It's YOU! Hello! Nice to see you! Here you will find stuff about living a creative life in country Australia. I create with watercolour, pen, collage, mixed media and photos. I teach, hosts workshops, collect, dream. I love cheese, travel, my garden, faffing, colour and whimsy. I am crap at time management, and do way too many things, but it is all good. Oh yes, all pictures and photos on here by me too, just saying.

Friday, 19 July 2019

GREY MATTER


GREY MATTER


HELLO THERE! Oh my lordy it has been a LONG LONG LONG time since I wrote anything on here. Please do not be cranky pants! I am a bit of a shocker at saying NO to things, I am really shitty at time management, I get overwhelm, I juggle a lot of balls... and sometimes I actually CHOOSE to put some of the balls down, because I know I just cannot even TRY to keep them in the air. And blogging was one of those balls, put to the side. It helps my mental health to realise I cannot actually do it ALL, let alone some of it. 


As I get older, I truly realise how all of us have really different brains, not just personalities, but how we are wired is fundamentally spaghetti looped complicated and impossible to unravel. And not sure if I want to. 

Life is too messy and drippy, and layered, complex and disorganised to make it all make total sense. 


So sometimes I just try to STOP it making sense (thanks Talking Heads). Even so, my brain and I do battle frequently, especially when I have had depression and anxiety biting hard. But we also have the mundane skirmishes, little clashes that decide my day. 


And yep, the grey matter is endlessly processing, assessing, judging, analysing, weighing up options... Trying to absorb information, plan, sort, compile, draw connections, organise. With mixed results. Often repeating myself. 

Aging makes me feel no wiser, or grounded. I still feel like I am playing at being a grown up, playing at ADULTING. But I look in the mirror and I see GREY HAIR. And hair on my chin. Yes, it is hair that tells me I really am a grown up. 


I don't like the weird ones sprouting from odd places, but the grey hair I am actually quite okay with. I like it. 

With lots of shitty stuff happening to people around me, I get that aging is a privilege. That having the ability to make choices, and have options, to use the grey matter to decide such things, is actually stupendously fortunate. I think about it more and more. My grey matter, thinking about grey matter. Because it matters. I think. 




Monday, 18 February 2019

POO BUM AND BOLLOCKS

POO BUM AND BOLLOCKS


Poo Bum and Bollocks. BUm BUm BUm. Drats, shit shit shit shit. Sigh. Big Sigh. Fark. Bollocks. Poo poo POO poo. And repeat. 

Reach for cheese. 

And maybe let go just a few stray tears. Extra salty. 

Because in the last week I have had a few knocks. Nothing huge or major, but several disappointments, and a few personal moments that were not so great. 


1.I had spent hours and hours prepping and submitting for things that did not lead to anywhere. No success. Ouchy ouch, ego a little bruised. 

2.I went on conference training thingy that was awesome, powerful and amazing, but it was so powerful that it stripped back some of my toughened wizened old skin, and resulted in me having a big cry and feeling really emotionally raw. I made a bit of a boob out of myself, especially when I fumbled with the door like a completely discombobulated specimen in front of the other attendees in an attempt to flee before my tears and snot took over my face.  

3. Added to that my son, my first born, moved out of home. Then I had a confirmed diagnosis of some bad news with regards my health last week, and basically I am feeling a bit shit really. 


But then... I started thinking. Okay, maybe the submissions were not a success, but it made me get my CV together. And maybe I painted up some work I really like and I can use them for other things too. And I did it, you know, actually submitted, when 12 months ago there was no way I would have even tried. So not all bad.  

And the boob making me? Some more thoughts that maybe being so sensitive and open to feeling raw means that I have a chance to reflect on things and move forwards, learn something new about others and myself. And that the course was actually spot on. At least I will not be forgotten.  


And maybe my son moving out was always going to be bittersweet, and I will just need to embrace it. Lucky for me he is not too far away, and seems to be loving this new adventure. The health thing? It is mighty huge kick up my arse and a chance to really take action. It is up to me now. 


Yep, it's all up to me. Do I lay down and curl up in a heap? Do I watch Netflix all day and just dissolve into lardiness? I want to. Sort of. But then I know that really , short and long term  it will make me feel even shittier than I do now. 

