Tuesday, 11 November 2014

I set myself a rule when I started writing a  blog - it would always be fun and never take anything seriously.  Today I break this rule!

Its not a Flanders poppy, but it is a red poppy with the black centre. It is always starts to flower  in the second week of November  and there is always a new flower open on Remberance Day.  This one greeted me this morning!

Everyone is knitting poppies for the Anzac Day centenary but my memory is always of poppies for  the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month when the War to End All Wars officially ceased.  

This year I felt sadder than usual so I made a poppy for our joint grandfathers and great uncles, then I thought about our parents generation and the second war  and family in occupied Europe. It is a day of great sadness so I made a Rememberance Day bird for all of them and both wars.

This is a bird of contemplation - is he looking backwards or to the future.........

All our family of both generations came back and made great lives for themselves and their families.    We always stop to remember the dead but over the years the living and their families have paid a price too.

Same bird settled in a wattle tree.  This photo is for Tom.  He lived just down the road from us when I was at primary school.  One day when I was about eleven he loaned me a book to read.  It was his published diary from his days at the front in France and later as a prisoner then as an escapee.  I'd never seen a horror movie, or read a horror story - and this was horror but with a sort of happy ending - after all he got home, raised a lovely family and had a good life.  But it was a true story, and even harder to comprehend it was written by a lovely gentle old  man I actually knew!

Four years later  when I read all Quiet on the Western Front I got a terrible shock when I found I'd been barracking for the "wrong"side for most of the book - what a lesson!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Cup Day Holiday for Birds

What an exceptionally beautiful day, the sun will shine on the Melbourne Cup.

I think he is inviting her to share a punt on................oh dear, I'm ashamed to admit that this year I dont know the names of any of the  horses running today. 

 Or they could be discussing the cup in the background.  It was my wonky attempt at mood setting, no it does not contain ashes.  It is in fact a sugar bowl - those little horse shoes all round are for hanging teaspoons.  Where did it come from - well it was a wedding present given to my parents and as it was just  postwar it was secondhand so no idea what its history is.  

Of course he could be paying her a compliment on her hat or her necklace.  The Cup is after all an excuse for flirtatious dressing.  

Just a brief blog as befits a most important holiday.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A few days break does a power of good.......

 Poor blog, been sadly neglected over the last two weeks.  Margaret and I  bumped "Who Needs Permission" out of the library, rehung a good part of the exhibition the following Saturday at Edendale Farm for the Practically Green Festival (pictures and stories on another day) then hung up our boots for a few days. Just  within five months we had community workshops, two public art installations an exhibition and a consultation,   we were just a bit pooped.  Then there's our other life as well........it was suffering from neglect

Yes, spring is here and  bird life is returning - as we catch up with orders we are making new birds.  There is a new page on the blog devoted just to detailed photos of the birds.   Only three of these on it  yet, we had internet interference with this mornings wind.  The other  two will be asap.  Then, as we make we will add.  

Smiling, or even better, laughing is the order of the day!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Just two days left!!!!!!

Guest books are always polite and restrained.  We are delighted - the comments are  as unrestrained as "Who Needs Permission"

You have only two days left to write your message!

Only a handful of birds left to choose from.....but there's no way you can have  this...

Its sold and off to a very interesting home.   Congratulations Margaret. 

  We were going to bump out on Tuesday morning but were invited to stay on  for a book launch by Malcolm Fraser in the gallery in the evening.  Practicalities mean that we will have to clear the floor to make room for seating so most of our 3d pieces will go.

For the occasion, the banners and bicycles will still be on the walls, the rails and pillars will still be covered, peacock still in the corner,  and the birds and bunting will look down on it all.

Then Wednesday morning we will whisk it all away as the next artist Jeff Drummond hangs his exciting  exhibition. 

So folks you only  have between one and five tomorrow and ten am and eight thirty pm on Monday to visit, check out the palm tree, revisit,  play cupcake checkers, choose a bird or bicycle to enjoy the whole of Who Needs Permission at the Eltham Library Community Gallery.

p.s.  Of course we have another project in the planning - but you'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Well we really failed at the Hitchcock thing!

"Birds", Margaret said. "We must make birds". So we did.  Lots of them, or so we thought.  

