Thursday, August 21, 2008

Flickr Mosaic

1. Pretty Necklace 9784021904110 or 4021904115, 2. t1 assemblage, 3. blanche ida hardy, 4. mirror mirror of the wall, 5. Abandoned house, 6. Bill or Ted, 7. theater seats, 8. bobbin lace pillow, 9. home and hearth and all that

No house photos today dears, the weather was too chilly to be standing still! We lit the fire for the first time, realised the annoying electric heaters can come off the wall (and immediately did so) and painted the lounge room. Tomorrow we see if we can't find a dresser for the kitchen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I was on the front page! it's the first time ever as far as I know.

Link is here -it expires on the 23rd. There's some really lovely things there, and through hunting down the curator I was shown a Flickr group that catalogues the hourly front page! What a wonderful thing to do, especially for people who might be on the front page either without their knowledge or (like me) while they're sleeping!

House News

Well we've only been in a few days and already the place (dubbed Queen Margaret due to the street being the same name) is markedly different. We've cleaned up the front garden, (almost) painted the kitchen, washed the lounge room and painted my housemate's room! We were going to paint the lounge but after washing the walls in preparation it looks spanking new, so that budget stretcher will wait.

As requested, here are some shots of the front and back garden. These were taken on Tuesday, and represent exactly how we got the house. I shall get some more pictures in a few days. Click to enlarge!

Front garden

Back garden- so much work, so much potential!

The 'faery jungle'- a tiny fenced off area destined to become a chicken house, complete with lemon tree (currently drowning under a wormwood bush) and giant rosemary bush. I love the old-fashioned climbing roses over the gateway.

My housemate Phoebe, excited about our giant pond! Behind her is the shed that will become the studio, the blue doors (useless right now) will be replaced with windows.

Standing at the rear of the garden, looking back over the lawn- showing the rear deck and middle part of the garden. The veggie patch and fruit orchard is to my left, the chicken run to my right.

Tomorrow we wash the rest of the walls, replace the picture railing in the lounge room and get my wardrobe out of the shed. I hope to have all my furniture in by the middle of next week, and then start working on renovating the studio/bungalow.While this is all tremendous fun, I think I'll be glad when everything is all done and I can sit quietly in the corner and craft again!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Dirt is good

Wearydrearies fashion (found via Ulla) sells exclusively on eBay- they really ought to get a proper shop so we can see it all! Beautiful and inspired combination of faery, primitive and raggamuffin. My ideal blending! I love primitive stuff, but I'm quite fussy and don't tend to go for the funny-faced dollies or 'home sweet home' things. I like the realistic stuff- the minimalist primitive, if you will. I do however like crows. What's not to like about crows?

We sign the lease tomorrow- I can't move my furniture till Wednesday (though thanks to Mother nature and her rain machine, it might have to wait till the weekend) so I'll just be giving the house a good clean out for now. Opening all the doors and windows, making a list of things we need, and moving a large 1920s mirrored wardrobe out of the shed and into the air for a scrub down, before it takes pride of place in my new room. One good thing about renting old houses, you often find perfectly good old furniture in the shed. Which in this particular case is serendipitous, as I don't own a wardrobe!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's raining it's pouring

Oh my- well these last few days have really been pouring with creativity and ideas, as much as the rain has been falling outside! Everyone is past the stage now were we say 'oh isn't it nice, a drop of rain, just what the farmers need...' and have started to complain. Except me of course, I love it! Rain rain rain, bring it on. Until Wednesday through to Sunday, because we got the house and I'd like to move then!

We're so excited- everyone is bouncing up and down for us and we can't wait to get in there and get up to our picture rails in antique textiles and faery bits, and up to our elbows in mud. Phoebe, in her earth-goddess way, doesn't quite understand my love of heat-stained ironware and dinted pewter, so that's all going to be stacked in my room, draped in my most precious rotting textiles and looking fabulous. I'm happy about that though because there's a different look for each room. So far this is what we envision the lounge to be like...

More of a mood board than an actual representation...the lower right corner from Curious Sofa; lower left from Cabin Creek Farm, upper left corner is a still of Lemony Snicket film, and the crystals are from Bjorg jewellery, who have since changed their website! The peacock and the ridiculously huge bed were the result of long-time-gone Google searches.)

And the kitchen will be all iron, pottery, wood and stone- like the Burrow in Harry Potter:

I'm trying to get as much sewing done here while I have the chance because I have a feeling I won't have much time for it for the next month or so! Fixing up the outside bungalow to become a large shared studio is the first priority- hopefully we can do that by summer. In the meantime we shall squish our craftings into the 3rd bedroom (to eventually be the massage room/guest bedroom) and I'll keep my work basket of rags near the sofa. The house will be jam-packed with stuff, as we both have an uncommon amount of it- vintage furniture, lighting and prints, antique textiles, weird curios, tribal jewellery, museum-piece wackiness, Lowbrow Nostalgic, Victorian Tribal, hippy splendour and general bohemian chaos. You will have pictures!

