Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Channeling Georgia

 The boys at school have been painting some landscapey bones in the desert kind of stuff this week.
Georgia O'Keefe was one of the painters referred to. We like a bit of Georgia.
Here's one I prepared earlier on primed paper.

 There's another in progress. I like to try a little feminization of the boney subjects. The boys were being a bit grittier with their desert tones. 

 I have never been much of a painter type but seem to be getting a bit addicted to it lately.
It makes my mouth water ....

and gave me a brain worm....

Here's to my first last child's namesake. Sing it Ella!

Friday, October 25, 2013

the Return of Lefty

Today is an anniversary of sorts.

It is one year since I had my last zappo of radiation and was freed of the treatment that squashed 2012 (and hopefully the cancer) like a nasty bug.

Coincidentally the universe swung around a bit this week and threw me a bone. The $15000 surgery that is required for breast reconstruction has been offered to me gratis! There is a small but amazing programme still existing in the fast shrivelling maze of Queensland Health that offers this if you tick all the boxes. There are questions about weight, height, smoking, etc. Then you pass to level 2 where they checkout your scar recovery, muscle, muffintop and sanity.
Yesterday they finally rang to say I was in! Straight up in the New Year, Lefty ll will arrive. It will be a long recovery but the Universe threw us another bone and my job was extended another year. They are happy for me to take the time needed to recover. So The Divine Ms M aka Shorty can start prep with a mother on board who can be home again during the day sans l'offspring to get strong and healthy and maybe bake a few cakes and make a few paintings. At first the surgical side of things made me fairly nervous but there was a need to fix some problems from last year's surgery anyhoo. So I figured what is there to lose except my muffin top which they use to make the newby. 

Lichtenstein tweaked.
This year has gone so fast with work and refinding the making mojo and the support and happy company of lovely friends. Thanks to all of you- again.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lifting the house

Sometimes I imagine being the headstrong yet adorable companion to Dr Who. I would get in the time machine and go back to when Ollie Twist was owner-building this farmhouse in the 1930's. He would be sitting out the back of his shed down the back playing his clarinet, an enviably SMALL instrument.

Apparently he was a congenial and open minded man so he would greet me happily enough once over the initial surprise at the appearance of a police box in his paddock.
Then after being introduced I'd have a stern word with Ollie.

"Ollie", I'd say, "There are a few things you need to change when you set about building this house of yours as it will one day be mine. I would appreciate you making the hallway twice as wide so I can have a couple of dressers with storage and lovely vinaigrettes on them."

After explaining the vinaigrette principle, I would go on to politely request that he also make the sun room twice as wide so we could fit more people out there and a table and chairs. We used to have them out there till the chillun  got too long to get in and out of the chairs and the Big Fella moved it around without permission while I was at the footy one day. Yes, we embrace role reversal here.

"Also Ollie, I would also like the subdivision of the farm to be just a little wider on the eastern side so we can keep the pair of ancient poinciana trees together and while you're on that concreting craze out the side could you lay a slab in the big empty room that could be a  great studio if it had a floor?"

"And one more thing, Ollie," I'd ask, as I followed the Doctor back into the Tardis. "Could you please make the house just a metre higher so I can build in underneath with plenty of light and no expensive house lifting which is very much the thing in this part of Australia in about eighty years time. Think what a visionary you would be!"
The door stays!
In the meantime I have taken out my house lifting frustrations on the doll house with castors I bought about eight years ago. All things come to those who wait. At least the Noahs won't get wet feet in the next big flood.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Settlement and fragments

On Wednesday I was taken to a marvellous exhibition at the QUT gallery that is really worth a wander through should you work near there or be in the general vicinity. It is by a Phillipino husband and wife team, Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan and was made with many collaborators including their five children and various community groups.
This show,"Fragments- Another Country",  has it all, my people. There is crochet, vintage everything, handmade objects, recycling, clutter and culling and a great deal of thought provoking loveliness.
It is about the ordeal of relocation and  immigration and what we humans think is important enough that we would keep in our  lives should we have to choose.

