Flower/Vagina

June 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

 

 

 

I have been extremely excited to have my felt piece Flower/Vagina included in the exhibition ‘101 Vaginas’ (in conjunction with the Sydney Fringe Festival).

This is the third Flower/Vagina I have made, but they are all original pieces with different colours, designs and styles – much like the way every vagina is individual!

This piece is inspired by Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, where ceramic plates/vaginas represent different women from history. Each vagina plate is different in style, representing the time, cultural context or personality of the woman depicted.

Flower/Vagina represents me.

My preferred medium is felt. I use 100% wool felt that I hand dye myself. Wool felt is a product that brings life force from the animal from which it came. When things are close to their original forms in nature there is a truth to them, and a beauty.

Our vaginas pulse with life force and are the seat of our femininity, our womanhood. They are powerful. I envisage my vagina to be healthy and juicy like a flower.

 

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My dear, sweet boy #2.

June 17, 2013 § 1 Comment

 “In the ninth year the child actually experiences a total transformation of his being,

which point to a significant transformation of his soul-life and to a significant

transformation of his experience of the bodily-physical.” Rudolf Steiner

2003, aged 6 months.

2003, aged 6 months.

Samuel was born in 2003 when we lived in Brisbane. We had moved there from our paradise-like ‘Miracle House’ in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. It was a strange time in my life where I was quite alone and a little melancholic. When Samuel was first born, there was no rush of visitors to congratulate us or see the baby….just a handful of cards and phone calls from family. After a few days my mother returned to her home in Sydney and it was just Sol and I, and our boys.

Our bond was slow to grow, which was completely different to the instant rush of recognition and connection I had felt when William looked up at me for the first time. I am saddened to admit that I compared experiences, and judged them.  But Samuel was both an easygoing but strong willed baby who adored his big brother, and as he grew into a quiet, introspective boy, I saw much of myself, and that later recognition of us as vulnerable, kindred souls stoked fires of tenderness in my heart.

Samuel, aged 5.

Samuel, aged 5.

Samuel developed asthma as a toddler, which brought many trips to the hospital for treatment. He loved nature, and we moved to a lovely bush house when he was one. When we moved to the beach in QLD a few years later he thrived (physically and emotionally)  in the humid, clean climate and our unschooling, physical activity focused environment. He was a mean BMX rider at the tender age of 4! And having an older brother to look up to meant he was determined to be involved in all the things we did: artistic and scientific projects, skateboard riding, swimming…..

When Zara was born in Sydney in 2009 things became rocky….probably reflecting the difficult time I was experiencing. I ‘left the building’ for a while but eventually was dragged back into reality by the difficult time Samuel was having with our less than ideal living situation (with my mum) and his stressed out parents. I couldn’t even look after myself adequately at that time so it’s no wonder that I wasn’t really there for him. But, over time, as we moved into our own living space again and as  I persevered with supporting Samuel (he had undiagnosed food allergies), things settled down a lot and his gentle, spiritual nature gradually peeped through again.

Aged 8.

Aged 8.

But his childhood years since then have not been particularly easy or peaceful. Now Samuel is on the cusp of ten….and I have lately found myself feeling out of my depth. I have turned to books…. and in a very serendipitous way the book “Encountering the Self: Transformation and destiny in the ninth year” (Hermann Koepke, 1989) has come across my path.

According to Koepke, who writes from the anthroposophical perspective, the nine year old child is in the process of shedding the imitative, imaginative time of childhood and is stepping into a new version of themselves, where they are suddenly aware of their separation from others. Along with this comes the realisation that adults maybe don’t know it all, so there may be a sense of loss. Justice and fairness are the themes for this year as these children try to find their own place in a new world that is not as predictable as before. And their bodies can be a reflection of this transformative time, with minor complaints and ‘growing pains’ common.

Our children attend a Rudolf Steiner school and there is a big focus on the spiritual development of the child (which is partly why we love this style of education). And suddenly it all makes sense…I can step out of my emotional reactions to Samuel’s behavioural struggles and see the big picture of his soul development.

As Robin’s illness fades into the past, and as I become more organised, I am able to spend more time with Samuel (we are reading ‘The Neverending Story’ together). In the bigger picture, I can ‘hold’ the energy of the family in a stronger and more positive way. And that has a positive effect on all of us.

Another life

June 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

grad 001Recently I visited the University of New South Wales. As I drove up the long, elm lined street that runs next to the campus I began to feel excited.

