A Foraging We Go

Yesterday I caught the V Line train from Castlemaine into Melbourne to meet my children and have some time together.

We ate at Wonderbao, a tiny outlet, tucked in an obscure part of Melbourne, that is devoted to the Bao.

Then we wended our way through the packed city streets to the Melbourne Now Exhibition at the NVG. The NGV, no doubt influenced by Mona, which I visited only last month, has a different feel about it these days. Time spent there certainly added to my desire to create again.

This painting by August Friedrich Albrecht Schenck captured my imagination. It was featured in an amazing collection of artifacts about all things air.

Another highlight of the day was winding our way back through Melbourne’s arcades to the station.

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The Scar Clan

Video from KarmaTube

I am, artistically have been, a ‘grab a fragment’ type of girl. I didn’t need to examine Judith Scott’s work closely in order to have an artistic response triggered.  For years I have snatched snippets, appropriated seeds, repackaged them and send them out as stimuli in other forms.

So glimpsing one of her pieces in the Textile Course last month was enough. It sent me scurrying to the internet to see more.

However, now, upon seeing this video, I really see that Scott and I are somehow linked! It would seem to me that we have both been members of what Clarissa Pinkola Estes refers to as the Scar Clan.

Her work is totally inspirational! It speaks to me!

Anastasia, the new look Creative Foraging and my ‘Descansos Project’ all emerged when it hit me that I did not have to have an end in mind. I saw that all I had to do was make rope and trust my intuition.

I pulled out ‘Women Who Run With Wolves’, revisited Baba Yaga and planned to re-read Estes chapter on Battle Scars and membership of the Scar Clan.

I have been making rope, appropriating things and embedding them deep within a ball shape, healing some deep wounds as I go.

I have thought about finding an old tennis racket and using it as a base to work from. I have seen my completed balls hanging from my tree, along with the metal pigs who hang out there. I can see rope objects appearing everywhere!

I have seen myself as having returned to the womb for awhile. I have seen myself lying there in the centre of my ball, then retracing my steps back to 63 year old me, noting the scars, the signposts that led me to the present moment.

I have been weaving cryptic talismans into my ball, talismans that, examined under an xray, would tell a story to anyone who was interested enough to examine them.

Now I see this video and ask myself, was this what Judith Scott was doing when she made her object filled balls?

She is a beacon on my path! She lights the way for me

But, for now I cannot over think this!

I will just go on making rope!

Footnote: Thanks to Stephanie Hansen for sending me a link to this video

Containing Memory

The sleepy basket girl
walks through the pink Lemurian mist
each early morning,
singing out, in a sweet alto voice,
“Dreams for sale!
Look in my basket,
full of pretty dreams!
Pick any one you like!
Only cost you a quick kindness,
don’t cost nothin’ to look!
Old dreams, new dreams,
anything you can dream of!
Anything can happen today
in the City of Ladies!
Come on, now, my dears,
you beautiful Lemurian dreamers,
Try one of my fresh dreams right now –
today could be amazing!
And where she walks she leaves a magic trail
of pink and purple glittering pixie dust,
a few sand dollars, some pretty shells,
the heavy, sweet scent of longing
for what could have been,
and just a hint of what may yet be
by Kerry Vincent (c) 2008

Ball

The thing about the story of the hero, as Ursula Le Guin points out in The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, is that it is ‘his’ story and not ours. More worryingly, we have primarily heard about “the sticks and spear sand swords, the things to bash and poke and hit with, the long, hard things and in the process stories about the minutiae of daily life have been lost.

One of the special things about the work that was done within Lemuria was that it grew to become a place filled with stories about people rather than stories about great battles. In this environment you could write, quite simply, as Kerry Vincent did, about glittering pixie dust, pretty shells, sand dollars and the scent of longing.

If it is human to fill baskets, and every other imaginable container, with things that you want, or want to remember, and then, leave them and pull these things out when you need them then, like Le Guin, I am human.

As my ball grows, it will become like an intricately woven net that captures moments in time.When unwoven, at some time, it might be found to contain little more than a note, a photo, a pebble. To many these things may appear worthless, and the ball may be discarded as a bundle of rags.

