A Piper Called Them

9 08 2019

Come away, oh human child! To the waters and the wild (W.B. Yeats) … Experience a realm of mystical beings who are a part of the magic and beauty of nature. Dare to enter the wondrous Real of Faerie. There are many mysterious and fascinating paths to follow in this enchanting realm. Choose to the left and dare to enter a wondrous realm full of magic and beauty…
by Edwina Peterson Cross

When the piper called them artists and writers conjured many versions of the portal that led to the Cave of the Enchantress and Lemuria. What would you pack for the journey? How would you find your way into the fantasy world of Bancroft Manor?

Through the Enchanted Doorway
A journey of the Heart

My journey began long before I knew I was looking for something. One night I received an email asking me if I was ready to embark on a journey. I had no idea where it would go. It started with a list. Tired of carrying the weight of my life, I packed lightly with only what would fit in my little backpack.

At daybreak, I meet many travellers who were ready for such a journey as this. I found a hidden door in a tree and was whisked away by a night ride in moonlight. Mysterious gipsies drew me with a silent call in the night.

Some kind of enchantment made my dreams deep and meaningful. Before long, I woke each day excited to know what would happen next. The journey to an island brought memories I didn’t know I possessed. Ancient knowledge was revealed to me.

How can my life ever be the same now? I learned to proclaim who I am. I am no longer the invisible child! See me! Hear me! Understand my words! Slowly I have come to realize my own truth. That truth is to be free. Unburdened by my own past and my parents past. Just let it go and find what’s around that next corner.

I have met celestial beings. I have to meet wee fairies. I have meet warriors of great strength and feminine mystic. I have to meet talking donkeys and talking dolls. I have met known hell raisers. I have been reintroduced to friends of old who knew me long ago.

And now I have learned to be open in a completely new way. My heart feels lighter than I ever remember it being. I have let go of old cryptic ideas. I have found a new road. The Silk Road. It winds through space and time; thoughts and dreams; mystery and magic.

Somewhere along the way, I met myself. The child, the girl, and the woman I want to be. I was stunned to discover that I needed to make some changes. To hold my own hand and say, “Yes! We can do this.” Brick by brick I had to tear down my own walls and find an inner world rich with ideas waiting to be discovered.

At last, I am in a distant land with no water and no road. I have finally come to the last door. The one that was hidden away for safekeeping, so no one would find that brilliant light. The key is the secret that I hid in my own heart. It was a prisoner there that I bound tight. And through my journey, the ties loosened. And fell away, until I could feel an ache of joy and freedom coming close.

The key that spilt from my lips opened the door and released my spirit. Away I flew with magic wings. I saw a wildfire burning. The fire of my anger, my regret, my invisibility burning, burning, gone! – Luna Eternally.

A Wander’s Song

I found a hidden door —
was whisked away in the moonlight.
Gipsies drew me — enchantment made my dreams.
Ancient knowledge revealed —
how can my life ever be the same?

See me! Hear me! — I proclaim who I am.
I am not an invisible child!
See me! Hear me! — that truth is to be free.

I have met celestial beings —
and have danced with wee fairies;
warriors of great strength and feminine mystic;
newfound talking donkeys and dolls —
and friends of old who knew me long ago.

See me! Hear me! — I proclaim who I am.
I am not an invisible child!
See me! Hear me! — that truth is to be free.

The Silk Road winds through time and space —
of dreams and mystery and magic.
Somewhere along the way, I meet myself;
as a child, girl, the woman I want to be —
the secret that I have hidden in my heart.

See me! Hear me! — I proclaim who I am.
I am not an invisible child!
See me! Hear me! — that truth is to be free.

by faucon of Sakinel – for Luna.

Wandering

We have wandered roads together
played and learned and found each other
hand in hand the journey winds
through the back roads of memory
through the pathways of new learning
up the stairs where magic beckons
into caverns dark
and to the morning.

by Fran Sbrocchi: Secretary of Donkey Incorporated





House of Baba Yaga

4 08 2019

During the days when she ran the Soul Food Cafe, Heather Blakey was in the habit of taking on a range of avatars, as they were known at the time. It meant that she could be whoever she wanted to be. I’m sure her psychiatrist would be very interested in this particular period of her life.

