December 28, 2008

So many pictures - Papua New Guinea revisited


I've awoken from another Doxycycline fuelled Armageddon dream to the sound of a frantic tapping.
I lift my mosquito net and tip toe across the buckled lino to the window.
The sound stops.
It sounded exactly like a man with a computer keyboard just banging on it at random. What the hell could it be?
Just outside my window at 3am?
I tell myself to relax and not let my all too vivid imagination come up with threatening concepts. So I fall back asleep.
I awake again at 6am to the sound of construction, metal being cut, blades spinning, pipes banging. It's boxing day in Papua New Guinea.
Significance factor, zero.

I've spent the lead up to Christmas here with virtual strangers, mostly in the back of a four wheel drive over potholed roads, going here, going there, getting into the spirit of 'waiting' more so than Christmas.
People will wait for hours and not complain. In one of many waiting episodes I asked where all the other people on the streets were walking.
"No where." a lady said.
"They don't have any jobs, so they just walk around."
And I finally GOT the notion of truly having nothing to do, and it explained the blank faces, the meandering walks, the rows of people just sitting with their bilum bags chewing betel nuts.

"There's No Place Like PNG" is the headline on the newspaper clipping on Florence's wall. Well, I think I agree. She is the head of many things, firstly the bilum fashion project, where she has initiated the transformation of the ubiquitous (and entirely gorgeous) bilum bags into fashion items.


The fully weaved dressed is Florence's initiative and has proved popular amongst PNG locals, even sported by Commonwealth game athletes. Now I'm here to mentor the weavers to create fashion products that will appeal globally. We're going to experiment for the next few weeks with hats and belts and eco-shopping bags to see what works. Then we'll develop a brand and package it up for marketing to the world.

All this will be intercepted by much much waiting.

Last night we waiting for a lift for 5 hours. It was suppose to be 2. Luckily she had the third series of Prison Break. We watched every one and laughed about how addictive it is. Her children laughed hardest at the man describing the Panama people as "banana benders".
I'm not sure on what level...

Florence, beyond her bilum fashion project is many things, and this year she organised the pre christmas celebrations. Carols by candlelight (a first in Goroka), SingSing dances, floats on trucks, santa at the hospital and so on.
I got to catch some of the festivities in the breaks I had between exhausted collapse in my little compound.





The highlight was the trip to the hospital with black santa and little santa with a white facemask on, which felt entirely creepy and emotionless. I thought it would surely make the children cry. We drove over thousands of potholes, a fire engine at the head with balloons attached in a volleyball net. With santa ringing his bell and the sound of the reversing truck beep...


And the second vehicle was a ute with a ten piece brass section playing christmas tunes. How they balanced on their plastic chairs over the bumps whilst keeping their lips on the mouthpieces I really don't know.
And then was us, in the fourwheeler, following the parade of two, to the hospital. Our car held the toilet paper and soap, a gift for all the really sick children, and the sack of second-hand stuffed toys and lollies to be dispersed as well (thank god, sweetens the toilet paper gift somewhat).


People stood by the side of the road and their faces lit up. Really. With the backdrop of fertile soil sprouting palms and fruit and dirty shacks and dirtier children, I could understand the impact of seeing this bright red fire truck with a man from the snow. I even met a mother picking up a flat red balloon from the dirt and trying to undo the knot in order to blow it up again for her baby.



I smiled from my window but didn't want to appear like I had anything to do with it.
I didn't feel I deserved to even be on board, to be seen as special in any way. I love that the whole convoy was generating by locals, for locals. No white person hand out. So I shied away from even waving, wanting to not show any responsibility for the beauty.

But then I felt rude, so I gave little smiles and waves.
It began to rain and the horns I imagined were filling up, and the drops splashed off their metallic red top hats but they played on with faces unchanged.

At the hospital the black and little santa handed out their sack of toys. I couldn't watch the kids with tubes in their noses with mothers on their bedside. I then entered another ward with men in skeletal form, doubled over their beds with a smell that I couldn't inhale, so I scuttled off into other parts of the hospital to take photos.







On the way home in the fourwheel with the santas, Florence would pull over dramatically to anyone with a baby and santa would hand them a toy. I would hear her ask "pikininni?" and only to the liklik ones would she hand over a toy and maybe a sweet. It was the oddest Christmas handout I'd ever experienced (okay, the only one) but the devilish way she drove, almost running the babies over, and pushing the toy out the window and speeding off, it was of stark contrast to the spirit of the thing. But the mothers with their pikininnis were calmly delighted.



Some other things I have experienced since I've been here:
I saw a group of people running down the street, they had all been involved in a clever shoe-stealing incident. Each passing the pair of shoes on to the next, until it reached the outside of the shop and then they split. The locals around me laughed at it, like comrades of the shoplifters. I laughed at the effort required to steal one pair of shoes. Who is going to wear this pair of shoes?
I've also had my bottom squeezed by a very old woman with no teeth because I didn't give her any of my change. Fair enough, and really not the worst response I could have imagined.
I've eaten 3 types of sausages, beef stirfry and old dry deep fried chicken, all in the one meal. And it is rude not to finish your plate isn't it.
I've bought that high quality Goroka coffee grind to make myself an almost latte. But discovered that it required a stove top or plunger of which I haven't found in any shop in Goroka yet. So instead I sifted it through a tea towel and added some (not properly sealed) vanilla soy milk. It has been the highlight of my days.

