I've moved internet homes

Hello - I just wanted to let you know that I've moved internet homes. After ALL THESE YEARS on blogger, I've finally got my own domain name for my blog and using wordpress to build a blog website.

Please come over and visit me -


Thanks so much for reading. I'm going to slowly import a few blog posts from here, but will leave this space open because golly - there's so much history and beautiful parts of my life that I only ever recorded here. 

the art of art

Here's some truths….
I grew up in a very very extremely creative home. I was supported in my artistic, creative wishes… My parents helped, pretty hands-on, with my massive end of high school art piece. Actually, they probably helped with a whole lot of most of the things we made at home. Not always hands on helping, but support and idea sharing, and offering advice and suggestions. And supplying materials and space to create. And sharing "real" artists - books of, stories of, taking us to exhibitions and talking about their history, their careers, their art techniques.. That sort of thing. The sort of things that we took for granted. Some of which I offer my kids now, and they take for granted. Which is cool - I think kids should take some things for granted from their parents. 

But - here's the thing. Through all this. Going to a Steiner school, having special art teachers, going to art camp during holidays… all those things (Which for my parents would have cost a lot, and been a challenge for them to find the funds for - somehow they did; with 4 kids too!). I still didn't go to art school, or ever consider myself as becoming an artist. (I did want to be an actor, which is an artist in itself - but I gave that dream up when I didn't get into any of the drama schools I wanted to). I never once considered the possibility of "being an artist when I grow up". Neither did my younger sister, or my older brother. My older sister did go to art school, and majored in photography, and she now works in the arts industry - but not as a photographer, and not as an artist. 

Now - at this stage in my life, where I'm coming closer and closer to calling myself an "artist" I still have these issues, doubts, thoughts about it. I know mostly all real artists go through this.. huh. Do they. Maybe. I guess everyone goes through different aspects of that through whatever their career. I'm not saying I'm special or different by having these thoughts, issues, whatevers. 

What I am saying, asking… is why.. And then - I remember that while my parents lived this very creative artistic life, neither of them was really a practicing artist. My mother wanted so desperately to be a potter, well to be accepted and acknowledged. She plugged on and on, with all her creative skills and talents - but always was left short of that particular fulfilment of being recognised. Even her craft of being a yoga teacher wasn't respected the way she deserved. But she kept at it, and battled through it. 

Many of you know that my mama is no longer here, walking our Earth. I was youngish and caught up in myself when she died, so much of this could be strange memories, or made-up extrapolations. And I don't know / will never know the full depth of much of what she was, went through, wanted… But I do know, remember, and now myself feel, that pain - a deep ache - of wanting to be 'accepted' somehow. 

I don't talk about my dad much here, because he's himself and I don't think he wants his story to be shared - especially my version of it.

All this is the lead-in to say…. I've been thinking about the art of making art. And about the anguish of. But mostly - about the way to come around and away from that strange need for validation from an outside world. Which is hard in this time of 'likes' and 'followers' and such a big world of popularity. Everyone wants more than their 15minutes of fame - we all want continual ever-increasing fame. And many people will never get that, many people who don't deserve it (artistically speaking) will get it…. 

So - as a society, and a community. What do we do about this? How do we raise a new generation who don't value or need this validity of 'likes' and 'followers'. Or is it just a bigger version of the school yard where we can all see the physical number count of someone's popularity - rather than guessing at and giggling about the losers in the playground. I was never the popular kid at school; I was quite happy being the slightly strange 'hippie' kid (not self-named) who was respected by people but not their number one or anything.

For me, as a mother and a creative and a sorta-kinda practicing 'artist/maker' my goal is to let go of the 'likes' issue. To make for making's sake - to delve into what I want. To remember that girl who made because she loved making. Who stood in drama class and spoke words loudly and proudly. Who made a plaster cast of her body and filled it with precious things, and glued birds wings on her back for her high school major artwork. That girl. The one who spoke up to the bullies and didn't really mind what people thought of her if they weren't her friends. And to help my kids be that person too - find that person in themselves and never forget him / her throughout this world of popular. 

Yep - that's my goal. Find the girl who glued green bird wings to her plaster cast body. 

(*I wish I could share a photo of this piece with you. For while I still have it, it's slightly the worse for wear… not having been stored in an art gallery or anything prestigious like that Cause doesn't everyone's year 12 artwork get picked up by a gallery! also - bird wings / feathers were found in our forest home, no birds were harmed. Also - I love that we dyed paper and fabric with natural berries from our forest home for part of the work. These things - from way back then - are my life now.)

let's share a cup of tea & conversation

Sometimes I feel like I'm baring my soul; 
Other times it's as if I'm hiding, there's little bits left behind.
Not that I don't want to share, just that somehow it doesn't come out right and the stories get a little lost in translation (from my brain to these words).

At any rate - I know that the more I keep doing it (putting words out here like this) the better I get at it. Somehow closer to the truth, perhaps if I'm lucky.

I've started blogging again. It may take me a while to find my routine and rhythm within it. I hope you'll come by and visit - to share tea and conversations with me....ideas and concepts and half-baked thoughts. And some pretty, and possibly a little ugly somewhere along the way.

I would like - if you could perhaps let me know what you'd like to read more of, hear more about....those stories that I have inside to share - which ones do you want to hear, to extract from me...? For I think coming for cups of tea - it is nice to guide the conversation a little, isn't it.

Gather Create : Summer's Harvest

Some of my really favourite things to do are gathering with other creative people; connecting, making, sharing, collaborating, learning, teaching, delving deeply into new ideas. Laughing. Drinking tea and eating cake. And making - stitching, dyeing, weaving… it doesn't always matter what the making is. Mostly it's about the connecting. Gather create connect. 

18 months ago I was so so lucky to bring a group of people together, alongside my sister-friend Leah, and share in a similar day Gather Create : Unfurl. I see people even now and we talk about that day. How amazing it was. How beautiful and connective and sharing and creative. How fantastic the food was. There aren't many photos from that day, which is testament to how deeply everyone was actually immersed in the day - not looking from the outside and taking photos, but being involved in being there. 

Due to…ummm - having a baby - I wasn't able to organise one last year, but it's been in my mind, heart and soul…. and I've been waiting waiting for the right time. And now I'm so pleased that it's happening again. Oh golly. I can't even begin to imagine how good - truly truly good - this day will be. 

This time we'll be gathering along the banks of a creek, set in the rainforest. At my neighbour's home & (new) cooking school - Jean, of Artisan Wholefoods. This will be the first gathering event for her place, which is a little bit exciting, don't you think. Jean teaches workshops in nourishing foods, the whole food journey being paramount to her recipes, but highly delicious. Jean's food isn't about trends or fads, but about real food that is good for your body and soul, while making your eyes water, your mouth smile and your tummy grumble (you'll probably want to get out your camera too - cause her food is beautiful as well as delicious - seriously win win win when you're being fed by Jean).

Our day will begin with a morning tea cake table - uh huh…. a cake table. Oh my. Can you imagine it…. All natural whole real foods (no refined sugar or horrible fake colourings). And water kefirs as well as organic tea and freshly brewed coffee. We'll gather and fill our tummys and talk and connect - we plan on an informal talk about finding your creativity, sharing on social media (mainly Instagram), and staying honest and true to yourself throughout it all. 

Jean will give a hands-on cooking demonstration of our lunch - a wholegrain pastry recipe for a Summer's Harvest tart. You'll learn how to make this at home, to nourish your family and impress your friends. There's be lots of hands-on photography time during this session, so you foodies will be able to explore the light and beauty with your camera. 

While lunch is being prepared, we'll slip outside to the back deck and garden to create some magic in the dye pots. Using all hand harvested botanical dyes - from this region - we'll make colour on fabric and yarn. Zoe and I will share all our experience, tips and how-tos at the dye pot… and you'll get your hands colourful and be delighted with the results. While our materials are dyeing we'll devour the lunch that Jean has prepared and linger over it while chatting and exploring the creek nearby. 

