Here they are, the Lil' Love Nests :) I wanted to created something to mark the births of my babies that was more of an art piece. I love that the nest is something associated with warmth, love and nurturing. This is a little Love Nest created for my beautiful girl, Jess :)
I would be delighted to create these for other peeps wanting to mark a special event in their lives with something a little bit different. If you would like one of these, please email me via the contact page and we can arrange it :)
7 months post 5th baby.
Recently, a friend introduced me to this exercise that I found so helpful with my on-going process of loving and accepting body for what it is. It only allows for positive and wowsers, was this hard! Like many women, I am extremely self critical when it comes to my physical appearance. Having had five children, I find myself faced head on with all of my body issue demons making the first few months post birth a challenge. I know I am not alone here. When pregnant, we can finally relax and not care about our belly sticky out - quite the opposite actually. We can celebrate it! A pregnancy is long and we have months to accept our changing body. Birth however, is relatively short and the appearance of our post natal body can be a shock to say the least...as if adjusting to a new baby isn't difficult enough! I have struggled with body image issues from very early childhood so with each new baby comes a period of despair over the kilos I have stacked on during pregnancy. Positive self talk and loving support from my partner gets me through this process of adjustment but still, I struggle with the chatter in my head.
What I would love to see is the post baby body displayed more. I would love to see it celebrated for what it has achieved! We make people and that is freakin amazing!!! We then go on to nourish them with our wonderful milk made just perfect for our baby.
So here it is. This Body. Loving and loved. And beautiful too :)
this body provides warmth and comfort that lulls active children into hours of blissful slumber
this body has nourished five children with perfect breastmilk
this has given birth to five healthy babies
this body drives the man she loves to a state of quivering ecstasy without so much as laying a finger on him ; )
this body has given birth unassisted in 18 minutes flat from start to finish
this body can function fully on four hours of interrupted sleep month after month, year after year
this body hasn't had a full nights sleep in eight years yet usually feels wonderful!
this body has healed itself of skin cancer
this body has created works of art that make people smile while carrying eight kilos of baby on her back
can enchant with graceful middle eastern dance
this body has birthed a nine pound baby with a compound arm in an hour and a half with no drugs
this body birthed a baby into her own hands
this body has produced many hundreds of litres of breastmilk and continues to do so
this body has prevented disease and illness in those she loves via breastmilk
this body tells me exactly what it needs to stay healthy
this body makes people!
this body plays beautiful piano music
this body has laboured for 24 hours with no drugs
this body can heal others
this body gave birth to an 8 pound 3 ounce posterior baby with a deflexed chin in an hour without no drugs
this body can sculpt and paint
this body has proudly been photographed nude by artists and exhibited in gallery walls
this body has warm and loving arms that comfort and console
this body has sensitive taste buds and adores food and lots of it
this body has eyes that see magnificent beauty in every day life and a brain that appreciates it deeply
this body is soft
this body is curvy
this body is the only one I will ever own and I will love it, honour it and treat it with respect
this body is loving
this body is loved
this body is mine
OK, typing one handed with babe in knee and 4 year old creating art beside me. What can i say? Life with 5 chillens is crazy busy! My days swing between moments of absolute joy to absolute despair and back again. Somehow among the chaos I have found time to create, usually with my baby on my back sleeping or enjoying the view from up there.
Over the last couple of months I have discovered the joys of art journalling and the techniques I have learned I have used to create works on canvas as well as in the form of altered books. The painting the left is my most recent work.
Because I am short on time (two little ones need me) I will have to upload and run. In fact, that is pretty much how I live my life these days. In fits and spurts. It's very frustrating at times but getting through it with my mind intact at the end of the day is empowering to say the least. This too shall pass...(sigh)
'Harmony' I used similar colours with this painting as the last as they hang in kinda the same area of the house.
This is a portrait of my beautiful Nana, who passed away recently. The painting has been slightly altered since this pic was taken but I haven't had a moment to take another photo.
Created in memory of my Grandfather who passes away recently. It's been a heavy year!
"Don't cry because it's over,
Smile because it happened."
A page from my art journal.
a celebrating of spring!
