Monday, June 29, 2009

Cold night in ...

Now this is the best way to spend a cold night in - wearing a fur coat curled up on a sofa in front of the fire. Cats certainly know how to get their comforts don't they?
Creativity was of a definite non-arty sort today. The weather has been pretty awful and we had a power cut until midday, so I couldn't get my sewing machine out as planned. I planned a lovely dinner instead as it's our wedding anniversary today, and took my little boy into town to get supplies. Unfortunately as we left the car it started to rain heavily and the wind blew mightily and I managed to turn my huge golf umbrella inside out and broke a spoke. Suppose you could say I was creating havoc! Anyway, we did navigate Kalamunda quite safely despite the horrible weather conditions and people driving quickly through puddles (why? cars aren't going to mind getting wet, they're not in a hurry to get home into the dry!).
As soon as the power was back on I treated myself to membership of as an anniversary present, and had a quick look for some of my long lost rellies. We're lucky enough to have a huge family bible with a page with a list of the family who owned it written on, so I thought that was a good place to start. I was so excited to find one of my relations listed on a census of 1891, and could have quite easily sat on the computer all night trying to find the others. So I have found myself another activity, it's just a challenge finding the time! Next step will be to begin creating my family tree ...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Delayed finish to my mittens!

I haven't blogged for a couple of days because I hadn't created anything new to write about or post photos of. I have it in my mind that for a blog to be really interesting it's got to be visual, so felt I was somewhat lacking in that department! Anyway, I have rectified that shortfall by sewing my lovely crocheted mittens up, after they've spent a couple of months sitting in my knitting basket. They've been knitted in Patons Jet and the pattern is taken from the Patons 'Learn to Crochet' (no. 1257) booklet. They are super quick to make and you would be able to be wearing them within a couple of days if you are not too lazy to sew them up (ahem ...)
Creativity has been happening as usual in our house, and you will know by now that I think of most activities as being creative in some way, so whilst I say I haven't finished any projects apart from the mittens I have been: planning the layout of my hexagon quilt as I finally finished the 17 hexagon flowers this weekend (yay!), making gluten free chocolate brownies, creating beautiful piles of clean laundry ready for collection by members of this family, creating new folders on my laptop to house all the photos I'm so fond of taking and taking a pair of jeans apart to make a fab skirt (which I will be blogging about in the near-ish future). So yes, creativity still abounds, sometimes it just doesn't get written about!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Meet my guardian, Rhiannon

Well, here is Rhiannon at last. I finished her yesterday. My son's words on seeing her were "is she magic-ful?", which is lovely! She does represent for me a model of love and compassion, caring and spirituality. I'm especially proud of the cloak which I made myself by felting blue wool fibres - the blue colour is significant as it's the colour of truth and the intention for my medicine doll course is to find my voice. Inside the doll I've placed a piece of quartz, a piece of the red rock which our suburb is built on and a piece of pottery which looks like a heart to me. They were all found at the back of our house in the bush, and they symbolize the element earth and are very grounding.

It was an unusual creative process for me as with dolls I usually follow a pattern, and Rhiannon was made as I went along, more how I work when I'm creating my paintings. I did intend to make a little baby doll to be held in her arms as it's important that Rhiannon is seen as a mother figure, but when I put her cloak on I just had the thought, "She's finished", and she was perfect. I added the final touch of the blue glass heart she's holding in her right hand and knew my work was done. If you're a regular reader you'll remember that I posted a photo of the heart a few months ago, as I did a picture made up of the earthy elements I'd found behind our house.
It's lovely to have a guardian to watch over me whilst I make the other dolls from the course facilitated by Barb Kobe. I felt very calm and serene when I'd finished her, it's such a powerful experience to create a doll based on your feelings. You get to a point where the doll seems to tell you what to do. I really recommend the healing doll course if you are looking for a way to express your inner feelings and emotions, and to explore your inner resources.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Today I haven't been feeling too great, we've all had a cold in the family and it's my turn now. So after an afternoon of feeling sorry for myself I sat and created the hairpiece for my guardian doll. Not much writing tonight, but a couple of pictures of a doll transforming. The face was painted using Jo Sonja acrylics, then covered with Jo Sonja iridescent medium. The hair is made from some wool fibre in my stash, but the perfect colour for my Rhiannon! The creation of my guardian doll has been a slow process, but one that I'm enjoying watching unfold.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My creative list

Have been sitting here for a few minutes wondering what to write about. It's been a busy weekend, though doing what I couldn't really tell you! So have tried to look at it from a creative perspective and will make a list:

1. Creating a space in the laundry by finally finishing the ironing pile which has been there forever.

2. Wrote a few e-mails - creative writing.

3. Made more space for books in my bookcase by putting some of my older books in a box for charity to benefit somebody else in the future.

4. Created more of a yarn stash by undoing a sweater I made 12 years ago (!). Now have a lovely pile of green 4-ply to make new things with.

