Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Nannup in the South West

 Last friday John and I took to the road our destination, Nannup Garden Festival.  I just fell in love with Nannup, such a progressive little town.  It was a lovely day, took us about an hour to get there, through beautiful natural bush.  Nannup is a timber town and most of the buildings are built of timber which reminded me of home.  How cool are these patchwork quilts hanging out on the line with yards and yards of bunting, lot of work in there.
 This is a Nannup tiger, extinct now but they did have them here.  Carved out of timber.
 yarn bombed bicycle outside the quilt house
 lots of yummy places to eat and this lovely shady hideaway
 guess who, waiting patiently enjoying the sun, a lonely little petunia in a tulip patch
 Just one block back from the main street, this old tractor sitting in the weeds

 Nannup also has a musical festival in this beautiful park where there is a stage and beautiful covered buildings to get out of the sun, they have lights in them so would be quite magical listening to the music  
they have these amazing carved totems at the entrance to the park, must of been about 8 towering above us

 the tulips where stunning in raised garden beds all around the town.
Had to add these guinea fowls, such amazing markings which unfortunately I didn't capture.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Special gift for a special boy

After quite a few years gathering materials for this special present I made this for my son last christmas.  Raymon has been battling with  cancer and then the after effects of the radiation treatment which is still ongoing.
This art journal is made in an old army steel lined case which I think was made for water bottles.  I love how the fabric on the outside and in is all faded and marked showing it was used for a purpose and one can imagine if it could talk it would have a lot of stories to tell.  Across the bottom is a belt of used artillery shells, attached to the right side a used bullet, dog tag and small bottle of sand found in the pocket of the old army jacket i cut up and used on the inside pages, the sand suggests the African desert. . On the left is the 8th army star which my dad fought with in El Alamain and an army photo of my dad on the truck.  One of the pages has the New Zealand badge with his dog tag number.  Tied in the lid is letters he sent back home mostly to his sister as the ones he sent my mum got lost when we moved around, also another photo in the camp.  The pages inside have his army photos taken when he served in the 2nd WW. 1939 to 1943. Following are the pages inside the case.  I made them in a concertina style using string to join.  The pages are displayed on an old english flag, which I cut up and included into the book.

Alex you might be interested in this of your uncle Ray

House started at long last

 This is where we have been doing all the work on our vegetable gardens.  Vege bins dug down into the ground, all filled up with part wood chip from the trees cut down (would cost way to much to fill with soil) and topped up with Mumbullup Garden soil which is very rich, will keep topping it up with this as it breaks down below.  Our pallet table and $1 chairs from the tip where we sit for morning tea or lunch.  Just to the right of the photo you can see the shadow of my Bug Palace, more on that in another post.
 Blossoms coming out on one of the old Apricot trees which may have to come out as it may be in the way of the septic tank.  Apparently it flowers each year but no fruit the other Apricot tree next to it has stopped flowering (maybe dead) so no polination.  Will plant some more if we have to take these out.  Have room for about 10 new fruit trees in the orchard, what fun choosing them aye!
 A few of the old trees have a lot of this lovely lichen covering the branches, look lovely in a vase.
 Builders sign at top of the block.  John cut all the long grass down before this photo was taken so the builders can see better where to put the poles.  in the foreground is the view we will have from the back verandah about 2 metres above ground.
Right, most important thing, the dunny is here so building can start.  Earth mover digging out the pad for the garage which is part of the house.  Will keep you up to date.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Winter down in the valley

 Winter has finally arrived down in our lovely valley in the South West of Western Australia.  Lovely foggy mornings herald in lovely sunny days with a bite in the breeze.

 Blood is stirring in the two bulls, don't want to be friends at the moment, doesn't help that the cows are in the paddock across the road.  Very entertaining lots of pushing and shoving, then they get up the energy to be a bit more serious and push and shove becomes a little bit more, this went on for hours then decided it was a better idea to go back to eating grass, so lazy.
                                                      Sun rising in the west
 And of course all that pushing and shoving takes a lot out of you, this big boy was resting right next to our boundary fence.
                     Was time to buy the gumboots, love my gumboots, good heavy duty ones.
         With the winter came the rain, this is after a couple of days solid rain, a little bit of flooding.
 Can you see the steps on the far side of the river, they lead down to what they call a basketweave bridge.  Which is a lot of rocks contained in diamond wire to hold them in place and a concrete path on top, so under all that water is my bridge where I usually cross on my morning walks, the river is running very fast.  So walking across is curtailed for a while.
 For the first time we can see the river in amongst the trees from the back where we rent and down the bank, we are in no danger of being flooded although if it came up high enough we wouldn't be able to get across the bridge into town.  Lots of water lying around too, but it went down quite fast the next day.
 silly chooks in next doors chook run, have to all squeeze into the same hole, keep us entertained when working on the block.
 Son in law Peter made me these beaut vege beds out of old corragated iron, they where a little bit high so we dug a trench and dropped them down in.  Half filled with mulch from trees we had cut down and mulched.  Beds way to big to buy in soil to fill them.  Directors chairs I got from the dump for a dollar each for necessary breaks.  In the background is the South West Highway and the railway line that hasn't been in use for about ten years.  The conifers on the back fence are likely to cack it due to some disease they get here, so thanks to a birthday present from my sister I have planted a claret ash and liquid amber trees and have some wattle ready to plant on the fence line so if and when they go we will still have some privacy and in autumn I will be able to enjoy the beautiful autumn leaves from my back veranda.
 Mulch is all spread out and the garden along the fence line in the orchard will be planted with shrubs for all the little birds as it makes them feel safe to flit in and out of the branches.  Now that we have moved all the mulch and soil it is time to turn the soil and incorporate the mulch through before planting shrubs.  Will wait before pruning fruit trees until I know what I am doing.
 Have planted lots of bulbs throughout the orchard and this is my favourite the dainty snowdrop.  As you can see we have a lot of soursop or as I know sourgrass that we used to chew on as kids, has yellow flowers.  Yesterday was lovely and sunny, John took his whipper snipper and chopped it all down.  I dont want to use roundup or any other chemicals, think if we keep cutting it down before it flowers we might get rid of it.
The reason I won't have a cat here is because of the beautiful birdlife.  Can you see the beautiful robin redbreast.  I thought you only got them in England like you see on Christmas cards, but no, we have one in our orchard along with several females whose breasts are more of an apricot colour.  There are many tiny birds, blue wrens, silver eyes, fan tails, willy wagtails the only ones I can name and it would be such a shame to have a cat kill them, so, no cats.  Can you see the pallets up the top, have started lugging them down to the bottom of the block and stacking most of them one on top of the other, I am making a place for the native bees to make a home.  You push in small branches, pinecones etc and face them a certain way and the native bees will make their nests in it.  Apparently native bees make solitary homes.  This way they will pollinate my garden, neat aye.  I will make an A frame of two and using shade cloth make shapes to grow strawberries in then the fruit will hang down the sides instead of the ground where the snails and slugs get them before I get a chance.  Next is to make some lower beds to grown my raspberries and logan berry in so they don't get away from me.
Well its been busy here down in the valley, enjoying working on the block.  We are waiting for our house plans to be approved which should be in a couple of weeks and then the house will be started, how exciting is that, aye.
Well this has been a marathon catch up on my blog.  I buy my wifi internet by the month and if I havent used it up I lose it, tomorrow is my last day and I have $15 left so here I am at 20 to 9 in the cold trying to get the most out of it.
Hope you are all well and enjoying the lovely winter weather, feel so much more like doing things in winter, it is energising.
love to all

