Friday, June 13, 2014

Bird baths

Having great fun playing around with the engineering of bird baths. This is a proto type. So when the bath fills up in our wet winter weather it becomes a water feature with the water spilling out the mouth.  Such fun! Jess Loves drinking out of it....

The press.

Last week at an exhibition opening the newspaper did a story on the dogs. Nice to have the publicity but I wish they would check details before they publish stuff! I no longer work at Highlands and haven't for 4 years....and the dogs are about underlying evil, loyalty and innocence. Jess, my dog, follows me everywhere and watches me with sad, loyal, 'notice me' eyes, wanting attention. I am often telling her to 'back off' out of my space just like the other black dogs.

   click here to read the article. 

It's been a while.

Well, the dogs are done and dusted and in Pukeariki Museum.
Great opening and such a good show. So proud to be a part of it. 
I feel like I am going to confession....'forgive me Father, it has been a while'...and it has since I last entered anything on the blog. I broke my thumb a few months back and then discovered I had Osteoporosis. Not been able to create certainly did my head in. It became very full of a dam about to breach its banks. Not a good place for a creative mind to be in. Any way dogs got done.

'You don't have to throw stones at every black dog that barks' -Winston Churchill

Friday, November 15, 2013


I supply my work to Kina. This is a lovely art and design store in New Plymouth. Read more by clicking the link below.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Feral girl child

A print from a recent series. What more can I say? Anyone with children will get it. I really like drawing into the ink with my fingers.

Open studio

Open studio on the last two weekends. Always an interesting experience to get feedback and talk to people. This year I worked small as I tried to resolve some issues around glazing.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

New print for the Kina Exhibition

Her name is 'Effervescence.' Like Soda...and raspberry pop. All bubbles. Exciting at out how much you have though...could make you bloated. Back to my old theme. Innocence vs evil. The insidious.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The begging bowls

I have been making these little bowls. Somewhere...somehow I heard a story about people who carried begging bowls or gave begging bowls ...I know the monks do throughout Asia. But this story was not about them. It was something to do with the giving of a begging bowl as a gift and also the having and holding it would attract what you needed or were looking for. This was not in a monenetary sense. It was a point of focus and reflection. Anyway, I am enjoying making them.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mural project-Highlands

Another project that was great fun. I get a great sense of satisfaction when I drive by and know the background to how hard these students worked on this project. A job well done.

The colony

I had great fun doing this project with some students at school. They were so much more inventive than me....making pouches and all kinds of 'add ons' to their creatures. I was touched by the student who brought along her childhood bear...she had had it since she was a baby...but wanted to give it new life and meaning for her. It was a shame the article wanted to focus on the dismemberment side and use selected statements to make it sound more dramatic than it was. It was all done tastefully and was about giving new life to toys hanging about in the bins at the hospice. Essentially the project was about design and aimed at engaging adolescent boys in a design project. Actually the boys loved the sewing and gave up many lunch times to come to the 'sewing circle'. I was gutted when I got a complaint from victim support about the project. They argued I was maltreating soft toys and teaching students to be aggressive. I gave up art teaching shortly after.

The running people.

A fellow artist and I are working together on a quirky bit of fun. It is a collaborative project called the 'running people'.....sort of graffiti ceramic art. It is on facebook...check out the page. Loving doing it. Sneaking out all times of the day and night to do 'drops' of little people. Thanks Marita.

It is great fun stepping back and seeing the interactions that the 'public' have with the little people...which ones get picked up first and which 'groups' get taken first... and which seem to stay where they are....the ones at the district council (above) even stayed over WOMAD long enough to appear in the background on the national news during an article on Eric Brewer. Nice. Next drop soon...


Having a bit of fun with print making again. Hmmm faces......need to let them go... BUT also they tell so much and keep calling me back. Still liking big eyes and fore heads and small mouths..... Androgyny is also an interesting idea. How do we tell the difference between male and female from a face? What are the minuscule differences that make us female and male in our faces...? What messages do those differences send? Do small mouths say I am not interested in what they have to say? The psychology of it fascinated me at university and still does......Where does bisexuality fit with in this?
This print is the starting point...I like to make a print then re work...cut up...paint over etc etc and see what happens....