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I have come to realise that my creative bursts kind of come in waves. This is a huge comfort for me as i was placing so much pressure upon myself to produce new works at a nice steady yet constant pace. But it just can't be that way. Life happens, it gets in the way, influences, distracts and inspires. The creative flow is disrupted and eventually reignited usually when I least expect it. So after a bit of a dry season, a couple of bonus cosy co-sleeping nights with my youngest child following her recent transition into her 'big bed' had me reminiscing about the 4 years of snuggles as a co-sleeping mama and child that we shared.
This piece also placed emphasis in my mind upon the joys of life with a newborn. At 27 weeks pregnant with our fifth child, I needed to focus on the positives of this often exhausting yet blissful period that follows the birth of a new baby.
Ooooh, I am So excited I am just about jumping out of my skin! My first Baltic Amber and fair trade sterling silver pendants stock has arrived :D And I know for sure that sharing this beautiful jewellery with others is my calling :D It feels great and I know I am helping people less fortunate (the artisans who create this magnificent jewellery) in the process.
The people I buy stock from have a good moral conscience and only buy fair trade. This is vitally important to me. I love knowing that when i buy from this person, Aaron is his name, people living in hardship in Nepal, India and Poland are benefiting from my business. It feels good. Really good.
I am selling this stock off as cheaply as I can because I just can't wait to do more business with Aaron. He is doing something great here and I want to help out all I can. I want to reassure people that my low prices do not in any way mean that the jewellery I am selling is poor quality. It is anything but. The amber is genuine lithuanian and of the finast quality. I am so thrilled with it! Just delighted! My only complaint would be the silver cleaning cloths I ordere. They remove tarnish well, but when I used them on one of my own necklaces, I noticed that it dulls the silver. So I won't be using those! If anyone knows of a chemical free way of cleaning silver, can you please let me know? I would be very grateful :)
I'm off to add my gorgeous jewellery to my shop now.
Oh, and I am now SO close to having PayPal set up. In the meantime, I still accept bank deposit for payment. Just shoot me an email if you would like to order anything:
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Recently I was browsing the net for birthy arty images in order to inspire some new artworks following a bit of an artistic rest period. I was ready to start creating again but needed a little inspiration. Somewhere, I came across some images of hand painted rocks of all things. They were little animals and were pretty cute and appealing. I was surprised at the quality of the finish and it got me thinking. And there it was. I was back on the creative wheel again and here I am, once again, buzzing with creative energy. I shared my desire to paint rocks with my hubby who, understandably, looked at me like I was nuts. Who can blame him? I mean, painting rocks is something children do at play group isn't it? Sure! Because it is so, so fun!!! Anyhoo, I can see many rocks coming to life over the following weeks and I will share them as I go. Here are the first few little experiments.
Pregnant belly stone pendant.
I am so happy with this one. It is so light and warm against the skin.
This is part of my birthing alter set above my en suite bath. I hope to give birth here, or somewhere near here, in March 2011. I think painted rocks are a lovely addition to Blessingway alters too. If you feel called to have a go, please do! It's a lot of fun!
Birthing Mama Goddess hand painted rock.
Motherhood didn't come easy to me. After spending years in the childcare industry prior to becoming a mama, I thought I had an advantage. But nothing could have prepared me for how intense it was. Nothing could have prepared me for that incredible grief I felt for months after my first child was born. It was completely unexpected and it struggled to understand where it came from. I felt as though the old me had died and I was grieving the loss of her. Me. As I once was. I had lost my sense of self and had to somehow get to know this knew 'me' , this mother, who had been born the minute my daughter had. It took time a great deal of crying on the shoulder of my dear friend, Amanda, to understand how it could be that I had a beautiful, healthy child who I adored and yet, I felt so lost. So empty. That transition from maiden to mother was by far my most difficult birth and only now, after having four children (5 including belly babe), do I feel that I really am comfortable and secure in my role as Mother. To do this, I had to let go of many ideals as to what society sees as a 'good mother.' My children don't always wear beautiful clothes and I rarely cook dinner (thank goodness hubby loves to cook! Cheese jaffles get mighty boring after a while). I am slack as hell when it comes to nagging kids into getting homework done and these things once had me feeling like a failure. But what looks like me being slack to outsiders, is actually a mama living conscious parenting choices.
