Sunday, April 01, 2012

Finally Some Catch-Up

My goodness it has been a busy week, and in the middle of it all my favourite uncle passed away- as if the  torments of early onset Parkinsons disease was not enough an aggressive leukemia finally struck him down-  a gentle and kind soul,who made my aunt very happy,vale Ed, the Netherlands will be a little less the Netherlands without you.I had hoped to see him when I go to Europe later this month-but my wish was selfish instead i will have to hug my aunt.

 I have been making some new work for Quilt Expo in Beaujolais ( where I shall be taking a small tour group to enjoy the quilts and wine), but then realised Easter is in between now and my departure date and I had clear forgotten about it- so limited shipping time, which means even more desperate sewing. I have also been writing a new business plan- I am almost there but it is taking a lot of time and effort and initially a lack of enthusiasm- but now that I have some structure in my plan I can see that my focus has been wandering for quite some time, since 2006 really, and I somehow haven't picked up the pieces and moved on enough. The business plan has given me the opportunity to refocus, to make changes, to see that my business is way way different then when I first did a business plan back in 1994- in fact it is almost completely a different business.It is good to sit and write goals and plans- and get some vision happening- because it isn't all about making, but about organisation, about exploring new avenues, about structure, about dedication and hard work and then about creation ,and dare I say it marketing- my nemisis. It is really hard to constantly push yourself out there, to sense... not too much but also not too little. Writing a vision statement was challenging too- different to an artists statement and yet for an arts practice  the vision needs to incorporate some of the artists' statement- I am still tweaking with it and not happy with it- but envisioning  your practice/business in the future is a worthwhile exercise.

And last but not least - my trip to Alice Springs and the Big Red Rock- Uluru and the magic of Kata Tjuta and King's Canyon. I was teaching in Alice Springs and my hostesses were Barbara and Nancy who kindly let my mother ( whom I had taken with me)  stay in their annex which proved to be a lovely cottage which is available  for retreats/ and or quilting retreats ( but I will blog about this separately later in the week- when the business plan is out of the way) . We did a 3 day trip out to the rock with Emu Run tours because Uluru is some 400 odd kms from Alice Springs.We had a great guide, Dan, and a terrific group of people- and we slept in swags- and I can tell you the starry night from a swag is a magical experience! I loved it all and the red centre was surprisingly green after recent rain, so the dust and the heat and the redness were not so readily apparent. I have tried to find websites that informs about Uluru and Kata Tjuta and it is surprising how many of them mention Kata Tjuta standing sentinel to the region. The red centre of Australia has a rich history of human occupation and it is here that the creation stories start for the Anunga people.Of course we saw Uluru at sunset:
I was not expecting to see so many deep crevices and  holes in the rock-  as we did the Mala walk and another walk- and  many of the caves have become part of the creation stories. There was some rock art though Uluru is not  known for it's rock art;
And of course we were up at the crack of dawn to see the sun rise over the rock- all that was missing was the  Australian Children's Choir- it was special  as the sun came up  behind the rock, but there were so many people photographing ( and I had forgotten my good camera) that i concentrated on Kata Tjuta instead- the texture created by trees and spinifex grass in the foreground and  the dawn light slowly lighting up the redness of the rocks , just created a remarkable very painterly image and indeed you could see them standing sentinel watching over the poor lonesome big red rock;
But I think my favourite was King's Canyon - sacred to the Luritja people. It was possible to do a rim canyon walk, but I decided i would like to explore the bottom of the canyon better- and what a  magic place it was-rocky river bed, lots of textures, even some cycads, water holes and I felt I could sense singing- its sound reverberated in my head as I wondered and found a myriad of textures and little treasures ( more over the next few weeks)- I would dearly love to have spent a week there to get a sense of its rhythm and pace of its life...rivers are my secret place I think- and here is a website about aboriginal culture, art and music
The bottom of the canyon is littered with rocks- all kinds and all colours, you can imagine the river flowing fast in times of  torrential rain, and the river gums shoot majestically from the rocky terrain ( another thing I had not expected to see- was beautiful sculptural river red gums)- I could not resist this composition, one black tree contrasted with the gorgeous river gums ( I think there is a tree or trees  in my secret life)

And this rock formation like the pages of a book- an ancient book telling of the land and the people. The canyon was used mainly for men's ceremonies and as i wondered you could sense it as a special place.
And this face I found at the bottom of a tree- what was it telling me?

