Monday 29 December 2014

more than i expected!

well thank you, all y'all who have written to ask about
being (t)here in New Orleans

the flood of enquiry was a surprise and a delight - the sort of response that makes me want to leap out of bed in the mornings and dance about in me nightie!

now just to will have to find your own accommodation

but there are lots of lovely places to stay.

as a visitor i'd be looking for somewhere in the Bywater, Marigny, Treme
and then [if you have not a bicycle or other wheeled transport] you can just catch the 88 bus down St Claude
hop off at Caffin Ave
and enjoy a lovely walk southward [well, technically south-southwest] to reach the Chateau

Sunday 28 December 2014

announcing New Orleans (and a bit of a personal reality check)

it's been a big year.

i've exhibited in New Orleans, Atlanta and Minneapolis (USA)
Evoramonte (Portugal)
Barossa Valley, Port Augusta, Adelaide, Murray Bridge and Tamworth (Australia)

i had work acquired by the Art Gallery of South Australia and was rejected by the Waterhouse Art Prize

self-published a number of books and taught at least nine workshops around the whirled.

which seemed like a reasonable achievement until i clicked a link to Amazon from a friend's sidebar and read the critiques for Eco Colour which is apparently a self-indulgent waffle with no useful information AND in which (according to the several reviewers) i apparently endorse the use of chemical adjuncts "without the specific caution that these are quite toxic".
i don't recall that at all. but clearly i am getting old and batty as well as being "somewhat prickly and seems to be the Self Appointed "Green Police" "

the good news for those people is that i have very recently been blessed with a dog and so will be limiting my travelling to much shorter sorties (after i get through 2016) to stay home and be with her so our paths are far less likely to cross.

at the same time i'll be making a serious effort to get my novel together. BE WARNED. it has stories, contains my favourite food recipes and has been completely self-indulgently written in my own voice so if you didn't like Eco Colour or Second Skin avoid it like the plague and don't say you weren't warned.
rather than attempting to complete the trilogy and writing a book about pattern-making i'm building all that into the story too.
(note to self  :  do not read critiques of novel if/when it is eventually published)

+ + +

if, on the other hand, you are not one of the above and willing to brave three days in my company in New Orleans in September 2015

i can tell you that i shall be offering a compact intensive version of 'being (t)here' in the marvellous Chateau Curioso, down near the lazy river, in the lower 9th ward

the class involves drawing and writing as well as the dyeing of cloth and paper and the making of a beautiful 'island book'. it is about being in place.

dates : September 4,5,6

the cost will be US$700 and i will be brewing a daily cauldron of soup (with accompaniments) for our lunch. some materials will be supplied but there will be a small list of things to bring. by and large we shall be working with treasures we find in the local area

if you are keen you may secure your place with a non-refundable deposit of $100*
drop me a line via my contact page if you'd like to sign up

* in the event there are insufficient takers for the class i shall refund your deposit in full

Tuesday 23 December 2014


today would have been Pa's 79th birthday
he slipped into the world on the longest night of the year in 1935
and left it much too soon in 2013.

he left me with the best legacy though
that of always being open to learning
because [as he said] you can't pump water out of a reservoir
unless it has been able to catch enough rain

and having grown up with this philosophy
i've made sure to keep learning throughout my teaching practice
- deliberate learning, that is, in addition to what i learn from
my family, friends, practice and students
bless all y'all

so in 2015 i will have the joy of being a student in Larry Thomas' class at Big Cat Textiles in Newburgh,  Scotland.
Alison and Netti very kindly invited him to teach there at my suggestion as i've been keen to take a class with him for years but somehow the cosmic carpool never lined up

Larry Thomas is in great demand...his drawings are remarkable, his work is represented in collections around the whirled, he teaches at Sitka, the San Francisco Art Institute and Haystack. i had the good fortune to spend a morning with him at his studio in Fort Bragg last year [or was it the year before...losing track of who and where...]

anyhoo you can read more about him here

i'm teaching a two-day class just before he begins at Big Cat, perhaps there may be some amongst you who would like to swing in for both? or of course if you're really keen, join me for 'being (t)here' then take a week to tour Scotland and come back for five days of wonderment and drawing

but i'd get in quick, cos when word gets out, his class will fill quickly.
click here for more detail

in the meantime, have a lovely Christmas or Chanukah or simply a delightful holiday at the time of twinkle lights....and if you're lucky enough to have a good father about, give him a hug.