1. I choose to place little emphasis on appearances hoping my children will feel loved for WHO they are rather than what they look like. I feel this is especially important for my girls to understand. So If they want to go out with unbrushed hair and holes in their trackies, then so be it. They know they are loved regardless.
2. I don't cook much simply because I don't enjoy it. Hubby does. It's important that my children see their parents doing things they enjoy.
3. As far as homework, bah! I am an unschooler at heart and the thought of giving kids homework when they should be out living, playing, exercising.... makes me cringe. I trust my children to know what they need to learn and I trust that they will learn what they need to know in their own perfect time.
My children are loved and nurtured deeply and I do my best to make parenting choices based on love rather than fear of the 'what ifs.' I homebirth. I breastfeed to term. I co-sleep. I hold my babies close in slings for as long as they need. I practice elimination communication........
But it was an experience that I had many years ago that really opened my eyes and had me truly value and embrace my role as mother.
I was in my late 20's and I had 2 children at that stage who were about 2 and 3 years old. I was restless, feeling bored being at home full-time and as though I was missing out on something that was happening 'out there.' I felt pretty trapped. So I began volunteering in a nursing home in Canberra called, Gininnderra Gardens. First, I taught art classes in the nursing hostel and then later accepted a job as a nurses aide in the nursing home. I lasted one shift (couldn't bare the way the residents were treated by the staff) but it was the most valuable 6 hours I could have hoped for.
There was a very elderly women there who had dementia and was wheelchair bound. On this particular evening, I walked past her room and heard her talking, sounded very agitated. She was saying, 'Oh, i'm such an idiot! I'm such a fool! Why can't I do it? WHY?' She was sitting in her wheelchair, leaning over to her left side, trying to retrieve a bag a green grapes from a rubbish bin beside her. She was so angry with herself for not being able to reach them. I walked to her side and gently explained that the grapes had gone bad which is why they were in the bin. I would fetch her something to eat if she wanted. Just then, another carer came in and told her it was bedtime, and helped her onto the bed. She was still quite up-set with herself, still mumbling words of self loathing and frustration. The other carer left and I remained by her side, stroking her hair, telling her she was wonderful, amazing, beautiful, loved. She began to relax and lay still, just listening. It was then that I noticed that her t shirt had risen up over her belly a little revealing silvery white stretchmarks typical of those left by pregnancy. It looked a lot like my own belly, only hers was much softer looking. And I realised, that that would be me one day. She had once been a mother of young children too, just like me. She too had given birth, nursed her baby in her arms, gazed lovingly for what felt like hours at her baby's perfect features, so beautiful it almost hurt. She watched her children grow and nurtured them along with way. And now, here she was, alone. In a nursing home and so angry with herself. It was heartbreaking. And it was one of the most valuable learning experiences of my life. It gave me the vision to see that this life as mother with young children is temporary. It's precious beyond anything else. It is bursting with moments of absolute joy and utter perfection that really cannot be equaled. I learned to appreciate what I had, while I had it and that was a priceless lesson indeed.
She taught me another great lesson as well. You see, I had this idea, that elderly people were a pretty together bunch. That they had had their whole lives to, well, get their shit together. But seeing this women, in her 80's, still with a mind-set of absolute loathing was a real eye opener. I saw women in the nursing hostel who took my art classes with a simmer attitude. They were critical of how they looked. This shocked me as I really thought that once in her old age, you'd be well beyond worrying about your appearance and focused on what really mattered.
Ultimately it was simply surrendering to motherhood with all its ups and downs, letting go of guilt, forgiving my parenting stuff-ups and just enjoying the ride that has me, finally, in a pretty contented place. It didn't happen over night. It was a series of lessons that took place over 13 years that got me here. And I still have bad days where wonder where the smartarse was who made me a mother is hiding so I can poke'em in the eye. But above all, I feel pretty darn good about this whole mama gig. I feel like I have really found my groove. I have days where I feel like a rock'in good mama goddess, and days where I yell and lose my cool and want to hide away and be alone. And the thing that makes me cool about motherhood is, I love me as a mum and I forgive myself when I get it wrong. I accept myself for who I am. Perfectly imperfect. And in doing so, my children see their mum as a human being who makes mistakes. So they know they can make mistakes too and mistakes are great! That's how we learn :D We forgive ourselves and move on.
