Sunday, 31 May 2009

tea and books and comfort

Lately I've been thinking about comfort zones a bit and things that make us want to step out of them. And also things that generally make us feel uncomfortable and how we react to them. In yoga we're encouraged to stay with a pose that we want to flee from (for me that's backbends) because it helps us to work with the uncomfortable things life throws at us.

At work some of us have found ourselves reading the same books at the moment (completely coincidental) and have been heatedly discussing our reactions to them. Books like 'The Slap' and 'Revolutionary Road'. These 2 in particular create strong reactions in people. I loved reading RR even though the characters are quite sad (no, I have not seen the film yet). I'm fascinated with the idea of people having to come to grips with 'being ordinary' when they imagined their lives would be so much more. I like that it pushed me out of my comfort zone. My colleagues at work found RR hard to read, almost painful, and really did not like it. I liked it so much I bought Richard Yates's collected short stories yesterday. I wished he'd written more while he was alive.

I know this is a bit of a stretch but drinking different tea can push me out of my comfort zone at times. You know how you have your favourites and stepping away from them to try new ones can be bit like hard work. Last week I bought some Rose Black Tea mostly because of that pretty tin (pic above). I'd never heard of this tea before. When I got home I made a pot and tasted it. It's a bit rosey but not bad. I googled it and sure enough there are rose petals or rose hips in there with black tea. Even though I bought it for the tin I am going to drink the tea too. I'm not going to be the girl who always drinks green tea and earl grey. No way. But I will draw the line at lapsang souchong.

Friday, 22 May 2009

woodblock print set

Living things, from the desert: the finished set. Woodblock print made using the traditional Japanese method, that is, watercolour inks (no toxic chemicals), hand pressed with a baren, and printed on lovely textured Japanese paper.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

pinks amongst the living

I've been printing. My hands, especially my knuckles get sore when I do too much. It comes from placing to much pressure on that part of my hand when I use the baren. Last time I printed my knuckles actually bled and where painful for more than a week after :(
I'm experimenting with dusky pinks amongst the pale grey of 'living things' which is what these watercolour washes are about.
I love how the wood, as it ages with use, gets really smooth. Like an old river pebble or driftwood at the beach. So tactile and lovely.

Sunday, 17 May 2009


This is how it can feel travelling on a train in Japan during peak hour. And some days it can feel a bit like this in Melbourne on the trams too. Every now and then I get reminded of the craziness of public transport and it motivates me to ride my bike to work even more :)

Monday, 11 May 2009


This is the way I feel some days. You know, when the world seems a bit harsh and you just don't want to be out in it. She crawled onto the bed at 6.30am and didn't get off it again until 4pm. That's quite a nap. And she has a bladder like a camel.

Priya and I must be in sync - check out this cutie.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

nostalgia and a bit of green tea

I don't think of myself as a particularly nostalgic person but sometimes, out of nowhere, it hits me like a slap. This story about kooky food in Osaka did it for me. Amy Richardson has a really perky blog called pretty yum yum about food and fashion in Japan. But it was her interview with inside out that really got the natsukashii (nostalgic) juices flowing in me. All that colour. All that odd stuff. In the name of food. Oh how I remember it. Like mayonaise on everything. Including onigiri (rice balls). And nori (seaweed) on top of spaghetti napolitana. Mostly my nostalgia centres on the good stuff like the creative use of green tea for flavouring food. My memory of going to Uji, a famous tea region and having green tea udon, green tea dango and green tea ice cream. And cycling through old parts of Kyoto like the north-east side of the Kamo River and smelling the scent of roasted green tea in the air. And having macha in Ippodo an old tea house on Teramachi dori in Kyoto. Ok so it seems my nostalgia is mostly about all things tea. Well that's nothing new is it?

Friday, 1 May 2009

carving the floors

I am completely awestruck by the sheer size of some people's vision. This project is grand. It's called 'Carving the Floors' and is about a group of college printmaking students in Brunswick, Maine (USA) who set the ambitious aim of carving up the wooden floors of 2 classrooms in a soon to be demolished high school and then print off them. They wanted to do all this in 20 wee hours!!!! All I could think about is how difficult it would be to carve into floors with old varnish on them. You can read and see more here. Thanks to printinteresting for leading me there.