Tuesday 30 June 2009


it's been an interesting experience
and a good week for reflecting and taking stock

a little as i imagine living in a [noisy] nunnery might be
no news of the outside whirled
even on the magic box there's no mention
of anything at all
other than the passing of one
who last week was still the object of mild amusement
but who this week is being hailed as a saint
a curious whirled indeed

but seeing as i woke up singing, i'll stick with the musical theme...

my bags are packed, i'm ready to go

and here's a selection of what i'll be humming as i do


going home

bye bye, blackbird

Sunday 28 June 2009

overheard at breakfast

"must be the German in me"

"you German, honey?"

"Russian, German, same difference"

"oh, no...there's a wall"

"not no more they ain't no wall"

"Russian women, they SCARE me....they so ANGRY"

Saturday 27 June 2009

a columbus day

if you're in Columbus Ohio make a beeline for the Wex where you'll find an extraordinarily good bookshop, some interesting exhibitions


a building designed to make the most of the lovely light here
it has delicious details
narrow stairs that slip between tall walls and make one feel as if one is taking a secret passage. they'd have been outlawed by the nanny-state building code in South Australia, no hand rails for a start. shock. horror.

later if you're lucky you might spot some dainty pieces of machinery

for nicely plated, fresh and delicious food [presented with outstanding service] head to the Lemongrass in the Short North. 

there was even a baby grand armed with an above-average piano player. 

i leaned back from conversation to let my ears make the most of his improvisation on Gershwin's 'Summertime'

and mused on other things

Friday 26 June 2009

futzing about in Ohio

as you may have gathered i'm in Columbus, Ohio seeing how things are "on the other side". nope, haven't passed over [contrary to what you might think after earlier posts] but am relishing being a student in a seven-day intensive workshop led by Canadian artist Dorothy Caldwell 

it's an interesting class with some 21 participants all working in quite different ways within the broad scope of textile-based art practice 

this is a situation i haven't been in since i finished grad school in 2001. i'm thinking everyone who teaches [no matter what the field] should regularly put themselves on the receiving end... 

each day after class i wander about in the late summer evening

blue stains remind me of the blue booby

Felis catus soaking up the last of the day's solar energy

lovely Rudbeckia purpurea blooming along the sidewalk, nurtured by some thoughtful Columbus resident

and finally the fore and aft views of some of this week's gentle work

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Tuesday 23 June 2009


Petrus kindly reminded me of this song...nothing like music from the good ole daze

and while we're at it here's another one

and just to finish up...that view looks much prettier at sunset...most things do

Monday 22 June 2009

a last look and a fond farewell

other than my home, San Francisco is the hardest place in the whirled for me to leave. 

especially when the outlook changes from those above [note the early french influence in the tunnels above the Headlands]
to that below...
the delightful view i'm now enjoying at 2am in Columbus, Ohio

let's see what sunrise brings...

oh and in case you're wondering, 'map piece' is from 'Grapefruit' by Yoko Ono

Friday 19 June 2009

guerilla in the jacaranda

here's one especially for that grrrl who knits

there i was quietly directing my elephant [ie normous grey wheeled trunk-like suitcase] down South First Street in San Jose when i was confronted by the sight of what appeared to be a cat-in-the-hat sock

and then it dawned on me [in the absence of the Cat] that it was another one of the guerilla knitsisters up to more public malarky

wonder how long it will last with those cute squirrels romping on it

wish my legs looked as good in stripy socks

Thursday 18 June 2009

yerba buena

when the Spanish came to California the priests named this place yerba buena
literally meaning 'good herb'
for the fragrance that rose from the aromatic groundcover Clinopodium douglasi as it was crushed underfoot by the brothers as they wandered about forcibly dispensing Catholicism to the Ohlone

in the sixties it may have had a slightly different connotation 

i came here this week feeling just a little wrung out...Tolkien puts it perfectly as "like butter spread over too much bread"...and needing a new direction in my work having taught all my tricks during this rather heavy teaching year

the process of opening the windfall bundles that i've been making up here on the eleventh floor has filled me with delight...and gratitude

i'm grateful to this place for refreshing my spirit
and for giving me gifts in the street
windfall leaves and discarded metal fragments

i'm grateful to my family for keeping the home fires burning in my absence

and i'm grateful to my fellow taxpayers who [through an Arts SA grant] have partially underwritten this journey of [re]discovery of which there is yet more to come
as i'm now off to be an anonymous student for a week somewhere further east, in the deep heart of middle America

it'll be good to be on the other side of the fence again

Si, ha sido muy biena, gracias*... Yerba Buena has truly been the good herb...

