Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Silly season

It's the silly season
and I forgot to say Happy Birthday Herr Beethoven yesterday ( his 244th!)
I'm offering a little party game on Instagram 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

wandering + wondering

last Tuesday i packed 'back country' into the back of the ute [that's a pick-up if you're American] and headed out via the World's End Highway, the Goyder Highway and then the Barrier Highway up to Broken Hill and across New South Wales to deliver and install the work at the Tamworth Regional Gallery. [that's a little over 3000km there and back again]

and then yesterday i got up before sunrise, climbed into the [now much emptier] ute and pointed it in a westerly direction. Augustus [that's the ute's name] could smell his home paddock and was eager to go. 
me too.

i was also eager to see the Geminid meteor shower that's lighting up the night skies at present, so as the sun got lower i began to look for a suitable campsite. it's been years since i last slept under the sky in the outback. when the children were small we simply camped in a paddock at home and in recent years much of my travel has been to destinations overseas where camping isn't a practical response to the challenge of finding a bed [and where there are ticks, which give me the heebie jeebies]

about 120km east of Broken Hill i found a small red dirt road labelled Wirreanda. it looked suitably infrequently used so i turned up it and drove until i could see just the lights of the trucks on the highway but not hear them [thinking that i wanted to be within walking distance in case Augustus didn't want to start in the morning]. i also took a screen shot of the compass on my iPhone and messaged it to the folks back home so that they would have the coordinates in case that was the last time they heard from me and had to search for a body. 
then i unrolled my swag in the tray of the ute [there's just enough room for me to sleep diagonally] and hung a mosquito net over the top. perfect.


in the past i have always had a dog along when sleeping out but the pawprints left by Kip when she passed on July 19th, 2010 still haven't been filled so the precaution above [given the lack of canine company] was a simply sensible thing to do. you never know.

it turned out to be a splendid night, initially enlivened by lightning displays around the horizon and then beautifully clear with a myriad shooting stars, including one that seemed almost a Min Min light, bright green and travelling horizontally about 10 degrees above the northern horizon.

and then a couple of hours before dawn the moon rose in the east, cunningly disguised as a big slice of candied orange. at one point a tiny passing bat grazed my cheek with its wing as it flipped by, casually disposing of a mosquito

i had brought a book to read and also a set of solar powered twinkle lights [they'd been charging up on the dash all day] to read by but i never so much as turned a page and after testing the lights, turned them off as well. 


it was such a luxury to have the time to watch the sun go down, see the stars appear and truly appreciate the slow transition from day into night, listening to the birds organising themselves for sleep, the brief concerto of singing insects and then the rich velvety silence of a desert night, so quiet that it seemed i could hear the passing stars
i'm pretty sure the shades of the seven lovely Dogs who have blessed my life were there as well 

in the morning, after a bit of yoga [that 33 year old swag doubles nicely as a yoga mat] i packed up and discovered i had not been alone after all

there were also "tail-drag" marks from a kangaroo who had visited in the night, maybe to ask me to stop snoring. i hadn't heard it at all.
 i headed off again, stopping for a musical interlude under a bridge just outside Broken Hill while it was still cool and before the flies got busy. i like the acoustics that big bridges offer.

i found that others had been there before me

oh yeah? well i had sax under the bridge. 
far less messy and i'm guessing it probably sounded better too.


Saturday, 6 December 2014

get your coat and grab your hat

get your coat and grab your hat

leave your worries on the doorstep
just direct your feet
to the sunny side of the street

or the sunny side of the continent

there's still time to apply to join Roz Hawker and me at Tin Can Bay in Queensland next April...we've called for applications so that we can try and match you with a room-mate [accommodation is twin share], so we know what skills you will bring to the group and so we can ask the kind people who are cooking [not me this time] to make sure not to put the wrong things on your plates

