Home and Getting Along with Ideas

We are back to walking the dam five days a week. This morning it was lovely. The water like glass.

I also returned to the gym at 5:30 this morning…rode the bike, did upper body workout and then boxed the heck out of the bag. All felt good.

Then just now I mailed this piece to a friend in Australia.

I am trying to find homes for some of the artworks that I have. Australia inspired works should find a home over there. The book below also went to a friend down under.

And I have decided that other works done for exhibition will all stay together and have a proper burial. Each piece mummy wrapped, shellacked and laid to rest. I shall keep myself occupied this summer preparing the wrapping strips and bundling.

I like the whole idea that they might just be discovered years from now and prompt a digging of the site…..a discovery all over again. Some pieces are anti war works that after going on exhibit returned home….no one wants reminders of war.

Another exhibit going to ground will be the entire Expedition to Elsewhere: the Evidence. How appropriate is that! All of it is biodegradable as most of my works are made from natural materials.

And since I have so much of the Native American sweet grass, I will use it to smudge each exhibit as it is laid to rest. And the soils collected for years to make earth pigments will naturally find a place to settle.

The joy was in the making, the exhibiting…not the storing or dispersing in parts and pieces. While I can I will give it all a final resting place. Burning was good for some of my work…but not the ones to be buried. I do know that the grave will have to be at least ten feet long, five feet deep and four feet wide.  But I don’t have to call in the digger for some time. Wrapping is going to take a while.

I will document as I go with this plan. For now I need to get started on making strips.

Til later.

The Latest Trip to Australia

Come and Gone in Twenty-Nine Hours

I continue to come back

eight times in thirteen years.

I am more tired

and this tiredness is beginning

to feel familiar.

It is harder to be here alone

and I sense this may be the last time.


I have opened myself to this country

in a deep private and personal way.

But this time I feel the loneliness

of solitude

quietly seeping in.

I am more a foreigner

than I had hoped for.


Australia has not lost its magic.

I am older

and the vision for that magic

is somewhat diminished

due to a combination of age

and awareness of time

that have more or less

besieged me on this trip.


And I am here

on this precious soil

just twenty-eight hours.

I think I am feeling the loss

of this country before I have left it.


Australia feels like an old dear friend

that I am seeing slowly turn away.

Or am I shifting my gaze

toward the comforts and familiarity of home.


Is it becoming time

to give up the adventure

and content myself with memories

of what we used to be to each other?


I am feeling the loss

with each Eucalypt I see

as if for the last time.

I miss it already.       

S. Webster


I wrote that in the year 2011. I was alone staying in an unfamiliar Bed & Breakfast near Fitzroy Gardens. There were blisters on my feet from walking to Gertrude Street. I was having a cold beer in the gardens and thinking I was old. Eight years later and six more trips down under I am even more aware of my age…within a few months of seventy-five.

I am not saying good-bye to this country. This is not the last time to be stopped in my tracks by the sheer beauty of a Eucalyptus tree. I will be back, if not next year then the year after.

It is not just the beckoning call of the landscape, the outrageous birds who can’t be quiet and inconspicuous, nor the endless distances that lure you into their horizons.  It is more likely the generosity of the Australian people and the way they make you feel like you could belong here.

About that landscape, outrageous birds, and endless landscape.

These are the some, very few, of those who make the trip worthwhile. They are students who were with me again this year in a master class titled, Seeking the Visual. Each of them received the gift of a glass hour glass with brass compass on each end. My words to them, “Pick a direction and be aware that you might be running out of time.”

Their work was outstanding as usual…..

This was each of them finding the visual of something that mattered to them. So wonderful to be part of. So thank you very much to Judith, Jane, Jenny, Andie, Mem, Anne, Kaye, Margaret, Lorraine, Patsy,  Madeleine and Alex.

I mostly worked on my sketchbook with the abundance of flora laying around.


I started a piece of work using scraps of old Japanese fabrics and sashiko threads on paper. I was challenged to make curves with my stitching and to use a proper needle. The gift of a beautiful silk hand sewn Eucalypt leaf with the perfect needles attached and a finger pin cushion was a perfect way to start.

Thank you Jan.

Later, after traveling from the Grampians to Baldessin Press to work on lino and contact prints, this became my favorite image of the entire trip to Australia.

I can finish the panel of stitching while sitting with Lee…then I think I will have it framed…all four plus feet of it.

Here are additional images of my trip starting with Tasmania.


Early flight to Melbourne.

Then off to the Grampians and Halls Gap.

And the dispersing of the Waterhouse Exhibit leaves from Fatal Shore.

And then off to leave some at Baldessin Press.

Quality time with other internationals.

Influenced by the work and book of Dianne Fogwell. We went back to the city for the opening of her show.

From the magic of Baldessin to Ocean Grove and a two day workshop on white line print making.

A final trip back to Melbourne before heading home to see a Bea Maddock piece at NGV and have a final flat white on Degraves St.

Thank you all for the inspiration, the gifts and most of all your hospitality.

Til later.


Tedious Weather – Escaping Into Cloth

This is the view out the dining room window….day after day after day after….

So I went outside to find the beautiful details of what so much rain can do. Lichen!

