Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wise Words on Wednesday 5 - Sshh! Secrets!

Today, 28 January is Data Privacy Day, an international effort to promote awareness about respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust. While I am surprised to hear that such a day is celebrated, I am not surprised that it exists given the breaches of online security and data theft which one hears about daily. I only need to look in my Junk email folder each morning to see the number of scams overnight that have invaded my privacy.  There seems to be a lot of bogus emails at the moment which offer 'unbelievable'  prizes in exchange for your email address and other personal details! Beware! There are many sites which give good advice about protecting your personal data. You can search yourself and you will find a myriad of links to follow. Today I read a few  and all it did was scare me witless. It is obvious that hackers and cyber criminals are far more cunning, more intelligent and more daring than I could ever be!   

The last thing I want to be is paranoid , mistrustful and suspicious, but on the other hand, I also do not want to be vulnerable, defenceless and taken advantage of. What Data Privacy Day has alerted me to do is to remember always that I decide what information I reveal about myself,  when, why and to whom. ....And protect oneself but not live in fear.... 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Soft Scape - Olivia Parsonage

from Soft Scape -  Olivia Parsonage
I have been a big fan of Olivia Parsonage's work since I discovered her soft sculptures a few years ago, and  since revisiting the  wonderful wall narrative Olivia created for her exhibition at the Newcastle Art Space in 2014, I  have become more enamoured with her people and sense of whimsy too. Last week, I went to Olivia's exhibition at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery..... 
Soft Scape is an inviting space of colour and texture created by a multitude of fabric scraps. These remnant pieces, often small and destined for disposal, are made important and useful by becoming part of a bigger picture.
The different patterns, textures and colours of the fabric appeal to the senses of sight and touch and interaction with the work is encouraged on the floor space, with the movable blocks. ( from the MRAG website)
from Soft Scape - Olivia Parsonage 

It was exciting to participate in Soft Scape.... there were lots of young people of all ages creating with Olivia's soft building blocks and the sense of creative fun was obvious in every corner of the room. The buzz could be heard in the gallery's restaurant, and while our visit was during the school holidays, it was so reassuring to hear and feel the enjoyment, in an art gallery! 
from Soft Scape - Olivia Parsonage 
from Soft Scape -  Olivia Parsonage 
from Soft Scape - Olivia Parsonage 
 Olivia's .... intention is to foster the ideas of recycling, repurposing and being creative with the materials we have around us, to make do and find new uses for old things. ( from MRAG website
Window - image from  MRAG website
Congratulations Olivia - what a wonderful, interactive, creative and happy exhibition! Your work is stunning and brilliant. You have created an  artistic  experience, allowing  each of us to develop a narrative in our own imagination. Powerful! 
Soft Scape is open until 31 January at Maitland Regional Art Gallery. 
Read another blog post from may 2015 ....  "Conversation with Olivia Parsonage" 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wise Words on "Penguin" Wednesday 4/2016

Art Tag 2012 - Wilma Simmons
January 20 is Penguin Awareness Day - a great opportunity to learn about and appreciate one of the few natives of Antarctica. Spend a little time learning about them.... a pictorial book or internet site is fun. Perhaps watch a documentary of these cute and popular, grounded birds? 
Today is  also a time to wear black and white---penguin colours. However, wearing a tuxedo in their honour is optional. It is also popular today to tell a penguin joke or two, but  I think it is worthwhile considering what wisdom can penguins impart to us? 


While gradual change is easier to process, sometimes change comes suddenly and unexpectedly. Instead of shedding feathers here and there, penguins molt all at once and must stay on land for two to three weeks as their new coat grows in. If life brings you sudden change, embrace it, give yourself time to process, and get ready to return to life renewed and restored.


Most penguin species congregate in large colonies of up to 1,000 birds.  There’s power in numbers, so get out there, find your tribe and mingle!


Most penguins mate for life with the same partner and retain a connection to the rookery where they were born. Honour your commitments and stay connected with your roots.


Penguin males are known for being very active in caring for their young, and some species even incubate the eggs while the female hunts. Strive for a balanced, harmonious team effort when raising little ones.


Penguins are only found in the Southern hemisphere of the world, where there is no danger of encountering predators like polar bears or wolves. They naturally gravitated and evolved toward this safer, more supportive environment. Are you living in the right surroundings for your safety, well-being and highest good?

The penguin delights with their adorable look and whimsical way of walking around on land.  They also have much to teach us. How might you apply these five lessons from the penguin in your own life?
Did you know? Penguins are found in Antarctica, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, the Falkland Islands, and the Galapagos Islands. Elsewhere, they are only found in zoos.

Sources :

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wise Words on Wednesday 3/2016

Today, January 13, is Make Your Dream Come True Day 
It gives you the opportunity to do something to realize your goals and dreams. Whatever your dreams are, they usually don't come true without some effort on your part. So, today is the perfect opportunity to do something about it.
On this day do something, anything, to move in the direction of achieving your dreams 

I am a great believer in self talk, so here is some that I am happy to share with you. 

