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.
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.
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.
As happens with rabbits, these little characters are multiplying too! The only danger they represent is a pull at the heartstrings.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In a large oak tree there were nesting boxes .
Sculpture is placed thoughout the precint, to inspire, to ponder and to provoke thought.
New buildings were innovative .
Overseeing the city the tower on Black Mountain, that created considerable controversy when it was erected. Since it has become an icon.
The visit was too short but huge in impact being a very a special time, as family gatheredfor my daughter’s wedding.
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.
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.
Visiting St.Erth, a Diggers Club Garden, the herbaceous border, food forest and terracing had an impact.
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.
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.
Interwoven throughout this magical and quirky space is art: painting, mosaics, sculpture that work with the garden to create an interesting and enriching environment.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
Nature paints too.
But nature has the last say, when she whispers” Life is beautiful”.
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.
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.
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.
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.