Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Well, this week I've been printing calico bags.  I'm working on 2,000 of them.  One print on the front and another on the back.  Keeps me busy.  I'm very grateful for the iPod and radio to keep me entertained while I do robot work.  Here's a little pile of them.  I think there's only about 100 here:

So far I've printed one side of about 600 of them.  Golly it's an interesting job.  I'm going back to it again tomorrow.  Only 1400 more of one side to do, followed by 2,000 of the other side.  It's funny doing this work and knowing how much money I'm making for the boss and realising that I'm being paid a tiny fraction of the amount he is charging.  I think I am more than covering his overheads.

Today I went kayaking with my marvellous mate, Walter.  He also came over last night to console me after I'd had a barney with the next door neighbour.  The neighbour's dog has been going off its nut at me every time I walk out the back door for months now.  I finally snapped and asked him to do something about it.  He yelled at me for quite some time until I decided to walk away, at which point he continued to yell, but I could no longer hear him.   I'm just really surprised that he hasn't noticed his dog going nuts for months.

Walter should've been a diplomat.  Today, when we came back from kayaking, we went to sit in the back yard.  The dog, of course, went spacko.  Walter went over and tried to talk to it.  It continued to go spacko.  The owner came out and Walter had a nice chat with him, dog continued to go spacko.   I tried to talk to the owner, too, but am now persona non grata.

Anyway, the wash up is that the neighbours now seem to be doing something about the dog making a racket.  It's probably the best I can hope for.

The funniest part of the whole exchange was when the dog owner berated me for being a 'Mainlander'.  Yes, I come from the mainland.  He'd probably be surprised if he knew I was from Darwin.  Darwin is even more frontiersville than Tasmania.

Ah well.  I'll give it another year and see what happens.  It was a bit of a leap to come here and hasn't worked out quite as I expected, but I love the garden and the house and cats are very happy, as am I in general.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Some things I has done

Have been working at the sweatshop and have produced some not bad prints.  This is especially impressive given the equipment.  I'm working with supercover inks and 70T mesh.  This does not actually compute.  It's a bit like pushing peas through a tea towel.  Should be 43T to get a good print.  However, I'm a little pleased with the way these worked out.  Here they are:

I'm probably breaching copyright by posting this, but it's about the quality of the print, not the design (which I also had to do lots with, not that I'm being paid as a designer!)

Think I found this design in a Mountain Designs catalogue with a slightly different outcome.  Lets not talk about copyright here.  I hope you are impressed by the precision with which I managed to line up the banana and the rope.

Have also been looking at some of my old paintings.  Here's one being interfered with by Peter Rabbit:
This was done on MDF with some bits of frayed canvas attached and then painted over.  It's part of a series of nine and looks a bit shiny.  Must learn how to take proper photos of artwork at some stage.

I'm being interviewed again tomorrow.  It's for a job as a 'Program Support Officer' for a general practice up the road in Ulverstone.  Sounds really interesting.  The selection criteria actually asked for ability to work as part of a team.  I'd love that.  I really miss my team mates from CIT and would like to work in a collaborative environment.  It's strange where I am at the moment in that the management makes deliberate moves to isolate everyone and set up a 'dog eat dog' atmosphere.

On the union front, I think I'll ask them tomorrow for a copy of the 'award'.  It's supposed to be provided to everyone by the employer, but I haven't seen any copies around.  I have one, but want to stir the possum by asking the boss to do what is legally required.

Can't help being a bit of shit stirrer.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Favourite Things

Here's one of my favourite snaps from the place I used to live:

It was a gorgeous place, although a bit leaky.  Can't imagine how it's going now with flooding rains happening around Canberra.

Have just heard that one of the landlords is ill with cancer.  So much of that about.  An ex-boyfriend died of it just a few weeks ago.  I miss him.

Am spending the weekend reading the Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award 2010.  I'm sure I can find somewhere that my employers are ripping us off.  I already know that they aren't recognising skill levels of the workers in their pay rates.  I'm not sure what I'll do when I find the inequities.  I need the job, so I'm nervous about raising a ruckus.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Still factorying.

