Thursday, October 11, 2007

I wonder

what would it cost per household for council to harvest rainwater and to sewer mine and to provide a reticulated system of rescued water for toilet flushing and garden watering? Currently grey water diverting and treatment (if you want to store it for more than 24 hours) would cost around $10,000 per household - not a very attractive proposition. Individual pumps would be less economical in initial purchase and in running costs (on green power of course) than neighbourhood or municipality wide methods of providing sufficient pressure.

Private gardens represent a valuable resource for the community: they sequester carbon, they provide a creative outlet for gardeners, they provide visual delight for all who see them, a harbour for birds, and a cultural resource.. can we afford not to have a community based water source to maintain them?

Well here it is: CSIRO is working on the integrated management of urban water bring it on!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Carving - the coolest experience

I inherited my tools from my great aunt. She was pretty cool - an astrologer, novelist and sculptor. It is a privilege to hold her chisels and think that I am continuing in a family tradition. I didn't start sculpture with carving - first I learned to model in clay and cast the work, then I learned copper fabrication... then a branch fell off the Manchurian pear tree in my mother's garden and I was on..... well it wasn't that simple - Margaret Gunnersen Thomas's assistant Peter Quinn turned a red gum mallet for me, Kevin Free gave me a few tips and got me started and Hank bought the Superjaws to hold the work... it takes a lot of support to build a sculpture. :-)
It's pretty amazing watching the work emerge from the wood. I roughed it out with a carving disc on the angle grinder and took it to Herring Island for the demonstration event on Australia Day.
So then came the business of refining, then sanding and polishing - will it ever be finished? Well here are the stages so far: so that's in May - takes a while doesn't it? And then comes October and I'm still sanding. Well life goes on, and on, and the miracle is I'm still learning. Just wait for the fantastic time when I start putting the oil onto the wood. Her name came up pretty early - the Keys to Canterbury - Oh Madam! I will give to you the Keys to Canterbury, and all the bells in England shall ring to make us merry, if you will be my joy, my one and only dear and walk along with me anywhere.

on exhibition Herring Island 2009

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Fall from Grace

Thinking about ideas in the Limits to Growth.. the authors were talking about the two revolutions: the agrarian where we stopped being hunter gatherers and became farmers and the industrial where most people work in or for factories. And now we need a sustainability revolution... 

The trouble is that the Fall from the Garden of Eden was the agrarian revolution - we never wanted to stop living in the Garden of Eden as hunter gatherers - the only reason we did so was because of population pressures. Just as we look at the more technologically simple time of our youth with nostalgia so we regard the past as a golden age. When we despise those living in poorer, simpler circumstances.... is it jealousy? Are we really tough on the aboriginals because they had so recently what we have lost long ago. Is this why we destroy them with all the forbidden fruit that modern man can throw?

But maybe we need to find a better way - to recover that which was lost and to enhance our relationship with the earth. Can technology do that too?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Leaving the Day Job

Every artist faces the decision at some time as to whether or not to leave the day job and pursue their art full time. We can end up fairly poor if we do, but it does give us the time to improve our skills and fashion our philosophies. And again some make a quiet living with commission work, or well subscribed exhibitions.

When I first announced my intentions in that direction my then husband said -well what's your business plan? - Business plan? You make stuff and you sell it! The main difference between selling art and selling anything else is that market research isn't a preliminary part of the game – we are out to express something that we believe is important – we don't go researching what people want to buy unless we are then going to comment on that, we don't just supply willy nilly what people already think they want.

The being poor bit is hard to handle - makes relationships and family life tough – but we eventually sort out a modest income stream and life goes on - So should we really take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in order to contemplate a life devoted to the arts? It doesn't sound very real – and in fact when you think of it, this is a call to moderation not to extremes – the words could have been destitution, celibacy and subservience – but they are not - they moderate our obsession with money, sex and power – to focus our attention on what is really important – on sufficient food, love and imagination.

The artist does have a place in the world – not in the ivory tower. But the very diversity of art defies definition – some get their message across by shocking people, others by making one think, some make us laugh, some find beauty in the commonplace, others rage against the thoughtless – all of us have turned the unique vision of an individual into a philosophic statement - the belief that without dreams our bread is tasteless.

Monday, August 27, 2007

11th August 2007

Sunset at Mungo National Park
Mungo National Park speaks in silence - thousands of years experience of life and death make this place mysterious in its peace. Thank you to our guide, Tanya - a member of the Mutthi Mutthi people.