Monday, 20 July 2015

My Dad

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I lost my beloved Dad eight weeks ago. On the 25th of May he died peacefully and suddenly in his sleep after a drawn out battle in hospital. Just when we thought he was getting better, we lost him.

I've been wanting to come back to blog since then but I need to mark his passing here before I do... though I'm not sure I have the words... how do you honour a life in just one post?

Those of you who have lost a parent or close family member will know the unfillable hole they leave. It seems impossible that he isn't still here with us. I think about him all the time and every little thing reminds me of him. Which is lovely, but bittersweet.

I was lucky that I got to spend time with Dad before he died. I got time to tell him how much I loved him. That has helped. One thing I talked to him about was how he had passed on to me his love of making, and what a precious gift that has been.

We are similar my Dad and I, we love making things. My earliest memories are of Dad building furniture for our house in Canberra, making a tree house for us and building a barbecue pit in the garden, planting petunias and making a fireplace!

Dad loved to make, he loved to garden, he loved art and sculpture, he painted, he cooked, he bottled jam, he fished, he loved travel and nature, wine and food, he loved words and politics, he loved family and history and restaurants, he loved stories and laughing... and he loved us.

We held a Memorial for Dad the week after he died. We held it in a most beautiful hall, set among the trees in Bangalow, northern NSW. All his friends and family came together to celebrate his life and lots of wonderful people stood up and gave beautiful, funny, sad speeches. We showed hundreds of slides taken from all our family albums, and played his favourite music. He would have loved it.

The speeches were about his wonderful life, his sense of humour, his career achievements, his making and his generosity. My Dad loved knowledge, and he loved making things from scratch. I'm so much like him in that way and so this blog is a record of that legacy. Thanks Dad.

You can read more about my Dad in this obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald written by his old mate Mungo MacCallum.

Monday, 27 April 2015

april showers

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For the last week Sydney has been in the grip of crazy wet and windy weather which extends up and down the coast for miles. Its left damage and destruction in its wake, though we were lucky to be spared any damage here. p.s. I started writing this post before Saturday's crazytown hailstorm which blew up out of the most beautiful sunny autumn day. Its been wild!

Its also made me feel even more blessed that on our getaway to Jervis Bay we lucked such lovely autumn weather. Somehow we slotted our week in between a wet Easter and the following drenching windy two day storm and afternoon hailstorm.

In contrast on our time away It was warm enough to swim and we only had one wet and windy day.

Its a tradition to spend time at our favourite little 70s decor beach house each year, and a tradition to post my photos from our time down south here on the blog. Here are some previous trips to our magic beach. here, here, here and here.

It is also one of the lovely things about having older kids, making these family traditions which live in their imaginations. They love this place and it is layered with memories for them and for their father and I, who can remember walking this bush track with a double stroller!

Luckily my camera was fixed just in time to take it along. This place is so photogenic it would literally be torture for me without it!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

the clayer

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I'm often surprised looking back through my photos to see the little bits of making I've managed to sneak in to a busy period even when it feels like I get no time to create. Often its only when I make my year end mosaics I realise how much I've managed to cram into the year.

My blog is a nice record for those days when it feels like I've got nothing done, it helps me see that somehow I always manage to squeeze a little bit in!

The last few months have been no exception.

In February an online course I'd booked into on a whim last year suddenly came around. I'd signed up to an online Clay decorating course called The Clayer, with the lovely and inspiring Diana Fayt, something I'd been wanting to do for a while.

But then I wasn't feeling even slightly prepared when it came due!!

Luckily the fact that my pottery wheel was stored away for the renovation didn't matter as Diana's projects all used handbuilding. This is something I hadn't done much of in my short ceramics career, so it was good to start with her detailled videos to guide me.

Decoration though is something I've experimented with and it was nice to have Diana's weekly inspiration videos to fuel my making with Mishima, painting and sgraffito.

Due to my basic lack of time I decided I would concentrate on small tiles rather than the footed platters Diana used. That way I could get a few ideas on clay quickly. Her idea of tracing designs from sketchbooks proved a great way to rediscover and play with sketches from over the years.

About now I am really feeling the lack of a kiln and I'm hoping this year is the one I finally get to play with my own. I haven't had a chance to fire these pieces or do the painting techniques that need bisque fired pieces.

And I didn't get round yet to her ideas about stamping clay designs, something I'm really looking forward to that because it will combine two of my favourite crafts - ceramics and hand carved stamps!

Please excuse the ipad and iphone photos. My poor little camera is finally at the Camera Doctor. I've been missing it a lot .