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Silly season

It's the silly season
and I forgot to say Happy Birthday Herr Beethoven yesterday ( his 244th!)
I'm offering a little party game on Instagram 

Tuesday 16 December 2014

wandering + wondering

last Tuesday i packed 'back country' into the back of the ute [that's a pick-up if you're American] and headed out via the World's End Highway, the Goyder Highway and then the Barrier Highway up to Broken Hill and across New South Wales to deliver and install the work at the Tamworth Regional Gallery. [that's a little over 3000km there and back again]

and then yesterday i got up before sunrise, climbed into the [now much emptier] ute and pointed it in a westerly direction. Augustus [that's the ute's name] could smell his home paddock and was eager to go. 
me too.

i was also eager to see the Geminid meteor shower that's lighting up the night skies at present, so as the sun got lower i began to look for a suitable campsite. it's been years since i last slept under the sky in the outback. when the children were small we simply camped in a paddock at home and in recent years much of my travel has been to destinations overseas where camping isn't a practical response to the challenge of finding a bed [and where there are ticks, which give me the heebie jeebies]

about 120km east of Broken Hill i found a small red dirt road labelled Wirreanda. it looked suitably infrequently used so i turned up it and drove until i could see just the lights of the trucks on the highway but not hear them [thinking that i wanted to be within walking distance in case Augustus didn't want to start in the morning]. i also took a screen shot of the compass on my iPhone and messaged it to the folks back home so that they would have the coordinates in case that was the last time they heard from me and had to search for a body. 
then i unrolled my swag in the tray of the ute [there's just enough room for me to sleep diagonally] and hung a mosquito net over the top. perfect.


in the past i have always had a dog along when sleeping out but the pawprints left by Kip when she passed on July 19th, 2010 still haven't been filled so the precaution above [given the lack of canine company] was a simply sensible thing to do. you never know.

it turned out to be a splendid night, initially enlivened by lightning displays around the horizon and then beautifully clear with a myriad shooting stars, including one that seemed almost a Min Min light, bright green and travelling horizontally about 10 degrees above the northern horizon.

and then a couple of hours before dawn the moon rose in the east, cunningly disguised as a big slice of candied orange. at one point a tiny passing bat grazed my cheek with its wing as it flipped by, casually disposing of a mosquito

i had brought a book to read and also a set of solar powered twinkle lights [they'd been charging up on the dash all day] to read by but i never so much as turned a page and after testing the lights, turned them off as well. 


it was such a luxury to have the time to watch the sun go down, see the stars appear and truly appreciate the slow transition from day into night, listening to the birds organising themselves for sleep, the brief concerto of singing insects and then the rich velvety silence of a desert night, so quiet that it seemed i could hear the passing stars
i'm pretty sure the shades of the seven lovely Dogs who have blessed my life were there as well 

in the morning, after a bit of yoga [that 33 year old swag doubles nicely as a yoga mat] i packed up and discovered i had not been alone after all

there were also "tail-drag" marks from a kangaroo who had visited in the night, maybe to ask me to stop snoring. i hadn't heard it at all.
 i headed off again, stopping for a musical interlude under a bridge just outside Broken Hill while it was still cool and before the flies got busy. i like the acoustics that big bridges offer.

i found that others had been there before me

oh yeah? well i had sax under the bridge. 
far less messy and i'm guessing it probably sounded better too.