As le Enchanteur, Mistress of Lemuria, she first introduced travellers to the crone, Baba Yaga when they set out in search of the Camp of the Amazon Queen.

Of course, everyone knew that Heather was taking them to yet another of the places she had set up and that she would undergo a metamorphosis and become Baba Yaga.  She had become well known for doing crazy stuff like this. But, when they thought about it, everyone agreed that this identity was a good match for Heather who is very fond of assigning tasks and labours for the unsuspecting travellers who stumble through the portal into the world of Lemuria.

The Instructions

Everyone gathers, expectant inside the Cave of the Enchantress.

The Enchantress comes and announces that everyone is to go to the House of Baba Yaga and help prepare for Halloween and All Saint’s Day. She says that to reach the House of Baba Yaga we will have to pass through the Mountains of Myrrh, which the writer of the Song of Solomon (1V6) said he wanted to retreat to.

The Enchantress provides each person with a small bag. Each bag contains spectacles, a candlestick, a tiny anchor, a medallion with the imprint of the Unicorn and a set of wings. However, the bag also contains something that has been chosen specifically for the recipient. It also contains a map showing where the Gypsies are currently camped.

Le Enchanteur stresses that this bag is very important. Should anyone become separated from the group these things will become essential. She says that travellers may choose to wear the spectacles for they are purported to have fairy-like qualities which reveal wonders to those who wear them.

The Enchantress also gives you a doll so that like Vasilisa they will be able to rely on the dolls wisdom. (Find a doll or make one) She says that if anyone should lose their way, or be in need of help, all they will have to do is ask the doll for advice. She says that the doll will assist, that we must keep her with us at all times, that we must not tell anyone we meet about her and that we must feed her when she is hungry and give her drinks if she is thirsty. She tells us that we must travel by donkey and that it will take many days before we reach the house of Baba Yaga.

Once travellers have arrived they will, of course, be assigned tasks.

 





A Nostalgic Exploration of the Dig Tree

1 08 2019

Celebrate being Australian, learn about Australian History and discover the essence of creativity all at the same time. The Dig Tree is etched into the Australian psyche as one of the greatest ironic tragedies. Dig and unearth some of the secrets of creativity. The Dig Tree at the Soul Food Cafe was designed by Greg Blakey, a talented design student, with flair, imagination and the ability to meet the needs of his clients. Greg has created, amongst other things, Soul Food’s zany Magic Writing Tram.
Link available in the Way Back Machine

You will find links to traditional indigenous remedies within the Dig Tree.

Anita Marie, a former member of Soul Food and a founding member of Bancroft Manor (a virtual sanctuary) told how the Ragtag Community had picked up and continued to run with the WordPress Daily Prompt concept. It is a treat to respond to an idea someone else has put out into cyberspace.

Today’s post asks participants to “compose a post on your interpretation of “nostalgia”. Wikipedia describes nostalgia as sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or places with happy personal associations. There is no doubt that my work on this particular blog, one of the countless I have established over the years, has induced a bittersweet longing for something that has long gone, for a time that has passed. I closed the Soul Food Cafe nine years ago but have kept it all online in the hope that people will continue to make use of the suggested prompts and projects.

These days I continue to work as a purveyor of creative stimuli, running workshops in my local community and, under the name of Georgina McClure, building small virtual sanctuary at Bancroft Manor. Bancroft Manor a place where creatives can take up residence and work on their own or in collaboration on projects like Danse Macabre. Digging away in the Way Back Machine and hauling out the treasure from old links within Soul Food has induced a burst of creativity.

As I sit in some reverie I recall making ‘The Dig Tree’, one of the many features that appeared during those heady days when Soul Food was fully operational. Because the site will eventually sail off into internet oblivion I am including links to find it all in the Way Back Machine.

Each shovel under the famous Australian Dig Tree has a hyperlink to a page of activities. The idea of this feature is that you dig by choosing a random shovel.





