As above so below

 

Dusk falling as sea.sky and shore seem to merge merge
Dusk

Sand,sea and sky seem to merge as the day fades .  Once more the waves roll in and out  as the clouds roll over the sky; the elements connected and connecting, infinitely.

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Rock Pool

Closeup of a rock pool nature mat that incorporates needleft rocks,real shells and embroidered details such as seaweed,starfish and a fish skeleton..
Sea treasures

Once again the allure of the sea has inspired a nature mat.This was a work in progress as the weather changed and wild seas battered the coast.This mat depicts a more serene aspect of the sea, a calm rock pool that invites imaginative play and story telling.

After the wildness of the weekend  a rosy sunset glowed on a sea that was tame again.

Sunset at Burleigh Beach,Queensland
Sunset at Burleigh Beach,Queensland

In the Heart of the City

Brisbane, city scene from southbank looking across the Brisbane river to the ever growing stacks of high rises
Brisbane, city scene from Southbank

Brisbane is growing rapidly. Like many cities worldwide the buildings are reaching up higher and higher to the clouds.

Our visits to the city centre have been few and far between, mainly driving past to the the airport. Rarely do we venture to the inner city. Even more rarely do we see it as a tourist, and then we head to Southbank  Parklands which was the  traditional home of the Turrbal and Yuggerah people. Now this area is the cultural centre of the city. It is here that the art galleries,museum, theatre, conservatorium,markets and eating spots are to be found, as well as the man-made “Streets beach”. It is also the location for various festivals throughout the year.

The epicurious garden Southbank Parklands ,Brisbane.
Epicurious Garden, Brisbane

On this visit we discovered Epicurious, an organic  garden established within the Parklands to enable people to experience and learn about gardening. Midweek free samples are available with volunteers on hand to assist with advice.

Epicurious vegetable and herb garden, Southbank.
Epicurious vegetable and herb garden, Southbank.

What a wonderful concept to bring awareness and connection to nature, and to encourage healthier lifestyle options.

Ibis and bearded dragon in the heart of Brisbane city
In the heart of Brisbane city

Close by to Epicurious is a rainforest area, where a huge fig tree provides a tunnel though it for children to explore, and a rock pool is a haven for wildlife.If you look closely there is a bearded dragon on the rock to the right of the ibis.Perhaps best of all this area of the Parklands offers an opportunity to find peace in the very heart of the city.

 

Iconic Melbourne

” How do I love thee, let me count the ways” said Elizabeth Barret Browning.

A quote so apt as I wonder “what is it about Melbourne that so delights and inspires?”

Old Melbourne Tram
Old Melbourne Tram

Love those trams- old and new. They make it so easy to move around the city.

Mosaic Bench,Fitzroy.
Mosaic Bench,Fitzroy.

Love the street fixtures.

Painting of a cat in stunning colours ,street art Fitzroy
Cat street art

And the street art.

Trees framing old and new styles of architecture in Melbourne
Melbourne Mix

Love the trees that line the streets and the mix of old and new architecture.

alleyMelb.

Love exploring the alleys that are interspersed through the city. These are fascinating little worlds of bustle and colour, delicious aromas, and street music.

Flying pig sculpture on top of electricity pole Melbourne
Pigs can fly!

Love that in Melbourne pigs can fly and that  sculptures with a sense of humour are placed around the city.

Blue monkey toy in garden boxes in city strip Melbourne
Waiting and Watching.

So many iconic notions make up the character of Melbourne. It is a city that has  a mix of culture and eccentricity, colour and mood.

Melbourne, “how do I love thee” – with all my heart.

Heatwave

Thermometer showing mercury going up at 41C
Temperature is rising

Heatwave conditions have come to our part of the world. Going outside is like stepping into a fan forced oven. Fire is an ever present threat, already several have occurred in our locality, two this weekend. The wildlife is distressed, and that distresses me as all we can do is keep water out for them hoping they can find some shade and a little relief.

Wallabies under the may bush seeking shade
Seeking shade

The birds sit with open beaks, panting and holding their wings away from their bodies, too hot to even find enough energy to take a dip in the bird baths. The brush turkey digs into the soil to try to find a level that is moister or cooler but all we have is hot, dry dust.

Butcher bird not liking the heat
Hot!

In fact it feels too hot to be in our own skin!

Shed snakeskin
Shed snakeskin

Crafting might seem impossible but in fact it has helped. Over this burning weekend I have been making mermaids. The palette of  ice blues and marine greens combined with thoughts of oceans deep has been cooling .

A small handstitched sea scene, a little pocket that holds a mermaid and fish,behind the sand with rocks,weed and  real shells.