5. Created a yummy dinner in a very short time, as I'd forgotten to earlier in the day as I was so busy clearing clutter and the kids were really hungry. Ooops.

6. Made a lot of noise listening to Pink and then Powderfinger in the lounge whilst my hubby was on the phone to a friend. Sometimes you just have to listen to some good rock music at a loud volume and have a bit of a boogie whilst no-one's watching!

Hey, my day is already looking more interesting, and it just goes to show that creativity is at work wherever you may be or whatever you are doing during your day. What were your creative moments?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Embrace your creativity!

I have a new hero - he's called Sir Ken Robinson and he's pretty amazing! I've always personally believed that by the time we are adults our inborn creativity is pretty much squashed out of us. Until recently I've been on a one woman quest to encourage people to embrace their creativity, wondering if anyone else felt the same as I do, or was I in fact a little bit mad. However, more and more people are coming into my life who share the same belief; on 'The 7.30 Report' programme for the past two nights Sir Ken Robinson has been interviewed about his views on education and creativity and what responsibility education has for encouraging and nurturing the innovators of the future. Well, I've been doing a little more research and found lots of information about him and written by him such as the quote below - it really outlines a major problem in the world today:

"We are educating people out of their creativity".

I also love what he has to say on people finding, or not finding, their passion and the difference it makes to their lives and communities in general:

"I'm always struck by how many adults have no idea what their real talents are, or whether they have any at all. Many people just do what they do with no particular passion or commitment to it. I know others who genuinely love what they do; who would probably do it for free if they had to, and can't imagine doing anything else. Understanding what makes the difference is essential for transforming education, business, and communities to meet the real challenges of the twenty-first century."

It's awesome that a man who holds these beliefs about creativity also has so much influence in the wider world. It's certainly motivated me to keep on my journey to help people bring creativity back into their lives. Sir Ken Robinson is much more eloquent than I am on this subject and has written some books as well, so if you would like to read more on his work you will find the link to his website here, a talk and other links on here, and the blog article with the main quote. It's a fascinating and important subject.

Trying to be as creative as I could I decided to produce tonight's drawing using only the materials I could find in the office pencil pot!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Finding peace amongst the trees

It's been a funny old day - I was going to write about something else tonight but am so very tired and want to do justice to the subject, so I'm going to leave it until tomorrow when I can write competently!

It's been another day of being outside my comfort zone. It's almost tax time here in Australia and we had to go and see the accountant about the family business. Needless to say, I got that old feeling in my head when it hurts and I just can't take in any more information for fear of spontaneous combustion, and I'd only been sitting there for 5 minutes. For a start we were talking about numbers, and if you put a dollar sign in front of them then I'm completely confuddled! Then to top it all I had to do some bookkeeping when I got home, so my head really hurts. No wonder I feel tired! It must have been a very taxing (ha, ha) day for me as I had to have 2 Magnum ice creams to help keep me sane. Oh dear ...

Anyway ... I decided I wanted to take a photo of something that makes me feel happy and at peace to post today. I found it when I went to our bedroom and looked out of the window overlooking the backyard (not our courtyard, this 'yard' is behind our house and after you leave the boundary of our house you are straight into the National Forest - it's truly beautiful). One of our friends joked that when they looked us up on Google Earth there are no neighbours behind our house until you get to Sydney. This place is just so vast it's mind boggling at times. Where was I? Oh yes, on looking out the window I saw the sunlight dancing on the branches of the trees and casting this gorgeous, golden glow. It's an effect you only see at certain times of the day and I managed to capture it. Photography is a very creative process; choosing a subject, framing the shot, capturing colour and atmosphere. I'm lucky enough to have a dad and some friends who are very good at doing just that, and are a constant inspiration to me. One day, I'll get a big camera and take really good photos too!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I really love art as therapy!

It is such a pleasure to be able to work alongside an art therapist like Linda from Creative Seeds. Today we made a 'map' of a day (which happened to be yesterday) just to see the highs and lows of a day. It helps you to see what triggers the negative and positive happenings (and your reactions to them). I began by drawing my 'road' in bright blue just so that I could see where I was going and added in the colours and images as I travelled from left - the morning - to right - the evening. I think you can see where I was bored and sometimes out of my comfort zone in the white, gray and black area! It was funny, but when I wrote my blog last night my mind was still stuck in the black part of the day, but if you look at the picture most of my day was full of colour and positive things. The flowers signify my morning spent at the rose gardens with my son and husband, which was absolutely delightful. The colour purple surrounds everything that happens in the day - just like my spirituality, and the hearts are to symbolize the love that pervades throughout the day, and yes, that is even present in my more negative moments. So I had a completely different perspective of yesterday after I had finished, and felt a lot happier and calmer about it. And all from a line drawn on a page ...

