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Photographical Biography

Life B.B.   (Before Baby)

Born in Rylestone and grown in the Blue Mountains, I left home rather dramatically at 14, and eventually moved to the Bathurst region, where I worked as a Stable hand at Wongaburra Stud, as a Dish hand, and Framers assistant.  


Till I got a compensation payment from my father's death in Granville when I turned 18, and went overseas on the Great Australian Backpackers tour of Europe. Managed to be in Berlin for the wall coming down, learnt how to skull a pint in 3 seconds, and met lots of family in The Nederlands.  Worked as a Barmaid in Islington, a Nanny in Golders Green, and finally got homesick and went home.  


Nannied for two of my sister-in-laws, did a Receptionist course at Blacktown TAFE, and then got a job as the Postal Clerk at the Blue Mountains City Council in Katoomba.  Went through a bit of a Dame Edna phase, and called everyone Blossom and Possum, and they threw three parties for me, when I left to work in North Sydney as a Life Insurance Saleswoman.  


Prided myself on getting offered three jobs in the middle of the 80's recession, and wore lots of Nutrimetics, mini skirts and high heels.  Lived in Lane Cove and partied like there was no tomorrow.


Or until I got pregnant at the age of 21...........

Life A.B.   (After Baby)

I was totally floored.  Having a baby was somehow much more and much less than I thought it would be, all at the same time.  


I started finding out about feminism, and goddess lore, going to guided meditation groups and hooking up with a spiritual mentor who took me through a Pre Birthing process, taught me energy healings and channeling, and supported my blossoming Tarot skills. In between all of this I was also a legal secretary for a Lawyer/Plumber.


Came out into the rather lush lesbian scene in the Blue Mountains during the 90's, and D.J'd for local lesbian dances, had a Radio Show "Post Anarchy" on 2BLUFM, volunteered to perform old style cut and paste Desktop Publishing for the Mountain Lesbian News, or MLN magazine, and me and my mate organised the best Annual Womens Forum ever. I was also a Relief Worker at Katoomba Womens Refuge.  During this time, I also got my photograph taken in a Dungeon at a Wicked Women party by William Yang, for his rather famous photography book "Friends of Dorothy".


Worked in a leather shop making leather goods, did my first group for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse, made wands with crystals and feathers and gorgeous pieces of wood, which I sold at the first ever Winter Magic Festival (the only year it got to be truly pagan), and then started my very first business - the Centre of Innovative Arts, or the CIA at the age of 26.  My business logo was a triangle with an eye in the top corner, and I hadn't even heard illuminati conspiracies then!  I was doing desktop publishing, and created the first Internet Cafe in Katoomba, with a business partner who did Art As Play workshops and we ran a gallery.  


Till it got confusing, running into people who alternately knew me as an ex mormon,  ex council worker, ex RSL root rat, lesbian or bisexual, and I decided to create a fresh start for myself.


How better to do that than move to South Australia, where I'd never been before? When I was 27 I got a Certificate in Introductory Vocational Education at Onkaparinga TAFE, which led to doing the Foundation Course at Flinders University, which then led to doing 6 months of a Behavioural Science degree.  I went back to the Blue Mountains for a holiday at the age of 28, and bumped into Currawong for the first time....

Just to add to this little list of Certificates, and to avoid messing with the romantic flow of this bio, in the very beginning of our relationship when I was 28, I also did an N.L.P. Practitioner Certification Program with Southern Lands N.L.P.

Just after meeting Currawong for the first time, I went home and lived in a wierd little twilight zone for a bit, where a book fell out of me.....
It started off as a little note to remember how it had been (Currawong to this day, treats me with the utmost respect and dignity, despite my sexual past), an
d then turned into a big creative visualisation of what I wanted and an autobiographical science fiction fantasy.  To read more check out my page 'Books and Wares'.

Then came Currawong

Every cliche of love at first sight consumed us as we fell into each others eyes, smitten irevocably.....
After a two year courtship of lust, and pushing each others boundaries, and trusting each other with our deepest darkest secrets, we turned onto the path of deep honesty and sex, pregnancy, birth and bonding, and spent our 30's having babies. 
7 of them in fact.......

