Wednesday, 20 March 2013

A most generous gift

To be blessed with dear and close friends is a wonderful thing, and when one of the dearest and closest arrives bearing a treasure, well, I was delighted and very grateful. This 19th century family photo album, leather bound and gilt edged, is full of unidentified photographs, now destined to remain a mystery for all time. Such albums constantly appear in estate sales, second hand or thrift shops and many go straight to the tip. A sad state of affairs but in this case my friend knew his album would find a good home with me, at least for my lifetime. Thank you MJM.


Wonderful photographs, taken with such promise, now tinged with sadness because their subjects are lost in time. Safe with me for now...

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Location:Wamberal NSW

Friday, 1 March 2013

Rain, rain, go away...

It's raining, it's pouring, the little dog's snoring...  Oh, to be a little dog sleeping on a pile of cushions on this miserable, wet and rather scary windy day. Not that I want to be sleeping - I'd rather be outside in the garden looking at the Naked Ladies. The Amaryllis belladonna is a favourite of mine. They just magically appear as a stem from the ground and a few days later produce these stunning flowers. This one had 19 buds on the single head!
Eddie found a new friend in the garden last week, chomping on a grape leaf. This is Hippotion celerio, a Hawk Moth caterpillar found world wide. This fellow delighted Eddie - as he moved the caterpillar to a safer place it reared up its head and enlarged the two scary pretend eyes on the back of its head. We were eating outside and the Magpies were watching with interest for any dropped scraps, and they would have made short work of our caterpillar, hence the move to a safer place.
May I show you something a bit creepy? It's not the actual animal that's creepy (at least I think they are okay) but it's what they do that you may not want to know about. They are Gordian Worms, harmless to humans, about 30cm/12", and they come out in the rain. So don't click on the link if you are having breakfast or are the least bit queasy about nature red in tooth and claw. There are two in this photo and look like thin spaghetti, only moving. Gosh, I love nature.
Why we still have any invertebrates in our garden is beyond me when we have these busy girls rummaging around, never leaving a leaf or stone unturned. Aren't they gorgeous?
Now for something completely different. I've been asked what I learned in Keith Lo Bue's Waxed Linen Sailor workshop. I learned a lot but I only finished one piece. Several others are started, just waiting for me to act on them. This is a piece of very old bone which I covered in waxed linen thread in one of the patterns Keith taught us. I used my waxed book  binding thread which has a very satisfying tension and really stays put. And I love the pattern.
I recently bought a bundle of silver plated napkin rings - 10c each at Spotlight! I have no idea how I will use them, they may be too cheap and nasty for hacking up or hammering but I sent a couple up to Barry Smith in Maleny Qld in the hope that he could use them. Nice patinas.
Barry is making wonderful jewellery from recycled silver, brass and copper, and I have recently bought a fabulous Peace Book Pendant from him. I love it so much I can't bear to take it off. Look at Barry's work here. And here are just a few of Barry's items that I am treasuring. (Hoarding!)
For far too long I have been in a not-very-creative state of mind. I certainly haven't made a book for yonks, which is so out of character that I wondered if I would ever be able to make one again. Now I'm not about to tell you that I have had a sudden burst of creativity but I suddenly have the desire to create. I feel I should bottle this feeling while I can. I think seeing this introductory video about Jody Alexander has inspired me. I love her books and her use of paper.  Here is more about her.

And here are the school girls going off on the school bus. So brave, full of confidence. And the little girl is SO little. But just bursting to learn...
The last word is DeMengian. Yesterday I read this post from Michael De Meng, and I felt it applied to all of us who are artists, who love art, who wish to support arts and crafts. It's long but it's relevant, especially in NSW where art teaching is facing horrendous cuts. Michael gives some ideas about how to support art and he also lists people and places of importance to him in his artistic life.

I hope you got past the Gordian Worms.

My Peace Book Pendant made by Barry is inscribed "Peace is every step" which I think will be my mantra from now on, and that is my wish for you.