Saturday, August 30, 2008


I am definitely in love with this whole thing! And thanks so much for the boost Arlee! May good things come your way (tee hee).

Here's where I am at, having had to FORCE myself to stop this afternoon. I am doing a bit of mulling about embellishment and I feel it needs a frame of some kind.
Now, just a little tip for any would be pyros out there. Of course you know that the fumes are somewhat toxic and one should of course wear a mask. I was evah so careful about this, but annoyed to find that every time I did this I got an instant migraine from the chemically pong. Determined not to let this small hazard deter moi, I approached a friendly gent at the hardware and divulged some (but not all) of my dilemma. He said I should be using a P2 rated face mask, which are a bit more expensive than the cheapie ones at the supermarket, but still paper and so worth it if you suffer like me. Bit of a shame in a way really, I used to get the same side effect from using chemical oven cleaner - hence abandoned the practice of cleaning said oven entirely. I also pretended not to know thing one about green cleaning, which of course I can do and I think is way better. Now I really cannot profer this excuse any more.
Appropos of nothing, weird dream last night that the nun who taught me Art and English in High School had left a comment on my blog abhorring my spelling! All I was scared about (and I was scared) was the swear words she had come across. And of course now I am getting paranoid about my spelling!

Friday, August 29, 2008


...with this technique! Early days, I know but I'm loving how the burning process intensifies the depth of colour and of course turning these strips of sheer into crispy critters is satisfying in a creepy way of itself. This is the jump off inspiration for what I am creating:
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I don't know what it is, but I cannot seem to fall in love with this piece (hence the pins that might be visible in the outside trim will most likely stay there!) The other night, unable to sleep, for some bizarre reason I frenetically worked on this the whole night and by the end had the most hideous migraine. I even had taken it outside, pegged it to my clothesline and, with a cigarette lighter, set fire to the layered sheer pieces that I had sewn on. Whilst a great deal of fun, I just keep getting that Nyah feeling. A good outcome, though, was that my brain engineered a new set of ideas, partly inspired by that piece of arson and fanned by reading through a back issue of QA (number - do you think I can find that sucker? It's probably under my bed!) Anyway, it's the one about using strips of sheer fabric abused with a heat gun and attached to a background to form a kind of picture or scene, heavily embroidered and embellished as appropriate. Aha! Perfect methinks for my Broome series (?) as I have been enamoured of sheers for yonks and often fiddle with em. My latest preoccupation with layering even had me creating all kinds of trendy ruffles made out of spirals of sheer fabric. I like that effect too, but I am pretty keen on this newie! To the relief of one and all I even splurged on a gas fuelled heat gun today at the hardware store, where I also had to purchase mulch as it was so warm today that it would have been criminal not to be in the garden and we are expecting rain tonight, so my decks will be cleared after my babysitting duties of the day. I am also labouriously attempting some silk paper creating. I say labourious because I am literally deconstructing pieces of silk fabric down to the thread. It is perfect zoned out work at the end of the day.

PS I found it. The QA issue is 24 (it was sitting face down right in front of me!) and the article is called "Sheer Landscape" by Inche Berlyn.

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Friday, August 22, 2008


These are the very beginnings of a work focussed on the amazing geology of Broome.