Colouring Stories

30 07 2019

“You have power over people Mrs Blakey. You can get everyone in the room to write. How do you do that?” asked Jason from Keon Park Primary.

“We belong to the force of Blakey” said Avril, a member of a small working group at Keon Park Primary School.

When writing or talking about the Soul Food Cafe one does have to keep in mind that its original purpose was not only to publish fun projects, for both primary and secondary school students that I was working with at the time but also to ensure that students had a readership. Primary school students who I met, years after I had worked with them told me that they still loved showing off work that had been published on the internet, back in the days when the internet was still youthful and uncluttered.

Colouring stories went down well with all ages. One favourite, which I located deep within the Way Back Machine involved colouring in Angelica from Cooltoons, cutting her out, pasting her into a scene, along with some other and then writing about the ‘Bad Girl of the Block’.

Colour her mean! Add some action to the page. Write down a list of seriously ‘bad’ action words. Make a note of the things she is in a habit of saying. Think about who she likes to hang out with, how she walks, how she talks to people. Contemplate and recall some of the past bad deeds she and her gang have done.

Write a story entitled ‘Bad Girl On The Block.

One sunny Tuesday morning when Angelica set off to her aunt Didi’s and uncles Stew’s house she saw a police car. She was thinking, did her aunt and uncle call the police for what she had done last night. When Angelica went there yesterday, she was up to mischief, she wrecked her uncle Stew’s new record and new record player. When she was leaving to go to school she called Chuckie, Phil, Lil and Tommy stupid little babies. Just as she was walking out the door she said, “Bite me” to her aunt and uncle. When she was walking to school she saw a police car driving along beside her. The policeman wound down his window and said come here right now. Angelica ran away, right down to the corner and went in the schoolyard. The police car went through the gate that was open, near where they play soccer. The police car ruined the soccer lines that were marked only two days ago. The policemen hopped out the car and ran into the office so they could call her on the loud speaker. Angelica ran into the office and saw the police. The police said we are going to put you behind bars for two years. After she got out of jail she was really, really, really nice to all her family, even the babies.
by Emma Gould – Primary School Student

There are lots of sites that provide downloads of templates to colour. Judy Clement Wall is just one of them. Images like “When in Doubt, Wear fun Shoes’ would surely fit somewhere into Angelica’s daily life.

 





Dare To Be Artrageous

27 07 2019

The purpose of the Soul Food Cafe is to promote writing as a daily practice. The site is quite literally overflowing with healthy and tasty morsels for every writer. It’s full of tips, techniques, references and encouragement for writers of all kinds. Visit it often for inspiration for “listening to your muse”.

Follow the link and get some instructions about how to make an artrageous hat to celebrate your creativity and help you think like an artist.

Nothing is more ordinary than a paper bag, which is why these hats are so extraordinary. The Hawaii artist Moses (shown right, modelling Halley’s Hat, made to honour the astronomer) crafted more than 250 of them in a remarkable creative outburst that lasted almost ten years.

Moses says he “feels like the luckiest guy in the world” because he was given “The Paper Bag Hat Assignment.” He can’t explain why, but throughout the 1980s he was obsessed with paper bag hats. He saw designs in trees and in mountains. Some are quite simple — just a bag cleverly folded and shaped into a head covering. Others, like Anthurium and Gothic Knight, rely on the bag’s crisp texture to hold intricate pleats. Quite a few, such as Two/Flat Knight, are held together with vast quantities of white glue. Waiting for the glue to dry was the most tedious part of the construction process.

Local merchants gladly donated bags and Moses used thousands. The rays of Sun Rook were made from at least 100 paper bags, which were twisted tightly, bent in half and glued onto a form so that more than 200 points bristle from its crown. To achieve the soft texture of Beethoven and Dahling, bags were twisted and crumpled repeatedly until the fibres just gave up and the paper became like flannel. Moses did so much folding and twisting that he developed serious tendonitis. At the time, Moses lived in a Chevy van and used the project room of the local library as his studio.

