Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Finding a balance

                                                 Here I am,
                                                 yes back finally,
                                                 after a busy few weeks.
                                                 Life has been so full that there has
                                                 been no room to blog.

                                                 It is hard to find a balance in life sometimes.

                                                The selfish artist side of me
                                                 longs to be a hermit in the studio,
                                                 quietly making art and listening to music and
                                                 feeling frustrated by any interruptions
                                                 from the outside world.

                                                 Fortunately I do have a less selfish
                                                 mother/ grand mother/ sister/ daughter in-law/ 
                                                 sister in-law/ aunt/ friend etc 
                                                 side to my personality.

                                                That side is always delighted to be
                                                 dragged away from my hermit hole
                                                 to be part of the rich tapestry of
                                                 an interesting family and social life.

                                                 When I manage to accept both sides
                                                  of myself I do find that delicate balance and
                                                  then my life hums. I would even go as far
                                                  as saying it sings exultantly.

                                                  I wish I could get it right all the time.

                                                 So here is a little photo log
                                                 (as a picture says a thousand words)
                                                 and it would take a lot of words to tell you
                                                 what I have been up to over the past
                                                 few weeks since my last blog post.


                                                         Firstly as always there has been my
                                                         weekly visits to my dear son who
                                                          lives in hospital.

                                                          When I visit him I feel very much
                                                          appreciated and the sadness that surrounds
                                                          me as a mother looking at her son, who had
                                                          shown such intellectual and creative
                                                          potential as a teenager, is softened and I
                                                          appreciate him as he is now and the depth
                                                          he has added to my life.
                                                          It is good for us as humans to understand
                                                          the frailties of life.
                                                          So we all continue to struggle to make
                                                          the best of this difficult illness.

                                                          He puts life into perspective for me.
                                                          He has opened my mind and my heart
                                                          to the world of people who live their lives
                                                          with the difficulties of mental health.

                                                          Every moment of every day I am thankful
                                                          to be relatively healthy in body and mind.


                                                           He loves our catch ups and always looks
                                                           forward to hearing family news.
                                                          A brief change of environment and company
                                                           does him the world of good.

                                                           But, I often need a good dose of
                                                           J.S.Bach, art/ clay and garden
                                                           to regain my happy-sad balance
                                                           after visiting him though.

                                                                   a little shake out 

The first new chick of the season.

cactus flowers - more each morning

A family of Red Browed Finches feeding 
their babies on the morning chook food

Building wearable art 
with my grand daughter.

And a trip to the Australian Museum


Then back to the studio

Making handles 

                                                     I have been potting like a mad woman
                                                     over these last couple of weeks.

                                                         The kiln will go on for a bisque
                                                          this Thursday evening.

                                             I am always nervous when I have
                                             favourite pieces in there.

                                            This load has my vinegar jar for
                                            my friend Beatrice in NZ.
                                            I SO want it to come out perfectly!
                                            Everything else is relatively small
                                            but the vinegar jar is big
                                            and I have put a lot of love into it.

                                            So PLEASE cross every thing for me on
                                            Thursday night :)


                                                            Some hand building.

I have also been working with
my paper and textile bits.

I find I can do this in the evenings at the 
dining room table while my daughter is doing 
           her homework and that way I can be sociable 
and still get some work done.

It's all about getting that balance!


Then there was the launch of my sister Karin's book…..
well it is not really HER book ….
But it has taken up her heart and soul
and a large portion of her creative thoughts 
for the past 25 years that she has been 
working on it!

(the following 8 beautiful pics are by my brother Chris )

It is the story of the Keewong Mob.

It is a wonderful book and a very 
important resource for teaching 
Australian history.

                                                    The launch was at Tranby in Glebe

                                           We cooked up a storm and had a great celebration.



                                            The following day my daughter was playing in a
                                           Paul Kelly tribute concert along with various
                                           note worthy artists at the opening of an exhibition
                                           of portraits of Paul Kelly along with a
                                          Ben Quilty exhibition.  'After Afganistan'
                                          at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre

                                                        Then she turned 16
                                                    and it was time to feast again :) xxx

                                          Now she has her 'L' plates and can learn to drive!
                                                                          OH MY!

                                             This will be my last post on the Mud Colony
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                                             a 'follower' or 'subscribing to email up dates'
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                                              or just check in via my web site.
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Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Paper pulp and celebrations

Well we escaped the fires,
  however the bush around us has not burnt 
 for 50+ years so we remain vigilant about 
cleaning up our environment.

