Sunday, 30 December 2012
Thursday, 27 December 2012
preparing for my journey to New Zealand, i am re-reading 'Backroads' by Sam Hunt
and looking at
paintings by Colin McCahon & Doris Lusk
going through my notes
of time passed there in times past
rummaging in notebooks i find this sketch
made with pencil at Te Papa museum [no cameras allowed]
and later embellished with watercolour
while taking coffee at Midnight Expresso
up on Cuba Street [Wellington]
the colours far wilder than the original
and then i make a few other notes. a bit closer to home.
CLOUDLAND, OR SMOKE ALARM
I’m not yet quite sure which.
LONG BEFORE PA FORGOT REMEMBRANCE
HE MADE THE CHOICE TO LOOK AWAY
NOW HE WANDERS, SMOKE AND MIRRORS
ASKS MY MOTHER IF I AM RELATED TO HER
NOTICING THAT WE LOOK LIKE PEBBLES OR
SOME DAISIES IN THE GRASS
PERHAPS TWO PLASTIC BAGS
BLOWING IN ON THE BREEZE
ON HIS BIRTHDAY I TOOK A CAKE
TO THE CELL HE NOW INHABITS, MONASTICALLY TIDY
ONE SHOE, A TOOTHBRUSH AND A VIEW INTO TREES
A PHOTO OF MY BROTHER
THEY WOULDN’T LET ME BURN THE CANDLES
INSUFFICIENT CAKE TO FEED THE FIREMEN WHO WOULD COME
RUNNING, CALLED BY RINGING BELLS
NOW PREPARING FOR A JOURNEY TO
CLOUDY ISLANDS EAST OF HERE
I READ BY THE SMOKE OF RESIN
GATHERED ON A WESTERN COAST
CYPRESS FOG DRIFTS ACROSS THE PAGE
GOOD THING I GUTTED THE SMOKE ALARM
December 27, 2012
Friday, 21 December 2012
i thought i'd wait and see if the apocalypse blew away the cobwebs.
so i had to deal with them myself.
they're quite sturdy
and probably spinnable
but for what might lurk within
and for your amusement, a list of suggestions from New Orleans for ways to spend the last hours pre-apocalypse.
[guess if you followed the instructions now
you could bring on an apocalypse of a more personal kind]
Thursday, 20 December 2012
i have been attempting to declutter
while searching for long lost stuff
adrift in the knee-deep chaos that has arisen
over a year of coming home to empty and refill my suitcase
and am embarrassed to reveal
that things were found dating back to the last millenium
[let alone century]
these unearthed images are of work from 2001
the first year of the current millennium
not much colour
except for a ball of red wool
dyed with Eucalyptus cinerea
that squiggly intestinal installation
was created from a continuous length of English Leicester roving
it was one metre wide
and whatever long
Sunday, 16 December 2012
i was looking for an excuse to quote the Grateful Dead
'it's been a long strange trip"
but it's only partly true. has indeed been a goodly while since i've been home
it hasn't been strange. wonderful is closer to the mark.
+ + +
moments after the suitcase was dumped on the floor
it was claimed by its rightful owner
who promptly fell asleep on it
indicating it would not be going anywhere anytime soon
i'm back in the land where magpies gargle at dawn
sheep totter past my bedroom window complaining about nothing in particular
and strange new life-forms have taken over a cauldron
left to its own devices for nearly three months
happy holidays, dear readers
enjoy the Solstice
slip gently into that New Year
and maybe i'll see some of you on the other side...
Sunday, 9 December 2012
i've always been most fond of the number 9
which is one of the reasons i didn't fly straight home from Arizona
December 9 would have been eaten by the international date line
a shocking waste of a good day
so here i am in San Francisco instead. it's been my favourite city forever
[until New Orleans welcomed me with open arms last month]
now i have two favourite cities
[and a host of favourite wild places]
but i'm straying from the story.
i'm in San Francisco, in the slightly grotty Buena Vista Motor Inn.
the walls and floors vibrate and working girls go up and down the elevator
[and probably on a few other things too]
from my position on the sofa in my room
i can just see the red lights on the top of the Golden Gate Bridge
earlier this evening i called past an old friend
a Jasminum polyanthemum that lives near the top of Greenwich Street
whose fragrance both real and remembered has been a delight to me for over thirty years.
