Posts from December 2019

home sick

December 7, 2019

I’ve not felt well this week, so I’ve not swum, or gone to the studio, or bought fresh flowers, or walked into the woods, or sung a song, or talked with strangers. I haven’t done much at all, actually, outside of writing and watching television and drinking ginger tea. I really do believe that sickness is the body (and mind’s) way of forcing us to slow down and take stock. It started last Thursday with a horrible neck pain that by morning had travelled into my back. “I had to make you uncomfortable otherwise you never would’ve moved.” Forced to break with our routines, shift gears, we are left to examine the reasons we got ill in the first place. So yes, while sickness demands a physical reprieve, it does ask something of the psyche. Which is the whole point. Address the list from the comfort of your sofa. By Monday afternoon, a chest infection had come on that stayed with me all week. Five days horizontal. Anyone who knows me knows that doing nothing is not my forte. “If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run.” So, I wrote two-dozen Christmas cards and watched the Joan Didion documentary. Next week, I’ll be back to health, and swimming laps and making bowls and racing from one end of the city to the other with three kids and an armful of teacher’s gifts in tow. And what will I have gained from this break in regular programming? How will I have been moved? Sideways? Forward?


December 5, 2019

And because it’s December, and all the living things are coated in snow, here are some peonies, in my favourite shade. I saw peonies at my local flower shops last week, but resisted the urge. It felt wrong to fill the house with June flowers in December. Besides, it’s the amaryllis’ turn to shine.


December 5, 2019

I’m dizzy, too. But if we can catch our breath, and absorb the sheer playfulness and whimsy of this room, the dizziness may pass. With three different prints on the ceiling, walls and floor, it is a lot. And none of it makes sense. Until it does. And then it’s all positively delightful.


December 4, 2019

As a child and teenager, when it came to certain subjects, maths in particular, I never felt prepared, no matter how hard I studied. It’s hard to say whether this was because of the way I was taught –– my maths teacher was as exciting as his grey flannel suits –– or due to my attitude and aptitude. By the age of eleven or twelve, I had resigned myself to the fact that I was crap at fractions, and that I would never understand Pythagoras. My confidence was shot, which made learning that much harder. In those days, education sent children on either an arts or science channel quite early on, and it was unusual that you felt confident to move between the two. I was on an arts channel, eating books for breakfast, making collages out of old fashion magazines, and feasting on the details of the Battle of Hastings. Numbers weren’t in my wheel house. My best friend, Amy, cool and insouciant, was one of those rare girls who could whizz through an algebra problem, write a Haiku, and still have time to snog the cute boys at parties. I loved her confidence. To this day, my brain freezes when I’m presented with numbers to add or subtract. Like a six year old child, I use my fingers to make sense of it all. A few weeks ago, I was reluctant to challenge a taxi driver on a fare that didn’t compute in my head. My default, when it comes to numbers, is to assume that the other person is right, and that I am wrong. In this instance, I stood my ground and got my fair change. How many times have I been duped before? I can’t see myself taking a maths course, but I can see myself paying close attention to what my children are learning. Learning from them, I hope. And most importantly, speaking up when things don’t add up.

prints charming

December 3, 2019

I came across the work of illustrator, Janet Hill today, and it’s hard to not resist her charm, whimsy, sense of nostalgia, and play. I think her Christmas cards are delightful, and gifts unto themselves. Her art prints remind me of scenes from old, romantic movies; The Great Gatsby, Gone with the Wind and Mary Poppins. Have a look –– I think you’ll be quite smitten.


December 2, 2019

It’s an important step for an artist to show her work. There’s a legitimacy and validation in seeing her paintings, pots or textiles in a public forum, in receiving feedback from strangers, and in their being an exchange of money. It takes courage to put your work out into the world. For years, I wrote features for magazines and newspapers, but the writing was never meaty or personal enough for me to feel that putting a byline on it was an act of courage. It was always exciting to see my name in print, it still is, but never as thrilling as seeing someone walk away with one of my ceramics. Potters work hard. It’s tough on the body, there are so many steps involved, and we’re always at the mercy of the kiln. Most significantly, anything we make, is a small manifestation of our inner most selves. “I don’t care how heavy it is, I am taking it back to Australia,” said one lovely customer of a massive Mati piece she snapped up at our holiday sale this weekend. For every enthusiastic visitor like Christiann, there were at least half a dozen people that barely gave my table a sideways glance. That’s how it goes. “I don’t think my work is for everyone, but those who like it, seem to really like it,” I told my Mum after the sale. “There’s nothing wrong with having a general appeal, but more interesting to be unique.” Mums always say the best things.

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