Still working in the factory.  Other jobs have failed to appear.  Got some good news from someone the other day about other jobs I've applied for, but still nothing solid to hold on to.

I'm now a member of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA)  For $7.95 a week, I theoretically have protection from the extremes of capitalism.  It's all a lesson.  I'm expected to produce perfect prints with sloppy screens, crappy inks and in a filthy room.  Of course I get complaints about the results! but one will get what one pays for.  It's one of those 'pig's ear silk purse' situations.  Frankly I'm not that much of an alchemist.

I'm wearing my TCFUA badge at work and waiting for it to be noticed.  Would love to be sacked for being a unionist. 

In the mean time, here's an old thing:

This was made for a friend who was going through a bit of rubbish at the time.  I wanted it to be a happy heart for her.

Must start playing with the sewing machine again.  The old free hand machine embroidery is such fun.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

More cat action

I've just bottled a batch of alcoholic ginger beer.  Thought I'd have a bit of fun with the label and here it is:

Can't quite work out what to call the vintage, but Cat Piss is looking like a good one.  I've just set up a new brew of stout and am thinking about the label and the name already.  Perhaps this is more interesting than the brew itself!

Have also been drawing new bits of cat.  Here's one I prepared earlier (Ha):

I'm not sure if this one is finished.  I'm pretty fond of it.  She looks determined, which is very much her character.  Think I might frame her and keep her for myself.

Working at the sweatshop is proceeding as expected.  I'm treading the path of being very nice and very polite to everyone to see if I can have an impact on the culture there.  I say 'Excuse me' whenever it's appropriate and 'Thank you' pretty much all the time, particularly when people deliver more work to me.  I'd really like to see people being nice to each other in that work place.  I'm really surprised that the place has existed for so long with everyone hating each other.

The interesting thing this week is that I met with a representative of the Union - Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA).  He was great and very informative.  I don't really want to make trouble, but I think there could be many improvements made that wouldn't cost management a great deal of money.  I just want everyone there - management and workers - to be treated with respect. At the same time I'm looking for work elsewhere, so I don't want to make too much of a ruction when I don't believe I'll be there for long.

Joining the union is an interesting thing to do in my workplace.  Apparently the management has threatened to shut the place down if anyone joins.  I think that's complete bullshit.  I'm going to get a sticker for my car and a badge for my jacket and put those on display and see what happens.  To be continued....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Another work week

Discovered that the woman who was dissapointed with my work is nick named "Moaner" (outside of her hearing).  I think the reason is fairly obvious.  This week at work was fairly painless.

Finally am back in the studio tonight.  Have just done a bit of a scribble, and here she is:

That's a sleeping Dusty who needs much more work, but it's great to get my hands dirty again.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Working in a factory

Crumbs.  Some people get their thrills at little expense.

Yesterday, at 4.21 pm (nine minutes before finish time) one the machinists came in to complain that one of my prints was about 3cm off.  Then her boss came in with the same message.  Then she came in again.  I couldn't help myself.  I had to say: 'It's great to finish the week on a high note.  Thank you for that.'  Probably bitchy, but neither of them have been particularly welcoming to me in the last five weeks, so I don't care.

These two are the queen bees.  If one (by one, I mean anyone other than them) chooses to eat or drink in the tea room, one should not speak until spoken to by one of these shockers.

I've also discovered that the staff are paying for the cleaning products for the bathrooms and the tea room.  I can't believe this place.  I'm also a bit annoyed with myself for not doing anything about it.  I've been a unionist for years and this place is a shocker for bad treatment of staff.  The thing that stops me from calling attention to it is that there are lots of people employed who, if the place was run according to the award, might lose their jobs.  It's terrible.  There are women there who complain constantly about the work environment, but they've been there for 20+ years!  When I ask why they stay, they tell me that they can't get any other job.  This tells me that they've been so beaten down by their jobs that they don't have the confidence to try anything else.

