Thursday 28 July 2011

what are you doing dearie?

i could be doing any one [or more] of a number of things

# tidying up the carpark

#looking for my contact lens

#dancing with my imaginary friend

#trying to work out how many leaves i need to gather if i want to stitch a dress the size of my shadow

#planting tomatoes

#waiting for a butterfly to land on my nose

the author of the most amusing suggestion [you'll need to be a follower of this blog to participate] will receive a present.
you have until Monday August 1 to dream something up
and write it below

Wednesday 27 July 2011

hot news...

We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
- George Bernard Shaw

i talk to my students a lot about the importance of play
i practice what i preach
when i heard news via my friend Trace that an extra class was being added to the TAFTA Blue Mountains extravaganza CONTEXTART
and that it was to be encaustic artist Trish Baldwin
i jumped in

and i've signed up
with some buddies
hired a house to stay in
[we needed somewhere for sewing circles at night]
and put a big red ring around that week in my calendar

if you're quick
you can too...but you'll have to find your own house.

some very serious playtime coming up next April

oh, and here are the details

Innovative developer of Encaustikits and Encausticamp, Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch from the USA began painting more than a dozen years ago - always abstractly and evolving into encaustics from acrylic over six years ago. Her love for the medium translates into her teaching, and students benefit from a passionate, engaging workshop experience filled with all the knowledge Patricia has acquired and developed thorugh her foraging in this rich and diverse medium. Patricia’s books, Encaustic Workshop and Encaustic Mixed Media, are available on book shelves everywhere and two DVD’s in the medium are on the market thanks to FW Publishing and Creative Catalyst Productions. When not completely immersed in this creativity, Patricia keeps herself busy raising four teenage sons, two cats and newly acquired husband and teenage daughter.

Encaustic Mixed Media: going Beyond Ordinary
4-day workshopCONTEXTART FORUM
From noon on Monday 16th April to noon on Friday, 20th April 2012
Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch

All kind of mediums can be enhanced through the endless versatility of beeswax and painting in encaustic. In this workshop artist, author and instructor Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch guides you through techniques with rust, distressed collage, wire and alternative foundation materials to expand your creativity - Beyond the Ordinary. If you are already experienced in the use of encaustic you will have so new worlds opened to you; and if you are a newcomer to beeswax you will be guided through the workshop processes with sensitivity so that you gain confidence in the potential of each technique, and combining them. Materials fee of $25 per person.

Monday 25 July 2011

speaking of landskins

if you're quick and are in [or planning to be around] Pennsylvania in early September
you might just get into the 'landskin felt' class
that Leslie Marsh is organising in West Chester

i know it's hot now
it could get pretty cold in winter
and then
you'll be glad you've made yourself a landskin muffler
and that you will also know
how to make a landskin blankie...

Sunday 24 July 2011

another landskin blankie

a felted landskin blankie
is a fine thing to have stuffed into the suitcase
it doesn't weigh very much at all
provides useful padding for the wandering cauldron
and keeps the drafts away at night

i didn't take one on the last trip
[cos i didn't have any to spare - the last bunch had all found homes]
am hoping that there will be some cool nights
on my next trip across the Big Puddle
so made myself a new one

it has some recycled cloth in it
a fine layer of merino prefelt
stitching on both sides
and then it was rolled rather a lot
in a damp state
[no soap]

it smells like
Eucalyptus crenulata

Thursday 21 July 2011

the driest state on the driest continent

it feels like an exceptionally cold winter here, in the driest state on the driest continent
if i travelled north a bit
to where this image was shot last year
it would be a lot warmer
and not just in terms of the colours...

thanks everyone for your kind thoughts in response to the previous post

also grateful for various kind mentions here and there
Cass Nevada
and a friendly book review from earlier in the year
a lovely image of workshop samples here

off topic, but for the dog-loving readers

for people who like to thoroughly investigate one plant
twelve colours from osage orange by Tali Weinberg

and now
having played with the time vampire for far too long
i'm off out to the studio
to make something warm and felted to wear
when i go  here

[yes, i DO have a big woolly coat, but it's very very heavy
so i don't fancy schlepping it all across America
via San Francisco and New Orleans
on my way to the eastern bit of Canada]

Tuesday 19 July 2011

one year today

it's been one year
since Kip left us
to join the Dogs [and a few Cats]

we'll be taking a quiet moment.

Monday 18 July 2011

found something

pootling about in the studio
i found some things that were forgotten
out of curiosity
opened one of them

it had been forgotten since January

and the contents were quite exciting

i found a few favourite bolts and stones
discovered a means of colouring alfoil yellow

although at first the cloth looked quite black
it turned out to be green
reputedly the hardest colour to dye using natural dyes
[the jar in the middle of the image is where all the pieces had been stuffed]

and then a little later on
The Precious came indoors, to report that she had found

an extraordinary fungus growing on a fallen piece of bluegum [Eucalyptus leucoxylon]

Friday 15 July 2011

good news for students

i've noticed a few people complaining of dry skin
and sore hands
from immersion in dyepots 
and learning how to tie brutally tight bundles
i began a conversation with my favourite supplier
of lovely balms
to enquire whether they might supply us with some small samples
am delighted to say their response was more than generous

will be sending tubes of their lovely
Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm
to be used by students in class
as well as
other sample packets of their gorgeous products
for me to pass on

so now our already fragrant workrooms
will smell even nicer
we can soothe our hard-working hands
at the end of the day

