a whole new world

March 11, 2008

Once I decided to let myself be interested in jewellery, it was everywhere I looked. Not just the typical earrings/ring/necklace combos, or glittery forgettables in 18k gold, but intimately crafted objet d’art. A lilliputian world of social commentary and exquisitely wrought personal creativity. Like this work by David Neale. The methodology and commentary on these lyrical pieces (on Neale’s website) is accessible and quite evocative to me, which I don’t find with some contemporary art.

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Neale’s work, as well as Julie Blyfield‘s, shown below, make me want to hop on the next plane to Melbourne.

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I found these two artists through some amazing sites. Check out Gallery Funaki, either online or in person, as it’s heralded to be the best jewellery gallery in this southern quadrant of the world. Another excellent resource and community is Klimt02.

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I had a mocha today…

March 8, 2008

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And it had an asterisk on top. Or snowflake, if that’s what you want to see in it…

Really what I want to talk about is the way, when called upon, the universe can almost magically give you what you need.  It is probably no secret that I have been unhappy living here. I had kept it bottled inside, only talking to a few people about my deep sadness. No more. I now talk about it to anyone and everyone (by which I mean complete strangers) on a daily basis. This is where the benevolent energy of the universe comes in.

Yesterday I was sitting at the library and I heard a California accent. A lot of times I will lurk and listen to see if an observed American is someone I want to engage. Mostly I will let the observed American pass by without so much as a peep from me, but I felt an interesting energy from this dynamic lady with cropped blond hair. She lit briefly on the table by my chair and we talked animatedly (as much as you can talk animatedly in a library), and we exchanged contact information. I felt immediately at ease and understood by her, in a way that I don’t often get here.

Today I went to the grocery store to buy one thing: cat food. I grabbed the bag and then stood in the frozen food section looking at the magazines (they’re smart at this store- the magazines are displayed in the coldest area so you will want to grab and go, not drool over Jude Law’s picture for an hour).  I was startled out of perusal (of aformentioned Jude Law picture) by M, the same bright presence from the library encounter. We hurried out to the food court to have a coffee before she had to go… actually she had carrot juice and she shouted me the mocha.

Within an hour I knew more about her than I know about almost anyone. Sometimes you can talk to strangers with a candor that is absent in normal daily communications. She spoke about her life experiences, and in them I identified myself. I got the sense that she could see into my soul. The parts of life that I am just now getting to, she had lived, analyzed and made peace with. The sticky points, the hard decisions made, the hopes and regrets, were all used as illustrations for how I might find my right path. There are some people in life that you can have an emotional shorthand with – they understand in a few words an ocean of complicated thoughts. I said very little in retrospect, but it wasn’t necessary.

She told me what to do. Not in a condescending or clinically removed sense, but in the way a mother bird pushes the chicks out of the nest at the right time.

So what does this asterisk mean for me, for Kyle, for our future on this planet? I guess you’ll have to stay tuned and see what far lands we travel to next.

it’s been a while…

March 3, 2008

I know I’ve been letting this little blog languish. Sometimes real life gets in the way of i-life. It’s been a challenging couple of months, but good things are on the horizon. I love the jewellery class I’ve been taking, and hope to roll up my sleeves and get into it fully very soon. Here’s a brooch I completed at last night’s class.

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Pressed silver is riveted to sanded plexi/perspex, antique sari thread from Nepal is caught in between. And a view of the back:

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The tutor for the class is Jane Dodd. See some of her amazing work here and here.

come on over…

January 8, 2008

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…the water’s fine. The Cream of Matakana shop now has a blog! Check it out.

seeds, pods, paper, studio

January 1, 2008

After brunch at a nice local cafe which is situated in the bush, I found some pods that just screamed to be taken home.pods.jpg

I added them to my table of collected ephemera, most of which comes from the beach.

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I dug the seeds out of the pods, which to my surprise were all unique in size and color, mostly due to various types of mold. The photos do little justice to the delicate colors and soft matte textures.

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They take on different hues depending on the vintage paper substrate.

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And some other pieces-in-process with just vintage papers…dots1.jpg

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This piece will be a long horizontal collage on a found board (Salvation Army dumpster!), titled ‘converstions at a party’.

