Temple of Re-Dress

At ArtsCape I have fallen into the role of secretary, digital and social media, website and publicity. I have had a busy time of it of late. We were fortunate to have attracted this beautiful exhibition The Temple of Re-Dress by Anzara Clark.

A wearable art exhibition created from new, recycled and place specific pieces. The exhibition is open for until Thursday if you are around to get a look at it for yourself.
Anzara is also offering a workshop alongside her exhibition. Check out our Website for more information.
The opening of this exhibition was lovely and we had many people attending. Not bad for a winters night in Tasmania

On Thursday we have a new exhibition opening for the Smith Family and its anti bullying campaign. I have been working with some students to create some zines for the project.

At ArtsCape we are really hitting our stride which is wonderful because next year will be ten years that we have been alive and a group. Somethings just take some time but I do see the town changing for the arty better.

Isn't it nice how arts can uplift a little town in a corner of Tasmania, bring people together on a cold night and inspire thoughts and moods.

Country Land For Sale

What is a blog for if you can't over share and self promote?

So on that note I would love to tell you all about our property for sale. It has just gone live on Domain and RealEstate.com. It all seems really real now. The hardest part will be deciding on how to invest in our lives once it sells. It's a pretty exciting time for us.

The property is set up for building on and is located only 5 minutes from the sea side town of Wynyard, Tasmania. Land for building on in our area is pretty rare. Imagine making your own little piece of country paradise amongst the gum trees.

Extra specially is that you get to be my neighbor! That is priceless stuff right there.

Feel free to share this country dream with anyone that may be interested.

You can find the Domain link here.

Simplicity Dress Edit 1796

Phew last week was a busy one.

I went back to work for a day. I have been doing an after school program for The Smith Family making Zines with some young people at ArtsCape. Last week we had an all day workshop with many schools from along the coast. That morning (breakfast meeting!!) I had my first meeting with Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery to suss out all the details for the digital media project I am doing with them.
I had book club with Seedsmiths one night, I had a 7th birthday party to attend and we spent the whole weekend renovation my new study nook.

Amongst all that I did get to pop into the Woman Cave to finish off this amazing dress (which I wore to my meeting with TMAG and my day session with The Smith Family.
This fabric is from Spotlight and is a Japanese Linen. The pattern was Simplicity 1796 again but I made the change of a full wrap around dress rather than just in the bust. Much better for feeding a bubba. 
I have some navy fabric I would like to try this pattern on again but with a few more changes to the tying system. It's in my head so fingers crossed that translates to fabric. I am also on the hunt for some denim that doesn't cost an arm and a leg (this is what happens when you are use to buying discounted or thrifted fabric = tight arse).
I also have a huge pile of vintage fabrics to list for sale soon. The time has come for me to move on and stop hoarding them. I have some favorite facey pages to unload them but let me know if you know of any others.

All this busy-ness makes me long to be 'doing' even though I am obviously 'doing'. It really messes with my head when I get a taste of 'doing' and then I'm back to the laundry. The baby has started to pull himself up on things this week (eeekkkk!!!- I'm not ready) and I am fully aware that life is about to get extremely busy at home. So it was welcome when someone told me of this beautiful quote from our former Governor General Quentin Bryce:

She is totes right - right? As a Mum and a creative person it's so hard to find the balance between slowing down and speeding up.

Wise words.

Runcible Ensemble

In a cafe close to the hearts of locals there was a night of words, art and performance. The Rencible Ensemble was once again formed for the evening.

Performers of songs, poems, stories and spoken word. Artists painting, instagramers recording moments and light projecting on to the wall next to where my art work still hangs. 

Pizza and wine were consumed.

I was out of the house and treated to a night that will never or could never be repeated. We felt the art with our laughs and our hearts. Everyone was interacting whether on stage or watching. The community that the cafe brings with it cannot be replicated. The soul of a small community shone as bright at as the lighthouse on the hill from the other end of the bay.

It feeds me yet makes me sad. I was asked if I was performing. Performing hasn't been my thing for a long time. I don't consider myself a writer with a voice or even a writer of any variety. It was a blessing to hang with friends and like minded folk. It was heart warming to see the peace everyone sat with each other.

Where this gathering happens next time will be interesting considering the force behind it is selling the roof over its own head.  I am sure whereever the next one occurs this community will follow and I suggest you treat yourself to spend the night with them as well.

Simplicity 1796

I'm having issues with making dresses from patterns. At the moment all my usual patterns are unsuitable due to breast feeding and the ability of freeing the boobs at any given moment.
I have been making many dresses since the birth of  boy but they are piling up in my wardrobe and not being worn. Fresh dresses should be worn!