Large heads and thoughts....

Last weekend I went to a workshop about making large old style portrait sculpture. I made a really large head...which is now way more finished than this photo. Interesting and tricky technique with wire armature....but great way of working really large. I did come to the conclusion that I am not into representational art. I like creating fictional characters and making narrative that makes the viewer question.....but NOT in a fictional 'dreamcatcher' and 'dragons' sense.  

Little Faces

Recently I found lots of old wooden villa light fittings. Layers and layers of lead paint. So cool. I just got another kiln last weekend. Electric and small. I feel I am on the brink of a major break through! I am loving the small critters mounted on the light trophy heads. The rabbits have been 'munting' our place with the drought. They dig deep holes that are a risk to the big animals...especially the horses. I know they just want to get along and do the best they can surviving in this world in tough times.....but man they are annoying...whoops...going into a 'rant'. Back to the point...enjoying the faces on old light switches.  Love thinking about the history of the switches...the fear associated with turning the light off...the love in the dark after the light is off... the tiredness and the security (and not) associated with going to bed.
Heaps in the next firing. Excited.

Albino hog

Over the last month we have had these albino hedgehogs wandering over the farm. I do worry that they will get trampled by the horses or cattle as they seem to be blind and deaf. They come out of the eucalyptus forest next to us. It was planted in the late 1800s and the mill there has been in ruin for a long least 100 years....
I like to lie in the grass and watch them. They are not concerned by night and day, which leads me to believe they are blind...and they do not notice me moving...BUT they do notice vibration and freeze. 
...beautiful beasts.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The colony

Down in the studio 'the colony' continues to grow. Piles and piles of soft toys that need love and a new lease of life and identity. I am making ceramic faces and also painting canvas faces to add to them. I add interesting finds... such as jewellery and retro fabric/lace to  help 'form' their new identity. I like it. It reminds me of reincarnation. I love the sense of newness and promise I get from forming their new lives. Each one has a character to form.
Some I make from scratch...from favourite clothing the kids have outgrown The pictures below show a creature made for Ella from her old spotty stockings and my favourite polka dot tee-shirt. Such fun. SHHH! I even find myself talking to them as I make them.

Monday, February 11, 2013

More Crazy little bunnies

Our place is being over run by half crazed little bunnies....kind of cute....but not....did some more prints last weekend around crazy bunnies who get too close to the road and the hay baler. Working on these images for the open studio days in November. Plan to enlarge, paint ,collage and frame these images. Tonight, out running, I discovered the local quail population may also be deserving of an artwork focus. Suicidal...running across the road in groups...chased by a stoat. I love living here. The wildlife is amazing.

Reflecting on reflections

The fact my horse does not like reflections (or the 'play of light' on water) has got me thinking more about reflections and how they can play tricks on the eye. I have been taking lots of reflection photos. Here are a few of my favorites. I love how reflections change the way we see the reverse and mixed up, in layers.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The old and the new!

Recently I have been breeding old fashioned chooks. Silver Spangled hamburgs and Pekins. I did have romantic notions about all the chickens BUT quickly discovered it is not all eggs 'sunny side' up! Statistically half the babies will be roosters. Then you have the dilemma about what to do with them all. I always want to keep them and up till now 'Trade me' has been a great way to move the hens and the roosters on. I haven't really had to face the nitty gritty of a cull. Two days ago I found yet another nest of 19 eggs about to hatch. I can hear you saying "why doesn't she keep track of the eggs?" BUT it is just not that easy! The hamburg breed...(see the black and white ones below) free range and specialise in hiding eggs in tricky places. They roost in trees at night and are the ultimate free spirit of the chook world. Anyway, I decided enough was enough and took the eggs off the poor girl. It was not pleasant. She fussed and made a lot of noise for about 12 hours. She told us all about it loudly. Then, in an endeavour to stem the breeding colony growing further ...I sold the last batch 14 Hamburgs over night. Great I thought! ...downsizing. But, that was not to be the case, as yesterday I rescued 6 battery hens.(See first photo below). They have not seen light nor been able to move much in their tightly packed cages.They are so lacking in muscle tone that they fall over sideways when ever there is rough ground. Many feathers are missing as they get so distressed they peck at each other and themselves. They have had the ends of their beaks taken off so they can't peck and as a result struggle with eating. They are not a pretty picture. This morning they had no idea what to do with food scraps and the worm really bemused them. Tonight I was out there in the dark trying to teach them how to use the perch and go inside the coop. Poor darlings have no idea how to be a chicken. Their combs are pale and floppy. I am shocked that in this day and age we still treat animals like this. I hope I can heal them and give them a good life.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Surreal displays at Te Papa

