Thursday, 30 January 2014

Screen printing summer school

In the middle of Melbourne's heat wave, I went to Summer Screen Printing School at Harvest Workroom. Despite the heat, it was so good to spend the week designing and screen printing – I know it might look like I do that a lot, but it's incredibly rare that I spend full days sketching ideas and turning them into prints.

Screen Printing Table at Harvest Workroom.

The studio space was a giant warehouse in Brunswick. The natural light, white walls, concrete floors, huge printing table and the smell of inks, made it difficult for me to refrain from asking if I could set up a small studio here. If only I could live in a corner of the warehouse and print everyday!

Screen Printing at Harvest Workroom.

We worked on simple one colour designs the first day, cutting stencils, testing inks and getting use to the motion of printing. The second day, we moved onto three colour prints learning about registered placement prints (lining up the colours). It's quite nerve-wracking putting down several layers of colour – but amazing when it works! On the third day, we learnt how to do swiss repeat patterns. This was taking one motif and turning it into a repeat pattern. You can't exactly tell what it's going to look like until you have it printed on the fabric. We spent the last day finishing any projects not completed, plus free time to print on our own fabrics, yah!

Swiss repeats, screen printing school at Harvest Workroom.

Screen printed tea towels drying at Harvest Workroom.

At Harvest Workroom, I was literally in heaven. The studio space was every printer’s dream. They have the most amazing printing table where you can line up several pieces of fabric, which would adhere to the table and print one after the other. So easy! It was also fascinating to see what everyone else created – such different patterns and great ideas. I honestly wish I could do this everyday. It is 100% my happy place.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Ayubowan Sri Lanka

Well this came out of the blue - I hadn't planned on travelling late last year, but on an impulse I found myself booking a trip to Sri Lanka. Best last-minute decision ever. It's only taking me a while, I'm happy to be finally sharing some photos with you.

I remember some years ago, looking at the Lonely Planet's first Sri Lanka guide book featuring a photograph of a woman strolling topless along a stunning beach surrounded by lush green palm trees. And I thought to myself, I have to go there. So when I eventually got that chance to travel to Sri Lanka, I left home knowing nothing about where I was going, but I had a feeling it was going to be different from anywhere I’d ever been. And when I stepped off the plane, I knew I was right.

Sri Lanka is still largely untouched and unchanged by mass western tourism, but the word is getting out. It's a country far more diverse than I ever imagined. The food richly spiced, just wait till you try the rice and curry, and the landscape one of utter beauty; the radiant green rice paddies and misty mountains covered in tea plantations with Tamil tea pickers in their brightly coloured saris are utterly bewitching.

But there's also the architecture of ancient Sri Lanka in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, where Buddhist temples can be found everywhere! And it’s true that sinking into the stunning white sands of Mirissa, I was tempted to do nothing more demanding, than ordering a Lion lager for the remainder of my stay.

Sri Lanka is a country that is looking very much into the future with optimism, you can sense it in the beautiful warm smiles of the people. I felt truly humbled by its beauty, impossible to forget.

Hindu Temple Buddhist temple
Buddha at Anuradhapura
Monkey at the sacred Bo Tree in Anuradhapura Elephant crossing
Stupa at Polonnaruwa Monk taking photographs
Buddhist Temple
Architecture at Polonnaruwa Monkeys
Buddhist Temple at Mihintale Image of a Stupa at Anuradhapura
Dambulla cave temple Cycling around Polonnaruwa
Cave Drawings at Sigiriya Sigiriya
Haputale Train Station
Sri Lanka's central highlands Tea Plantations
tea picker
Guide Christian shrine
Tamil tea picker Children at child care centre
Sri Lanka's central highlands Elephant Orphanage Mirissa Mirissa
Fisherman Galle Lighthouse
Dutch Church, Galle Galle
Beach at Galle
Sri Lankan food Galle Fort
Galle Fort
Sri Lanka Coast

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

A new year and finding balance

It's the beginning of the New Year and as I take a moment to reflect upon the year that was, I realise that I have lost my balance.

It’s so easy to get caught up in things. Life gets busy. The last year was hectic, which was to be expected. I managed to build my brand, fulfill my dream of selling at a market, travel to Sri Lanka. But somewhere along the way I lost little bits of me. There was a lot of change and adjustment last year, most of it, unwelcoming. It's been hard and challenging in ways I cannot begin to describe and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about simple and uncomplicated, mindful living. To rid myself of the unnecessary things in life and to focus more on the nourishing.  

Dambulla Cave Temple, Sri Lanka

As much as I crave those things in my life, I can never seem to get to that “place” because I am constantly seeking new territories and adventures; it’s very hard for me to sit still. My mind is constantly onto the next thing. Being creative can be a curse sometimes. I am fuelled by others yet, through all of the colours, sounds, shapes and the drive I have to do more, I yearn to have peace, simplicity and the feeling of being mentally clutter-free.

How can I get these things that I desire so much, despite how busy my life is? How can someone who can’t sit still have space enough to think, breathe, reflect and enjoy the moment? Get me on a plane, to another destination, and I will be in that “place”. I will let everything go. I will smile, breathe, relax and live in the moment. Travel is restorative for my soul and heart, but I can't travel all of the time. How do I find that balance that my heart and soul needs right now?  
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