the shape of a decade, part two

Part two of a look back at where my creative path has wandered since 2009
In the last 3 days of this decade I’m taking a stroll back along the timeline that brought me to where I am now. Join me tomorrow for the final chapter.

So much changes and evolves in the span of a decade. Curiosity lead me to look back at where my creative path has wandered since 2009… (catch part 1 here)


Mixed Media – Installations – Site Specific Art – Nest Building

Around this time I was exploring more of the cross over between my digital art and all the new skills I was developing in art school – digitally collaging images in photoshop, printing, then collaging these into art journals with more layers of drawing, printing, painting, buttons, beads and stitching on top. Bits of everything.

This is nen nen ju shin ki – the relief collage I made for my second year project.

Art mirrors life. For all that was complicated and complex in my art, that chaos was mirrored in daily life. I’m looking back now and seeing it as the whirlwind it truly was.

I moved house right at the end of the school year, so my end of year show set up and nesting merged into one continual process of painting walls and shifting heavy stuff about, which took up most of my summer.

First step was bringing some necessary color to the new home!

Back to college at the end of the year, I started work on an installation for the spinal unit at a local hospital featuring a series of 16 portraits, all collaged from hand cut screen prints.


Animation, Word Drawing Installation, Graduation, Textiles.

I reached my final year at college, and my final major project was an enormous (over 20 feet long!) word drawing which ‘poured’ down the wall around a projected video animation / sound collage entitled “In Other Words”. More about this another time.

After college ended, nesting was front and centre of my attention. I’d acquired a gelli printing plate and was experimenting printing onto textiles to make soft furnishings with a mishmash of dying & printing with hand & machine stitching. And a LOT of colors. Obvs.

I began a gigantic (formerly floor length curtain) wall hanging. That’s still a work in progress, another story for another time. Multi-layered and colorful, but most importantly, really fun to make. Currently it looks like this


Online Learning, Collaborating with Nature, Video making, Altered Book.

Throughout 2015 I filled another art journal – this time at the rate of a page a week.

In January I enrolled in Connie Solera’s year long ‘IGNITE’ program, to learn about teaching online & mentoring. I published my first eBooks. Through this program I also met a group of women from around the world who I know will be lifelong friends.

In the summer I made a hanging sculpture from ivy and this video of it dancing in the woods.

As you know I love to sew, and play around with ideas. The idea came to make these funny little animals from scrap fabric. I made a big family of them for my friends, so most have flown from my nest. The last of these ones now live on my bookcase, awaiting the next generation to be stitched into life.

2015 is also the year I began playing with altered books and collage, and made my first (of so many) flip through videos.


Mentoring, Teaching, Travelling, always Learning.

This year I returned to the IGNITE program, this time as a peer mentor for a new group of students. In August I travelled to Washington and spent a week with some of the women I’d worked with online last year, I don’t have words to tell you how much I enjoyed being in their company and sharing creative time with these fabulous friends.

I taught my first online class about color as part of 21 Secrets, and began planning what was to be a 2 year project based on this to begin in 2017.

This is the first time I’ve looked back at these sketchbooks for a while – they’re filled with ideas I’ve gone on to develop without realising. Isn’t there something magical about the process of making sketchbooks and art journals, and in looking back years later.

These ideas are seeds I planted back then, which are now starting to bear fruit.

to be continued …. come back for the final part tomorrow!

If you’d like monthly updates on what I’m doing and making, sign up for my Studio Musings Newsletters. You’ll be first to see what I’m up to each month + you get 10% off everything in my Etsy store as a thank you for joining me ūüôā

Success! You're on the list.

A Year in Mixed Media ~ part one

Throughout 2015 I completed a mixed media art journal, one page each week.

Some weeks were easier, some were colourful, some were hard to start and some were hard to finish. Both in terms of the art, and in terms of the weeks out of which the pages emerged.