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Display at Art Geo Busselton

 The history of this wonderful building, the Old Court house and Jail is fascinating in itself. This is one of the open cells, note the rings on the wall and the wood flagstones on the floor.  At least the prisoners in this cell had company and a view of sorts.
 Walking down the long passage with the cells on the left, would have been freezing in the winter and sweltering in the summer.
 Stretching out your arms your could touch both side walls at once, window is too high to see out.  This cell has been lined with timber so the prisoner could not scratch his way out of the limestone walls.  Tin in the corner would be the toilet so you would sleep with it next to your face unless you slept the other way around. Nowhere for the smell to go, pretty barbaric in those times.

There are about 6 rooms of varying size for exhibiting art, looking through these two you can see down to the cells.  See how thick the walls are in the window sill.
 Down a couple of steps into the space we had for our exhibition, Robins rag rugs hang on the wall.
Glass showcases where perfect for my book art, preventing them from being handled.  More of Robins beautiful rugs in vibrant colours.  One of Claires mosaic birdhouse on the window sill.
 Claires beautiful mosaic teapots, Robins art rugs, isn't that one with the cockatoo's truly amazing, and my art journals that where for sale.

It was a lovely experience and we got a lot of positive comments on our first exhibition, was good advertising.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Exhibition at Art Geo in Busselton

Whew, just made it.  My goal was to make 4 art books for the exhibition at Art Geo in Busselton, setting up tomorrow.  When I agreed to participate with my lovely partners in crime Robin and Claire I knew it could be a bit tricky getting new work done.  However, what with the changing date of Johns surgery (a month sooner) then getting sick myself it became a bit of a challenge, but there you go, got there.  I always find I work better under pressure.
 I am exhibiting 5 of my older art books and of course these are not for sale.  My aim is to share my bespoke books as an art form and also collating memorabilia, family photos etc in a creative medium to leave to future generations.  Something made by hand using tactile objects and not computor generated.
Not that I have any objections to technology being used for art.  The world has become so fast I have to wonder what I can leave to my family that will have meaning and share their heritage.
 The largest of the books has a lovely worn leather cover with vintage lace covering the handbound spine.  Quite heavy and about 3 inches thick.
 Lovely old worn velvet, a big book also, faded elegance.  One does wonder whose hands have fondled these old photo album covers.
 I loved the embosed pattern and old faded blue covers, This was off a collectors book I just changed its purpose.
About half the size of the others but no less precious.  I have collected these old photo albums over a period of time, mostly bought on ebay and at a considerable cost, but you get what you pay for.  The most time consuming part of making these art books is selecting and collating  a miriad of papers.  I like to use only good quality papers, Rives BFK a french 300gsm watercolour paper for its flexibility and strength, easy to fold and just a gorgeous colour.  I have also used printed papers that I have also collected over time, makes a difference and I try to colour co ordinate these.
The exhibition starts on Thursday this week and goes for two weeks.  I will also be holding a workshop on the 28th June following the exhibition.  The building the exhibition is being held is the old courthouse and jail still intact.  I am looking forward to having a better look around tomorrow when we go to set up.  The workshop is in what they call the Fodder room  a purpose room designed for workshops, this is at the back of the garden square next to the building where we are exhibiting and there are a 4 or 5 artist in resident little shops where you can see the artists work and see them working, what a lovely concept.  I am planning on being at the exhibition on the 2nd Saturday to discuss my art books and show the interiors that are not on display.
Long weekend this weekend I believe, fancy a run down to Busselton in the wonderful South West or come down the following weekend on Saturday morning would love to see you.

I am not doing any paintings for this exhibition, going with my first love and passion.  Once I got started I found it just flowed.  Where as with painting I am not so confident.