Aglow

Nature never fails to inspire.

Blooming aloe vera

A recent project was to create  a tiny lantern child, a project for our craft group.Her outfit seemed to come together without forethought .

A small wood and wire doll dressed in red,orange and yellow, carrying a felt lantern.
Carrying the flame

Once complete came the realisation that  her colours not only match the glow of her lantern but also reflects colours that are presently in nature.

Red,gold and orange  are present in turning leaves, aloe flowers and red hot poker lilies, glow and warm the soul, a reminder that soon the landscape will be wrapped in winters grey mantle.

Red Hot Poker Lily
Red Hot Poker Lily

Coming and going and doing

January has proved to be a month of comings and goings. During this time there were touchdowns in  three Australian states, Victoria, the A.C.T and Queensland, as well as in three different  capital cities, Melbourne,

Melbourne and Yarra river
Melbourne and Yarra river

Canberra, leaving as a warm,bright day became stormy ,

Canberra  rain clouds
Canberra rain clouds

and Brisbane. Brisbane as a last stop seemed to shine a special welcome back, the setting sun giving the city quite an ethereal glow.

Flying into Brisbane at Sunset
Flying into Brisbane at Sunset

 

All three cities have provided inspiring experiences and ideas, but it seems that the garden beauty of Melbourne, and in particular St.Erth at Blackwood, has lingered.

 

Works in progress-handstitched felt garden inpisred pieces, a hoollow forest log,mushroom house,miniature vegetable garden, lily pond scene.
Works in progress-

 

From this wonky computer taken, “pushed for time”, picture you can see that everything is still unfinished. These are  all are works in progress that will hopefully see completion this weekend.

Now I really do need to settle and connect again to that slower, daily rhythm that encourages creativity and utilizes the wonder and passion that the memories have filed. That rhythm requires stillness, solitude and a hermit like phase, which seems to be elusive as I dart here and there, reconnecting with friends, local places and activities. This year it seems has chosen constant motion and travel as a theme.

 

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

A Garden

Vegetable plot -made in wool felt
Vegetable plot

A  little while back a garden took shape. A most satisfying garden that has flourished and produced vegetables to be harvested.

Pumpkin vine in felt garden
Ripe for the picking

This was a garden made from fibre, stitched and felted. It was created in Autumn as a playmat, teaching aid or story prop and  is not at all like my “proper” garden that seems mainly to supply the wild life no matter what strategies we put in place.
My real garden straggles and struggles as it tries to survive in the onslaught of a fickle climate and appetites of various critters, birds and insects.
Occasionally there are some delightful surprises so we reap a little, mainly herbs. However it seems that French sorrel has not yet been added to their palate so today I shall harvest, make a sorrel and red lentil soup and give thanks.

Felt Garden Playmat
Felt Garden Playmat

Athena- Sacred Women Series

quilted,appliqued and painted textile art representing Athena with Medusa sheild and owl.
Athena
painted and quilted owl from Athena Panel
Athena’s wisdom owl

In construction  this panel utilised various types of fabric manipulation. For instance  the plumage of her helmet was made from pleated mesh-like fabric and her helmet is made form gold lame that was quilted to give the effect of an engraved and beaten metallwork design. Silk, cotton, metallic threads, applique, quilting and handpainted elements all meld together in this piece.

Incorporating different neeedlework techniques seemed appropriate for this Goddess. The great Athena  is well known not only as the wise,warrior  patron of Athens but also as a superb craftswoman, who was especially skilled in weaving.

Athena’s prowess in war, justice, arts and crafts and agriculture makes her a very ancient and powerful deity who was trimmed to fit into patriarchial thinking of Classical Greece, especially by Homer who had her emerging from the forehead of her supposed father,Zeus. Presenting her in this way made Athena  not of woman born but rather a man’s creation. According to myth her mother was Metis, the Goddess of creative thought and wisdom,whom Zeus feared.

Detail of painted and stiched Medusa symbol on Athena's shield
Medusa

In this way Homer presented her in what appears to me a very contrived and deliberate effort to redfine her and disconnect her from matriarchy and her true essence and power. However, I feel the worship and respect for the ancient Athena was so well entrenched he dared not obliterate her importance.  

Athena’s symbols speak of her ancient origins, especially the serpent which  possibly indicates a Minoan form, making this Goddess  predate Zeus. Some  link her to  the Amazons in Libyia through her warrior role. The symbols of serpent and Medusa that are always presented with her are further indications of her ancient origins and her true power and qualities.And of course those bird symbols,the owl and also the dove which again bespeak of ancient traditions. 

What  is quite revealing is that this Athena  presented Herself to me at first through  Her Medusa aspect; that very ancient self who was later distorted and misprepresented as the  evil gorgon whose stare turned men into stone. Medusa-Athena is the deep self, the seat of creative and intuitive wisdom. She is the self who has been lost and denied, distorted and maligned. She and Athena are one- the complete woman, the selfempowered, strong and confident woman. The woman who we all aspire to become denying to ourselves that this is who we are and always have been.