Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Connecting the dots once more!

Its so good to report that life is starting to settle into a more work-a-day kind of existence that's bringing simple contentment to this home. Even the potted plants brought from our former residence look happier now they are once more nurtured and adapting to changed conditions!

We're enjoying the birds around this new neighbourhood... there seems to be suitable habitat around here to ensure a variety of birdsong which is a surprise and most appreciated.

Internet connected and working again brings far more consistency and  productivity to following unfolding stories from the different areas of interest in my work.

My Instagram page

I was chuffed with this photo put up on Instagram today by Jo Cook whom I sent postcards to in Tasmania to say how much I liked her contribution to the FAIR FOOD WEEK Photo competition I recently helped judge. Jo is a freelance chef and Food Curator in Tasie who tweets her news here.

The Photo competition was conducted by the talented Sharon Lee for The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance's Fair Food Week held in August. She is a driving force at her website/blog Flavour Crusader in the dialogue fighting for a healthy, fair and delicious Food Supply and is based in Sydney.

Not only that... she brings an air of excitement with her wherever she goes and is more than likely to make one laugh at her infectious jokey turn of phrase!

heirloom tomato seeds

FlavourCrusader is a community of farmers, gardeners, cooks and eaters fighting for a healthy, fair and delicious food supply. Join us here or on Twitter,Facebook or Instagram. Soon, we’ll have our own app; signup (to the right) to know when it’s ripe and ready.
Sharon Lee devours magnificent peaches, strawberries and tomatoes. She cooks with exotic flavours, traditional recipes and real slow. She plants seeds in pots and occasionally, they do grow! She’s attaining a Masters in Public Health because there’s no Masters in Deliciousness.
James McParlane is the CTO of Massive Interactive and has architected, coded and managed the development of an array of award winning sites and applications over 20 years. When we meet and eat, he insists that I order. Smart move, programmer dude!
Volunteers are our lifeblood. We’re grateful to Sophie Munns, Zoe Bowman, Lucinda Dodds, Pauline Mak, Camilla Baker, Grant Young, Lucia Torres, Rohini Goyal, Mei Sun, Adriaan Stellingwerff, Angela Jann, Miream Rabba, Tony Hollingsworth, Pete Locke, Samantha Lipovic, Ivan Zugec and Michael Wardop.
We’d like to thank the catalysts and mentors at Asix, Social Innovation Sydney and XMediaLab. We love our research participants, talented blog contributors and anyone who’s made a suggestion, comment or joined in the conversation.  That's you!                                                                     Images by Zonie Zambonie and ~Essence of a Dream~

I'm sharing below her colourful post about the Photo Competition: 

My Food Story

my food story

Oh my gosh how freaking delighted I was during the two weeks of this competition! It was so exciting to receive the entries, pigs and chooks and tales of abundance into my email. Ping! Ping! Oink! Bok!
Here are the winners:
pauline mak


“It’s not always about what you can grow to eat. Green manure is both tasty and essential for soil vitality!”


“Apple scrap vinegar. Who knew that you could take the scraps from your fruit, and turn them into something useful. These scraps are from our first real harvest of apples from our various apple trees. I was making some of them into a pie, and remembered that I had read somewhere about turning the scraps into alcohol, then letting it become vinegar. Some of my bottles didn’t seem to turn, but the ones that did have made a beautiful subtle vinegar, with an appley flavour that goes great in salad dressings!”

“My apple pie :) ”
Thanks to the judges, Sophie Munns, Lucy Dodds and Zoe Bowman, who—amongst moving, weddings and work—were able to devote time to evaluate the entries. Thanks to the sponsors for your generosity. Thanks everyone for sharing, your comments, likes and for participating. It wasn’t just good fun, we were able to spread the ethos of Fair Food to over 25,000 people. Woohoo!

GO visit Flavour Crusader and see whats she's up to now!

So... after weeks and weeks and weeks since March of everything except studio time I'm settling in and finding that ideas are turning into planning meetings and conversations are growing new shoots and my brain is starting to process things in a whole more productive way again.

I had a meeting yesterday with Jutta... one of those clever, hard-working people who is not just a brilliant catalyst for ideas BUT also seeing things come to fruition, steadily and potently. Humble to boot she plays down her achievements but they include working with the Cubberla-Witton Catchments Networks Inc in 2005 to hold a fungi conference in Brisbane. Seminars were presented by mycologists from around Australia launching an organisation the Queensland Mycological Society.

Events run by the Queensland Mycological Society (QMS) provide an excellent opportunity to discover the amazing Kingdom of Fungi. Get to know your local macrofungi by attending QMS forays (field trips). Meetings are informative and entertaining. Going to workshops is another great way to learn more about fungi and develop identification skills.

Always quick to honour the work of others it's not long before one discovers Jutta Goodwin is a woman of vision and substance and has much to do the success of many ventures she tirelessly gives both long hours and significant organisational skills to.

Regenration project via here

The Cubberla-Witton Catchments Network is part of Brisbane's Catchment network and plays a major role in community education and participation in land-care in the area close to Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens where I spent 2010 on a residency at the Seedlab. The CWCN website is down at present but with a brand new Community Centre for events, ongoing committee work and hire to interested  community groups and individuals I imagine things will be very busy.

As for life here at the studio ... attending meetings, seminars and soon a conference is keeping me on the go at the moment as I pick up on where I left off months ago.
Its hard to keep up with all the wonderful conversations of the last month when I think back. 