The pictures show a slightly scrunched dress due to it being worn and not re-ironed. My six year old photographer failed to produce a photo that I found acceptable to share.

I started looking for a pattern that I could make from a non-stretchy material that I could feed in. I found this pattern, Simplicity 1796, but failed to notice that the cross over was only on the bodice and not all the way down the skirt. Poo. It still works for feeding but its still a bit hard. I am going to alter the pattern for the split to continue down very soon.

I love the sleeves and the details. I made this first dress as a tester. I used some simple fabric from my stash and a small patterned piece for a feature. I have already started on the second dress in this pattern from some beautiful new fabric from spotlight. I'll show you soon.

I do love this pattern becasue I did not have to add extra for my large bust (huuuuge knockers) like I sometimes do for other pattern. I often find that paper patterns really don't allow for the well endowed. Do you find that? I mean - are we still in the waif era of the 90's? Common peoples! Women have boooobs!

I cant wait to show you the next version. It is divine!

Kids in June

#Loves to pick up her baby brother
#Lost two top teeth in one week after waiting (forever!) for them to fall out. Featuring a lovely little bit of correspondence between her and the tooth fairy
#Growing into a beautiful young lady after a difficult 6 months of attitude
#Has started swimming and Gymnastics. Doing amazingly well at both
#Loves to read almost as much as she loves to draw
#Has some beautiful little friends
#Is exceptional at doing her own hair

#Broken though a difficult period of producing four top teeth
#Migrated to his own bedroom and is now sleeping 100% better (happy mum - happy bub)
#I am amazed by his sense of humor and scrunchy little face
#Still boob fed but will eat all other foods. If they can go down his throat he is keen
#Commando crawling (starting to crawl on hands and knees), sitting up and starting to pull himself up on things. Can move faster than what I would like sometimes
#Trouble. Runs (crawls fast away from me) when he has something illicit in his mouth.
#Plays with doors constantly
#Obsessed with the chickens (chooks). Called them 'poofs' for a while but is now making a 'ch' sound

I am the ultimate crafter. Look what I made.

Old Respect

Have you ever been to an old cemetery?
Have you read the headstones? The ages and causes of death? Their storys are facinating and an insight into life in your very own community from another time.

We are privileged to have a lovely old one right near the river and park.  The headstones are wonky. The metal is rusty. The trees are in a state of autumn and it felt serene.

I went there to create some rubbings for an upcoming art idea. The light was incredible for about half an hour and I took photos as well.

The center of the concept I am working on is 'Respect'. I couldn't think of a better place to start looking at respect in our town. A place where there are no heroics to be honored, just stories to tell.

Out of the Coffin - Art Workshop

Are you a bit like me? You don't really think about death, dying and what happens to your earth body afterwards?

I often have slight panics about the dying thing but mainly because I would hate to have my life taken away from me before I had fulfilled my full potential. Now I have children I worry more about their life than my own. I realise these are things that are mostly out of my control and I do not let my mind wander there.

Even though I was bought up in a christian family I do not have the certainty in an afterlife or even reincarnation. I am the kind of person that can't blindly believe in such things without fact. Living life as well intentioned as possible is my only goal. To help people and to grow myself.

When I booked in this workshop at ArtsCape I was unsure if I would have any connection to the subject. I would have rather not let my mind wander into those places anyway.

I attended the workshop hesitantly. I was happy to be spending the time with some lovely local artists whose work I admire, so I went.

I was surprised with the workshop conversations. They were not dark or fear inspiring, they felt open and down to earth. The conversations centered around the possibilities of natural burial and natural burial grounds.

We were shown skills on how to make string, a simple thing you must think. The string is something to do while the thinking happens. It is a beautiful and natural way to create something so organic and original yet so thought inspiring.

It is a way to weave your thoughts into an object. The string can be made from any materials and I find it so beautiful and earthy. I will be borrowing the technique to use in my own art and to share with others.

I made my string from sewing pattern paper, wool, twine, feathers, other paper and hand written notes.

The artists at the workshop were making their own shrouds and woven bags to be buried in when they pass. What a beautiful idea - to be buried in your art and something so personal. Their recent exhibition Paper Garments for the Grave had similar themes and if you get the chance of it coming close to you then please go and see it. You may also go to one of their up coming string making workshops (events here).

Even if you don't like to think about these things (like me) I am certain you wont feel intimated by the topic after spending time with these lovely ladies. Do yourself a favor and be open to the thoughts of your own passing.

Soil - More than just dirt

So you want to grow your own veggies at home? Are you put off by the digging and constant weeding? I may just save you hours of back breaking work if you just take the time to read this post. It will be worth it I promise.