And then slowly slowly we'll do some stitch work - using assorted fabrics (some pre-dyed by me, some vintage & special pieces from my collection, some we dye on the day) we'll hand stitch a piece for you to take home, to keep working on, to create in your moments of time. There'll be a few projects available - a hand stitched scarf, notebook cover, drawstring pouch or small pillow case… or you can simply stitch samples to eventually sew into a quilt cover. If by any chance you're still hungry there'll be cakes and biscuits from morning tea, endless cups of tea, coffee or water kefir - or just beautiful fresh from the forest creek water. And we'll spend the afternoon settled into the beautiful stillness of creating and stitching, conversing and connecting.

This day is about more than just a regular workshop. It's a feeling, an emotion, a time to reconnect with yourself, with your creativity, with your inner quiet and slow… while also meeting other people in the area, in your creative fields. We truly can't wait to share this day with you - to experience a community of connectedness, a sharing of experience and skills, and whole lot of delicious cake and natural dye magic. 

All the details and booking info is on my website, but please, if you have any questions at all - don't hesitate to ask me via email (ellieabeck@hotmail.com) or through Instagram. 

Saturday 12th March, 2016. 9.30am - 4pm (Day light saving time)
Full price tickets $225, early bird tickets $180 - still available until Valentine's Day. 

And if you can't come along, but want to share in the stitch-natural dye experience I have Gather Create stitch kits that will have the fabric and projects as well as some special tea so you can share with us. Available here. 

* outdoor photos by Jean Martinez Artisan Wholefoods. 

Creative Conversations {Geraldine Devine from Bee Eco}

I have a supremely beautiful and special conversation to share with you today. I want to jump right into this home, this family and be part of it all - don't you?!
Geraldine Devine, of BeeEco beeswax wraps, is a woman who lives the life she talks about - she runs her business with a full heart and commitment to her beliefs; her family form the basis of all she does, and her home is full of warmth, honesty, colour and beauty. Living a true sustainable life, Geraldine and her family share their ideals in a positive light - inviting you to be part of the change through simple slow thoughtful living. This isn't about the perfect life, it's about a thoughtful journey, about sharing, connecting and educating. Geraldine, along with her husband Matt and four children, aren't living a trendy hipster Indie lifestyle (though, golly couldn't this photo below be an album cover!) - they're more content with simply living their daily beauty and watching their children play. 

I want to know about your beautiful family - tell me about where you live, and your amazing-looking home, and those sweet little ones of yours. 

Our family of six live deep in a very enchanting forest in a soul warming & welcoming treehouse cottage. A 1920's Teahouse, renewed by our favourite craftspeople, using recycled timbers & materials. It rattles, shakes & is filled with love & quirky character! Our self sustainable haven of tranquility, 'off the grid' with solar power, tank water & no services. Based on Permaculture & Biodynamic Principles we built a cob oven, spiral veggie patch, dam filled with silver perch, yabbies, lotus & lilies and a sub tropical orchard. Free range animals, tree forts, swings & fairy gardens galore, bring daily delight & good reason to live life outdoors. Our gorgeous children, Archi, 11, Arjuna, 8, Mirrah, 5 & Soma, 2 have a rhythm of farm duties, crafting, cooking, tree climbing, animal loving, reading & lots of surfing. The Farm is an endlessly magical oasis for them & fills our heart immeasurably to witness them being raised this way!

What are Bee Eco wraps? Share why you started making them - what lead you to walk this path in life? 

Bee Eco Wraps are a beautiful & sustainable method of wrapping your food. GOTS Certified Organic Fabric or Handprinted Hemp, infused with beeswax, jojoba & tree resin. A reusable option to reduce your use of plastic and enhance the freshness & longevity of your food, naturally. A tactile, everyday reminder of the changes we can make toward sustainable lifestyles. 

What you love, comes to be! Bee Eco, born from two great passions, textiles & sustainable living! 

Raising children saw us shift from being environmentally aware observers to become active participants in paving a sustainable future. This is our time to 'be'.  Role models that are grounded & passionate. Respecting this beautiful planet.  

Our kitchen is the hub of our house as it bubbles, brews, ferments & soaks are daily fare. Beeswax Wraps are an essential part of the homesteading, food loving kitchen! 

The 'Market Life' of the business is also our destiny, a perfect adjunct to our farm life, as we thrive amongst the bustling, diverse, musical, artistic & farming community on the Sunshine Coast. 

You make all the wraps by hand - can you share a little of the process, or how special they are… how much work/time/energy/love goes into each piece? 

We have poured so much love & positive energy into Bee Eco. The business has become a healthy part of our family, an element to the rhythm of our days (and nights!). From collecting the beeswax (and honey), cutting, chopping, blending, waxing, curing, every element absorbing the chatter & song of children & existing amongst the bustle of farm life. The monotonous sectors are enlivened with chit chat or loud music & the creative & delectable tasks of designing & choosing fabrics we savour & enjoy. 

Is Bee Eco a full time business or do you have jobs outside of the home as well? 

Bee Eco, our 50 acre farm & 4 children leaves us full! 

On the Farm we love to grow & make our own, we trade & support artisans & local growers. Within a community, our humble, real & down to earth existence can find it's authentic face. 

As a mama of 4 with a handcrafted family business, how to fit it all in, how do you find your 'balance' within the busy?

Laying in the garden, warmed by the dappled afternoon sun, nuzzled by lambs, surrounded by chickens, nibbling on fresh picked lychees near the bustling beehive, the children spread amongst singing, climbing, whittling & chicken raising..... we poured our heart & soul into creating this lifestyle & we are committed to savouring it. 

The balance is a gift from our children, who are ever present in each aspect of our life. To ensure we remain good role models on how a day should run, full of rhythm, purpose, nature, creativity & connectivity. To each other. To slow and channel our energy toward specific tasks with intent and positivity. 

In a slow living orientated household with no technology (other than a work iPad) and an aversion to shops & consumerism, time really opens up. We have a different sense of 'presence' now. We are so much more deeply engrossed in daily tasks. A choice to minimalise our distractions, interactions & things that we find may deplete us. Allowing our strengths to surface & our consciousness & peace to unite & ignite us. 

We feel that the greatest impact we can have on paving a sustainable and enriched future is held in our commitment to this lifestyle & passing traditions & knowledge onto our children. We are dedicated to not filling our lives too full to allow slow & generous time to relish in our children & the natural world. 

The wisdom of age brings insight, boundaries & more confidence to keep business within the realms of our energy resources, to harness it as a handmade, homemade family business. 

In a recent busy season phase, the snakes found holes to the baby chicks, the goanna's got to the eggs, I cooked my mother sourdough, the kombucha grew weird stuff & the animals took over the house. Yoga joined the list of multitasking skills, I got to bed just as the baby started nightly wake ups from not enough slow time day breastfeeding, I often forgot to breathe & my idea of tidy was to sweep everything into an ever growing pile (!), our sense of why we do what we do gained more strength than ever. Busy is good, but balance is essential. 

In the fast & hectic times we practice our mantras, remember to breathe & endeavour to have each other's back as we shelter our small folk from the inherent pressures of a small, family business. 

We are so very deeply in love with family life, grateful for our lifestyle & enjoy creating beautiful Beeswax Wraps. We pull ourselves & each other short when we feel too sorry for ourselves. We do sometimes call our life 'relentless'; the farm jobs, food preparation, lack of sleeping ~ we've been co sleeping & breastfeeding for a LONG time ~ this 'balancing' & juggling. Our life travels and experience have developed an ingrained need to think globally & remember our good fortune. We have many affirmations, methods & tools that we utilise to stay afloat through the tough times, that do, & will always come! We laugh, ALOT!

