Farm sketchbook scrawlings // mama's hydrangeas // leatherwork and bone collecting with dad (things I want to do more of) // a little new year's eve image-flash
This past year has been a big one -- I hope the next is crazy too, maybe a little bit gentler on us all, but we'll get what we deserve, work just as hard, and continue living in these interesting times.
Engineering boots via eBay; Zara dress; Spell and the Gypsy Collective Prism Bomb necklace; Tree of Life necklace; Stolen spiced rum; Tree of Life ear rings; Spell and the Gypsy collective rings, Southset concho ring, Rejoice the Hands Desert Dreamer ring; Roraima Opuntia Microdasys cactus; hand-me-down Zeiss Ikon camera.
For things half-finished and just-started, for things evolving and ones that are growing... Lately I've hardly had time to draw at all, but here's some little things from the past week or so.
And today is going to be excellent, because it's only a half-day at work, and then I'm hopping on a plane to go home to the farm.
Volcom button-up; Midnight Rider Townes Van Zandt shirt via Bona Drag; rings from Spell and the Gypsy Collective, Southset, Rejoice the Hands and vintage/markets; hat from Camberwell markets.
I’m growing a couple of cacti in my front yard – where my dog can’t rip them out and chew them up, because that’s what she’s into – and I’m obsessed with them. I check them every day. One’s a Euphorbia Mammillaris Variegata that blushes pink and orange in the sun; and the other is a tiny Opuntia Santa Rita that is rapidly growing new pads and will eventually be like a purple prickly pear with yellow flowers.
So this obsession – teamed with recent thistle-harvesting and flower-pillaging activities – has me wondering: is my newfound fascination with plantlife a symptom of ageing? As you get older, do parts of your child mind return? Maybe being more aware of mortality restores your sense of wonder and fascination with the world.
I was really into plants and animals and mushrooms (in a non-druggy way) when I was a kid; and I would collect fungi and burrs and seedpods and flowers and leaves, but there was a whole bit there during adolescence where I wasn’t really interested. I was just into Dead Kennedys and drinking and angst and resistance and posters of Trent Reznor.
Also, I distinctly remember being a teenager who was really preoccupied with trying to make things happen a certain way. Eventually, in my early 20s, I read that DFW line about trying to engineer your fate, and now I kind of drift along and just try to make good decisions and work hard without trying to force anything. But I was also, at 19, right into drinking and smoking and putting on all those artistic-literary affectations. I later realised that drinking and smoking actually made me a worse artist, so I scaled that rightback too. Maybe getting rid of those compulsions and preoccupations freed up some time for me to start looking at and appreciating the natural world again.
Anyway, I’m thinking about this because I sometimes see qualities of my parents surfacing in me – which is in no way a bad thing – and I am just so looking forward to heading home to the farm at the end of this week. I’m looking forward to walking through the garden with my mum while she tells me about her different plants, whether they’re happy and what lives in them; and to seeing my dad walk into the big wooden kitchen at midday, with some delicate, beautiful insect or bird cupped in his broad oil-stained palms. I’m even looking forward to hearing those goddamn cicadas for a second.
Over the past few years, I think I’ve softened my resistance against life’s inertia, which is making things a little easier. There’s a difference between working hard and struggling against reality, although both are hard fights. But anyway, being psyched on a colour-changing cactus comes with way less complications and contingencies than some of the things I fretted over when I was younger.
My step-grandpa sent me his old Zeiss Ikon camera, complete with all the manual settings I never properly learnt to use and a screw-on case and cover that smells so leathery and sturdy.
I'm still getting the hang of setting aperture and manual focusing, and I almost wrecked the whole film by trying to take it out without reading the manual first... I ended up sitting on the bathroom floor at 4am -- trying for a makeshift darkroom -- taking the film out without rewinding it, and stashing it in a few envelopes, because I didn't use the rewind release button. Always something to learn.
But anyway, these are the images that survived.
And it's such a cool thing. Not knowing if you've actually captured that image right. Knowing that there's a finite shot, that you can't just shoot ten of the same thing and hope one is right (which is my default move with digital cameras). Having to quietly, steadily, think about what you're doing. It's really reminded me to concentrate, go steady, appreciate the practice of art. To be patient sometimes, and to -- at other times -- just go ahead hope for a lucky light-leak.