Friday, March 28, 2014

Hopping off the Hamster wheel

by cassie on deviant art

Wow, is this reality?? It will take some adjusting. I'm going to hop off the hamster wheel for a bit, feel free to post among yourselves.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ghost train

I’m ramping off a 10 year medically induced happy place because I want to. 
Well, not ramping, more like arms to the sides luging - no helmet.

The M.D’s eyes widened a professional millimetre. “ I usually like 
to support the transition off meds with supplements.” Dr. Kathy is 
a beautiful woman of inscrutable Chinese age. She also prescribes 
me Xanax so I love her. 

I said I was fine as long you didn't count the dizziness, electric skull buzzing 
and the fact that I’ve spent the last week sobbing over kittens on Pinterest.

“Taking three to six months tapering off anti depressants is more 
usual, she said, "especially ones like yours with a short half life.” 

Had I bothered to google, this would be known, but the anti-everything 
diet makes me feel invincible. I'm growing gills with the amount 
of fish oil on board.

Dr. Kathy says feeling this good after such a short time could be a honey moon 
period, so if I have a fight with myself the Xanax will come in handy. I’m 
about ready for a fight. The chocolate, caffeine and milk products were 
easy to cut, but I dream in pizza.

 I am also angry. Fist through the wall angry. Angry gets me up and out 
walking every morning, doing my shoulder rehab exercise and eating 
my quinoa and kale. It cleans the house and picks out random bits of dirt 
in tiny corners. It curls my lip at babies and flicky-haired girls 
with over large handbags.

I want to hurl a Molotov into the studio and never make another thing 
again. I want to hop off the hamster wheel of Facebook and not measure 
my worth in likes, followers or comments, and I will toss the bathroom 
scales in on top of the pyre and zumba while it burns.

I will make a swiss water method de caff soy latte because that’s part 
of the anti -everything diet. I will chew on kale and laugh as the scales melt 
because I wont be reminded the anti-fun diet resulted in zero weight loss 
even though Don has trimmed 5 kilos and was only on it to shake 
his pom poms for  me.

With the hindsight of the truly self absorbed, I tell myself these 
emotions are all part of the luge. I liked the last ten years in a pharmaceutical 
happy place. A relieved bargain struck with Pfizer where they bought 
the panic attacks and I sold the joy of dawn over Culburra beach and 
my sex drive.  The anger is strong, and it's swimming toward the light 
to gulp air and splash to shore. 

Better than sobbing kittens. 
I know the hard bit's over. 
I just wish there was pizza.

Once my shrink observed I hadn’t shed one tear or gotten angry throughout 
our entire 18 months work together, even though there was plenty to be 
sad and angry about. 

That was 16 years ago. 

I think there’s some tingling in the extremities because I can feel things. 
Things I can’t block out with chocolate or pills to the happy place.

get out of my happy place

It’s going to be another adventure, much like the jerky carts through
the dark on the ghost train when you were a kid. And if you see a headline 
that says crazed woman holds up pizza place, you’ll know it was me.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Soup from a Sausage

 It's pretty much how I feel about this kind of stitching - soup from a sausage-
 throwing random fragments into a pot to make something greater and tasty.

Stitching is journaling. I learned a lot about stitching through my first love, 
collage. Everything is narrative.
The cloth is the background, the stitches are the words. 

By allowing the needle to travel over a surface, it draws the eye.

Here, I'm doing a series to discover if it's the stitch or 
the textile that wants to speak, and when it does, how not to interrupt.

With texture so rich, adding stitch could quickly move into overkill,
so the thread has to be quiet in its role as witness.

Remember when you were getting dressed 
for a party and you had all your party bling on, and your mother say,
"Remove just ONE accessory"
and you did, and the outfit suddenly came together?

I'm looking to find that one bit.

Other times it's all about the composition, so the thread
is demoted to device, like glue serves the spine of a book.

It's not finished unless it has text - and this fragment from a German
religious book says, "Alone with your God, it shines".
The stitches are barely there, like a whisper in Church.

I dream about allowing stitch to take centre stage like Junko Oki and
Christine Mauersberger.
After a few pieces to warm up, this one is getting close. No text. Just thread words.

Which is all that's really needed.
That and a sense of connection.

It has been a good day.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

My 14 years in Scientology

First off, let me say everything you’ve ever read about Scientology is true - 
except the bit where Tom Cruise can fly. He can’t fly. Neither can that 
ashtray you yell at for three hours on the $1200 course.

Anonymous Sydney Protest, via

But as a confused 17 year old it saved my skin. It could have been Jesus, 
Children of God or the Great Pumpkin, but it was those clipboard 
touting freaks on the street that badger you about happiness. 
Do they still do that?
 They did in 1977.

the Church of Scientology in Adelaide, where I was.

Then I was perfect meat for Scientology. I was lost, miserable and smoking 
heaps of pot. I was also shop lifting and trying to have sex with 
my gay best friend. Actually, being busted for shop lifting and having fines 
to pay was how I ran met Scientology.