On this journey together we experienced one hospital birth, two homebirths, then an emergency caesarean, followed closely by the birthing of twins at home 2 days apart, and not long after that the 'epitome of a sacred, sexual homebirth'.......

Enter Spinning Stage Left.....

When I was 30 my mother gave me a spinning wheel as a birthing present for our first child together.  She sat me down at it, said "Spin clockwise, ply anti-clockwise, and learn when to stop..." and then walked out.  So I sat up till 2am every morning till I had it worked out.  



And another love affair was born.  Alongside meeting my soulmate and birthing, this yarn was spun.  I was to finally meet the meditation that I wanted and craved, along with the therapy that I didn't even realise I needed.


It literally brought me into my body.


This is my first studio in an old Congregationalist church in Macclesfield, South Australia, with my first skeins on the wall. And where I learnt and hosted an Introduction to Spinning course with a groovy woman from the Mt Barker Spinners and Weavers Guild.  But mostly I've prided myself on working out my own way of doing everything.


We also owned a rather splendid Studio Gallery in Peterborough for a while....

Enter Markets Stage Right.....

Even though we'd had nothing to do with markets before......we started one after reading an article about the True Food Revolution in The Bulletin, in 2002.  It was one of the most amazing periods of our lives.
Where we learnt more than a little about the power of Self Organisation, or Community Capacity Building.

In March 2003 we started the second farmers market (though we called it a Growers Market) in the country, in Macclesfield, South Australia.  We helped this market self organise successfully, to the point that Postcards called us "a mini Womad every Sunday", for over 5 years.


Babies were born, a couple got married, our biggest fan died in our arms, we had a Talent Show, there were International Performers and personalities, we had a 'Hippies, Hotrods and Horsepower' show, ran a strawberry jelly wrestling gig at the Strawberry Fete, and hosted a Freedom Festival.  We also started a branch of the Greens party.  


It was a time of incredible experience and evidence, to the power of self organised social interactions, based around acceptance and love of people for who they were, with no dogma.  The gentle art of hanging out. And it was profound. Many people and ideas blossomed.  We even had a national workshop on Community Capacity Building turn up at our market, to see how it was done.


We were Anarchists, Activists, Earthy Hippies, Human Animal Liberationists, and started also calling ourselves Flowmads - Nomads that go with the Flow.

When spinning and markets combined...

It was like I got a power boost to be as wild and creative as I liked. With an audience that turned up every sunday to see what I'd been making THIS week, I was prompted to greater heights!  I started getting involved in Exhibitions and Festivals.  

I was part of a Wearable Art group exhibition invited by Evelyn Roth as a SALA event in Willunga in 2005, and a Performance Artist turned up from Canada just for the event.....she's the woman in the wild feather headdress, and the other model is wearing my sleeves and 'Moonblood' skirt.  A lot of my work was featured, and I had a blast at the opening.

Here's one of my very first stalls at our Market, with skeins, hats, and water bottle holders.  And a skull.

Our whole family travelled to Alice Springs for the Beanie Festival in 2005, where I entered two hats in the main exhibition called 'We're all sheep except me, I'm a RAM!' and 'Not all Australians are cold hearted.' Along with a whole bunch of other hats in Beanie Central.  I met Penny O'Neil, and the very gorgeous Megan Jack, who became our travelling-in-a-bus mentor.


We also made it to a few markets in the mall in Alice Springs while we were there, and made many friends along the way.

While we were travelling, we managed to visit some of the most popular markets in the country, like Eumundi, Byron Bay and The Channon as well as Festivals like Rainbow Serpent and Gobbledegook.  


We also spent time at the Tent Embassy in Canberra, in time for Currawong to help in a performance art piece choreographed by a beloved elder, and experience the sacred fire.  


