Saturday, July 31, 2010

buttons, stairs and stitches ...

Recent thrifting finds on our trip north. Kaitaia Salvation Army Store. Wooden needles, 50 cents a pair. Wee vintage tiled plate, $3. Shell, wood and metal buttons, $2. Kiwiana Cape Reinga and Far North CWI (Country Womens Institute) souvenior spoons, $1 each. Shells supplied in our room.
These funny overgrown unassuming stairs are where I spent hours of my childhood sorting out my collections of shells, reading books and playing by myself. The gardens were well tended back then. Being raised by my grandparents meant there was a lack of play companions but many adventures to be had with adults, walking the beach everyday, the dunes, the rocks around Shipwreck Bay. Fossicking at the rubbish tip and in the secondhand stores in town and fleamarkets.
Finally back in Wellington after a week up north, I had the pleasure of spending a great day with my mother and my friend Betty-Ann. She knits like we breathe. Here is a wee glimpse of her latest project. A cushion cover made of bits and pieces of yarn.
My mother has never been conservative. Even at 57, she's unique and quirky. Have just said goodbye to her after four weeks together. She left me some handmade treasures which I will show soon.
Its a rainy, blustery classic Wellington winter day as I post this from my bed. I have a spine injury which hinders me from time to time for weeks on end. Painkillers, physio and rest. A little frustrating for this busy mum. So very thankful for my caring and considerate husband.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

te oneroa a tohe

Ninety Mile Beach or Te Oneroa A Tohe looking south to Shipwreck Bay and the sand dunes we used to climb as kids with my grandmother. It's nice to be back in my childhood playground with my kids, and show them their turangawaewae (tribal standing ground).
The only way I'm ever in a shot is if I take it myself. The downfall of being the photographer in the family. My cute baby in the background. I have three sons. I am a happy mama.
My youngest at sunset. I made his crochet hat when it was confirmed we were coming home. I knew I wanted a photo of a sunshine-y hat on this wee son of mine on this vast beach. We got here late but we still did a quick trip down the beach at sunset.
My second son is so independent. He amazes me with his energy and can do approach to everything. He's a bit of a chip of the old block ... that would be me of course.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010


A trip back to my homelands, Ahipara on the Ninety Mile Beach in the Far North of Aotearoa. Today we were rained in. We spent some time down the beach but mostly indoors looking out at that amazing vista.
A small installation of our beach finds.
The climate is sub-tropical here and even in mid-winter, the plants are lush and flowering. My grandmothers favourite flower, the hibiscus.
A bit of crochet around a small sea shell. A gift for my mother who was visiting her brothers today and a nod to my childhood spent collecting shells with my grandmother, a prolific maker herself. I watched her crochet for hours upon hours as a child. It's lovely to be home with the children.
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

My life has been a bit like this photo I took while clambering around rocks at a recent photoshoot with fellow artist Cleo.

I have been making, always making. Crafting old army blankets, stitching the neverending bits of old white cloth from Asia Gallery to form a slowcloth project, knitting, crochet plus the odd writing gig and making stuff for my youngest lad.

Mostly though I have been involved in raising my kids and being the full-time parent in our family. Its all been a steep learning curve again and I've found a place in it where I'm comfortable just cruising along, being oncall for different one's needs as they arise.

Always making, always. There's always a few stitch projects in the creative corners of my home. I'm also involved in several craft groups, one of which I help co-ordinate. I've been fortunate enough to collaborate and also participate in exhibitions with my own work this year, mainly textiles and a couple of paintings.

The art of making oneself fit one's life is definitely my biggest learning curve this year. Learning to slow down down down and be available solely to serve my family, putting aside my bigger artistic aspirations for now has been fantastically liberating. I don't know if I want to go back and for now am grateful for a hardworking husband who together shares the passion we have to raise our kids up ourselves.

Mostly I am excited about the way each day is a clean page, upon which there is nothing there except what I choose. As a single income family, we do live within a tighter budget and don't own the home we live in. Frankly the gift of having one adult solely committed to the needs of everyone else is awesome. Its important this awareness of what I do and the value it brings. Don't we all strive to have work that is meaningful? Lives that are purposeful? And while we may wax romantically and lyrically about the importance of raising children, sometimes its just not obvious when changing the umpteenth nappy for the day, or staring at the neverending laundry and dishes, and the clock that reminds us another meal is required.

I value women's work. Whether it's in the home or balancing running a family with paid work. It's valid and its important that we can choose what works best for each of us. I value the men who continue to work for their families and marriages too. They tend to be a bit of a rare breed in this mid-life season.

I look forward to posting more often again. Thank you all who have contacted me. Yes, we are alive and well. Yes, I'm back. A bit rusty but looking forward to a new season of writing here and posting photos of my travels and adventures. x