One room was filled with walls of intricately made aeroplanes all made using recycled and found objects like the rest f the exhibition.

The boys I went with were most taken with this lairy modded bus/car.

 These cupboards are made from a rare kind of oak only found in Queensland but packed with every imaginable bit of ephemera from the owners' past lives in the Phillipines. One boy pointed out a Sarah Vaughan CD. I was impressed that a fourteen year old even new who Sarah Vaughan was!

Then there was a colossal sculpture reminiscent of a ship or the barricade from Les Mis.

It filled an entire room with struts and sails made of crocheted rugs and vintage knitting needles. Yes! Vintage knitting needles! I was in Heaven, I tell you.

Then there were wonderful assemblages made of old cardboard and twigs. Pull yer socks up there, boys!

At the end we got to make our own special objet that we would choose to keep should we have to give up everything and leave our homes. The boys labelled them with names and where they were from and reasons why that was their chosen item. The twinettes were, as usual, chalk and cheese. One wanted to take his bed so that he could always have a comfortable night's sleep. The other made an abstract lucky charm molecule thing to bring luck in his new home. I made a ring to symbolize my family, because like most of us, that's what I value most.

Then we mailed them on a huge pile of treasures made by all the other visitors.

It gave food for thought about people who have to abandon homes and come here with nothing hoping for new lives and those who are already here and lose everything in sudden catastrophic events like the awful bush fires in New South Wales. May they be safe with their families too.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Eggs-citing news from kiln-topia

The kiln has been opened.
It was first thing I did on my birthday morning so it was quite a fun present. I had been wondering all week end if it would just turn into a pile of calcified ash when I opened the door like a mummy in an Indiana Jones movie.
See this egg carton below...this is it! This is the clay version of the original. The slip has perfectly mimicked the texture of the card board. It is very fine and light and fragile so it may be more decorative than functional. I could give it a good thick glaze to strengthen it but then the powdery ripples would be lost. Perhaps I should just glaze the underside. I'm thinking of an opaque white glaze for that. Any thoughts are most welcome.

Of course there was another Hermansbergish pot in there. These are little demo pots that would otherwise be wasted. So I fire them for presents as needed.

My brother found this under his house when he was cleaning out. It was bought in the Valley of the Kings back when we were young and backpacky, from some very sweet scruffy local kids who I suspect just moulded them from river clay. The figures were unfired so most of them had crumbled after a while. This one just got a new lease of life by being thrown in the kiln too so it is now hard ceramic. It should survive a while longer now.

Then there is the favourite. This one I am loving. I'm kind of surprised it worked if I'm honest. It is tres delicato so it will have to go on the piano or somewhere safe. Up high away from chillun, dogs and husbands.
 The detail is amazing. Even the individual fibres are visible. I could have a bit of fun with this methinks. Strangely it is as light as a feather as all the structure of wool and raffia was completely
emoliated. That is my word for the day. Like it?

Last week it was 'ungulate' which is a hooved animal. "Would you please be so kind as to park your ungulate away from the saloon, Mr Sundance."
That is a great word too. It sounds more like a strangled  exclamation. "She released an ungulated scream when she opened the kiln!"

But I digress...

 So now I'm off to the gallery on an excursion.  It's a sunny day, I have on my new top from the Lairy godmother who attended the godmothers AGM on Saturday night to celebrate how young I am.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I Slipped!

 Last week I got a bit slippy with it. Needing a receptacle for the huge amounts of eggs we seem to have now the baking has stopped at home, I had a little brainwave. If I doused an egg carton with white runny clay (slip) would it fire into a ceramic egg carton?

The obvious thing to do was to get a carton from the boarders dining room and paint some clay on. I should have stuck with that but it got tedious waiting for it to dry between coats so...

 it seemed easier to just pour slip all over the carton- one side only in case you want to do this. I smoothed it out a bit with a soft brush to try and get it a bit even.