Along with our Macclesfield market, we were also doing the Waldorf Fairs and other events all around the Adelaide Hills.  I once sent off a 4 piece 'Mermaid' outfit to the Wool Fashion Awards.  Which they sent back rather quickly :)


And all of this was done, driving around in our Toyota Commuter van, that used to be an army van, that I turned into a psychadelic crocheted Hippy van.....from swords to plough shares, as they said in the Militarly Vehicles Display, that we were part of for Macclesfields Strawberry Fete. 

I was a part of a Fringe group exhibition called 'Wildwood', in Macclesfield in 2006, in which I was incredibly fortunate to work alongside the beautiful Sandy Soul, a craftivist from the 70's, who gave me many tips about intallations.... 


It was also a natural extension of what the market had been conjuring in terms of self expression and acceptance, and we took on the massive sculpture of a black woman on a cross, that was too hot for the Fringe, at our market.  There was also a labyrinth made in the church that had been my studio.

When it comes down to it, I've always been my biggest fan, and desperate to photograph my journey and the ones that got away, I just learnt how to take a photo.  
Around this time we were living in Peterborough, and I lined up a stunning mother and daughter team to have a photo shoot, but they had a big fight that morning, so Currawong filled in.  The photos we took that day are some of my favourites still.
And another day, we organised a picnic/dress up day in Kuitpo forest, and my extremely gorgeous and talented soul sister Sienna Bigg took, I believe, the most stunning photos of my work to date.  
While we were hanging out and drumming and eating and playing dressups, everyone got you do.....and it was one of the most extraordinary little spontaneous events I've ever been a part of.  


In 2008 I took part in the Scarf Festival at Craft Victoria in Melbourne, I finished off one of the scarves - 'The Weeping Camel' on the way, with only a few centimeters of the dyepot left over. The editor of Yarn magazine made them invent a special mention just for my scarf, cause she couldn't believe that it hadn't gotten a prize.  I won a copy of Yarn magazine, a drop spindle from Ashford, and a bag of dyed fleece from my Fairy Fibre Mother back in S.A.!!  Funny that.  And I taught myself to drop spindle, and turned the fleece into a scarf within a day.  

2008 was also the year I started blogging.  I didn't realise it at the time, but the birthing of my twins over a three day period was going to launch me into international birthing fame, and also bring me to the attention of some rather vicious anti-homebirthing haters.  Which in turn taught me a lot about mine and others shadows.


Click here to read the first part of my twins birthing story on my old blog...

In 2009 and 2010 I was involved in two events in Hahndorf, 'Tribal Fibres' and 'Connecting Threads', in which Tribal Bellydancers wore mine and other wearable artists outfits, and danced to improvised drumming and music. I also provided the backdrops and stage art, and for the second event, a wool cave that was like a five petalled earth star.  A bellydancer emerged from it to dance at one point.


The first event 'Tribal Fibres' was so popular, that we put extra effort into telling the story of spinning and making on stage for 'Connecting Threads', involving kids dressed as sheep, and me and my Fibre Fairy Goddessmother on either sides of the stage, wrapping belly dancers up in roving from our wheels, and then unspinning them again.


These three photos on the left are also taken by Sienna Bigg....



In 2010 I was part of a group exhibition called 'Unravelled' at the Red Poles Gallery in Willunga, in which we were asked to unravel a favourite or purpose bought jumper, and then turn it into a tea cosy.


I picked a lovely green hued jumper from an op shop, pulled it apart, and then turned it into 'Ermintrudes Tree Cosy', cause it ended up looking like a tree from the Magic Roundabout.  I crocheted over wire to get it to keep its form, and as you can see, it can be used in a variety of ways.


I didn't take a photo of it at the exhibition, (that I can find anyway) but I did take a few of the other pieces I had in there, like those big wool bags, that went for more money than anything else I've ever sold!

In 2011 we relocated to the Hippie capital of Australia, Nimbin. We travelled up to the Rainbow Region camping as we went, 8 of us in our van, heavily pregnant with Zarra.


We were luckily in time to house sit for a fellow blogger that I'd never met in person before, Sally Ariad, and we instantly felt like we'd known each other forever.  


