Wednesday, January 19, 2011

hanger 3

this one was a right pain, but I think I love it best

Monday, January 17, 2011

Kindness a strangers...

1. Back in December, on Wray Street in Fremantle, I came across a shop called Madame Bukeshla.  Sculpture and textile art in the window, hand painted wallpaper, Belgian linen sheets, a fine collection of vintage covered hangers, an open studio at the back of the shop floor, shelves and shelves of vintage fabric on display and ladies in vans pulling up with trolley loads of more....I went into a kind of spin.  Trish Bygott and her business partner were very tolerant, and we raved a bit about blogs and marketing and hand-making and art and so on.  

2. I encouraged Bronwen to visit, despite the festive family flurries going on around us, and she bought a beautiful linen petticoat skirt.  Trish sewed on the buttons to fit and then she gave Bronwen this print, for me.  Bronwen's sister has mailed it from Perth, so I've only just received it. I am so touched.

3. I met John (also from Perth), in the front bay windows of the Espy Hotel, before the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion gig.  We talked about the randomness of youth, covered coathangers, musical laziness in  places where the living is easy, and so on.  I was having trouble shifting my ticket to the second gig (responsibilities at home called) and John said he was interested.

4. The gig was superlatively good in a very strange way.  Some reviewer somewhere wrote about the way the band seems to be channelling something... somewhere. For me the show was a divine, hellish sound compost. Sexy, smug, tongue-in-cheek and dead earnest all at the same time. And giving. Dangerously beyond the limits of talent or showmanship.

5. There had been plans to go out after the gig. I don't think I was the only one who needed to go straight home, alone, and lie down for ten hours.

5. We did the ticket swap at Hell's Kitchen, before I put my sorry happy carcass on a train back to the valley. The woman behind the bar looked hard at me when I asked for a "healing soft drink".  Then she magic-ed up the concoction pictured above.  I watched as she loaded a glass with pieces of fresh lemon, lime, orange, and strawberry. Then she swilled in soda water, raspberry, a dash of cola and just the right number of icy rocks.  The just-right-medicine was garnished with a sprig of mint. And the kindness a strangers.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In Training

This is not the train I caught to town, but oh how I wish it was.  I can faintly remember the buffet car with the fifties counter and stools on the Melbourne to Sydney XPT, and still fantasise about the carriage pulling up out of the mists of time and rolling me away to the Oceanic Cafe above Central Station.  There, I would sit in a hard flaking cream enamel painted booth and have a cup of tea with the bag still in for $1.50 and listen to the ladies talk about pills and gin in old Surrey Hills.  I would battle with myself.   Then I would have an ale in a tiled front bar.  Then I would hit the dry street with my suitcase full of samples.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Spencer Return

1. Last 14th of January I went to see Al Greene with a total stranger.  How St Kilda glowed all over itself.  The 14th of January before that I took myself off to see The Saints at The Forum. It was a kicking memorial to punk and other things. This 14th of January, by weird chance, I'm going to town to see a band I've waited ten years to catch.
2. I was trying on the bad black dress and the army carry all when advice from a friend's mother echoed in my ears - never go anywhere without a cardigan and a novel.  I'm selling my novel page by page and the moths got my cardi, so I went hunting for a jacket.
3.Ten patched overalls from Tooles Disposals have been languishing, in pieces, in a rubber tub by my sewing table.  The fine embroidery on ordinary ground was from Tallangatta Op Shop. It's been sitting over me like a talisman as I wobble my way through the crewel shirt job. Unpicked overall seams looked naff when I tried to make The Working Quilt, so I'd rolled them up into rag balls, poppers and all.  These elements came together under pressure today.
4.As I sewed the last rough corner on the applique I flashed back to the early nineties, when my life was all milking sheds and nightclubs and buses in between.  After days or weeks of jumping up and down, I'd crawl back to the farm, earn some cash, learn to use some other brain cells, and sit up at night, in the grain shed, sewing costumes for my return performances.
5. Same shed, same stitching, same grotty white mirror to check progress in. Only now, the walls are clad and the floors are polished.  I'm a little wiser and happier. My son sleeps up the new stairs.
6. I'd get dropped off at the train station in Wodonga, but sometimes I'd trade in my ticket and hitch down the Hume.  Getting into town, I'd spend the fare money on a packet of Winfield Blue and light up on Spencer Street and wallow in the the long moment before deciding whether to go left, or to go right.
7. Jon Spencer (Street) Blues Explosion tomorrow night. I am very very excited. 


