Monday, December 22, 2008

The Black Dog

I've not been attentive in the Blogger world- barely there in the Etsyverse either. The Black Dog has had me this past two weeks, growling in the pit of my stomach. I won't gloss over it or shrug it off as 'nothing really', because depression is horribly over-looked and under-played in society. We don't talk about it, we don't share that we have it...even myself being an open person I often find myself saying 'I was unwell' to my friends, rather than the truth.

What is it that we try to hide? Do we worry people will think us crazy, or dramatic? Do we worry they must look at us and think 'God- just cheer up, get over it.'? Do we fear people we know and love will shy away from us, thinking we've turned suicidal (or homicidal) because we're not in our right minds?

Whatever we think, regardless of whether we want to think it, we hide ourselves. And that does no service to ourselves or others. No service in that we don't talk to people who care about us, and no service to those we might share with and learn of their problems. Most of us go around thinking we're the only ones suffering, when people we know close to us might be going through something very similar, and are fighting (or suppressing) it alone, perhaps with less skills than ourselves.

In the midst of the past two weeks, I've felt my identity crumbling. A deep period of re-assessment is upon me, where alot of old layers are being peeled away, and the rot cut out. There are dead branches within me that starve the soul for spirit- I need to cut them away so I can devote all my energy to being the real me.

This blog is a lily in a muddy pond- just scrolling through it reminds me who I am and what I do- and that I love it. Art is wholly and solely a part of me, not just an element of business. Everything I do and see and hear and feel is filtered through an artist's mind. It's a blessing and a curse, but as my neurologist asked me today during my epilepsy re-assessment, 'would you have it any other way?'

And I said no.

In his television show The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, Stephen Fry asked himself would he take medication if he had the opportunity, or did he feel that what was 'wrong' with him was such a part of who he was that the change would be creatively unwelcome? He concluded (as far as my memory goes) that he would rather stay as he is. All through my problems I've refused medication, and Stephen helped me see why. Who I am, how I see, what I make in the studio is all a part of my soul. If I were to 'dose up', what might I lose?

Thankfully I don't feel I actually need medication. My depression isn't too debilitating most of the time I've been very lucky in that I've been able to set up a lifestyle where by I can avoid those things that trigger my problems, and keep myself fairly 'sane' (if there is any such thing). If I had to deal with the work-a-day world I'd definitely need medication! But I'm not part of the real world, I never have and I never will be.

I have made a pact with myself from this day on that when I want to say 'I have depression' - I will say it. I won't pretend I had a cold, or was just madly busy. I will tell people I have depression and occasionally the darker episodes keep me from caring about anything but eating sleeping and watching TV, that sometimes getting out of bed can seem as pointless as going there in the first place, that leaving the house is just too much to think about. I won't reel it off to every stranger who needs a reason, but to those who know and love me, it's important they know the truth.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Life is a Work in Progress

Busy, busy, busy..!

I've received a wholesale order from a really lovely lady in Japan, which is really exciting! To think my little raggedy pieces will be in a boutique in Japan is really excellent. I am officially internationally represented! :D

I have also become attracted to heart-shaped things.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Black is the new everything

Last week I finally remembered to buy some black dye, and did up a small group of doilies and laces in the coal colour. Black is rapidly becoming my favourite colour. It's traditional for me to revert to a rather gothic state of mind in the summer time- I can't tell whether it's my stubborn denial of Australia's climate or the spiritual link to my Celtic shores is so strong it means my body lives by Northern Hemisphere seasons.

My total favourite black thing right now is a strand of raw tourmaline I bought from a fellow Etsy seller catdancingranch:

(Image from seller)

It's like little lumps of coal, I'm wanting to make some jewellery pieces that mean you can now give for christmas a lump of coal to people who you feel deserve it!

I'm also in love with these Victorian jet nailheads from beadbrats:

(image from seller's store)

They're so deliciously tiny! I had to have them. I also had to have this beautiful lace edging from

(image from seller's store)

...these tiiiiny black covered buttons from fabrichouse:

(image from seller's store)

...and these amazing midnight slab beads from CaladoniaMarch:

(image from seller's store)

...and these black brass sash stampings from

Oh! so much beauty (so much shopping!) - now I'm all inspired! For a visual soundtrack to this post, I recommend watching the BBC's recent rendition of Bleak House or reading the original (which is pretty heavy going!).

Illustrations from an original publication:

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I was on the front page yesterday! :D Featured in a lovely treasury by the even lovelier annejulie. The page won't work for me so it might have expired! Pity, it was a great one.

I've not had the energy to do much this last week due to being sick sick sick. I barely ever get sick- but every now and then i lay down and let it wash over. Usually while everyone around me is building tissue mountains and moaning about their cotton-wool muscles, I'm serving up chicken soup and announcing in a bracing voice 'I never get sick!!'