Here are ten easy suggested steps to making dreams come true  

1. What's your dream?
This is honestly the trickiest step. Don't complicate it..... Start with the easy stuff.

2. Decide and believe.
Many of us will pick a delicious dream for ourselves and then immediately start pecking furiously at the edges with a list of ways it can't, won't, or shouldn't work out for us. Stop that!

3. Release fear.
This next step isn't a one-time event. It's probably something you're going to have to do over and over, every time you notice you're stuck and you've stopped forward momentum.

4. Take action!
Eegads, finally, the part where we actually DO stuff.
Figure out what you need to DO to make your dream happen. Then go do it.
Every day.

5. Love yourself.
It's really easy to lose the plot in the frenzy of daily living. Just slow down, pump the breaks, relax. Listen. Take quiet time alone every day

6. Use other's success as inspiration.
When you notice someone more fortunate, practise saying to yourself, "You know what? I want that, too! I'm going to figure out how and make it happen!"If we want good things to happen to us, we have to stop judging others negatively for the good things they bring into their lives.

7. View mistakes as lessons, not an excuse to give up.
When you make a mistake, it's not a reflection on your character. It's just data about what you should do next.

8. Value tiny decisions.
The decision to get up early every morning is a momentous one. The tiny decisions happen every single day . Every little decision, everything single thing we do, matters.

9. Don't let bad habits win.
Usually our bad habits are nothing more than a tepid attempt at escaping fear, but then we've really gone down the rabbit hole INTO fear when we do things that are self-destructive as an escape.

10. Believe the Universe is friendly.

And if you need a song to day dream by..... the  favourite song of dreamers is Somewhere over the Rainbow  

Resource links  : Huffington Post and Holiday Insights 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Wise Words on Wednesday , except it's Thursday

"Scientist" - art tag by Wilma Simmons
free form machine stitching with coloured pencil. 
 Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done 
                                                                                                                  ( Robert Heinlein) 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Too Precious to Waste

 Stitched tea bags/ old doily "tea lights" - Wilma Simmons 
More than a year ago, a decision was made.  The annual exhibition of NCEATA ( Newcastle Creative Embroiderers and Textile Artists) 2015-2016 will have the theme "Mottainai".
Mottainai in Japanese refers to more than just physical waste (resources). It is even used to refer to thought patterns that give rise to wasteful action. Grammatically, it can be used in Japanese as an exclamation ("mottainai!") or as an adjective phrase ("it feels mottainai"). There is no plural form. The collection of mottainai things could be called mottainai koto (もったいない事?).
As an exclamation ("mottainai!") it means roughly "what a waste!" or "Don't waste."[2] A simple English equivalent is the saying "waste not, want not." A more elaborate meaning conveys a sense of value and worthiness and may be translated as "do not destroy (or lay waste to) that which is worthy."[ from Wikipedia.  So recycling and upcycling - respectful reuse - became the inspiration 
Stitched tea bags "tea lights" - Wilma Simmons 
In my usual way, I kept putting off what to make although as I love to work with tea bags, it was always going to be tea bags.... so at the last minute (literally) I made some little tea bag vessels, which look great as tea light holders. These are very simply made - stitch pieces of tea bag paper together (of course, dry and empty used tea bags first) and then stiffen with fabric stiffener or  a  similar medium  like "Mod Podge".  
I added motif snippets from old doilies to some, and this gave a more interesting effect and seemed to fit with the theme too. Of course, the little tea light candles have no flames - they are battery operated, and are able to illuminate these tea bag vessels safely.  These tea bag vessels sit beside some amazingly creative work in the exhibition by fellow NCEATA members. 
1. Tea bag "tea lights" - Wilma Simmons  2. Altered book  - Sue Shute ; 3 Stitched fragments - Ruth Spence 4. Recycled copper wire necklace by Mary Hedges   
1. embroidery by Ruth Spence; 2  stitched books - Maija Maiou 3 dorset buttons - Doris Gordon
 4. doily collars - Barbara Sherlock 

1. life jacket and CD tree - Sandra Cooke; 2 stitched and pieced jacket - Maria Rofe; 3 free form stitching/applique (1/10 pieces in the series) - Judi Nikoleski ; 4. free form embroidery/applique- Ruth Spence 
The Opening - capacity crowd - 3 January 2016. 
The exhibition is open until 17 January at Timeless Textiles Gallery, 90 Hunter Street, Newcastle East (NSW, Australia) Wednesdays - Saturdays 10am - 4pm and Sundays 10am - 2pm . Each day, there will be a NCEATA member in attendance to discuss the art works and various techniques. Hope to see you there - these photos are mere glimpses of the fantastic work on display!