Archive for October, 2009


As a kid I used to watch Halloween specials from America with envy.  How awesome – to dress up in costume, go out at night and collect sweets on the way.

We don’t do that here – and apart from the occasional nervous neighbour standing at the gate with a child doing the door knocking, it passes us by with barely an acknowledgement.

This year there is a disco going on for school, and my kids are wild for it.  How exciting!  The chance to dress up and go crazy.  Can’t beat it.

So, on the request of Mr 8, I appliqued a t-shirt today.  Not too overboard, and able to be worn later (cause I’m pesky like that).


Stage 1: draw a skull & cross bones on a piece of fabric and baste to purchased t-shirt.

Stage 2: follow the lines of your drawing with the sewing machine.


Step 3: Once you have finished going over your drawing, take some fine-pointed scissors and carefully trim off the excess fabric being careful not to cut into the fabric of the t-shirt.


Step 4: Enjoy!


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When I started this blog, my intention was to chronicle good times and bad.  To record the difficulties that a mother pursuing the art life encountered along the way, and to perhaps provide solace to anyone journeying in the same direction in the knowledge that their trials are not unique.

I vowed to myself to be honest about everything.  To spill my guts and take no prisoners.  To record failures as well as successes and bring anyone who cared to read along with me.

I have found this difficult to do in the last year and have held a lot back.


Difficult for reasons that are intensely personal, which is why perhaps they should be discussed but I find myself unable.  For the protection of others, for the rawness of feeling they would describe, and for the legacy they might represent as a lasting record on the web.

I find myself, at this bend of the blogging journey wishing my blog was more anonymous in the pursuit of full disclosure and for its continuation.


I also find myself tossing up the possibility of leaving this blog and starting a new one because, to be honest, this name won’t belong to me for so much longer.

After 10 years of marriage, I find myself ready to move on.  A process which is painful and necessary.  Confusing, scary and unpredictable in that the future is unmappable to a great extent and a leap of this kind is confronting to all concerned.

There is the issue of my name.  A name, which became mine through marriage.  A name which I have worked under and lived under and which I am not sure belongs to me any more.

So much to think about… So much to be done… So much to consider…

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I’ve spent the last week in the city.

Whee. 🙂


A week working, riding trains and trams, and walking.  Watching people.  And being reminded again of the swiftness of time, of motion, of freedom and how easy it is to be anonymous in the sardine-crush of public transport.  How an ipod can make the contact of strangers irrelevant in an enclosed space.  How connected and disconnected we are in this process.


How delicious it is to have ones own thoughts at a time when the thinking weighs heavily.  How decadent the distraction of people-watching is, and how much I have missed it.

And how good it is to come home.

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I have been thinking a lot lately about how things grab us.  Fads, design crushes, fashion. Friendships.

It’s not that I am particularly fickle – quite the contrary actually.  I am drawn to classic, simple shapes and styles, ways of behaving and living, and much prefer solidity to following the general trends.


This past year I have been questioning a lot.

Looking through my bookshelves at recent purchases (mostly craft related) and thinking that doesn’t apply to me any more, it occurs to me that I have wasted a lot of time and energy on things that have not really enriched my life.

There should have been more sitting in the sunshine.  There should have been more conversing with strangers.  There should have been more learning and less visual absorbing of the world around me.


Because, on the whole there is a lot of good to be found out there.  And a lot of good to be found in a quiet mind.

I’m in the mood for expanding horizons and evolving.  The world is full of wonders and I’m ready to bring on the happy for all of us. 🙂

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I am the bloody monitor, oil on linen, 2009

The Cerberus is a revolutionary design 1860’s ironclad monitor, currently a breakwater off Black Rock, Melbourne, Victoria.

Pivotal Gallery in conjunction with Friends of the Cerberus is having an exhibition as part of an ongoing campaign to save this nationally and internationally important piece of Maritime history and my work (above) is part of this.

It’s called “I am the bloody monitor” – which is a quote by Ned Kelly who was referring to the Cerberus.

I looked closely at the surface of the Cerberus from the closest vantage point, and from photographs I took and sourced online. Most of what we can see these days is rusted and obviously iron. Up near the top of the funnel are some vertical slits, which looked too like Kelly’s helmet to be ignored.

I was also drawn to the fact that the state of the Cerberus is in need of monitoring, and this most visible part is a reminder of that.

So it’s almost abstract at first view – actually a literal rendering of a part of the ship and symbolic as well.

You can see the other works on offer here.

See http://www.cerberus.com.au/ for additional information about Cerberus and Membership to Friends of the Cerberus.The exhibition opens tonight. 🙂

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Usually I’m up for anything, quite prepared to get my hands dirty and aware if the result is not working the resulting twists will provide an unexpected adventure with value of its own, so I have no explanation for my fear of lace.


A few months back I bought 3 balls of mohair that looked like they might be forgiving, found a very basic pattern for lace and started, heart in mouth.

To my surprise it grew quickly, was rewarding and light and fun.  Once the repetition became natural it was probably the most enjoyable straight knitting I’ve ever tried, and I’m hooked.

At some point (probably next winter) I want to try and create an abstract lace repetition and see what comes out of it.  But for now, with summer approaching, I’ll be knitting something less cozy next while my mind sorts through the myriad possibilities.


Because I’m learning again that life is a grand adventure and fear is totally self-imposed.  And what a great discovery that is.

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There used to be quite a large white pointed roof there.

Just above fence height it was painted white – which made it lightly less conspicuous but it was there.  Large, not exactly overpowering but all you could see really when you looked out the kitchen window – which was a surprise to me as I hadn’t even noticed it when we bought our house 7 years ago until we moved in and sat at the table.  How could I not have seen something as huge as that.

It became all I could see, and I often gazed at it and wondered at how focused one can become on a positive or a negative and how something inanimate can have a presence that is entirely affected by ones point of view on a particular day – or the cumulative effect of many such thoughts.


A week ago the tiles came off – carefully, leaving the skeleton of the roofline in wood, exposing the inside of the house to the elements, letting in sunlight and letting the previous life escape with a long, drawn out almost visible sigh.

When we  moved in there was an old couple inhabiting.  He was gruff and used to lean against his gate watching the traffic go by from his manicured garden.  She coughed at night, which I always found disturbing.  A hacking, incessant dry sort of cough which made her seem frailer than she probably was and made me worry for her.  I spoke to her once as she was leaving her house – introducing myself as the neighbour over the back fence.  She had heard my children playing and enjoyed the sounds – reminding her of her own family growing up in her backyard.  She told me stories of long-gone neighbours and how annoyed they were at the joyful sounds her spirited children made, and how she didn’t feel that way about mine at all.  She was gorgeous.


He passed on.  She moved into a home and I expect has passed on now too.  The house was sold and is being demolished to make way for a medical centre.


And as I watch it come down – quickly now – there is a digger in there bringing down walls and sending dust everywhere –  I feel so sad for what was a home.  Four walls that held hopes and dreams, sheltered a family and was lovingly cared for so many years.

Reduced to bricks, and dust and ground for a fresh start and new beginnings of a soul-less sort.


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