We shall create with findings from the area, work with cloth, stitch, paper, metal, wood and locally gathered plant dyes along with drawing, writing, mark-making and paper-folding.
There will be time for contemplation and reflection in addition to guided sessions led by Roz and India. Walking will be an essential component of our work. There may even be singing.
This retreat is residential and participation is by application only. Accommodation is at Cathy House, situated on the beautiful foreshore of Tin Can Bay where our hosts will also cater for all meals providing us with gluten-free vegetarian food.
We look forward to welcoming you at 4pm Sunday April 19th, 2015.  
The retreat concludes at 4pm Friday April 24th 

if you'd like to join us, please drop us a line via contact form on my website
[and do please double check that the email address you provide actually works...there have been a few bounce-backs of late]


Friday, 28 November 2014

here and there

a couple of days ago my lovely Wild Rose kindly frocked up and let me take happy snaps of some recently finished pieces. i'm fortunate to have a family prepared to assist me by modeling!

a simple shift dress in SilkyMerino

sometime next week i shall be loading up the ute (that's a pick up, if you're American) and pootling off across the interior of Australia to deliver and install back country in the Tamworth Regional Gallery
the opening has been set for the evening of December 13th (which is also the feast day of Santa Lucia)
and there's a chance i could offer a one-day intensive workshop on Sunday December 14th if there is sufficient interest - please drop me a line in the comments below if you think you'd care to join us

earlier today i spent time in the Tardis at Australia's national broadcaster (Auntie ABC) pre-recording for the program Talking Plants with Tim Entwisle (Director of the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens) and fellow guests John Wolseley and Jim Fogarty, which turned out to be rather fun.


to fortify my courage i wore amazing socks knitted by my friend Sidnee Snell
who (as they used to say in the better fairytales) is as clever as she is beautiful
the series begins on December 21 but the program i took part in today will air at 9am on Sunday January 25...i will be in New Zealand so won't have to listen to myself murmuring away.

on the way home i dropped into the wonderful emporium in Hahndorf called Poet's Ode. the proprietor Alia and i talked about me maybe having some work on display there in the near future (which would be lovely as i don't currently have anything on show here in my home state)

it's a clean and beautiful space with the most glorious pressed tin walls.

and now i'm out to give the cowbabies their warm supper, before sitting down to a cuddle with Yoda-San

close to this lovely fragrant Hoya bella

Monday, 24 November 2014

back country

i returned from the sea refreshed in body and spirit
so today i tackled the task of processing the 'back country' story
via Blurb
though it crashed several times
have managed to get it all together and LIVE.

for those of you who expressed interest when i showed the Milk+Moleskine version
here's one at a much more affordable price
with the images and text condensed into 40 pages from the original 60

Sunday, 23 November 2014


on Thursday last week i filled a cauldron with bundles
set a fire underneath
and promptly absconded. 

i was in need of friend, dog and ocean therapy. 

happily i was blessed with all of the above. 

(that dress has special pockets for my Sabahs

and now back at home i have a cauldron full of bundles to unroll...
but i think i might give them another night's sleep.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Crockett Cottage Studio, Mansfield

Philadelphus filling the air with fragrance
i loved my time at Crockett Cottage Studio this year
(students came from France and New Zealand; West + South Australia and Queensland as well as Victoria and, for the first time in my visits there...Mansfield itself)
so much so that i've booked it again for 2015
in November the local gardens are awash 
with roses, peonies, philadelphus and magnolias
- even a huge liriodendron in full bloom
and the diversity of eucalyptus species available in the region is quite remarkable

i will offer a couple of workshops
one of which, by popular demand, is going to be about bloomers
and scanties and soft things to wear to bed

and also a retreat to which you can bring your own work
(provided it doesn't require noisy machinery or potentially toxic materials)
and share it with like-minded souls in the joy of the sewing circle 
more details soon but essentially
we'll share stories, i will brew daily dyebaths for you to work with
and be available to offer guidance if you need

i shall also be preparing lunch, as the studio has a fine
centrally positioned kitchen area from which i can answer questions
while i happily chop, stir and season
thus combining two of my (several) passions

Julie Pearson looking fabulous in her gorgeous top

the tray of our ute came in handy
not just for opening bundles but also as a very fine cutting table

local colour

it is very important to be nourishing the inner bear.

