25 creative things I did while not being an artist

25 creative things I did while not being an artist

I’m on the cusp of change this year, seeing new opportunities emerge as I begin to shift my energy to more creative work. Having taken up ceramics in a big way this year, I've been thinking about women who embark on creative projects or careers later in life. I’m not starting with a blank slate. [...]

Releasing objects

Releasing objects

This is a collage I made some years ago. It's called 17 years in 98 pieces. From childhood until my early 20s, I collected mementos that I found meaningful and beautiful. Cards from my mum, sisters and friends; tickets to Japanese castles and temples; a postcard from a German boy I met at a party; [...]

Clay Stories – contemporary indigenous ceramics

Clay Stories – contemporary indigenous ceramics

I've been looking forward to this exhibition for months! Clay Stories is a touring exhibition of contemporary indigenous ceramics from five remote Australian communities: Hermannsburg Potters in the Central Desert (Northern Territory), Ermabella Arts in South Australia, Erub Arts in the Torres Strait Islands, Girringun Aboriginal Arts Centre in far north Queensland and Tiwi Designs [...]

Tiny pottery studio

Tiny pottery studio

In the backyard of a house in suburban Melbourne sits a tiny house. Tucked into the corner between the carport and fence, under the shade of a lilac-flowered paulownia tree, it was built as a cubby for two children who have since outgrown it. After a trip to Scotland, I took to annoying my kids [...]

Botanical ceramics

Botanical ceramics

When I started making ceramics, I had no preconceptions about what I wanted to make. It was all just play: getting my hands into the clay and disconnecting from the left side of my brain. Over the years, I'd pinned quite a few ceramics pictures in Pinterest. There was no clear intention - I just [...]

Creative rebirth

Creative rebirth

More than anything, I am driven by curiosity and a deep desire to learn. This desire led me, three years ago, to take on a job and postgraduate studies that exposed me to new spheres of knowledge and tested my capacity to deal with unfamiliar challenges every day. I believed in what I was doing, [...]

Suburban dreaming: a haiku sketchbook

Suburban dreaming: a haiku sketchbook

Last year I visited the Brooklyn Art Library, home of a brilliant public art project, The Sketchbook Library. Over 41,000 5"x7" sketchbooks from 130 countries can be viewed in person, on tour and online. I was inspired to bring home my own sketchbook, which I've now almost completed. My sketchbook combines pen and watercolour drawings [...]

Paris – my mind is blown

Paris – my mind is blown

Ah, Paris. It was my first visit, and after Lyon, Strasbourg and Reims, the culmination of our French library tour. I confess I didn't experience the fabled, unequivocal "falling in love with Paris" in the four short days I was there. It's a city of 12 million people, plus what feels like a million tourists [...]

Melbourne Now exhibition

Melbourne Now exhibition

I visited the Melbourne Now exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria on two occasions - first with my dad and kids, and later with colleagues from the State Library. Here are some snapshots from my first visit. One of my favourite exhibits was this modest and idiosyncratic display of drawings curated by artist John [...]

How I saw in the new year

Happy New Year! Here's what I was doing at midnight: Feeding ice cubes to my feverish husband, who has been down with the flu for three days. Half-watching The Karate Kid (new version) with my kids, who were determined to make it to midnight. Listening to fireworks in the distance. Painting fish. If there's any [...]

Documentary drawing class

Documentary drawing class

Today my 10-year-old daughter Ling and I spent the afternoon at a "documentary drawing" class at Abbotsford Convent. The Pop-Up School class was taught by the talented Lily Mae Martin. Lily is a visual artist and writer who produces detailed pen drawings (and some oil paintings) of expressive faces and figures, reflecting her fascination with [...]

Reflections on creativity, or Why I’m sick of having a split personality

Reflections on creativity, or Why I’m sick of having a split personality

I've been thinking about creativity. I'm a project manager. I plan stuff. I organise stuff. I anticipate risks, juggle resources, manage budgets, work to deadlines, document everything for the benefit of auditors and posterity. I'm good at my job. I'm also a creative person. At home, I plant gorgeous plants and delight in living surrounded [...]

Sketching at the Linda Jackson exhibition

Sketching at the Linda Jackson exhibition

Back in June, Ling (my 9-year-old daughter) and I went to Federation Square for the opening of the Melbourne Jazz Festival, to take part in a public singing session with Katie Noonan and  bunch of other wonderful singers and musicians. Afterwards we took our sketchbooks into the Ian Potter Centre (National Gallery of Victoria's Australia [...]

Schools of fish and ships

Schools of fish and ships

I'm a little bit obsessed with patterns. I was a geeky and creative kid, interested in both maths and art. I still like logic puzzles, patchwork, granny square rugs, geometric shapes in nature (bubbles, shells, leaf whorls, snowflakes...), Islamic tiles, Indian henna designs and Japanese paper. These paintings by Adam Lester appealed to me (pictures from Jan [...]