These past couple of days I’ve been enjoying working on some new Kimono Paper Craft illustrations which will be included in a booklet I’m putting together. Here’s some work in progress.
Over the weekend Mum and I harvested our kumara crop (Maori sweet potatoes). Unlike previous years, this year we only grew one variety. With a deep fuchsia skin, poporo kumara go the most amazingly deep purple when baked and they taste like sweet, rich roast chestnuts. I’m sure they’re highly nutritious too.
We get our young kumara plants from Koanga Institute who do a fantastic job of preserving the old varieties of food plants here in New Zealand through seed saving etc.
The tops of the kumara plants (leaves and stems) were gathered into a a great bundle…
…and fed to Alice the kunekune pig. She was very appreciative!
My man and I have both been feeling the impact of too much time spent on computers lately. Too many late nights and long weeks. So yesterday afternoon we took a break and headed north of Auckland to Palm Springs Thermal Pool in Parakai.
Palm Springs is an entirely unglamorous, unpretentious place with a sort of faded retro charm to it. I love it. When you first step down into the hotter of the two big pools, sink right up to your neck and just let go… Oh, it’s heavenly!
We came away feeling completely exhausted and heavy in our bodies, but in a peaceful, relaxed and contented way. Just what the doctor ordered! I slept so well last night.
Wishing you all a happy, contented and peaceful weekend.
Here are a couple of little collections I have on my walls. The first is a pairing of a brass hamsa (Hand of Fatima) that I bought in Fes, Morocco, with an old postcard featuring a Japanese print of a fish which I inherited from my grandparents. I like it that these two objects work together because of their colour, shape and size, even though their materials, style and subject matter are so very different from each other.
Birds and beads. I found the framed Japanese bird and magnolia print at a flea market for a dollar or two. The prayer beads were bought in Morocco by my father in the 70s or early 80s. I was given the stone rooster by a friend of mine who knows how much I love my chickens! I found the feather on holiday up North – I think it might be from a rosella. The little silk brocade pouch is from a temple in Kyoto. I was given it by my Reiki Master when she visited Japan some years ago.
I received a little package of things I’d ordered in the post from China yesterday. Look at the stamps! Don’t you just love stamps? Individual miniature works of art. I think it’s a tragedy that stamps are getting replaced by those ugly stickers they print out at the post office for you.
I still feel a sense of childlike delight when I receive something that has physically travelled across the globe to me, as opposed to all these electronic communications that we make each day.
Long live stamps!
I just came across some old photos of my grandparents in the 1950s. I love seeing them as young people and imagining what their world felt like. Isn’t this a great photo! I think the story behind it is that my grandmother was telling the photographer off (perhaps her brother) for taking the photo before my grandfather had finished brushing his hair!
With my mother (crouching) and my uncle Alan. I love the expression on Mum’s face. In her own little world!
My grandmother, Hildegard, hanging up the washing with my uncle Robin. I love the atmosphere of them under the billowing sheets, with my grandmother bending down and them carrying the basket together.
My handsome grandfather, Richard! He wore his hair in this classic short-back-and-sides (with a side part) until the end of his life, in his 80s.
My grandparents were amazing people. So full of compassion and care for other people, and always busy putting that compassion into action. My earliest memory of my grandparents is on a Christmas Eve when I was very young, sitting on my grandfather’s shoulders singing Christmas carols together at the local train station to raise money for homeless people.
We’re in the middle of a fierce, Autumn storm on top of our little hill here. It got me thinking about my ‘Autumn’ Matryoshka Russian dolls. She was inspired by purple thunder clouds, fallen leaves, wet bamboo and watery golden sunlight. Here’s a bit about how I created her.
My Autumn Matryoshka focuses on four vintage kimono fabrics. Each of these pieces of fabric came into my collection as one-off scraps, no bigger than a postcard. Sometimes I try to image what the original kimonos might have looked like. I wonder what other details were contained in the full fabric designs. Aren’t they beautiful?
The faces for my matryoshkas were created using a combination of hand drawing and Photoshop. I think of the ‘Autumn’ face as being Japanese, with her deep brown eyes, warm skin tone, soft cherry lips, and salmon cheeks.
For the print on the back, I selected four colours and two little swatches from the kimono fabrics and combined them into a diamond print with my logo across the lower centre.
I’ve made her (and her ‘Summer’ and ‘Winter’ friends) into cushions, keyrings, postcards, magnets and bead strand kits. You can see them all in my Etsy shop. You can also see more photos of my Matryoshka’s here, in my flickr photos. Enjoy!