And we got caught and held so gracefully by Nimbin.  We hung out at the pool for 5 weeks, and unbeknownst to us at the time, we met most of town.  We got a house at Billen Cliffs Community from the couple that used to run the Organic Shop in town, Anna and David, based on how they felt us, rather than the pieces of paper we had.  But it wasn't available for a few weeks.


Robb Road Community generously welcomed us into their community house for the period inbetween, and then we moved onto Billen, that had been lovingly left mostly furnished, and were given beds by Darcy of 4 loaves.


Just in time to birth at home, having met our midwife only weeks before. And very honoured to receive a welcome party at the pool.   Where locals had done a whip around for clothes, toys, books and gifts, as a starter kit :)  

In 2012 I helped organise a book launch at Nimbin Birth and Beyond for 'Birth Journeys', a collection of positive birth stories compiled by Leonie MacDonald, in which I shared the story of the empowered caesarean I had with the birth of Balthazar.


We did a one off market stall at Nimbin Markets with our beautiful and exeptionally talented dear friend Selkin, who is now the proprietor of an amazing crafting and artisan fibre shop in Tasmania.


Our beloved Toyota Commuter van died, along with its back up, and after a short stint of extremely successful crowdfunding, we bought out Coaster bus that we promptly dubbed Flo.


And I vastly enjoyed two individual occasions with beautiful friends of ours, who stopped in spontaneously and ended up swept into a photo shoot.  One time it was accompanied by Currawong drumming and other friends who were there at the time, one of which was our beloved Red Lauren.


In 2013 I wrote a blog post about our market back in S.A., Coincidentally, a few days after the Nimbin Markets managers had resigned.  Within half an hour of the post being out, we were contacted and asked to take on Nimbin Markets. 


We caught it at the end of a 6 year period of going downhill, according to all the accounts I've heard. And a trail of market managers who wanted to imprint their mark.  Bringing our Community Capacity Building Skills to the fore, we did our best to accept and deal with everyone as sovereign people, removed all the rules and regulations, and became the closest thing to an Anarchist market we could.  


People came and went, and the shifting of the vibe was a delicate and amazing process.  The stage saw a few incarnations on its way to becoming a free space to jam, perform, express and delight, and saw some amazing international performers as well as locals.


We reinstigated the vision of the town market being the oldest form of community on the planet, and everything being Handmade, Handgrown, Fair Trade and Recycled.

In the beginning it was too hard to have a stall with my little boy pack, but then Griffyn got his first job babysitting the boys, so I had a stall at nearly every market.  


Rain, hail or shine, our Little Big Mob turned up to every market and helped folk set up, played with the other kids, and we all had an absolute blast.  


We had a special Solstice Market at the end of 2014, and we were very fortunate to be able to host Nimbins Inaugural Day Of The Dead in 2015, with the gorgeous women of Death and Beyond running the incredible workshops and ceremonies....




2013 was actually a very busy year apart from taking on Nimbin Market, we experienced the best and worst of community living, and ended up moving more than we would have liked to as a result of that.  


At the beginning of the year we packed ourselves into Flo, and headed to Queensland for Dragonflight Festival, which was an awesome gathering with a large representation of homeschooled kids and parents.


We moved into a hoarders mansion, and did a big makeover, which involved building a verandah surround, kitchen, and shelving out of bamboo, growing a huge amount of love and respect for this versatile and quick growing plant.  We also realised we were Wombles, I went through an Ectopic pregnancy, and that was the house where we learnt how to make rope.


Later in the year I helped organise a non-genderist and non-ageist Blessingway at Ponyland, which taught me a lot about how the stereotypes of 'men and children wanting to take over' was actually crap.


And we moved into another house with spectacular massive Fig trees, that inspired me to want to drape fibre art all around and over them, and I created my first yarn bombing experiment.  





In 2014 I took part in the first Annual Blue Knob Farmers Market Fibre Festival, and was thrilled to bump into Megan Jack again, and meet other exciting fibre artists.