So that's my motto for motherhood: Perfectly imperfect. It fits me very nicely :)
Woah, what a weekend that was! It was an exhausting yet vital journey that had to be taken and that really, is far from completed. I woke yesterday morning feeling pretty flat following a night of pregnancy related aches and pains which I think placed me in a particularly vulnerable place. But really, when I think about it, it was a good thing. I had some processing to do and it was important that I face my demons. What am I talking about? Ok. Lemme 'splain.
About two years ago, I placed a very personal piece of art up on a website I had been a member of for a few years. I felt the people there were my friends and for most of them, that was true. But for some, not so. What happened was, a few people had some issues with my artwork and rather than email me about it privately, they began a thread about the piece and told me exactly what they thought of it. Now, under normal circumstances, that would have been something I could have handled. In fact, when I initially placed the artwork on the website, I was very open to critique. But this day was different. I had not invited this critique at all and above all, I had a really sick child in my care and felt exhausted as it was through worry for her. Despite sharing this with the people on this thread, they insisted that they would continue to criticise this artwork. It was plane harassment and when this was voiced my me, I was quickly silenced by the forum admin, there reasoning being that me saying that I felt harassed was 'accusing' and that was against their forum guidelines. No matter how I worded my feelings, I was silenced by admin who continued to use their 'guidelines' as their reasoning. It soon became clear that they were manipulating the guidelines in order to have control and silence me. In the meantime, the most offensive and hurtful posts were deleted, yet my responses remained, giving the impression that I was over-reacting. It was not only this silencing and attacking that I found to be deeply, deeply traumatic. It was my first experience of cyber bullying and it was horrific. I can understand totally how people are driven to despair by such bullying. It really does render one into feeling utterly powerless. There is no worse feeling than being silenced when under attack and the feeling of powerlessness that comes with it.
I am aware that I really need to address the feelings that come about when I recall that dreadful, nightmarish weekend (yes, it went for two whole days) with some EFT and Hypnosis. The wounds are deep.
I honestly don't expect all people to like my work. That would be absurd! It isn't at all about liking or not liking my work. It is an issue of bullying and how that experience was tied to my artwork. So in my moments of physical and emotional fatigue, I am a little more inclined to allow those feelings to surface and direct my decision making. Yesterday, while feeling vulnerable, I considered closing this website. I felt very fearful. I wasn't sure what of. After some more thinking and processing, I realised that there is really nothing to fear. I have far more love surrounding me than I could ever hope for. I am safe. And I do not have to be where people are cruel and behave in a disrespectful manner. I make a conscious effort now to be only where I know people are kind, loving, gentle and respectful and where I know they would never dream of silencing me.
I will not be silenced. Ever.
So I will continue to speak my truth through my artwork. I don't expect people to like it. If they do, that it wonderful and I hope it can bring joy to others. That is all I ever wanted. To warm the hearts of others. To make people smile, to remember, to feel joy. But I know that that may not always happen. For some, my work will raise other emotions. And that is ok too. That is art! :)
In the meantime, I will push on. I will speak my truth. I am strong! I am woman! I am invincible! :D And I'll be damned if I will allow a tiny group of people and their issues to silence my into submission.
Below is a photograph of the piece of artwork that caused all the fuss. I TOTALLY get how it could seen as spooky/scary/ugly/freaky/disturbing etc. I have no problem with that!!!! I get that! But that is not my intention at all. It was the beautiful, gentle, unassisted homebirth of my fourth child that prompted this piece. It is a celebration! It is my hand, sculpted out of clay, catching my beautiful daughter as she was born.
Critiquing artwork is fine, necessary and ok. Doing it in a way that is soul destroying is not.
Anyway, here is it. It is called,
Jessica, My Freeborn.
sculpted in sculpley
painted with heat set paints