Friday, 30 July 2010
i love going to New Zealand. i've met so many nice people there
and had wonderful times
and i love it when the cute guy at the airport says
'KaiOra, is it a welcome home?'
so i'm thrilled to bits to be booking tickets to that wonderful country again
a visit to Nelson in November this year
with some forest wandering after the communal cauldron cools
and a revisiting of Waiuku February 2 - 7 next year
we're calling the class 'return to fields'
which is followed by some time at Dairy Flat [10-14 February]
you don't know where that is either? it's north of Auckland
in what is [for me] as yet unexplored territory
we'll be working on feltquilts
and it will be a splendid time...
ps i haven't forgotten the other nice people who have invited me to teach in Aotearoa
it's just that i'm doing it a little bit at a time
[like eating an elephant. s l o w l y. but of course i wouldn't be nibbling on an elephant because they're far too nice and i'd rather eat vegetables and fishes]
pps that image above? is from a tea bag tag...
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
our [for the moment] Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that she is calling a meeting of 150 interested parties to discuss Australia's potential responses to climate change.
i have some advice for her.
Julia dear, save the airfares and cut lunches and the money and just stop logging the forests.
now we've got that sorted, give the loggers some shovels and seeds and send them out to plant more trees
they'll find it far more satisfying [and less dangerous] than chopping them down
legalise the planting of hemp for paper, cloth and nourishing food from the seeds
put systems in place to harvest 'storm water' in the cities
and use it to keep urban trees alive
[they help clean the air]
make safe bicycle lanes AWAY from roads
and then set about tidying up industrial emissions
and on a lighter note
the kind person who writes the 'make something' pages
has put up a bunch of really nice photos of the recent workshop in Toronto
in case anybody would like to see what we got up to there....
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Monday, 26 July 2010
|dress by Cleo Thorpe-Ngata|
photo by Rachelle Toimata
Sunday, 25 July 2010
|map-folded book made at the 'mapping country' workshop|
held in Toronto recently
i have a thing about maps and mapping. i teach a class called 'mapping country' and have a growing collection of books and images to do with maps. i use plant dyes and colours gathered from the land as a means of trying to make sense of where i am, together with a bit of writing and the occasional happysnap
[i wish i could recall where i found the image below]
i'm not alone in this fascination. Indigenous Australians make paintings that are a kind of mapping. Dorothy Caldwell has made work about mapping. Hannah Lamb is making a project about mapping, spending time in a wood somewhere in the UK.
and two books below that contributed to the substantial lengthening of my arms as a result of bag-schlepping during the recent trans-Pacific odyssey [thank you Shakerag for your kind faculty discount not to mention your beautifully stocked store!]
Friday, 23 July 2010
now let me tell you about the high -
the formal confirmation letter from my lovely publisher
accepting the manuscript for second skin*
and then yesterday i pootled down to the Art Gallery of South Australia
to see the exhibition Rupert Bunny, artist in Paris
like me, Rupert was born in Melbourne . i think we have a couple of other things in common -
you can see by the way he paints them that he loved dogs
although i've a suspicion that his wife [above] may not have shared that passion. it looks to me as though she's thinking 'get this creature off my lap now' and the Jack Russell [clearly a perceptive hound] has a slight air of alert nervousness about him
and there's another portrait of her in which she looks, to be perfectly frank, utterly bored - a condition which her beloved has captured beautifully. he's also jolly good at painting cloth; lavishly and sumptuously detailing lace, silks, satins and velvets in his paintings
worth a visit...
* to be published 2011
oh and in case you wondering about the link below, i'm experimenting with a new feature offered by Blogger that finds stuff for you relating to what you're writing, while you're writing it
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- Reality Mom: Writing lessons (ballardnewstribune.com)
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
Sunday, 18 July 2010
Saturday, 17 July 2010
Friday, 16 July 2010
Monday, 12 July 2010
Sunday, 11 July 2010
Saturday, 10 July 2010
fireflies in Tennessee
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
Tuesday, 6 July 2010
The Montrealers have quite a lot to thank the French for, such as brutally claiming Quebec [province] from the original inhabitants, introducing their lilting language, giving the region some quite delightful architecture and establishing the production of cheese. Despite this the Montrealers seem to hate the French even more than they despise Les Americains.
Noted local musician Dan Bigras, playing at the Montreal Jazz Festival, opened his set by enquiring [in English] if there were any Americans present. Three hapless persons in the front row innocently raised their hands, whereupon the great man spent the rest of the evening speaking ever broader Quebecois and making jokes at their expense. Sometimes he switched to picking on the French instead and once or twice had a go at the ‘other’ Canadians. That would be those who are not Quebecois. In between he sang [great voice, terrific range] and expertly played keyboard [again, respect].
I’ve wandered quite a bit in my life and [perhaps foolishly] consider myself a traveller rather than a tourist. In general I travel for work rather than amusement. I’ve slept in places as diverse as an abandoned cowshed in the Swiss Alps, the railway station at Boulogne and on red sand in the wilder bits of Australia, where the trick is to unroll your swag only as you’re getting into it for the night so as to be sure that nothing reptilian [or otherwise] occupies it before you do. I’ve mended mosquito nets at the youth hostel in Suva before turning in for the night and walked down the west coast of Scotland in wild weather hefting a pack. I think it’s fair to say I generally maintain a fairly optimistic outlook and am pretty flexible except where bedbugs are concerned.
I try to become familiar with at least a few words of the local language wherever I go. I find it helps. For example, if you make the effort to speak French in France the locals invariably respond in a friendly fashion. They might find you slightly hilarious but they will be gracious about your massacred attempts to mumble pleasantries.
J’adore la France.
I came to Montreal to revisit what was once home [hey, my brother was born here] but with the exception of the charming young lady serving at the epicerie on Maisoneuve, the lovely people at the Fairmont Bagel bakery and lots of friendly dogs; I encountered nothing but venom and sullen stares from the Montrealers [or are they properly called Montrealists?]. I even tried dressing sedately in jeans and a Tshirt in case my distinctive clothing style was the problem. Same response.
So after some thought here’s my advice to the residents of Montreal. If you want people to continue visiting your city and giving you money to prop up your economy, try at least to pretend that you don’t mind them breathing.
If you want the rest of the whirled to leave you alone why not declare yourselves La Republique de Montreal, close the borders around your town [most of it should be easily defensible, being on an island] and keep the rest of us out. That way you can enjoy yourselves without all those nasty foreigners cluttering up the place. Perhaps you could put a box at the border so those people who like being insulted can just put their money in and listen to a recorded message about how pathetic they [and the rest of the whirled] are and then go away again. Et moi? I can take a hint and have gone somewhere else.
After a short train journey we’ve arrived in Quebec City, which by contrast appears to be full of genial folks who bear with my rusty French, are helpful and actually know how to smile. As opposed to just baring their teeth.
Tomorrow should be a lovely day.
Monday, 5 July 2010
and being serenaded by some wee black birdies