Cooling

Cooler in tone and effect was this small Sea Queen.

Small hand-crafted mermaid portrayed as a Sea Queen,with iridescent scaled and beaded tail,and arms that bend. Her hair is a mix of fine fibres and sparkle threads.
Sea Queen

To market ,to market……

Market day at mount Tamborine,Qld.Australia
Mountain market day

Once a month a market is held on Mount Tamborine. It has been some years since last I went. The idea is to get there early, even more so now as the market has grown and was crowded before nine a.m.

So many stalls are there now under the big shade trees and so many people embracing the day and the atmosphere of vibrant colour and delicious smells all wrapped in a glorious, summer morning .

The rise and popularity of markets, of buying fresh, organic produce, local grown and mostly  local made seems to be growing in favour . There is no comparison to the strident, branded, environment of the big shopping malls. The market lives and breathes, interacts and inspires. Give me a market or small local shopping strip any day.

However, I do have a peeve, that one of the compound for small animal petting.  The poor little creatures are so stressed. Now that it is racing  into summer in Australia it seems  cruel to have the babies in the heat all day. Baby animals like human babies need to sleep a lot, not to be constantly poked and pinched, exposed to constant,strident noise, and at times roughly handled and chased.

I wonder how we would like to be put  in a pen or cardboard box ( or have our children in one) to be on public display, to be overfed, mishandled, frightened, stressed to the max  and overstimulated. Just saying this is not a good thing and distressed me a lot. Kind of took the edge off the experience, so instead of leaving with the initial feel good vibe it made me all too aware of the cruelty we humans impose on all living things.

The Lady of St.Kilda

Sailing across Carlisle Street.Balaclava,Melbourne on the rail overpass is the Lady of St.Kilda and her mermaid escorts.
Lady of St Kilda

For many years I have been intrigued by a mural of The Lady of St. Kilda who  sails over busy Carlisle street  in Balaclava Melbourne. Her ocean is the sky, the sound of her waves the traffic hum. Why is she there? I wondered. What is her story?

Recently I found a photo I had taken on one of my trips south. I had to know more and started to do some research discovering that  this  public art work was created by Alex and Ruvim Nemirovsky, in 1993. The historic schooner this mural depicts was moored during much of 1841 at St.Kilda,  a vibrant,beach-side suburb of Melbourne. The suburb, with a high Scottish population in those times, was named after the remote Hebridean islands of St.Kilda.

For me this rather whimsical art work brings to mind the voyagers and stories that make such a rich tapestry in myth, folklore and history, harking back to times when mermaids and sirens were believed to lure sailors to watery graves. In those times explorers thought the world was flat believing that bloodthirsty monsters lurked beneath the waters, yet they set sail in tiny vessels, to map the globe. These were the times when the oceans were a vast unknown that promised adventure and riches as well as danger and death.

Waves coming inand lost beyond the horizon
Endless Ocean

Many stories with sea themes tell of endurance, courage and despair. Often in sea tales there is  a haunting sadness and an ever-present fear of loss, like the crashing of waves, as hopes wash in and out of our lives. It seems that sea has inspired artists, musicians, poets and writers forever as an infinite source of wonder and yearning.

The shipThe  Lady of St.Kilda, is  named after Lady Grange, who was by all accounts a rather unpleasant lady. It seems that she was abducted by her estranged husband and some Scottish noblemen when she threatened to reveal their Jacobite conspiracy plans. Although she had nine children living no one in her family seemed to want her back. As a consequence Rachel Chiesley, the Lady Grange, was hidden and imprisoned for many years on remote islands in the Hebrides, including  St.Kilda,where she was exposed to very harsh conditions as well as isolation. Abandoned she died  in 1745, elderly, unwanted ,outcast and unloved.

Lady Grange,from public domain, wikipedia
Lady Grange, as painted by John Baptiste de Medina, 1710.(from public domain)

The despair, loneliness, fear and anger that must have been her constant companions are not hard to imagine. The sea to her would have been a cruel prison. Denied her former life, cut off from family and acquaintances, her situation was not unlike a Selkie who has lost her skin so becoming trapped on land or who, on finding her skin  has returned to the sea thus losing her human children.

Selkie Sculpture,Currumbin,Qld.
Selkie Sculpture,Currumbin,Qld.

At the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Queensland, there is a sculpture of a Selkie. Scarred and weathered now, she is by a lake. To see her at this location away from the ocean,  emerging from, or perhaps finding her seal skin, was strange. Lonely, listening, watching and waiting, always waiting, dislocated like the Lady of St.Kilda.

Selkie statue Currumbin,Qld.
Selkie statue Currumbin,Qld.