I did my first ever talk while spinning, before a whole bunch of people, and it went well.  I had beautiful and elegant older ladies of Nimbin compliment me on my outfits, and tell me that I'd inspired them with my spinning talk.


I made a beautiful yellow and orange creature, that ended up going away as soon as it was finished to the beautiful Lisa Storm, a wonderful soul sister.  I also had a brief stint of making dread cosies....


I ran my first informal crochet session with 3 friends and 3 of my kids, out under the Guava tree, and it was a huge amount of fun, with two beanies coming out of it rapidly.


And I spent most of the year trawling through everything I'd ever written since spinning, along with every photo I'd taken, which is a vast oceanic amount. Putting it all together with patterns that I created, and photos that our whole family helped to make, to get my second book - 'Post Phyber Philosophy - Conscious Crafting' ready in time for the book launch at Sustainablility Alley, for Nimbins show.  


We had cheese and crackers and goon, so it was a real book launch :)  My book is saved on memory sticks, and then sold in little crochet pouches, that are necklaces as well as finger puppets.  And also sold as a digital book on Etsy.  





2015 was another jam packed year, as I finally crafted my own toolsand spun and crocheted two rather spectacular costumes for our first attendance at a Mardi Grass.


I followed both outfits through the whole parade, jumping the barricades and playing super model photographer, and got caught up in a rather beautiful moment between my mostly nude model, a beloved elder of Nimbin, and the local constabulary.


The Staghorn Costume went on to have a stand created for it, just in time to dress the stage of the second annual Blue Knob Farmers Market Fibre Festival.  I did another spinning talk, wearing the headress creation that connected me up to my Frsylan genetic memories, and totally tripped me out.  I called it The Friesian.


I also got invited to perform a spinning and fibre workshop in a beautiful yurt, and had an absolute ball.  Loved connecting with the beautiful circle of friends that had invited me, and loved being able to splash my creations about such a picturesque setting, and feeling moments of inspiration and ideas taking hold.


I was part of a group exhibition at The Channon Art Gallery called Small Things, which was hung by the ex curator of the Australian National Art Gallery Fibres and Textiles section in Canberra.  The opening had the only free wine I've seen at one of these gigs and I was stoked!  Told lots of bawdy artistic stories and laughed a lot, and Currawong and I went over very well indeed with the predominantly queer crowd.


I finally bought an Ashford Knitters loom, and realised that I've known the basics of weaving since I crafted my own Navaho loom back at the church in Macclesifeld, and in taking to it like a duck to water, I wove and spun an incredible amount within two weeks of starting off.  


I also crocheted and knitted my first phallus and foreskin, as part of creating Sextapusses, to fit with all the other pusses that had been coming out, starting off with the two in the Small Things exhibition. As well as a crochet cow skull, that was the first peice of Bus Art, especially finished off to go with the new  paint job for Flo, at the end of an extreme process of rust removal and fixing by Currawong and our hippie redneck mate.


I got to attend and run workshops at my first Weave and Mend Festival, after having been invited to come to the first one 10 years earlier, and dreaming of it ever since.  Setting up our Soulpad with the Spider web that fits it perfectly....and that I crocheted before we bought the tent :)


This was also the year that I stumbled across a PDF with a description of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that floored me, as I fit completely in ways I didn't even know existed as a 'thing'   And that helped me realise that the knee injury of my 'father knee' that never stayed healed, despite the different therapies I'd tried - was psychosomatic.  And started off another round of healing.  Took some gentle counseling and realised that Currawong and I have healed in so many ways, but not in our ability to create safe homes and lasting friendships, and started to focus hard on this.....making a home visualisation board was a start :)  Along with a crocheted cave home....

There was the most incredible surge of lush creativity erupting out of me in those last years, now that the intense days of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding were over.


I like to think of everything that came out of me at that time, as the example of the incredible harmony that can come out of complete chaos....



And then 2016 was the year we were shipped up to Brisbane by ambulance, never to go back.....

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