Saturday, 6 August 2016

5 in 5 - MELANIE - August 2016

Melanie is my friend who lives in Australia and she loves photography.  Every month since the start of this challenge Melanie has taken part in this monthly meme and as she doesn't have her own blog I post here. I love that we have found a way for her to take part, so over to you Melanie:

Hi this month my 5 in 5 is a very staged 5 in 5.  No spontaneous snaps.  This month in and around Adelaide there is the South Australian festival of arts:- Sala.

I  checked out a few of the venues with exhibitions and my intention was to go to two today and hopefully find between the two a five minute slot to take photos.  My day turned out completely not what I planned.  I didn’t even make it to one venue so I needed to think again for a photo subject and it needed to be something around my home. Since the 5th of the month has fallen on a Friday I decided to use a snapshot of our regular Friday activity as my 5 in 5 photos.  Most Fridays we cook pizzas and our daughter and grandson join us to eat them.  Today was no exception but our grandson was around helping with most of the prep.  He loves being involved and did all the measuring of the ingredients for the pizza dough and had fun when helping rolling out the dough.  He is two so I will leave the image of his rolling out dough to your imagination and just add it involves tasting the raw dough.  I took my photos at the point when all the prep was done and the oven was on heating but before the dough was being rolled and the pizzas assembled for cooking.  In the top left hand photo the dough is ready for rolling.  In the top right hand photo some topping ingredients.  In the bottom left hand photo there is the pizza oven , this is an outdoor gas oven.  Then there are two photos on the right hand side bottom one of two cheese toppings, feta and haloumi and the other with tomato for a margarita pizza and a topping of asparagus and capsicum.  That is it for August.  Hopefully I shall get to see some of the Sala exhibitions but they are only around for the month of August so no good for the next 5 in 5. I shall just have to put my thinking cap on for September.

Thank you for joining in Melanie, I really enjoyed the photos and telling of Friday traditions.  Cooking pizza is something we like to do, especially with my granddaughters. They like to make their own toppings too but I have never seen an pizza oven like yours. I'm rather impressed!  I hope you get to the festival of arts, lucky you to have it so close to home.  


If this has inspired you to pick up your camera and take part this post will answer questions and give the information that you need. And if you want to see other 5 in 5 photos for this month just go to the original post.

Hopefully Melanie will be back next month and I look forward to you joining us. Thank you for popping by, it is great to have your company.

Friday, 5 August 2016

5 in 5 - August 2016 - A Sadness of Sewing Machines

Welcome to '5 in 5' where on the 5th of
each month I post 5 photos that I have
taken in 5 minutes.

Sometimes I plan my monthly photos in advance, other times I happen upon an idea unexpectedly. I like when this happens because there is a thrill with spontaneity, but this time there was also a sunken heart as it was a sad sight I came across.  A graveyard of sewing machines.  I kid you not.  One piled against the antique shop wall, and others into a crate.   

But even in this sad state I saw beauty.  The classic black bodywork with painted decoration that softens the metal and makes each machine individual. And the intricate workings that would have once beat a rhythm as the needle cast its thread.

Who would have sewn on these machines?
Was it used for pleasure, to make something that would be loved?
Or would it be a means to providing an income or essentials? 

Lots of questions passed by as I stood looking at these discarded piles.  Some had labels, no doubt from when they were in better condition and possible to sell and restore. Now? I only see sculpture, or rust to take prints with.  Or maybe a poem or story in the making.  It did spark another idea, and if anything comes from that I will let you know.

How about you? Do you like to plan photos or act on spontaneity? 


It is always fun to have company in this photo challenge so a big thank you to Mary-Lou, Borqna, Maggie, Joy, Melanie, Gill, Karen and Eileen for taking part last month.

And YOU would be very welcome to join in too, so if you feel inspired here is what you do:

1.  Choose a location.
2.  Have your camera ready.

3.  Set a timer for 5 minutes (I use my mobile phone).
4.  Take as many photos you can until the time is up.
5.  Choose 5 photos to download and share by using the link tool below.  

   Please note:
You have until the 25th of the month to add your photos to the link and you can take  your photos any time. They do not have to be taken or posted on 5th!
If you would like more information please go to the original post here where you will find more.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

The Artists Way - free online course - 2016

Several years ago I started to work through ‘The Artist’s Way’ a book written by Julia Cameron about how to work through difficulties so that you can be more creative.  I’d had my copy for many years. It was dog eared, written in, highlighted, and much read. But I never worked through the chapters in the way Julia invited: one chapter each week, with tasks to complete, 'Morning pages’ and 'Artist Dates'.

There were several reasons for this.  Firstly, this is a spiritual journey and the book refers throughout to God and The Great Creator. And if I am honest, this is where I found my initial barrier. But I had seen what the book offered and liked the idea of working though. So I decided that if I remained open minded and held onto my own sense of wonder and curiosity at things unexplained, and if I allowed myself to interpret Julia’s writing in a way that sat comfortable with me, then I might achieve this. Because let's face it, in the end it doesn’t matter the reason or how we get there. And in this regard Julia says:

“Because the Artist’s Way is in essence a spiritual path, initiated and practiced through creativity, this book uses the word God….. to succeed in this course no god concept is necessary. In fact many of our commonly held god concepts get in the way. Do not allow semantics to become one more block……. What we are talking about is creative energy…….  The point is not what you name it.  The point is that you try using it.  For many of us thinking of it as a form of spiritual electricity has been a useful jumping-off place”.