my most recent tattoo was [literally] drawn from my memory of this particular plant
some kind person has adorned it with twinkle lights
making the visit especially sweet
Saturday, 8 December 2012
Friday, 7 December 2012
here in Sedona, Arizona
there are lots of junipers
some interesting oaks [i think the one i spotted was Quercus turbinella]
hills that look like painted backdrops on movie lots
and many red stones
the houses look as though they might be adobe
but when you get close enough to tap the walls
they sound hollow. that ain't no mud.
drifting along highway 89a after work the other night
i noticed some radical pruning [ie to ground height]
of the roses in front of the Red Planet Diner
so i liberated some of the leaves
Monday, 3 December 2012
yesterday i left New Orleans
it was a wonderful four weeks "in residence"
during which i found new excitement in my work
and gained a bit of an understanding
of some of the local flora
but it also went a good deal deeper.
i first visited New Orleans in 1983
in the year of the Ash Wednesday fires
our family home had been one of the casualties
and the option of travelling to North America to help my grandparents pack their belongings for a return to Australia after some 24 years residence in Canada seemed a very good escape from a life that had become a merry-go-round of working at my job with the Arts Council during the week and then helping with the rebuild on the weekends when i wasn't on tour
in this month, hearing stories about what my friends and others went through after 'the storm' i've learned to be grateful
in comparison to flooding, fire is relatively clean. things are burned instead of being distributed across the region
and while there were some toxic things to be dealt with [ie piles of arsenic+copper ash from "green" pine posts] the earth and the remains were not soaked with chemicals and oil and sewage and ghastliness.
we didn't have to deal with refrigerators full of rotting food
or be evacuated hundreds of miles away from where we belonged
there were a few looters
but by and large people behaved in a civilized fashion
there were a few looters
but by and large people behaved in a civilized fashion
within a few days of the rain that followed the fires
lilies were pushing their way up through the blackened earth
and almost as soon as the ashes had cooled
the telephone company laid a line across them
so my parents had a phone amongst the debris
i'm telling you all this to give you an idea of [some of] what i was thinking while this new body of work was brewing.
Chris Rose's book, "One dead in Attic" puts life very sharply into perspective.
and now on a much lighter note
here are a few details of the work in the Riverside gallery
the two below aren't in the show
as they were opened after it was hung
and the last bundle i opened
was a dress that had been to the river
i gave it a thorough wash test
in Schiro's laundromat
and am delighted to say
it "came up a treat"
i think i am beginning to get the hang of dyeing cotton
Wednesday, 28 November 2012
yesterday i hung a selection of this month's work in the Riverside Gallery at NOCCA.
here are a few pix
the three textile pieces above are approximately 4' square [1.2m x 1.2m]
the cloth is linen-cotton mix. 'bywater' also has applied additions [silk, wool, cotton]
dimensions of above work 4' x 8', mixed textiles.
outside the river rolls on by
for giving me this glorious opportunity
- it is so very rare for me to have an entire month in which to concentrate solely on
in particular Frank Gleber, Ted Martin and Shelley Boles
who have made me so very welcome
and have given me a "home from home"
Saturday, 24 November 2012
er, not quite.
more like windfall gumbo
[minus the roux and the trinity and the rest of the usual suspects]
it smells quite fragrant but
i'm not planning on eating it
if you're curious about what might be going on in the image
and you happen to be in New Orleans next week
you may like to swing by the Joan Mitchell Center, 2275 Bayou Road
where i shall be telling stories and showing pictures [and also some work]
on Thursday November 29 @ 6pm
in the meantime you might also like to visit with Ted Kooser, Poet Laureate
and listen to him read some of his beautiful poems
Wednesday, 21 November 2012
when i received an email from the nice folk at Aichi
a week or so back
inviting me to submit work for their natural dye exhibition
i was quite chuffed
deep in my explorative work here in New Orleans
i would have been hard pressed to find a finished piece to send
other than the work i showed recently in Cleveland
[the reserves at home are far away]
we had an email conversation about whether that work would be appropriate
and they said that would be fine "because the exhibition had not been a competition"
which is when i realised that the Aichi event was a competition
my work is about paying attention,
not about winning races.
i want to find the quiet space inside
invest in wordlessness and mindfulness
listen to inner stillness and to stories
lining up to be judged doesn't make a deal of sense to me.
so i took the hook out of my mouth, let that one go
and went back to my stitching
Saturday, 17 November 2012
if red/orange is the colour synonymous with my island home
violet is definitely the colour of New Orleans, my home for this month.
my little grandmother would have been very pleased.