I've so many photos on my phone (Erm. Like 5k!) its been difficult to pare things down a bit. I've selected a few to try and convey where I'm at.
I have to say that I am feeling a bit guilty today as I really have been having an awesome time doing not much of late that has been particularly productive. I knuckled down this afternoon and got into some creative stuff in an effort to capture the feel of where I'm going, but ran out of glue.
I've so many photos on my phone (Erm. Like 5k!) its been difficult to pare things down a bit. I've selected a few to try and convey where I'm at.
I've only just realised that we have been in Germany for nearly five months now! I can't believe what a terrific and wild ride it's been. There has been a flurry of getting to know new friends and family, a new job for the Bloke and the kids are at a School that has good expectations of them (much to their horror - ha ha ha). Accordingly, I've been busy. We are all grappling with the language barrier and the current lack of daylight, but while it's been a challenging period of adjustment and re-adjustment for everyone, luckily none of us have completely splintered and demanded that it's time to go home.
Those of you who have known me long-term know that we had a major and traumatic event in our lives 19 years ago, that left me with no work, no studio, too much time and a huge hole in my life. If you didn't know me back then, you are probably thinking right now you are going to hear a broken tale of woe and despair. Actually, I had an absolute ball. Yes, it really sucked and I wouldn't wish what we went through on anyone but the best I could do after finding myself in that terrible place - that place that was never in the 'plan' - was to run. As cheesy as it sounds, there really was nowhere to go but up. Gloves off. Fuck it all. Lots of fist shaking at the sky. Screw you, life! ROAR. And like a kid with an angry rooster on her heels that is intent on flaying her buttocks, no encouragement was needed to go hard. Eventually, we landed in Melbourne and came down.
There was so much laughter in between the tears that the pain was tempered and healing took it's course. Life continued. We have some truly amazing people in our life. They know who they are. I have to say that I can never, literally, thank some of the people who helped balance out things with sublime, ridiculous and sometime downright awful contributions to my deranged output. I've never actually met the majority of them in the flesh (so to speak) but suffice to say I love them all dearly even if I am totally content if I never to cross paths with them in real life.
Back to the present, and we are settled in our new apartment; as unpacked and as settled as we are likely to get. I've finally got to the point where I need to decide what I am going to 'do' with myself before I start drawing on the walls. In my defence, most people I know with a creative bent go more than a bit potty when they don't have a creative outlet and too much time on their hands. Taking inspiration is rarely conscious, and personally I find the catalysts manifest the message, but they rarely run to my preferred schedule.
So this time thing. Yeah. This time around I've made a conscious effort to plan. Cautiously. To date, no sudden surprises or anything other than the usual run of the mill hiccups. To create traction I've started a distance education jewellery design course with the New York Institute of Art and Design, that should at least keep me moving forward - nothing like someone else's deadline!
What I have really been enjoying is documenting our experiences as we have been settling in here. It has been pretty difficult leaving my friends and family behind. A random snap on the way to our temporary apartment led to me searching out the local area for a green door and making a daily FB post of a green door. Do I really need to explain that one?
Anyhoo, here is a good group of them in one place. I ceased photographing our local doors, didn't want to upset our new neighbours! But I'm sure there will always be more as we meander along, and a story to go with it
+ Most doors are Hamburgerian, a couple are from Lüneburg. Oh, and there is one from Berlin.
++ Some liberties have been taken with the definition of the representation of 'green'.
+++ Mass upload means I can't crop the individual photos in-blog, so you may entertain yourselves with 'Spot the Door' in a few of the photos. (Alternatively, you may wish to select the photos with bus reflections in them to prove that you are not a robot.)
++++ If you really don't get the green door thing, ask me about it :)
The 5th Borneo International Bead Conference is being held again in the beautiful city of Kuching in Sarawak. Below are some pictures from the 2015 Conference. I will be attending again this year, so if you are keen to come along and would like to link up with the other Australians going along please let me know! The full details are on Crafthub's Facebook Page.
Yep. That's me. It's not that I have little or no inclination to write, but there is generally so much chaos going on around me at any given time that quietly sitting and organising my thoughts into words slips right off the radar! Ask any of my family. Although, They'll just complain that have to deal with more than the occasional 'what?' moment when even when I've not got the writing filter on.
...occurring right now is a perfect example of the usual thing that happens around here - the eldest has headed out the front door on some mysterious boy errand mere seconds before the kettle that he put on five minutes ago begins to merrily whistle to itself on the gas hob and work itself up to a harrowing shriek,..
