Happiness as Anarchy #130: Pretty taps

Buenos Aires has all the architecture of a city once rich, but she is now in decline. Thus buildings are still impressive but they’re tired and run down. The apartment I’m staying in would have once been stunning, but sadly no longer. It’s currently a share house (the other residents are four boys in their 20s – a strange revisiting of my uni days in Melbourne) with its quirks – there’s no hot water in the kitchen, the doors are sticky, the furniture is functional not beautiful second hand – but also its beauty – the wrought iron handrails in the stairwell, the hardwood floorboards, and the taps and tiling in the bathrooms are very pretty (which makes cleaning my teeth so much nicer than plain white!).


Happiness as Anarchy #126: One month holiday

Five weeks off work would make anyone happy, and I’m no exception. An adventure across the Pacific awaits with tango shoes and a foreign language. Sleeping in, dancing late, discovering a new city with its food, culture and songs, meeting people, having time to think, create, wonder and wander. See you Friday, Buenos Aires!



Happiness as Anarchy #77: Time-travel Images

I came across this gorgeous little watercolour by Lily Allport at the Becoming Modern exhibition at the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery on the weekend. It was painted in 1931 and is called “French Nurses”. No doubt the nurses are doing embroidery, but they have exactly the same posture as someone looking at a smartphone. Is the smartphone the 21st century’s embroidery?


Happiness as Anarchy #68: Robust conversation

I caught up with my arts tribe tonight at an impromptu birthday gathering. I’ve missed them, and as happens so often, didn’t realise just how much until they were all there again. We talked of art and life, big things and small, with a wine and a few laughs, but what really stands out is the depth and robustness of the conversation. None of us are very good at small talk – we’re much more interested in the grit of life and making stuff and how everything fits together. I meant to come home earlier, but it was difficult to extract myself. Now I have a head buzzing with ideas and heart full of appreciation for this eclectic group of souls.


Happiness as Anarchy #62: Colander Bird

The rare and beautiful colander bird is found in a small area north of Bendigo. It lives in low grasslands near the North Central Catchment Management Authority building in Huntly, where it feeds on small pieces of discarded metal from passing traffic. Identifiable by its unique colander-like head and star-shaped markings, the colander bird is particularly impressive glinting in the afternoon sun.


Happiness as Anarchy #57: Fun art

I love being able to touch the art. I adore the different textures of things – marble, stone, brass, glass, sand, fabric, water, tile, wood. In the forecourt at Mona there is a big trampoline which has not only interesting things to feel, but you’re allowed to jump on it! For texture there’s the familiar scratch of trampoline mat and the rough maritime ropes as a barrier; the lines of the trampoline create endlessly fascinating pathways for the eye; and the bells animate the whole sculpture with unexpected sound. The big bells are very big and deeply resonant and the the little ones (you can see them if you look closely) tinkle over the top, mingling with children’s laughter and trampoline squeaks. (I didn’t engage my sense of taste of smell by licking or sniffing it, but I’m sure if I did it would have its own peculiar characteristics.)


Happiness as Anarchy #56: Travelling by boat

Travelling by boat is a real joy for a girl from land-locked central Victoria. Moving on the water has a different feeling from rolling wheels on solid roads. It was chilly on the deck of the ferry to Mona as we pushed up the Derwent this morning – there’s snow on Kunanyi / Mount Wellington – but the waves and the sea air compelled me to stay outside. Perhaps it’s the freedom of sea travel that appeals to me, the absence of lines and boundaries and traffic rules. For the short time of the journey there is a sense of limitlessness and unfettered possibility.


I took this photo from the Mona ferry. The little red and white ferry is one of the Hobart ferries.

Happiness as Anarchy #40: Open Access Art Collections

One of the wonderful things about technology and the internet is the opening up of previously restricted collections in art galleries, museums and libraries. Increasingly these institutions are digitising their collections and making them available to the public online. Can’t get to New York to visit the Met? Browse over 40,000 artworks online from their collection in the comfort of your loungeroom. Interested in photography? Wander through more than four million photographs at The Europeana Collections website. Looking for a score for some Bach or Tchaikovsky? Go digging in the IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library database. Or do you fancy a little high end colouring? Quite a few institutions have created colouring books from their artworks that are free to download and colour at your  leisure.

British Museum colouring Beardsley


Happiness as Anarchy #38: Textile Art

Texture is a marvellous thing in the world of visual art, particularly 2D. This evening I went to Anna Farago’s exhibition at the Post Office Gallery in central Ballarat. It’s an interesting collection of quilting, photography, and embroidery. The lines are great, as are the colours – subdued, like the Australian bush that she dyed much of the fabric with – but what I liked most is the texture: lumps and bumps in the fabric, punctures and raised paths of stitching, little valleys along the seams, tiny patterns in the warp and weave. So much going on if you look closely.

I love the movement created by the long stitches in this tree.

Anna Farago embroidery