Then came one of those two people speaking at once things, "We can we make them  look down on people like in 'The  Birds'"

So we did, and they did not look one bit threatening, so we asked Tony to make a movie, and its not threatening either, rather  proved the point, they are just plain funny, warm and fuzzy. 
  For  small screen quality.......

  For big screen quality and a better look go to

Sales have proved that point too, lots of little red stickers.  Its become a kind of joke with us now, "what did you do last night?, "I made another bird(or two)" then " Is it different to the last one?" Of course it is.  So to meet the challenge every other day or so a couple of new birds appear.

  There's only just over a week left and we keep looking at the flamingos and thinking, should we....they'd look great as a flock, then we look at our, lives and think, maybe another time.....but , on the other hand......

Mind you we're open to requests and orders,  we're having so much fun!

Come and see our Birds and many other amusing things,

Who Needs Permission,The Eltham Library community Gallery, Panther Place, Eltham, last day is October 6th !

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Tomorrow's the big day

Cold and wet, that's the forecast, but we hope the intrepid will brave the weather and make it to our launch/opening tomorrow night 

and we're hoping that some adults might follow the example of these two young gentleman, Vigo and Wisse Wijers

and have a proper serious game of cupcake /checkers.  

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Overwhelm-ment should be a word

Because that is the state we are in right now, overwhelmed just isnt strong enough!

Its been a knockout beyond our dreams! Oohs and Aahs, so many laughs and so many smiles.  Just what we wanted.  And thats just the first day. 

The library is a fascinating building, after all these years I  properly saw and realised  the concept of the vaulted ceiling in the  library area, so appropriate for a studious space .....You can see it at the back of this photo taken from the exhibition peacocks eyeview.

Our pristine cupcake draughtboard/checkerboard has been interactive in a way we never imagined. 

 Designed for adults to have a serious (?) game, we discovered the bonus that even quite small children knew straight away they were playing white icing and strawberries against pink icing and cherries.  They also got right into the touching feely thing that textiles just bring on in a serious  way.  One young man, maybe of about three, visited twice in the morning then dragged his Mum back in at 5 just so he could hold a cake again! 

If photos made you a millionaire, we'd be billionaires.  Never seen so many, all round the exhibition, so good for morale.  Even better when you've been busting your boiler to make it just the best happiest exhibition you can imagine.

And all the while this little chap has been watching, he's looking for a good home on October 7th.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Who Needs Permission - Woo Hoo We're IN

We started the day in the usual  organised  way that you install something different to the last thing you did. Railings finished, most of the poles covered, time for bunting!

Despite  the tempting smell of coffee drifting in from the cafe down the corridor we persevered.

After raising Hung Out to Dry there were  many bicycles.....

And  they were hung quite quickly, lots of fun deciding which one to pick first, or second or......

More on the bikes another time.....its enough to say the laughs and delight from library visitors cheered us on as our hearts sank looking at all the rest to be done.

And we did it!!!!!!!  Many thanks to Joel and Isabelle, not only their help but their good cheer made it a pleasure to get through all our stuff!!!  Chairs, banners, peacock, sewing machine, The Birds (lots of them), cushions and of course a draught board .  

Some of you will remember "There Goes the Neighbourhood", Margarets  shortlisted piece for the Nillumbik Prize in 2013, its here , not in the photograph, YOU have to come and find it,  take a seat to look at the video inthe shade of the palm tree, then get a little exercise playing draughts  (handle the pieces gently please, cherries and strawberries bruise easily).  

Who Needs Permission, Eltham Library Community Gallery until October 6th.

Who Needs Permission? - day one of the install

The afternoon of day one installing, a beautiful empty space just waiting....for  ......

Yes waiting for us to start yarnbombing  - and once again its a warm and friendly way to go.  People wandering in and out of the library just couldnt help smiling and laughing.  Just wait til tomorrow night!

But then we had to take a break, the rain got louder and louder and turned into hail.....we patted ourselves on the back.  This time we're installing indoors  - in Dandenong we installed in icy wind and we de-installed in the rain. Indoors is such a luxury! 

It got heavier and darker and heavier and the gutters were overflowing like waterfalls...

