Spring flowers

Showers have freshened the garden and all about there are splashes of colour and sweet perfumes. Spring has sprung! These magnets were made in winter and were inspired by thoughts of spring . They  now reflect well the outburst of blooms and colour.

Technical difficulties continue to be an impediment but these have become  a useful challenge, encouraging me to use what is at hand and to look at that with different perspectives.


Autumn Harvest

Collage of different hand made, autumn seasonal table props
Autumn Harvest

A collage of  various projects and treasures to greet the season. The harvest Queen is a recent project that was designed by Dionne Coburn for a parent craft group at Silkwood. The tiny gnome by the pumpkin was made by   nine year old  Star.

Antarctic Inspiration

Emperor penguin and chick placed in a small scape made from hand dyed wool felt and crystal organza overlay
Antarctic setting

When  the idea for a winter scape comes to mind for our area, creating a snow scene seemed somewhat alien. However winter does bring snow, frost and ice down south in the higher mountain ranges and also in Antarctica, part of which is Australian Territory. Because this piece was  a commission for a recipient fascinated by snow and penguins the idea of trying to create a scape representing Antarctica seemed feasible at first, even easy.

As it has turned out this has been one of the most difficult projects so far attempted. White and lots of it is flat, dull, uninspiring. The challenge to encapsulate the essence of a continent  covered in snow and permafrost, barren to all appearances yet vast, wild and home to millions of sea creatures was both exhilarating and daunting. Such an extreme and beautiful place had to be reduced to a very small scale with the added restraint of using warm, wool felt to portray this freezing climate. It seemed a crazy and impossible notion.

Using pure white  just did not work, nor did some of my original ideas. Instead of a flat base this piece required sculpting from very hard industrial felt that resulted in bleeding fingers. For some time nothing worked and it was poked away .

The breakthrough came when my friend Mia bought some of her wonderful splotchy felt that she hand dyes to craft. Splotchy felt is perfect to use for water. As I placed a piece down to make the sea it seemed that it could create a cold effect when  used in the scene. This lovely felt was the missing link and helped to give the illusion of shadows and crevices, as well as to introduce the  blue tones  connected with the continent.

Even so the scene was still dull and lifeless, requiring the glisten that snow has as the light dances over it. This came through using a shimmery organza to make an ice sheet with sparing application of  silver glitter.

Iconic Emperor Penguins were used to represent the species that use this incredible area to raise their young.  As the  Emperor penguin is found over the entire continent it seemed the right creature to place in this setting and to also indicate that even in such a harsh environment life can exist.

This environment is fragile and threatened. The ice cap is melting  because air and sea temperatures are rising. As a consequence so will sea levels. This will have a far ranging impact on other continents as well as the potential for many species to face extinction.

Antarctica  is a place that has attracted and fascinated scientists for many years  with considerable research being undertaken. Let us hope this is not in vain and the warning signals will be heeded and, more importantly, that  significant action is taken immediately on a global scale.

Colours of the Season

Stitched from wool felt small scene of tree stump,fallen leaves and stream
A handmade autumn scene

This  scene was more familiar when I lived in cooler climate of Canberra where the seasons are distinct. Autumn tended to be  misty and crisp, and the trees glowed in their seasonal displays of red burgundy, orange and yellow. Underfoot lay a thick carpet of leaves that delighted children and possums. The street where I had lived had an overhanging avenue of pin oaks, that kept the street degrees cooler in summer and in autumn formed a long, glowing and breathtaking crimson arch.

Here in Queensland autumn is  more of a hint though a short distance away from our property is a mountain where there are introduced cold climate trees such as oak and amber. Their foliage changes colour, shedding  leaves and  giving a sense of a “real ” northern style Autumn.

Down in our valley we get mists, softly weaving around the trees and along the creek banks. Lately there has even been a little crispness and the need for blankets at night. Autumn here  is green and lush, especially this year as we have had so much rain .

 Qld. bush ,the green of autumn
a green autumn

The palette  for autumn in our part of the country is very different from the common perception of autumn as a vibrant and rich mix of warm tones. Here  predominantly featured are colours that are in the cool range pale pink, mauve, blue and green . The colours of heart and soul, an interesting contemplation.

crepe myrtle in flower
autumn blooming
Australian native violets
Australian native violets

Our Autumn, this year, is one of rampant growth which is attracting wildlife. The thick undergrowth and seeding grasses are drawing tiny birds, such as wrens and finches ; the filled dams and creeks are resonating with frog calls.  Prolific seeding and fruiting, that seems to be happening so fast lately, has provided home and food  many insects, birds and animals.

A young bunch of bananas perfectly showing the abundance and different colour scheme of the season where we are situated
autumn harvest

Autumn  is reinforcing the lesson that it is a season wonder, of abundance, harvest and joy;  a season that enriches and instills a sense of awe and reverence.