On Saturday I drove about 2.5 hours south to NSW to visit at this wonderful farm below where a meeting and overnight stay was planned. It was just the thing this change of scenery... and after much conversation we'd generated more than a few ideas for a possible collaboration down the track.

The view from the front verandah at the farm over-looking Mt Warning! My kind hosts were delightful company and by the time I departed late Sunday afternoon I felt quite restored after spending time in such a restful environment. 

              Images from the farm and nearby town!

Sunday night I stayed up the coast a night with relatives and enjoyed catching up on news, next day visiting their Carpet store at Southport where I took photos of the stunning wool colour spectrums and highly textured pure wool carpet samples from New Zealand. I was seduced by the incredible range of sustainable products they were selling with only a tiny percentage of synthetic options in the whole store.

Rich colours and wools with some wonderfully designed samples that reminded me of sea anenomes!

Well ... I am sitting at the desk on casters tapping away on my lap-top and there's a pile of tasks staring at me so I will say good-bye for today even though there are more stories that could be shared here... Enough for now!

Enjoy your week wont you!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

On wheels ... things are moving!

It's good to be finally posting images from the studio revealing progress at last.  

Everyday I've found more boxes to unpack... meaning places have to be found for all the books, magazines, art materials and such.

I've created  a few different work stations and chosen furniture to make it easier to pull off. Tables and shelves on castors help.

A place to paint was chosen next to the front windows for access to natural light and a view of sorts to the street.

This chair which has travelled with me over the past two decades is from 1920's Melbourne and has pride of place here, the kilim comes from travels in Turkey in 1987... together making the perfect reading space where I can sit and muse on any pantings as they evolve.

The following images are vignettes I've arranged on some of the shelves. This one contains small clay bowls I'm very fond of and a small pineapple I'm propagating.

An interesting aspect of the history of seeds are spices... its another angle of interest that overlaps with a passion for cuisines and cultures around the globe... and the plants that have shaped and defined cultures.

These are temporary installations whilst sorting through through everything. I've yet to put any kind of hanging system up and still have more shelves to install.

Laying things out has been such a deeply affirming activity after  what did in the end feel like too long a wait between studios. I vowed I was going to paint this weekend just gone but actually found I was just as content getting things in place and going through more boxes.

I've loved unearthing some of the things that have been packed away for 5 years when I moved interstate. This move is a much more deeply considered relocation than the one in May, 2008 when  illness prompted the move to Brisbane to be with family. It's a true experience of settling this time around for various reasons and I've given much thought to where things might go from here.

The painting above takes me back to 2006 when dealing with difficult and complex workplace issues in a teaching role that as a substitute moved between full-time and casual positions. 
Increasingly I'd became concerned with fall-out coming from all kinds of tensions, intense or failed communications threading through the work-place and impact it was having on staff. At the same time I was continually learning of student's struggles... some dealing with deeply traumatic events or challenging lives. Some colleagues manage pressures by tuning out, others measure their response or struggle. I guess I was never going to stay from the long term... 7 years was enough.

Putting that painting on the shelf brought back how grateful I feel to be in a different place now, putting energy to a direction of choice, despite the current and ongoing  uncertainties doing the artist's journey brings (she's says after a lean 6 months in transition)... it just feels so good to be here where I am now. I might not have everything figured to say the least...but there is a sense of realness to the project I pursue and no matter how many times I might question doing this art thing I don't question whether homage to the seed is worthwhile. There is no lack of conviction it matters and has value.

And if anything ... Homage to the Seed as  project is all about looking for the larger contexts that frame all kinds of smaller unique stories.

I bought these tea cups in Japan a long time ago now... 1988. They were ridiculously cheap and had a little tea pot which I just realise I've lost. The 'Picasso' portrait was done about 25 years ago when I discovered a paint that could be used on white china and fixed in the oven at not too high a temperature. I remember playing around with the paint for a time to see what I could do and I always rather liked this poorly rendered but moody Picasso rip-off plate. On the right is a DNA painting with an Arabidopsis plant imaged under the dna dots. And the small squares in front are for me totem-like, painted in 2010 and despite their humble nature really grab me in some way.

This recalls where I was at mid last year... I seemed to get very
submerged in these colours for a time... then I unpacked the little ceramic plate which was made by a Greek artist and remembered I loved this colours all those years ago when I found this... 1991 I think it was.

The effect of this last week of bringing things together in the studio has brought back the smile on my face. Yesterday I found a whole new level of contentment in my day... a somewhat absent feeling really for months following the studio contents going to storage.

I'd like to say I could do without access to these things ...attachments bring pleasure and pain. I've been reminded yet again however what an important way of living this has been to me  ...and although I know things can change, and this is a privilege I cant take for granted, immersing one's self in an animated pursuit of Art just resonates quite profoundly with what feels right for me.

Saturday night I invited a friend over who's hospitality is as warm as she is. It was high time to offer a meal to she and her partner and dinner was simple ingredients, fresh and seasonal, prepared simply. I like how restorative the ritual of cooking and sharing at the table, laughing and discussing things can be really was so grounding.

This week has started with more spring in my step and anticipation of getting going again on the things I love to do. It was fascinating how I seemed to notice more when I was out today... like the fog has lifted and I can concentrate on more than packing, unpacking, waiting and sorting again! Hurray!

Best wishes all,
S x

ps Its late so excuse spelling mistakes etc...back tomorrow to finish editing!