I love the recent fabric collaboration you did with Ink & Spindle (image above) and the linocut prints with artist Taryn Eales. You do a lot of collaborations with the fabrics of Bee Eco wraps - is this part of your business model, how do you choose who to collaborate with and do you have any tips to share on how to make it work well for both sides. 

The creative process & exchange of ideas is so vibrant in collaboration. We tend to work with folks with a mutual understanding of the dynamics within a creative family business & the flexibility & genius required to uphold professionalism, with a baby off one hip, amongst the chorus of little chatterers & helpers. 

The collective exploration & exchange of ideas results in something exceptionally beautiful, useful & bursting with story. Our hearts are full with the beauty created & friendships formed through collaboration. 

Like all of life, expect a few downturns, or sticky aspects & determine to ride it with grace. As the journey of a business & creative collaboration unfolds, remain kind, fair, professional & excited. Keep in the forefront of your mind what you can give rather than what you shall receive. 

Collaboration is a process of human relations, to which you can garner all of your gathered wisdom to bring about success. To offer your innate gifts & talents to bring to the table & trade with your chosen 'idols'! Fun!! 

Have you got anything coming up this year that you'd love to share?

The Ink & Spindle Collaboration was such an honour for us and we just adore the outcome! As it all sold out near immediately, a new Australian Native Botanical Range, once again designed & handprinted by Lara Cameron & Caitlin Klooger in Melbourne, is very soon to be released. 

The innate beauty & talent of Taryn Eales will continue to flourish as we bring more handcarved linocut, handprinted with Eco dyes, onto a gorgeous sturdy hemp. These Wraps feel invaluable & enriching to the soul of a kitchen. We roll down the country lanes, over rickety bridges, the kids mooing all the way, into Taryn's whimsical farm paradise, you truly can feel the beauty of this very talented Mama encapsulated in each handprinted Wrap! 

A beautiful boiling pot of textile love is brewing! We are just bubbling with excitement at some  upcoming collaborations! Solar screen printing & nature dyes with some of our favourite creative folk are amongst the excitement. 

We have also opened the doors of our Farm to welcome others travelling a journey of self sustainable living. 

What's your best eco tip - the simple smaller everyday things often are the best aren't they? 

Our number one Eco tip is time in Nature. Every day, as much as possible. The real change comes from within & occurs in Nature! A form of Eco enlightenment that brings a consciousness & empowers the determination to make & stick with those daily changes. Then get excited about all of the wonderful things you will learn, cool sustainable community you can be a part of & relish in the beauty of the natural world you are conscious of protecting. 

On a practical level, allow a gentle awakening to the perils of plastic & eco conscious choices. Create a list. Step by step challenge the disposable parts of life. 

Buy in bulk. Shift to sustainable toothbrushes, shampoo bars, jojoba oil & henna. Bicarbonate soda, apple cider vinegar & eucalyptus for cleaning. A great dishwashing cloth, scrubber, soap nuts for laundry. A mason jar each, a favourite op shop spoon, bamboo straw when out & about. Vintage wicker baskets are fabulous or an essential reusable shopping bag.  Look at ways to trade goods & reduce consumerism, or delve into the magical world of vintage! 

There is so much to learn about fermenting, gardening, cooking or sewing tapped into a local like minded community. Sustainable living is cool, pass it on! The time is NOW to be that change. 

I'd love to hear if you introduce beeswax wraps to your life - they are one simple change. You can find all the info about the Beeswax wraps here, and follow along with BeeEco on Instagram

create learn connect share

One of the things I love doing the most, in my creative outlet, is teaching and sharing. 

Have I ever told you that when I was a kid I wanted to be a teacher? Of course, I always thought that meant being a primary school teacher - sitting at a desk with a vase of flowers and the chalk board to draw or write upon. We used to play schools during our holidays, and I was always always the teacher. And all the dolls and teddys and animals and my sister were the students. 

So now, that my creative job - career! - has evolved into being a teacher. Well… I think it's a whole lot of lovely, and little bit strange. Of course, I don't sit behind a desk and teach the times tables or English language or about Roman clothing. Now I sit beside my students, I walk amongst them. My hands guide their hands, my voice shares my skills, experiences and knowledge. And my students go away after a day's lesson knowing how to work with their hands, so create something heart felt, meaningful, beautiful. And, hopefully, how to tap into their own innate creative self, how to express their creative vision and discover their own way of working, rather than following someone else's or copying pinterest.

All this is to say…. I have some workshops coming up soon and I hope that you can come along, that I can guide your hands and converse with you, and share my love of making and discovering your creative journey. 

Loom Weaving ~ oh my, you ready to become addicted to something soft and cuddly and seriously good! I love weaving in a way I haven't quite ever connected with the other yarny crafts.

Natural Botanical & Indigo Dyeing with Shibori ~ eeekkk eeekkkk. Yes. This will change the way you look at plants, flowers and leaves and you'll be dyeing every piece of pale fabric and yarn in your life. Seriously my full love for this way of working. 

Product Styling & Instagram ~ So… the real reason I haven't been at this lovely little blog for the past of 4 years is Instagram. If you follow me (and do… please do!) you'll know how much I love it so. In a good good way. Because it's so good for connecting with other people, and having a creative outlet and somewhere to share and learn and inspire and be inspired. Anyway, in this workshop I will share my way of styling products and things for selling and for fun, and also how I go about 'doing Instagram.' It's seriously going to be GOOD. 

You can find all my workshops and creative event info on my website here. Or join my mailing list… (send me an email to ellieabeck@hotmail.com and I'll add you to the list). 

Workshops & Events

September 2015 ~

Saturday 13th - Natural & Botanical Dye - Sydney. Booking and details here. SOLD OUT
Sunday 14th - Loom Weaving - Sydney. 1.30-4.30pm. Booking and details here.
Saturday 19th - Loom Weaving with naturally dyed yarns - Newcastle. Booking and details here.
Sunday 20th - Natural & Botanical Dye - Newcastle. Booking and details here.

Kids School Holiday workshops - details coming soon.

October 2015 ~

Saturday 3rd - Loom Weaving - Gold Coast. Booking and details here.

Get your Weave on - workshops in weaving (and finding your own creative voice)

I've long wanted to do some weaving workshops with adults, to share my own way of working with yarn and making pretty wall hangings and pieces of art. I've finally found someone who makes looms in Australia that I can share with you.

Weaving is just the teensiest bit addictive; I've actually been dreaming about new weaves and wanting to get up at mid-night to finish the current piece on my loom..... The house can stay messy for all I can. I guess I'll have to eventually feed the family - though they're pretty good at making do themselves.

Anyway. I'd love to share the fun and complete satisfaction that comes with making your own weaving. It's like making your own piece of amazingness. Yep - it's that cool!

I have a couple of workshops coming up really soon (before this baby pops!). Would love love you to come along if you can. To learn the basic skills and techniques and to spend time with me and hopefully soak up some of how I work - by breaking rules, making my own rules, experimenting, having fun, conversing with my materials...

Oh yes indeed. I do have conversations with my yarn and fabric. Sometimes they tell me they want to be just so and I really have to listen. I do think it takes practice and quiet and being fully involved in your work to listen to your materials. But when you do, when you discover how to, I think it brings an emotion and a uniqueness to your work. It brings yourself to your work. Not copying someone else's stitches and patterns and ways of doing things, but doing it your own way. Telling your own story. Allowing your own voice to shine. 

That's important. I hope that during all my workshops (be in children or adults, screen printing or weaving or sewing or....) I can help you to open up and find your own inner voice. To allow you - give you permission indeed - to shout your own creative visual voice. That's so important to me. That we all share our voices, that we all feel confident that we can share our voice, and not hide behind copying someone else, or worse still not making and creating because we don't think our voice is valid. 