Chapters of  stories, of ceremonies, of people, what a book! And then there were so many textures- the whole  canyon was like a texture park- everywhere you looked there was texture of one kind of another , patterned tree juxtaposed against the cloud textured sky...
On one of our last nights in Alice ( and I will blog more about some of the art I saw and also about  retreats in the Annex) we went to Simpsons Gap in the Macdonnell ranges for a sunset bbq- we braved the ants, the flies and the mosquitoes to end another perfect day in  Australia's centre- and what better way then one of my sentinelles meets the ancient rock ( it is said that this landscape and rivers are the oldest in the world) ...

And on a completely different note- my 400,000th blog visitor ( since I have had the sitemeter visit counter) visited this morning from Jyvskyl in Finland - if this was you please contact me I have a little surprise for you.
Thank you to all who come and visit my blog and for leaving your comments , many of you have helped with my journey. Some one recently said  that blogging was about an ego trip- but as a journal keeper since age 15, I have found that sharing  here  has little to do with ego or with a swollen head but more about sharing this wonderful world that i have the privilege to travel and feel inspired by - and the fact that that sharing creates friends has been an unexpected but delightful bonus!


Chrissy Guzzi said...

Persevere with the business plan Dijanne, I hope that it will give you renewed focus on making a well deserved living from your hard work. Blogging is not about egos, it is about generosity, the sharing of experiences, vision and inspiration.

Anonymous said...

If you didn't blog, and do it so well, I would never see images like these with the stories that you write with it. Keep up the good work Dijanne! I have never seen one of your sentinelles looking better or more at home.

ann vanherle said...

Geef je tante maar een dikke knuffel want ik weet hoe graag je altijd ben hen was. Ik weet dat ik nooit in Australie ga geraken maar door je blog voel ik me toch een beetje daar

Emmy said...

dank voor je mooie verhalen mischien gaan wij volgend jaar het prachtige land bewonderen in iedergeval hebben we nu al genoten van al het moois
en ik sluit me aan bij Laura je werk komt hier echt tot zijn recht
fijne dag en liefs uit nederland

lisette said...

isn't it a magical, haunting place?

and re blogging - i am extremely grateful that you blog as i wouldn't know you or your wonderful work otherwise!

Judy said...

Djianne, Thanks for sharing its a privilige and a joy.

Filambulle said...

I am glad you seem to be finding a renewed focus on your work. I am sure it will be fruitful, and look forward to see where it will take you. I hope I will manage to find a similar impulse when the aftermath if the travel will be over.
We just came back to Switzerland. I am home since yesterday. We did not go to Uluru, so I enjoy even more you sharing your experience and point of view on it.
à bientôt

marja-leena said...

Dijanne, though I read every post, I don't comment often but today I must say how much I love your images from Alice Springs etc. As you may know I love ancient rock art as well as weathered natural formations and unusual landscapes. Australia is a fascinating country.

And of course, I adore your work and wish it to continue ti thrive and grow along with your business plan. We artists struggle with that, don't we? I'm so grateful for blogging and the connections we are able to make with so many other artists around the world. Bravo for keeping it up while so many have faded into FB, twitter and such.

Annette said...

Hiya, love the photos of the red centre, we never did get there on our round aussie trip.
I am so glad that you have a blog and let us all in on your work and travel, it's wonderful.
And what's wrong with having an ego? Nothing wrong with having pride in yourself and your work.
All the best for the planning, all that work will be worth it.

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