Wednesday, December 28, 2011

its a wrap...

The year is rapidly drawing to a close
 and what a big year 2011 turned out to be....

new directions on the farm

an art residency

I got to tick off quite a few things on my 'to do list' (quite a few things remain uncompleted - but that's ok.. I don't make lists to make myself feel bad when I can't do everything, I make them to help me keep track of what I want to get done)

2011 has not been all sunshine, flowers and rosy drops: we've had a very tough year on the farm (something I don't talk much about.... but let's just say - our backs are to the wall - this is as tough as it gets....) and a few weeks ago my best mate Pete (who is nearing 70) was diagnosed with a rare but dreadful form of dementia..... it's hard to talk about such things.... so I generally don't. I'll talk here of positive things instead - like some of the year's highlights: getting to meet fellow BAO peeps at Impact 7, and others in Bega at my solo show, my month of arty gestures, and volunteer work on a couple of local arty committees all rate a high mention.

The most fulfilling thing of 2011 was my limited involvement in the local koala survey and subsequently the ANU arty exchange.

Favourite new books for my library (and remember I don't really 'do' fiction) - India Flint's 'Second Skin',  Kate Herd's 'Kitchen Gardens of Australia', and 'Book Art' . Favourite finds - gorgeous bloggy peeps Velma and Anna, and some wonderful podcasts from - sustainable world radio, book artists and poets, arts and healing, treehugger, philosophy bites.... (hours of listening fun!)

But the best thing of the year (of every year) has been spending extra time with our kidlets (gosh they are growing up fast!) - they are such happy, healthy little creatures (sorry if my 'proud mumma' tattoo is too obvious!)... having kidlets is a great reality checker...

I'm hoping and planning for a quieter time in 2012 - I'm going to spend serious time in the studio working away on the Higher Degree research project - and (fingers crossed) I might FINALLY get the studio and garden open in May 2012 (a year behind schedule.... oh well...).

 all week long - including Christmas Day, FP has been creating formwork 
for that loooooong awaited path to the studio....

First thing in the new year I'm going to write a little more about art, the universe and everything (as previously promised/threatened). Late January I've booked into a 3 day food forest workshop at a local permaculture property (oooo excitements!). I've committed to another round of BAO (so the making of another small edition of books is in my future) and I anticipate launching into a weekly dose of arty gestures.  I've got a few other exciting things in the works - but it's too early to tell much about these yet.... here's a tiny pictorial hint of one thing santa bought me that I'm hoping to press into action this year...

Thank you to everyone who has dropped by here, sent notes or vibes of support or joined in the merriment over the past year - its been so lovely getting to know you!

Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

sams creek test match...

 moments ago in the yard...


(such is the shape of our school holidays....)

I've been very very lazy over December and Christmas break 
lounging, reading, eating and drinking yummies

I'll get back into the swing of things soon enough...
for now - time to just enjoy the kidlets enjoying life!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

joy to the world...

On this day of solstice

I send you all

Wishes of JOY!

for Christmas, for Hanukkah, for Solstice dancing...

may you have a wonderful festive season



Saturday, December 17, 2011

'tis the season...

the mad flurry of things before Christmas

cleaning house

working in the garden

end of year activities for the kidlets


Today we put up our Christmas tree...

it's not a designer job - but one that holds a mishmash collection of multi-coloured memories - kidlets dough decorations from preschool, paper angels with wonky wings, a beautiful glass bauble that doesn't match anything else..... ahhhhhhh that's our tree!

Our kidlets are super duper excited about Christmas - but in a sweet way - (they've never been the type to make a list of things for santa.... and subsequently are thrilled by anything in their small collection under the tree) - Christmas highlights for all of us are my family's Christmas Eve party in the park (I wrote all about this quite lovely tradition two years ago) and the huge Christmas gathering at Farmer Phil's family home over the paddock (usually 80+ family members - it's a monster!)

Right now I've got two pavlovas cooking in the oven and 5 jars of lemon butter (aka lemon curd or lemon cheese) cooling on the bench... I'm presently eschewing artiness (just for a couple of weeks... I'm brewing up an arty flurry, including those promised art musings that I'll be posting first thing in the new year)

Right now I'm channeling my inner domestic goddess and garden nymph instead.... and loving it!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

A*B*C in the garden today...

Arrowroot waiting to be planted


Beetroot and Carrot
(and rockmelon and watermelon
and salad greens and pumpkin
and so many more)
seeds to sow

whenever I find a departed wing I think of this from Rabindranath Tagore:

'The butterfly counts not months but moments and has time enough' 


 Eggs (Fresh!) for lunch

Grevillea and Helichrysum - an Indigenous sub-species
(did you see how I sneakily snuck that 'i' in there?


Japanese Maple and Kangaroo Paw 
(a favourite treat for the Eastern Spinebill)

Lichen on Melaleuca bark


Naughty Sarah sitting On (eg squashing) the Peppermint Pelargonium!
(sooo very NAUGHTY! and by her expression you can tell she KNOWS it's naughty!)

