Saturday 31 March 2012

Any Other Medium wins....

Pearl with "Out of the Violet and Blue" at the Wallaby Art and Jazz festival last night
I was absolutely thrilled and flattered to win first prize for one of my entries at the Wallaby Art and Jazz Festival last night. Wallabadah is a town a little smaller than Murrurundi about 45km further up the New England Highway towards Tamworth from our little village. For 3 years a committee of residents have been developing and running a wonderful event called the Wallaby Art and Jazz Festival. Last night people from the community and surrounding areas gathered for the art show immediately followed by live music from the DJ Gosper band.

I won first place in the section "Any Other Medium" and the grand prize of $1,000 for best in show, known as the "Ken Wilson Memorial Champion Painting". Tania Hartigan, one of the tireless workers on the Wallabadah Development Committee and daughter of the late Ken Wilson, very graciously awarded me the prize.

I was a little disappointed the 2 judges were unable to be present as I would have been very curious to ask them for a more in depth analysis of their choice! Of course, I'm so delighted to have this recognition! - I don't make that comment in any sort of a derisory way! Heavens forbid!!! It is just that as a textile artist, more often than not relegated to the "boonies" of  "other/textile medium",  I have learned to live with the reality that my unconventional medium of choice is frequently regarded more as a sideline novelty, not quite in the realm of serious/proper/respectable mediums like paint. After winning I was happy, elated and bemused to spend quite a lot of time explaining to people who suddenly had their curiousity piqued how I apply the surfaces and build up the images. So many people look without seeing because the medium simply cannot be contextualised within their personal understanding of what an artwork is.

So I truly feel I won more than acknowledgement, recognition and money last night. I feel I won over a few more people to "seeing" and possibly broadening their context and appreciation of what art can be.

Many thanks Wallabadah and the generous legacy of Ken Nelson!

Tuesday 27 March 2012

this beautiful garden of eden, snake and all

Hi Caitlin!....yes my studio is is an extraordinarily beautiful and peaceful space to work in. That view   overlooking the pond I showed in the previous blog is taken from the deck of the studio, heres another photo  of the same view taken standing inside the studio doors - ain't it glorious!

Outside my studio doors, March 2012
Rodney and I have worked very hard to transform the garden from a neglected thigh high tangle of overgrown weeds into a lovely meditative space of growing things. The "pond garden" area outside my studio comprises approximately the bottom quarter of the whole yard and I wanted it to look like a tropical garden - hence the Bali style bamboo gazebo. I found it a bit challenging trying to select plants in that theme which would survive in a temperate climate! We get a few mornings -8C most winters and old timers maintain that snow falls every 2-3 decades! In the beginning I lost heaps of palms! Fortunately tree ferns, grasses, canna lilies, arum lilies, flaxes, mondo grass, achilleas and phlomis varieties have proven robust.

I found this wonderful nursery in Victoria which has a similar climate to this area and a few times a year I mailorder 20-30 plants from them -

The front and side of the house have been planted in a more traditional cottage garden theme and there the plants are mostly daisies, geraniums, salvias and roses. Rodney put down the pebble paths just a few weeks before we got married last year and it finishes the garden marvellously. We still have many years of work to develop the middle area of the yard! You can see many more pictures of the garden that rodney has taken throughout the year by clicking on the link down the side bar of the blog.

The snake is no more! we found it lying dead in the grass yesterday afternoon not far from the woodpile. It was dead, through Rodney put the spade through it, just in case, because we were too cautious to touch it otherwise. I think it must have eaten a rat or mouse that had taken poison that we put out in the laundry. Rats had eaten through the rubber pipes of the washing machine! I found a huge rat dying in the garden the day before seeing the snake. The snake measured about 85cm.

Just a reminder and some encouragement to come forward with comments! If you are a subscriber and receive the blog by email notification you'll need to come to this website to use the comment button at the bottom of the blog -

I was dubious about starting this blog in November last year and have surprised myself in keeping it up this long! It really has become an aspect of my art practise where I can reflect, focus and maintain a flowing narrative about my art and life. As a person who is not naturally gregarious, rather insular and solitary in fact, a thing I have learned with some difficulty about my life is that there are absolute benefits for me in interacting with people and seeking feedback. As a person with Aspergers Syndrome I have to overcome extreme anxiety and discomfort whenever I'm in the presence of others. This internet communication is a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to present myself in a way where I feel calm and without the confusing over stimulation of discerning what is happening, what is expected and trying to appear "normal"!

Sunday 25 March 2012

more dangerous life

A half hour ago I was finished working in the studio for today and came up to the house. Fortunately, as I don't move too fast with this peg leg and crutches, I checked the washing drying on the clothes line before going inside. When I came out of the house a few minutes later I saw sunbaking under our back porch was a red belly black snake at least a metre (3.5 feet) long. I had walked passed it only about 1.5m away!

outside Pearls studio door, March 2012
Rodney was down at the Gallery working on his own art so I immediately called him and he came home straight away. We watched the snake for about 3 minutes then it slivered off about 15 metres away and disappeared into our woodpile! Rodney reassured me they are not aggressive snakes and that particular one must have heard me as I clumped up the back yard and stopped at the clothes line and then decided I wasn't enough of a threat for it to abandon its spot in the cosy afternoon sunshine.

We know there are snakes in the garden not just because its part and parcel of living in a small rural community surrounded by bush. We constantly see evidence of them in the garden; have come across wee baby snakes when mowing (they're a lot slower to escape than their parents) and have had lots of ambivalent sightings. We are also aware that the garden we chose to create is an ideal snake habitat!....see above picture! We have a very large fishpond, tons of natural bush rock landscaping (snakes love to warm themselves on sun warmed rocks) and have planted shrubs, ferns and grasses. This is an ideal habitat for snakes, especially as the pond is populated by hundreds of frogs - the gourmet food choice of snakes!

Unfortunately the camera was down in the studio so I wasn't able to take a picture. I considered taking the risk of "running" (read - fast hobbling) past it and realised I wasn't brave enough - even for the entertainment of my blog readers! Even without the gamy foot I think it was a wise decision because that thing really took off FAST when it decided the suntan was optimal.