Tuesday 12 July 2011

be it ever so humble

there's no place like home
even without ruby slippers

up above the birdies

i like flying
in the absence of personal wings
a seat on a plane comes in handy

once you get through the deeply personal searches
at the airport
it all gets better

these days
i just take the apron off and dump it in the scanner tray
[as i was doing so in America recently
the chap on duty bleated
"are you decent?"
as i was beginning to divest myself of it]

you'd be amazed at how many people
despite having a window seat
would rather watch a movie
than look out at this

there are tracks out here
 those who lived here first
 the explorers who passed this way
meandering tracks that follow contours
and then
lots of straight lines
from people getting somewhere in a hurry
treading less lightly

Sunday 10 July 2011

coaxing colour from country

the colours of central Australia
are quite different from those
of the northern hemisphere
it's been good to be back in red dirt country

i'm betting there'll be a new style of textiles
coming out of Papunya soon
Narlie says she's going home to teach the other women
how to bundle cloth and leaves

Saturday 9 July 2011

territory time

i had a wonderful day today
the usual class pace
[never fast enough for some of you over the Pacific]
was cranked back to territory time
V E R Y     VE R Y
S  L  O  W

we were allowed a fire
made bundles
talked about country
and about colour

at the end of the day
i was taken out
to where the red rocks
over pools of still water

a very good day

a town like Alice

i've never been to Alice Springs before
all i had in my head was an image gleaned 
from Neville Shute's 1950s novel
i spent yesterday having a wander around

i pottered around in the Todd River
hoping to find useful bits
mostly i found glass
but of course 
an abundance of leaves
being Australia, it's easy to find eucalyptus

and i went to the museum
where is discovered the taxidermist
has a sense of humour
[if you're in a class of mine sometime, you may hear the taxidermist joke
too long to type now though]

and here's an amusing page from a book on display 

time to grab my bundle
and go

my now elliptical pot 
[thank you American Airlines baggage handlers]
still doing sterling service
although here it tends to bubble quite fiercely
as we have 240 volts in the system
in America [with only 110] there's 
less chance of setting off the fire alarm...

Friday 8 July 2011

thank you Qantas

my journey to Alice Springs began well
for a start
there was leftover gumbo to be had
before attempting the journey to the airport
we made it to Adelaide in record time
the Youngest and I had time for a double-shot moccha
at Lucia's
- a South Australian institution for longer than i can remember,
setting an impossibly high standard for coffee

Lucia's is my number one coffee house [after home]
closely followed by Cafe Trieste in North Beach
and Kaffeehaus Einstein [Berlin - the original one, not the Einstein chain!]
but i digress

arriving at the airport
by a miracle there was hardly a queue
i got my boarding pass quite quickly
it wasn't until i was rummaging for the laptop
and going through security
that i realised the boarding pass said Business
and not
thank you Qantas. it was quite the nicest flight i have enjoyed all year
the view over Australia was marvellous and
even the refreshments were nice.
[and in case the management is reading this, Penny deserves a pat on the back
she goes out of her way to be nice to passengers!]

Alice Springs is a curious place. the water in the bath was blue
[i'm told it comes from deep under the earth]
i was instructed on arrival not to walk about after dark on any account
i picked up a "welcome flea" who was frankly not at all welcome.

there was a Hugh Grant moment at Vinnies
the scene where his character [as PM] is doorknocking in the dodgy end of Wandsworth and someone says to him
"hey, you're not who i think you are, are you?"
those very words were addressed to me
at least
they were better than some i spoken to me in Wisconsin
where a body, having observed me draw near over a period of five minutes
walked up to me and said
"you're not who i wanted you to be"
could be worse.
you could be waking up on a sunday morning after 40 years of marriage and being told that.

anyhoo, i'm here to teach a two-day class
that hasn't been advertised
was only confirmed about a fortnight ago
not even sure exactly what they're hoping for
despite questions
nobody has managed to put it into words.
i shall be winging it...with a bundle prepared, just in case

Wednesday 6 July 2011

the manicurist's nightmare

Joy McCallister, participant of the St Louis workshop, kindly sent me some images from our week together
thought i might share
even though [like those of Lady Macbeth]
they'll ne'er be clean

Tuesday 5 July 2011

more intimate secrets

yesterday i shared an image of my early morning
today i'm offering a little more
this early morning picture of the little person who shares my comforts

and this one
of something that keeps us both warm

a queen size blanket knitted by my mother
from English Leicester wool
harvested from some of the fluffy poppets who
potter about the farm that i live on

have been looking at the calendar 
[because i was doing housekeeping on my website]
finding a little space over the [southern] summer
open to suggestions as to where it might be useful
to offer a workshop...

Friday 1 July 2011

the surefire way to deal with jet lag

the surefire way to deal with jet lag
not to admit to such a thing existing
don't let the idea get into your life


hop off the plane
and continue with the day that has been offered to you
eat drink
and be grateful that you have woken up breathing
wherever you may be

when the sun sets
find a comfy bed
[note to self : am glad i don't have to sleep in railway stations
or cowsheds so often anymore]
and enjoy your dreams

it was a wonderful journey [thank you everybody i met who contributed to my delightful stay in America]
but it's good to be home
and to be able to get out that saxophone again...

*and of course gather a few leaves