Friday, August 17, 2012

wakened hands

I recently finished reading Christopher Frayling's "On Craftsmanship - towards a new Bauhaus"... a very nice tome which unpacks many of the tensions between craft, art and design.

Hence, this charming piece of prose is on my mind:

Things men have made with wakened hands, and put soft life into
are awake through years with transferred touch, and go on glowing
for long years.
And for this reason, some old things are lovely
warm still with the life of forgotten men who made them.
Things Men Have Made, by DH Lawrence (1929)

Have a nice weekend and try to enjoy braving the continued cold...BTW...I did finish the socks :o)

Friday, August 10, 2012

food growing as practice

This has been niggling at me for a while, and I want to dispel what seems to me a popularly held myth, that growing your own food is easy.  There's enough banter out there about food growing, in book form, on the television and in the online/blogosphere scape, and although there is a lot of instructive info, it often feels like all that is required is some enthusiasm and a simple intent to start and it will be as easy as a wink.  I'm all for talking about the positive benefits of vegie and fruit growing, but it certainly is not always easy, if it was would anyone ever buy food?!

I absolutely adore Costa as the new host of Gardening Australia, but I can't help but wonder at the apparent ease at which his "Verge" garden has sprung up.  Commitment is such an important ingredient for successful gardening, particularly when the initial exciting flush that comes with something newly begun dies down.  What I find difficult to manage is the balance between patient waiting and quick action.  Like anything in life, you get out what you put in, you literally reap what you sow.  Food growing requires consistent effort, but an interesting kind of consistency that must also allow for adaptability.  You have to keep putting in, but keep a close evaluative eye on what's happening to know what steps to take.  How do you develop this eye?  How do you know how to respond?

The required skills and knowledge can be learned in part through books/television/internet (which, I'll say it again, overwhelmingly make it seem so easy!), but there's a level of know-how needed that can only be cultivated by doing.  I've been thinking about this for a long time since I saw an episode of Gardening Australia back in April (see "Gardening for Life" on 14/4/12), that showed a segment about a retired market gardener in Coburg who was turning over the lease for his cultivated land to CERES.  He had a knowledge of the land that he had tended all his life which seemed to defy logic.  At one point he says that a patch over there "looks" good for growing broadbeans, and I wonder about what is going on here.  Is it the development of a localised wisdom that comes through experience?  Perhaps coupled with repetition, careful observation and above all practice?  So food growing is a practice?!  Of course, it demands the consistent effort and commitment that developing a practice requires.  When expertise of a practitioner is demonstrated it dazzles and implies effortlessness, and perhaps that's what is happening on shows like Gardening Australia.

As my ripped up corn stalks (due to dog vs rat battles) from last season testify, food growing is not easy!  In actual fact, it was easier when I went more by my instinct and less by instruction from books.  So like the market gardener, I'm going into the next season with the intent to listen to my own intuition and discover the lore of my land.

Friday, August 3, 2012

winter moments

Hello after a big winter hiatus!  I'm at the point where I'm through the conference and teaching preparations and back into semester two...where did the time go?!
Winter is idling's been so very chilly...but punctuated by lovely moments that can only happen at this time of the year.

There is broccoli in the garden and I'm looking forward to Spring and time to plan and plant!

I'm still crocheting away... thinking about the anatomy of known forms.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

solstice greetings!

Winter solstice here today and it's a suitably cold, miserable and wet day.  But I'm happy as the house is toasty and warm (I blocked some holes in the yet to be renovated skirting boards with some junk mail :P).  See how great a salutation "solstice greetings" is?  Now I get to say it twice a year :o)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

now I know where time went...

