Monday, January 30, 2012


We always talk. Even when we don't speak. It's a funny thing.

Melanie Kay makes art. Not just any of course, but one made from a "moral narrative". She tells stories by stitching visuals on recycled beer cans. Why does she do this? "The desire for my work to be meaningful influences the things that interest and astound me which in turn influences the way in which I work."

The idea is that she makes her art, it will be visually interesting and then the story will start to be told as people will want to know what it is about. "Using beer cans as a surface for my work has meant that I have had to be innovative in the way in which I transfer imagery onto the cans. I begin my illustrations mostly in pencil and then use various textile techniques to transfer the imagery onto the cans including, printing, heat pressed textile vinyl, hand and machine embroidery." Yes her art works are very much "social objects" which I have written about before, based on artist Hugh MacLeod's lovely stories.

Photos: Melanie Kay

The process of making art is always interesting. At artschool emphasis is put on developing one's "theory" (this seems to be the same on different continents I have discovered). Reality teaches us that most artists simply discover techniques or how to make their art by simply "doing" (aka mucking around, twiddling or fidgeting) not by concocting a pretty laid out "how-to" before hand. How Melanie came up with her "beer can" story board, read more about that here.

That's the first start right there!
The second... transformation in progress...

end result! Certainly not any beer can surface is it?. "You are not in Kansas anymore" as they say. Nope, Melanie Kay went off to many places, including Dublin. Well done!

And it turns out I have come a fellow animal nut. Marvellous! Blog post here.
I hope to see more news come out about Melanie's career which looks promising indeed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

animal communication

You know how you get out of bed and at times you think: what activity makes me the happiest to go and do? We all have that. I have been trying several things aside of working in the interior design industry since 2003. What I have always been crazy about, without exception, are animals. Furry preferably but even chooks can be a true delight (and I don't mean to eat). As my father was allergic to animals we could only have fish at home. Fortunately at the end of the street the council had built a mini petting zoo with goats on this grass field. I've had a soft spot for goats ever since I was able to visit them before and after school and see the baby goats grow up.
(photo of some of our fuzz friends in the front field)
Over the years I have been reading books and trying out things in regards to understanding animals. This has been increasingly interesting! Last weekend I had a goat whispering session with an ex feral goat called Paddy. His human mum had had him in a small field because Paddy seemed to always want to be the boss and chase other smaller animals around (and even had bowled people over on occasion). His mum didn't like that very much. But Paddy got lonely and let me know that he would very much like to be close to the other animals and talk to them. He had gotten sad and demure, unlike his usual fun spirit. I told his mum of what I received and suggested Paddy'd be put with 3 donkeys in another field. She agreed and Paddy moved in and started to dance around the donkeys and proceeded to hug one with enthusiasm by scratching her neck. She let him.
(It's baby goat boom time! Cute fuzz balls everywhere!)

I feel people forget that our pets have emotions and wishes of their own. They are not "dumb". In many ways they are like children: they want things, they can even demand things, but it would be good if we chose to respect what they wish to say and listen to it. We can say no and explain why. I have two goat boys hanging out with a horse and a jersey cow at the moment. One is the buck and he can't be with the girls as they are giving birth to baby goats right now plus we don't want them impregnated until May. I have found it helpful to explain to the goat boys that they have to live somewhere else because the girls are busy and that they will be allowed back in a few months. At first they were a bit scared of the horse but it only took a day or so for them to walk close to her and now the tall mare doesn't worry them one little bit. Animals are very capable to socialize with other species, unlike humans. They always amaze me with this.
(miss Rosie she is a zesty friend)
I'm currently reading books by Amelia Kinkade, a lady who can speak with animals. I enjoy her stories and her wisdom. Her excercises are very helfpul to aid in further developing skills. Have you tried to figure out what your pet is saying? Behaviour is always telling as we are generally so inept to understand their language which mainly consists of feelings and images. If they are ignored they start barking, being naughty, soiling or chewing. If they are in pain they find a quiet spot, moan or look listless and stop eating. It's by caring that we can spot what the story is.

In general we can pick up many things as long as we pay attention. I have found that the trick is to not fill in the blanks which can be hard. So in order to shut up the chatter box that is our minds we can find it helpful to take a walk, go to the beach, meditate, sit somewhere quietly. It's astounding what we start to notice once we take our foot of the pre programmed accelarator. Have you tried this lately? Have you stopped talking in order to listen better? What was said?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


There's nothing corny
and nothing callously old story
about breast cancer,
just a funny odd feeling on one side you said.

The cancer is now dying within you
as you are living beautifully with it.
Your vibrancy outshines the dark lump
that it once was.

Your new look is Sinead O'Connor
and people make misguided comments
turning bright red when you
tell them your straightforward truth.

Blessed are you and determined with heart.
Angels surround you,
whispering soft songs in your ear.
Carrying you in their love forever.