Everything here contains preservative. You can't get the basics of milk and bread because there really isn't any wheat or cows to milk. So instead you have to work with the climate, not eat like it's your own. Instead I am now eating boiled up kaokao (sweet potato), greens, like pumpkin leaves and rice. White rice.
All my purist, organic desires have been forcibly left on the shores of Australia, and in cultural sensitivity I must consume more chemicals, chipped Teflon and starchy food groups than ever before.
But the trick I've discovered is to avoid the supermarket and instead go to the markets or your new friend's gardens and find those PNG fresh things, like peanuts, pineapples, green leaves - any kind, raspberries, passionfruits, avocados. All free from the garden or ranging from 10cents to $1. Just pick and eat.


And soon I will venture into the betelnut (buoay) territory, the warming, high-giving nut that when mixed with lime powder (ducka) and a mustard stick (cumbun) turns a shocking red. The teeth of people everywhere are stained red or filled with chewed up pieces of betelnut. It's the most acceptable look here besides meri dresses (aka mumu) even though both are decidedly unattractive. And beware the flying red spit whose projectile-ability is perfected by age 6. I have seen it. They spit sideways with such precision. I'm sure they could aim for an ant 3 metres away and kill it with the impact.

These PNGers they can weave incredible patterns using a bit of broken umbrella, they can wait for hours and not utter a word, nor a word of complaint, they can not eat and not go to the toilet for hours and hours, although I assume it is the lack of eating and drinking which leads to the lack of toileting. And foremost the PNGers are sweet. They are truly sweet. They will wave and smile and shake hands with each other every day. What is it? Culture? Having nothing? Having each other?
Whatever it is, the people's sweetness courses through my veins.


ps: I am going to blog a lot more from now on.

[current mood] Passionfruit & Andrew Bird

Posted by natalija at 9:02 AM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2008

Centocow, South Africa

I am in South Africa.
I am constantly being moved to tears and something sets me off almost daily.

but mostly it is the gospel music.
Today I stood in the corner of a school room, children with holes in their sock heels swayed and sang a song of healing, booming it with such earnestness and commitment. The voices shot through me causing tears to prickle at my eyes. And still, many songs on, I do not understand the power of this music.
I feel so privileged.

The Zulu women have shown me love that needs no words. In fact, words could never be enough.

This is a low resolution video clip that comes from just one day in a rural town, Centocow. It is just a taste to share with you.

I have since been back to gather the story of a girl and her sister.
We spent an entire day collecting water and chopping wood.

The saying goes...
Before Enlightenment, collecting water, chopping wood.
After Enlightenment, collecting water, chopping wood.

Recording this song.

Crossing the river to get firewood.

A break from walking with wood.

[current mood] Quietness & Rusks

Posted by natalija at 4:24 AM | Comments (3)

September 21, 2008

Luscious Lemon Tours


Let me take you on a luscious lemon tour of Dalkeith.
Through pathways of leafy streets.

Bag across your shoulder.
The weather is still a little colder.

It's free and organic.
It's local and botanic.

Just a couple from each overflowing tree
filling up our bags like its trick or treat.

And here is a yellow citrus map.
Next time we'll do a fresh herb lap.


First lemon creation - Lemon and Poppyseed cake
Next recipe - Lemon-aid


[current mood] Peter Sarstedt & Lemon and Poppyseed Cake

Posted by natalija at 6:10 PM | Comments (0)

September 7, 2008

Collecting Treasure

We collected as we drove. Little souvenirs for our dashboard, reminding us of each special place we visited.
It made me smile to have these items framing our windscreen, the sunlight changing the shadows throughout the day.
I've photographed them on our dash, to share.

A tumble stick.
Our first beach stop. We ran and snuggled in the dunes. We peeled and ate oranges from Bindoon.

A seaside creature.
From this same beach. Amongst the seaweed we found odd creatures that combined flora and fauna and mineral.

Our totem's feather.
The wedge tail eagle made many appearances on our journey. He circled above us, he flew alongside us. We found one dead by the road and plucked this feather.

Is it? Or is it granite? I collected this from the ground of a derelict farm. We had entered against permission to track down some indigenous rock art. The farmers gave us the correct directions and we found ancient drawings on a hill of rocks.

Red Seedpod.
Almost in Broome. The sun shone through these pods lighting them up a rich red. We pulled over to pick one off its branch. It was surprisingly soft. We let it dry and curl on the dash.

Flowery fossil.
On Cable Beach. Morning jog. On the expansive sand we found this washed up little treasure. Prettier than any handcrafted ceramic.

Spiral Shell.
Out at Barred Creek we slept on a mattress under the stars for two nights. Alone. Wild wind. Recently burnt bush. This shell was next to the van when we parked.

Boab Nut
On a 6.30am walk through Broome with the dog. I sat on a groin and read some Eckhart Tolle. On the way home I opened my eyes to find this nut lying on the ground. It jingles when you shake it.

Ridged Shell
On a beach stop off for cold lamb kebabs and salad. We took a freezing dip in the ocean and chatted to a fisherman and his partially deaf wife.

Tooth Shells
On our third stop outside of Perth. We parked near a beach with mangroves and line fishermen. I found these teeth like shells and collected some for my ear.

The tooth in my ear

[current mood] Hippy music in the carpark at Cable Beach & Aspro Clear

Posted by natalija at 9:35 PM | Comments (0)

September 5, 2008

Culinary Cures

An insight into my culinary cure for the blues this week...


Starting my day with pink grapefruit
Each swelling juicy segment fished out with a teaspoon, and the remained juice scooped up with another dip in. I stand at the bench near the window and work my way around the circumference, sometimes skipping segments to make patterns. I eat until my tongue is spiked with tang.


Finishing my day with chocolate dipped strawberries
Big plump freshly washed berries, dried then dipped into a pot of gently melted 70% cocoa Lindt chocolate.
They tasted even better when shared with a good friend I hadn't seen in months in the afternoon's dwindling sunlight.

