Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Year Of The Snake.

Here are some pics from the artist's book I made for the Emerging Contemporaries exhibition showing now until the end of March. I wish I had been able to produce more work from last year's efforts but hey, I'm lucky any got done at all. I don't think there was any point at which I really felt good about 2013. Burn out; the immunotherapy: those side effects month after month. The winter especially looms large for the sense it was just never ending. 
 So in September my partner - my super strong, fit, marathon training, never get sick partner - blindsided us with suffering a serious heart attack at work. We never saw it coming. There had been no signs whatsoever. He had none of the risk factors. The doctors induced a coma to minimise brain damage and told me we would not know anything for another 2 - 4 days. That could have been an agonising wait if I had been made to see it out. Thanks be his stubborn streak, pulling out of the coma in ten hours, barely having missed a beat. They told me he would not remember anything but he did, everything right up to unconsciousness. We still can't believe any of this is real. Yet there is a recalibrating of daily life as he recovers and a silent thank you every day to the three first aid officers at work who delivered life saving CPR. Amy, Tom, Trent - you are totally getting Christmas cards form me for ever more whether you want them or not.

 Looking forward now, 2014 I like you already.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sometimes I wonder if I am really cut out for this artist/exhibitions thing. I'm going to be honest here and say the pressure of delivering and fear of not delivering is kind of ruining my year. It's the whole deadline thing. I know the value of dead lines is that the pressure they apply can force a focus you might not otherwise muster, which can lead to some of your best work in record time but ugh, they can be stressful, a sword constantly hanging from above. Alright a little dramatic. Just wishing my work would come along at a more reassuring pace. And that I didn't have the flu. Or a crappy visit into hospital for immunotherapy once a month. Or that the winter wasn't so cold. Or that a couple prone to violent and abusive arguments hadn't moved into the rental next door...
Huh. Who knew this was going to turn into a whinge post? On the positive side of things I wrangled out of our internet and phone company a new contract that has me getting about with one of those modern new 'smart phones'. They come with cameras built into them so I have taken a photo of my upsettingly disorganised work space which reflects my state of mind. I have also put it through a special filter using an application. It's called Instagram. Have you heard of it?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Prada A/W 2013.

 I try to avoid Prada being one of the only collections I post here, but really how can it be helped? How does she get it so right? The luxury leather in pop colours. Combined with textured tweeds and the modernised retro cut of the jackets and skirts. The turquoise, the brilliant red. The fur, the gingham. The lot.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Have I mentioned that I love art? When it comes to the blues, being sad, bored or any kind of suffering I never cease to be amazed at the power art has to lift me out of myself and place me back down - almost spontaneously - somewhere better: restored, grateful, awed and inspired. To begin with today was one of those days in Canberra, the ones without the sun. Canberra, to me, can be hatefully, impossibly, miserably  cold but more often than not it's winter days are graced with a glacially sharp type of sunshine able to seek out the darkest corners of a bleak wintery soul. And yet when it is absent....
This weeks immunotherapy was really tough. A step backwards - tweaking the formula somewhat and changing 'brands' - something meant to lessen the side effects, not increase them. So when I woke up this morning with a fresh cold I was........not happy.
So it took four hours of saying I was going out to pick up some buckwheat flour to actually making that happen, the dark cold outside the door no further invitation. Eventually though, out the door I got, my smallest companion in tow.
An excursion centred around purchasing Buckwheat might sound unexciting but the shop itself is in an older part of town, where the streets are especially pretty and, as everything is bought in bulk, they sell chunks of organic chocolate by the gram. Why that is how I get my smallest companion in tow of course!
Enlivened then by the bustling inside the shop and the smell of wood fires burning I made a decision to stop off in the next street at M16 Art Space to see the exhibitions. I'd caught sight of some photos of an exhibition by Elissa Crossing on photographic magazine Life in Canberra - beautiful paintings that had immediately enchanted me with their 'through the looking glass' kind of quality (no small due the also enchanting secondary interpretation through Andrew Sikorski's photographic lens, below) and felt it would be worth my effort making it in. And it was. I adored Crossing's use of circles and ellipses as canvas alluding to the perspective of a glimpse taken and of the viewer receiving fragmented views of a private space. The muted palette with small accents of red or mustard were moody and full also of the shadowy atmosphere and mystery of private spaces. Verdict? Will buy scratchie on Monday, win and purchase the lot.
The second main exhibition at M16 were some mesmerising photographic prints and tapestries by Tim Gresham. At first that combination - photography and tapestry - seemed a bit odd. But as i went through the works and begun to appreciate what he was highlighting in each subject (indeed it wasn't always possible to identify the subject outside of organic and inorganic) i got an appreciation for the connection. In fact Gresham describes this perfectly on his blog:

  "Suggestive of music, the rhythmical imagery in both the photographs and tapestries reflect similar ideas of repetition and subtle disruption of pattern. I enjoy the contrast between the two mediums; the introspective, time consuming weaving, and the instant capture of photographic observation."

This above my favourite, the repetition and disruption, both meditative and mesmerising in effect. Really fantastic and worth seeing them all. Also worth checking out his blog if just to witness the like minded process involved in the tapestries.

Unfortunately I didn't have my camera on me as the members exhibition down the corridors of the building (and this seems always to be the case at M16) was every bit as engaging. Beautiful, varied works in paper, textiles, acrylics on wood, artists books....and only open for one last week. So much great art in Canberra and a good excuse to get out (and in) from the cold!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bit of a yearly low point. At least I hope it's the low point - in bed all week with bronchitis then woken up this morning in excruciating pain with stiff neck and shoulders. Ugh. Useless to all, my only friends Voltaren and chocolate chip cookie. Am now contorted into the only position I seem capable of, stiff arm over the key board so to blog about better times. Here goes....

