Sunday, July 29, 2012

art gesture sunday - week 30...

 one red book in a wire cage sitting on a septic tank 

Laws of the Australian Capital Territory
Acts, Ordinances and Subordinate Laws
Volume 1


Thursday, July 26, 2012

check in....

and mornings are crunchy frosty...

but the days are getting longer and warmer - spring feels a bit closer....

I'm just past the half-way mark of my year of weekly art gesture series and it seems as good a point as any to check in and chat...

My quiet, small, off-hand series has been pivotal in the development of my Higher Degree Research project even though I've not been sure how (or even IF) I would present the work in my examination exhibition. Over the past few months I have been doing some real soul-searching about my studies.... and in short --- I have decided I will exit my Higher Degree next year (or thereabouts!) with my MFA rather than continue on (and on and on) to PhD. 

This decision has not been made quickly or easily.

For those of you who have followed this blog for some time, and/or have read through the elongated tale of my arty background (here again are parts one, two, three, and four - corrrr that's a LOT of chatter!) you know a lot about my arty journey and in particular what motivated me to start a coursework Masters immediately followed by the Higher Degree.... 

And for those folk closest to me, who have known of my near rabid commitment to gaining a PhD, my decision to pull out early is coming as something of a surprise (just as it did to ME when the idea first started to insinuate itself in my thoughts a few months ago....)  

Yes, I'm tired - this is my sixth year of continuous post-grad study - but being tired has never stopped me from putting one foot in front of the other until the journey is complete....

Yes, I question my abilities - nothing new here... I've ALWAYS questioned by abilities - but that's never stopped me from pushing on regardless....

Yes, we are very, very (VERY) poor due to my diminished capacity to earn $$$ - but poverty is nothing new to us.... and in some ways is a blessing in disguise (I'm not sorry we don't have the funds for the latest, newest gadgets - so what if our kidlets don't have a gaming console or electronic wot-nots....)

Yes, it's been tricky trying to balance study and 'life' - when I commenced my coursework Masters both our kidlets were still at home and I was working part/full time teaching in local schools  (goddam I have NO idea how I managed!) - Farmer Phil's return to dairy farming last year has certainly made things MUCH trickier but I cannot deny that my desire to 'be there' right now for our young (super-duper sporty) kidlets HAS played a very big part in my decision to complete my HD next year (I cannot justify putting my selfish wants ahead of our kids needs).

Yes, I feel guilty about not having enough time for my extended family and friend network (my mum has Parkinsons Disease, my best mate was recently diagnosed with a rare form of dementia) - Relationships are the most important things in life (cuddling up to a doctorate in the middle of the night isn't going to keep you warm in winter)

Yes, I'm keen to spend more time in the garden and in the studio (doing things OTHER than my research project work), and reading things NOT related to my research project (I have a growing pile of books that I'm looking at longingly waiting for me to have the time to indulge - like Harvesting Color,  and the Handbook of Natural Dyes....)

Family and friends have often asked me 'why a PhD?' -  There's no realistic chance that I'll ever teach in a tertiary institution (which seems to be a primary driver for many artists pursing a PhD in this country... along with the potential to gain a scholarship and thus be funded for 3-4 years as you complete your PhD). Generally I've jokingly answered them 'so I can insist the Indian call centre folk address me as 'Doc Ronnie' (and then I insert an evil cackle hee hee hee heeeeeeeeeeee!)...... but when I'm being honest I have to admit to my own small vanities --- I wanted those initials to somehow prove my worth to the world - and to add weight to my words and opinions. I wanted that doctorate as a weapon to fight the good fight for my creek, my farm, my town, my heritage (there's no easy avoidance of a PhD!).

At its core my research project is an exploration, through making, of what knowledge is: how do we learn and how do we 'know' things; what is the value of knowledge; where does knowledge reside; is knowledge only to be found in 'book' learning; can land or inanimate objects possess knowledge......  When I use books (or book crafts) in my work, they operate as a symbol of knowledge systems - and also, of course, the work alludes to the possible future(s) of the book. A second (but not lesser) concern of my project is a critical examination how to operate an arts practice with environmental responsibility and with social and cultural integrity. As such, I've been advancing permaculture as an ethical and practical basis for my arts practice.
And here's the thing..... can you remember back in January I wrote rather a long and critical post 'on having an arty kareer' -- where at the end I set out ideals for a new art paradigm? Well I've noticed that my pursuit of the big PhD has set me in direct and continued opposition to almost everything that I believe in and what I want Art to be...

In one part of my exegesis I have penned the line: 'the means must be justifiable in the end' - and the truth is - I can no longer justify the journey to PhD where the only winner is my ego.

Sooooo I'm getting out before I find that I've compromised my ideals beyond salvation....

After I submit my MFA (next year-ish) I'll be able to get on with the BIG task: developing a new art paradigm and growing more vegetables!

viva la (arty) revolution!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

chook palace....

our new chicken palace...