Recently we visited Te Papa with my Mum. I really got into the crazy displays. The way we categorize and arrange items in displays and especially so in museums has always fascinated me. I did a bit of a photo shoot of strange displays. The toy exhibit was a bit of a favourite. Imagine being the person whose job it is to make the arrangement. So cool.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Twisted toys.

The fascination with rescuing old toys from the hospice and 're inventing' them continues. For some I paint faces on canvas and others I make ceramic faces for. I am liking the little colony building up in the studio. I also have been adding small 'things' like brooches, badges etc... that I have found at the helps build their story. The top doll has a ceramic face and a champion bowling badge from Toko bowling club in the 1070s.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Angry little bunny

We are plagued by bunnies on our rural road. We often comment about how they are suicidal! When a car comes up the road, they will all start running out from the bushes and across the road. The bunnies disturb me on two levels. The first is that they are cute and are just trying to live their lives...just like the rest of us. I hate seeing them squashed on the road. The second is that they dig up the paddocks, making lots of holes and making it dangerous for the horses. I make clay bunnies and today made this drypoint etching bunny. He has had a bad day.

Back at the press

For the last year or so I have had the loan of a beautiful American Conrad press. Unfortunately I have to return it soon, so have been having a stint on printmaking. I had forgotten how much I enjoy instant to explore and play with. Clay is such an exercise in patience...waiting for drying and firing and glazing and firing....months can go by while you wait to see if your ideas work out. I love working with clay BUT the frenzy that can be had with printmaking is like a caffeine rush...Here are a couple of new 'raw' dry points. I call them 'raw', because I always add to the print....collage, paint, sewing. Over summer I am working on stock piling prints for re working during for the year ahead.
This one is called 'Girl with a bun.'

Friday, November 23, 2012


Lately the dogs have been getting larger and larger. The problem with this is the fitting them in the kiln around other work! I have decided to work smaller for a wee while...use up lots of left over clay...and my friend Marita Green who is also a mixed media artist....and I have a few clay graffiti projects in mind! Watch this space!
Originally I started on dogs as a theme due to a quote I heard, when I was in a 'down' patch, by Winston Churchill. It was about being 'chased by the black dog' of depression. So I decided to make my own black dogs...easier to control. 

Wonky bowls... continued

Some time ago I decided to make 100 bowls of about the same size. Some of them are in earlier posts. I have difficulty with repetitive tasks and I hoped I would break through the 'pain' barrier and become a better potter for sticking at the repetition (with minor variations). After about 30 pots I got interested in the next project and left the 100 wonky bowls unfinished. So fickle! Anyway...I have returned to the bowls and am now using the new ones I am doing as 'proto types' for ideas for larger birdbaths. The ones below are early ones from when I last started this project. It was interesting how much better I did get due to repeating the task and how I could look back and clearly see progress.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fish drypoint

I have been making a new series of prints around fish and beetles and other creatures. Some I have been hand coloring later.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Reworking prints

I have had a great time lately reworking prints...adding bits and pieces to the print..hand and machine sewing on them..collaging old documents into parts and even using sandpaper to sand large areas back to build up with layers of paint. They do not photograph very well but I love all the subtle layers showing through.