come this way and we'll show you some things.
let me know what you think...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

cassette fetish

Quite a haul from Tallangatta yesterday.  Amoung other things, this gorgeous little cassette recorder.  The tapes were from an earlier jaunt and I've almost binned them  a number of times.  Joseph's been playing DJ from the weird selection - Dance Music 1 and 2 are all jigs, U2 War reminds me why I never got into U2...and then there's the demo tape called Silver Suits from Astronauts from a band called Ball Boy. They're from Iceland.  Fun  to wonder how on earth the tape made it to our small town.  Also not sure what to think about the compilation: Side A: Songs to Wake the Soul, Side B: Songs to Raise the Dead.  We haven't played it all the way though. Yet.

Monday, January 10, 2011

auntie beuys boone venus

all hung up

This is perhaps the most conventionally pleasing hanger to emerge from my Great Hanger Experiment. Brace yourselves. Things are about to get weird.

little green mirror 2.

as your hands work under water
and cobwebs grey your hair
the little green mirror
gives a glimpse of your brow
and hints at what's behind you

Sunday, January 9, 2011

quick. unpick.

1. No pattern, no instructions, no pins, no pressing, no measuring. Feels like base jumping.
2. I'm cutting straighter, but this is because my material is restricted to plaid.
3. All my biscuit tins are tartan.  I am becoming plaid-obsessive.
4. I have a history with plaid - there was one outfit in the 1990's composed of tight plaid waiscoat over plaid wool flares under black watch tartan skirt, bustled, under brown wool skirt. Brave. Too brave.
5. It's an unjustifiable 120km round trip to Spotlight for the Quick Unpick, but I need it NOW.
6. Wood block carving tools do not work as quick as a Quick Unpick.
7. On the work table - little plaid bags for collecting fruit from the shops (I hate those plastic bags on rolls) and a superb plaid plastic bag-holding tube. Tried to sell them to  my friend, but he said he would go into ideological melt-down over the two concepts - wanting to fill the tube with plastic bags, but wanting to use the cloth bags. We could solve this by filling the tube with cloth bags, but....
8. Plaid is the new satin, when it comes to covering coat hangers. But that's another story...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

pinching cheek

Joe keeps a close watch on the ripening produce in Granny's garden.  We ran out of bought(!) apples the other day and he recommended checking the orchard.
"I love pinching fruit", he said, as we sneakily went round with the billy can.
The orchard has been around for as long as there has been a farm here, and there are people in their 80's who remember childhood summers when they crept up the creek to raid the trees. When we came to look at the place in 1988, my brother and I fought our way through chicken wire and grass to an apple tree down the back.  The fruit was big, red and perfect from the first cheeky bite. 
It makes me smile to see the custom continued.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Spearwood Spectacle

Just before Christmas in Perth, our relatives took us on a  quick tour of the lights. The grand finale was in Spearwood - a whole front yard lit up and populated with robotic creatures.  I almost cried when I saw this grotto in the front room.  Something to do with the generosity of the feat.  Then an awestruck Joe grabbed my hand.
"Look mum. Come and see this..."
In a corner of the porch, on a little round table, a black and white cat watched us back.  
It was the only thing that wasn't flashing.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Home smoked trout
Garden grown salad and so so waxy potatoes
Eggs from happy hens just down the road
Friends and family
Gentle sun and a light breeze
So nice to be here this year