Saturday, August 30, 2008

new work

'My mother's hands are still/unstill'
Rhonda Ayliffe
satin, silk organza, paper ephemera, cotton crochet motifs, glass beads, thread


Sunday, August 24, 2008

winter nasties (and better news)

This week we've received some of the coldest weather of this very wintery season - no wonder we are all coughing and sniffing - I've been floored by a nasty little bit of a flu bug - so the garden and the studio (not to mention the house and kiddies) have all been neglected.

Before succumbing to the evil bug I did manage to plant out a new wee strawberry pot (bring on the warm weather!!!!!!) and at looooooong last after waiting patiently - I brought and potted up a kaffir lime (we'll keep it nice and protected under the verandah)

The real garden work at the moment is all farmer phil's doing - He has been creating our new vege garden - a raised bed affair - but I'll tell you all about it (with progress pics of course) when I'm not falling over sideways and wondering if I'm still alive...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I love banksias.... I really do! - I love that they look amazing in flower or as seed pods... even the leaves are wonderful... This is my Banksia menziesii - at the end of winter the small tree still has flowers appearing, as well as previous years seed pods

The B. meziesii I must say is my fav. Banksia - probably because its the most successful in my garden... I also have some ericifolia (incl. dwarf form) , robur, integrifolia, spinulosa (incl. dwarf variety) and baxterii - and hope to squeeze in a few more in the future...

I did a monster load of research last year on banksias as lead up to my stint as guest artist at Coffs Calligraphers 2008 annual exhibition 'Botanical Rhythms' - some of that work ('Words & Meaning' 1 & 2) has headed off to Calligraphy Southscribes show 'Inkspirations' at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery - opening this weekend.

One day I'll have to write the whole story of what I discovered about the banksia story here on the blog - its fascinating (well to me anyway!)

Monday, August 18, 2008


Its cold here at Sams Creek - spring seems a mighty long way away... not a time to be thinking of gardens or preserves you'd think... but it's THE time for lemons - so I've been bottling up lots and lots of lemons from my old faithful Eureka... Preserving lemons is incredibly satisfying and sooooooo simple.

1. prepare bottles (wide neck versions are best - easy to get the wedges in and out of the jar)... and by prepare I don't mean the usual 'sterilise until they drop' - just give the bottles a very thorough clean, I give them a rinse with boiling water and allow to air dry

2. choose lemons with unblemished skins then wash/scrub and cut lemons into wedges - quarters are a tad too large so a bit thinner thank you

3. add lemon wedges and rock salt to prepared bottle (notice how I haven't talked quantities... just a nice solid shake of salt - pack salt as you go - so it's lemons then slat, lemons, salt...)

4. at the same time a add bay leaf (or 2 or 3 or more) and whole cloves (a few) ... and other herbs/spices to suit. This year I'm experimenting with some chilli versions... I'll have to get back to you about the success or otherwise.

5. use some of the lemons with skins less than lovely by juicing them up! add the juice to each jar (I've discovered its best to cover the wedges in juice - so use a clean chopstick or like to poke wedges and herbs into the juice)

6. leave them on the pantry shelf for at least a month

7. the BEST part - open and ENJOY

the salting has a transformative affect on the lemons - make sure you use the whole lemon wedge, skin and all - DELICIOUS!


add to casseroles, stews, tangines - to give a tangy zest - I use them whole stuffed in baked chicken (easy lemon chicken!) - or cut up and added to a seasoning for the bird... great also used to stuff whole baked fish... fabo

don't worry if you notice a small bit of white mould on the skins of the lemons (I never have mind you...) I've read its harmless (from Stephanie Alexander's books)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

split personality

I had a quick look though my blog posts and realised how confusing it must be for anyone other than myself to figure out what the heck is going on... I've got arty bits and wildlife bits then garden bits all mushed together here - I appear to have a split personality (or maybe multiple personalities is more like it..)

soooooo I was thinking maybe I should split all these different areas and arenas into separate blogs.... a nice garden blog... a nice arty blog...

and then I realised - that's not how things happen - I AM all these creatures simultaneously....

As I walk up to my little studio I pass by the orchard and the wistringia hedge and the gardener in me kicks in (must weed, must water)... and then whilst in the studio I hear cars slow along the highway (is there a cow on the road? - must investigate) and my kiddies climb all over my studio fixtures - obviously looking for food (must feed small children).... and even when I am in the studio, 'making stuff', I am doing so for mixed purposes - for exhibitions, for my studies, for teaching....

when I've stated 'artist, teacher, student, mother, gardener, farmer' as a summing up of who I am and what I do, I now see how all those different spheres interact and never sit independently... so I'll just maintain my 'split personality' blog as it is - as a true reflection of how it is to wear many hats simultaneously - an experience I'm sure is familiar to many other artists, teachers, students, mothers, gardeners, farmers out there.....

Hellebores from the winter garden

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

acquisitive artists books award

another of the shows I've got work at presently - the southern cross university's annual acquisitive artists books award this year is hosted by barratt galleries (

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

links in the universe

Networks, systems and cycles - I just find them fascinating - I not only play with network imagery in my artworks - they provide the conceptual basis of much of that work as well - oh and I love the idea of networking (like here in cyberville - goodness only knows who you'll bump into...)

the other day I was approached by another blogger asking permission to post and chat about my piece 'herstory' - and because I was asked so nicely I was happy to have the piece - and fascinated that this work that in some sly way references the manner in which information is transmitted between women (an unrecorded history of feminine endeavours... but that's only part of its story...) was participating and creating its own network...

here's the link to there - and the kind words and interpretation of lee kottner

happy journey 'herstory'

artisan books 'into the fold'

the annual book arts exhibition at artisan books, melbourne, opened a couple of days ago - as posted earlier my little piece 'chaos theory fortune teller' was selected for the show.