Yesterday, I was using the computer in the office (the only one that works properly) to look up some stuff for my print work (probably infringing copyright but this is not an issue for management) and while I was there, the daughter of the owners was talking to her mother on the phone.  There was some quite detailed discussion of mothers bowel movements.  I really don't know what to say about that.  I suppose it means that I was invisible to the daughter.  A positive reading would be that she felt comfortable with me.  I don't think so given the way she treats me - I'm a serf!

Have just applied for another job which is walking distance of home.  Would love to get it.  It's less money, but for an organisation that I respect.  Fingers crossed.

Here's a random shot of me from the mid nineties just for a bit of a visual because I don't have any other photos of work or anything to post....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Long time no blog

Have been busy of late.  This full time work business sucks up one's time.  I'm getting used to it, but after a year of holiday it may take a while.

I'm working as a printer for a clothing company.  The equipment is pretty crappy and temperamental and the pay is the lowest they can legally get away with.  The factory is positively Dickensian.  I can't help remembering Scrooge in his office overseeing his business and scrimping on every possible penny.  The owners of this place have a very similar approach, right down to the 'Bah humbug' at Christmas - but only at the factory.  At home they have an entire room dedicated to Christmas junk and apparently decorate the whole house.  All very tasteful I'm sure.

Here's a glimpse of my 'office':

I've cleaned it up since then.  Chucked out tons of dried up or rotten inks. Now we have a whole shelf of blue and another of green.  With lesser amounts of black, white, red and yellow.  Now I can actually find stuff.  Whoopee!  This means I will (hopefully) not get in trouble for using the 'wrong' blue.  I've tried to get the requests to be made being a little more specific about colour, but my employers are not trained in colour theory and are just assuming that my psychic skills will allow me to understand which of the 30 blues they mean when they say blue.

On a very happy note, I've recently had a visit from my marvellous friend and fellow artist Kate Ward.  She blogs too, here.  She's doing beautiful and delicate print work and establishing a business .  She's been very successful of late being selected to purvey her wares at some very selective markets.

Last weekend we visited the Tasmanian Craft Fair at Deloraine, which is about 40 minutes from here.  It's a gorgeous little town and the fair is held all over the place.  There were 14 venues with buses ferrying people from one venue to the next.  We saw lots of fabulous stuff and even bought some of it.  Kate was researching how other people run their marketing businesses and collected loads of cards and other promotional material.  It was a really good trip and energising.  When work settles down a little, I'll have to get to work on producing some new work to market.  Kate and I are talking about being exhibitors at the next Tas Craft Fair in 2011.

It was great to have Kate here.  She's a bundle of positive energy and an inspiration.  The cats also really appreciated her company:

I thought that as there are two cats, we could have one each.  The cats clearly had oher plans.

Life is settling back down now.  I'm concentrating on the house and garden at the moment. It's great to have a job so I can pay the mortgage and buy a few bits and pieces and have fun with friends when they visit.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's working well at the moment

Well.  I'm a week and a half into my new job.  It's hard physical work, which is great as I'm getting fit and losing a little bulk.  It's a funny job.  I've never worked in a factory before and it's a very odd experience.

One bit of good  news is that all the drawings sold at the exhibition opening on Wednesday.  I feel a little bereft that my kittens wont be coming home, but the cash will be very welcome.

The best news is that my marvellous little brother has been visiting for a few days.  Here's a quick shot of us at the front of the house.

He's been fixing stuff all over the house, which is wonderful.  He's replaced the heater in the loungeroom which hasn't been working for months, replaced all of the locks on the front and back doors, and today finished installing a door knocker that I started putting in but lost interest in.

Gonna miss him when he leaves.  Not just because he fixes stuff.  He is also very good company and great to have around.  Love him lots.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Good Grief

Well.  After nine months of searching, today I got a job as a printer for a clothing company.  It was all pretty relaxed and looks like a nice place to work.  However, when I got home, I found an e-mail letting me know that the Council wants to interview me for a museum coordinator job next week.  Golly.

This comes after getting work last weekend as a computer tutor for a lady up the road.

Can't believe it.  There's been nothing for so long and now all sorts of things turn up.

If I get the coordinator job there'll be some tough decision making to be done.