*apologies to Spanish speakers for dodgy grammar, my linguistic skills are pretty much limited to ordering margaritas in that beautiful language

take two

this time i do make it to Golden Gate Park. some of the locals are very friendly indeed...

i visit the de Young Museum, keen to study the textile collection. 

that particular section is closed. hmm.

i'm doubly grateful to the Universe for diverting me on my first attempt...but hey, the architecture of this building alone is worth a visit 
clad in a copper skin

and with a tall tower so one can see the whirled from above the tree-tops [monster eucalypts close by and not a cocky in sight]

near the foot of the elevator are some exquisite objects that cast delicious shadows. the creator is a San Franciscan. foolishly i didn't note her name.

outside there is an Andy Goldsworthy sculpture 

a series of stones through each of which runs a squiggly fault line that also traces a path from one island to the next. i've borrowed their picture cos mine was full of people 

detail of a 'cloth' constructed by African artist El Anatsui. it's made from the aluminium caps of whisky bottles joined with copper wire in a format that references kente cloth

remember when his work draped a building in one of the Venice Biennales?

later walking down Haight on the trek back to base camp i find more art underfoot

Wednesday 17 June 2009

taking a walk on the wild side

i have to admit it...despite being a country gal i absolutely love this city. it plays misty for me and then some.
this morning after a couple of hours hard graft - writing, not swinging a pick - i did myself a favour, went out on Geary Street and hopped on a bus fully intending to head for Golden Gate Park and some research in the Botanic Garden there.

but [yet again quoting John Lennon] "life is what happens while you're making other plans". it did that today and for this i am grateful.

instead of turning south a few blocks at the end of my bus ride i followed a windfall path down the street heading west and finished up at Point Lobos [with a pocket full of leaves]. 

i found a ruin that rivals Delphi... the remains of the Sutro Baths. i lingered a while

found floating feathers

and then instead of turning south i went purposefully north

trees making drawings against the sky
underfoot a stone, polished by many passers
looked very much like Pounamu
greener than the picture shows

onward along the clifftops through fields of flowers where it's warm and sheltered
then suddenly exposed again and slapped by a cold damp wind

i find a lost heart

and a Latvian wild strawberry [Fragaria vesca

growing by the sidewalk above China Beach

at Baker Beach [still further north] i find a perfect pocketstone. dark greenblack and smoothly polished. the sort of stone that likes to roll in your hand as you think about other things
such as imagining i see the footprints of a special dog i used to know
Baker was one of his favourite beaches

 wandering on up the hill...following the wind to the Golden Gate bridge
i begin to hear a familiar sound

haven't even had a gin and i'm hearing a tenor saxophone
sure enough, as i walk around the corner of a ruined building up on the battery
there they are
using the perfect acoustics provided by that concrete shell

two musicians jamming
west coast impro and it's good, very good
[thinks, my friend John Kelley would love this] 

it's another icing on the cupcake moment. i seem to be having a lot of those lately. 

after a while they break for a breather. we talk and swap names and sax stories

they are Colin Gleason [tenor saxman] and his friend Dave [i hope i got the guitar player's name right, forgive me if i mucked up...it's easier if it's written on a piece of paper when age hath wearied and the years condemned]
Colin and i also compare tattoos
and i take a few photos

would have been better if the tree hadn't been growing out of Colin...but it's not a good place to step backward while framing a shot...bit of a drop on most sides
and the longest one would leave one very wet indeed

and then a few more photos including several at arms length of the three of us [except i later do some cutting and pasting cos all except one of me has a moonface with a double chin. ew. ]
thank goodness for Raybans - much cooler than coverstick for hiding wrinklies

then they played some more
and i sat and listened
and drew in my notebook with notes on colours to slosh on later from the small paintbox
[guess who forgot to pack a water bottle]

there's THAT bridge again

nine hours and nineteen one-foot-at-a-time kilometres after i stepped out of the Kabuki this morning i toddle back into my room
ready for a serious soaking bath
and a quiet tea ceremony
with a small treasure found here in San Francisco

one that will live in the travel bag and remind me 
every time i have tea on the track
of a place that still makes me feel seventeen years old