Saturday, 27 April 2013

looking for Miles

I am working towards an exhibition at The Front in Lyneham at the end of May. For some weeks now I have been working through ideas for the theme and content of the show - and up until recently nothing really seemed quite right.

Then I remembered by original idea for the space and it clicked. I would do something about Miles Franklin.

Some of you may remember my post from earlier this year which touched upon the subject and I started to explore some of the pioneering cottages around Canberra that would have existed during her time.

I discovered that Goulburn has a Miles Franklin self guided walking tour. You can download the brochure and take an independent tour of the city observing many of the buildings that she wrote about in her novels. Thankfully many of these buildings still stand today although their original use may have changed. My particular favourite is the Old Police Station that has been converted into a fabulous second hand book store. I found a great book too - but that is a story for another time.

Argyle Emporium for second hand books.
It used to be the Police Station.

I also stumbled across an old gas street lamp with a great sign. 

Gas lamp post
Auburn St 1879
last in existence
After the walk ( it was a beautiful autumn day) I decided to try and find the place where Miles lived in Thornford where she wrote My Brilliant Career. Talking to the ladies in the local history musuem they pointed me in the direction of Thornford, just out of Goulburn. I could get there via the highway or take the back road, so I decided upon the road less travelled to see what adventures I might have.

I discovered the most amazing old pise cottage and my imagination ran away with possible stories about the inhabitants of this place. 

details of the pise wall construction
This cottage didnt seem to match the location of where I thought Miles Franklin's house would be so I continued my search.

Further along the road I saw some chimneys sticking out of the over growth. I couldnt resist the temptation to explore further.

Excitedly I explored the ruins admiring the old mud brick chimneys and slab hut construction.

I remembered reading in Miles Franklin's diaries about her old house in Thornford. She wrote that the old house had gone and nothing remained but the mulberry tree and bed plate, but that the dairy was still standing. Perhaps I had discovered her house after all!

When I got home I re-read her diary entries, and the diary was pise. So disapointing! This place wasnt Miles Franklins home after all. Its funny to think that such a well known Australian author can be so obscure at the same time. 

The search continues.....

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Off the Square Exhibition at Belconnen Arts Centre

Im very excited to share with you my new ceramic pieces that have been created for an upcoming exhibition Off the Square at the Belconnen Arts Centre.  The exhibition consists of a selection of Craft ACT: Craft + Design members to display their art practice during Canberra's art month in May.

Mother was an excellent cook. Photography: Art Atelier
My artwork for Off the Square is inspired by the traces of the earliest settlers tell us about the everyday lives of these people. The objects they discard and leave behind can be used to understand their everyday life, including those lives who have left very little historical evidence even in the most recent periods of
our past. The discarded medicine bottles, china, machine parts and old cooking-ware hint at the tales these relics tell and the people who used them. 

Observing the tension between objects which are infused with meaning and objects which are taken for granted, I am particularly interested in kitchen paraphernalia and domestic objects that have evolved as technology has developed. Many of these objects are associated with women's work, whose lives are often overlooked and not recorded in history. Objects of domesticity and the scenes they create have so many fleeting and transient memories associated with them.

Poverty can make pioneering a challenging battle, and it was often heavier on women than on men, who were expected to 'keep house' in the most challenging conditions with none of the conveniences of running water or electricity we are accustomed to today. 

The writings and diaries of early Australians such as Miles Franklin who wrote about life in the bush in the Brindabella Mountains and outskirts of Goulburn has inspired my work as have the memoirs of Sylvia Curley who's family resided in Mugga Mugga cottage before Canberra was established. Mugga Mugga cottage remains a tribute to our history, having been preserved against the advances of technology and encroaching urban sprawl with the foresight of Sylvia Curley.

Interior scenes of Mugga Mugga cottage have been carefully hand drawn and painted onto the porcelain ceramic surface of billy cans. The scenes explore nostalgia and memory of previous eras whilst the ceramic shapes reference methods of cooking used by pioneering Australian's. The blue on white ceramic is reminiscent of ceramic houseware made in Delft in the Netherlands in the 16th century and more recently the English Willow pattern popular in 18th century english kitchen and homewares.

Her duties were to learn the art of housekeeping.
Photography: Art Atelier
Off the Square opens at 5.30pm Friday 10 May at the Belconnen Arts Centre and will show until Sunday 26 May. 

Friday, 12 April 2013

Mystery bug: craft and food remedies

I generally move about at 100 miles an hour moving from project to project, place to place.

You can imagine how unusual it was for me to sit still when I recently came down with a mystery bug that totally knocked my socks off!

All I could do was sit around and read all day. I devoured Rose Water and Soda Bread by Marsha Mehran in one sitting. It is a delightful read and is the sequel to Pomegranate Soup. Both are tales about 3 Iranian sisters who move to Ireland,  revolving around a story about cooking and healing with food, it also includes the recipes that are integral in the story.

Colcannon = yum!
Inspired by unusual and untried recipes I tried out an irish dish called Colcannon - which is a dish of delicious flavours inspired by mashed potatoes. Its definitely going to be on the menu this winter as it is easy to make. Another iranian dish, Gormeh Sabzi, a lamb and spinach stew also captured my imagination and sounded like a good recipe for the slow cooker (and it was). And finally over Easter I substituted hot cross buns for soda bread with currants (or sultanas). I used a recipe similar to this but without the egg.

Gormeh Sabzi is a great way to enjoy winter greens
With so much sitting still I also turned my hand to a spot of knitting. I recently was given a stash of odd balls of wool, and so I was looking for a project to use them up. I had already made a rug, and wanted to make something for others so I embarked on a pair of wrist warmers. 

easy to knit wrist warmers
Being a small project they were easy to knit up and quick to make - and especially fun to make using bright and unusual colour combinations.

I am enjoying making them, and it is especially nice to share the love and give them to others as gifts.



Related Posts with Thumbnails