Anyway, with a steaming hot cup of tea now beside me and pointless ramblings aside, I'll try and recount some of the happenings from the last few months around here. It's chilly, wild and woolly in my studio in the present thanks to the mid- winter hell-hole that is Macedon (I promise myself that each year is the last we'll stay here but the younger kids stubbornly refuse hurry up and get old enough to finish Year 12 so that we can head north to more temperate climes).
With no respite in sight, we abandoned the lot of them into their Grandmother's care and scarpered off to California. We headed north and spent four or five days wandering around Mt Shasta and the surrounding mountains, before heading further upstate through many redwood forests, enjoying the warm summer days on the cool shaded trails.
Of course, after a good couple of weeks unwinding, we had to pass right by a jewellery-making friend's place to get back to San Francisco (give or take a few hundred miles) and got a couple of good days in being a student.
So fast forward to May 2017 and I've just discovered the above in my 'drafts'. I never added the photos and posted this. There was a lot more other stuff too, but for now here you go :)
Thanks to the Bead Society of Victoria, I have been asked to attend the International Bead Conference in Borneo later this year to present a paper on polymer clay and teach classes in it's use. It's a privilege and an honor to have been considered for this role, I certainly haven't typed so much in a long time, or put conscious thought into what I will do with my clay when I sit down at my work table.
Not at all bad!
The conference is now open for bookings, click on the link here
My other exciting news that I have also joined the Macedon Ranges Arts Trail. Now I have no choice but to get my studio tidied up after our home renovations!
So I've had my trip to the US where I met lots of amazing and lovely people on my travels to Hadar Jacobson's studio in Berkeley, California. I learned more than I could ever possibly remember! Thank goodness for feverish note taking. My one regret now is that I live so far away!
After 5 days of intensive work with the newly released clays, we took off on a leisurely wander up to Sacramento to do a Rio Certification workshop with Patrik Kusak, who is another excellent teacher. It just goes to prove that even if you've been doing something for a long time with the right teacher there is always something new to learn! Then it was back to our base in Berkeley for a very brief stint so that we could do a bit of sight seeing around San Fran, oh and there just happened to be a rather nice Japanese restaurant in front of our motel...
So, you'd think things would have settled down and I'd be leisurely claying my way through my spare moments, right?
Firstly, we are renovating our tired old house. And reno's never seem to stick to any sense of a time line. The upside is that there is now a soundproofed loo and running water in my studio, the downside is that all the new loos nowadays come with soft close seats and I live with four boys.
Secondly, I'm doing Hadar's advanced online classes. While we are renovating. Like removing walls and floors type of renovating. Silly girl. For some strange reason I keep falling behind!
Thirdly, in order to spend quality time with the boys while they'll still tolerate having their potty mum around, I've opted to become a Scout Leader. I'm a ''Prob Ass Scout Leader" at the moment (?!), and I hadn't realised that there was so much paper work involved! The bright side is that it actually leads to a recognised tertiary education certificate. Amazing! Who would have thought that you would be academically recognised for taking a bunch of kids out into the bush and setting them free to get lost? Not that I have ever lost any, but the thought is brewing away there of sneaky ways to go about it and save on the food bills for a few weeks...er days...yes, I meant days...
Number Four. The Gallery Mt Macedon is providing lots of fun and stimulation with the local arts scene. Read: I get distracted doing fun stuff with other artists.
There is more, always more, but I shan't go into details and bore you all, so here are some photos of the highlights of the last few months instead!
The hilariously talented and all round cool chick, Christi Friesen was in town at The Whimsical Bead last week, so I snuck off for a day and had a fun time letting someone else do all the hard work of teaching!
I was seriously starving after the first workshop...
you may have noticed that I like octopus!
The second workshop creating a steam punk themed rhino was a blast,
but my sense of colour-fun got out of control! I have yet to bake
these little critters, they are waiting in the lounge so I better do it
soon before they get stepped on or sat upon!
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of teaching a lovely group of Ladies in Geelong a PMC workshop organised for me by The Bead Society of Victoria, called Heavenly Hollows. Excellent fun and output from everyone!
Stay safe and warm if you are here in Aus - Spring is just around the corner!!
I'm waiting for it with baited breath!