Periodically, he’d fill his van with the current crop of chapeaus, drive down to Hapuna Beach with a borrowed camera and ask passersby if they’d like to be photographed wearing one of his creations. People’s reactions were always positive. Perhaps they caught a dose of Moses’ infectious enthusiasm. The bulk of his Crowning Glory collection is owned by the Mingei International Museum in San Diego, California. Martha Longenecker, the museum’s founder and director, marvels at these “imaginative, amusing, whimsical and timeless sculptural forms.”

Moses is one person who can suggest you put a bag over your head without your being insulted.

By Elizabeth J. Erskine
All photographs courtesy of Moses





Dream Imagery

27 07 2019

I had given up on writing a good while before I discovered the cyber-treasure Soul Food Cafe. Heather Blakey coaxed from me one last dying ember of literary inspiration, added her unique fuel and spark, and then graciously sat back to admire the fiery imagination she expertly fostered, though assuring me the magic is all mine. Heather taught me and continues to encourage me not to give up five minutes before the miracle happens
Stephanie Hansen

Gail Bixler’s Dream Imagery

As I patiently dig within pages of the Soul Food Cafe that the Way Back Machine snapped and visit internet sites that have long since been removed, I am finding material that reminds me of prompts I have found not only stimulate my imagination but have induced a flow of words in people I worked with.

Gail Bixler documented people’s dreams and their interpretations of those dreams. Dream Imagery is a great place to view pages that will not only give you ideas about how to record your dreams but use some of the material as you develop characters you are working with.

 

When I was working with some Grade 3 and 4 students at a local primary school last year I asked students and the two teachers working with them to take turns, to stand up and share a recurrent dream. Then I had other students listen and react as critics and ask for more information. I was, quite frankly, stunned by the ‘interrogation’ that took place and was inspired by the rich detail that emerged.

Then, having reminded students how to write in the third person I asked them to use this material to generate a story or a news report.

Perhaps you will use this technique and see what emerges.

In Writer’s Dreaming by Naomi Epel, Epel introduces us to some of today’s most important writers. As they discuss their dreams–both sleeping and waking– the 26 writers in this intriguing book create a portrait of the creative process that is more candid than most autobiographies and more inspiring than any guide to writing.

This guideline I relocated, tucked away within the endlessness of the Way Back Machine provides more ways to work with dreams.





Aesthetics of Appreciation

27 07 2019

Named one of the 101 best Writing Web Sites by Writer’s Digest, SOUL FOOD CAFE provides inspiration for writers and artists to make creative work a daily practice. The editors hope that searching minds will appreciate the “chain reaction that promotes creativity and the flow of words.”

Back in 2004, I stumbled upon the work of Cynthia Korzekwa’s. Her exploration of the Aesthetics of Appreciation captivated me. Her retablos were a delight to meditate upon.  “If you’re lucky and don’t know it, it’s like not being lucky at all,” wrote Korzekwa. She suggests that to keep your luck alive you need to recognize it by making retablos

A retablo is a devotional painting, especially a small popular or folk art one using iconography derived from traditional Catholic church art. More generally retablo is also the Spanish term for a retable or reredos above an altar, whether a large altarpiece painting or an elaborate wooden structure with sculptures. Typically this includes painting, sculpture or a combination of the two, and an elaborate framework enclosing it. The Latin etymology of the Spanish word means “board behind”. Aside from being found behind the altar, “similar ornamental structures are built and carved over facades and doorways”, called overdoors.

Korzekwa percieved Retablos to provide a means of offering thanks for her luck.

I consider myself to have been lucky to meet people like Korzekwa when I worked the Soul Food Cafe. This site is what I consider to be a Retablo. It is a way of giving thanks to the divine source that continues to feed me. It also enables me to express how much I appreciated the generosity of all those people who joined me and fired my imagination during those amazing ten years.


Gratitude journals are very popular thanks, in large part, to the work of the mindfulness movement. Making retablos may enrich a gratitude journal. Consider finding ways to keep your luck alive and find fresh ways to make retablos.





