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,
Canberra, leaving as a warm,bright day became stormy ,
and Brisbane. Brisbane as a last stop seemed to shine a special welcome back, the setting sun giving the city quite an ethereal glow.
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.
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 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.
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.
In fact it feels too hot to be in our own skin!
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 .
Cooler in tone and effect was this small Sea Queen.
A little while back a garden took shape. A most satisfying garden that has flourished and produced vegetables to be harvested.
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.
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.
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.