[current mood] Fruit & Pranayama (yoga breathing)

Posted by natalija at 4:33 PM | Comments (1)

September 2, 2008

Talking in the Garden of Curiosities

We talk crossed legged on the grass and our fingers play with the texture of leaves, twigs, weeds and petals. The subconscious creation of garden curiosities takes places as we dissect dreams and disappointments.
Anita is my precious garden gnome.
She's that rare kind that listens, doesn't judge. Just like a gnome, but with a lot more personality.






[current mood] Chocolate dipped Strawberries & The Australian Chamber Orchestra

Posted by natalija at 3:04 PM | Comments (1)

July 23, 2008

Printing in Kenwick



I took on the job of screenprinting 65 tshirts in 24 hours.
I had the tees, I had the screens but I was awake all night fretting about my ability to do the printing. So I googled and found John.
My lepricorn.
An elderly ferret-loving, boxercising printer with a most chirpy disposition.
He saved my day (or my butt) by dropping his other work to get the job done on time.

We spent this morning screenprinting at his home in Kenwick.
We were fed toasties with lemon cake and Irish tea for lunch.
I learned so much in 4 hours about screenprinting, about being in Vietnam at age 18 as a 'scout', about having a wife with terminal cancer, having a daughter die unexpectedly at 13 years of age... all whilst we screened and heated and folded tshirts.

They got delivered ahead of schedule.

He retires in a month and has already sold his equipment, so I know I'll probably never again cross paths with this man of stories and although I wanted to grab him and hug him and tell him how much I was affected by him, I just held out a hand and said thanks before driving away. That's all you can really do.
Everyone is a teacher, if you listen.




Tshirts I designed for FORM's photography workshops in Port Hedland.

[current mood] Little Creatures Pilsner & Lamb Rogan Josh

Posted by natalija at 5:27 PM | Comments (0)

June 2, 2008

Mingenew Media


I just found this recent media update by Drew Radford (The Bloke on the Bike). He made a micro documentary on the Mingenew Project which you can stream live from the ABC site using Real Player.

I'm impressed with it actually. He filmed it less than a week ago and has pulled it together into a sweet little documentary that captures the project's atmosphere well.

[current mood] Homemade Pies & Barry White

Posted by natalija at 9:23 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2008

We Communicate Visually

I've been enjoying the company of another visual person. We both talk whilst simultaneously observing the colour of the sky, the texture of the willows, the shadowless landscape and the patterns in the paving.
We may share this way of seeing the world, but can we share it with each other? It's a very internal experience, seeing. It doesn't have words to accompany it. You can't see together. You see alone.
I think we might need to come up with a way of communicating visually together. It won't involve talking, just speaking through pictures and pointing. You point out the imprint of a geranium leaf in the concrete. I make some leaf formations for you.




[current mood] Carrot Cake & Sunday Music on RTR FM

Posted by natalija at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2008

I heart pictionary

So much so that it was the main entertainment at my 30th birthday.
Yes, daggy you may think, but it is so much more than that...

It is the designer in me that relishes in this game that is fundamentally about creating clever solutions to a 'design problem'. Like design, simplicity is required to deliver the most effective (quickest) message. You have to think laterally and you have to think quick.
And by god, if those pictures aren't brilliant!
Here are some favourites from this recent episode...








[current mood] Blackforest Chocolate & Calexico

Posted by natalija at 6:08 PM | Comments (1)

March 20, 2008

Flower Gifting

I went on a flower-gifting journey this afternoon.
Here are the photographs of the gifts in their new homes. I don't know how they will be received, perhaps with some curious contemplation or creation of a romantic mystery.

I have however already felt the karma of my botanical benevolence as people in the streets observed me carrying flowers and likened me to their beauty.

They didn't know what I was up to, but I suppose the sentiment is felt when you see a person carrying a flower. It's a gift and its bearer beholds that beauty too.







[current mood] White Magnums & Abbe May

Posted by natalija at 6:49 PM | Comments (3)

February 8, 2008

A Novel of Hearts or A Heart of Novel?


This goes out to my friend Fee whose heart is growing exponentially.
She writes from afar to tell me tales of how wonderful things are,
reminding me of loves possibilities and mar.

Many months ago she posted me a packet of heart shaped novel pages.
I tried a few photographic ideas, had them tangled up in bicycle wheels
and pouring out of my hands, but never felt them good enough to air.

Today, amidst popcorn and beer bottles (transformation of our office after a film premiere),
I decided to clean up my desk at least to feel a little clearer.
And found my pile of hearts under piles of long-saved paper.
I decided today I would deliver a post of my hearts and also set them free.

So with no brown string and only rubber bands from someone elses desk,
I bundled them up somewhat unromantically and took them downstairs.
I placed them on the footpath
And watched them go unnoticed.

But soon enough someone will see this little novel of hearts
and maybe they will wonder about why and what it is.
Maybe they will take it home. And love it like I did.
Or perhaps they'll be kicked to the curb, rained on and thrown in the bin...

heart_of_novel walking by

Thanks Fee.

[current mood] Smog & Carrot Cake

Posted by natalija at 2:35 PM | Comments (3)

January 20, 2008

Fringe Cutting


At random intervals I get a "stream of haircutting consciousness". It's a blend of supreme confidence and god-driven inspiration which results in flow-cutting, ie: chopping knowingly without doubt or thought.
And it tends to work.
I have tried cutting when not in this mood, to disastrous result, sending me off to the hairdresser for fixing.

On Friday night I was hit by the stream just as I was about to head out, but as it comes so rarely I took the moment, found some sewing thread-clippers and performed a fringe surgery with radical precision. Quite drastically too - I cut it shorter than ever before, bluntly and angling up at the sides. It felt very fem-cyborg and caused me to go out wearing little purple shorts with black leggings and black boots. The boy thought I was hot (win!) and my sister didn't recognise me in the street (win?).

