Multiplication

It seems to have become more difficult to post, because of fearing to be repetitious and boring. After a while even new projects seem to take on a similarity, although I can see, sometimes, an improvement or a new way of presenting a former theme.

Two friends

Here are some newly created characters, miniature needle felted rabbits. They bring back to mind visiting one of  Beatrix Potter’s homes “Hilltop” at Sawry in the Lakes District of England. Much to my delight  we saw two rabbits ,pictured below,frolicking in a field.

Two rabbits frolicking in the field at Beatrix Potter's first farm ,Lakes District .U.K
Spring ,Beatrix Potters Farm.

In the main wild rabbits are considered to be a major pest. Here in Australia they were introduced and have multiplied too well endangering native species ( this introduction being a consequence of ignorance and  folly of man, not the fault of the rabbit).

As a pet or subject in art or literature  rabbits become endearing.  In the whole scheme of nature  they have a purpose and a reason, for everything is connected and relevant.Sadly the interconnection of all things has been forgotten and abused . The balance of nature is now much compromised and too many creatures,including humans, face extinction.

Group of rabbits that are miniature in size, 1-2cm. The techniques used to create them was dry or needlefelting. They are a continuation of exploring woodland creatures as a theme.
 More Bunnies

As happens with rabbits, these little characters are multiplying too! The only danger they represent is a pull at the heartstrings.

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On the Bay

A man and his dog sharing a surfboard in the bay at St.Kilda, Melbourne
A man and his dog.

When in Melbourne I love to explore and walk, a lot.

The picture above was taken at St.Kilda, where a walk is always  an interesting adventure. On this occasion it was a poignant one to see the love these two companions had for each other. The old dog was so relaxed and much enjoying the sea with his friend.

A little further along  on the footpath something fluttered.

A paper heart that lay on the footpath at St'Kilda
From the heart

Coincidence ?  It seemed to be a perfect symbol for the companions who were out on the water.

Yet another reason why this a city that always  touches  my heart .

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.

Music in the City.

Musicians performing in an alley alcove in Melbourne,Victoria.2015
Melbourne Musicians

One of the things that I especially love  about Melbourne is the music. The streets are stages for  a joyous mix of buskers who represent possibly every genre. Rap, pop, classical, jazz , rock, opera, digeridoo, Asian flute and strings and more.

Dressed in red, a young f girl plays a delicate melody on her stringedfinstrument
An eyecatching musician, Melbourne.

Their ability ranges  from the beginner to the adept professional. Music  is  to be found all through the city  on the streets, in the squares and in the alleyways.

Horse drawn carriage,in Swanston Street, Melbourne
A different beat

Melbourne resonates to various tunes. The hum of the  traffic, the clip clop of the horse drawn carriages, rumble of the trams, beeps and sirens become an accompanying orchestra as  the city sings along.

This is but a tiny taste, There are so many other venues through the city and suburbs that offer a huge range of live performances. One of the many reasons that Melbourne has gained a reputation for being a city that promotes and encourages  art and culture.

Growing up.

Lake Burley Griffin, ACT
Lake Burley Griffin, ACT

Some years ago I lived in Canberra, however on  a recent visit earlier this year I came back as a tourist

The city has changed- a lot. It has spread up and out, and  just like “Topsy” it has grown.  At this time the changes that impressed most were around New Acton.

Evening glow-New Acton, ACT
Evening glow-New Acton, ACT.

Exciting changes that address environmental awareness working to bring nature, art and the city together as a beautiful union. Changes that look to creating healthy lifestyle options and beauty  to enrich life.

There were vegetable boxes planted in courtyards around which were cafes,restaurants, hotels and bars.

Food courtyard,Canberra. Asutralia

In a large oak tree there were nesting boxes .

Oak tree with nesting boxes, in city centre Canberra, Australia
Tree houses

Sculpture is placed thoughout the precint, to inspire, to ponder and to provoke thought.

Large sculpture entitled Modern Man,that is in a herb garden at New Acton, Canberra
ModernMan, overseeing a herb garden
About Modern Man
About Modern Man

New buildings  were innovative .

Hotel,New Acton Canberra
Hotel, New Acton Canberra

Overseeing the city the tower on Black Mountain, that created considerable controversy when it was erected. Since it has become an icon.

Black mountainTower at Dusk
Black mountainTower at Dusk

The visit was too short but huge in impact being a very a special time, as family gatheredfor my daughter’s wedding.

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.

 

Garden Inspirations

Hand stitched wool felt pincushion . A small round pumpkin patch surrounded by fl,oral border,inspired by gardens visited when in Victoria,Australia
Garden pincushion

The recent trip to Melbourne, as well as my own garden, has inspired a small piece, this pincushion which is a tiny pumpkin patch surrounded by a border of flowers. Mostly made from wool felt the pumpkin vine has tiny wire tendrils . Growing with the vine are some novelty flower pins. The larger flower pinhead is hand made from the felt, the other pins purchased.

On return I discovered that the pumpkin planted in a garden box in our under cover area had escaped. It had literally taken off over the sides of the plant box, raced along the ground and headed out the door.

Pumpkin that has grown furiously and now well away
Escaping !

Visiting St.Erth, a Diggers Club Garden, the herbaceous border, food forest and terracing had an impact.

St.Erth, Blackwood,Victoria.Australia
St.Erth, Blackwood,Victoria.Australia

Another significant influence was the Community garden at St.Kilda . A  fertile oasis  with a noble intent, and although opposite Luna Park and the trundling roller coaster, crowds and traffic it offered a haven.

Veg Out - St.Kilda comunity Garden,Melbourne.Australia
Veg Out – St. Kilda Community Garden,Melbourne.Australia

This garden was originally a bowling club that has been “re-purposed” , and  meanders around small plots, aviaries and a chicken pen as well as various buildings.

Garden plots, St.Kilda community Garden. Melbourne
Garden plots, St.Kilda community Garden. Melbourne

Interwoven throughout this magical and quirky space is art: painting, mosaics, sculpture that work with the garden to create an interesting and enriching environment.

Metal sculpture of a rose at entrance of St.Kilda Community Gardens
A Wrought Rose at ST.Kilda

The other garden that has inspired  is this tiny community garden begun last year in a bluestone laneway. Already it is attracting birds,insects and lizards .

At the beginning, new community garden, Melbourne
At the beginning

Small beginnings have such potential for growth and magnificence. This is the garden that my daughter has initiated so it is one held dear and with much love and pride.

 

signs to start a community garden,Melbourne
Beginnings

Beauty in the city

Street art Brunswick,Melbourne
Life is Beautiful

Last spring I wandered around the lanes of Fitzroy in Melbourne, intrigued by the street art and graffiti .

The above picture has a message that can be overlooked if eyes are pointed only straight ahead and focus rests only on the tags.

Powerful depiction of a Lion pianted on a city wall in Fitzroy Melbourne
King of the Alley

 

Style and technique ranged from powerfully realistic to naive simplicity, as for instance in these feline renditions. What also intrigued me was the play of textures, how the art and surface, shadow and light worked together.

.

Painted cat in a Fitzroy alley,Melbourne .
Alley Cat

 

 Nature paints too.

Coloured leaf on  bluestone cobbles found in a Fitzroy alley, Melbourne.
Nature the artist

 

But nature has the last say, when she whispers” Life is beautiful”.

 

Butterfly resting on a city wall,Melbourne.
Beauty in the city

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.