Marjorie Bligh


Have you heard of this lady? Have you read the new book Housewife Superstar.  The Very Best of Marjorie Bligh by Danielle Wood? This book was given to me at the launch of my exhibition - a very fitting gift given the nature of the exhibition.

Marjorie is Tasmanian born and bred. She is most famous for her writing career and thrifty ways. She wrote about recipes, home hints, sewing, knitting, gardening and poetry. As her knowledge and personal situation improved so did the context of her writing.

Personally I had heard of her in whispers and rumors - "Isn't she the lady that crochet things out of stocking and plastic bags?" why yes she is... - "Isn't she the lady that went through three husbands?" why yes she did...but good on her I think, she did what needed doing! "Wasn't she the lady that Barry Humphries based Dame Edna Average on? - Read the book and you will get as close to the answer as possible.

She was a lady of passion - of not wasting a minute of this precious life. Her busy-ness reminded me on my own never ending passion for creating. She was shunned from crafty circles and then rose again to conquer all the tall poppie poo-poo-ers. I actually feel that she will never see the height of her popularity, in a way she is still being discovered.  Her life's battles with family and society are typical of those that tend to go out of their way to be active in every aspect of their life without waiting for approval from others. You go girl friend - don't let the bastards get you down. I am not painting Marjorie as a Saint, I am sure she "pissed" people off - I imagine that most of the time it was without even knowing she was. She is a strong woman and we all know that sometimes this can make ones life hard.

Marjorie is my new hero. She is brave - thrifty - creative - ingenious with materials - passionate and got "out there". I think she would be proud to see the girls at our market and stitch n bitch. We are the new generation of Marjorie's, we should be proud that yet again the roles of traditional housewife's and their outputs are again re-invented but still carrying on and keeping inline with traditions.

I have never had a hero before - I have never found someone that creates ALL the time like I do. When someone asks me in the future (and they will, they always do) "where do you get the time?" - "How can you be bothered?" I can now know with pride that it is not just me that feels this passionate - thank goodness. I know what I have endured from friends (mostly lost ones) and the public for being so active - it's something that must be accepted - I guess - when you put yourself out there. Unfortunately going on Marjorie's life I feel there is far more to come, now I can stand firm in my passions and think of her.

After reading about her in this book I remembered a pile of old cooking books I had gotten from my mother-in-law. I knew there were spiral bound ones - I went looking and there it was -  Marjorie Blackwells "At Home". I did squeal. The first book written by Marjorie, written at the end of her life at her beloved home Climar. There were only 1000 copies of this book and I HAVE fantastic condition. Now one of my most prized possessions.

I will leave you with a quote from Marjorie - I have always thought this way but I could never express it as well as she does:

Time is the greatest gift there is. When time is gone, nothing else matters, so you must never waste it. You cant hoard it like money - you can only spend it. But once it's spent, you cant get it back. You must spend it wisely, the first time - for it is the greatest gift you have.

Thanks Marjorie xo

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Michelle Walker is a Tasmanian born creative. An Artist for life, Visual Arts Teacher, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Hairdresser by trade and mother to two beautiful children.