Old Internet Gold

26 07 2019

While I was digging around in the Soul Food Cafe, as snapped by the Way Back Machine, I couldn’t resist following links to sites that have long since disappeared. Bingo! I came across an old link I had to Spam Letters.

Johnathon Land who created this insane site didn’t remember why he started writing back to those people who send spam but he did, and, in so doing he created Spam Letters.

Be cautioned! It is generally agreed that responding to such mail only results in your computer contracting a nasty social virus or encourages spammers to send more mail.

However, for fans of unsent letters and Julia Cameron’s morning pages, this does not pose a problem. There is no danger in copying ridiculous spam and using it to meet your daily ten thousand steps of writing target. (I can’t help wondering why no one has designed a ‘Fitbit’ so we can count our words).

Needless to say, I ended up going off on a tangent,  foraging around and low and behold I found some great ways to serve up spam.

But I digress! Here is one of Land’s replies to a spam letter! Back when I linked to his site I did think he might just have been on to something! Clearly, he was! He produced a book called, you guessed it, Spam Letters.

A Spam Letter by Johnathon Land

Subject: Re: Complimentary Disney Area Vacation
To: freevac3@turbomail.net
From: Jonathan Land <jland@incomplete.net>
Date: 07/03/2001

Congratulations!

You will be our guest in Orlando, Florida, home of Walt Disney World, for 4 days and 3 nights. All compliments of major Vacation Resort Developers.

Click here>>> http://www.websurfking.net/freevacations CLAIM YOUR GIFT

While I’m thrilled to have won this prize, I have to say that the timing is wholly unfortunate. I just got back from a 5-day trip to Orlando where I went to Walt Disney World and several other area attractions such as amusement parks and outdoor wax museums (which for some reason all featured a character named “Puddles The Blob”… must be a local thing).

I’d like to know if it would be at all possible to use my winnings from this contest to go to a different location. I realize that it would probably have to be some comparable amusement park-like thing, so I’ll just let you know what I’m looking for, and maybe you can suggest an alternate location for my prize.

OK… from my recent experience, I’ve actually found a lot to be desired from an amusement park. For instance, I’m not a big fan of light, heat, lines (queues when I’m overseas), height, speed, crowds (particularly children under the age of 30), individuals who have a lack of awareness of their own personal space, and noise. Basically, if this were more of a road trip scenario, my ideal buddy would be Woody Allen, but neither of us would dare drive.

I know it’s far easier to say what you don’t want out of something as opposed to what you do, so I’ll attempt to “verbalize” that to the best of my ability here.

My ideal amusement park would be a self-contained, climate-controlled environment that’s available for use 24 hours a day. It would be small enough to traverse the entire area with ease, but large enough so you don’t feel claustrophobic. It can have many windows, but the shades should always be drawn.

I’m very easy to please… I’m fine with just one ride. The ride itself should be a big uber-ride confined to one place where you don’t have to go running around the park. Personally, I like the video presentations that you can find at parks. It would be really, really cool to either A) have some sort of monitor like that with some sort of link up to a network that would allow the patron to select various presentations to view, or b) I don’t know… have some series of cartridges or cool computer-y thingies encoded with presentations that you can plug into something attached to the monitor. That could entertain me for countless months!

The most important thing about the above attraction though is that the monitor setup must be visible to all attendees, and the seating for the ride should maybe be a single row… possibly with a little table in front to accommodate refreshments.

I realize that more is to be taken into consideration in regards to an amusement park besides the fun stuff, so here I’ll address the nightly hotel situation, the concession stand, and the restrooms in reverse order.

The unisex restrooms should have full amenities such as a shower/bathtub (especially since I’m about to propose that the park have a built-in hotel), and a stocked, gratis medicine cabinet. Since the maximum occupancy of the park should only be a handful of people, the restroom should rarely be occupied, and you can easily co-ordinate with any others (essentially your guests who are there by invitation) about the necessity and priority of use, unless of course someone has “really gotta go”.