It’s all metaphors, right?¬†

This year I’m revisiting my year of mixed media, and bringing the pages to life in a different form. Here I was, one year ago:


Starting out here, in January 2015, a blank book (year) ahead¬†–¬†full of possibilities img_3578

Week 1 unfolded, bright, wordy and eye-filled.


Week 2 was a big ole brain dump. Funny how this process cements moments into the memory.

I remember listening to podcasts and YouTube things as I doodled this out. Words and phrases filtered through my ears down, out through my drawing hand – sometimes verbatim – sometimes slightly altered by the messages I heard inside the words.

‘Make 2015 the year you question everything’, said the scrap of paper. Glued into my book, glued into my imagination, this phrase was to inform the way the coming months played out. Question Everything.


Week 3: Comfortably into the new year I was¬†setting myself some targets.¬†I achieved the¬†specific ones¬†– way¬†quicker than I expected¬†too. But reflecting from a year further into this life, I see how woolly and unquantifiable some were. Lately I’ve been listening to Leonie Dawson. Do you know her? ¬†She’s also loud, smiley, fun and colourful. I like her a lot.¬†She’s big on goal setting.¬†I’m following her wisdom this time round.


Week 4 found time to pause for thought. I was brimming with optimism, which mirrored again this year as a time so rich in potential and beginningness. As much as anything else, I’m getting to know me a while lot better through doing this. Turns out that’s my happy place: just on the cusp of an ending and a beginning. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering – the computer came back in full health¬†–¬†having not forgotten anything).


Week 5 – the cross over from January into February. Another big week. (They’re even bigger looking back – it’s a trick of perspective, maybe).


So as we turn into the next month today, this seems a good point to pause. Part two will follow along soon. 





new traditions: on letting go

Happy Solstice

In cultivating something new from something old, today I set some time aside to look back and to look forward.

I’m most especially grateful to Susannah Conway for her Unraveling the Year¬†which has inspired this practice. I first found her online workshop to find a word for the year one¬†year ago (my word for this year was Focus – I have my word for next year, but that’s for another conversation).

Today was a bit of balance in the midst of the mayhem.

a corner of my home, my retreat from the world.

The end/beginning of a year,

all these holidays associated with all these belief groups,

the altogether headfucking climax of consumerism and consumption,

the magic and
the glitter and
the feasts,
the feelings and
tensions and

All that stuff.

All of it.

All the tradition.


[truhdishuh n]


  1. the handing down of statements, beliefs legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word  of mouth by practice: a story that has come down to us by popular tradition.
  2. something that is handed down.
  3. a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting.
  4. a continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices.
  5. a customary or characteristic method or >manner.

blah etc blah ….

So much is ingrained at a young age end passed on by generations.
For so many people.

sanctuary under the stairs. shhhh…


Not me, not any more, I’ve made some adjustments to my ways, and that’s what I came here to tell you about today.

I don’t hark back to happy sparkly memories of childhood holiday¬†fun. The¬†people I was with¬†at the time are all gone. This isn’t the place for detail¬†–¬†this isn’t a rabbithole of self pity¬†– it’s just the context for what I’m writing about. And a nod to those who feel the same way. We¬†know¬†we aren’t alone, and we know¬†we aren’t supposed to talk about it¬†– it’s something like the emperor’s new clothes thing – if we begin to question why everyone is¬†getting so tangled up in a frenzy of guilt induced consumption and confusion it all¬†could just fall apart before¬†us.

Here’s what I’m doing:¬†I’m making my own traditions.

They are just for me. I don’t have kids, so these aren’t the foundation for any future other than my own.¬†I started this¬†a year ago, and¬†in¬†repeating them they’re¬†evolving into my new¬†traditions. They have meaning. They are a framework and a structure in an otherwise fairly arbitrary layout of days and free-floating lifestyle.


These short days and long nights at the turn¬†of the year are my retreat. Amongst the usual duties of the days, amid the outside chaos, I’m squeezing in some extra time. Time in my home in candle glow, with my books and my music and my thoughts.