Part weaving workshop / part find your creative visual voice workshop. Yep.

Details are: Get Your Weave On!
Brisbane - Saturday 20th Sept, 12.30 - 4pm. At Tangled Yarns in Newstead. 
Byron Bay - Saturday 27th Sept, 10am - 1.30pm. At Bubbles at the Head Studio in Byron Bay. 
Cost is: $145 for 3.5hr workshop. You go home with your own new weaving loom + accessories (those lovely wooden needles), instruction booklet, scissors and yarns. You'll have a beautiful day with new friends (or bring a friend along to weave together), nibbling cake and treats and creating an amazing special piece to take home. 
Bookings are essential as spots are very limited. Bookings through our online store. Click here. Or email me for more info if you want. (deadwoodcreative@gmail.com). 
I'm also open to private classes if you'd like to gather some friends and have a weaving workshop at home.

creativity, play, appreciation, curiosity..... with Alex Falkiner {Unfurl for Gather :: Create}

I don't even know when or how I first stumbled upon the work of artist Alex Falkiner. I just know that the very moment I saw her pieces, her sense of colour-play and creative movement caught my heart and my eyes, and I haven't stopped looking and enjoying and being inspired since that day some years ago. 
I currently only 'know' Alex through online interaction; Instagram, emails, etc. We haven't yet met in real life, but I know already that Alex and I have a lot in common, and a lot to talk about. A lot to share and a lot to give. For alongside her work of textile manipulation, of taking pieces of forgotten thread and combining them with found fragments of wire or lost assorted pieces, Alex feels and talks and connects with the act of making, the process of making and creating. She is open with her journey of being an artist, an emerging artist as she calls herself. Perhaps an unfurling artist might be more apt - as Alex talks a lot about Unfurling and discovering and growing and learning through the exploration of creative art-making. You can join in her conversations, or be inspired by her words, through her Instagram feed, her website or her regular newsletters sharing her current thoughts and ways of being. 

At this moment, Alex has left a home and is journeying where the artist winds take her. Meeting and connecting with people, and sharing her joyful sense of finding moments in your life away from the busy of everyday. Of soaking up the moments of a crease upon a table cloth, or the shadow made by her morning coffee cup. Her workshops aren't so much a follow the rules, do what I say, they are more a 'here's what I know, here's my technique and my own way of doing this, but let's discover a new way together'. She brings the supplies - the fabric and threads and colour bursting to make your heart sing, and the little collections of pieces that you may walk straight past. Under Alex's eye these pieces will be turned into a treasure, a something to enjoy, to inspire, to amuse. And under Alex's guidance you will see how to take these patches of colour and texture and make something that will lift your heart and inspire your eyes.

What does being a creative mean to you?
Being creative doesn't just mean being an artist, it’s not a thing that some special people are born or blessed with. I believe creativity is in each of us and nurturing it is actually essential if you want to enjoy life and contribute to others. Creativity is a practice, it's about doing things with attention, bringing beauty and appreciation into your life. I’ve also found that it is impossible to separate creativity from play, appreciation and curiosity, they’re all bundled up. I'm interested in expanding our idea of what creativity is and taking the time to see where we’re being creative already in our lives, the creativity that goes unnoticed, part of that is finding words that resonate with you, being able to articulate it. Like the word ‘unfurl’ for me at the moment, I love that word.

How do you find inspiration for new work?
I always begin with material play and some kind of 'problem' in mind. I find if I set myself some quite specific limitations I can really play freely inside of them. Actually, we’ll be experimenting with this in the workshop, finding and creating the ideal conditions you need to play. Asking: what does that space look like for you?

How do you push yourself through a creative slump (e.g. - if the inspiration isn't coming and you have a deadline...)?
The main thing is to get to know your creative slumps, feel them, notice them and then make stuff anyway. I find my slumps are usually money triggered and come in the form of resignation and judgement and crying and wanting to hide or give up. I can be quite dramatic about it all!
To get out of it I ask myself how I would like to feel in this moment and what steps I could take to make that happen. It’s about getting connected with what is important, remembering what I was up to before the slump, refocusing on what lights me up. If it’s a really set-in slump this usually involves a lot of writing and listening to favourite talks, reading tender words. Then I take action! I find a series of tiny actions to get the fruitful stuff happening again.
I often begin something mindless, automated, something that I’ve done a bazillion times, something with no purpose – just making for the sake of making! Once my hands are moving, it gets me out of my head. This is one of the reasons I love making, I focus on working the materials, exploring pleasing colour combinations, mastering or innovating a technique, experimenting – I get lost here! Making always reminds me what I’m good at and what is possible. I feel very different here – cocooned, nourished, enlivened, curious. It’s a good place to be.

Do you prefer to work to your own ideas, or do you like the challenge of a brief from someone else? 
I definitely prefer working on my own projects and setting my own (open) briefs. I have this very strong sense that it is important to follow my own trajectory, exploring and uncovering what it is I need to make, seeing what will happen next. 

What's your ideal creative day?
Hmm... I’d begin the day in silence. A few pages of writing to clear some space. Laying on the floor daydreaming, a bit of a stretch, then I’d write lots of words on paper, culling them down to words I really enjoy the sound of, ones that feel like home… I’d ponder these words over pancakes and black coffee, keeping warm in the sun and enjoying the sunlight across the breakfast crockery casting shadows on the table. After breakfast I’d lay out some old works, half made pieces, materials and tools out on the table and spend the whole morning arranging, adapting and reworking them, listening to music. On this ideal day I’d have a small nap, followed by a leafy walk and lunch with a good friend and perhaps even an afternoon sea swim! We’d return to my studio for crumbly apple cake and a pot of tea and spend the afternoon chatting and making together. I’d spend an unreasonable amount of time just arranging the fragments and odds and ends on various surfaces…haha!

What's your favourite material to work with?
I mainly work with textiles, I am drawn to them because they are part of life, so accessible and very adaptable. They also bring this sort of comforting, nurturing element to the table, which I love. I think it’s important to choose materials according to your state. If you’re feeling tentative choose materials that are appealing or curious to you… perhaps like a colourful bait to lure your creative self out of hiding. If you feel like a challenge take something you consider to be ‘bad taste’ and see what you can do with it, find it’s potential, find something about it that delights you, transform it into something of value.

Collaboration - do you like working with someone else, or are you best on your own? How do you bring your own voice to collaboration?
I am actually on the look out for a kind of collaboration that would work for me, but exactly what this would look like is still forming. I’ve collaborated with different organisations in the past to create installations, community engaged projects and create workshops. I tend to try and do everything on my own! But I love the support and the momentum of collaboration and know that things can be richer and more far-reaching when the right people get behind it. In a way my workshops are a kind of collaboration, we support each other and learn and build something together…

Are there lots of pieces or work that never makes it to the light of day - or is everything you make a final "good copy"?
I make use of everything! I actually get a real kick out of putting not-quite things or still-being-made pieces in exhibitions! It’s a fine line, it has to be just balancing on the edge… I can’t tell you how liberating it is to exhibit a piece of Easter egg foil! Or a single thread! Haha! And it’s not just liberating for me, I believe the job of artists is to make room, to hold spaces. I get such joy turning up to a gallery with a small Tupperware container full of ‘stuff’ and seeing doubt and concern wash over the face of the person in charge… Then seeing their surprise and delight as careful pinning and thoughtful arranging of that overlooked stuff becomes a beautiful dance of colour and shadow across the wall. It has to be close to failing so the surprise is real! I’m looking to shift our belief of what is possible.