Please note, the top photo is post-jogging which means it doesn't show the fringe off to full effect but that's hard when you're taking a photo of yourself and don't have a mirror to pose in front of... so here a couple using Photobooth:


[current mood] White Wine & Calexico

Posted by natalija at 11:00 AM | Comments (3)

January 17, 2008

What does your jewellery say about you?


Click for pop up close up

I used to hang all my necklaces on a wire across the bedroom wall. I enjoyed seeing my collection of jewelled history displayed and for a moment before sleeping I could ponder the stories associated with each, the times in my life where the necklace became mine.

Here is an A to P of Nat's life in jewellery...

A Handed down from mum. An engagement present to her from dad. The piece I've had the longest.
B An amethyst stone that I bought at a Reiki course, can be used to pick up strength of chakra energies but also makes me feel alive.
C A shell and seedpod made necklace from Papua New Guinea from when I was teaching there. It was meant as a gift for someone but I kept it...
D A 1970s piece I bought for Liz and I to share but I kept it...
E From my trip to Turkey and the Istanbul market's corridors of jewellery salesmen.
F One day wandering around Maylands I found this in an antique store. I like how it's lost some of it's blue and green Os, giving it a spunkier assymetry.
G Sent to me by my friend Catherine who was working in Sri Lanka at the time. Like lollies, only not.
H This is a piece I got from Narelle's handmade collection in exchange for photography work.
I I was having tea and scones up in the hills and saw this hanging on a chair in a lolly shop. It was made by a 15 year old.
J Sent to me by my friend Ellie when she was travelling in South America.
K I was having a turqouise fascination when I spotted this in the back of a store in Margaret River.
L My favourite piece, the leaf. It gets the most response. It's from the 1960s.
M I bought this in Thailand somewhere between feeding a camel and seeing some ping pong balls.
N When I was in Alice Springs and wandering alone through the resort I found this at the art gallery.
O My second most commented on piece. A little Danish number that mum bought be in Paris.
P I got this at the markets in Turkey last year to remind me of the visuals of the place.

When setting up this shot mum insisted I try hanging them from the tree. So we did so. And here is that photo...


[current mood] Licorice Tea & Oscar's dreaming noises

Posted by natalija at 1:44 PM | Comments (4)

January 10, 2008

Brought to you by the letter A


A beginning

A new year

A plan to blog daily, now until I stop
A real need to create since it's been lost
A little like my motorbike which is stuck in
A place far down south

A bit of a shit start but this will be
A renewed chance to explore my Art

A choice to be positive
A choice to make me grow
A lot of good energy from my hands, mind
And soul

A beginning

A post

[current mood] Sour Cherry Cordial & Wind Blowing Away Words

Posted by natalija at 3:56 PM | Comments (3)

November 28, 2007

Moving House


Moving house shows you things that you wouldn't see otherwise, lost treasures under chairs, unopened boxes from the last move and things like the shapes left on shelves once the bottles are taken away.

Some people take breaks for a smoko
I take it for a photo

Some think that I'm slacking
telling me to get packing

But the art needs to be recorded
before it's washed, boxed and stored... ed...

[current mood] Dolly Parton mixed by Too Many DJs & Mango

Posted by natalija at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)

November 11, 2007

Woodland Fairy

It is a rare opportunity to be whatever you want to be for a night. And a woodland fairy is it for me.
So I rode my bicycle around the block and collected jasmine, peppermint tree branches and twigs. I weaved them together on my bed before fluttering into the crowd.
That there is my gorgeous friend Narelle. She was dotty.

[current mood] Ginger Ber & Kate Bush

Posted by natalija at 11:55 AM | Comments (1)

October 29, 2007

The Origin of Ideas


Having sat with a lack of ideas for blogging these past couple weeks, I thought I would take a moment to pictorialise my theories on where ideas come from. And similarily where creativity originates.

Figure 1
Do we even have original thought?
Are ideas merely a pastiche of existing constructs? Have all ideas already been thunk and are we now just using the power of combination and permutation to deliver what we believe is an original thought?
That concept would suggest that there is a limit of ideas to have, so when did we we use them all up?
Did all ideas already exist? Or did they only exist upon thinking them? And then, how do we know that we're exhausted?
I hear that phrase a lot "There is no such thing as an original idea anymore".
So when did that start emerging as a concept?
Maybe it is just harder to create a new idea, but I don't think we are finished with new ones.

Figure 2
Is creative thinking a mental process? Is it purely a form of intelligence? Just as anyone has stronger and weaker kinds of intelligence, creativity could be a type you are simply born with. Some are gifted, some are not. End of story?
Or can it be learned through 'technique' of thinking? Can you be trained to be creative?
Often creative thinking is about using your brain to problem solve. To think hard about the options, the new ways something can be done.
And ultimately being confident to think and express.
But I'm not sure if it is all mental.

Figure 3
If creativity isn't just mental, there where else could it derive from in the body?
The heart? The gut? Do we use more than one part of us to think creatively?
I don't doubt that we need a healthy body to think creatively. If we are energetically 'tuned up' then thoughts are able to flow better.
Do we just need a 'healthy body' to think?

Or is it the body itself that tunes in to find the answers?
Then i wonder if we are using our body to be creative, are these ideas just within the body itself or is the body linking in with a higher source?

Figure 4
The theory that 'god' or 'the universe' is the source.
I've often heard it said that the creativity just came through a person, that they weren't mentally able to explain how the ideas arrived, instead the ideas where channelled.
I have experienced what feels like this. And it can come in many ways, walking down the street, sitting on a train very quietly, being in nature... The common link I find is the clearness of the mind, the opening of the self in order to 'receive'.
If you are chattering away and in a hectic environment it seems to clutter the mind from any bolts of lightening...
And even then I still wonder if it is external, if the external thing is way up high or a universal shared consciousness. Or if we are just quietening the parts of us that prevent us from thinking creatively.