Balancing on today’s¬†apex I look out in both¬†directions: Reflecting¬†&¬†Consolidating; Planning &¬†Wishing.¬†Taking time to just soak in my life, look at what I’ve done and felt and learnt since the last time.

Since this time last year I’ve been blessed to meet and share time with some wonderful people who’ve brought me new understanding and genuine heartfelt joy. I’ve uncovered new music, new ideas, new strategies and new wisdoms.

I’ve begun to take better care of this body and soul. Forgiven her indiscretions and daftnesses. Appreciated her well meaning and abilities. Accepted her doings and goings as the best she could have done given what she had and knew at the time. Acknowledged she needs time, she needs peace and she needs rest, I realised no-one but me can allow this.

I’m trying to show her more kindness.


I’ve released a bunch of judgments.¬†

I’m learning to reframe.

Wherever you are in this season, I wish you and your dearests an abundance of wellness and peace. Go gently, dear friends, be love. X

Palindrome Week (25/52)

25/52: It’s Palindrome Week!


And it’s pushed me into a different colour zone.


I’m new here, I haven’t visited this array of bluegreens and reddypinks before


The streaks of white are new as well. The collage continues, I can’t see that ending any time soon.

Rising up, looking forward…


Something of a Tribal Phoenix
amid musical mishmash. Here we go……..


52/3 – Manifestery

manifesto  ~ manifest ~ manifestation

What do I want to manifest this year? I forget now where the idea came from, but I was mulling over these words….Yes, I’m still inhabiting that whole new year, new, newy nonsense. Excuse me if it’s beginning to grate. It will wear off (perhaps) ………….. but y’know I started out 2015 with some fairly specific wants which (and this might be why I’m perpetuating the thing) are panning out pretty well so far.

Targetted, focussed, my most defined wish was to deadlift (at least) 60kg, I was doing 30kg at the end of December. This week I did 40kg. The goal posts are closer than I reckoned on.¬† For context, at the start of October 2014 I laughed at the suggestion of doing weights. ‘I’m not sporty, I just want to be a bit stronger, and bit less, y’know… wobbly and pathetic, maybe tone up a little…’ whilst firmly fixed in my head was the knowledge that¬† lifting weights is a thing that other people do.

And then I tried.

And then I switched over to being one of those other people.

Some amount of sweat, aches and grim determination later, I’ve progressed from someone who lifts the tiniest weights available, a bit more each time.

Gaping Void – Hugh McLeod

I’m just using this by way of illustration.

Doing something in one area of life can open the mind in all the others.

This is a lesson I learnt in art school: Separating not being able to do something from not having done that something before.

Or not being good at it, to being not good at it yet. 

The same thing, but from a very slightly changed viewpoint, is not exactly the same. Subtle distinctions. Nuances.

I LOVE nuances.

So I set about listing (the power of the written word) the essence of my intentions and what I want to manifest.

My manifesto for 2015:


  • Follow the Signs.
  • Stay Focussed: One Thing at a Time.
  • Always Try New Things, Go New Places, Meet New People, Have New Fun.
  • Have Love, Be Love, Have Fun, Enjoy
  • Keep Questioning, Keep Learning, Keep Notes, Keep Ideas, Keep Going.
  • Reach Beyond, Reach Past, Carry on Beyond the Horizons.


Then as an aside……..

I read an article recently, it was along the lines of how the physical act of writing something embues it with a power, seeing those words written in your own handwriting reinforces something at a very primal level, it is exclusively connected to the writer. Darn it I wish I remebered where this was so I could link you. But, in the small search I made for it, I found this instead. If you have any interest in the whole manifestary musings, take a mo to see this.

So my manifesto is embedded in my psyche, and sits on the opposing page to my vision board/bagua map. As I close the book they smoosh up against each other, and can embue each other with magic as the book rests. Meanwhile, watch this space for future manifestations!IMG_3675

%d bloggers like this: