Adding Gold to Our Rainbow

Archive for the category “spinning”

Art, my connection to where I live, the dissonance between that and my cultural heritage.

Widdershins – an exhibition of Moorland Mythic Art I so, so want to go to this gorgeous exhibition in Devon. Artist involved include Alan Lee and Brian Froud. So much gorgeous art that makes me cry. Oh god I wish I could see it in person.

“Dartmoor’s landscape is steeped in magic and mystery and it is home to many artists whose work is inspired by mythic themes. Widdershins showcases the work of those who live on Dartmoor (or have local connections) Widdershins explores local legends, world myth, folklore and faery tales in diverse, surprising ways… and although it all starts ‘Once Upon a Time’, it is definitely not for children only.”

This is the sort of stuff I’d love to draw and sculpt and bring in to my work but I am so far removed from the landscape that is linked with British Folk Law.
I feel a real connection with the land out here but the myths and legends out here are either still set in European landscapes or they are Aboriginal law and to create with those is appropriation.

How do I work with Myth, Legend and the spirit of the land I live in without being disrespectful to the people that were here long before? How do I work with my cultural heritage when living and connecting with a land that is so vastly removed?


I can make up new stuff on my own, I know, but there is something about working with legends and myth that goes back thousands of years, that other people connect with and have connected with.

I sit here in this ghost town of a gold village and I spin yarn from wool straight off a sheep. I embroider artworks with needle and cloth. I light my fire and sit by it’s warmth. These things were done by women in this spot since the 1850s. These slow ways of being, of creating, of living are something that connects me to the history of this place but I want to create art based on the spirits of this place, on the mix of landscape and imagination that brings the place to life.


Water here is precious. Sun is plentiful and in summer it is dangerous. Summer is not the warm, pleasant, plentiful time of joy that it often is in England where I was born. Winter isn’t ice and snow and a baron land.
This village, at 850m above sea level and the other side of the Great Dividing Range from the coast is the closest I come to the weather and plant life I was born in to in Easbourne, Sussex, England.

We have milder summers and much colder winters than the coast. We have lots of European trees planted in the village. We actually get a proper Autumn here where all the leaves change.

Autum in Hill End

Within a short walking distance though it’s back to Gum trees and Wattle, which I love, but it is green all year round, or at least our version of green witch is really fairly grey. Summer is drought and heat and storms. It’s fire and floods and sun that burns everything brown and grey and brittle. It’s full of flies and mosquitoes, snakes and spiders. It’s certainly not a green and plentiful time.


We get a few days a year of 40c. Much less than we did on the coast but still awful. We get some winter nights at -6c. Much colder than the coast but we’ve only had one decent snow fall where it stuck. And even that was gone by morning.

snow in Hill End

We get less water and more floods. This land is a harsh and dangerous paradise. It’s hard work and red dust and wide open spaces. It’s coal and steel and gold. It’s sheep and cattle and kangaroos that well outnumber the people. It is beautiful and harsh and so very, very old but at the same time it’s brand new.

High Water in the Turon

Road to town

I want to make art to reflect that, to connect to this land that lives and breaths with me. To show others the savage beauty and the things you can’t always see. The things that were and the things that weren’t and the things that are.


I have been considering paintings that show European myths and legends in an Australian landscape and how out of place they look.
I want to go and sit out in the bush and take photos and draw the things I don’t see. I want to needle felt creatures that fit within our landscape but don’t exist and the ones that do.
In a less literal sense I want to spin wool dyed with the plants and ochres of where I live.

Now to find the time, space and money to make a start on this. Not sure I have enough of any of those to get much done any time soon though. I have only the space of my arm chair and the small amount of time when my health lets me think and do at the same time. Money is even more scarce at the moment.


2013 Heritage Wool and Natural Fibre Muster Part 1


Last Saturday we went to the Heritage Wool and Natural Fibre Muster in Carcoar.


We turned up later than we hoped. Managed to drop in to the Bathurst Co-Op for veg and The Wholefood Kitchen for fantastic coffee and some delicious lemon and coconut cake on the way.

They had two gorgeous Alpacas out the front in a pen. Adorable things they are. The bigger one kept stopping the other one from getting to the food bucket.
Bumble Hill Alpacas


These are the gorgeous prizes for the raffle. The jumper on the left was so soft, knit in a fine alpaca yarn. Sadly we did not win. Would have loved that. The first prize is a beautiful woven throw rug and third prize was a cowl made with hand spun, died and knitted alpaca yarn. The proceeds of the raffle are going to aid the spinners in the Christchurch area.


I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to put names to most of the stalls. It was packed and I was in a lot of pain. I grabbed a whole heap of cards but I really can’t remember which one went with which stall. 
This one I do know though. This is Casbar. Their farm is just outside Hill End, we’re practically neighbours. 
There was a gorgeous grey fleece that I would have loved to buy but it was out of my price range. 
There was also some soft, soft alpaca, some beautiful spun wool and lovely jumpers, hats and scarves.


Casbar’s gorgeous scarves and a jumper


Gorgeous hand painted yarn



Denise Lithgow Designs


Smooshy skeins, jumpers and hats


Pinwheel jacket and lovely pastel yarns


Dyed locks




Orange lace


The bobbin lace demonstrations were fascinating.


We ended up in a photo in the Blaney Chronical. We’re in the third photo along watching 10yr old Anna demonstrate bobbin lace making.


There was a competition through the local spinning and craft groups. The theme this year was bags.

 It was a great day out with loads of smooshy yarn and fibre to feel.

It’s great to get to see stuff in person, see what it looks like in natural light, feel what it’s like, how stretchy or bouncy it is. Without Internet shopping we’d be terribly limited in yarn choice but it’s so hard to know what stuff is worth buying.

We will definitely try and get to the muster again next year.
I have way too many photos for just one post so look out for part two soon.

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