As is the norm, it has been a while since my last post. I do manage to pop the odd thing up on FB occasionally, but I'm in the mood to ramble tonight. Sadly, it's taken the loss of a hard drive to get me sorting through things and organising what I still have access to. Much work to be done both here and in the studio... and what fun in the studio! Currently I'm finishing the final assignment of Hadar Jacobson's Base Metal Clay accreditation program. I'm waiting for the kiln to cool down as I type. I thought I would make use of my time and share this piece here instead of putting it off to one side and telling myself as I usually do I'll get around to doing it later - waste of good clay time, this computer stuff!
This pendant is a combination of bronze and copper on a copper backing. The form is hollow; as it is 6cm tall it isn't nearly as heavy as a solid piece would have been. There is (of course) a story behind it: We have been given a number of technique based tasks to tackle over the last few months, most of which have not had a set design element. With this project we were given open choice which gave us scope to be as simple or as complex as we liked. Seriously, some of the work that people have come up with during this program has been absolutely amazing. So as I'm lucky enough to not usually be a project-managerial sort of artist that has to sketch a design brief up from an idea,spend a few weeks to think it through before costing out everything, weighing it's viability and executing it as per the initial concept (ie I don't put much -if any- food on the table... look under self - indulgent in the dictionary and it simply says 'Lara'.) this piece occurred purely because of the purchase of an exercise DVD. In my twenties and even into my late thirties I could execute the exercises contained within the nice shiny new shrink-wrapped deev with ease. Heck, I was doing them weeks after having my third child! But somehow in the last five years or so, the gentle and controlled motions that give you a gravity defying and strong body have somehow evolved into a form of excruciating and calculated torture. The inspiring promises from the instructor of a nice and firm ''peachy'' behind after a mere 19 hours of HELL (sorry, I mean exercises) filled me with a (delusional) determination to work doggedly through the entire workout. Two days later as I sat at my work table ready to start on this assignment, after having painfully limped down the three stairs from the back verandah all the while wondering if I was going to have to get the kids to chair lift me back up when I was done, the pear happened to be sitting on the top of the pile of moulds. Need I explain further? I will go on to say I may have sat gleefully giggling as I worked while entertaining fantasies of telling the beautifully-toned nearly-50 peach-endowed instructor to kiss my spotty pear.
It's beautiful and firm at least!
These beads are some of samples I made for an upcoming workshop that I am running in November for the Bead Society of Victorias' Expo
This is actually one of the techniques we teach in The Contemporary Clay Instructors Program, the technique was originally taught to me by the wonderful Melanie Dilday. Sadly bigger things have called to Mel, so she rarely teaches now days, but her legacy of unselfishly sharing her knowledge and supporting new clay artists is still with us, this project being one of the originals written for the instructors program. In fact, I think Mel taught me more about surface effects and polymer clay than any other teacher I've had, and I've been lucky enough to have some good ones! The notes I've written up for this class have taken me back down memory lane and made me look at things 'out of the square', so please come along and join me at the Expo if you wish to learn more about this fascinating technique and the variety of effects you can achieve with it.
Well it's certainly been a busy time around here! The Gallery collective members packed up their paints, glass, drills, wool and computers for a weekend of demonstrations and an exhibition at the Woodend Winter Arts Festival over the Queens Birthday long weekend.
Two fascinated kids try their hand at watercolour painting with watercolour and textil artist Robyn Cary of Tylden.
Glass and fiber artist Lea Hess working with Dichroic Glass
Fibre artists and potter Pat Beasley felting with merino wool and mohair
Glass artist Marianne Bradman made more lampwork beads in a day that I can manage to make in a month!!
I was doing demonstrations with polymer clay, and was running make and take kids' workshops using press moulds and Pearlex pigments. These canes on the left became the basis for the following 'masterpiece'....
Have a great day!!
Well Winter has certainly decided to embrace us with it's iron fist. My studio is like a frosty cool room at the moment, so I have several spots strategically arranged in the house where I can work in the evenings. Occasionally certain people insist on eating off the dining table, but it really is nice to sit working in the heart of the house with everyone passing by, so we tend to eat around the tools and clay. Play dates with a few local kids usually end up at the table as well.
Today I spent the day doing duty at The Gallery in front of a comfortable wood fire, making polymer canes and organising an order of clay for a Metal Play Day in Healesville on Sunday. The Metal Clay Play Days are a lot of fun with a terrific bunch of ladies that keep me on my toes with projects they want to undertake. Some photos are up on my Facebook of the April Play, so pop over and check them out!