in other news, applications to attend the Retreat to Tin Can Bay
in Queensland next year are being received until December 9
Roz Hawker and i will be taking turns at sailing the boat
there'll be dyepots (i nearly wrote dyepoets!)
the opportunity to make small things in metal
or make bigger things in situ from found objects 
some quiet wandering and gentle writing
(i'm thinking that a class book may ensue as a memento for participants)

 if you'd like me to send you the bits to fill in
please drop me a line via the contact page on my website
dates : April 19th - 24th, 2015 (arrive on Sunday evening, depart Friday afternoon)
cost: (including vegetarian gluten-free food, 
twin-share accommodation and some materials) $1300

and ONE place is available in the Bower Bird Blues retreat
in the lovely Lud Valley in New Zealand

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

fieldnotes, revisited

'fieldnotes' has opened at the Quarter Gallery in Minneapolis
sadly I couldn't be there (apologies to my friends in the region but this month I was geographically, temporally and somewhat financially challenged!)
but they've done a fine job of hanging it in my absence 
even included an extra dress (one that had stayed with them from the 'windfall maps' show of 2011)

Howard Oransky, Director, kindly sent me some images

and you can find the catalogue here

Sunday, 2 November 2014

the week that was (and the year that will be)

I returned home yesterday feeling as though I had been away for a month
when really and truly
I had been just two hours or so down the road for six days

working with my friend Roz
to make food for a class led by my friend  Sandra
in conditions that may not have been ideal
but were the source of much hilarity though they sometimes needed a good deal of ingenuity
and thank goodness (and the Dogs Above) for my lovely friends Sam and Janet White who positively encouraged us to raid their beautiful garden for greens, beans, herbs and flowers (and who put up with us staying with them for the duration and singing loudly in the evenings)

we constructed a workstation from a wheelie bin and an old door
luckily Roz had insisted on buying a waxed table cloth which provided a cleanable prep surface (I fought the purchase at the time thinking "no! Not more Chinese rubbish!" but I was very grateful for it I can tell you.)

we drew pictures on the plates. Roz conjured wonderful table decorations. 
and nobody reported any tummy aches despite having dairy, nut and gluten intolerances among our punters. we cooked vegetarian food that met those conditions and had a splendid time doing it

on Wednesday I'm off to the cook and teach for my classes at Mansfield. sadly Roz has retreated to her paradisical Queensland garden and won't be coming with me
fortunately the kitchen at Crockett Cottage studio is well equipped and because I'm staying there as well I'll be able to prep in the evenings (without having to fend off magpies and wattle birds!)

and now to 2015
it looks like it's going to be a pretty full year, which is a jolly fine thing. so just to fill in the dots between what's already been announced :

in March I'm exhibiting in Tasmania for what used to be called Ten Days on the Island but is now to be the Tasmanian International Arts Festival and
teaching an associated masterclass

in April (because we had so much fun together in our camp kitchen) Roz Hawker and I will be offering something we have been musing on for a while now...a retreat to a quiet and beautiful place somewhere in Australia. 

we may well make it an annual event (and we are contemplating one in South Australia) as well but the very first one will be the retreat at Tin Can Bay in Queensland.
(but this time we shall be leaving all the cooking and the table decorating to our hosts)

attendance will be by application only - this doesn't mean we'll be weeding out anyone who doesn't have a PhD, it simply means that we will be doing our level best to gather a peaceful and compatible group with the best chances of having a lovely time together, because it is helpful to have a bit of background on you so that we can fine-tune the program and because we want this event to be nourishing and enriching as well as playful and also FUN.

drop me a line through my contact page if you'd like me to send you the fine print.

in June I shall be at the Observatory in Andamooka, working on the Solace project

and July sees me traveling to lovely Newburgh again
and staying to participate in a class led by Larry Thomas 
after which I shall hop across to France to join Les Soeurs Anglaises for a week
before heading to my beloved New Orleans for a bit and thence to the beautiful Pacific North West
but more of that later.
if you've made it this far it's time for a cup of tea.

I'm getting one myself and reading this wonderful story again