a hero

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, You’ll never come up with anything original”

Sir Ken Robinson

I listen carefully to anything that Sir Ken Robinson has to say whether it is a talk from RSA Animates (stimulating talks often accompanied by the sped-up work of an artist mapping the talk and fascinating to watch just for this alone)  or on TED.com (Technology, Entertainment and Design).

It is well worth the 11 minutes and 41 seconds to listen to Changing Education Paradigms: the blurb on You Tube says, “this animate was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA’s Benjamin Franklin award.”

Now I definitely wasn’t the product of an ideal system in the ’50s and ’60s however I think, as an educator, that I strive for the changes desired.

On TED.com there are several talks by Sir Ken however one of my favourites would have to be where he says that Schools Kill Creativity, with 10,704,880 views I think you might there are a lot of people who would agree that it’s worth 20 minutes of your time.

This is just a little insight to what I consider important.  Now, off to work to see if I can make a creative difference.

saturday play

One of my favourite things about Saturday morning is that early coffee in bed, checking out some of my favourite blogs and planning how I will spend the day.    When I checked out Diana Trout’s blog I loved the painting she had done after visiting Connie Hozvicka’s tutorial on 21 Secrets at Dirty Footprints Studio – I was inspired!

Green FlowI mucked around with the pull-tags off envelopes, acrylic paint and a white pen – sorry I can’t tell you what brand as I bought it in Japan and there’s no English on it at all.  I was much more loose with a brush than usual and doodling with the pen was addictive – I sort of got lost in the flow!  I don’t think it’s quite finished – a little detailing in black?  What do you think?

Green detailIn this close up you can make out the ‘open here’ tags.  So, some black, highlighting the white, embellishing the faint black markings?

the day-job

After 4 weeks back at full-time work I can honestly say I am thoroughly enjoying it.  I think I may have said before that great colleagues and work that provides both an intellectual and creative challenge makes for an excellent combination.   I don’t even mind, and in fact I enjoy using my house at the beach as a weekend holiday home.   There is only one snag in all this.

So what is the one drawback?   I don’t get to do that much mucking around – and yes I know I’ll gradually pick things up from where I left them there on the back-burner – but I want it all, the day-job as well as the time to indulge in creative pursuits.

This week, I have been reading, knitting (it’s getting colder and I want to finish this cardigan for my grand-daughter), some journal writing but little else – I haven’t even finished the bear’s clothing!

The book I’m reading, or should I say drooling over, is on doll making and borrowed from the Palmerston North library.   I met Lynette Collis working there – I do so enjoy her blog All of Me.    The book is Cloth Dolls for Textile Artists by Ray Slater – just the cover made my fingers itch for wire, yarn, fabric and embroidery thread!  Check out her website – it’s now saved in my inspirational bookmarks folder.  I hope I haven’t breached copyright using this image off the web.

I arrived back home for the weekend to find not one, but two copies of Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking by Jill K. Berry had been delivered by Fishpond – as I only ordered and paid for one copy, I’ll need to send the other back.  A while back I had a library copy and just had to buy my own copy so I guess you know what’s happened to much of my weekend.

Again, I’m not sure if I’m breaching copyright using these images but I don’t know who I should ask or credit – and I daresay the artists won’t object to the publicity – and it’s certainly well-deserved!

I do wish I had more time to just muck around she thinks wistfully!

inner critic bugging you?

Then listen to this: Brene Brown, Listening to Shame.  Take the 20 minutes and listen, come back and comment.

Excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship In A Republic” delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

I’m just a beginner . . .

a pair of bears

There is a small bear on the couch complaining that it feels neglected – such whinging you never heard from a bear!

I washed both bears’ clothing and started darning the moth holes in one bear’s pants – before I knew it I was running amok with embroidery thread.   I managed to stop myself short of adding beads and sequins as I think the bear, formerly referred to as he,was about to undergo a gender reassignment operation for which I don’t have signed consent.   It now looks decidedly androgynous.

Well, the mended bear has a friend who is feeling out-of-sorts – I am being accused of neglect!  He(?) has very plain clothes and is beginning to insist on a make-over.   He doesn’t mind his worn face and paws, however he feels a little bare and would like to have some jazzy clothes to wear just like his friend.  I though at first he said he felt a little bear and told him to leave his friend alone but he soon set me straight.  He says that just because he’s getting older, that’s no reason to be drab and I must admit I feel much the same way.