Disposing of my lovely dry plant materials 
  which I have been collecting for basketry and 
paper needs to be a top priority.

 So I have decided that October/November 
will be my annual paper making time.

                                             I have had bracken (above) cooking for pulp
                                             and while it lost the intensity of it's colour
                                             in the process it still made a wonderfully soft
                                             cotton like warm brown paper.


I have also been using banana bark. 
I collected this from my mums garden
 after she had died about 7 years ago.
It is definitely time for this to be used!
It makes a lovely crisp paper

                                              Agapanthus paper has also been in process.

                                                    Some of it is bleached and some natural.


                                                    Agapanthus is a paper that I can make very
                                                     textural (above) or quite soft and smooth (below).


                                                              The seeds in the flower heads make a
                                                              lovely black speckle.


                                                                    Here is a selection of all the tones I am
                                                                     getting from my plant fibre paper.
                                                                    As you can see in the top sheet I have been
                                                                    embedding foils into it at times too.

                                                   Today I have been making
                                                   some recycled paper.

                                                                  I am using some of my father in-laws shredded
                                                                  office paper and some of my mother in-laws
                                                                  used wrapping paper.


                                                           Green is the colour for today's batch :)


                                              In the name of clearing up basketry materials
                                              I have been making roped twine.

This rope (above) I have made with the beautiful   
She made a skein in response to our   
Blue Mountains environment.

 She used the colours of the gullies and hills 
            and finished it with the clear skies and soft clouds
that are so much a part of our lives here. 
              I was really excited when I saw it and had to buy it.
       I have been twining plant matter into it from my garden 
and I will use it with a 
ceramic work I am planing to make next year.

BUT there are other things 
that have been going on in my life
outside of the studio this week.

Here is one of the first copies of the book 
 that my sister, Karin Donaldson,
 has been working on for the 
past 25 years!!!! 
It is an oral history of some of the people that
she has lived / lives with in out back NSW.

It is a really important story to have 
documented and Karin's artistic gift in 
compiling it really brings it to life. 
(I can say this because she is my sister.
There is not much said in the book 
   about how much she has done in the 
making of this book because 
it is not about her, it is not her story,
it is about the people.
But I think she is amazing! ) 

                                                   There will be a book launch in Glebe,
                                                   Sydney on November 22nd for anyone
                                                   who may like to attend.

                                                   I will post more info when I get the flyer.


                                                     I continue to have a ball looking after
                                                    my grand daughter.

                                                    It is a delight to watch these littlies growing up.

                                                    Here is our latest collaborative art work.

                                                     My son, Gopal his partner Suse and daughter
                                                      Lillie have been visiting their German family
                                                      and spent some time in the Alps and I can now
                                                     tell you that they are expecting another
                                                     baby in March 2014 :D
                                                     YAY!!!!!!  for being a Grand Ma GoGo again!

More news!

                                                     This last weekend was the joyous marriage
                                                     of my lovely nephew Jed and his delightful
                                                      partner Alex.


                                                      A perfect day for a perfect couple.

The sweetest grand nieces as flower girls.

                                                The bride arrived on the back of her dads
                                               gorgeous classic car on which he had built a
                                                 beautiful wooden Ute-like tray

                                                           The grooms sister, Frances,
                                                           made hand stitched bunting.

                                               here is a little look at the cross over detail
                                               on the back of her beautiful dress
                                               ( just for my textile buddies):)

                                          A chance to have some time with my
                                          step son, daughter and grand daughter  :)

Now, these two (below) 
are the mother and father of the groom.


                                            My brother Chris and his wife Anne.
                                             Perfect parents who created a most beautiful family.
                                             I am so proud of them all.
                                             Their speeches left everyone in need of very
                                              large handkerchiefs


                                    Chris has a gift for breaking into song on occasions such as this
                                    and we thought he might let us down…
                                    but thankfully he didn't as you can see on the link below ;~D


 Now I need to get back to the studio 
to finish their wedding present!
I have something special planned.

                                                              Even more news!

                                                        It was my lovely husband,Michael's 60th birthday
                                                        last January and his wonderful work companions
                                                        gave him a dinner for three at  Darleys
                                                        which is one of the most spectacular
                                                       restaurants in the mountains and last night
                                                        we managed to go!


                                                   It was a new experience for our daughter Mara

                                              and an amazingly special night for the three of us.


                                                        What a wonderful present!