Sunday, September 30, 2007

Age and Beauty

My darling Nana recently sent me this photo of herself at 16 and another taken 70 years later at 86 years or age. Nana made the comment, 'old age isn't a pretty sight is it?'. How my heart cried out as I examined the two pictures; out of respect for my Nana I am not sharing the newer picture, and yet it brings me joy - she looks lovely dressed for a wedding, and I see her heart in the gentle smile upon her face. It was nice to see this older picture, and my Nana was pretty, but I look at her now and I see true beauty.

My Nana lives in England, and yet she has been the first to hear many of my secrets and hold them close, as she does for all my cousins. Nana is encouraging and kind and she really knows how to listen. She sets boundaries too - when we whinge about our parents, as kids do, she gently tells a story that will remind us of our parents strengths. Nana has the gift of being able to accept all people exactly as they are, and to relate to people of all ages; she values that which is important to each of us and would never miss asking about my fur babies.

How is it that we can spend so much time chasing down antique furniture, and as many of us do aging perfectly shiny new items, and yet live in a society that teaches us to disdain the signs of age on our own earthly bodies.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bad Mummy

If you have ever wondered what a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel looks like after his Mum locks his tail in the car door, I can show you. For other breeds you will have to do your own research! Seriously, his poor little face was miserable 20minutes later and his tail was still wagging - see how it is blurred? Archer's tail wags from daylight to dusk and beyond - is that a cav' thing I wonder?
What a chaotic weekend this one has been. It was the last week of school term and my last week with my year 12 History class before their mock exams. I had quite a lot of marking to do for them and lots of last minute practice assessments.
In the 'it never rains but it pours' style of life my Uncle G and his wife were out from England for the first time, they spent a week here in Albany with us and have managed to see quite a lot of the state. We had a couple of family dinners and lovely afternoons while they were here.
When we visit England we flit from place to place and person to person and the opportunity for long cosy one-on-one chats is limited.
I had a few birthday gifts to make, including my visiting Uncles' so I made some wire bookmarks - I actually wrapped the really manly one I made for Uncle Gnbefore it got a picture taken, but these ones were given away this week too.

The junk pin is on Etsy (now sold)- there is something soothing about making these, the collection of small elements, the wire wrapping. It is all so relaxing.

I made the green/sterling silver necklace to wear to a special dinner. The rain forest jasper is just gorgeous. I can't decide whether to keep it or not, perhaps I will just wear it a couple more times, I was thinking about a friend as I made it. Who knows where it will end up.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

This Week's Jewellery

I think this black and gold pin has become my favourite. I really enjoyed putting this one together. Do you see the weird 'springy things' I have included on both? My Dad gave me them, they are the inner workings of the valves in tyre tubes - obsolete now, but a quick dip in shellac and they are sealed ready to feature in my jewellery.
My Mum loved the original teaspoon necklace so I made two and let her choose which one she wanted, fairly sure she would choose the bottom one for its symmetry - she did. I used a stainless steel spoon which went so well with the black lava beads and aged sterling silver wire. These pieces really show the contrast in my creative style - simplicity versus minute detail; not a problem just interesting.
gift for my Mum

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Cemetery Treat

I have been living in Albany for ten years now – closer to eleven – and how time flies. I remember when I moved I explored a lot of haunts remembered from childhood holidays and found some new ones. Always I saved the old cemetery as a treat. Yes, a treat for a time I was bored, or a bit down and needed something special to do. Now you are confused? I really enjoy visiting cemeteries, as a historian I find the family relationships, disasters, love affairs and fashion, spread out for all to see fascinating, encouraging and sometimes a little sad.
Some headstones resound with grief and a sense of a family that can not go on, and yet neighbouring plots will reveal that those same relatives lived to ripe old ages and gave joy to others, somewhere they found strength. The graves of children bring a lump to my throat, and yet these ancient headstones also serve to make me very grateful for the time I live in, where so many more children grow to fulfil their potential.
Today I needed some photos for an altered book and so I ventured into town for a blissful afternoon, feeling a little sad that I was ‘using up’ this treat.
I was caught in a dilemma – as often is the case when I visit cemeteries: Indulge my slight obsessive compulsive tendencies and visit every grave in order from beginning to end, reading every headstone; flit from section to section following the trail of family relationships or follow my camera and capture the afternoon shadows and shapes. I ended up doing a little of all, and resolved both to visit without a camera and in a morning so I can shoot with my back to the light.

Archer seemed particularly interested in this tiny grave for sisters Emily and Violet. I was heartbroken to see the work of vandals, not for the sake of the dead, I know their souls have long departed, but for the history, for those who left these markers. How beautiful was the plot of identical plain crosses home to the bodies of departed nuns, how poignant the messages of love left ... These cemeteries of of old seem to resound with hope for future meetings and a belief in the life after death, and yes, art.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Look what my Dad made me!