Last week R's jazz band was playing at a college over Northside. I didn't know what for so I assumed open day or something. C dropped us there at 9.30, doing the one-car-family shuffle, back to the other side of town for A's soccer match in the rain.  I do not know what made R neglect to tell me college event was Designgate craft market. Every one knows I live for vintage, upcycled, hand made moments like this. I had $1.20 in my wallet. Not even enough for the freshly brewing coffee or baked goods.
Lots of great stalls though as you can see. My favourite was The Glory Box with her lovely porcelain jewellery. The cute vintage caravan brooch held for me until I can purchase it for my birthday present.
Other stalls I would have liked to have spent money at were Honi and Lemon with their re-done lamp shades, and Rosefinch & Belle with her laser cut cameo brooches. Sadly no money but what a nice surprise of way to spend a rainy Saturday, listening to live Jazz and trawling hand made.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Recognise these landmarks? Recently we took a trip up to the Westmead Children's Hospital to see the Pediatric Orthopedic Specialist and get A's Perthes' checked. We might have done that at home if his specialist hadn't been in the papers all year for serious surgical negligence, recently suspended, and with more news coming out a couple of weeks ago of unethical experimental treatment on a nine year old (seriously, what a creep!). So we did what so many families have to do to get specialist medical treatment in this country - travelled interstate. Luckily we have my sister in Sydney, so somewhere nice to stay and visit and then blessed with the perfect weather. We spent Saturday catching a bus down to the Rocks and then the Manly Ferry out to the beach. Not that we swam, maybe not that warm, but t-shirt weather.

The biggest blessing though is this: A's bone has made a full recovery since diagnosis six years ago. The amount of bone growth in the last 18 months has been astounding with complete regrowth of the femoral head and close on the original shape. I guess it shouldn't have been a surprise given how much he has grown in general (and how much he eats!) but at no point were we led to expect an outcome quite this good. I nearly kissed the doctor.....and again when he gave A these three pieces of parting advice:

1. Listen to your Mum and Dad.
2. Work hard at school.
3. Enjoy sport.

That alone was worth the $270 bill!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

One of the things that drive me nuts about interior design blogs/magazines/books is the endless showcasing of beautifully appointed homes where the design is reliant on the eye catching architectural features of the house ie. style only attainable by those with a huge income. I've chosen these pics because the styling could be in any old room. The transformation truly is a matter of a coat of paint and a good eye for s retro find. Plus I love a vintage sofa!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Trying to overcome a few obstacles for an exhibition I have in November which make preparation slow going - frustrating and not a little bit nerve wracking. Need to use whatever windows present themselves from now on so discipline required - for it's not just illness and other responsibilities holding me back but a paralysing kind of fear. Of failure I presume. Isn't that why everyone procrastinates? Some kind of fear? And in this instance (deadlines and all) it's probably best to regard that as indulgent. Sooooooooo to that end....this show will build on my graduate work which was kind of personal - or rather based on personal experience but projected onto wider philosophical contexts to create a narrative about human experience - the conflict between the corporeal nature of the body and the will to transcend that materiality. The new goal is to take that dilemma and place it in historical and political contexts in order to illuminate the symbolic role the body plays (as a kind of blank slate for inscription) in maintaining social, political and economic status quo - which is kind of exciting. Although I have to say while much of the reading has been happily absorbing some of it has been quite dry and hard going. Usually thats when I decide I must be dyslexic.
Anyway (and this really is the fun part) I've also begun collecting and pulling together all the little recycled bits and pieces that will help pull these ideas into their visual form. Again the works will be assemblage mixed with textile. Ebay must love me at the moment...though sadly I'm resorting to selling some of my beloved magazine collection and other household trash treasures to fund the process. So be it. Here's what I've accrued so far:

It's a relief to have it under way.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Wrapped up in bed with flu for the fourth day running which kind of sucks but also presents a good opportunity to Pinterest myself to death. I don't know if I've said this before but my Pinterest boards are the best on the site. Why I have only 340 folllowers is BEYOND me. Have a look and see for yourself. Today I am marvelling at my photography board. I've chosen to blog this lot based mostly on colour and composition.

1.Sarah Jones  2. Sarah Moon  3. Ludmilla Foblova  4. Via. 5. via 6.. Source.  

Monday, May 6, 2013

I spent today really unwisely. After taking the last five days in recovery from this months treatment (a rough one since I fell asleep without reminding the nurses to keep the rate of infusion slow) I woke up to a gorgeous clear skied, sunny day, a clear head and lots of possibilities (relatively speaking at least). So what did I do with those possibilities? I cleaned the house. I vacuumed and dusted. And as the sun set while I finished cleaning the bathroom I began to feel not just dumb crazy tired but a creeping sense of irritation which has sat with me the rest of this evening. I feel restless, frustrated and craving something a little more life affirming than house chores, hospital, medication taken on time and illness. Why would I use what precious little energy I have on house cleaning???? While sometimes the decision to bring life to order via a messy house is just what I need and actually does make me happy - is actually the best use of my energy - today not so. It's just always a hard call. With time to reflect and in hindsight today I would have liked to have gone to a market. Or this cool vintage shop in Norway. Not that that is actually possible given the time frame were discussing (or even in a budgetary sense) but here I am doing it virtually, so if you'd like to join me browsing a cute Norwegian shop called 13 scroll down my chosen favourites or visit them yourselves here. All the orange and green and 60s/70s kitsch is hitting the spot.

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