Friday, October 1, 2010


Here they are in all their glory.  This is quartet going to Canberra next week.

Dusty's checking out the results.

Should probably get my fingers dirty with pastels again tonight.  It is such fun.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Composite creatures

Strangely enough, I used to make drawings, pictures, images of animals combined with humans.  Recently, I've been drawing cats.  Tonight, one of them turned kind of human and here she is:

She looks a little bewildered,  Please don't mind the blue stuff around the edge. That's just tape protecting the paper.

I think I might be doing new stuff.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Knew I'd have to play with stuff

Here's a bit of playing with a drawing.  I can see it needs more work around the neck.  We'll see how she goes.
It's frustrating that I can't get these photos to show the right red.

Nah. Frankly this looks crap.  Much better in reality.  Ah well. The restrictions and challenges of ....

Tonight's challenge

Haven't done much (apart from play with the last drawing) for the last few days.  Just know I'm going to end up with black fingernails tonight.

Looking forward to it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

And an attempt at ....

Cill, before there is colour introduced.

Having fun with the process.

But she looks a bit like Marlon Brando in The Godfather.

New Blue Cat

Here she is with a little embellishment.

and flare from the sealant.  Oh well.

She's one of the four going to Canberra in October.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Drawing done with cat interfering

Her's the attempt at Cill

If she'd stop knocking my hands, it would probably be far more representative.

Weird creature.

More job attempts

Only did one drawing this week.  It was so awful, I squished it and chucked it in the recycle bin.  Looked like something by the people who do South Park.

Had an appointment to talk to someone about my CV and WHY THE HELL CAN'T I GET A JOB!  Haven't had much good advice about this so far.  Apparently I am overqualified.  For gawd's sake! I wouldn't apply for the jobs if I didn't want them.  My quals are irrelevant. 

Have set up the drawing board and am going to work on this shot next:

Love the way it makes her head look huge.  She's a pretty brainy cat.

Still making bags and looking into doing market stall stuff.  They don't seem to have a selection process.  Just turn up with a table and $15!  Will do so in a couple of weeks.

First cat drawing went to her new home in Bathurst this week.

I hope she and her new family are very happy together.

Am now being entertained by Dusty attempting to scratch her way through the cat drawings on the screen.  Wonder what that's all about.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Self Employment

I've been looking for a job recently, without much success.  I've had a vague plan for ages of making things and selling them at one of the local markets.

To this end, I've finally got around to making a few bags.  I was recently sent a batch of upholstery fabric samples and these are good and sturdy and seem to work well.

Here's the result so far:

I'd also like to print on some plain bags.  I'm working on designs based on some of my drawings, and yes, there will be cats.  Other subjects will include the local Tasmanian wildlife and landscape.  I live quite close to Mt Roland
 Image borrowed from www.sheffieldcradleinfo.com.au

and it's a pretty spectacular backdrop for everything.  It would work well as it has a great silhouette. Will post more as they develop.

In the lead up to Christmas and also the tourist season, I think these might be a bit of a winner.  I can but try.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Scary Cat in a scary environment.....

Here's another, very rough and ready and nowhere near finished.

And here are some other bits and pieces.  Drawings based on ikat weaving and dying techniques combined with traditional weaves from a variety of sources.

I called the series Danish, Swedish, Uzbek Ikat.  Danish, because I'm half a Dane.  Swedish, because some of the imagery, particularly the crosses, came from traditional Swedish weave patterns.  The Uzbek was because the whole series was inspired by Uzbek Ikat and the colours found in their silk weaves.

Love working in pastels.  I'm currently mostly working on the cats. (I spend a lot of time at home and they are constant companions.)  I'm really working on facial expressions.  I want an audience to be able to read a little bit of the character of the animals.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blog Number One

New Drawings

This site is actually about doing drawings of animal best friends.  I do drawings of animals and would like to make a living out of it.  Just trying it out at the moment.

My drawings are an interpretation.  If you want photo realism, this isn't the place, but I will post photos of the drawings I do and would appreciate constructive criticism.

Here are a couple of the recent ones:

Neither of these is finished, so I'm still having fun with them.