No matter!

What matters is that I know what memories, potential stories to be told, lie within it.

A Piano Graveyard

Just outside the tiny town of York sits a piano graveyard, where the majestic instruments are taken to die.

While I was foraging I happened upon this art installation that grew organically and in doing so, embraced the, all but taboo, subjects of death and decomposition.

The Fling scene from Northern Exposure – Compliments of Lori Gloyd

Oblique Strategies

Oblique

An Oblique Strategy. It is true! Errors can be a very real positive.

Today, in the Textiles course I am doing at Castlemaine Continuing Ed, it was clear that it was ‘hump’ day. Even after lunch it was all too evident that most of us were tired after taking in so much creative stimuli. Even Anastasia was quiet as I struggled to do some basic weaving.

Anastasia and I went limp. Once again we were facing the specter that rises and prods and pokes and says, in a very harsh voice, that it is NOT enough to take one bird at a time and sit making dots or lines for the sake of making dots and lines. Worse! It sneers and makes pointed comments about never being able to achieve the standard of art we have been shown or anything to match what others in the class are doing. Enough to silence the toughest!

Neither Anastasia or I are very good at handling this dark, oppressive critic, who hovers like the grim reaper. However, Anastasia’s silence did not mean she had given way to this force. Rather she is one to bide her time and wait for the moment to confront that critic.

Sensing the general lull Ilka encouraged us to make some cards and asked us to write simple suggestions on them. A card might simply say ‘make some dots’ or ‘make dots using the color turquoise’ or ‘use wire’ etc. The idea is to use them as wild cards and use them to get yourself going to do a task. Then she introduced us to Oblique Strategies which offer suggestions or directions to apply when you hit a creative block.

As a writer I have used this sort of divination technique. I like my Raven Cards and I have found that it has helped to draw one and think like a raven.

A card I will sit near me will say ‘honor your limitations’, ‘take one bird at a time’.

Try drawing an Oblicard to help push through the block.

Use the automated cards online or make some of your own.

And please! Add suggestions for more cards in the comment box.

Birthing of Anastasia

Thinking and building in 3D – Textiles and beyond…     NEW DATES !
Five day intensive in Castlemaine November 25 – 29
Experience new ways of thinking and making in 3D! There are many textile and basketry techniques available (and many more we can invent) that lend themselves to sculptural outcomes.  Beginning with presentations of inspirational 3D Art Textiles of the World (both traditional and contemporary) we will explore a variety of approaches to sculptural construction in this hands-on course.  Content will also be shaped by participants’ sampling, reflection, current interests and observations.  Bring your own skills and experience!  Experiment and cross pollination are central to these workshops. A myriad of methods and materials begin to suggest themselves the more broadly we think, and the outcomes can range from the miniature to the architectural. Materials list provided on enrolment.
Monday to Friday 25 Nov – 29 Nov, 9.30am – 3.30pm. Cost $340

Contact: Castlemaine Continuing Education. ph. 03 5472 3299

Anastasia’s Entrance

On the first day of this Textile Course, as we set up our tables with our various stashes and nests of fabric, there were name tags to identify us. I cannot recall quite what was said to make Ilka say that we could be anyone we wanted to be.

In a fleeting moment Anastasia emerged, like a thin, barely visible waft of smoke from an incense stick.

As I wrote the name Anastasia on the blank canvas of the name tag everyone laughed. Within moments, like the bag of a hot air balloon she filled, puffed up, rose and gained stature.

Upon rising she spoke saying ‘I am Anastasia and Anastasia is happy to be here with Heather. We are ready to have fun and play.’

Then, during  an activity when Ilka was encouraging us to define the essence of a concept Anastasia prodded me, laughed as only Anastasia can laugh and suggested that it would be a challenge to forage and identify the essence of her.

Yes! She is a spirited one. I saw that unleashing her, filling her with warm air means I have something to contend with.

This blog is now Anastasia’s blog. Old posts have been removed and we are starting over, happy to be working collaboratively. The hunt has begun!