I found great value in writing morning pages but my routine would sometimes slip or get forgotten. I needed to be accountable so that I would do this regularly.  And I needed a way to work through the book that was manageable and realistic.  One chapter a week did not work for me. My life did not allow the time and commitment this needed.

So in 2013 I started an online group. Instead of a chapter a week we worked through a chapter a month.  This was manageable, and it 
worked. We had a closed Facebook page where we could share ideas and experience and I embraced my year of working through the book. I gave it time and attention and my experience was powerful, amazing, curious, and hugely uplifting.  I grew and gained in so many different ways.   And though life is crazy at times, with balls all in the air at the same time, I knew I would miss the routine of The Artist’s Way when I came to the last chapter.  And just as I was preparing myself Julia wrote her final task:

“Reread this book.  Share it with a friend.  Remember that the miracle is one artist sharing with another….” 
And so we did.

We came to a pause at chapter 10 and then time moved on....  and I can feel the difference.  The benefits far outweigh the time and effort it takes to work through the book. I miss what it gave me. 

So it is time to start again. And what better time, because today is a new moon. This symbolises a time to rest before the next cycle begins, a time to set intentions for things you would like to make manifest or create. And rather than pick up where we left off, we will start afresh, for as Paul Gardner rightly says:    

                        “A painting is never finished – it simply stops in interesting places”

I feel just as excited and inspired as I did when I first started this journey.  I don’t know where it will take me this time round;   some of the tasks might not be so relevant, or I might see them from a different perspective because I am not in the same place as I was then.  This will be revealed and is all part of the discovery.
Julia often talks about synchronicity, and just when I was thinking seriously about restarting the course several people, who I have never met, contacted me around the same time. They had seen my original blog post and wanted to know if they could join in. It felt like a nudge saying 'it's time to start'.
I propose to start afresh, with a new closed Facebook page. Naturally those who were in the previous group are welcome to join in, and some have already expressed interest.  And if you are interested, this is how it will work:

1.     You need a copy of Julia Cameron’s book ‘The Artist’s Way’ A Course in Discovering and Recovering your Creative Self.   You will also need 2 basic note books for writing in.  You do not need the workbook that is  available, unless you want it of course
2.       At the end of each chapter there are a list of 10 tasks.  I found these interesting, sometimes   fun, sometimes thought provoking. Like all things, you have choice in what or how much you do.
3.      Morning pages. Julia views these as essential.  Put simply, these are a stream of thoughts written daily. She recommends writing 3 pages in long hand first thing each morning.  I had to come up with a way that worked for me.  Writing first thing in the morning was not possible when I was working early morning shifts so I got into the routine of writing whenever I could.  Some days on waking, other days before going to bed, sometimes during the day.  To me the process and routine of writing was more important than the time. I did write long hand and I found the experience of daily writing powerful and something I continue.

4.       Artist’s Date. Now this was something that greatly excites me!  The idea of writing an allocated time each week in my diary, just for me to be playful or to try something new!  Again, for this to work for me  it needs to be flexible.

I have commitments and busy schedule.

I have excuses and reasons.

I am no different to anyone else. 

I started out by listing things I could do, places I could go.  And some weeks I achieved this. Like the time I went for a walk along the river with my camera, or visited a new tea room. My biggest adventure was a 3 day road trip on my own. Other times a play date with a friend ticked the box.  Sometimes I forgot to write anything down or plan this special time.  In hindsight I might have remembered something that qualified as an artist date, but unless it was planned it never had the same impact.  Lesson learned.

5.      I never beat myself up if I missed a morning page or Artist Date. The course is meant to be enlightening, not punishment. That said, I take the course seriously.  I try hard to maintain focus and the rewards have outweighed any effort involved.

6.     Facebook.  I plan to set up a closed group and to use this forum as somewhere we can share our individual journeys and thoughts.  There is strength and support in people working together.

7.     As part of the closed group I will write a monthly newsletter. This will introduce each chapter as we work through them and I hope this will make the course more personal and interactive.

8.      The Artist’s Way is a creative course for everyone.  It doesn’t matter if you write, sew, paint, draw, take photos or paper craft. We are all creative in our own way.  

9.       So!  Are you interested in signing up and getting started?! 

10.   This free course will run 1stSeptember 2016 for 12 months.  I'd love you to join me in this!

11.   I will be preparing the first newsletter and sending this out on 1st September.  To benefit from the group it is best to sign up at the beginning so that you have time to work through each chapter.  Some of the exercises might trigger unwanted or uncomfortable thoughts or feelings.  This group is about helping each other to work through these difficult moments and to offer kindness and support. 

12.   To sign up – email me with your full name saying that you would like to take part in The Artist’s Way course.   To join the closed Facebook Page (sharing with others and being part of a group is what helped me to maintain focus and gain more from the experience) then also send me your Facebook contact details so that I can add you. 

If you have any questions please email or leave a comment.   Here's to new beginnings!
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