Saturday, February 2, 2008

a photo journey / glimpse into my world...

My bed is often my workplace. I am often watching dvd's while working away on a project, holding conferences with the kids and theMan, snoozing during the day if I can manage one, or just admiring my room cause I try and make it visually pleasing. Sometimes it's just a big mess, especially when we are all running out the door to school and work. I have a patient man cause I am always up late reading, sewing, or potting around.
Ok, so this is not strictly my home as such, but I figure if you are in the States then this shot of Kapiti Island from Otaki (40 mins drive from here) is pretty close to it. I took this photo during our Xmas vacation staying with whanau there. Thanks Craig and Francis. Our little hideyhole home away from home.
My favourite shoes this year have been my Chuck Taylors and these ugly plastic things that are SO COMFY, I have lived in them. They are a pretty yellow and worn with my favourite clothes kind of add that zing as I am prone to wear black, black and more black. I am literally standing on a beach covered in beautiful stones and driftwood in Otaki. Can't swim there (much to my surprise as we headed there for a swim not realising it's an ocean beach). But plenty of shells and amazing stones. Did I also mention lots of gorgeous stones and piles of driftwood. I think I brought a truckload of them home. Did I also mention how patient theMan is with my constant collecting habits ...
This was a two night experiment. My first painting ever. It kind of sums up the kind of year I envision. "To thine own self be true" is a reminder to myself to follow my heart, trust my own instincts more this year (been trying to follow too many others for most of my life). I love houses so the house in the background was just a spontaneous thing but it is interesting that it's behind the woman in the painting and she is looking ahead. I kinda copied my bluried reflection in the window for a face but it doesn't resemble me in the least. So says theMan anyway but I kind of feel connected to her anyway. Painting is tricky, I'm not sure I like 2 dimensional art. I kept wanting to stick things on it and add sewing and textiles to it. Definitely not a minimalist me!
Ok, so this was an experiment from last summer, an attempt to collage something. I stuck the plastic hei tiki on her and hey presto! She became a Xmas ornament this year on my fireplace mantel. Well, it is mostly red, gold and with the tiki, green. A stretch I know, but those are Xmas colours.
My dresser with my felt piece created by India Flint last year. A koha (gift) that was lovingly given and much appreciated. I was a bit starstruck when I met her but drawn to her spirit. Oh and the fact that I had poured over her amazing work in the felt book 'Filz'. She made these amazing felt dresses that were dyed in my colours. If you don't know yet, I love browns, especially manky looking browns. I've only just started to make my room pretty but when it comes to my art work I favour colours that are best described as yucky browns. I am hopeless with colour actually favouring texture instead. So be it, we can't be great at everything can we? Anyway, do you like the wee doll I bought for a few dollars at the Salvation Army, one of those ones you wind up and she goes around to a tune. I had one when I was a kid, used to stare at the gown for hours when I couldn't sleep. (Grandparents put us to bed at 6pm, even during daylight savings when the sun was still high in the sky and kids playing on the road outside. Cruel)
I have a huge selection of jewels thanks to my mum and my magpie instincts. I made the giant pink felt bracelet. I wear my colour in the form of accessories: jewellery, bags, scarves, hats, home.
A closeup of both India's scarf and my face. Hard to put photos of self here, I have gained so much weight and every photo honestly looks awful. (not that false humility crap, but the double-chin, fat cheeks, squinty eyed kind of photo that looks bad from all angles). I don't feel bad about my weight usually but photos and buying new clothes can be real downers. Too unmotivated to change my situation and I love food. Win some, lose some. For now.
A wee chest of curios. I cloth doll made by a local lady who belongs to a local sewing group. An old rabbit that I adored. An amazing china doll head with no eyes. Just my kind of cool, pretty but scary. My kids think I'm weird. I do like the odd dark thing. Not evil stuff as I hate dark for dark's sake - but you know, more quirky stuff. I was so excited when I found her in an op shop for $5!!! A picture of Mary and Jesus I think, cute mother-love thing for about $1. Some heartstones my boys got me for Xmas, and my books I made for my boys. Scrapbooking things. I'm not a scrapbooker but who could resist all those cute papers and things two years ago.

TheKid1 had meningitis last year. It was a scary time until we knew it wasn't going to kill him. He is a gentle, quiet soul with a wicked sense of humour, sharp mind and a smile that lights up the world. He graduates to middle school this year and we brought his uniforms, bus pass, shoes, paid his fees, camp costs, stationery - phew. Thank goodness the boys are a good six years apart. Kid's are expensive. I feel for single parents with kids. Again thank God for op shops and cool grandparents. I bow to you my mum for what you did for us when we were kids. We lived in a nice home and had nice things, no easy feat, especially in those days. Ok, so really random photos. This is a close up of some of the decorations I made for my Xmas tree. Felt/fabric birds with vintage buttons; siapo cloth (bark cloth from Tonga)/dyed old wool blanket hearts with vintage ribbon and dyed silk threads. Sew a tiki on the back, hey presto, theMan and I's cultures married together in my artwork again.
A woven basket full of siapo/wool/silk hearts under the tree.
The large ones I call 'angry dolls'. I made them as a reaction to cutesy dolls. Why are humans so afraid of the 'other side of ourselves'. For me, I am constantly aware of how I respond in different situations. In public, we smile, we tell our best stories, show our best work and put on a brave, strong front. In private, well ... don't know about you, but I am often confused, frustrated, scared, angry, selfish, and uncertain. I want to scream (like th bottom doll), feel like I can't see things clearly (one eye), and gnash my teeth. About as much as I am happy, confident, thoughtful, brave, strong, etc ... Funny, my friends tend to look at them and feel gooey, until they look closer, then they shrink and screw up their faces and tell me they don't like them. Well, good. No one expects soft toys to be angry. I think too I was angry when I made these. Angry at myself for having let myself be lead down a path, not trusting my own instincts, and frustrated at not being able to figure out a tricky situation in my life. I pride myself on being responsible and clearheaded but honestly, I made myself a confusing place and stayed there for too long. Hindsight is useless. Yes, I learned a lot about myself too. See, we all avoid difficult things, all of us. Or try to anyway.