I asked me Dad to make me a new mail box. My old one was in a silly spot, it was hard for the postie to reach, and his bike was eroding my sloping verge. The final straw came when a part of the wooden on the old one rotted and it began to swing like a hammock in the wind.
A couple of weeks, an old cream churn and some ‘stuff’ and I now have a large, weather proof mailbox. All that is left for me to do is add a number. I want to make one out of metal bits so it may have to wait until the next school holidays.
When the lawn grows back and the bush sprouts new leaves it will blend beautifully. I do love my rather clever Dad.

Vintage Posy, the piece below, sold the same day I made and listed it on my Etsy. I was blown away – and am so thrilled it is travelling half way round the world to a lovely lady in the USA.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A little bit different ...

This piece started off as an abstract assemblage on a cat food tin lid - somehow it became a vintage posy. Either way it was fun just to sit and play without a plan.

Talk soon ...

Monday, September 10, 2007

The weekend that was...

I did it! Well almost..... I stayed out of the art room until 7.00pm on Sunday. That is ,if you don't count the gloriously wrapped jewellery I packed up to post on the weekend; those parcels needed handmade tags, and ribbons to match, I needed more hand coloured price tags ... Um, two hours to pack five parcels.
What did I do with the extra time? A glorious long walk to one of my favourite spots. There is a granite rock (top left of bottom picture) where I like to climb up and sit and pray. The rock gives 360 degree views over Albany, and is special. I am used to going with Miss Maggie who would sit beside me head tucked under my arm happy to have her head scratched with monotonous repetition. Archer, dear man is such a busy dog that he may be banned from future visits. He chased a crow down one piece of granite - not realising that the sheer face would be too hard, and high, for him to climb back up. Of course I rescued him. He tried to drink from a rock pool and the nasty dog in the water kept looking at him.... on and on his trauma's went.
I digress, what else did I do? Sent interstate and overseas friends into shock when I returned a plethora of phone calls, and surprised my class today with marking returned in under a week.
What am I doing tonight? A hint - there are keys, cat food tin lids, shellac and rust involved.
What did you do on the weekend?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

More of 'those' knots...

I really enjoyed making this piece which features a Turkish silver teaspoon handle; and yes, the bowl end will appear in some jewellery soon. I finally bought a jewellery saw this week and it has made cutting pieces like this so easy - amazing what a blade 1mm wide can cut.

I am enamoured with these little pieces of smoothed rock, and the way they contrast with glass and crystal. I sold the last one, but am planning on wearing this one myself.
I am not sure I will get into the creative zone this weekend - I should be doing other things, I guess the next post will tell how strong my will power is.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The gift that made me cry ... sweet tears.

I received a parcel from Sandy last night, it was there when I arrived home from school feeling flat, and knowing I wanted to take my time over the contents I left it as I went to meet some people. A meeting which upset me a little. So on arrival home I gathered the box, a cup of tea, and headed to sit on my cosy bed. This is what I found.
Do you recognise my babies? After Maggie girl, and Hamish died Sandy was (as many were) so very supportive. Sandy told me in a little note within this parcel that she contacted Mo,of froyandolo, and asked her to make me some cards. Mo visited my blog and read about my love for the furry ones and made these beautiful sets of cards and tags: Maggie and Hamish, Hamish alone and Maggie alone. Mo then refused to take payment because she had read the blog and understood. Do you see why I cried? My furries, who I miss so much (even with the dear little Archer asleep on my lap and Phantom by my side); permission to remember, the kindness of two women; one I have not met face-to-face and the other I had never heard of. How my heart swells.
This sweet doll has so much detail, even 24 hours later I am still finding stitches and charms, patterns and pictures. Each time I turn her over I get a lump in my throat; her label says: 'Julie's doll August 2007' - those simple word's move me. Sandy has some of her beaded work headed for a gallery (in New Hampshire) very soon - pop over to her blog and have a look.
And if those two precious gifts were not enough, some wall paper tags, and deluxe charms ... I am so very spoilt. Thank you.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

And the winner is...

What a delight this give away became, I "met" so many nice people and found some delightful new blogs to visit. I also found some wonderful people who read my blog quietly. The randomly drawn winner of my OOAK junk pin is one of those ... Congratulations to Julie Q.
If anyone else would like to purchase a pin please visit my ETSY store, or ping me an e-mail. I was going to illustrate this post with steaming cups of hot tea, or the bingo game I used to draw the winner(after all I did ask about your favourite drinks - and thank you I did get some good ideas), but ... I was out gardening on Saturday and dear Archer was sending me MAD - he kept disappearing down the street. After collecting him for the fourth time and with storm clouds gathering I dropped him into the green waste bin. Just 5 minutes, I said.
Archer has such a good time tromping down the prunings and checking out the rest of the street, in fact he may have imagined this game of hide and seek was completely for his benefit, we managed to fill the bin before the rain came down.The little man almost fell out of the bin turning to pose for the photo above.
At the end of the morning's work Charles, who had observed the entire process, wanted to know why Archer was so tired.

Congratulations again Julie.