the world. Serendipitous synchronicity!

I’ve waited so long to make this journey:
Holding back, stayed by the family circle,
Not ready to leave the safe familiar;
But now I am impelled to climb and climb.

It’s a long way up, and steep and slippery,
But I will make it if I just keep on.
The path is marked with pointers showing me the way,
That give me comfort and confirm my choice.
If I grow weary and stumble and lose my way,
My guide just waits to lead me on again.

My reason says it’s crazy to go climbing,
But my heart knows it is true and it must be.
My spirit grows and opens up within me,
And when I reach the top, I will be free.poster wall 2

One of the pointers on my path away from being the Good Girl was reading Women Who Run With The Wolves, amongst other dangerously freeing and eye-opening books. So off I went spiritually, on a big adventure, in search of my own kind, which led at last to writing a blog…

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I’m turning 60(!) in a few months, and the “Punk’s not dead” poster is for my party.

Friday Poem: Brotherhood

The politics of this country is a sore point with me, more so than usual, as it is, I’m sure, for every disgruntled idealist, so I’m sharing a sort-of political poem this week. (I just typed “plotical” for “political’, which may well be a Freudian slip…) Please note that I use the term”anarchists” in the ancient sense that humans are able to behave decently (with peace, love and empathy) without needing rules imposed on them to do so. The more modern bomb-lobbing type misused the word to put themselves outside of the law and also the common decency originally implied…rainbow heart (Large)

Transcendental misfit poets
Wild softhearted anarchists
Strike a blow and strike a chord
With a paradox absurd.
what’s the point and what’s the matter?
Smug complacency must shatter.DSCF4507 (Large)

I suspect that creativity and art are the way to go in countering dominator culture. “Fighting” it is just joining in, so that doesn’t work.

“Ah, the dreamers  ride against the men of action, Oh see the men of action falling back…”

Leonard Cohen

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The images I’ve used are from mixed-media artists books I’ve made.

Creativity: Making a Book III

I’m still in Canberra for a few more days – where did the weeks go? I’ve been spending time with my little grand daughter, so less time on being “creative”…except that Juniper time includes drawing and play dough and reading books. However, I have added more to my journal, so here are some more of the pages in a gallery.

I’ve included two versions of a couple of pages, so you can see that I have added more colour and content over time. I bought a lovely feather stamp (and purple ink for it) last week, so a few more feathers have joined the many leaves. I’d forgotten how very satisfying it can be to pop a veiny leaf under a sheet of thinnish paper, and rub over it with a coloured pencil – or even a good old grey-lead. On some pages, I kept moving and re-doing the same leaf to make patterns – they could be nice printed on fabric. I’ve also written up little stories of things I’ve seen on my walks.

Here is a rubbing done with a 4B pencil, and then coloured with watercolour paint. Because it’s Kraft paper, the wet paint wasn’t absorbed, but ‘sat’ on the surface until it dried, pooling a little, to pleasing effect, I think. For the other leaf, I traced around a poplar leaf with a micro pen, and drew in the veins. I then used the white paint, tinted a little with blue-grey over the top of the pen, for a fair approximation of the fuzzy white autumn leaf.

Creativity: Escape XXI

Escape ISome more pages this week from my altered book “Escape”.

The page on the left has a photo of sunset over the waters of Juan de Fuca Strait, taken in Port Angeles in 2011 – The Trip Of A Lifetime, which I aim to repeat…(The trip, not the lifetime). For a change, the old text is obscured with circular scribbles, apart from the words “live forever”, and sunset-y colours are washed over top. A prose poem is then written over a torn piece of yellow sticker. Variety is the spice of life, and also of altered and scrap books.

The right hand page has a sheet of hand made paper pasted over the text, and then that is painted over in pink with a dash of yellow. In keeping with the Pacific North West theme, I drew and painted pine trees at the top and bottom – the green of the trees matches the paper scrap with a quote of Jack Black on Kurt Cobain (more PNW…). A creativity Quote completes the page, along with a foxy face and a sweet little sticker.

Escape II

 

I’m getting towards the end of “Escape”, so soon I’ll have to find a new subject for these posts…Stay tuned.