Odds and Ends

Hmmm….. It is obviously well past my return to the states, I think jetlag is well and truly past (although it has been a good excuse for some things!), and I am heavily into all the activities that make a full summer.

A week after my return I worked with 161 seventh graders at Batesville Middle School for three days making coiled baskets – they were troopers and most managed to make two or more projects.

Two weeks after that I teamed up with the Southeastern Indiana Tourism Bureau to treat 54 seniors to the joys of making open-twined garlic baskets! Holding the sessions at the Great Crescent Brewery in Aurora made it very manageable – owners Dan and Lani are really sweet about making the space work out.

Since we lost so many trees last year due to the emerald ash borer, our back deck has so much less shade during the day. To make the deck more hospitable, we made a rip-stop nylon sail, 12′ x 12′, to cover a good portion of the deck. It also does a great job shading the hot tub in the morning, too!

Last weekend I was in Indianapolis for the Midwest Weavers Association’s biennial conference held at Butler University. Good connections with some long time friends; relearned ply split braiding and had great fun breaking the rules for it; ¬† spent some time with a good friend who had recently moved to that area. Overall a good trip.

My hot tub buddies helped celebrate the summer solstice this week, but we missed getting to the blueberry farm for fresh berries. That will have to happen another day.

I have had an outdoor installation proposal accepted for the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati’s member exhibit at the Fitton Art Center in Hamilton for the month of August – and I have about a quarter of the work made up so far.

The Mount St. Joseph Art Gallery has an invitational exhibit planned for October of this year and I will be one of the artists. Titled ‘Biophilia’, all the invited artists have a strong connection with the earth in their work. I’ve got two large pieces in play at the moment – one with mudded silk and waxed hand made papers that will be roughly 26′ wide and 9′ high (that looks really cool with light behind it),

and a much smaller cedar¬† bark and Siberian iris piece. More to do…

 

But the most important work I’ve done is to create an activity book for my grandson Ezra who will be turning one in early July. Made from a trendy short skirt and various other fabrics, it has dangling hearts, hidden pockets, buttons galore and things to do with them, laces and loops and the strangest looking ‘puppet’ thingee from a used onesie, lace, gloves and socks. Hope he has fun with it! (Will post an image after he receives it… just in case his folks see this first!)

And in two days we will have 5 year old Scarlett and her 15 month old brother Elliot here with us for some grandparent time! With luck they will stay till July 4, but we are staying open to schedule changes as we don’t know how the little guy will handle being away from mom.

Need to childproof the house tomorrow!

 

Homeward bound

Three months and it is time to go home. The time really went fast, was fun and exciting, saw lots of new places, met lots of new people, reconnected with lots of earlier-made friends, enjoyed many different degrees of winter in Australia. Back to hot and muggy tomorrow – can’t wait!!!

I promise to report on Wrapt In Rocky, the fiber conference held in Rockhampton, once I am back on home soil. Lots to report and pics to show. A class act!

But, I need to deal with an unexpected change of flights and extra legs of the journey, so please excuse the silence for a bit as I stumble through airports and time zones

Lovely Brisbane …

… has welcomed me again, for just a few short days this time. After a last look at Uluru and Kata Tjuta, Janet and I spent the better part of Thursday making our way from Uluru thru Sydney to Brisbane. Extra baggage was a bit interesting, but otherwise very safe and nondescript travel.

Repacking is the order of the day here! I had previously posted a box to Janet that ultimately goes home with me. And I am determined to take all I need for the Wrapt in Rocky conference in my smaller suitcase. Sooooo … everything came out of all the bags, backpack, carry-on to be reshuffled and restuffed. Quite suprised to pull out a silk scarf that travelled with me to New Zealand within its plastic sleeve that was still very wet from all the moisture there. And this was after being in desert air in Alice Springs and Uluru!

Taking time today to visit GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) on the Southbank of city centre Brisbane to see the opening of a new exhibit. Should be good!

Two glasses …

… of champagne with a few canapes (one of cucumber slice and crocodile meat, another of kangaroo meat), two glasses of white wine with dinner (too many wonderful edibles to describe) and two glasses of port with dessert (which went down so smoothly it was like drinking water) and we ended our day under the stars!

The day started with seeing the moon and morning star (Venus) very bright in the sky as the sun was rising. Had another lovely breakfast (this is by far the best breakfast that comes with a room!) and headed out to Uluru. After circling the stone, we walked to the base of the rock by the Mutitjulu Waterhole. Loads of good informational signs all around explaining what is being seen as well as the cultural significance.

Janet and I then split up, she to go ahead with the car and walk back on the track and me to walk the Lungkata track to meet up with her. We then walked the Mala track to Kantju Gorge together. Observed sacred men’s and women’s spaces, sacred water spots and initiation areas. All against the big red monolith.

There were several spots where I could actually put my hands on part of Uluru – a lovely connection to the earth and creation.

Lunch, a short nap and some internet time and then we were bussed off to see the sunset on both Uluru and Kata Tjuta. A very talented didgeriedoo player added to the sunset ambiance (as did the champagne). Three native dancers/musician/singer welcomed us to the dining area just down the hill from the sunset viewing. Our tables were immaculately set in the red dirt so that as dusk faded and it got really dark, the stars were fantastically arrayed above us. An entertaining storytelling astronomer pointed out the Southern Cross as well as other important heavenly bodies and we finished the evening before it got too cold.

Shared our table with a newlywed couple from Melbourne – who were glad to be in the Red Centre as Melbourne is currently experiencing a terrible winter storm. A lovely mother and daughter team from Sydney rounded out our table companions. About 40 tourists, a chef and some waitstaff – that was our group for the Sounds of Silence dinner under the stars. Perfect ending to a perfect day.

20140626-081715-29835189.jpg

Can’t get more than one pic uploaded today, sorry!

Spending …

… most of our time in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and loving every second of it.

Uluru/Ayers Rock is definitely a presence. So fat, tho, we’ve explored more of the Olgas/Kata Tjuta. (Pics below.) Did a short hike into a gorge area Monday afternoon, just to get our feet wet, figuratively. No water to actually get wet in, but the results of summer rains are very evident in all the flowering desert plants. One, called the upsidedown plant, has a lovely dark red flower at the base of the plant rather than at the top. And the desert oak that Penny mentioned in comments yesterday is pretty abundant. Nothing like the oaks I am used to – needles and pods similar to pines.

After a leisurely and lovely breakfast Tuesday, we spent some time at the Cultural Center in the park – fascinating, sad and hopeful history of the land and its people. Back to Kata Tjuta and the Valley of the Winds walk. Definitely windy in areas between the big rocks, other spaces were still and potentially deadly hot in summer. We scaled rock strewn mountain sides, scrambled over boulders and generally hiked hard with lots of ups and downs to see the constantly changing beauty of the interior of Kata Tjuta. Ate lunch at the second viewpoint which was at the top of the gap in perhaps the windiest, coldest spot on the trail. And met fellow hikers from literally all over the world. A gal from Scandinavia was knitting socks at one stop.

One of the stories we heard (from a fake park ranger – good fun!) was that the rounded peaks of Kata Tjuta were seven sisters who wandered the earth. Hopefully will get the full/real story today.

Also today we plan to spend time with Uluru. This morning dawned clear and lovely (see pic of moon and morning star/planet) so we expect another lovely and warm day. Off to enjoy it!

20140625-075536-28536743.jpg

20140625-075604-28564879.jpg
Alas, having trouble uploading pics! Sorry!