But a point to note here, ideas once thought seems to exist in the universal consciousness and must be acted upon immediately otherwise they may be taken up by someone else. Does that mean that you put an idea 'out' as soon as you think it or is an idea placed into the universe by something higher for taking?
(ouch head hurt)
Either way, you may have noticed that people around the world simultaneously have similar ideas...

Figure 5
The pot of ideas.
Why was my pot so empty these past few weeks? Has it been something I've done that caused this?
I think I know, I think because of a range of factors - lifestyle, behaviour, work and weather I was unable to achieve any of these forms of creativity.
And now I can see the pot slowly glowing and knowing that I want my ideas back.

[current mood] Sushi & Modular Recordings

Posted by natalija at 1:34 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2007

de-bitter: How it works


It's that simple.

[current mood] Cocolo Dk Chocolate with Peppermint Crisps & The sound of silence

Posted by natalija at 2:49 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2007

Psychic Inspired Method of Absorption


A psychic once asked me, "Do you keep all of your diaries in your bedside table?"
She said I was carrying all that weight with me because I literally kept them so close.
Indeed I had been keeping diaries since I was 7 years old and they all lived next to my bed. So, I went home and tore them all up, pored tears onto them and released all of the past. Was mighty intense!

And so I was thinking, as I have no time to read, (too busy using Flickr) that I would put all the books I want to read next to my head when I sleep and surely absorb their contents too.

[current mood] Passionate Fruit Jam & The Shins

Posted by natalija at 11:12 AM | Comments (3)

April 4, 2007

Interaction Time!


It's been too long since I wandered through the streets with my camera.
I need your help!!
I'd like to develop a list of things to search for each day as I walk to work.
I was thinking of individual colours, like red one day, then purple, then yellow.... I could do this.. But perhaps you can think of other themes for me to go image-searching for. Could be quite obscure, literal or conceptual.
Then I'll spend one day on each and build a little palette of my favourites.

The one above is Janelle Cugley's photos from Melbourne that I made into a palette for her last year. It's just a snippet of a massive one!....


So please comment and give me some inspiration.

Posted by natalija at 12:57 PM | Comments (11)

March 28, 2007

Gift from A Stranger


I'm sending him some seeds in a seedpod card.
He sent me a seedpod desktop as thanks.
I think that is real sweet.

[current mood] Prawn Sushi & Nouvelle Vague (I don't get sick of it)

Posted by natalija at 12:50 PM | Comments (2)

February 23, 2007

Perth Signwriting Art








I went on an 'old signage' hunt on the weekend.
I want to capture this disappearing artform., back when signwriter meant typographic artist, not vinyl cutout machine operator.
After seeing the Northbridge plaza reinvent itself as a shitty piece of grass, the one exciting feature was how the knocked down wall re-exposed a forgotten sign (circa 1970). It was a real ozzy beauty. I went back to photograph it on the weekend to find it painted over in mustard yellow. I almost wept.
This typifies the city council and its attitude towards creativity, history and what makes a city an exciting place to be in.

Perhaps this is a mission of archiving before all is lost. So at least it can exist in a book!

I would like to venture out into the industrial areas and down to now closed corner stores...
If you know of any cool old signage, newly exposed walls or facades not yet gentrified, let me know where!

I'm turning the photos into high-contrast images to make them more graphic.
I thought eventually they could be turned into fonts or blended into one to create an 'old perth signage' font. Or just used for inspiration in layouts.

[current mood] Flashbacks & Becks (Verandah)

Posted by natalija at 4:36 PM | Comments (1)

January 26, 2007

Google Image Fortune

Choose 3-4 words that form a question
Choose 2 numbers (up to 18),

Then Google-image the words.
Choose picture based on first number (page) and second number (image on page).

My question is:


acne-what-to-do 75 nigerian music

And from this I determine that I will enjoy a lunch of sushi, followed by some electro-tech-glow fashion crisis and ending with a little nigerian rap music.

[current mood] Happy Little Vegemite & Meat pies

Posted by natalija at 11:39 AM | Comments (2)

November 16, 2006

Breaking the silence of 3 days

Irony is
Burning your hand with boiling hot chamomile tea.
(and the reaction that ensues)

Great Design is
When people work together.
One inspires the other who inturn inspires them. Each takes a thought a step further until they've reached a place they never would have discovered alone.

This image is care of Frans - with photography and art direction by me.
It's for Jason Ayres upcoming CD - if he digs it!


[current mood] Red Wine & Late Night Walks

Posted by natalija at 8:04 PM | Comments (2)

November 4, 2006

Photo Essay on Change


The three consistent ways I deal with the need to enforce change:

Colour, Cut and Cook

Posted by natalija at 5:23 PM | Comments (3)

October 20, 2006

Kid in 'Adult' Candy Store

The new kid in the candy store is me at Antonio's Fresh Continental Store!

I walked around the aisles just for fun yesterday prodding the organic pastas, considering the purchase of a jar of gerkins and accidentally spilling hundreds and thousands on the ground after tipping the box upside down.

Today I went in for some more guilty pleasure and this time I decided to purchase something - quince paste and nougat.

Then i pressed the little bear in a skirt that said 'press here' and it started dancing and singing.
I smiled my head off as my face went a mild shade of red.
It was doing an Italian jig and I wanted to buy it to share with my friends but I realised it was the service bell when a lady asked if I needed help.

I think I need help!