 Placing it on a piece of cardboard made it easier to move to the kiln without cracking it.

 Then the experimental knitting sculptures caught my eye. One was chopped up and dipped in slip.
Yes, it is messy.
Yes, it is deliciously so.
Note more skeleton drawings going on there too.
Well there is a drought on, as some of the rural boarders reminded us.

 The whole blobby mass was spread ever so daintily on another slab of cardboard and fired in the kiln to a bisque temperature of about 1000 degrees in case you decide to have a go. Don't you love just getting a bit mucky and trying something with no idea of the outcome?

 I'll let you know how it all turns out. There could be delicate sculptural loveliness or just a big mess of burnt fibres, card and broken ceramics. Stay tuned slip groupies!

P.S. Did I mention that I am really enjoying this job? Yes? One or fifty times?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Things to Like about School Holidays- Part 2

Oh, yes! There are more and they are not the usual going to a theme park in California or relaxing at a local idyllic tropical resort type ones. Do you think we would bump into Angelina and her crew there? Would we be able to exchange anecdotes about having twins and large families and breastage issues? So much in common we have and yet, so very little!

Meanwhile back in the real world...

Things to Like about School Holidays- Part 2

12. Recruiting chillun to help with boring time consuming tasks like painting the boys' chest of drawers. Last time I stained and estapolled this beast, the twins were on the verge of being born and it was no mean feat. This time they can contribute more than a huge bump. Many hands and all that. Using spray cans made it infinitely more appealing to them!

13. Playing the family "bored" game of my childhood that I loved whether they like it or not!

14. Finishing the book that I read to myself for myself at 1 a.m. and sleeping in next day.

15. Getting to Ikea for what may only be an annual pilgrimage now. There may have been a few small purchases including a stool for $15 which I almost paid $30 for at Matt Blatt the day before. You have to love the big IK!
Even the dolls house was Ikea-ed. How cute is this stuff?

16. Having sons build flat pack furniture for me. This is the new Lego for our family - cheaper, more functional and less agonising to stand on. There is a lot to be said for breeding your own small sweat shop.

17. Going to the hospital for all those annoying visits and not having my pay docked for the pleasure. This is a grey zone as I find it highly stressful and not a happy place. Adrenalin starts pumping and my flight/ fright impulse soars to alarming levels. I usually get teary as I start to speak to the Doctor. It's all just a series of triggers and post traumatic shock they tell me. All I really need is a good haircut and a massage! Trigger that. They should be on this list too but I never got there.

18. Watching movies with my whole brood that they loved when they were very small and introducing the youngest to the same. They actually sat through the whole thing and loved it. One even said he loved that music when he was small. It had been thrown out with the video player so its all fresh again.

19. The beach- rocks, kids and dog, perfect weather and a tiny bay. That's always a winner.

20. Catching up with some precious old friends and family. Lingering over tea with them and not having to rush to the next place.

21. Culling and tidying drawers of chillun wear. Minimise, minimise, minimise...
There was even time for a little wanton vignetting!

22. Watch other half finishing off the front deck with some painting, guttering and Japanese style rain drains instead of downpipes. I'm looking forward to the next big storm to watch them weave their magic.

23. Making it up as we go day by day without a set routine. Love it!

There are about twenty things left to do and one day of holidays left to do them in. We'll see how it goes.

Reach for the sky

*Sorry for being so sporadic in commenting and visiting lately. I have been unable to access lots of your sites due to technical difficulties but hope to be over that soon. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

On the River

In August the celebrated Irish poet, Seamus Heaney died at 74.

The Big Fella also had a birthday and we spent a lovely afternoon on the river.

"Her scarf a la Bardot,

In suede flats for the walk,

She came with me one evening

For air and friendly talk

We crossed the quiet river

Took the embankment walk." (from 'Twice Shy', Seamus Heaney)

I should  have worn that scarf a la Bardot.

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