Monday, June 15, 2009

No Creativity Makes Lara a Sad Girl ...

It's been one of those frustrating rushing about everywhere, but not getting much done, type of days! I've ironed a few things, so the ironing mountain is slightly smaller, made a pie for dinner, but nothing crafty so far. I may find time to do a doodle in my art book later.

So, I am posting another image from the art therapy session I started to discuss in my last post. I like this image because it's very positive and very spiritual (the colour purple!) The sun is 'bouncy' and full of energy - wishful thinking perhaps? Although I had been talking about fear and painting images related to that, this image was the first I put onto the paper, representing me - and the associated feelings were calmness and strength. It made me realize that although I feel like I'm panicking uncontrollably about whatever it is I'm panicking about, I am actually calm and able to cope underneath it all. I just need to remember that!

Hopefully I will be able to get my paints out tomorrow and be a bit more creative - I hate it when I haven't been arty for a few days. It makes me feel stifled!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A little bit creepy ...

My headless guardian doll ...

and my fearful snake from my dreams ...

Oooh! I haven't written for a few days, so I've got loads to talk about - where do I start? Well, it would be good to mention something I am thankful for, and that would be the quality time I had at Spotlight with my daughter yesterday. After visiting the orthodontist I was musing aloud whether we could fit in a quick visit to Spotlight before it closed, and she was all for it. I am easily persuaded so we walked around marvelling at glitter and sparkly fabrics and wools. We eventually bought some beading materials and some pirate fabric to make some pyjamas. I'd only gone in for some felting needles and gel medium, didn't end up with either but had a great time 'window' shopping as well as buying more for my ever increasing stash! And I cannot say how lovely it was to look round a craft shop with someone of a like mind, rather than dragging unwilling dad/sons around who'd rather be looking round a DIY store. It's a good job it was nearly closing time or else we'd have been in there for hours!

My guardian doll is gradually being completed. I'm fitting in small tasks between normal every day chores, and this week's task was to make some arms for my doll - all I've done at present is felt some vague hand shapes over a piece of copper wire, I will sew parts of the hand to make fingers, cover the wire with wadding then sew calico around it to make arms, then sew them to the doll. For now it is sitting on my desk just as above, a bit freakily without head and flesh on the arms, but I like to share the process as it happens rather than wait until I can post photos of the 'pretty' completed stage. Creation is a messy process!

I did some more art therapy with Linda this week. We had a look at my fears, trying to find why my reaction to most things is to be fearful. I painted some images from my dreams (see above) and wanted to know why in particular I dreamt about a snake, because I am so very frightened of them. After some discussion I came to the conclusion that the snake probably stands for fear itself as far as I am concerned and that is what it signifies in my dreams. So Linda asked me to turn it all around and look at the positive aspects of the snake, and we found out that the snake is a symbol of Mother Earth, wisdom and healing. A much better way to look at the snake - especially as I would love to become an art therapist myself one day and out of all the elements I identify with earth the most. It is almost as if by pushing away the snake all the time through fear, I am actually pushing away a part of myself. It was really very insightful, and I do have a few artworks in my head bursting to emerge all on the theme of snakes. Don't get me wrong, if I saw a snake in the bush (or on my doorstep as we did last year) I would still experience fear, but I have a lot more respect for them. It is also a lesson in how to turn a negative into a positive and that can only be good!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Back in the blogosphere!

Yay! We are back on-line! We switched internet providers last week, and a small technical problem coupled with it being the weekend means we've been without an internet service for 4 days. We've been a bit lost without the net - you don't realize how much you rely on it until it's gone!

So to celebrate I'm posting lots of pictures of my felt hat I've been working on for a while! It was made from wool from a secondhand jumper bought at our local op shop, which I undid, knitted then felted. The first picture shows just how huge the hat is before felting! I did start felting by hand, but got fed up with that and put it in the washing machine which agitated the wool further and made it shrink even more. Then I had to roll the brim and pull the hat into shape over a mixing bowl (the best head shape and size I could find!) A finishing touch was to needlefelt some patterns around the bottom of the hat. One of my best friends back in England really dislikes the colour brown, so even though this hat is only light brown, I've felted some spots in a lovely bright orange which is her favourite colour. Being a sentimental old soul it means I'll think of my buddy every time I wear my hat!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Groovy Grevillea

A friend gave me a flower from her grevillea the other day - it is totally beautiful, and it flowers in winter. I was particularly drawn to its leaves as they look like little fire trees on their own, so I went home with a load of them in my handbag so that I could draw, paint them, or use them as stencils. Most people carry their car keys and lipstick in their handbags! I'm presently reading a book by Eckhart Tolle and he suggests looking at a flower (or stone or crystal) and seeing it just as it is, not even labelling it 'flower', to get rid of any preconceptions the mind may have and to see the flower with new eyes. It's quite amazing what creation went into making such a beautiful object.