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. [...]

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 [...]

School of the road

School of the road

My daughter Ling turned 13 this month. She's a sponge for new information at the moment, discovering gaps in her knowledge which it's a pleasure to help her fill. We have a lot of conversations along the lines of: "Who's Marilyn Monroe?" "Oh my god, you need to watch Some Like it Hot immediately". To [...]

!kun drawings from the Lloyd Collection

!kun drawings from the Lloyd Collection

I wanted to share a find which made a profound impression on me. At the National Library of South Africa, tucked away on the balcony above the domed reading room, was an extraordinary exhibition, not fully installed yet, drawn from the Bleek and Lloyd Collection. In the mid-nineteen century the San people (Bushmen) were being [...]

Return to Japan

Return to Japan

My first overseas trip, at the age of 19, was to Tokyo, accompanying my Japanese boyfriend while he sought treatment for cancer. I spent mornings at intensive language classes, afternoons sitting on the end of his bed at the National Cancer Centre, and evenings teaching English or getting drunk in Roppongi bars. I lived with [...]

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 [...]

Bush camping in Lerderderg

Bush camping in Lerderderg

Over the Anzac Day long weekend we went camping in Lerderderg State Park, 14,250 hectares of rocky, scrubby bush about an hour north-west of Melbourne. Normally we avoid camping in school holidays and on long weekends. We prefer to stage 'commando' camping raids on regular weekends, doing a quick set-up on Friday night and driving [...]

Snippets of Gove

Snippets of Gove

In January my kids, my mum and I visited my brother and his family in Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula in far north east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Geographically and culturally, this is about as far as you can get from Melbourne and still be in Australia. It was deep wet season so we were [...]

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 [...]

White Night Melbourne

White Night Melbourne

Last Saturday I headed into town for the first White Night Melbourne, a nocturnal celebration in Melbourne's arts precinct. Running from 7pm Saturday to 7am Sunday, the program included all-night opening hours at the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne Museum, National Gallery of Victoria, the Arts Centre, Federation Square and ACMI, as well as street [...]

The Big Prune 2012

The Big Prune 2012

It's that time of year again when I get out the secateurs, shears and loppers and hack into the garden. Since starting this blog three years ago, a clear seasonal pattern has emerged: Late autumn - admire the tangle of lush growth, bemoan the plants that didn't survive the summer, and start thinking "I really [...]

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 [...]

Laneway street art

Laneway street art

My 9-year-old daughter and I recently went lane-crawling in Melbourne's CBD, looking at street art. She took many of these shots in and around Hosier Lane. The best bit was watching all the people enthusiastically checking out the graffiti. We'd just come from the Ian Potter Gallery across the road at Fed Square, and I [...]