So instead I have set up a couple of workshops for next month(links at the end of this post to buy tickets, you lovely person) I have emailed organisations about other possibilities, organised some more things for the Breadtag Project, watered my poor dry garden, done several loads of washing, tended to crappy emails and boring shit that need to be done, and am about to head to the studio do paint for play. And see what happens, while playing music LOUDLY. 

I can do this. I got this. I really do. And so do you my friend. We really really really do!  x

By the way, all the images on this post are of sketchbooks/journals I did last year for an awesome thing, The Sketchbook Project, in USA. I will be doing another soon! You can see them in full online here and here.



Workshop tickets are available 
HERE for Watercolour 
and 
HERE for Simple Drawing and Journalling.
They are on 16th March at The Japanese Gardens and Cultural Centre, Cowra. 











































Friday, 25 January 2019

CREATING SOMETHING IS LIKE MAGIC

CREATING SOMETHING IS LIKE MAGIC

photo by Neroli Gilmour

And so it goes... when you create something,  and it goes well, do you feel happy, proud, and a little bit amazed? I do. Every single time. It still makes me thrilled when I paint something or draw something that turns out the way I hoped, and sometimes even better. It is like magic. Even to me. 

When I started THE BREADTAG PROJECT, I thought that the response might be befuddled amusement, and sniggers, laughter and generally questioning WHY. I was creating something that may be more fizzle than fab. 


I had hoped that maybe a few people would get it, and think outside the box.

Silly fool me - I underestimated the curiosity, the generosity, the imagination and general excellence of people. Really. 

Because with every passing day, I get more breadtags in the mail, in my letterbox and on my verandah. This week I had 6 huge buckets delivered from one lady, and two huge bags from someone else. My family cannot believe it. INSANE they say!



Meanwhile I have 36 packages waiting to be opened, from all over the world. They are sitting in a tub, just waiting for my family to go back to school so I can have a whole day, two or three or more, to sort them, photograph them, catalogue all the details, and write up thank you's. 

And there are the stories that are coming in, the comments that are made, the photos people are sharing.  The art that people are making. It is all BRILLIANT



Creating The Breadtag Project has been overwhelmingly lovely, and it is only the very beginning. There is so much more to do, so much to think about and organise. It is kind of terrifying, but exhilarating, feeling the power of sharing an idea and letting it fly free out there, putting it out into the universe. Feeling like you are doing something good and worthwhile. 

The objectives that I wrote about in The Breadtag Manifesto are happening. YAHOO! Brilliant people.



And as I sit and sort breadtags (hundreds and thousands of them), my brain finds a peacefulness, a calm in the simple repetitive task of classifying, and my brain wanders about and thinks of new ways to make the project have meaning, stabilise, share, develop, have depth, opportunity, interest.  More ideas bloom and grow, and want to fly free. 

And it feels like... a little bit of magic



A HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED SO FAR. THIS IS YOUR PROJECT AS MUCH AS MINE. 
YOU ARE AWESOME! 


AND IF YOU WANT TO BE PART OF IT ALL, IF YOU HAVE BREADTAGS TO SEND: 

THE BREADTAG PROJECT
30 LACHLAN ST. 
COWRA 2794
NSW
AUSTRALIA






Tuesday, 15 January 2019

COMPLETE INSANITY

COMPLETE INSANITY

In my 47 years on this earth there have been some completely INSANE moments, that have left me reeling from laughter. Often in my role as MUM.


Moments when I am sure there must be a candid camera hidden somewhere, because the hilarity and surrealness happening is too much.

Knowing too that life can be tough, that there is plenty of bad news around and that laughter is the best medicine, I will share with you one of those insane moments. Just to make you smile (hopefully).


Okay - so lets set the scene here.  

It is about late morning, or maybe afternoon. I cannot remember really. But I know that my gorgeous toddler daughter was at that CLINGY stage, wanting to be with me wherever I was. Hence, I was in the shower, and toddler girl was right there outside the shower screen, watching me. Constant shadow. With a short attention span. 

Anticipating this, I had brought toys in to amuse her and give me a few minutes to wash etc. in relative peace. 

So there I am, in the shower, washing my hair, her sitting on the bathmat with toys. She seemed settled and happy playing, so I took the chance to shave my incredibly scary and hairy  armpits and legs. A defuzz. 