It is tucked in behind my studio - sharing a wall (hopefully this will be mutually beneficial) and is made from recycled corrugated iron (from the old dairy), timber scraps (milled on the farm) and a sheet of marine ply (for the internal laying boxes and walkway)

the new coop is raised to allow good air flow underneath and in very wet weather the water can flow through which should keep the housing drier... it has a small opening facing east (for warmth and comfort - chickens like a private safe place to lay)...


a hinged back door which allows us to access the laying boxes 
without even entering the pen!

 today farmer phil brought home 12 new locally-raised girls... 

they join our older girls: stephie and speckle and sparkle

the new girls are about 15 weeks old 
(they are ISA Browns and came from the same breeder who raised speckle and sparkle) 

they've quickly made themselves at home in the expansive new pen...

They are lovely and quiet 
(I couldn't resist giving them a pat in between taking pics!)

mmmmmm road travel is thirsty work!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

art gesture sunday - week 29...

 'Introduction to Infinitesimal Calculus'

 pages 350 & 351
'Physical Applications - Attractions'

with drawn and painted circles

Fig. 139

black pen and red watercolour

and one small blue painted symbol
inside in a triangle


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

sweet home cobargo...

 I've just returned from the open night celebrationaries.... 
for 'sweet home cobargo'...

a new (cobargo) shop devoted to fresh, local, organic, home-grown, 
small town  

 yeeee har!

opening night (tonight) went off with a BANG!
 with food and wine and music and an enthusiastic collection of locals 
getting into the groove

 and as the party continues (long) into the night 
I headed for my sweet home sams creek....
(a whole 6kms up the road)
 feeling buoyed by the renewed energy that seems to be emerging 
in my sweet home cobargo

go you good things!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012


an email in the inbox on sunday

"Called in yesterday on my way home and left something for you to find"

wots this then?

I don beanie and gloves and head out to search for I know not what...

there at my gateway, tucked under a post I find a plastic sleeve 
and inside is a printout of a blogpost - an arty gesture I created for a this friend last year,
 another printout of a gippsland wren,
and 4 garlands of paper-cut blue wrens with the note....

"Here's a flock of wrens to welcome you home"

Today I taped one of the garlands next to my initial wren drawing 
(fading fast - it is now just a whisper)

tit-for-tat arty gestures playing ring around the rosie 
(or rather - ring around the spotted gum)

(ps I placed the other garlands in my wunderkammer...
 next to all my other treasures)

thanks M


Monday, July 9, 2012


What better way to spend a be-ut-ee-ful winter's day than turning out to support the very first Bega Cash Mob's first public mobbing... (that's what I've been up to this morning)

what's a cash mob did you say?

welllllllll this how one of the first cash mobs (from the US-of-A)  explains it:

"The general idea is to encourage people to go into small, local businesses and spend their money, en masse, to give the business owner a little bit of economic stimulus." 

(read more on the blog of one of the first cash mobs)

I accidentally heard about this first planned local mobbing via fb (as you do....) and thought

YES INDEEDY!!!! I'll be in that!

(ps here's where you can find the Bega Cash Mob fb page for all you fb peeps)

sooooo at 11am this morning a band of passionate (if slightly chilled) locals gathered in Ayers Walkway ready to mob a selected small Bega business - and here's what a mobbing looks like in progress.....

..... lots of folk lined up at the cash register with lots of small purchases --- 

a win-win situation for all

It was a small action that cost very little individually yet collectively makes a large statement about the sort of society we want... one where small businesses thrive and one where our money is kept circulating around our small towns for as looooooong as possible....

Yay to Marianna of Candelo Books (our local independent bookseller) for bringing this to the Bega Valley

viva la (local) revolution!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

art gesture sunday - week 27...

unidentified Readers Digest condensed novel book leaves
three re-leafed winter apple branches


Saturday, July 7, 2012


I've just returned home from my sturt teaching stint 
here are a few snaps of arty bits around the school 


most of the time I was too busy, or too tired, 
or it was too late or too early (eg too dark) to get pics

I loved the bearded irises in garden beds everywhere...

and the walkway to sturt gallery was a delight 
(as were the crafted treasures inside!)


time flew by and before we knew it -
 it was time to show off our handiwork & skidaddle for home...

here's a peek at our informal show on the last day...

check out the amazing work of some very hard working 
and totally delightful students....



 ps - highlights of the week included ...

* the yummy food on offer every meal 
(yumbo scrumbo vegetarian dishes!)

* terrific company of fellow tutors staying on campus - a diverse bunch of arty-crafty folk 
who were AMAZINGLY talented & just delightful to chat with 
(hugs to ALL - esp tracey, caren and suzanne) 

* the diverse & interesting bunch of students trying their hands 
(and hearts and minds) on new things...
big thanks to my mob
(T & C & G & R) for their generosity of spirit

* Dale and Mark from Sturt - who are tireless workers 
& passionate advocates for craft and education -- and soooooooo organised!

if you get the chance to attend Sturt 
(as a student or tutor) 
I've got two words of advice


Sunday, July 1, 2012

art gesture sunday - week 26...

a tall book stack on a hill

a bigger book fire

flames flick


  a monumental yet fragile 

 charred book stack