The concession area would have all of the foods that are traditionally strewn throughout the park in one concise space. Some of the food can be prepared at will by the consumer in an available oven or microwave. Until then there will be a facility where it can be refrigerated or frozen. There should be a network of businesses within immediate walking/driving distance of the park who can supply such things as food items, or even new entertainment cartridges for the ride.

There should be a built-in hotel that is mere feet away from the ride. There should be no specified check-in or check-out time, with no random strangers knocking on your door at 9 am to make your bed for you. However, random strangers in bed with you are perfectly acceptable, even welcome.

Most important – the park attendant. Preferably a young nymphomaniac in a french maid outfit, who would handle the upkeep of the entire facility and my sexual needs in exchange for affection, trinkets, an occasional dinner outside of the park, and a noble attempt to accommodate her insatiable sexual needs even though failure is virtually guaranteed. She can also reside in the hotel room space. I realize this last request might be toeing the line of illegality/impropriety, but I just thought I’d ask.

While I want this thing to be sparsely populated, it it would be ok with me if this park were part of a community of similar theme parks where each operator can tailor the place to their own whims and desires…. as long as they don’t play their music too loud.

I’ve enclosed a rough layout:

I know this sounds heavy duty, but the more I describe this place, the more I’d like to live there. Hell, I’d be willing to pay a monthly rate, but obviously I’d need to relocate there, and eventually I’d have to support myself by getting a job within a reasonable distance, but oh, it would be paradise!!!

So where am I going?
Jonathan Land

Your Complimentary Vacation Package Includes:

3 Nights Resort Hotel Accommodations…PLUS

2 Adult Admissions to Disney’s Pleasure Island Attraction…PLUS

$500.00 Discount Coupon Book…PLUS

Round Trip Transportation between your Hotel and Disney World, Epcot, and the Animal Kingdom.

You Must Qualify – Now.

Click here>>> http://www.websurfking.net/freevacations CLAIM YOUR GIFT

To be removed from future mailings please visit
http://www.websurfking.net/freevacations/remove.html





Archaeological Dig

26 07 2019

The Soul Food Cafe is an incredible multilateral sea of creativity and creative people in writing and art. This place is creative and inspirational without becoming cheesy and all-together far too feel-good for comfort. The visual aspect is unbelievably beautiful and complementary to its content.
Eating Peanuts 2003

The science of Archaeology was glamorised by the film Raiders of the Lost Ark which featured Dr Indianna Jones, the tweed suited, a celebrated archaeologist who is hired by the government to locate the Ark of the Covenant.

Plenty of famed archaeologists have set out to find the hidden treasure but not all face the challenges Dr Jones is confronted with.

The purpose of archaeology is to study how people in the past interacted with their world. Archaeological information is gathered through a detailed study of historic objects, sites and monuments and the contemporary uses of heritage.

Day-to-day Archaeologists conduct field investigations, analyze artefacts, excavate sites, manage the logistics of projects at sites, write reports and recommendations, teach, conduct research, and publish the results of their research in academic journals.

Archaeology is an important career because it assists us in obtaining a chronology of our past, it gives us some understanding of why human culture has changed through time and it allows us to explain cause-and-effect behaviour of humans in the past which in turn helps us understand the present and why humanity is the way it is. Through Archaeology we can make more informed decisions about the progression of humanity as it currently exists.

For example, important remnants of an antique Town, discovered in 1974 at Dzalisa, close to the Mukhranbatoni Château, indicate that these early inhabitants mastered and developed the art of winemaking. They also prove the existence of an important town north of Mtkvari (mentioned by the C2nd B.C. by Greek author Ptolemy). This established settlement, a satellite of the larger Town Mtskheta, played an important part in the development of the Karthli Kingdom. By its historical, artistic and stylistic significance experts believe Dzalisa to be part of the global heritage of mankind, as are Pompeii, Herculaneum and similar sites in Palestine and Syria.

Given all of this, what kind of archaeologist am I working as? In this instance, I am digging deep into the vaults of the Soul Food Cafe, making full use of the amazing Way Back Machine, to study this historic internet application, look at how it functioned, how its creator mastered emerging computer applications and consider its relevance for contemporary use.

