Living Water…or another coffee

I am need of real water today. The kind that sustains life in every way….like the woman at the well. Do you ever forget to drink? Drink the 2 litres we all should and don’t.  For me the temptation to have another  coffee is too great…How are you doing?

Interview with Jasmine Mansbridge Part 2

Yesterday I introduced you to Jasmine Mansbridge and her artwork. One of the things that I am really interested in is how busy, creative people find time to balance life. I am super impressed by her discipline to paint and the way the process of creating offers Jasmine peace and ‘quiet space’ to reflect. It is probably that quiet space you and I crave. Enjoy!
How do you find time to balance family life and the creative process?

Balance is something I have to work on daily to achieve. I exercise as often as I can, usually early in the morning; it clears my mind and gets me ready for the day. Without it I get grumbly and my head gets jumbly! I also try and paint every day, in the middle of the day when my little ones are napping. It is a matter of just stepping away from the house work etc… which will never ever be completely done anyway! Even just two hours a day equals 14 hours a week. My paintings are intricate and take a lot of time so I have to just be consistent and patient to see them completed. I also don’t over commit as that makes me a stress head, which isn’t fair on my family. 

At the end of a day I cook and we eat together as a family 90 percent of the time. This helps me unwind. I have a great husband who helps with the menial stuff and easily does his 50% at home. When the day is done I pretty much always pray and kind of review what has gone on in my day and thank God for my amazing, blessed life.


What project are you working on right now?

I am having a solo show opening this Friday 21st October. I have started two new pieces to help me transition when that’s done. I have lots of ideas, short term/long term, and then BIG dreams! I have loved working collaboratively with other textile artists using my fabric, for the Red Scissors Project. I would like to play around with this idea further, re upholstering retro chairs would be a good start. I would like to exhibit in Melbourne in the next 18 months, and also at 24hr Art in Darwin in the future. Big dreams are a show in Berlin & Tokyo and to travel and photograph houses/homes all round the world.. and that’s probably enough for this interview.



Interview with Jasmine Mansbridge Part 1

I have been fortunate to have formed a creative partnership with this gorgeous friend of mine, Jasmine Mansbridge. With only three more sleeps until the opening of her new exhibition  at Hope & Co I thought it would be good to share this interview we did.
I am always keen to understand the ideas and inspiration that drive creative people. But as a woman who juggles a busy family life, friends and faith there are other questions too that provide an interesting picture of the artist herself. Enjoy reading part 1.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

My childhood visualizations of myself always included me being some kind of artist. My grandmother was a successful portrait artist so I guess she had some kind of influence here. However, I wanted to be an architect for a long time and was forever designing little spaces and houses. I have always been working at some creative project, even as a kid. The way my life has unfolded though, starting my family when I was young, has been conducive to me being a visual artist as it is a very self contained activity. I decided I would paint when I was around 17 years of age.

What things inspire you?

I am inspired by my thought processes, I get “stuck” on a topic and painting is a way of exploring it further, of trying to make sense of life. I am inspired by architecture, particularly houses and the idea of home and how it quantifies life. I get stuck on words and phrases and the way we interpret language and how language defines out experience of life. I am probably a bit vacant sometimes with so many things, images, ideas banging round in my head.

Who has  influenced the direction of your artwork?

When I was in grade one I was a runner up in a Chinese worldwide children’s art prize for a painting I did of a Giraffe. I can still remember it clearly, as I loved the mosaic patterning I used to give the giraffe its form. So strong lines, colour, patterning and clean design have always appealed to me. Compared to my grandmother, I felt inferior trying to paint realistic subject matter and so very early on I used my own interpretation of ideas in my paintings. From age fourteen I lived in Katherine in the Northern Territory. When I was in my late teens I ended up working with an art gallery there and was quite involved with several Indigenous artists. I even did a few collaborative pieces. The relaxed way that the Aboriginal Artists paint and their approach to art making, as being not separate, but part of  a lifestyle certainly influenced me. My earlier styles were definitely expressing much of what was around me at that time. Moving around the country has certainly continued to influence my work as I have been exposed to different surroundings and ways of life.

Piece by Piece

I have been working on a little sewing project for a friend. This has been taking place behind the scenes of family life for months now and I am so excited that it is almost ready to be revealed here. It involves art and fabric and an exhibition. So stay tuned this week for more information.

But just for a little sneak peak at the project I thought I would share some of my inspiration. I was writing about my own creative endeavours and what influences my ideas. Denyse Schmidt has been very important over the last few years. She creates and breaks the rules about colour, pattern, texture and placement. And so do I. When my sewing lines are not straight and I use the natural curve and shape of a garment in a new project, it breaks conventions. Freedom!
This is an image from one of her workshops in the US.

Baking for the Weekend

I have to share this today, so you have something to make over the weekend for lunchbox treats. Many of you will know that I have had a bit of a ‘thing’ for healthy lunchbox treats and have trialled many muesli bar style recipes. Some have been good, but this one is great….and easy. I made mine with cranberries, hazelnut meal and some dark chocolate…so strictly not all that healthy but fabulous!

These are actually called breakfast bars, by my favourite domestic goddess…Nigella. But if you want to just print and bake follow the steps below and enjoy! I am sure there are new ideas you can create from the one base recipe. Let me know what you come up with.

INGREDIENTS

  • Express Recipe
  • Nigella Recipe
  • 1 x 397g can condensed milk
  • 250g rolled oats (not instant)
  • 75g shredded coconut
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 125g mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)
  • 125g natural unsalted peanuts

METHOD

Serves: Makes 16
  1. Preheat the oven to 130°C/gas mark 1/2, and oil a 23 x 33 x 4cm baking tin, or use a throwaway foil one.
  2. Warm the condensed milk in a large pan.
  3. Meanwhile, mix together all the other ingredients and then add the warmed condensed milk, using a rubber or wooden spatula to fold and distribute.
  4. Spread the mixture into the tin and press down with the spatula or, better still, your hands (wearing disposable vinyl gloves to stop you sticking), to even the surface.
  5. Bake for 1 hour, then remove from the oven and, after about 15 minutes, cut into four across, and four down to make 16 chunky bars. Let cool completely.

World Tour at our Table

Feeding the family is often a fairly pedestrian task. Making food and getting it to the table in the midst of work and school and extra curricula activities. So last weekend after a week of holiday we had enough head space to come up with this idea – a world tour at our table. So the kids put together a list of countries they liked and we randomly drew one out of our ‘magic’ bag. China.

So the challenge this week has been to cook Chinese food. Ordinarily this should not be such a challenge. My father is Chinese. He came to Australia, met my Australian mother, taught her all he knew about Chinese cooking and once she had mastered it he promptly “forgot”. So Mum has been such an inspiration when it comes to food during my life. She has now started to teach my children. But the more complicated Chinese dishes I know are not amongst my quick, easy stand by recipes.

In spite of that, this week we have enjoyed Steamed Ginger fish, Hoi Sin Chicken, Wonton Noodles and a feast. Now this feast was essentially prepared and cooked by my eldest children. The highlight amongst the four dishes they made was satay prawns ( a Women’s Weekly Chinese Cookbook staple). They have learnt the process of good Chinese food preparation and how to work the wok, the line up of ingredients and most essential – to wash up as you go. Delicious.

I wonder where we will go next week!