As I am experiencing God awful pain sitting at my sewing machine for lengthy periods (hope this is not a taste of things to come), I am hand sewing the layers. It is very tedious and at this rate I will finish in about 25 years, so I need to start rethinking how I work - more heat and burning, more painting and perhaps using paper?
I have a shameful admission. I spent most of the morning howling my eyes out while watching the early morning TV news which has been tragically focussed on the fate of a baby humpback whale whose mummy abandoned it in Sydney Harbour. Poor thing, named Colin, has been trying to suckle from larger boats in the harbour. As Australians, we are very sooky la la about whales - we tend not to see them as main course as in other cultures. Our experience in the West is of them frolicking off our coastline as they migrate up and down from the Pole. We consider them beautiful, amazing creatures - not pests. Hence, there has been enormous public hue and cry about the fate of poor Colin. Vets have been called in to see if they could try to keep him alive by artificial feeding - a bit like what they did in the States with a similar species. Apparently, the difficulty for poor old Col is that he would need krill in his diet, especially at weaning time and that in massive amounts daily would need to be obtained from the Antarctic. Also, there is no way to know why his mum abandoned him in the first place and so, ideally he should eventually join another pod as he gets older, but scientist think it highly unlikely he would be accepted and more likely that he would be attacked by other whales. The worst part, I think, is that the media seems obsessed with showing us endless footage of this poor baby suckly dead old boats and of course we watch it with inevitable horrified fascination. Anyway, the decision has been made to end his suffering as he is starving to death, weak and in a lot of pain, having been attacked by sharks when they tried to take him out to deeper water. Oh my nature is certainly harsh sometimes.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Here are some experiments following my inspiration from the remarkable colours and geological features seen in Broome. These prove to me and the world that I have not just been sitting on my bum this last week and a bit. In between my usual babysitting commitments and dabbling in the garden, I have been doing some stuff!
And, of course, our winter in Perth seems to be officially all but over. It is supposed to rain today, but the past week has been gloriously spring-like. Lovely temps in the low twenties and
everything bursted into full bloom already. It has been so ideal for gardening that I just had to get out and remove the 20 bazillion weeds that sprouted whilst I was away and it had poured. (Hah! Good timing, what?) I also lumped over 2 tonnes of black mulch over the garden beds which just about killed me, but looks fabulous and will really help if we end up getting not so much more rain. (Meteorologists are so excited that the dams are at 35% capacity for the first time in yonks and yonks, but looks a bit like follow up is going to die in the arse.)
Now, be prepared for a scorching blast at communications companies! A few months ago I changed my ISP - a general hoo hah in itself - and, as directed by the new people, filled in and sent back a form to have the monthly bill for my broadband direct debited from my bank account. Fine. Next thing, I get back from Broome to discover ALL the mail from that week stuffed into my letterbox and completely soggy despite the fact that my youngest daughter was staying at my house, supposedly to collect the mail each day. But that's another story in itself about her irresponsibility etc. Amongst the wet mail was a nasty letter from said ISP to say they had not received money to pay account and unless they did within seven days, service would be disconnected. Needless to say, that seven days had passed by the time I got the letter in my hands and I had no phone and no internet. The letter went on to note that if I had any questions, I could call a number - BUT FROM A LANDLINE!!!! or I could contact them through their website. HOW????????????????? So. that day (a Friday) I was busy doing 59 loads of washing that had to get draped all over the house because it was still raining, re-stocking my pantry and fridge that had been completely emptied by said daughter and changing my bedlinen after removing all the WET towels off it (every single towel in my house was draped somewhere around the place in some kind of damp state) - all of which led me to a strong suspicion that this young lady had not been here on her own!! (Hence the urgent need for fresh bedlinen) On weekend, no phone, no internet and no way to contact company who keep 9-5 hours weekdays only. On the Monday, I had to drive to my daughter's house (the eldest, married one) and sit on her phone in a queue for 45 minutes until I got some person who really copped it from me, as in "I have done all the right things, blah blah, what the hell....?" She calmly stated that everything was now sorted - the direct debit had been processed and I should go home, turn everything off for 10 minutes, turn back on and everything would work. Which it did. For four days. The next Friday, I try to ring someone - no phone. Try turning on computer and accessing internet - no go. Furious, I go next door and sit on neighbour's phone for 30 minutes in queue and finally have to give up as she had to go out. So this process of using other people's phones and sitting in queues for periods up to an hour at a time continued all week long. Finally, yesterday (Monday) I decided I was just going to wait on my daughter's phone (all day if necessary) until I got hold of a human being. Being cheerfully informed at constant intervals that they were experiencing high volumes of calls and if my call was non-urgent, perhaps I could call back later or maybe try contacting them via their website, was more than merely annoying. Hence after close to an hour when I finally got hold of some poor soul - did he cop it!!The worst part of the whole thing was that he tried to lie to me about the reason for being disconnected. He said it was for non-payment of my account. I explained that was just so much bullshit because of my previous contact with the company. Then he tried to tell me it was probably the fault of the bank. I told him that I very much doubted that, as we were talking about the biggest bank in Australia and I have never had a problem with other direct debit arrangements through them before. He got quite snarky with me when I told him to inform the accounts people that they better not have the audacity to charge me for the week and a bit they had cut me off. "Why is that, madam?" he asked. Because, you moron, none of this is my fault and you did not even have the courtesy of telling me before cutting me off the second time. He insisted it must be a bank problem. I think steam was emanating from my brain by then, but of course, I just wanted my phone and my world back again, so I told him I would be writing to the company about the atrocious customer service, etc, etc. and hung up. At least I have my lifeline reconnected, I suppose and realistically, I guess they probably will charge me and I will get furious and that will take another year off my life expectancy. This might sound melodramatic, but I said to my daughter "Sometimes, I just feel drained by the fact that every single aspect of my life seems like a huge struggle. Why does it have to be that way?" Let's hope there's a payoff somewhere in the future.
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I returned from Paradise on the weekend. What an amazing place Broome is! I am so inspired by everything I saw and did there that I can hardly wait to get organised and start creating.

Where do I start? The brilliant saturation of pure colour in the northern region of this vast state is breathtaking. When you see the photos it's hard to believe they have not been manipulated - but that is the true colour you are seeing. Flying up the coast it is astounding to see thousands and thousands of Kilometers of vast white beaches with not a living soul around - with the rich redness of the iron laden dirt kissing the beachfronts that extends so far. I couldn't help but be staggered by the geology and the fact that there is so much potential wealth in that soil that you could never imagine it all being tapped. And all those thousands of islands off the coast like little gems in the aqua and turquoise ocean. How many wealthy millionaires would give their eyeteeth to own just one of them? It's all protected of course and I guess we must be grateful about that, but I would love to be down there exploring the magic of it all. There are dinosaur footprints that you can go see in Broome as well as fossils of so many types, so just imagine what is down that vast coastline that no one knows about. I think I remember from school days that Australia is the oldest continent and looking at that part of the country, it is so believable.
As for Broome itself, laid back to the extreme. People just shamble through the town (we call it Broome time) in the glorious sunshine - perfect summer weather at this time of year - low to mid 30s during the day and quite cool at night. Everywhere you look there are magnificent old native boab trees, relics and memorials from Broome's early days as a pearling harbour using first Aboriginal and then Japanese labour. There are also awful reminders of the fact that Broome was bombed by the Japanese during WW2 (that I had forgotten about). Mango and coconut trees abound throughout the town, maginificent beachside resorts butt up to the coastline and there are some astonishingly opulent homes being built. Everywhere businesses are desperate for workers as a lot of people have moved inland towards Newman with the huge resources boom the State is experiencing. There are a lot of casual backpackers working in the restaurants and shops. There are lots and lots of shops selling pearl jewelry and mother of pearl items. Some of it is a bit ho-hum, some horrendously expensive and some is just stunning. I came back with quite a few items myself and a couple of gifts for my girls. I wish I could describe so much more for you, but if you ever geta chance you must go there. Avoid the "wet" (November to March) as apparently it is revolting weather and people have been known to kill themselves at that time due to the oppressive humidity, constant rain and heat. Here's a taste of my inspiration.