Saturday, 6 February 2016

ikigai - or, a very fine week


what a week it's been.

last Sunday i decided in my infinite wisdom that a curtain originally belonging to one of my grandmothers needed cleaning.
someone (who shall remain nameless) had left it on a pile of other stuff where a certain cat had decided it was pretty comfortable.

my front loading washing shrine (so called because i genuflect before it every time i put in a load) has proved gentle on delicate things thus far so i didn't think twice about tossing in the curtain and choosing the handwash setting.

actually that's not strictly true. i did think twice. i thought that i didn't want to wash it by hand because i was a little unsure about exactly what the cat had been doing on the curtain in addition to slumbering.

a short time later the shrine was complaining of indigestion and upon investigation i discovered that all the fluffy chenille bits had completely clogged the space between the rotating drum and the bigger drum that keeps the water in the machine and stops it running through the house.

not good.

pulling out the filter at the bottom unleashed a replay of the shower scene from Psycho.

thick red dye gushed across the laundry floor and down the centre drain. it was only later, trying to rinse out the machine that i thought to take a picture of it. i hate to think what the emissions from the original weaving mill/dye house must have been like.

not a pretty sight.

three hours later and some very tricky (and repetitive) work with a Qantas stirring spoon and the wire handle of an old bucket (both discovered to be essential washing machine repair tools and now stored with the operator handbook and the dime i use to open the filter hatch) order had been restored. 
also i was filled with that singular sense of satisfaction that comes with having solved a problem without slicing my fingers on the razor sharp edges of the access holes in the drum.

except that it was now 4.23 pm
i had been planning to attend the 'unearthed' exhibition opening at the Barossa Regional Gallery at 3pm

no matter, i thought.
they will not have remarked upon my absence,
it's a group show after all.

i received an email on Tuesday
telling me the work had won an award.
i was ready to sink through the floor at my unintentional rudeness.

not a good feeling.
but it was wonderful to have the work recognised and commended.
the piece is entitled 'open cut' and refers to the mechanics of extracting iron ore from the earth as well as to the wound left on the earth when the mine is exhausted

 and created from iron objects discarded by humans, found by roads and railway tracks in outback South Australia


other good things encountered this week include this book

it shows actual size photographs of leaves, together with an image of how they appear collectively AND a silhouette of the tree itself. it is exactly the sort of book that a bear like me needs. i foresee many happy hours with it and suspect it may be accompanying me overseas, though it is heavy. to this end i have ordered a new pilot case, with wheels. schlepping my essential reading material through airports is wearing out my spine.


the best thing of all this week has been your response to the wandercards
thank you
i'll be taking last orders soon
and am busy dyeing cloth and scarves to pack them up in
ready to mail them out in the last week of February

some of you have written so kindly about your workshop experiences with me,
or about your reading of my books.
it's been absolutely heart-warming.
one person did ask if i could just send a PDF
so she could print her own
one of the things i was particularly excited about
was the cardstock i've selected.
it's 100% post consumer recycled and dyes beautifully
so you should be able to have some fun with them.
(instructions for printing with plants on paper come with the cards)
by the time you receive them, the ink (vegetable based) will have cured sufficiently, too.
i bundled a set pretty much hot off the press.
even after curing i would avoid really fresh eucalyptus leaves because in my experience they always stick to paper 

 someone else suggested i should reveal what's on the working side of the cards, because otherwise it would be like buying a pig in a poke. but that would be like spelling out the fine detail of a workshop before it happens, which i think will spoil the experience.

the wandercards are a distilled form of  'being (t)here' workshop in a box that you can use at home or take with you when you travel. 

mine are certainly going to travel with me.


the other joy at present is minding my youngest grandchild.
i'm not usually a fan of selfies
 here we are, having a morning schnuggle.

so where is this long saga leading?
i've been thinking about ikigai
that wonderful Japanese word that means
'the reason for getting out of bed'

i have so many!!!
for me, my entire life is my ikigai.

but if you'd like a methodology to work yours out
you can always try this 

borrowed from Wikipedia


  1. So you got two awards........ one for healing the washing shrine and one for your beautiful work (open cut). I love that last one very much and the first one, been there, know about it.

    Thank you for telling me about ikigai...........i'm full of it!

  2. I looked and looked but couldn't see how to order a set of Wandercards.... I have requested to be a part of the FB group just now.... will you let me know please? They sound like a lot of fun....Jo

  3. I just sent you some digital dollars via paypal. Very much looking forward to getting my hands on something your hands have created.

  4. Thank you for making me aware of Ikigai. Currently my ikigai is to feed the two little kittens we have in our home. Must identify some others, I know there are.

  5. I have the Ikigai diagram above my desk at work! It reminds me not to drink the Kool Aid...

    So excited about the Wandercards - they will join your books as things that are never put away in my studio. Not only do I refer to them all the time but they are such lovely objects in themselves that I like to touch and look at them. They are next to my John Wolseley books as too precious to be put on a shelf :)

    1. Oh that makes me happy. Have been trying (without luck) to get Murdoch Books to let me complete the "trilogy" but had no success...looking for another publisher , fingers crossed you'll be able to add another book to that collection in a few years time ;-)

    2. what? they're nuts!!

      will keep everything crossed for a sensible publisher

    3. oooh, another book with murdoch? good news, indeed! more fingers crossed.

    4. no. firm rejection from Murdoch...looking elsewhere...

  6. Is it too late to order wander cards? Somehow I missed that and I would sooooooooo LOVE to have some! I adore just about everything you do!!!!

    1. Supplies are dwindling (which makes me happy) but if you email me I can take an order

  7. You are such a gracious person. I purchased these for the pleasure and surprise coming my way. I would never have dreamed of asking for a PDF or whatever else folks have been dreaming up. Thank you for sharing and dreaming up this fun new treat!

    1. you're most welcome. i'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone does with them. thinking of making a page somewhere to share the results...