@ berg publishers
I'm reading "When Clothes become Fashion: Design and Innovation Systems" by Ingrid Loschek...while still working on some writing for the PopCAANZ conference next week...all writing/reading for me at the moment and only a little bit of sock knitting in the evening while watching prerequisite telly.
Anyhow, Ingrid has finally explained to me why I always feel so time poor: "sensory monotony explains why the impression arises of time passing faster and faster" (p. 142)
This is part of a discussion about why fashion is perceived to be so fast - and explains why fast fashion is so boring, but also explains why I feel like I never have enough time while I wear away these monotonous PhDing days...
The first sock is nearly done!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


When I haven't been around here for a bit you can most likely guess by now that there has been some demanding stuff going on PhD wise.  I was told by my lovely hairdresser today to update the blog (ta S xx), so here I am!   Our graduate research conference was weekend before last and I spent all of last week in recovery mode.   It took some serious wrangling in the last month or so to get ready to present my work, but the most interesting thing I got up to was making a sampler constructed out of this stuff...

Anyone for box chain?!

I will show what I made...just haven't got around to photographing it yet, but as a teaser, I will tell you that it is all about revisiting my making skills from my previous incarnation as a fetish wear designer!
Part of my post GRC recovery was spent on sock feet have been so freezing during this very chilly wintery season that I decided to use some of my sock yarn stash to actually make socks rather than the usual baby cardi's.

This is the first time I've attempted sock far so good, I'm nearly up to the heel shaping.

Other stuff...the lovely drawing salon semester finished last night...I'll get around to showing some more drawings soon...and the magnificent Ms Rehe is going on a drawing adventure to New York, so do stop by Patsyfox in the coming weeks to see what she is up to.

Not much happening garden wise...some winter planting and planning for hopefully a better warm season in a few months...I did pick some carrots yesterday...they were yum :o)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

happy birthday to P and all other lovely Taureans!

P's birthday happy birthday lovely husband and to all the many Taureans that I know!
Here's P's birthday card sketch...two lovely dogs :o)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

thread and drawn

Last week at the drawing salon, the lovely miss Angie brought in some thread for all us to glean from...part of the stuff from a former incarnation that she was hanging on to...just in know, that old chestnut!  I did end up with the lion share and I think that I must have a life time supply here now...

Luckily I managed to find a placcy container to store most in and I do feel quite inspired to get into some more varied sewing projects to use them too :o)

Speaking of drawing salons, time also to show some more of my drawings.  I like grouping them together here as I'm struggling to find my style...that was always my biggest drawing challenge.  Reflecting back on these later, with help of the drawing tag in the cloud might just help!

Some faces from a couple of weeks ago...and don't you know it...some hands too...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

sunshiny day

It's the kind of day that I never want to has been a day with the most perfect Melbourne weather and I've been pottering about doing lovely research things at home.  I've been trialling some photography of my gleaned __________ garments and catching up on some reading.  Enjoy what might be the last day before winter sets in y'll!

Monday, May 7, 2012

happy anniversary!

6 years today since P and I were wed!  I picked some of the few autumn roses that we have at the mo...both P and I agree that these are much nicer than the lanky and characterless long stems that you can these days I request no flowers on occasions like this!

Instead, we had a lovely dinner at Quaff in Toorak Village, close to where we were married at St Johns church.  We had a nice surprise that there was a sculpture exhibition along the strip, with various sculptures being shown inside the shop windows...we had a squiz after dinner...

And when we got home, an amazing surprise for me on the coffee table...a Lily Serna number puzzle book...much better than long stemmed roses - yay!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I've been so preoccupied with this and that...I just realised that I didn't give an update on the curtains for which I bought the eyelets back in seems like yesterday! On the easter break the curtains were finally installed down at Rye. It was quite a process...those eyelets are not easy to put on, P ended up doing most of them and it took over a day of hard work!

The results were lovely and you might recognise the common place IKEA fredrika fabric, it's almost cringe worthy but I can't help but love it!
Hugo also taught us how to pack a dog :o)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

reading: poetry, language, thought

I'm returning to Heidegger after a hiatus and I'm finding that considering "being" through the understanding of a "thing" to be a helpful exercise yet again. I do love the questions around art...if you want to learn what art is you might go and look at art, but how do you know if you are looking at art if you don't know what it is?!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

draw something

I hope everyone in Australia had a nice Anzac day and remembered the Anzacs...what an awful cold day for them though!  The first wintery weather for the year hit us here in Melbourne yesterday and it was a bit of a shock to the system...I particularly felt it as I was up early to go to a leather workshop at the hub and out late at the patsyfox drawing salon.
I really haven't turned my hand to any serious illustration attempts since my undergrad fashion days, and I feel the pain every time I try to get ideas down on paper.  I've been thinking about it for a while, but decided to bite the bullet and get some skill brushing help from the wonderful Angie Rehe.
We started with drawing the fashion figure and here's some sneaks at my first attempts...I'm not quite ready to show full illustrations yet, just the bits I like best, plus the first lady was toppling off the page a little as kindly pointed out to me by Angie!

