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?
One month already gone- it whizzed by, probably because we’ve had various family members staying, and/or been travelling for most of the time since Christmas day, and time flies when you’re having fun…
So, to this weeks photography challenge – Repurpose. As an artist and as a “greenie”, I’m often looking for ways to reuse old stuff, and that’s how I have made an old vernacular building (or bush shed) into a semi-outdoor living space. We call it the Seahorse Saloon.The walls are lined with pieces of old cupboards, the shelves were drawers. Parts of walls were doors or windows. A bedhead is the back of a settee made from a broken pallet, amongst other things. A coat of paint (a hand-me-down tin from a friend) ties everything together, and sets the watery theme. Most of the furniture was sourced in thrift store/op shops.
The miniature bar used to be part of a kitchen cupboard, the end was a door on a different cupboard, the lining boards are so old, no one knows…etc. You get the picture! I’ve had a lot of fun with it, and plan to have a lot more.
Unfortunately, spiders of many species also find the saloon congenial – here one has repurposed the ears of an old hobby horse into a spider house….Eeek!
I do like shiny things (and rusty things, as it happens), and I annoy my husband by stopping to pick up shiny bits and pieces in public places (what will people think! Don’t care – it’s shiny, and if it’s got a hole in it, all the better). So I have collection of things that shine, but I hadn’t necessarily taken photos, until this challenge suggested it.
A lot of things I’ve picked up have gone into (onto?) junk charm bracelets. That’s my own one. The tiny disc I’ve placed ‘up’ is a Chinese coin I found on our dirt road after exceptionally heavy rain. Maybe it was dropped by a Chinese miner during the Gold Rush, or maybe a school kid lost it on the way to Show and Tell…I’ll never know. It’s so worn that the design on it is impossible to decipher. In the shadow box is a glittery piece of shattered glass, and below that, my two dichroic glass rings, which, on separate occasions, winked and shone at me so desperately, I had to buy them.
Then we have three things that shine and which caught my eye. The red lid is a child’s toy, without it’s pot, the hammered copper is the remains of a necklace, and the little Scots thing seems to be handmade and missing some of it’s feathers.All a bit broken, all quite lovely (and shiny).
The prompt for the Weekly Photography Challenge this time is “Local”, which I took as something nearby to home, although there’s a long tradition of The Local being The Local Pub. Our tiny hamlet doesn’t have a pub, although it did for many years. It had closed before we came here (over 30 years ago) and the building burnt down one night when it was a private home. So, no local pub! But we do have our local Hall, which has served the community as a gathering, meeting, party venue for over a century.
We had a celebration for the centenary in 2014, which is when I took these photos. I and another photographer spent some time taking photos of interesting details – like the hand-made “Exit” sign – some of which were used in a book of the Hall’s history. The pictures on the wall are of Moyston pioneers, some of the people who settled the district in the late nineteenth century.The other two photos are from the book launch and the afternoon tea that followed.
Right now, the Hall is undergoing a much need upgrade – that brick bit in the corner is the old toilets. They were a vast improvement on the original pan toilet (ie a metal bucket placed under a wooden seat in a tiny shed, no lights), but 40 or 50 years later, they were inaccessible for some and just tired for everyone else. It took some effort and several applications, but we gained State Government funding and early next year, the Moyston Hall will reopen with lovely new accessible toilets, improved storage, restored historic stage and dressing rooms, and all abilities access via a new frontage on the supper room – which is what that cement truck and attendant workers are doing this morning.
We are all looking forward to our new improved local hall!
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.
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!
Another week, another challenge! This time, to portray “Pure” in some way- “a person, an object or a moment”. My first thought was grandchildren (again), but instead I’m sharing a couple of vintage petticoats! They turned up recently at the op shop/thrift store where I volunteer – looking amazing but a bit grotty. So I had to take them home for some TLC, and photography.
One of them, the pale pink is labelled as being pure cotton, but it is undeniably pure nylon, made when nylon was a new-fangled wonder fabric. The other is also All Nylon, with a skirt so stiff it seems more like insect screening than a fabric to wear. They must have been worn to plenty of dances back when they were new – upwards of fifty years ago.
Time waits for no one, we all know that, but a person with a camera can try to capture some sense of time passing in pictures, and that is the Weekly Photography Challenge for this week. There is less than a week – and a heavy downpour – between the first photo here and the other two. If only I’d known the fire was going to come, I could have had a “before the fire” pic as well…
After the fire.
After the rain.
After the grass.
I’m also sharing a gallery of photos of the effects of time on a vehicle left to the vagaries of time and weather for years and years. Rust and decay, mainly! Considering where it is, I suspect it got bogged so thoroughly in wet sandy soil, that it was abandoned where it lay. Sad, but so photogenic!