Small bear - as a boy

small bear number 1 – before, as a boy bear?

after being mended – with friend

The pink arms are the fabric the body is made from – I seem to have misplaced the green jacket that, although stained, is to be replaced along with that stunning, perfectly matched, pair of buttons in the photo.  If I can’t find the jacket I will make some wonderful sleeves out of the same blanket ribbon I used for the bow.  The second bear, as you can see, is looking a tad grumpy.

These bears could both end up without an identifiable gender but I’m sure they won’t really mind too much.

how I darn moth-holes – is there another way?

I set out to do a sympathetic restoration but somehow . . .  I’m reasonably sure my mother, who made the bears just over 35 years ago, would approve.


If this Theo Jansen TED talk doesn’t fill you with wonder . . . nothing will.   It has to be my absolute favourite – I must have viewed it about 4 or 5 times.

Here’s the TED.com blurb

Artist Theo Jansen demonstrates the amazingly lifelike kinetic sculptures he builds from plastic tubes and lemonade bottles. His creatures are designed to move — and even survive — on their own.

Theo Jansen is a Dutch artist who builds walking kinetic sculptures that he calls a new form of life. His “Strandbeests” walk the coastline of Holland, feeding on wind and fleeing from water.

Otaki BeachWe’d love to see a Strandbeest on my beach!


a significant change of pace

I have done nothing but day-job work all week, arriving home happily tired and usually with some professional reading.  I know it will settle down but in the meantime the poor bear didn’t get mended, very little of my grand-daughter’s cardigan got knitted and I didn’t open my little Moleskine all week, not to mention the brocade quilt!  I’ve been productive and busy so why give myself a hard time about it?  I know I am not Superwoman, don’t want to be Superwoman, never aspired to be superwoman, in fact the whole concept of a superwoman stinks!  Ah, I feel better now that I’ve given her a small ‘s’ which is all that particular friend of my inner critic deserves!

Starting work full-time after a year’s part-time work and 3 months of being unemployed has been quite a shift – albeit an energising and intellectually stimulating one.

With winter coming on I start each day with a 20 km drive through the countryside just after sunrise and reverse the trip at sundown – I don’t even mind the smell of the occasional truck full of sheep as they remind me of sheep being driven down the road past my father’s shop when I was a kid – I’m immediately transported back and can hear the sound of their feet on the macadam, the dogs barking.   Smells are so evocative aren’t they?

Monday and Friday, as I leave the beach behind for the week, I leave even earlier when it is still dark and arrive home with the sun just setting beyond the horizon of the sea.  There is something I find truly wonderful about leaving a sleeping town in the early hours of the morning – I love that sense of adventure and new beginnings that it engenders.

The day job.  I have absolutely wonderful colleagues – knowledgable, generous, hard-working, humourous, caring – and a job that requires us to be endlessly creative in how support people to solve the difficulties that face them each day.   I just love a challenge and think perhaps creative problem solving is my strength – I just wish I was as adept when it comes to my own!  Maybe I am . . . when you’re so close in, sometimes it’s hard to be both objective and yet free in your thinking.

On Friday (yes you North Americans, it’s a perfect, calm, sunny autumn Saturday morning here), I attended a day of strategic planning – more wonderful colleagues meeting up with a clear focus – and had some reading to do about goal setting to overcome the discrepancy between the current situation or conditions and what was desirable.  I came upon the words CONSTRUCTIVE DISCONTENT.  Fantastic descriptor don’t you think?

I’ve never considered discontent or criticism to be necessarily negative although many do – to me it’s simply a signal that change is needed.  The trouble is, when I read a phrase that resonates such as ‘constructive discontent’ it rambles around in my mind and I start thinking and thinking and thinking and . . . you know what I mean?  I need to DO something with this!

So while I haven’t been terribly creative in the evenings, my days are endlessly challenging and satisfying.  Lucky me!

Lucky me this morning too – a plunger (French press) of coffee, return to bed, laptop, favourite blogs, washing on, sunshine pouring in – and to top it off I have a fresh new copy of Cloth Paper Scissors that was delivered to my mailbox!!!

I’m one very happy woman!Walking to the beachAnd with this just 2 minutes from my front door?  Blessed in the extreme.  Of course life throws up challenges which I sometimes struggle to keep in proportion, but . . . life is so good.

Now, what to do, what to do. . . .?  The library have found a copy of Jill Berry’s Personal Geographies on interloan for me, my machine is calling, I want to call some friends and . . . I think I need more than just a weekend!