Initially, I might unearth old prompts and try entering through a manhole.

Try the following Guided Imagery and when you have completed it write an extended piece.

It is raining heavily but, tired of being indoors, you decide to go out for a walk. As you walk you hear the sound of a solitary raven calling. The cars spray water and you can see the drains filling. Water is gurgling and splashing like mini rivers along the curb into the drains.

Under the shelter of your umbrella you keep your eyes down and suddenly you see a manhole cover that you have never noticed before. (pause)

It is ajar and you can see that there is a ladder leading below. (pause)

The urge to explore is great. (pause)

Suddenly you are aware that you have company.

The two of you decide to check out the world beyond the manhole. (pause)

As you clamber below you are greeted by… see, hear, smell, taste, feel…

You might begin by drawing the world below the manhole cover and then write or you might, like me, when I was in the Czech Republic in 2018, simply seek out interesting manholes when you travel.

 

 

 





A Rambling Wild Gardener

25 07 2019

Good heavens. Thanks to  Boynton I have only just discovered the Soul Food Cafe. What a fine site. What an innovative use of the internet to developing the historical becoming of Australian culture. Finding such sites is like following trails through the desert of cyberspace with other weblogs providing a series of maps of the country.

Then perchance, coming across soakages in the sandhill country, or a waterhole along a trail: Soul Food cafe is one such waterhole. Do take time out to replenish there. That is what waterholes are for—soul food. Many a time I’ve wandered the trails at night looking for a watering hole that pointed the way to the promised land. Around the waterhole, we sit under the night sky and reflect about the country, express our feelings about what is happening on this earth, and start telling our stories.
Junk for Code

Roger McKindley Iron Garden – Antares Newstead

The maker of waterholes? A web publisher? A writer? An assemblage artist? People never fully understand what I am talking about when they ask me to explain my creative work. Until recently I wasn’t really sure where I fitted into the wheel of those who work with the Expressive Arts.

Roger McKindley from neighbouring Newstead has no such problem explaining who he is. Found objects are sited creatively in the space where he lives and works, to form unique and entrancing patterns and images. The whole space is a kind of installation, where visitors are free to roam and explore – finding themselves by turns entertained, beguiled, uplifted and moved.

A qualified landscape gardener of many years’ experience, a stone worker and self-taught artist and sculptor, Roger has over the past 20 years, created Art Gardens wherever he has lived and has participated in numerous community and art events. He says that “reverence is everything. I feel humbled by the objects that I find… or is it that they find me?”

I have visited McKindley’s garden many times and love everything about his iron garden. This is a garden in constant flux, as objects are arranged and re-arranged to suit its creator. Nothing is extraneous. Roger finds beauty in all the objects he finds and the things that others discard – he brings these objects together into an enlivened and creative whole.

Perhaps tonight Roger McKindley is helping me explain the wild garden I initially created in the form of Soul Food and have continued to adapt through the use of countless interconnecting, collaborative WordPress sites. Like McKindley I am humbled by how objects and ideas find their way to me.

I garden! I forage, find and assemble fragments. Like McKindley I have reverence for the things that I find. Perhaps the best example of my foraging and assemblage lies within a series of features I made over a period of seven years.

I think one of my first Advent Calendars was what drew such praise from Junk for Code. It celebrated Australian culture and drew an enormous readership.

A wonderful Advent gift came from Heather at Soul Food Cafe, who prepared a virtual Advent Calendar, with one ‘door’ to be opened every day through to Dec 26. Like everything at Soul Food, this is a labour of love packed with good writing, thoughts and ideas both for making this a rewarding and fruitful time and especially for navigating the sometimes stormy and difficult waters of the holiday season.
Cassandra Pages

Made in Australia Advent Calendar

Design by Greg Blakey. Assembled by Heather Blakey 2003.

Perhaps you will gather together your art and writing supplies, pack a picnic, camp by a billabong (Australian waterhole) and spend some time exploring the bits and pieces that were gathered and assembled here.