I'll start by telling you the story of my dirt patch. 

Soil is the foundation of any good vegetable growing. It is something that must be built upon year after year to get the best results from your garden.

When we bought our house many years ago we discovered a dis-used vegetable patch a fair way in out in a paddock. The location meant that easy access to it was not going to happen. There would be no trips out to the garden in my slippers to pick some quick herbs. I decided on a better location a short distance from the kitchen. Once I started learning the permaculture principles a few years later I understood that I had made the best choice for its location. As little time spent between walking from kitchen to garden is ideal. Planning of your gardens location is essential if you get to make a fresh start at your house.

The problem with our property is that about 1/2 a meter down you hit gravel. We learned a huge lesson on its strength when trying to bury a cow one day. The first year in the garden I dug directly into the ground. It was back breaking and not very pleasant. I composted flat out trying to create some lovely soil and realised how much I would need to get the soil to a reasonable level. I was discouraged.

The next year I had almost given up until I realised I needed to build on top of the dirt already there. I needed to work the soil in the same spots to improve with each year I worked it. We build some large vegetable patches using some wood boards as the cost was significantly less than (my much lusted after) sleepers. We ordered top soil to fill up the boxes. When it arrived it was also at a low grade quality and full of weeds. I did not know then, but I do with every new bed now, that I should have placed a thick load of newspaper/boxes/magazines directly onto the freshly cut grass or earth you have chosen before you place down the wooden boxes or underneath the soil. This suffocates the weeds and stops them from being regular visitors in your veggie patch by growing up through your soil.

I finally had some veggie patches I was happy with. The maintenance, especially the sorrel and the twitch, was rampant. I spent the next two or three years digging and weeding trying not to let it beat me. It was hard, back breaking work. About this time I began working for Bill and Lisa Mollison on Tagari farm. I learned how to use thick boxes/magazines/newspaper (anything that will break down) on top of the soil and to mulch directly over it. To plant out the beds you either water it down to soften it and wait a week or punch right through it and plant into the soil below. The boxes smother the weeds and stop them from smothering your vegetables as they grow. 

I usually mulch each bed twice a year. I now just dig over the loose beautiful soil prior to mulching and pull a few weeds that may be lurking. It does not require any back breaking work and generally the weeds are under control.
The paper material breaks down under the mulch on top and creates a kind of compost system directly in your vegetable patch. The increase in worms are testament to that. My soil is now soft, fluffy, dark and rich.

I have had discussions with other organic gardeners and there is speculation that the chemicals contained in the boxes/magazines have potential to build up in your soil. I feel that it is still better to have them than the weeds. After the boxes break down I just pull out any lurking plastic that may have been on the boxes in the form of tape and pop it in the rubbish.

Recently I have taken to building other wire compost catches on top of the garden beds to quickly throw all the garden compost in them. I can move them easy and there is no wastage from moving the compost soil from another place.

I often add ash from the fire and dig out the chook house to add some more goodness to the soil. Beware of adding too much chook poo as it can burn your garden from its richness. It is best to dig it though sparingly or put the chook poo on top of the soil and let the sun and rain break it down a bit more before digging it through your soil. A worm wee farm or cow poo tea to further fertilized you garden is also a bonus.

I am about to double my garden space and put up a hot house frame I was given. I am going to be building new patches in old spud boxes and other moveable patches. The septic tank lurks beneath in the new area and there needs to be access to it should there be a problem. Plus I am not really keen on building on soil fertilized by our own waste.

The garden is ever growing and evolving. It is nice that it is now 'working' and the chore of growing your own food is no longer a chore. These things do not happen quickly but they do not need to be hard work either.
How is your soil going?

Art Openings

Last night was the opening of out Heritage Festival event - Conflict and Compassion.

We had three pots of different soups - loads of beautiful damper from the bakery next door, a brilliant display from the councils collections and the local Historical Society and a projection on the wall outside. The weather was cold but pleasant.

To be honest I am completely disappointed. Everything was set to be a very special night and only a handful of people managed to show up. I did a huge amount of advertising and I can guarantee that not one attendee was there becasue of what I had produced.

It is well know how hard it is to get people from our town out of a night time.  It is also well known about how hard you have to work to get people to interact with the arts. Sometimes it makes me so disheartened to continue in community arts work. Next year is our ten year anniversary of the opening of ArtsCape and we are STILL struggling to engage.

This year has been fantastic for ArtsCape and its programs and I literally have no idea how we can do better. We are a community run initiative however in all things community you often find that only a small part of that community actually do the work.

Yes this is a bitching post. Yes I do feel I am entitled to it.

I can't keep writing - this will only get more negative.