I had time before my appointment so I walked around a bit, reliving a time that now feels like another life altogether. The last time I was at the Uni was the day I graduated from a Bachelor of Arts Degree. I’d just met Sol and he was there too, with my sister and mother, to see me receive my award. It was a huge acheivement – four years of study, six months of it in Canada.

Like many kids, I went to University straight from high school. And like many, those four years were a hotbed time of learning, growing, expanding, changing.

While I was at University I had my navel pierced. I shaved my head for the first time and dyed it pink (sadly, no photos exist of that haircut!). I became a vegan. I wore ling skirts and huge boots. I was a lesbian (my major was Women’s Studies).

Reflecting the physical changes were deeper, inner transformations. I was suddenly thrust into a world where I was totally responsible for myself and for the work I submitted. I was exposed to people who had different opinions to my own, who came from all parts of Sydney. At University I first learnt about Aboriginal people and history.

And women.

My majors were English Literature and Women’s Studies. More specifically I focused on linguistics, Women’s fiction from the 19th century and Canadian Women’s frontier writing from the 19th century. I was lucky to be studying at the height of Women’s Studies in Australia. I studied romance writing, pornography and sex and every kind of feminism related subject available. I loved it.

I wasn’t a very outspoken student and often feel I didn’t make the most of my time at University until my final year. I debated for a long while about going on to complete and Honours/Masters degree. The truth is I was scared, and not confident in my abilities. And then I met Sol and was taken in a new life direction.

In 2011 I was accepted into a Graduate Diploma of Women’s Studies at Macquarie University. Before I could begin I became unexpectedly pregnant with Robin. Since my days as an undergrad I had dreams of becoming an academic and spending my days writing books and discussing literature with students.

I still have that dream…. maybe one day.

On Home

June 8, 2013 § 1 Comment

In 1963, my mother and father bought a block of land in northwest Sydney and built a house.

When my father became a paraplegic the house was extended to include a family room, extra bedroom and bathroom with wheelchair friendly rails.

When he became seriously ill and bedridden, he lived in a bed in that new family room. I was three and playing on the floor nearby when he died.

I grew up in that house, left for a while in my late teens and early twenties, and returned to live there when I was pregnant with my first child. We stayed until he was two. My mum finally sold and downsized in 2002.

In 2001 Sol and I moved to QLD for a change of lifestyle. Since then we have lived in eight different houses (and in a Buddhist monastery, and in a tent)!

The 'Miracle House', Eumundi, QLD.

The ‘Miracle House’, Eumundi, QLD.

Brisbane, 2003.

Brisbane, 2003.

Sydney, 2005

Sydney, 2005

When I was growing up, home was a safe, stable place in a world of uncertainty where parents suddenly disappeared and struggle and vulnerability took their place. Since Robin has been ill he and I sometimes go and stay with my mother overnight, and I get filled up and replenished by that feeling of ‘home’. When I look back, it wasn’t just the house I grew up in that gave me the security I needed; it was also my mother.

In our time in QLD, our different homes were important to me. We were in a new state with no family nearby, and so I wanted a stable place for my children. In 2008 we lost our home and income in quick succession. I was devastated and terrified. And I felt like a massive failure as a parent.

But we put on a brave face and turned that loss into an adventure fruit picking and living in a tent for four months. Then our tent was flooded and we were truly homeless for a night. We ended up in emergency housing for three months while we sorted ourselves out financially. Again, I was devastated and felt I’d failed my children in not being able to provide a permanent home.

'Town of Seaside', Marcoola QLD. 500m to the beach. 2007-8

‘Town of Seaside’, Marcoola QLD. 500m to the beach. 2007-8

Caloundra, QLD. 2008

Caloundra, QLD. 2008

Five years later I can finally see what I got out of that experience; the true meaning of home. Of course our physical homes are important – with all our ‘stuff’ we can lead a regular suburban life that is very satisfying and fun. Home is where we can undress, be comfortable and be ourselves.

But I’ve come to enjoy changing house every couple of years; it’s a good opportunity to de-clutter and to create new rhythms and intentions in a new energy space. Each house we have lived in has influenced our lifestyle; beach house, acreage house, bush house….

But more than that; home is the stability and security we’ve created between us as a family. Our travels and difficult experiences have taught me that change is permanent. As and adult and mother I ‘hold’ the energy for our family…. that makes a stable safe place for my children. That makes a ‘home’.

Where Am I?

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