Why is play-based creative making so important to you? And also, why share it with others? Why not keep it to yourself..?
Play-based making always leads me where I want to go, it opens me up, opens up ideas and leads to genuine ‘me’ work. Not the work I think I should make, but the work that I need to make. Play allows me to safely detour from what I know, offers an alternative to the certainty of the predetermined outcome… Play is expansive, but not in a scary way! It is the opposite of forcing and pushing. Play-based making gives me room to unfurl, it takes the pressure off.
It is imperative that I share this way of doing things because I know it works, and I know it can often appear that there is no time or room for play in this world. This world where perfection and efficiency rule, where play is only for kids, where we adults are too busy and important for that frivolous stuff! But we need it! And I have found (through play!) that I am really great at creating and holding the space to play. It gives me real joy to hold that space for others and see them flourish there.

Alex is our guest facilitator at the upcoming Gather :: Create workshop. She will be sharing her way of working in a 3hour session "Unfurl ~ small scale conversations with textiles". Bookings for this workshop are essential, and we only have a few spots left - you can find more information, or book here. This is a full day workshop event, with our other guest facilitator Karina Sharpe
You can see more of Alex's work on her website here, or her Instagram here. Of go and connect via her Facebook page here

** all images used with kind thanks from Alex Falkiner, via her website. 

mind-smiling and creative play with Karina Jean Sharpe {Poetic Collage for gather :: create}

I first 'met' Karina through the wonderful visual world of Instagram. I was immediately taken by her clear images that sang with a story, and made me smile a quirky smile, and touched my heart all at the same time.  The very first time we met in real life was sorta-kinda special. In so much that I felt I already knew her (through Instagram and email conversations) and we could just jump right into the part of being friends and connecting, and could skip right over the silly of having to impress each other. She liked me for just me, and ain't that something grand! Since then every time I've seen her, she's brought her humour, humility and wisdom along, and shared her insights into creativity and sharing and being true to yourself. 

Karina Jean Sharpe is has a background in industrial design and mechanical engineering, yet a whimsical sense of play in her work. She ties these two aspects of her personality together beautifully in her styled images and words. Karina is interested in seeing aspects that other's don't always notice, and she loves to share this sometimes minute worlds that she imagines. Take for example her Thumb Tree Hill video. 

At our upcoming gather :: create workshop, Karina will be sharing her self-learned technical skills in the art of paper collage with a difference, combined with taking a journey along Karina's magical word play and picture connections. Poetic Collage will be a whole new way of looking at magazine tear sheets and interesting images, and help you create a story book of your own visual voice - words and images combined to help you unlock your own inner story.

I asked Karina to share a little of herself with us today. And if this magical story below isn't enough to convince you that a day spent in her presence will shine some lights and make some sparkle, then hang out at her Instagram a little longer.....

What does being a creative mean to you?
Everything. The freedom to be creative means everything to me. The times in my life that I have been unhappy, where the times that I was in a situation where there was no room for creativity. Being creative, in general, is being able to look at a situation, choose how to move forward, follow that decision and end up at a result that would have been totally different had you chosen any other choices. Creativity can exist in all forms of being: making, writing, creating, cooking, parenting, gardening, tidying, cleaning, conversing … as long as you are not a robot I think you can be creative.
The act of being creative, for me, means the opportunity to express my thoughts and ideas and to share them with other people. It is a realm in which I can be my whole self and create things of beauty. 

How do you find inspiration for new work?
Mostly I feel like it finds me. Usually when I am not looking, or when I am playing around with other concepts. I have learnt to listen to all the small inklings of ideas. Some of my favourite work has come from crazy little thoughts, like: that shell could have a trail like it was walking; or what if those flowers came out of a faucet; or how about I cut a horse shoe out of grass – I don’t ignore the crazy stuff anymore. I think the other way I continually find inspiration is that I trust that it will continually show up –if I get uptight and fearful that I have run out of ideas, I begin pushing too hard and trying too hard and I lose the flow. It is completely counterproductive -I’m better off having a sleep. 

How do you push yourself through a creative slump (eg - if the inspiration isn't coming and you have a deadline...)?
If it is just a general slump and I am working on my own stuff - which naturally happens because things are actually cyclic - I either talk myself out it, or ride it though, or stop pushing. In this case my aim may not be to beat the slump, but to get though it without causing damage to my self-worth - as I have learnt that these kind of slumps are temporary if you don’t give them any power. A slump when I am working for someone else is a different matter, in this case, I have found that I work best if I talk to myself out loud. I go back to the brief, back to the aim and back to the purpose. I talk it all though out loud. Then I remind myself that this thing I am doing is something I love, and I see if all that makes a difference. If not, hmm, I either phone a friend or ask for an extension.

Do you prefer to work to your own ideas, or do you like the challenge of a brief from someone else? With both these different aspects, do you approach them differently, or find you come at your work in a similar way?
I enjoy them both. I love the freedom of working on my own ideas, but I also love that a brief can send you in directions that you wouldn’t naturally choose, and as long as there is room in the brief to stay true to your own creative language, there is big opportunity for growth. With my own ideas, my work usually stems from either a phrase or story that I want to depict as an image. I find a brief can often take on a similar state as there is usually an underlying message that needs to be conveyed. I think I like the balance of having both within my creative practise. 

What's your ideal creative day?
Ahhh. Well if we are speaking ideal ideal, then: I would wake up of my own accord around 6:30 am. Kiss and hug and smile at my loved ones, have a delicious breakfast outside in the sun. See people off to school or wherever, enter my big bright airy studio (the made up one will do for now), do some creating, walk or cycle down to my favourite café for a coffee and maybe lunch with my man or another creative being, go home and make some stuff that is glorious, at some stage I would discuss some cool projects with clever lovely people, before welcoming home the young ones and being a mum for the evening. 

What's your favourite material to work with?
I actually don’t really have a favourite material. I use whatever I deem necessary to achieve the thing I am trying to achieve. Sometimes its paper, sometimes its grass, sometimes it’s some other bizarre thing I have thought up. I am a swapper and changer. 

Collaboration - do you like working with someone else, or are you best on your own? How do you bring your own voice to a collaboration?
I love the idea of collaboration, but have actually not had a lot of opportunities to partake. I love collaborations when each person brings their own special quality, material or skillset. I also like when product owners and artists team up to make an artist’s version of that product, or when a piece of work is the result of cumulative contributions from different artists. 

Are there lots of images, pieces, work that never makes it to the light of day - or is everything you make a final "good copy"?
No, there are both. There is a lot that makes it to the light of day. There is also a lot that I sit on until they are my version of good, or that I sit on until I can rework it. There are some that are totally dumb and they are in the archives. And then there is actually a lot in the pipelines - A lot of things in waiting, either for something else to come about, or waiting because I don’t want to move that piece yet – hah like chess ( I don’t play chess). 

In your IG profile you say you want to make our mind smile - tell us about that... what does it mean to you? What makes you smile?
Mind smiles. I love the thought of it. There is a book about graphic design called A Smile in the Mind, by Beryl McAlhone. I haven’t actually read it, but have heard of it from a few places. When I first heard that phrase I couldn’t let it go. I asked myself “Does the mind smile? Can it smile? Do I do that? Does what I do do that to people?” I decided that maybe my best work did, and that it sounded like a pretty good thing to aspire to. I am only really interested in contributing things with an air of positivity anyway, things that leave people feeling better than the state in which they were found. But my aim is not to make people necessarily laugh out loud or snort or giggle – although it is exceptional when that happens – mostly what I do is more subtle. It’s about uplifting the mindset, elevating the mood, creating work that people can feel good from –you know, so their mind wears a cheerful little grin.
What makes me smile? Hmm, that’s such a hard thing to pin down when you try to think about it too hard. The perfect sentence makes me smile. And the prefect title to match an image, with the equal amounts of cleverness and wit. My sons make me smile and scowl in almost equal parts, but they are 2 and 5 so I think that is normal. Finding the perfect final object for one of my neat arrangements – that makes me grin, or air punch, depending on how long I’ve been searching. Oh, and ideas – ideas make me smile more than anything else. And beauty - and whales and cleverness and love and my man and friends and things done with imagination. 