But back to work,  then a quick rest to decide our dinners before we left....

You might be getting a bit of an idea of what we're up to - just wait til tomorrow night!!!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Who Needs Permission?

Only twelve months ago Margaret and I started discussing what to do with the skills we'd developed during our Artists Residency at Montsalvat in Eltham.

Who Needs permission? Margaret said!  Of course, what gallery? Well the Eltham Library Community Gallery of course!

So here we are, the day is nigh.....

Panic levels are high, in a very calm sort of way.....

We start installing tomorrow afternoon , then more on Wednesday.....

Here's a clue 

No its not really a pie but it does relate to a day of domestic virtue - as you will see later...

Remember the Montsalvat Wedding Tree - well any good idea can be developed into......

You'd better come to the library and see...this is just the corner of......

Then there's a little bit of this

Then more domestic virtue

Take a good look, there's more than one exhibition piece in this cute little Hursbridge almost bakery.  

The icing is not yet on the cakes, and here's a clue to their interactive role in the exhibition - we need twenty four so you can come and play.

And so the best of friends talk about settling into their new habitat...

They look forward to showing it off to you from Thursday September 11 at the Eltham Library Community Gallery.  They might even reveal a little bit more tomorrow.....

Monday, 11 August 2014

Peace, love and welcome

Five workshops and five pillars, three workshops and four seatcovers , fourteen bike racks, a bicycle, a railing or two - and the  response from the people of Dandenong has been  truly awesome.

They were invited to use any words and symbols in any language to decorate the recycled knit projects.  In every workshop with no prompting from us far and away the favourite word was peace closely followed by love then welcome, caring, friend. 

Margaret and her partner Rod in the evening just before the launch of Cultural Threads
Thursday morning   at  Vision Australia  was amazing.  Their craft group was making 
 some of the most exquisite crochet and knit.   A word we should all take note of raised a cheer  - equal. These women did not muck around - straight into it and by the time we left we had five tags, two of them incorporating braille.

Thursday afternoon a
 group from all over the community....

Ling chose to write in mandarin and to stitch a koala in a gum tree on Thursday, finish it on Saturday and helped to install one of the seat covers (she also stayed to do the railings).

The warm and fuzzy pillars are being hugged, photographed and now added to.  It was such a lovely surprise to discover an addition by the  indigenous basket weaving class . Another lady has added flowers to celebrate the relationship between herself, sisters and their mother who was a CWA president in NSW.  

the three pretty flowers next to the "A ''

We met so many lovely and interesting people and shared their stories. What took us by surprise and what we are truly thrilled by, was that it should be such a strong  means of self expression for the community.   To be involved in a public art  project that is decorative, fun to do and yet means so much to so many people when its finished has to be the best job in the world!

More to come on two workshops that have not yet been mentioned and the hair raising day of the installation ..........

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Tired but happy!!!!!!!!

Actually very happy - we pulled it off.  How ?, well we finished  very cold, and very tired  so the "how"  can wait til tomorrow.  Meanwhile take a look at this.

Those two little figures on the orange seats are us.  The five pillars, bunting, bicycle, and both bike racks -  all put up  over the last two days.....with help.  It has to have been the aabsolute coldest and windiest day for this winter!!!!!!!!!!!

Details in the next couple of days. 

Monday, 28 July 2014

I love street art !

Well today we started the installation of our public art project for the City of Greater Dandenong.  Street art is definitely a social occasion - next project I am going to dress appropriately for the occasion - that is when I work out what "appropriate" is!

Meanwhile we started on the small scale stuff....

then as we worked we chatted some more

Many conversations later the bicycles started to arrive as fast as we could stitch

And the finished rack proved really popular

Deceptive sunshine - the wind was freezing!!!!!! It stole the yarn every time we threaded a needle - but like good little street artists we soldiered on.

But we did it - added my best (so far) yarnbomb bicycle 

And left - watch out Dandenong, we're back tomorrow and this square will look very different!  Just a clue :  weather permitting we will have a man on a scissor lift to help!

postcript.  Just to make a fun day perfect, by the time Margaret left me at the end of the drive the wind had dropped, the sun was out, and  a friend broke off from ant eating to  greet me.