A better shot of the Xmas tree. My youngest complained 'when are we going to put up the real tree mum". Hmmm, what's wrong with an old dry branch and no tinsel. I brought lights but couldn't figure out how to string them up prettily. So they sit, still in their box. I do that a lot. Try to figure things out and spend valuable time 'figuring' instead of making. Better to just get stuck in. The little black printing blocks were pictures TheKid2 drew and TheMan patiently carved them out. Will get into the print studio this year and print out our own stationery. Cool huh.

Some cutesy dolls. Well kinda. People respond differently. I had the privilege to participate in a craft fair late last year with my dear friend Cleo. She is a fellow art student and is so talented. We prolifically created last year during the final weeks of art school (having handed all our work in early) and made a bit of a killing. I think all up I made around $400. Not bad for things I had mucked around with. See, last year I learned how to use a sewing machine for the first time. So these little babies sold for $25 each.

Some handmade felt scraps and plastic tiki brooches that my amazing friend liz helped me sew the night before sold for $8 each. The white felt ball's were $5 each. The beaded flower badge sold for a wopping $40. A close up of our stall including Cleo's felt/screenprinted bags, recycled jersey cuddle monster toys, fairy skirts, felt pincushions. I made some monster t-shirts $30 each for kids. Sold two, kept two for my young skateboard kid.
Here he is modelling one at Forest Lakes camp.

Me and the Xmas elf sharing a laugh. The only way to cuddle the boys these days is to tickle them and steal a cuddle when they're not looking. Dad is cool, mum is just there. You know. Boys hate ... supermarkets, chatting for chatting's sake, op shops, fussy art, cleaning up after themselves, going to bed, doing things the first time they are asked, putting bags and shoes away, throwing away old lunch and cleaning out their school bags, giving me their school notices, mum coming to school and embarassing them, girls. Boys love ... playstation, computer games, cartoon channel, animal channel, any channel, their mates, their dad, their mum (in small, 'don't embarass me' doses), doing anything but what I asked them to do, skateboarding, laughing and pranks. There's more but I think that paints a good picture.

One of my best creations wearing one of my creations his 'Dia de los Muertos' t-shirt (day of the dead - Mexican holiday). Coupled with his fave ripped jeans here, his skater shoes and his skateboard, he's ready to hit the skatepark with his dad and bro.
TheMan. Married 12 years. Miracle that is. He's still good looking and so much more. Kind heart, gentle soul, godly, and he loves me still. This is my soulmate and dear heart.
Ok, so back to Cleo and I's craft fair experience. Here is some of what we made.
Here is Cleo. My art school mate. She is beautiful inside and out. She's holding a felted bag from an old jersey. Wearing mits she knitted herself. The dreads are now gone but they were fun while they lasted. I must admit that Cleo's sunny nature and love to create really helped me along last year. We ended a busy year on a high note. She won an award for her efforts at art school last year and I wasn't surprised. Lots of people deserved it but I'm glad they picked her. And she's a mum and wife too. We zing on the same things too, love textiles and op shops, living by the sea, have gorgeous husbands and great kids.
A piece I sold at our craft fair. I worked for two days on this:
Vintage scarf, dyed red, nuno felted, machine embroidered, hand beaded ... but it really was just an experimental piece. I sold it for $70 or something. Was gobsmacked. The folk were so into it they raced away and came straight back with the cash begging me not to sell it until they returned. That is a nice feeling, that people love your work and are willing to pay good money for it. Then I went and visited another stall and hey, their felt scarves were priced way higher than mine without all the extra attention. So I didn't feel too bad. I had worried I had overpriced my scarf, and had only priced it at that when my tutor told me not to let it go for any less. Thanks Deb. It went to their mother, so I am sure she looks gorgeous in this piece.

Well, another long ramble. I hope to get a bit better at this blogging thing. So many random thoughts, yet to learn how to organise my photos and things better, but a good kai (feed) for today here. I hope you have a sunny weekend wherever you are. Me, I'm getting my art supplies organised for my new year at art school. I have been accepted onto the degree program and plan to major in textiles this year with some poetry and photography chucked in the mix. Even some jewellery if I can squeeze it in. I'm not getting far with my sorting and organising though, I keep starting or continuing projects as I uncover new supplies. Oh, the dilemna.


india flint said...

omigosh...there's a book beginning here, Ahipara Girl...I'll paste you into my 'grazing' section...gorgeous pix too (my Kapiti Island is all in midday blues, loving your sunset..)

showyourworkings said...

Thanks for blogging little Meemo! Man you can write a novel! See you next week ;)