Why is play-based creative making so important to you? And also, why share it with others? Why not keep it to yourself..?
For a long time I lost the ability to play. When I was working in consultancies my role was all computer based, building new products in 3-dimensions using a CAD program. Sometimes even the form of the product had been decided by the time it arrived on my desk. My job was to make it real, and that called for a sophisticated version of ‘staying within the lines’. For instance, a product may have had to look a certain way, be a certain size, with a particular wall thickness, 15 of them might have to fit inside a certain box and the CAD program itself had constraints with which I had to work. I made that product so it ticked all the boxes, and I did it very well, but I was left feeling pretty stale.

‘Play’ just didn’t have an opportunity or reason to show up. And like most things, when you don’t actively do it, you forget how it’s done and then after a while you don’t even realise its missing. I had forgotten how to play, and then, when I began to start to try, I remembered that there was a chance I could get it wrong, and then I was scared to make attempts. I had to step past that, and over time I have practised. I have been my own observer and watched how freeing creative play can be: how it allows you to tap into your own imagination and stumble on things that are more brilliant that you could have imagined. I don’t want other people to get stuck in that sucky place, where you are either operating like a mechanism or too frightened to explore. And that is why I am sharing - It’s not really mine to keep anyway. Creative play brings out individuality, so I actually believe that the more people play and explore creatively - then follow the things that come to their individual mind as a result - the less similarities there will be, collectively. So, I suppose, sharing the concept is actually in my best interest.


Karina's workshops are a thing of sharing and connecting and beauty. I went away from her workshop last year with my mind buzzing with ideas and images, and my fingers eager to be creating. Her workshop at our gather :: create ~ Poetic Collage is the first time she's released this, and it's a not to be missed event. Bookings are essential to secure your spot at the table with Karina (and some delicious cake and other amazing creatives), click here to book or for more info.

If you'd like to see some of more Karina's mind-smile work check out :: 
her website
these beautiful pieces of jewellery she makes. 

** all images used with kind thanks for Karina Jean Sharpe - from her website and Instagram. She also often credits the magazines she uses in her IG feed if you want to check that out.

the Golden Beach with Pinky & Maurice ~ a weekend in South Golden Beach, Byron Bay surrounds

Today I'm bringing you a lovely little look around the studio where we will be holding our upcoming Gather :: Create, with some info about the sweet township we'll be in. We are so lucky to be presenting the workshop in the studio space of ceramic artist Claire Atkins, who works under the name Pinky & Maurice (that's the name of her two cute cute little dogs!). Here's some stunning images of Claire's studio (borrowed from Megan's blog Seeker of the Lost Arts), but today Claire is sharing her love of South Golden Beach with us. So come along for a weekend of creative play and beach dreaming........

South Golden Beach is a sleepy little town that time forgot, with a wild, stretching blue break where you can surf, swim, fish and watch the whales breach and play. 

During the weekends and holiday time, the beach shacks are full with holiday makers and the quiet streets come alive with the colourful buzz of families, kids, dogs and bikes and the dress code is bare-feet, towels and cozzies. 

The South Golden Beach corner store sells all the daily essentials, board wax, the freshest free range pasture raised eggs and the best pizza on the coast. Next door in New Brighton, dine alfresco from breakfast till afternoon tea by the River at The Yum Yum Tree Cafe, Manfred and his superb staff make the best coffee and create a menu from the freshest locally sourced ingredients. Stay till Tuesday and shop for farm fresh produce and groove to live music at the funky New Brighton Farmers market from 8am - 11am.

You can find holiday houses for rent in South Golden Beach and our cute neighbour New Brighton. Elders Real Estate in New Brighton manage all the holiday and weekend rental properties in South Golden and Newy. 
South Golden Beach is situated 20 minutes north of Byron Bay and 30 minutes south of Coolangatta airport. 10 minutes from Ocean Shores and Brunswick Heads.

 All images used with the kindest of thanks to Megan Kinninment, from her blog Seeker of the Lost Arts. Megan is a local photographer and journalist, who specialises in highlighting local craftspeople, musicians, authors, artists and creatives. Megan takes beautiful, intimate photographs that tell a story and entice you to look deeper into her subject. Megan is available for creative portfolio photography work and story sharing. 
These photos were taken in the studio of ceramic artist Claire Atkins. A beautiful space, designed by her architect husband, and planned to be an area for creative thinking and work, as well as gathering and sharing. Her large open studio looks out onto a lush back garden - a place to contemplate and inspire.

I'll be back tomorrow with some more info on other accommodation options around the region.

gather :: create ~ creative workshops for getting lost and found

I want to tell you about a beautiful and really special new 'thing' I've been working on. And finally launched. It's full of heart and creative making and connections and joy and play and lots of colour, and maybe some mistake making too. Just the way I like my days I think!

gather :: create is the collaboration of myself and my sister Leah. It's the start of events and workshops that are a little different than the usual. It's about immersing yourself into the process, of learning new skills, of learning new ways to rework old-known skills, and also - very important for me - of not needing to worry about the outcome.

For our first event we are hosting two very inspiring visual artists, both who work a similar way, yet their different styles and personalities bring completely different viewpoint to their work. By similar I mean, they both have a relaxed and play-based approach to their work, their are willing to let go and see where talking with their materials takes them, they are ok with mistake making, with learning on the journey, with sometimes being wrong and learning something new about themselves and their practice. 

Different approaches? Well, you only have to look at their work to see that while process and journey making is vital to both of them, they are absolutely on different journeys. 

Unfurl :: small scale conversations with textiles by Alex Falkiner.

Poetic Collage :: where words, paper and pictures collide by Karina Jean Sharpe.

The day will be two workshops, one with each of these talented and fascinating creatives, as well as a long lunch, endless cups of tea (nibbles for morning and afternoon tea - cake!!), a goodie bag and SO much more. It's to be held in the beautiful ceramic studio of Pinky & Maurice in South Golden Beach, Northern NSW. 

I'll be back soon with more info about the whole day, with details about each workshop, who is making our delicious food and lots more. For now, please do check out the bookings site for some extra info and our facebook page. Spaces are very limited for this event, as we want to have connections made between the participants, rather than a giant party! 

{images used with thanks from:
top left - me, top right - Leah, middle: Alex, bottom: Karina
these are all links to our Instagram feed. Go have a look at the pretty over there!}.

happenings....and an Announcement

I don't want to spend ages telling you how sorry I am for not being here. Do I say this every time?? I'm not here. That's it. I'm being where I need to be, and mostly for the past month or more that's been on the couch or in bed!

So, how are you? Hope you're all well and happy and things are adventuress (in a quiet way maybe?). 

Want to hear my big adventures? WELL well. 
oh hey!

We're having a baby. Shall I say that again, in case you didn't quite believe me -


I'm not being so good at keeping this a secret. Except I just haven't been here to tell you all yet. I've been wanting to. But mostly I've been lying in bed feeling sick and sorry for myself, and ever so tired tired tired. 

No pretty pictures to show you about the baby. It's only just barely 12weeks big so far. 

So, anyway. I popped in to tell my happenings. 

Hope your happenings have been lovely too. 

There's lots and lots of other happenings around here. House building is going well, and we may be in our new space soon soon soon! It's almost barely hard to think about in case it doesn't come as soon as we want. And there's lots of upcoming events - such as markets and also talks and special events where I've been invited to be the guest speaker (Little bit scary and such, but ever so wonderful to be invited to all these special gatherings where people want to hear about me!). I'll talk more on this later, closer to the time. 

Have a lovely lovely week sweet ones. As ever you can follow me along here, on my Instagram, I am there almost every day. If you don't have the app on your phone, you can follow it here online.

the reality ..... online me

I have had some beautiful comments on IG over the last few days. Well, all the comments are always beautiful, but these few particularly got me thinking about what I portray through this online personality petalplum).

