Saturday, March 23, 2013


I like pom-poms. I'm pretty sure most people like pom-poms - they are round, soft, comforting, comical and fun. Most people I speak to learnt how to make pom-poms when they were children. Of late, I have become bloody sick of them. I can't turn the pages of an interiors magazine, scroll the design files or pass some trendy shop without seeing a cacophony of pom-pom madness. It has made me not want to love pom-poms.

However, I recently made this pom-pom for my Dad, to replace a one he had made himself when he was a little boy, that unfortunately was taken from him. His father was packing up the house to move back to England and wouldn't let my then 5-year-old Dad take the pom-pom with him. He remembers shouting "I want my pom-pom, I want my pom-pom!" and receiving a bit of a smack in return, from what I can imagine was my very stressed, product of the 1950s Grandfather, who was probably more concerned with culling the amount of luggage that was to go on the ship.

It may seem such a small thing, and I would hate for my Grandfather to be painted as a tyrant (anything but, he was pretty ace really). But that lack of interest, or importance placed on the act of creating something yourself, is what my dad (and no doubt many other boys and girls) missed out on. That's not anybody's fault, that's just how it was, particularly in that generation. But it has been a sharp reminder of how lucky I have been to receive the flip side of those attitudes.

All my life, my parents, but, particularly my father, have encouraged, if not pushed me to make things.  They are stern with me if I get lazy, they praise me if I work hard. Every single exhibition, they have attended. While I was studying, I never wanted for any kind of art material - so long as it helped me better my education, develop skills or aid in research, they would do their best to help me get access to it. I believe some of the sacrifices Dad made (like getting a 'good', 'proper', 'solid' job) were to make way for me and my equally lucky sisters to make the choices we wanted to make, rather than what we felt we should have made.

So, I am taking the pom-pom back. Fancy magazines and interiors can continue to decorate with abandon, but for me, the act of pom-pommery (as I have decided to coin it) it represents being allowed to make, and what I worry that my own father missed out on. What every child should have access to. You don't need to be creative, or particularly skilled, just the have desire to make something yourself.

I know it's not the same as the 'magnificent multi-coloured' number my Dad made over 50 years ago, but I hope that it comforts and delights him like they do for me now - mainly because I was given the opportunity to make (and keep) such things. If you're feeling a bit flat, as many of us do at this time of year, go and make something for yourself. Don't concern yourself with how good it is, just enjoy the process, and whatever the result, own it.

Happy Saturday!


p.s. Pretty good pun, my dad being actually being a Pom and all.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

think less, do more

My new motto. After running some of these workshops lately, I have had many students who were too worried to glue down their precious cuttings that they had laboured (some for weeks!) over. I am right there with them - I have cuttings in drawers with little labels that I have been stashing for YEARS (how crazy cat lady is that?!) that have been so overly stored, that they don't actually look so good anymore (a bit crumpled and pathetic looking - there are only so many times you can pick up a cut-out of a tiny pick axe before it starts to whither).

I found myself saying to these students "think less and do more" (or, "stop talking and start doing!"). What's the worst thing that could happen? That it could look crap? Ok. Sure. Try again. You could waste a Very Important One Of A Kind picture? Yeah, you could wreck it. And?

It is something I could probably afford to apply to my own practice. I have been in the studio since 7.15 this morning. Yep. I have spent about ... 7 hours on the thinking bit, and am only just begun to actually make some visible progress in my 'doing' section. There have been a reasonable amount of distractions: emails, cups of tea, Very Important Facebooking, but also a lot of dithering around, messing up my hair and whining about the lack of progress. It is a very important part of the process.

But at some stage you need to suck it up and get to work.

So, see ya - I have some Very Important Dhalias to deal with - I might wreck them, but if I do, I could always try and paint them again.


Monday, March 18, 2013

happy mondays

Good morning all!

As the weather has finally turned, my intake of camomile tea and chocolate biscuits has spiked dramatically. It is the perfect time of the season to get stuck in the studio and get ready for the next endeavour. But before I get into that, better cap off my latest summer project!

As part of some of the school workshops I've run over the last few weeks, I will also be sharing a selection of my work over the past few years at the school's gallery space. Tomorrow night I launch the mini-exhibition (it's only on for a few days people!) a light goes on and a door opens at Gallery Ranfurlie in Glen Iris. Some work you may have already seen, though it has been beautifully curated into a shiny new collection by Natasha Bienik, Michael Miller and Robyn Price.

One of the 15 works on display at Gallery Ranfurlie

It was an absolute pleasure to work with these lovely people, and talented artists in their own right. I feel completely indulged to have my work hung for me, and I look forward to kicking back tomorrow night with the staff, students, and hopefully some of you! (Almost) all the works are available for sale (ahem, except the one pictured) and I heartily encourage you to go along and have a look.

The opening runs from 6–8 on Tuesday 19 March, and can be viewed from Wednesday 20 – Friday 22 March from 1–4 pm. 

Gallery Ranfurlie can be found at: 
Korowa Anglican Girl's School 
Ranfurlie Crescent
Glen Iris, Victoria

Thanks again to the lovely gang at the school for all of their hard work.



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