Friday, December 16, 2011

On my bedside table

The Creative Women's Circle began as a networking group, run by my dear pal Dearne Herrenberg, who got very busy and handed over the reigns to graphic designer Tess McCabe. Events are held throughout the year, usually a guest speaker who tells their story, providing know-how, advice and inspiration to a crowd of enthusiastic gals.

Tess is an ideas lady, and a bit of an achiever, producing this nourishing little blue book, Conversations with creative women, interviews about the careers and creative lives of 15 Australian women.

Such beautiful details, she has even made a letterpress scissors bookmark! I love a good bookmark.

 Two of my very favourite ladies, Maryann Talia Pau and Pip Lincolne, are present, and although I have known each of them for a while, and have had many in-depth personal conversations with both of them, I have never quite heard the stories they share in this book.

Also included are Kristen Doran, Lucy Feagins, Marian Hosking, Clare Lancaster, Cristina Re, Kate Vernon, Masayo Yasuki, Serena Lindeman, Grace Camobreco, Lou Pardi, Seja Vogel, and Tess Lloyd and Maja Rose. Phew!

( Please excuse my dodgy scanning!)

The intriguing Polli team.

 It's a words book, not a picture book, but includes title pages for each subject, designed by 15 different illustrators, a great way to give a few extra people some big-ups!

I took this book to sleep school with Hazel recently, and although we were only there for one night (meant to be three, snotty daughter not allowed to stay and share her leaky nose with the other babies) I devoured it in any spare time I had, relishing all of the stories and career paths, the advice of both what to do and NOT to do.

I have always had great relationships with teachers in my life, as I am quite an avid student. Looking back I can see that I've had a stream of creative mentors over the years: my high school art teacher Mr Caskey, my sculpture lecturer at Uni George Popperwell, my chalk-and-cheese shoemaking teachers Simon O'Mallon and Tim Skyrme, Johanna Preston during the time I made shoes for her label, and my capoeira teacher Lorem Dias.

I guess I consider this to be a book full of mentors, which is just what I need right now. I have been a bit disconnected from my craft and from the larger world of teachers and practitioners, which is one of the pitfalls of working from home. Any one know of a good mentor for me right now?

One of the crucial lessons learned at sleep school was to look after myself.  The staff at Tweddle urged me to take at least 15 mins to myself as soon as Hazel is asleep, no cleaning, no domestic duties, just me and a cup of fine tea and some equally fine reading material, or whatever it is that takes MY fancy.

So here I am, kids are out at school and daycare, and I have a hot date with my sewing machine. I'm making sandals to wear in Adelaide over Christmas, I am supremely aware that it is a rare skill, and that I happen to have it. Yay for shoemaking!

Yay for this book and the restorative effect it has had on me.

Yay for all the teachers in the world, especially all of mine.

Finally, yay for Tess McCabe, she gets a gold star!


Janine said...

That book looks fantastic... I too have been craving some sort of mentorship, feeling a little lost and alone working from home. Will have to take a look at this book.

Wish I could suggest someone for you...

Happy sewing, hope the sleeping issues resolve themselves soon x

tess said...

Emma! What a beautiful post and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about the book! It makes me very happy that it has helped and inspired you. There are definitely things we can ALL learn from each other, and I for one am going to keep your '15 minute' idea in mind as I welcome my first bubba this Autumn. All the best :)