Wrangling a razor through the wilderness, cutting and trimming, I may not have been watching her as intently as I may have otherwise done, but there was NO screaming, crying, or any noise to indicate any sort of problem, so I had no idea that toddler girl had toddled over to the bathroom cabinet, and had found herself something to play with. 

She found a lovely little box that looked like a present. Bright, colourful, with pretty patterns! How interesting! 

So she had grabbed it, and tried to get out whatever was inside. Being of nimble pudgy fingers, she had succeeded. HAPPY DAYS! 

All this I was unaware of. 

Until when I had finished my personal grooming, and I lurched out of the shower, grabbed my towel and glanced at beautiful toddler girl. I was so impressed with how quiet and well behaved she had been. 

Then I saw she had something in her mouth. What the hell was it? It seemed to be white, and have some kind of string. OH MY GAWD- SHE HAD A TAMPON IN HER MOUTH!!!!! 

Oh blimey. I saw plastic wrapping on the floor, and the box of new tampons, ripped open. Cunning and clever little digits had managed to take off all the layers of wrapping (which sometimes defeats adults) and get to the tampons themselves. A few lay on the tiles, half opened. But the one in her mouth had no barrier to moisture, and upon closer inspection, appeared to be swelling up. Holy turdkinator!

Freaking out, lest she choke, I tried to cajole her to open her gorgeous little rosebud mouth, which was now vigorously sucking on this delight. To no avail. Her mouth, full of tiny white teeth breaking through pink gums, must have been enjoying this new teething ring. She had her teeth well implanted in the tampon, and her stubborn streak was evident. 

And it was then that the tug of war began, me trying to use the string to get it out of her mouth. 

It must have been around this moment in time that I looked up and saw in the mirror, me , completely starkers, playing tug of war with a tampon in a toddlers mouth.

I did not know whether to laugh or cry.  But I knew that it was too weird too be imagined. That all my dignity was like the hair on my legs - savagely and rudely removed, hacked off and washed down the stinking gurgling drain.

See? That's the kind of moment that gets filed away, and becomes part of my life story. The story with insane moments.



And there are so many more moments like this. 

With my eldest child about to fly the nest and head off to uni, I have been thinking more and more about those days when the kids were small, and crazy was normal. 

Actually, come to think of it, even now, crazy is normal, so that has not changed one bit. 



And I am so grateful. Long live the crazy. x


Friday, 11 January 2019

The Breadtag Manifesto

THE BREADTAG MANIFESTO!

And finally... it has been written! The big reveal, revealed.