[current mood] Italian Delicacy & Dance Music

Posted by natalija at 1:55 PM | Comments (1)

October 13, 2006

Just do this one thing today

To quote my friend Bec -
The frogs in South America are sweating and the polar bears in the ice caps are drowning.
Things are looking pretty goddamn dire for the weather-refugees.

I've recently been put on to 'Green-Fleet', a not for profit operating out of the Eastern States that allows you register your car (and other things, including your air-miles if you so desire), and render it carbon-neutral. For $40 for an average car Green Fleet will plant a veritable forest of native trees to absorb your quotient of emissions (they employ scouts to do the planting).

Think of it like a little bit extra on your standard licencing and third party insurance every year. It isn't the answer to the climate-fever the world over, but I think it's a step in the right direction. Tell your mates, register a car as a gift, go to their site;


And some other things I've felt like posting but haven't because of the blog's 'theme',
but you can't make art in a world that doesn't exist,
and you don't have time to be creative when you're just focused on getting a fresh gulp of air.

An Inconvienient Truth - Get your parents to watch it. Ask them to change FOR YOU - to save your world and your childrens' world.

Walk Against Warming Saturday November 4.

Shop at Biome - You buy things every day - so buy things that have a positive impact on the environment and your health.

[current mood] Do not mix beer, vodka, champage, rum, gin and rocky road

Posted by natalija at 11:12 AM | Comments (4)

August 29, 2006



I'm fairly certain it is the things we are distracted by in this old life that hold the most life...
maybe I'll go live my life of distraction and then find myself distracted by my old life.

god today is a nice day.
thank you.

[current mood] Coffee, Visualisations, Sun, Meandering, New Conversations, Fun Design

Posted by natalija at 2:56 PM | Comments (2)

August 18, 2006

Goodbye Dullsville


Alrighty! The time has come folks. We have to throw out these old liquor licensing laws that are preventing us from opening little bars and dives - homes of conversation and inspiration! I'm dreaming of a tiny alley way bar that is owned by a dude who isn't related to the in-crowd, who plays wonderful records, serves up great wine and all five of us can squeeze in at 2am for a yarn.

The laws will have a lot of flow on effect. By creating a more vibrant city we keep the creatives - our friends and our passions can stay nurtured. I'm so sick of big noisy pubs flooded with banality and those pretentious cocktail holes flooded with sports personalities. Time for a little diversity in our late night options. Plus I wanna open my own place, don't I!

I designed this logo for the Liquor Licensing Reform campaign.

[current mood] Cider & Walking

Posted by natalija at 3:39 PM | Comments (3)

August 11, 2006

Miss August


Alright, I confess. It's me!

This Screen Goddess promotional calendar is a way of demystifing women working in IT, implying that it can be a 'sexy' career choice. The calendar is a collection of playful movie spoofs and is a product of Thoughtware.
We've already got a parliament full of blokes, let's not give technology over to them too!

The shoot was good fun even though I had to arch my back in ways it had not experienced before - and the wig was aggressively molded to my head, giving me a 3 day headache. Such is the 'no pain, no uma' theory.

The launch is tonight! One of those rare opportunities to don a frock and heels (if I can find some in the next 5 hours....)

[current mood] design design design and massages

Posted by natalija at 10:52 AM | Comments (3)

July 30, 2006

Today I woke up as a draft


They knew how I would feel this morning - like a draft of my ideal self.

[current mood] Very very slow moving with Jazz

Posted by natalija at 1:52 PM | Comments (3)

July 28, 2006

What Ever!


It's hip with the east side kids.
Use it whenever words are not enough.

[current mood] GREEN overload! Zucchini Soup, Fennel and Pea Risotto & Peppermint Tea

Posted by natalija at 4:22 PM | Comments (4)

July 16, 2006

It's just me and my monkey


Everything you can know about life can be learnt from monkeys. So I took 6 friends on a zoopedition. At the zoo we have insight at our fingertips. In every corner is a lesson on life... if you look for it.

And to have childlike wonder at the incredibleness of animals is a blessing. We all turned into the little ones we once were, scared of the crocodile, giggling at the rhino and sad for the orangutan. On a mission from one land to another, from Africa to Asia, peering and pointing and cooing... yet with adult minds we couldn't help but realise the deeper loss of our wilderness and this time capsule that we are in.

I'm going to once again start blogging daily, the small entries will make up a greater entry.

I think my monkey needs a name though. Can you suggest?

[current mood] The Beatles "Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey"

Posted by natalija at 6:16 PM | Comments (5)

June 22, 2006

Inspiration Tips: 01

1. Eat dark chocolate in the shower
2. Stand barefoot in a park's flower bed

Posted by natalija at 5:25 PM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2006

Dream Journalling


I've been fascinated by dream journalling since I started a year ago.
The mere intent enables the dreams to be remembered.
So in the morning, I reach over to my little green book, unravel it's chord and scrawl through blurred vision, direct from my sub conscious.
It amazes me when I read back days later and recall nothing of the dream, and I read those words like a story untold. The story I am now evaluating in my conscious gives me keys to the inner workings of myself.
But it is mostly the imagery that captures me. How I can come up with such bizarre ideas?
Deep in me is a creativity I don't harness in my waking life. That the gruesome, peculiar and magical are created somewhere in me, and by journalling I catch them in those moments before full awakening. I see it as transcending the barriers of judgement and accessing this world where the mind has no limits and makes inspiring connections.

I have thought about how much I can bring these dream ideas into my working world, and if others do so. However maybe that would taint it - the process in itself is fun and fruitful for my creative juicing!