Let's start with the first reality right now: I have left the dinner plates on the table, a half washed up sink of dishes, and my kids have Lego spread all across the floor in our teeny leaky shack that I'll probably step on and swear about (and yell about!) later tonight. 

So, the comments I am thinking about made my heart sing to read them as it's so lovely to be thought of in this way. But then my heart got a bit sad because people are thinking I'm zen and productive and creative with no anxiety...... While I can be these things, that's not the whole of me. In fact (and especially if you ask my family) that's only a very small part of me. Mainly am I zen when I'm sitting crocheting, which isn't so productive for getting jobs done around the home or work (paperwork mostly) stuff needing to be done.
It got me thinking about how we (I) portray myself through my Instagram feed, through this blog, and perhaps also while talking to customers at markets and such. For people know very little about me, and certain aspects of me. Only what I share. 

My friends were talking the other day about the lack of reality through social media, particularly IG. How everything is so extremely perfect and beautiful. And how they'd like to see a kid vomiting or something with that realness to it. (Though I'm totally sure they could find that if they went looking!). And I've read a few articles over the past years about people portraying only the fun, exciting, beautiful parts, and how that can affect us by watching and making us feel inferior.

I do get that. That aching feeling of why isn't my life all white walls and perfect antique / modern / vintage / retro in the hottest colour at the moment. Why doesn't my life have the Instagram filter to it! Why isn't my crochet as good, why aren't my kids as pretty, why don't I have those lovely shoes like everyone else. I've had that feeling with blogs and with Instagram. 

I want to tell you why I gave up that feeling (mostly), and how. And also, why I think it's so important that we all keep showing our online personalities as the best we can.....

Firstly - it's so unhealthy to always be looking outside of yourself for happiness, and inspiration and contentment and joy. We must learn to find happiness within, from whatever we have to offer ourselves. I found at times my stomach felt tight and knotted thinking about what I didn't have, and what someone else had, and often breathless. And I was missing out on the beauty of what I do have right here right now. Completely not seeing it, or appreciating it, or acknowledging it. 

How to give this up, you ask? It's not easy. I'll tell you that. And I think it doesn't go away completely, but I think that's ok. I think to feel that occassional tightness and breathlessness means we want to improve ourselves for the better, but first we must love ourselves. Two and a half years ago I stepped away from the blogging world I was caught up in (due to our living situation), and had time to really be where I am here and now. And enjoy and appreciate it just simply for itself. Not to notice it so I could share it online and boast about it, but to soak it up. I haven't found I needed to do that with IG. I've learnt instead to follow people who make me feel inspired by their images, their words and (most importantly) their community connections. And to feel happy for them for their wonderful situations, not jealous - because they are people who deserve good things too, and who work hard for those good things. 

Also - and this is the important one - I've learnt to notice, appreciate and love moments in my life that I can share. Be sharing them on IG and here, I sometimes take more notice of them. By photographing and thinking about a moment I take it in. Sometimes I don't take photos, I simply take in the moment - and that's the best isn't it!
So, instead of showing the ugly, uninspiring things that don't bring me joy in my life and my days, I actively choose to share the joyful creative inspiring nurturing beauty-filled moments. By noticing things I make them bigger in my life. 

I think this is such an important thing for us all to do. Yes, please do keep it real - you don't need to show off to friends, or to impress people, but if you share those moments that bring you real joy and where you see beauty you will notice it more in your own life, and find the anxiety of watching other people's perfect lives will diminish as you start to see the beauty of your life - no-one's life is perfect, those people are simply choosing to share the moments that bring them joy and beauty.

*I am not at all suggesting that we ignore everything bad in our lives, for some things do need to be looked at and dealt with and talked about. I think it's important to talk about a lot of things that are sometimes hidden. But if that's all you focus on, if you cannot find one moment of beauty, please please look harder at a flower in your street or the clouds across the sky or the meal you cooked for your family. (Or please go and talk with someone in real who can help you to love yourself and see the beauty in your day).

And please be kind to yourself!

Ellie xxx

in the raindrops and the early mist

"Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf" Rabindranath Tagore

The weather has been quite spectacular this past month. Hot hot days combined with afternoon Summer storms. Creating beautiful scenes everywhere we look. 

I captured this lightning shot on my phone - after a crazy hot and sticky day we headed for the creek to cool down, only to be joined by the most amazing company of thunder and lightning across the valley. A quick jump in the water and then driving home in the pouring rain.

I endlessly find inspiration in the tiny minute details of a blade of grass or a thread of spider silk. A rain drop rolling down a leaf is such an intoxicating moment to enjoy.

Creative Business Talks - in conversation Teegs from Ink and Spindle

This image used with kind thanks to Artisan Magazine

Tegan Rose is one-beautiful half of the dynamic duo that is Ink & Spindle*; one of this country’s top bespoke screen printing businesses, and a true success story for any small business creative aiming to follow a sustainable and ethical path.

Tegan, call her Teegs, started her career as an art teacher, and discovered she liked the art making and teaching more than the department and rules. A chance meeting led her to her now business partner, Lara Cameron, and the start of a beautiful business that has grown and flourished since it's beginning five years ago.

Ink & Spindle hand screen print organic sustainable fabric, using designs that are organic and nature-based, with modern interpretations and stunning colourways. But this is not all that the pair do! Teegs and Lara are eager to share their passion for sustainable and ethical business with others by sharing their story and experiences with interns as well as their 'competitors'; other creatives and makers.

Being naturally generous, Teegs is back in her heart-home town of Byron Bay for a short while (after sailing a pirate ship from Melbourne. Yep. It's true. She's the daughter of pirates!), and can’t wait to share with you her insights into small business, staying sustainable and ethical, collaborations and partnerships, a view into the fabric and fashion industry, as well as how to stay connected to your true journey and build a work/life balance that makes you contented and fulfilled.

This talk will be an informal night, with questions being answered along the way. Teegs has a broad knowledge on pricing, wholesaling, markets and trade shows, as well as collaborating with others (collaborations include NancyBird Accessories and Matt bags), open studio days, running a Pozible campaign, applying for grants and much more. Ask the question and she’s sure to know the answer!

There’ll be cake (did I mention Teegs’ brother is a chef….), conversation, new friendships and beautiful connections made on the night. Please bring along some business cards to share with others. 

*please please go and visit the Ink & Spindle website, it's such an amazing site with fabulous features, including colour matching their designs and base cloth. I find I&S to be a youthful, vibrant partnership with forward thinking in their business aspect, combined with a heart-felt and honest approach, honouring traditional skills and environmental concerns. 

Conversation with Teegs from Ink & Spindle - Wednesday 9th October, 6.30-8.30pm. Held at Byron Lifestyle store and coffee shop, 109 Johnson St, Byron Bay. $45. Bookings essential - book online here.  

** all images used with kind thanks from Ink & Spindle website, except image of Lara and Teegs used with thanks to Artisan Magazine.

why Instagram is so much more than pretty pictures

I just realised that the freaking amazing thing about Instagram is that it's a whole lot more than itself.

When I talk to people, who are my Instagram friends, and my real-life friends, they get what I'm talking about. You might not be an Instagram person, so I wanted to explain it a little more to you. What Instagram really is!

Yesterday someone said to me that Instagram is for the kids, she meant teenagers. And yeah, for sure IG is for the kids, the teenagers. But so much more than that. Oh golly. SO.MUCH.MORE.

This is why I think you *need* to come along to the IG talk I'm hosting as part of Creative Business Talks.  Some of the reasons anyway. I'd be here forever if I shared all the reasons. So I'm narrowing to the main reasons. Mostly they come from what I get out of my personal experience with IG, and from what I've seen other people get out of it. And what we all put it.