Inspirationally, my brain has been on over-drive. Not just with house plans, but art-wise too. I've been trying to find a way to push to higher ground with my chain-based jewellery while at the same time not ending up looking too much like everyone else. I know what I want- I can picture it perfectly in my head. But getting out here in reality, that's a different matter. I'm getting eager to try out a few new 'crafting' skills- wood carving, mould making and polymer clay I can teach myself, but silversmithing and ceramics I'll need to find courses for. I'm at the point now where I want to be making my own pieces, not just assembling found objects together. (Which I will still be doing, not to fear!)

Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons are 'object crafters' from New York, who make necklaces from antique ivory piano keys, and are something similar to what I want to pursue. I love the flimsiness of the large link chain and the general antique/occult feeling. This combined with the Rachelle Varney locket from the last post is coming very close to what I want to make.

Black Sheep was discovered via a new blog that's come to my attention- Lady Lavona. I've spend goodness knows how long trawling through page after page of her blog, and I'm not done yet! Really beautiful, interesting things with a slightly dark edge. Her shop is great as well.

Another inspiration that came to me from Lavona is Coccia Costumier, who aside from making to-die-for clothing has constructed a miniature set of historically-themed outfits using fragile bits of nature such as beetles' legs and snakeskin. Amazing, heart-stopping things that I studied for ages and have been rather helpful in my back-of-mind ideas about combining my textile jewellery and chain-based pieces.

There's a fantastic and enormous 5 room gallery in the new town, so I'm thinking about having another exhibition at the end of the year- and these images have me thinking about painting again...

(top image- Light Locations; other images- Location works)

Since moving out of my little tumbling-down cottage I've found it hard to tap into the bleak decrepit Georgian tones and overgrown decay that I want to reference in my work (hard to conjour that up in a neat flat in suburbia!) so hopefully that will be another bonus of moving into the new house. I've no doubt the faery is still strong in the near future, but if I can just get the two to meld out here in reality and stop just playing in my head...

Dear oh dear, I do take on so many projects...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Black diamonds

Everything is changing now

I suppose I've talked here and there about Coal Creek- where I live last year as a caretaker- but I've not really devoted a whole post to it. While I can't say I miss the damp conditions of my little railway masters cottage (it sounds so quaint to call it that!) I certainly do miss being there. Very very much.

To mark the beginning of my selling greeting cards featuring some of the images I took while care taking last year, I have decided to dedicate this post to the unique, the wonderful, the family friend...Coal Creek.

The sun king is sleeping

Coal Creek Historical Park was opened in 1974 as a re-creation of a pioneer village deep in the Australian rainforests in the 19th century. The village began as a single heritage building rescued from the township, moved to a 15 hectare spread of blackberries and dried grass, while the small community group who saved it from demolition tried to figure out what to do with it. They decided that a place was needed where unique heritage buildings in the area could be all gathered together -saving them from the wreckers ball and giving future generations a glimpse of the life our pioneers lived.


Over a period of 33 years, Coal Creek grew from a weedy valley of one building to a undulating rainforest and native bush landscape, complete with restored waterways, man-made lake, ancient tree-ferns and towering eucalypt trees. Nestled in the natural beauty are buildings mostly original to the local settlement- a court house, a newspaper printers, a shoe shop, a blacksmith, a pub, a church, a school...

I can't hear you when I'm listening

Cared for passionately by small group of dedicated volunteers, the park sadly hit it's profit-peak in 1980, when interest in heritage waned with the paying public. Since then, falls in visitor numbers were just one event that saw the village become what near-enough amounted to a ghost town.

Recent campaigning has finally seen the park receive a considerable local government rescue fund, and the park has begun a transformative emergence from humble, dusty caterpillar to a smartly-pained butterfly. While I cannot deny the restoration is most welcome, there is a part of me that mourns the loss of stillness here. The park is no more a place where time stopped when the clocks did.

We started here with nothing

During my treasured year as a caretaker I spent many hours wandering the parks grounds long after the newly-beckoned tourist hordes had gone home. Inspired by the time capsule nature of the village's appearance and the aesthetics of the result of funding neglect on old buildings in rainforest climates, I documented some of the more poetically decayed aspects of the park in their last months before their restoration.

harsh words were never spoken

With keys to almost every lock I gained access to places most people have never trod- rooms glassed-off like Victorian taxidermy, boxes too-long sleeping in storage and cataloguing rooms with an exclusive 'staff only' guest list. I used this to my advantage as I attempted to capture with my lens what would always be a part of history, but what I knew would never stay the same.

To stitch, to sew, to make yourself heard.

Some day there'll be a book about this place come from my hand. Words and photographs to share the details of my life at Coal Creek, the images I made, the art it inspired and the secrecy of the spiritual experience one must naturally expect from living with what amounts to an entire town of abandoned buildings.

Although life within the curatorial team was never dull, the book will most likely tilt with an emphasis on the 'quiet' times -where the park was closed to the public for renovation, and I lived hours, days and months happily in the company of ghosts.

A hard road travelled