Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tjanpi Desert Weavers

I'd booked my ticket to fly up to Alice Springs the night before I boarded the plane, barely time to pack after a family gathering. I haven't been that spontaneous in the longest time and it was great to let go of all those things that have been bothering me all year and spend some time in the most incredible and spiritually inspiring landscape. In solitude, I found myself again.

There are a number of cultures which make use of this sort of basket coiling technique. I've luckily been taught by another inspiring woman, Maryann Talia Pau this technique for creating baskets. Tjanpi Desert Weavers have taken this particular technique and created all sorts of three dimensional objects; figures, the animals of the desert and even the humble car. An exhibition titled String Theory, at the MCA in Sydney was the first time I'd come across their work. I sat next to Margaret and wove away under her instruction, watching as she carefully inserted more raffia into the basket and wove with the ease of years of practice. I'm forever indebted.   
 Margaret and her finished basket

The MCA website has lots of great information and a few sound recordings on the exhibition String Theory, a great resource if you're at all interested in Contemporary Australian Art.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Caterpillar Dreaming

I never dreamed I would fall in love with such a wild and inhospitable landscape nor feel that childhood tug of seeing the world with fresh eyes while standing in front of it as a 35 year old woman. How had I never seen this before, this landscape, it's people, this spiritual place? There is no way to describe the scale of it. Words and photographs fail me - the sheer emptiness of the landscape, dotted with mountain-scapes and rock formations reminiscent of moon voyages. Then there is that red dirt, I still can't bring myself to wash the stuff out of my sneakers. 
Caterpillar Dreaming / Alice
Standley Chasm
Simpsons Gap
Kata Tjuta / Valley of the Winds Trail
Sunrise / Uluru
Rock Painting / Uluru
Kings Canyon
The Garden of Eden / Kings Canyon
Trephina Gorge / East MacDonnell Ranges

Friday, March 27, 2015

A new studio

I love nothing more than a great stack of books and by that, I don't mean a great big stack. Just a thoughtful bunch placed together. I have them all around my house at the moment. Stacks of art books and cook books, collected atlases from op shops carefully arranged with small sculptures, ceramics, photographs, road maps, gifts and things gathered over the years. My love of maps is ironic considering my distinct lack of an internal compass. I need these markers around me, these vignettes. Small reminders of wonderful events in life, the things I've read that have resonated with me, places I've been and the people who've come into my life at various times. I've been organising and teaching a workshop over at Pop Craft Studio and so I've been spending quite a bit of time tinkering in my studio among these precious things, just thought I would share them. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Pula and Plivitce

It was such a pleasure driving through the Croatian countryside, aside from getting lost on our first evening, ending up in the middle of no where and having to ask for directions from drunken men chain smoking in a small house turned pub. It was so dark - country sort of dark with scattered street lights and narrow roads that made for difficult driving in a large van. There were five of us plus luggage after all. We learnt to love roundabouts and to tolerate the sound of our GPS. Perhaps there were also a few tears and quite a bit of swearing but what is travel without getting lost right? Oh and there was that time where we didn't think we'd be able to drive the van out of an underground car park in Provence without serious roof damage. We piled a few extra people in and even considered letting the air out of the tyres to make it out unscathed. Unscathed we were, but only just and laughed and cried in relief once back in the hot sun.

These photographs are of my uncle and aunt's property, just a twenty minute drive from the centre of Pula. Pero is actually quite a funny man, so this serious photograph of him probably doesn't reflect his true character. While struggling with reduced eyesight, he proudly showed us around this garden, garage, vegetable storeroom and protected apple tree. We also got treated to a feast by Emma; homemade bread, fresh pasta with foraged mushrooms from the fields that surround them, a delicious apple cake and chicken soup that we had missed since leaving home. Off we were sent with left over cake, figs and a laden bag of apples from the garden that we struggled to get through before we left the country. Not long after leaving Pula we drove to Plitvice National Park, arriving in the late afternoon. It had been a lovely but cool summer's day, with the light of the day fading as we made our way around the lakes and waterfalls. For the most part, we had the national park to ourselves. Don't miss it if you're in that part of the world, I've never come across so many shades of green.    
Plitvice National Park

Saturday, December 27, 2014


I travelled to Europe with my four sisters; Kathryn, Maria, Julia and Olivia. On our way, we had gotten a little lost driving from Zagreb to Pula. After calculating getting into Pula in less than three hours, it took us five mostly dark and nervous hours! There were a few hilarious moments, including feeling a little desperate and stopping to ask for directions. 

In the smallest country pub filled with drinking locals and thick cigarette smoke, we asked in broken Croatian for directions. After quite a bit of drunken gesticulation and wild estimates of how long it would take for us to make our way to Pula, we were back on the road and onto a tollway. Our GPS had been set to avoiding any paying toll roads, hence the wild goose chase through the countryside. Shame we couldn't see much of it either, it was pitch black by then. This what some of what we saw the following day, wandering around the stari grad, or old town, where my father spent his teenage years.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Travel and life

So I've been away. Partly because I've been busy and concentrating on other things, working and generally getting caught up in life. I also lost some of the desire I had to share on here thinking, who cares? Does anyone out there really read this and find it interesting, or am I wasting precious time agonising over my writing and photographs. Remembering why I started this had me coming back - a record or visual diary of sorts and that regular discipline to produce. I've been struggling with this lately and thought, why not give it another go? I've always blogged about all of my creative endeavours, so I thought I'd start with my recent trip to Europe. I'll post more next week. I had a great old time in Croatia!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Now for some exciting news about a new project I've been madly working on and finally get to share with you all. After plenty of late nights, I'm equally elated, scared and relieved that my new venture SIX & SIX is finally up off the ground and ready to roll! This is something I've been creatively planning for quite some time. Anyone for a Gingerbread House Construction workshop? Yes, that is right. Our first workshop will be putting the bits together to create a one of a kind house that you get to take home and use as the centrepiece for your Christmas celebrations. Come and join in if you're in Melbourne and hear me talk baking. Yay! Book through the SIX & SIX website.   
These photographs were taken by David Grbac