OBJECTIVES FOR THE PROJECT -

ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS

To draw attention and awareness to the overuse and dependance of single use plastics.
To educate and inform about the use of single use plastics.
To take breadtags out of circulation and possible entry into the environment, as land fill, or pollution in streams, rivers, oceans, etc. This also prevents them from possibly being swallowed by wildlife.
To link to other programs, awareness campaigns, projects, websites etc that educate and facilitate awareness of environmental pollution, garbage, reducing/reusing/recycling.
SOCIAL ASPECTS
To create networks, connections and access to others interested in environmental, creative and imaginative projects and programs. People connecting with other people!
To create a community of people with shared ideas and interests, promote interaction and the sharing of their stories and their own adventures/reasons/ photos/art of how they are incorporating The Breadtag Project into their lives.
To encourage mindfulness, awareness and observation in our everyday lives. To notice the simple small things around us. For those involved in the project to share this awreness.
To encourage dialogue between people with in all aspects of The Breadtag Project.
To encourage research, learning, education and knowledge of the world around us, from the smallest objects, the microcosm, to wider implications and ideas, the macrocosm.
ART AND CREATIVE ASPECTS
To promote and support creating art, stories, and other creative endeavours using breadtags as inspiration.
To create a community of creatives sharing their creating process and facilitating interaction between creatives. Networking to share ideas, mediums, potential projects and collaborations between them.
Strengthen and nurture problem solving and imaginative, creative thinking.
To give opportunity for artists/creatives to exhibit and share their work with broader community.
To use art/creativity to assist in the supporting wellbeing and mental health.
To encourage ‘thinking outside the box’ and seeing potential and inspiration for creating in small things as well as large scale ideas.
To facilitate and spark creative ideas, artworks, stories etc.
MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL BEING ASPECTS
To draw attention to and promote discussion on mental health and awareness of the importance of mental well being.
To create a means of making mental health and its many aspects, as well as mental well-being discussion/talk acceptable and regular part of social interactions, whether in real life or in traditional or social media forums. ‘Normalising’ and overcoming stigma attached to these issues.
To create a platform for people to share their stories and experiences with mental health and wellbeing experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and advice and strategies.
To draw attention to the way COLLECTING, and ordering objects can be part of a means of creating order and sense of story, identity and wellbeing. Encourage this and/or art and creating as means of therapy and strategies to encourage good mental health and wellbeing.
OUTCOMES FOR THE PROJECT
To achieve the objectives of THE BREADTAG PROJECT, there are many outcomes possible.
However, there are 3 main key OUTCOMES that are being pursued. Within these 3 main outcomes, are opportunity for smaller, integrated events, happenings, publications etc.
It is anticipated that these outcomes will be staggered, and work to scaffold, support and nurture each objective of the project.
1. ART EXHIBITION/ EXHIBITIONS
These exhibitions/exhibition will include art/illustrations/installations from numerous invited artists and creatives, as well as a curated group of participants. All artworks will feature breadtags in some way, as inspiration, theme, focus, medium, or direct subject.
The exhibition will be supported by having an ONLINE virtual exhibition, to be shared on social media, etc.
In addition/or as part of this exhibition, I am collecting breadtags from as many countries as possible, and
trying to get as many types as possible. I am collecting what I hope will be the worlds most comprehensive collection of plastic breadtags. As public awareness campaigns grow and momentum about single use plastic and their devastating affect grows, I am hoping that one day breadtags will be a thing of the past, as more environmentally friendly alternatives are found. As such, these tags will potentially become endangered, sentimental items from the past. So the collection may become not only a comment on their prevalence NOW, but potentially a historical repository of these items.
Also, all packaging used to send me breadtags is being recycled, re-used or filed and used as medium for other artworks/installations.
2. PUBLICATION OF A BOOK
This book will have contributions from people all over the world, and contain many fantastic aspects of collected during THE BREADTAG PROJECT.
3. THE ATTEMPT /BREAKING OF A WORLD RECORD
This is as yet still in idea formulation… but it is a natural use of all the many thousands of breadtags collected.
It is anticipated that the publicity and awareness that such an attempt would give THE BREADTAG PROJECT, would give huge opportunity for promoting the core OBJECTIVES. This would happen through media and word of mouth. The BREADTAG PROJECT community will assist in this.
As such, the amount of tags amassed would be used to demonstrate how small things can create something huge over time.
CONCLUSION OF THE WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT -
At the conclusion of the attempt, the tags will be shipped to Africa, to a charity that provides wheelchairs for those in need. This is done by having the tags recycled and the money raised used to purchase wheelchairs.
However, any tags requested to be used for community artworks or other worthwhile projects will be distributed as required.

AND IN CONCLUSION…

Only 6 months into THE BREADTAG PROJECT, it seems that the project is gaining momentum, and achieving its objectives.
Many creatives have sent me images and artworks, messages and letters of things they have drawn, painted, photographed, sewn and made because of this project. These creatives are sharing their creations on their own platforms, and are continuing the cycle of awareness, and the objectives of the project. Fabulous recoprocity!
I receive packages, boxes, buckets, letters parcels almost EVERY DAY from all over Autralia and the world, with breadtags and often with the stories of where they were found and how. These project participants usually have involved family, friends, school groups, sport teams, businesses, and other people intheir community to help them collect their stash. And so it grows!
I am also sent images of breadtags in situ, of donation boxes people have made, of how people are reusing breadtags, of their own collections. People are becoming AWARE of small things, creating, sharing, connecting, thinking.
I have been privileged to have people share stories of how the project has helped them find purpose, feel good about themselves, find reason, and share anecdotes of emotional, sad and funny, regarding breadtags.
On a personal level I am beyond amazed at how the project is touching lives, and has become part of my own journey.
It is with the support and faith that others have in me - and this project - that propels me to push beyond my own boundaries, anxieties and fear of failure to achieve the OUTCOMES of the project.