Angie liked the shoes in my second drawing so I'm showing you this bit...her face was a disaster!  We're doing faces next week, thank goodness!

Enjoy what you have left of the last public holiday that we have for quite some time peeps!

Monday, April 23, 2012

crumb bum stupid head

The personal vernacular of hubby P and myself has of late been evolving to the tune of the opening skit of this portlandia ep…

…and we’re currently in the midst of calling each other and the doggles “crumb bum” and “stupid head” at an almost constant and ridiculous rate.  It’s quite fitting really, as I am at the moment lifting myself out of a state in which I felt I was a firm stupidhead and definite crumb bum a lot of the time!  Yes, I’ve been wrangling this darned PhD of mine into some kind of ok shape, and I finally feel that I’m getting there.  A fog has finally lifted, while the hazy melancholic autumn is setting in.  Maybe this is a phenomenon to watch out for…decline pushing other areas of my life into the hopefully sublime!

You might have noticed that this little old blog is looking quite a bit different…it’s been on the back burner for a bit, but the wrangling has been happening here too and it’s finally looking a lot more designerly!  The tabs up the top are yet to be populated…this will evolve over time.

I’m still making lots of lettuces as opposed to growing them, (there are some growing too)…I might make a salad…

Thursday, March 22, 2012

garden windfall

I've been starting a series of workshops in the studio to unpack what is happening in this space...privileging making is the focus and I'm experimenting with what this means in various ways in the garden and the workroom and hopefully making some more tangible links between the two.  So far I've been thinking about dressing the garden and the workroom and objects within the space...

 It has been a windfall of sorts with a bit of rejuvenation being injected into my work...but I also had a very suprising garden windfall on the weekend...I was weeding and tidying up the garden edging under the apple trees and what I thought was a bit of rubbish (maybe something pulled out of the bin by the doggles or blown into the garden), was a cripsy $20 note!  It might just have been washed and fallen out of a hung on the line garment pocket, but I like to think that like the said rubbish sometimes does, it blew into the garden in a happy accident :o)

Gem and Hugs also got blessed and dressed by the garden on the weekend...pretty pups!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

back in not so black...again!

Back towards the beginning of my bloggy happenings I moved away from blackness and into blackness with the blog layout...for a while I've been tired with the black, and even though it is less lit pixels, a pal pointed out to me that a difficult to read screen isn't very sustainable either!   So I've taken the plunge to start redesigning the blog page in line with some new directions I'm's a work in this space!

As I mentioned in the previous post, the uni semester started last week which takes me away from all routine things, and this week has been about developing a new routine...which is kind of nice - means some jiggling of priorities and attending to the really important things.

I didn't touch the garden last has been a very disappointing season with the lack of a real hot stretch and all of the pests (aphids and rats!) that have just caused almost everything to fail.  Even the last hope for apples is out the window as these late season sturmers have been munched away at (I think rats...again!)  When I went to take a pic I discovered european wasps sucking away at the flesh too!

But I did manage to pick one, the last with no rat chews...and looking at the woodbridge link, it's reassuring that my apple looks the same as theirs, even though it is insanely early compared to the june/july ripening time that they predict...

There are always some lovely things in the garden though, like this orb weaver on one of the rose arches....

And the zucchinis and cucumbers I planted to replace those pulled out during the dog vs rat debacle are doing well...even though they are late in the season, hopefully I'll get a crop...

I'm starting some experiments with making vegetables in the studio...not sure where it will go, but I'm doing some plastic crochet Marjorie Bligh style with a twist.  I'm doing some hyperbolic crochet to make some lettuce this case using glad wrap from a bunch of organic celery...

From sheet to form :o)