 Quince leaf with hole


Raspberries - the first of the season
(file under YUM!) soon we will be swimming in the delicious berries


Sandpit and abandoned Tractor

Unfinished business 
(that path to my studio still hasn't been started... sigh.. 
file under -Very frustrating)


there's Whipper snipping to do EVERYWHERE!

 %$#*#$ STINK BUGS ON MY CITRUS!!!!!!!!!!  
(an X-rated response)
die you horrid bugs DIE!

 Yellow Dahlia...
(file under 'things that make me smile')


(Brimmer agrees it's been a busy day)


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

mmmmmmmmm mulberry

a little something I prepared earlier....

bundles and mulberry mix in a jar

  left for about 6 weeks - opened this afternoon

two little bundles (with mulberry bits on top)

drying on the line 
mulberry MARVELOUS!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

aagad! a discovery...


what a mad month November was!

If this is the first time you've landed here - let me bring you up to speed

Over the last month I tried something totally different

On the first day of November I commenced a funny, offhand activity/experiment

To make one art gesture each day for the month of November.  You see, I have had a really BigYear where I've found myself weighed down by Big Important events and activities and expectations and commitments and thinking and doing....

The final combination of attending Impact7 (which consolidated a year's worth of disgruntled arty angst) followed by a month trying to write the 'process' chapter of my HDR exegesis nearly swamped me completely (at one point I declared to my long suffering Farmer Phil - 'as soon as I'm done with this degree I'm never going near art ever EVER again!')


Day by day I felt myself growing smaller and smaller - squashed under a weight of worries and seemingly unsolvable conundrums... (yet strangely 'on paper' I've had a Very Good Year - grants, arts residency, prizes, tiny bits of art glory dust all around...)

but so called 'success' hasn't equaled inner arty happiness nor has it tempered the lingering questions-:

* How can anyone realistically expect to have An Art Career in the Country?**
* What should we artists do about copyright?** 
* Are labour and traditional craft skills valued in contemporary art? Should they be?  Does it matter that when craft is highlighted in art or the media, it's often the woefully unskilled stuff? **
* What is the environmental impact of my arts practice? Does it make sense to make more STUFF? (hasn't the world got enough already?) How can I reconcile my concern for sustainability with the reality of making?**
* How should I deal with the unholy alliance of creativity and marketeering?**
* Is art just a pawn in the chess game of corporate greed?**
* Why bother with art anyway...**


those things can REALLY weigh you down  

then one moment under the Cuttagee bridge a thought was hatched

bugger all this deep thinking and high-fallutin' artiness! I need to do something FUN!... and that's where 'an art gesture a day' was spontaneously born: quick, spontaneous, off-hand, FUN things (not labour-intensive, time consuming, heavy duty Important Art)... no preconceived ideas, no delusions of granduer, no mountains of theory, no pressure, no dramas.... just FUN FUN FUN

suddenly, freed from the onerous demands of making Very Important Art - I made stuff that made me feel GOOD.... (and unexpectedly I suddenly found clarity in many of my mulling worries... and weirdly I think I made the occasional quite nice bit of artiness.... hmmmmm)

As each day passed and each art moment was had, I grew lighter and happier... by the end of the first week I was floating, by the second week I was soaring waaaaay above my worries...

I wasn't the only one to benefit - EJ really got into the spirit of things, often mimicking my actions (ahhhhhhh a little ephemeral anarchist arteest in the making)

whodda thunk that a small and simple creative action each day could cause a dramatic internal shift? (not me!)

I know that far more profound writers and thinkers have said all the good things about the nature and meaning of art as experience (mmm Dewey, mmmmm Shusterman, mmmmm Sartwell....) but working on a simple something everyday helped me internalise all the good stuff:

Art is not 'out there', it's with you, in you, around you. Art can be found everywhere, all the time. Art should not be about ego and is not the exclusive domain of the 'genius'. Art can be how something is done- including simple everyday matters like making a meal, mending a shirt. Art doesn't require special equipment and a designated space.  Art doesn't have to be BIG or expensive or even be for sale in order to have value. Art truly can be in the process, in the making, not just the end product (ahhhhhh now THAT'S a line for my process chapter!)

and now?

welllllll - I've got that high fallutin' higher degree to complete - but I'm feeling really quite refreshed now and rather happy with some decisions I've made.

AND I'm also going to keep on making a little unimportant 'gesture' each week

and we'll see what comes of it eh? (ps thanks all for the sweet notes of support - I really appreciated everyone taking the time to drop by for my funny little adventures over this past month... if you have been 'doing something' in this vein - feel free to add a link in the comments.... it feels nice eh?)

** I will be posting my thoughts about these and other meaty arty issues in the fullness of time....  
so stay tuned and be prepared for a few controversial bits