[current mood] Chai & Chats

Posted by natalija at 9:10 PM | Comments (3)

May 15, 2006

Palettes for Perth

As I sat at the end of yet another Toastmasters meeting tonight, I gazed at the sea of coloured shirts and thought how it did seem to reflect the overall personality of the group. And thanks to an inspiring latte driven chat with a certain Miles Burke, and another passionate phone rant with artist Janelle Cugley, I automatically started thinking in palettes! So I noted down the colours so I could come home and create one. And here it is.

Although this is an odd use of paletting, and might only give you the means to create a "professional and striving feel" via its use... the palette offers us a great tool of creation and then application. It's multi faceted.
It starts with observation - seeing and thinking
Then collecting - interpreting into palette pieces
Then there is sharing - with the community - reflection and appreciation - shifting perspective
And finally re-integration... and planning - how can we use our findings to enhance their origin?

The palette is just beginning its journey with me. I've used it in Papua New Guinea - with photo journalism students, and soon I hope to use it in regional WA communities and as close to home as our "Northbridge Makeover" by doing one of the developers and artists walk with Janelle and Spectrum Art Gallery.

I'm feeling scared with what is happening around us - cheap flat concrete shapes keep getting slapped up - replacing the home of innovative perth artists. It's causing Melbourne to beckon even stronger because styrophome foundations and souless developments don't provide a "sense of place". And I don't see how it is going to halt by itself, or by wishful thinking (or cosmic quantum consciousness). Sorry, but money blocks out those voices... They'll just keep on tearing down our history, maybe a tokenistic plaque here or there, but no substance will remain. Soon there will be no earthly materials, just plastic surgery hollowness making up our landscape, our home. Perth will truly gain a dead heart, because these cold shapes won't reverberate our creativity, no! Inspiration won't know where to find us...

But paletting, paletting is the way I'm going to do my bit to open their eyes, to breathe into their souls, to re-humanise this whole situation. What are you gonna do?

[current mood] Punching holes through Shallowness & Crazy Penis

Posted by natalija at 8:46 PM | Comments (2)

May 7, 2006

desktop photos

I've gonna share photographs with you that I end up using for my computer desktop. I spend all day looking at this thing, thus I like to change its clothes! If the computer feels fresh, the ideas can flow. I've made a little section on the right for desktop images! The first one is my water droplet blossom from Anzac Day.

Posted by natalija at 5:44 PM | Comments (3)

April 30, 2006

fire = intuition


When I light a match, something awakens in me. I feel the power in that tiny bit of fire. It's like I'm looking into a piece of the most ancient element on earth. It's why we lit a candle at the start our womens group and spent a couple minutes staring into the flame - that small flickering light centred us. It is why I like to meditate with a candle - I can sense it there even with my eyes closed.
I was reading the book 'The woman sealed in the tower' by Betsy Caprio today - it's a psychological approach to feminine spirituality. It's the beginning of a month long journey into the top shelf of my bookshelf - all women books. The books lent to me when I started the womens group but never touched. Til now.
Caprio made a quick reference in her introduction to the elements - Earth, Air, Water and Fire and then how these are symbolic of Jung's four functions of the psyche - sensation, thinking, feeling and intuition. I thought about the personality tests and how these functions come up as people differentiators. I also thought about star signs and how I'm a water sign - am I thus mostly a feeling person? Or did she not mean it as a direct correlation? Well, are people more closely associated with one of these four elements? Is there a heirarchy in each of us? Why would there be?
I think I'd have trouble working that out. Maybe if I sat with each element for a while I would develop a clearer sense of a connection with each individual one... but fire is definitely the most powerful when I think about it because I only see it rarely, it is contained in a small area, it seems to come about as if by magic and it creates a warmth you can feel and a colour that burns into your retina.
Otherwise I could work backwards with my personality...
Feeling, thinking, intuition, sensation.. which makes me water, air, fire, earth.
Well, in many of my dreams I'm swimming or flying.. so.. maybe that reflects which part of my psyche is getting the work out.. hmmm....

[current mood] Butter Chicken & PNG dance music

Posted by natalija at 9:51 PM | Comments (1)

April 13, 2006

Motorbike chick!

Talk about inspiration to travel...!
No longer is a trip to the shops a pain in the arse... now it is something I build up excitment for, feel my stomach rumbling and my grin expanding as I anticipate my upcoming adventure! I feel like a sneak, a rebel, a child... I am going to vroom vroom vroom all the way down to Mount Lawley shops to buy a loaf of bread!! - wahey!!
It's like when you first got your car license and would just drive around with your friends feeling totally alive. Nothing felt so thrilling... until I got my new toy. It's a Yamaha Virago 250CC, 1995 model. One of the earliest built models of the 250. It was one of the first mass produced bikes and doesn't have much cred in the bike world I've come to realise through some scoffy remarks, but to the untrained eye she is mighty cute! And so keep ignorant people, keep ignorant!

[current mood] Vroom Vroom Sounds & Roasting Engine Smell

Posted by natalija at 10:01 AM | Comments (3)

February 22, 2006

glee glee glee!

What a thrill to step outside and see
fresh green sprouts one two three
They rose! They came! And what a relief -
my seeds will work with strong belief

And so my pod has fertile cards
and my gift will live in others yards
I can't wait for them to grow and flourish
but the mystery plant will remain hush hush

Posted by natalija at 4:00 PM | Comments (2)

February 15, 2006

Just there - inspiration

When I’m really in my design element, I see it all around me. Everything can be an inspiration. It is how you turn it in your mind.

It might be the way light falls on a leaf, or a stranger with an even stranger fashion style. I like it when the thing is in a completely different context, such as a conversation that inspires visuals, or the top of a creamy latte. These are rarer, but more exciting.

I like that design isn’t merely influenced by other design, actually I rarely look at other designers work because I remember being told by a designer when I was 15 that she didn’t want it creeping into her sub conscious and influencing her design. So, I’m going for the indirect approach.