1. It's fun. So fun. Part of the best gang.group.club ever. But there's no horrible initiation rituals, there's only a whole lot of lovin'. For sure. Don't believe me? Join up to IG now and find out for yourself.

2. You'll meet people. Yep, like old fashioned penpals. Except you can say good night to these people with sweet thoughtful and lovely messages, and someone on the other side of the world will get it when they wake up in the morning. Or even your friend up the road who you haven't run into for a few days.

3. Every single day you'll be inspired. Not only by the amazing beautiful interesting unusual stunning images that people share - from everywhere, all over, all walks of life and all parts of the world - but by what you put into it. By what you give. It makes me think about my daily adventures in an excellent way. I want to share the beautiful in my life with others, and that makes me *see* it more clearly. {And no, it's not about ignoring the mess of life, or hiding the truth, or pretending we're all superhumans. It's about seeing the beauty in everyday}.

4. You'll get some great contacts that may or may not turn into customers / clients / collaborators / connections / cool fun people (that one yep, the cool fun people bit will happen for sure!).

5. People will support you. Having a bad day - let people know and they'll send you love. I know it - it's happened to me. A simple heart and x from one of my IG friends is sometimes the biggest thing that gets me going. There'll also be a lot of love for things you make. People are supportive and friendly and caring and sharing.

6. You have a record anywhere you carry your phone of all those inspiring things you do and make. You can show people what cool stuff you do and make. You can keep a collection for yourself, in a really cool and easy to access spot, of the cool-eo stuff you make, do, see....

Ok. There's a start. Why I really really do think you need to come along and hear all about IG. For me, I've been loving seeing all the flowers blooming across the world - I never get to have peonies in my house as they don't like the heat, but ah ha - I can see them on IG by those who share with me. And woah - the stunning, simply spectacular magnolias that are flowering all up and down the east coast right now (but not in my garden), oh just too good.

Please send questions or comments. I know some of you may not be IG converts, but I'm on a mission to help us all find the beauty-full in every day and share that with our IG friends.

Ready to sign up? Book here for our workshop.  

*All of these images are used with kindest thanks from the IG stream of Ally, IG Sapa, who blogs over here at everyday miracles. Check out her Instagram feed for so much more than floral love.

Instagram for Creatives - Creative Business Talks with Leah Deighton

Last year I met the most wonderful person, who has become a dear friend and inspiring creative connection. Jo Olive and I have joined our combined talents together to form Creative Business Talks.

Our aim is to bring guest speakers who have skills, experience and a beautiful personality to share with you their knowledge and journey. Being a creative and running your own business is often hard and feels like you're all alone; the reality is that our region has the biggest percentage of creatives outside of a major city in Australia. There are lots of us here, in our studios and workspaces. Creative Business Talks will bring us together, with a combined sense of sharing our skills and our love of being small business creatives. Please read more about us over here.

Our first talk to kick off the new direction is something that we believe every small business and creative maker should be an active part of. Instagram is one of the most powerful of social media forums available for us. Since it's inception in October 2010, Instagram has rivaled Facebook so much that they bought the company to stop any competition! The Creative Business Talks team use Instagram daily, to promote their own small business as well as connect with like-minded makers.

Our guest is the beautifully humble Leah Deighton, who runs the curated online store Sang the Bird, filled with handcrafted goodness. Leah's Instagram images share her heartfelt days with the world, and allow her to live her life in the forest while maintaining her website and being a full time mama. Through her Instagram feed, Leah has been featured on the Times daily blog and in print media Flow Magazine, as well as other online features.

Our talk will take you through the basics of Instagram, including beginners how to, Leah's favourite apps to use, her journey and how Instagram has changed Leah's daily outlook on life, as well as made connections world wide. We have personally seen the benefits of Instagram for small business owners, in the creative realm, from direct sales and customer contact through to media and other promotion.

Instagram for Creative Business Talk - Thursday 19th September, 2013. 6.30-9pm. Held at the Tweed River Art Gallery workshop space. $40 per ticket. Includes tea, coffee, nibbles and take home notes as well as the chance to have fun with our little Instagram photo booth session! Bookings available here.

*all images are from Leah's Instagram feed. Please please go and have a look, and check out here blog too.

The Red Thread- Space to Create

I first found out about Lisa's beautiful blog, design and making many years ago when her friend, Steph Bond, connected some dots between us, asked for some words and thoughts - which I was ever so pleased to be able to pass on. Since then, I've enjoyed visiting Lisa's blog, and being wowed by her skills in taking traditional crafts and reworking them into a modern interpretation. Her tutorials are amazing, with so much detail and thought and time gone into each one. Lisa's styling of her images, as well as the snippets of her home (that she shares with her daughter), are perfectly put together, in a simple and loved way. 
In the past six months I've been lucky to enjoy Lisa's instagram feed; which brings daily joy to many people through her love of bold clear colour and  sharing of skills. I'm so inspired by how Lisa works, and what she produces. 

So, it was completely amazing and humbling for me to receive an invitation from Lisa, a few weeks ago, to be part of her Space to Create blog posts. Where she shares an interview and images from creatives who inspire Lisa. Wow - to know that I inspire someone who inspires me. That's the wonderful circles I'm traveling at the moment!

Anyway, pop on over to Lisa's blog The Read Thread, to read my words on being a creative; a little snippet into our world and my life as a maker. While you're there, please be sure to check out Lisa's tutorials as well as the other Space to Create artists.

Thank you Lisa for your words. xx

practicing simplicity / the "i" issue!

I've recently been really enjoying reading and thinking about the little post series that Jodi has been writing about on her blog Che and Fidel. Called Practicing Simplicity, Jodi is slowly and beautifully moving through different aspects of everyday moments of life to find the beautiful and simple in her days. It's inspiring me so much in ways I'm thinking. Often taking small moments of time with dedicated movements can make changes that ever so evolve into new ways. 
This article is a great starting point of ideas to work towards, found on Jodi's first simplicity post. 

I hope each week to come here with ideas and goals to work towards, as well as some achieved. To share with you how I'm moving, thoughts on why and what.

One of the biggest distractions in our daily life right now, the thing that is simple in itself, yet eats time and attention and direct eye contact. Our iphones. For they are not just phones are they. These things that bring so much, yet take so much. Some nights I'm disgusted to find all four of us - kids and adults - on a device each, sitting in the same room and communicating through these machines. We have three iphones (Sam and I have one each, and we have an old one that isn't connected to the telephone system but the kids play games and connect through our wifi) and also an ipad.
Sometimes I console myself that we don't have a tv, and the kids aren't watching cartoons every morning or junk every afternoon, like other families. But we are not other families. And I do not want us to be other families.

I will admit here and now that I am somewhat ever so slightly addicted to instagram. Oh ok - you know better. It's where I am, when I'm not here (and I haven't been here much have I!!). I feel at times it sits on the healthy addiction side of inspiration. But when I find myself hitting refresh endlessly wondering why no-one's posted a new picture in the last 17seconds, those are the moments I know it's not healthy. 

So, my practicing simplicity this week will be:
+ no checking of emails on my phone at all. Do that on my computer only (unless there's an important message I'm expecting), twice a day.
+ no instagram in the morning before school - turn off all notifications (I currently have comments notifications set)
+ limit each instagram session to 10minutes at a time. Over coffee in the morning is ok - after kids have gone on the bus.
+ no instagram between 3 - 8pm, this is kid focus time.
+ no late night 3am instagram sessions (that surely sounds like a bad habit doesn't it!). 
+ I do not currently play any games or other apps on my phone so don't need to limit these. 
+ the children may play the ipad only once they have completed all afternoon chores & homework, and not after dinner time or before school time. They may use it for research for school homework.

This is a start. And no small start I feel, to making some little changes to our days. To stopping and looking in the eyes of my family a bit longer, and not wondering what new images I'm missing on instagram.