Weekly Photography Challenge:Variations

This week we are challenged to show variations on a theme , patterns, repetitions… I have a collection of old cutlery, and I do  get it out to use sometimes. I love the patina of the well used silver (well, EPNS…), and I prefer the old bone-handled knives with their Sheffield steel blades to modern ones.

I have been picking up washers where ever I see them for years. Although they are basically the same, they’re all different. Smaller ones get incorporated in junk jewellery, large ones in mixed-media art work.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Textures

When I saw that this week’s challenge is textures, my first thoughts were of roughness and bumpiness although lack of bumps is also a texture.

One of the attractions of taking pics of my daughter’s three cats on the bed is the contrasting textures of their fur and the bedding.

I made an Elizabethan style smocked and embroidered baby gown for my middle son 36 years ago. Last week I had my 7 week old grandson, Banjo, model it for me – the stitches on the fabric have lovely texture – so do his squooshy cheeks!

The white Japonica is beautiful, but last summer it was overrun by Cleavers/Goosegrass, which is now silvery grey and a nice contrast with the blossom. It’s also covered in seeds, unfortunately…


Grampians Textures is also the name of the annual textile workshop-fest that takes place in Halls Gap in March. I don’t get to do a course every year, but I did do four days of mixed media with Kieth Lo Bue this year – lots of textures in these pieces I made.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Heritage

My Dad was an inveterate collector, obsessed with the rich heritage of Regency England’s gunmakers. He was famous amongst the arcane circle of gun collectors for his encyclopedic knowledge of the guns, their makers and their wealthy, titled owners. As a boy he loved pirate stories, and tales of derring-do, which morphed and grew as the years went by. He always excused his expensive habit as “investment”, which has proved true. Most have them have been sold now, which is rather sad, but inevitable.

I didn’t inherit Dad’s  passion for “Old Guns”, but I definitely have the collector gene, if there is one…None of my collections are going to realise much fiscal value in years to come, but that’s not the point. I like tracking down and looking at this stuff!

Some things I collect become parts of mixed media art – such as the wind-chime I made from a bit of  a broken coffee plunger and a lot of detritus. Then there’s vintage orange plastic (sometimes I buy green, too, but mainly orange), coloured glass (seen alongside a Russian samovar, which was Dad’s, not sure why he bought it!), vintage textiles, which I actually use, eventually, and a shelf of books about Kurt Cobain/Nirvana. Oh, and fake plastic (and ceramic) cacti, because…why not?

Friday Poem: I Remember That Year

I would have called this poem Sweater Song, but that title is taken by Weezer. The story was inspired by a photo of someone wearing a beloved old sweater, but it really could have happened like this.tiny sweater

I remember you
In that thrift store sweater;
You were happy to buy it,
It was really your colour.
I remember you wore it
All through that winter.

Sometime in summer
It was stored and forgotten.
When the cold came again
You’d replaced it with another.

I found it today
At the back of a cupboard.
I remember you in that sweater;
I remember that year,
We were always together.DSCF4821 (Large)

Just think, if everyone gets carried away with clearing clutter, they will never have the experience of the exquisitely painful flood of nostalgia and memories that comes with finding a long lost (and forgotten) object in the back of a cupboard, or the bottom of a box. And without the odds and ends that we keep in drawers for no particular reason, how could anyone make mixed-media found object art? Here’s a piece I made a few years ago, mostly from such things!dec2010 221 (Large)

Friday Poem: For Sandra

It’s not Friday anymore…my Friday this week was super-busy and my internet was too sloooow for a quick post, but I wanted to share this old poem. A few days ago, because of a series of coincidences, I spent maybe twenty minutes catching up with a man I hadn’t seen for almost forty years – back when he, his wife Sandra and my husband Bryan were very young teachers in Terang, Victoria. I wrote this when Sandra and Iain’s first child, a daughter, was born. I didn’t think to ask him if he’s a Grandpa!fonz

I thought of you.
I thought of you in your bed of pain,
Brought to bed of a child;
Brought to bed of a daughter.
A daughter to suffer as we have suffered:
In travail to bring forth,
To bring forth a child again.


DSCF6756 (Small)I don’t have any photos of Sandra from back then (or later), so here is my daughter and her daughter, a few days after juniper was born last year. The Fonz does date back to the 70’s in Terang, though (actually, that’s Simon, aged about 15 months). We were young folks, and we made our own social lives in a small country town. One of our themed parties was a “Fifties” night, party inspired by a current TV show called “Happy Days”- maybe you’ve heard of it!

While I was working on/prevaricating over this post, I came across this series of mixed media pieces I made a few years ago, called “Pattern Making”. It was inspired in part by an extract from a Victorian book which advised that little girls should be encouraged to play with dolls in order to learn to look after babies, do the laundry and generally make themselves useful. Which annoyed me. I have five children, and I absolutely understand the human drive to ‘bring forth’ children, however, I am not at all taken with the idea that girls should be given dolls in order to be made “gentle and useful”, nor with the notion that doing laundry will give her “the most intense delight”, as if that were the be-all and end-all of life for a female.