I really love this last image. Only some of the Japanese maples have lichen like this on them….many others do not. Must have something to do with the bark. You see that light blueish green color  there? It is the exact color of an Italian green earth pigment that a friend found for me at the Rembrandt Museum. Such a nice thoughtful gift to get yesterday.  Lee received a jar of Sir Basil’s Marmalade. The same friend does our Costco shopping on his way from the airport to Brasstown whenever he comes this way. Two to three times a year we get household necessities in bulk thanks to him.

The stitching goes on at a frantic pace this past week. Forget that “slow stitching” idea. Once threaded and pinned why wait?

So far I have three folios completed on both sides.

And the front side of another folio is finished.

On some of these pages I am using a cloth that Philomena Hali dyed with the soils of Alice Springs. She gave me a strip of the cloth and I used an image of it in my Earthen Pigments book…then of course stored it away til later. It is now later and makes a nice background for my scraps of cloth.

I like how they all feel when folded and stacked one on top of the other. So a book of them is most likely.

The suitcase for Australia is getting fuller by the minute. It is a carry on size but I always check it because of the tools, etc that travel with me. I may have to add some poplar boards for the white line printmaking class. The only wood that works well over there is a very expensive Japanese magnolia sold in print making supply stores. Most of the printmakers I follow down under are using linoleum for block prints. And that just will not work for the white line technique.

The quandary is that I do not want Lee using the table saw at this point and I am scared to death of that finger-eating machine. My son will be here the night before I leave so maybe he will cut up the boards for me and they can be sanded when I get there.

I also might just enlarge my carry on bag to put clothes in. I really hate looking like a helpless old lady who can’t get her bag stuffed in the overhead. It is time to get serious about that packing and stop putting it off. Two weeks from today I will be in Hobart, Tasmania with all my bits and pieces still with me until a friend puts me and them in her car to head to Halls Gap. And when I am there I take advantage of the Post Office to ship things home that will not fit into my bags.

The stupid crow is still banging on the guest room window. I will find something to hang there so that those coming to stay with Lee are not disturbed too much. Scraps of cloth should do it in lieu of a scarecrow.

Not much else new here…..just getting fidgety…..well more fidgety.

Til later.

My Meditation Journaling Satchel

Well instead of thinking I had to make a special container, I found these. They are a set of small travel bags that I bought at a Kathmandu store in Salamanca in Hobart Tasmania. They fitted inside one another and were easy to purchase and pack in my suitcase. The only other thing I bought at that store was a shirt. The clothes at a Kathmandu store are for hikers and trekkers. The sizes range from a weak Asian woman size to one who might have seen the inside of gym. The useless shirt is still in the bottom of a drawer.


These travel bags were used for many years to hold the bits I needed to process soils into pigments for watercolors. They were filled with the evidence of that. But when I saw them I wondered if when cleaned up and filled with the varying parts needed for sewing small meditations, they would become one single carry bag that could go anywhere with me around the house.

So what you see above is the smallest one on the left with the needle pin case, pen, pencil, scissors and threads. It sits on top of the open lid to the middle bag with different fabrics rolled up. Some are scraps of old clothes, some of silks, some botanically dyed, some rough scrim that has been rusted and plain linens. Each bundle is rolled tightly and nestles in the pouch. That bag is sitting on top of the open lid of the largest one that holds a journal to write in and pieces of cloth folded in half.

The linen covered journal I bought in Japan in 1998 and over the years only made marks on the pages so I wasn’t facing a blank journal when I wanted to use it. The beige cloth is some woven silk I bought about twenty-five years ago because I loved it. Other cloth is from not so successful dyeing techniques. (The repairman might have right when he suggested I need to look up the meaning of “hoarding”.)

So rather than make up another object to do the job of something I already have, I am using this little bundle. Here it is closed.

It is less than 9″ by 6″ and only 2.5″ when zipped closed. How handy is that!

So I sat and stitched while sitting with Lee in the den. All I had to do was cut some bits of cloth, thread a needle, make that pesky knot on one end and hold all the pieces together where I pinned them.

After two days I have this folio completed.

They are meant to be folded in half like a book folio and the slightly larger beige silk will also be stitched on to then become the back side of the folio. Then if I make a book some day with all the pieces I won’t have to look at the backs.

So these are the scraps saved for someday. These are the threads that I collected in every town in Australia that had a thread store for the sole purpose of keeping a record of all the colors I saw on the way there. These are the tiny scraps of silks dug out of bins at Beautiful Silks in Warnabool, VIC. These are the markings of my day in cloth and threads. And I will use the book to write a bit of a feeling, observation. I may not do this every day but it is so nice to know I have this small place to go and still be here.

The only thing I added just this morning was a small container of beads that my threaded needle will pass through. Sometimes you just need a bead or two.

As soon as the cleaning lady finishes cleaning around Lee in the den, I will head up there and pick up the little satchel, put on my glasses to thread the needle and maybe start the page that will back this one. Or maybe I will sit in the studio and look at all the things that I should be doing in there….all the books that need sorted….all the things I want to give away….packing my suitcase for Australia….

I did promise Robyn Gordon that I would send her a picture of my satchel, so I will put that on her page before I do anything else.

Til later.