Random Acts of Giving

Amidst the sometimes stressful frenzy of Christmas shopping, the idea that giving to others can be good for your health and happiness can feel a bit of a stretch.

But a growing body of scientific research shows exactly that.

It’s now clear that doing good for others without any expectation of reward – known as behaving altruistically – can give you better physical and mental health and even help you live longer. Read remainder of article

This year Christmas Day was very special, thanks in large part to the giving nature of some friends.

It is timely to remember that it is healthy to be giving all year round.

Rather than making any New Year Resolutions Anastasia and I are going to actively promote ‘Random Acts of Giving’.

Feel free to ‘gift’ any suggestions of what might constitute ‘Random Acts of Giving!’

Random at Colossal

I have decided to use the Random function at Colossal to see what pops up to offers some inspiration.

“Using thousands and thousands of standard sewing pins artist (and MacArthur Foundation genius) Tara Donovan creates geometric shapes on immense canvases that appear almost blurred and atmospheric. The patience and care it must take to create these works is mind boggling. Her hand touched each pin, one by one until the canvases were filled with gentle sweeping gradients of tiny metal circles. See the work for yourself at Pace Gallery in New York through March 19th.”

I am thinking that there are a number of things I could do as a result of seeing this artist’s work.

One thing I could do is contact Tara and talk to her about how she came to use sewing pins in this way. Another is challenging myself to find other uses for all sorts of obscure things – like paper clips, paper doilies or some more uses for blue tack.

Temari Balls

Temari BallsTemari balls are a form of folk art that originated in China and were introduced to Japan in the 7th century. The carefully hand-embroidered balls often made from the thread of old kimonos were created by parents or grandparents and given to children on New Year’s day as special gift. According to Wikipedia the balls would sometimes contain secret handwritten wish for the child, or else contained some kind of noise-making object like a bell.

Source: Colossal

The idea of making balls which are made using material from the clothes of loved ones and which contain secret handwritten wishes, bells, memories and other surprises appeals. I am cursing that I have not kept more pieces of clothing from those loved ones who have died.

No matter!

My descansos ball has none of the amazing precision seen here. At one time that would have bothered me. But today I feel no need to replicate this form of art. What I am most interested in, as I forage for ideas, is the use of color, the notion of using diverse scraps and the concept of making many balls.

This is timely for, having placed the open lock in my descansos ball, I sense the time has come to complete it and then see what material speaks to me and asks to be shaped into balls.  After all, Baba clearly has not done with me. My tasks are by no means completed.

Flickr user NanaAkua photographed an amazing collection of  geometric spheres created by her 88-year-old grandmother who began to master the art in her 60s. She has since created hundreds of them, nearly 500 of which you can see right here.

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.

Local Foraging

In her acclaimed ‘The Artist’s Way’, Julia Cameron makes a feature of Artist Dates or weekly artist assigned play days.

One of the joys of living in Castlemaine is that it is like living upon the hub of a wheel.

Spin the wheel, see where it lands and you can take yourself out to any number of lovely places to have an assigned play day.  Here there are endless options!

Daylesford is little over twenty kilometres from Castlemaine and there is no better place to treat someone than the Wombat Hill House and Garden.

The slice of Raspberry and White Chocolate Mud Cake was so generous that, when halved, we each had substantial portions. And those coffees were ‘jug sized’. We certainly came away feeling well satisfied.

After a superlative spring the Wombat Hill Gardens were looking their absolute best. Little wonder that this is my go to place when I am wanting to provide that special treat.

However there are a number of options in Daylesford.

The Book Barn is another favorite haunt, along with the Spring Park Nursery in nearby Eganstown. Their garden is looking particularly good this year and both of us came away with plants that seemed to call our name.

Summer Fun

Embellished

Second Skin

It is going to be a wonderful summer of exploration all thanks to having spent a week immersed in textiles.

Life has a habit of distracting me but this blog is helping to keep me focused.

These are two books that I have on my Wish List at Book Depository. Hopefully they will arrive for me to devour in January.

Review of Second Skin by India Flint

Review of Second Skin by India Flint

If you’re into making do and mending, living sustainably, or even just trying to thrift a bit and save money; if you’re creative, love textiles, love beautiful imagery or just love a good, hearty coffee table book; if you’re all or some of the above, then Second Skin by India Flint could be the title to add to your wishlist.
 

“Almost from the moment of our birth we are wrapped in textiles of one form or another…”

While India’s book at first glance looks like a beautifully rendered reflection of her values, philosophies and thoughts about her place on the planet, it is also surprisingly choc-a-bloc full of hints, tips, tutorials, patterns and suggestions of how you can get more out of your clothes and textiles.

Review by Original Stitch

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