The whole process begins when the cold germs first hit- I'll feel a bit lethargic, a bit gunked up. 'No worries!' says I in my typically Australian enthusiasm, I'll just beef up the vitamins. A few more days later will see me slugging around the house stubbornly ignoring the worsening symptoms, yelling "I will not get sick! i refuse!!! so AWAY sickness!!!"

Most of the time this works- much to my friends' amusement, but then they still can't get over that I can order up car parking spaces from thin air and get flies to leave the room on command, so what do they know.

But if I once- just once- secretly and very quietly say 'oh alright then, I'll be sick'....then I get sick. And this week I said it. I know it's mostly because I've been stressed about something, a decision I'm teetering over. I'm not going to elaborate on it but it's one of those pesky 'crossroads' decisions that you avoid making because you know it will shift planets. And I don't want to see any 'you'll make the right choice...' comments, because I won't- I'm horrific at making good decisions. I have alot of talents, but that ain't one!

Anyway- one thing I have had the energy for is the studio. I love that room. Even in it's (most usual) pigsty bomb site mode it is still a glorious place to be, filled with potential and creative flame. I've started laying out some more wrist cuffs because I haven't made one in some time (so pre-occupied with the brooches, I just love making them!) and I'm getting back into paper collage again too, if only in the form of book scrap on buttons.

Speaking of paper, I thought you might like to see my packaging that items get sent out in. It's often changing depending on what I have about me, and I find myself needing to be creative with it.

If I could I would simply embellish gift boxes and use those, but not only are my cuffs to long for anything I've found so far, the gift boxes make the parcel too thick and my shipping charges go up by as much as $6.

One of the things I did today was another round of dye- this one was a bit of an experiment, as I finally decided to go ahead and see what the Dickens white dye would do. Yes, white dye. Or 'super blanc' as the label said. It looked like off milk powder and mixed to an offending urine tone with an even more offending odour. I decided at that moment that the back decking won out over the kitchen table for that dye run.

I wondered (in my usual innocence) if I could add a drop of black to it and make grey dye. Sounds about as logical as white dye does, so I gave it a shot. And lo- grey dye!

Okay so it doesn't look grey- it turned up a purple/blue tinge, as black dyes are always just really really really really dark green or brown or purple; I've never had a true black. I suppose white dye must just be a tiny packet of bleach, though it didn't smell like it.

Once I'd squished in all the lacework (I don't like to stir it too much as I'm less likely to get blotches) I trickled about 4 tablespoons of brown dye (pre-made up) over the top, and left it to settle without stirring it. There wasn't any salt involved in this dye job, but it doesn't seem to have made a difference so in future I may be able to do away with it. I'd like to learn natural dyeing anyway, but that's one of those things I never seem to be able to get around to.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The usual holiday type posting- treasury and update. :)

Teal Turquoise featuring Lady of the Manor

And an update in the shop...

last of the summer bloom

The windflower and the violet, they perished long ago,
And the brier-rose and the orchis died amid the summer glow;
But on the hills the golden-rod, and the aster in the wood,
And the yellow sunflower by the brook, in autumn beauty stood,
Till fell the first from the clear cold heaven, as falls the plague on men,
And the brightness of their smile was gone, from upland glade and glen.

William Cullen Bryant

The moon shows papery white

Is the moon tired? she looks so pale
Within her misty veil:
She scales the sky from east to west,
And takes no rest.

Before the coming of the night
The moon shows papery white;
Before the dawning of the day
She fades away.

Christina Rossetti

It's occured to me just now that I don't really showcase my photography here much, though I update my Flickr religiously. So here's a few recent images:

History shows in the cracks

love letter to Arachne

The independant children of chance

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Warm and Cold

Warmth! A luscious treasury from chapulin-I'm beginning to be really jealous of the fall over there! Autumn is without doubt my favourite season of them all.

Prayer for Ghosts- salvage brooch new to the shop today.

So many ghosts, and forms of fright,
Have started from their graves to-night,
They have driven sleep from mine eyes away;
I will go down to the chapel and pray.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Treasuries and mosaics... much love for them both. And the people that make them possible!

Featuring Lady of the Manor...

(one of my earlier pieces and a favourite)

Midnight Snow Flurries

With another appearance of The Ghosts.

Onto the mosaics.

The Railway Bride

1. Untitled, 2. Radcliffe, Iowa, 3. Fall, 4. Holy rust?, 5. crafting Christmas ornaments, 6. Untitled, 7. pom wonderful, 8. "Scrap"-Book Pages, 9. it was...

Something so strong, and so fragile

This mosaac is so beautiful- I just can't get over these images. Threaded together like this...gah- I can literally feel my heart bouncing around in my chest.

1. Untitled, 2. the contract, 3. Diary of the book-lover ; november 3.., 4. Untitled, 5. Vintage Pin Cushion, 6. Untitled, 7. dried flowers, 8. Oxford - Magdalen cloisters, 9. Details