Here is a photo I took of a tube of cream where the label started peeling off and becoming scrunched up. I then got rid of the details of the label in photoshop and left just the type. It is unintentional design, it just came about! How spunkariffic!

[current mood] Becks & Roman Holiday

Posted by natalija at 9:45 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2006

mango inspired


The way to my heart
is through stone fruit

The way to my soul
is through sun

The way to my mind
is through deep curving tunnels


you can read my face
it does not lie

[current mood] mango & chai

Posted by natalija at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

December 9, 2005

how to ensure I water the garden

Here is a selection of plants that sit on the brick wall outside my apartment. As you can see from the various images, I’m not the best at remembering to water my plants. I tend to discover them on their last leaves and revive them for another few days, then forget again until they almost die again and so on. It’s like a torturous experiment with mother nature. …woh, that just reminded me of when I cried about chopping up a sweet potato…
Anyway, quite often I’ll just pop down the road and buy a bright new plant and forget the old. As you can see, the left plant is my newest purchase and that tomato tree there,… well, that’s just embarassing. I basically paid 50cents for one cherry tomato.

The purpose of putting these images here is to inspire me to keep these ones alive (or in some cases, revived) and then I’ll post up a set of new images in a months time.

Wonder if this will work?….

[current mood] The Shins & Persian fetta

Posted by natalija at 6:53 PM | Comments (1)

December 1, 2005

Pantone Fan

pantone fan As designers love creating new things, love stationery, love fresh paper and opening packages.. the starting of a new design business is a brilliant way to access all of these opportunities.
I’ve been sucked into the world of NEW. Shopping online is my new favourite activity, roaming the web for design inspiration books, printers, blank cds and sneaking off into handmade jewellery… and now, my most splendid purchase has arrived at my door step! A set of 6 delicious new Pantone Swatch books - all packaged in their own zip up carry case! My god, how can a client not think I’m worth it!
I might just carry these around with me everywhere so people know to take this designer seriously.

Posted by natalija at 3:58 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2005

Why was today so wonderful?


I woke up to the sound of a sewing machine
I explored the idea of seeds in business cards
I found a beached seal
I had a free lunch & glass of wine
I worked next to a rose petal
I bought a paper hat

Posted by natalija at 5:27 PM | Comments (3)

October 28, 2005

“What are your thighs like?”
“Pretty good”

I overheard this conversation between two gentleman today,
yes, I was walking past the butcher.

Posted by natalija at 11:54 AM | Comments (1)

October 21, 2005

It’s just icing sugar from my turkish delight! Please occifer!

Posted by natalija at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2005

1% Blogger

Mik Efford just started a club called ‘The 1% Blogger’. If you’re a hard core, every day blogger, then you too can be a member. I just joined.
(now there are two members).
There are set rules, and if you can abide, then you can stick the logo on your site.

I have to admit that I’m going to have to seriously up my ante on this site. A post a day!! So, watch out… they might get a bit random at times.

It goes with my current plan to buy a motorbike as soon as someone gives me $5000. I can’t wait to take my helmet off, stradling my bike and shake my hair around. Oh yeah.

Posted by natalija at 10:57 AM | Comments (1)

October 11, 2005

My morning walk to work

As a black shadow swooped overhead,
I realised I was a target
My freshly washed blonde hair with pink tips,
my silver threaded, blue and lilac jumper,
Walking down suburban streets
under trees…
They noticed that I would make a lovely nest today.

Today the trees seemed to spiral towards the sky
The sound of birds was prehistoric
The lack of humans, I felt like the earth was untouched
just for a moment
That sense that it had always existed like this, before humans
That the trees are truly splendid, amazing things, roots stretching out from the land,
And wondering if I could survive on fruit trees alone?
I could draw a little map of all the fruit trees in my suburb…

Posted by natalija at 8:22 AM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2005

me and my little pink racing bike

Putting my anti-car beliefs into practice:
I’m riding my bike everywhere - even to and from parties on a Saturday night.
We had a gang of 5 for that recent expedition.
Everyone is feeling so alive!
On yer bikes!

Posted by natalija at 11:56 AM | Comments (1)

September 19, 2005

Bacchanalia - word of the day

gerbera Currently life is just one big bacchanalia.
Being ‘suddenly single’ seems to bring with it more parties, pashes and playing than I can remember having in the past 2 years. How did I fall into this new circuit?

Well, it’s been a distraction from the endless search for meaning I’ve been on. For years I’ve spent so much time trying to ‘find’ what I am passionate about, as though without it, life lacks meaning. I’ve tried so many things, hoping I’ll find the answer in it… and I’ve just come to realise that this is not going to work! I am now just going to enjoy being into not much. I’m just gona drink and dance and walk through suburban streets picking flowers - and let go of ‘purpose’ and ‘passion’.

So far I’ve picked a lemon, bottle brush, cherry blossom, a fantastic pink gerbera, lavendar and a seed pod.

I think this post was meant to sound ridiculous.

Posted by natalija at 11:36 AM | Comments (1)

July 20, 2005

A simple thing that warmed my spirit


It is a suprisingly amazing feeling to look up at the sky as you are about to set off for a walk and just before you do, you fix your gaze upon a palm tree a few metres away. Then as your eyes rest on its huge leaves, one of them begins to gently tear itself from the tree, bending over backwards, easing itself off and dropping with a tremendous thud to the earth.

It’s watching nature. It’s catching a moment you’ve never seen before, you just happened to look at that exact second.

So trees do fall in the woods and I not only heard it, I saw it.

Posted by natalija at 1:37 PM | Comments (0)

May 7, 2005

morning walk

I walked under a tree branch
it caressed me tenderly
by running its leaves through my hair

Posted by natalija at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)