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And a view of the huge space we call home, studio, garage, barn, wood & metal shop…

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oh, the lure of jewelry

December 29, 2007

I’ve been flirting around with all different kinds of creative pursuits lately… vintage paper collage, writing, cooking, jewelry making. It’s been liberating to just have fun, without the pressure of ‘making a living’ attached. I’ve also been meditating on what it is that I need to be happy. I truly enjoy spending time alone, focussed on creating something beautiful, listening to the quiet natural sounds around me (except this morning when I was trying to sleep in and the birds were scrabbling it out on the metal roof, aack).

So, in Austin, I was able to do this while making flower arrangements, but here it looks like that won’t be my path. I’ve become increasingly drawn to jewelry, specifically very unique, handmade pieces that utilize materials such as shell, bone, glass, twine, wool and found objects (but also silver and rough-cut stones). A positive side effect of moving to a country where you know very few people is the time it frees up to delve deeply into the internet. I have found such a wealth of creative souls – it is exactly the kind of thing that renews my belief in human nature.

The following two images are by kjoo – a woman in Portugal. I have never seen anything like these incredibly unique pieces…

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Her etsy and flickr pages are amazing. I found her work through the blog of another rare talent, Tay MacIntyre, whose pieces are some of my all-time favorites.

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Tay uses vintage buttons and other items in her work, which I think lends an authenticity and unique beauty.

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I couldn’t be more inspired by her display at a recent show in Portland, OR, where she lives and works. A curious thing about blogging, or reading other’s blogs actually, is that you can stay up until 2am reading hundreds of posts, and feel like you know the person at the keyboard. I have followed Tay’s adventures as she became a full-time jeweler, to the Greek Island of Lesbos, seen her new studio, and witnessed her struggle with The Turnip (breast cancer). The fact that she shares all of this with the world is incredible, and experiencing her courageous, unique being is one of the most inspirational parts of my day.

bestest chocolate cookies

December 25, 2007

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What’s the best cure for a rainy afternoon? Moist chocolate cookies of course :). Kyle went out in the kayak, and I took a nap on the couch with the cool air wafting in all the open windows. I’ve been wanting to make a version of an Afghan cookie, which is a traditional NZ treat. A scoop of vanilla ice cream is the only thing that would make these tastier. Merry Christmas, everyone!

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour, 1/2 cup regular flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup sweetened, dessicated coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine the rest of the ingredients; stir into the butter mixture until well blended. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or just until set. Cool slightly on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from here.

elegant phalaenopsis

December 25, 2007

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I created this lovely bouquet for a 1950’s themed wedding- all elegance and glitter. I forgot to get images of the 12 boutonnieres and corsages, but hopefully the wedding photographer did. Almost all of these incredibly fragile blooms are individually wired, no small task. I think next time I would glue the rhinestones into the flower centers instead of leaving them on their pre-wired stalks. Bellisima!

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Something was whispering in my ear today, “Make earrings.” I ended up with about 25 pair. Good thing it’s Christmas, maybe I’ll sell them all this week!

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And a pic of my mezzanine work area.

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A few days ago I made a fennel and apple salad after seeing The Chef at Home do one.

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I never bought fennel before we moved here, cherimoya either. Wow, there are so many amazing delicacies to discover!

For this salad: Whisk together apple cider vinegar, olive oil, good grainy mustard, salt and pepper. Toss with a few apples, fennel bulbs and fennel leaves which have been chopped finely. It’s that easy, and the fennel loses it’s anise flavor when combined with the dressing, which is a plus if you don’t like anise. I ate the whole bowl- so refreshing and crisp.

and when you least expect it

December 10, 2007

Sometimes you cross paths with people, out there in the world, and it reminds you how many talented, awesome individuals are living chock-full lives, documenting the environment from their unique perspectives. We have been lucky enough to host a husband and wife team of photographers from Hood River, Oregon and San Diego. They partook of our couch, and shared so many amazing stories and images with us.

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Above images of Australia by Bethany Franger – you can visit her blog and read more about her ongoing journey.

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Above images by Blaine Franger – visit his blog for startling images of spiders, koalas and more of the Australia outback. They’ll be shooting all over New Zealand and Asia in the upcoming months, I can’t wait to see the results.

If you want to book Bethany and Blaine for your wedding or a portrait check out their website, location is most likely not a problem :).

Good luck, guys! Hope we meet up again!