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.





An Inner World Revealed

23 07 2019

It was this drawing of Enchanteur, with her dream seeds, that was a turning point. I decided that while my drawings may not have been technically perfect they had a distinct message.

When I work with participants, encouraging them to draw upon material from their interior world, I never suggest that what comes forth will be able to be chronologically dated. These posts are in no particular, linear order.

Soul Food was never presented in an orderly fashion. It was drawn largely from my rich inner world and I am still amazed that so many people navigated their way through its meandering passages, rummaged as they would in some overstocked second-hand book shop to find treasures.

Today as I work I have vivid recollections of my husband, who was battling cancer, watching TV, flicking from channel to channel while I sat drawing. Unlike many people, I had never drawn but, inspired by some material Anita Marie Moscoso had been writing I decided to draw what rose as a result of reading her work.

My husband, who could produce almost photographic replicas with his drawings refrained from pointing out my technical frailties and I persisted. Rather than write I drew something every night, depicted what was happening as I led people through the portal into the world of Lemuria, a world I had learned about from the writings of my great grandfather who explored vast tracts of South Western Queensland in the 1860s.

The post I have reblogged from While Waiting for Godot contains a selection of images that were used to depict the journey that the Enchantress led through the portal into Lemuria.

While Waiting For Godot

This is a collection of drawings I did while I was travelling, with a host of companions,   in Lemuria. Many of these are self-portraits!  Over a five year period,  while my late husband was battling cancer, and often confined to bed, I spent my nights drawing, Looking at these drawing now I can see that I managed to capture the inner world that sustained me during those long years. After walking away from my life in the city, and reinventing myself, my pencils have lain idle! They served me well! Today I give thanks to them, and to all those who fearlessly travelled those Lemurian roads with my multiple personalities!
Heather Blakey
Pencil Drawings – Enhanced in Photoshop! 2005 – 2010

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The Chocolate Box

22 07 2019

I was beyond elated to discover Soul Food Cafe, an unbelievable mecca for writers and other creative folks. I don’t know when I’ve ever been so taken aback by seeing so much juicy, HELPFUL information on a single Web site. Take a look at the Navigation Signposts on the left side of the home page and then go where your intuition steers you…you can’t go wrong! One of my favourite sections was the material for journal keepers which, I’ll mention, includes prompts and tools that are equally effective for art journalers.
Artella 2003

HOW did I NOT find this site BEFORE? Not only is it about journaling, Muses, and creativity, but it’s practical, well-written, and has stuff on VISUAL JOURNALS!! There is, literally, enough stuff here to keep you busy until your favourite pen has gone the way of the Dodo. A MUST SEE site of 2003, in our not-so-humble-royal opinion.
IN(ner) QUESTION 2003

One of the first, very popular, features at the Soul Food Cafe was the Chocolate Box.

The early promotion called upon artists, dreamers, dancers, mythologists and Imagineers to nourish their creative spirit by taking a chocolate from the box.  It pointed out that this strictly non-fat box of chocolates is packed full of projects and material to help creatives return to that wondrous childhood kingdom where imagination and creativity reigned supreme.

The special fillings focused on celebrating childhood joy, spontaneity and imagination. For example, one chocolate takes you to a Box of Wonderment. It is easy to navigate the Chocolate Box. Each chocolate has a hyperlink that takes you to a specific activity.

Chocolate Box Memory Leonie Bryant August 2005


Sitting in my warm cosy room, I opened my delicious box of chocolates. My mind drifted back to life on the farm in the Mallee in Northern Victoria.

My fondest memories are of the derelict old buildings around the farm. My favourite was the stables which were used to house the draft horses who pulled the machinery around the paddocks. The building was made of split posts with a thatched roof of straw. The empty troughs lined the walls and the old harnesses and bridles hung from the posts. I can remember climbing onto the roof and jumping off onto the heaps of earth behind the stables. I can almost smell the aroma of the rotted straw and grease as I sit here.

The other derelict building I remember is the pigsty, as above. The picture here is of a painting done by my sister when she returned there in the ’80s. As you can see, the shelter for the pigs is almost intact, although the drifting sands from the drought have covered most of the surrounding fence.

Despite the fact that I had 3 sisters and a brother, I can only remember playing by myself. Strange! The home held many difficulties for all of us. As I reflect now, I can see the resourcefulness of the little girl who nurtured herself helping her rise above those difficulties.

The Chocolate Box by Simone Crowther August 2005

I wake up and there is a jewelled box at the end of my bed. The jewels glisten in sea colours of violet, blue, green and aquamarine; eels and fish entwine in the silver work. I open the box and therein incongruously lay chocolates!

Rich dark chocolates, milk chocolate, chocolate truffles, nut encrusted chocolates and white chocolates. I puck a white chocolate and memories swirl before me, memories that form the core of me. I find myself in a tiny airless attic with a trunk in front of me. I know of this trunk from the enchantress as the trunk of wonderment.

I open it and there at the bottom is a faded photograph of myself as a frail, pale girl, almost albino in my lack of colour with a voluminous mass of white blond hair that made me look like a mop on a stick. Such a miserable girl bowed beneath the hatred of a Poe-faced family. I remember her sadly. She was the sacrifice, I made to survive. I laid her in a chest, a stout wooden box, the size of a child’s coffin and hid her (in the cave of an old formidable she-bear who takes in all such orphans) in a netherworld of my own depths because she was sick beyond my healing. She lies there still, swathed in a few precious scraps of sun shot nature, dreams and hidden ambitions, waiting… So wan, pale and sick almost to death but lo’ she breathes, so precious!

I have been digging for that soul, to wake it up, revive it, breathe life energy back into it. I lay a honey comb as good will for the bear. A token of my recognition of the sweetness of life, my love and commitment. I take her childish form from the bear.

I call to her, coax her with soft words. It is safe to come out and be loved, joined with my body, joined with the present. It is safe to breathe deeply, to laugh, to dare, to dance wildly. It is safe to weep for old pain and dissolve old wounds.

I place her sleeping form over my shoulder and dig my way back up to the daylight world.

She is a splinter of my soul, a long forgotten part of me that had to lie hidden from the searching claws of my family.

She is a precious, precious thing. A part of me that wasn’t safe to express. She is the forbidden, the wild, the magick and also the vulnerable flame of youth, of life lived passionately. She is white like the moon and her fragility is deceptive for she holds tremendous power. She is my Persephone, my playful, puckish spirit that had to lie in the underworld but now returns to be my soul’s delight.

She lay like a spiritual seed and now she can grow like an immense silver-hot tree that casts both light and shadow.

I have let the moon out from my box. She is both the daughter and the mother of me.

She rests now, breathing deeply, rapidly gaining strength.

She is hungry and I feed her little scraps of meet. This is no vegetarian soul but a huntress with wolf’s tail, canine teeth and claws.