I worked in a busy 300 seater Pancake restaurant. It ran like clockwork.
It was a Scientology family running their business along Scientology lines.
Their first born was in the US and part of Ron Hubbard’s inner circle. 
Mike was a hero, but it was his little sister who became my best friend.

The family I met - later Mike left Scientology very publicly.

We hung out a lot and the family were very kind. They knew life at home was 
rough and I’d stay at their house dancing to Gloria Gaynor. In Scientology, 
drugs are bad, family is good. I began to straighten out and think clearly.

When Scientology wants to hook you, they look for the right bait. 
The bait is whatever is messing up your life right now. It’s called your “ruin”, 
and what was ruining my life, apart from not being able to bed 
my gay best friend, was my mean as hell mother.

She had her head up her butt mostly, and when she pulled it out it
was to look for a target. That target was me.

Never had I gotten so much attention than when I announced the 
Church of Scientology had a new member. They scattered like lead 
from a shot gun. For a family so good at neglecting, ignoring, and 
pretending suddenly all eyes were on me. 

My grandfather flipped, threatening to go to the newspapers, and I was 
banished from his presence and his cheque book.
He didn’t want any mumbo jumbo getting into my head to jolt 
free the things he and the family were really doing – with me, 
my brother and other less fortunate ones.


There is irony: The first born daughter of a multi generational cult family 
was joining a cult. There is more irony, as by the time I woke up to my 
family’s secrets, I was long gone from Scientology’s clutches anyway. 

They helped sort out a messy teenage life, and taught me assertiveness, 
but as far as retrieving any buried family memory, it was useless.

I could have bought a house, or had a nice long stay in one of those fancy private retreats that rich women go to for the money I spent on Scientology.
Back in 1977, my family didn’t know what a good job they had done. 
Memories of them prancing about amid clouds weird smoky stuff were so 
buried in my head even the Great Pumpkin, Ron Hubbard couldn’t get at them. 
I remained oblivious, trying to get my ashtray to fly.

the ashtray that didn't fly when I yelled at it in the Scientology course.

When Mike’s little sister offered a book to help understand people I jumped. 
All I wanted was to figure out my nutty family. It was called, 
How to Choose your people, and the intro was written for me:

"In my early teens; I expected that somewhere in the process of growing up
 I’d learn how to choose people—how to tell the good guys from the bad ones."

I stayed in Scientology for 14 odd years till one day I got sick of the crap 
and left. Leaving required assertiveness, but hey! They taught me that.

Last time they knocked on the door, I had been gone 20 years. 
It was after 9pm, and Dog hurtled to the door, bristle and tooth, 
followed by Don, who lifted one by the throat and described 
what he’d do if they they ever came back
 My knights. My family of choice.

Baxter, hound, protector and namesake of grrl+dog

They saved me from a cult, while in 1977, all my birth family saved 
was their asses. They were the reason joining a cult 
seemed like a good idea. 

Ever known anyone in a cult? Ask yourself, what could possibly 
be going on in that person’s life to make joining a cult 
look like a good thing?

After 14 years in Scientology, my ashtray still does not fly, 
but I did learn how to choose my people. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Are you stalking me yet?

Thrilled with the latest turmeric dye results, I had to begin stitching. The fabric
was light blue, so this brilliant lime green is the result.

These days I have to keep the specs and the iPhone handy, both get lost for days
under piles of fabric otherwise.
The other iPhone pouch is softer, and more primitive.

I used this vintage dog stamp from Cavallini. Love how his little tail wags!

So if you signed up on the stalker list, you'd have seen all these new makes by now,
because not only to stalkers get first peek new makes, they also get 20% off.

Three little softies came back from a store that wanted to sell them, but....
Now they have huge inferiority complexes, and no matter how much
I bang on about being unique as snowflakes they make cats-bum faces at me.

Thank goodness this one is called Patience, because she has had to have a lot.

Little Pats has been patting her hand gently.

and "Oh! you pretty thing" just knows she is special.

A small bag of Splendid to keep an iPhone or treasures safe in. They hang round your neck like a medicine pouch.

See them all here.
Stalk me here
Over and out.

UPDATE:  All three pouches have now been sold, thank you to my new stalkers!

Friday, February 14, 2014

maps to memory

Maybe because I am a hoarder, or Mum survived Berlin at the end of the war,
but I can relate to Geta Bratescu.
She is one year older than Mum, and like Mum, had to flee the bombs and Russians,
taking whatever she could with her.

Some of the things Greta took have become art like these stitched pieces.

She is a Romanian artist, and she calls these boro-like textile pieces, maps to her memory.
The fragile fabric scraps saved by her mother, residual material.

I think it's a whole lot more.
She is still producing work, like other art contemporaries of her vintage - Yoko Ono
 and Yayoi Kasuma.

I am inspired by her, and then find myself sticking tiny marks over fabric, never sure
if it's the fabric or the stitched marks that need to come forward...

So I keep stitching, knowing that in the process the piece will tell me what it wants.
Much like writing, sometimes knowing where you're going spoils the destination.

 There are three of these stitched collages on the table, rotating about as if in
conversation. One becomes quiet to allow the others to speak.

What is speaking to you, right now?


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