The Wall

The Urban Mural, or The Wall as I choose to call it, is our first project in Studio research and Practice. We have been split into groups and instructed to choose a blank wall in Nelson to decorate. We then had to choose a theme of either body, environment or semiotics, on which to base our mural.

As I am double booked in other classes for most of  Mondays, I came into this project after initial decisions had been made. Well it saves me some brain cells I guess! Had I been there I would have chosen the Kush Coffee wall in Church street (my favourite coffee stop), and I would have gone for maybe body or semiotics. Environment is fine though as it can fit most ideas, the wall being part of an environment in itself.

So we have a wall… a plain blank wall…. in Hardy Street, and the wall wants something… I would go so far as to say that the wall needs something. It is pretty drab and boring – right?



or… maybe not quite so drab:


or boring:


This wall faces the oncoming pedestrians, they walk towards it, and they probably don’t notice it… So, it is currently a big wasted opportunity. I would like this wall to enhance the life of everyone who walks towards it. I would like it to make them think in a different way, about life, about reality and about our perception of reality. I want the wall to transform the viewer, in some way. Whether it is only the moment, a day, or the rest of a life that is changed.

The wall is at the end of a historical building which currently houses a pub, cafe, sports bar. It is in my opinion a totally uninspiring place, where the only chance of one’s perception being changed is through a haze of alcohol to the sound of rugby commentators. I believe sometimes they have a decent band though. At right angles to the wall is an estate agents, again not very inspiring, but hang on… what about building castles in the air? How about some alternative real estate, an earth-ship maybe? Or the very words could be played upon… real estate… imaginary estate… the wall as the estate of the artists and the viewer.

I see a lot of possibilities, but I like the idea of  a view through to another world, a journey to a different mindset, going through doors of perception but without the mescalin.


Oh and do note the beautiful Genko tree. There is something about this tree, and those tiny pink flowers  growing against all odds, out of the crack at the bottom of the wall, something that says ‘Look, we are here…!’ I want our wall to shout LOOK!! I AM HERE!!!!

All photos by author.

Adding to the JOY…

…in more ways than one!

College started today, and Blueberry the bump is due any hour…

I have not slept since Friday night as Polly, my daughter, keeps having labour scares. It seems funny that a year ago I was a new student, feeling young and full of the excitement of youth, and now I am about to be an oma, or yaya… I cannot do grandma!

When I think back to my own youthful college days, learning was not so joyful. I stick by my theory that education is wasted on the young. I have my own theories about education, and having home educated my kids for several years, and seen some great results, I am inclined to stick with them. My main theory is that if you want to learn something, then you will do it as soon as you are ready. Otherwise it is wasted time and a lot of unnecessary stress. For years I have been ready to learn in a college environment, with other students. To me this is the freedom I dreamed of every day when I couldn’t wait to leave grammar school!

Last year was great, this year I plan to make even better. Bring it on!

When I am not studying I read Tarot…

IMG_8805And play with my pet goat Gypsy…

IMG_8818And make beautiful custom Tarot Bags for lovely earthlings…

IMG_8827And play some more with the goats…



I did a daily draw today with my gorgeous old RWS, and used the card to indicate which numbers I should cover next in my 1-10 Tarot study.

Justice – karma, balance, truth and law. This card is very like the High priestess with the position of the figure and the two pillars. The sword and scales indicate balance and logic, and the blade is double edged, it can cut on both sides.

Today this card could be telling me that I deserved the drip from the leaking roof that flooded my pillow in the early hours… surely a Cup card would have been more relevant for this watery experience! Maybe some emotion is trying to reach me, something that I have shut out, so it is forcing me to take notice. It sure made me sit up! On the other hand I think there needs to be more balance in who does everything in this home – at the moment it is always me. That’s all very well in the holidays, but college starts again next week and it will be full on. I need help


Another thing that tickled me, is that having finished watching every episode of Taggart that I could find, I have now become entranced with Judge John Deed and Kavanagh QC. Two judges by two actors I quite like. I like John Thaw who plays Kavanagh a lot, although I think he was best in Morse. Martin Shaw drives me mad at times, a bit too smooth – I prefer crunchy. His character, Justice John Deed, is equally maddening. He has this amazing side to him that will fight for what is right and not succumb to corruption in high office, but personally he is a bit sad. How any female could be attracted to him I don’t know. His female counterpart is a good balance though, and she is not under any illusions about him.

So that’s Justice for today, and the next number in the study series will be Two. Watch this space.

Old Cards – New Tricks…

I have been interested in learning about the Lenormand oracle and reading system for a couple of years now, but have not ventured further than admiring the many decks available, and lusting after a couple. As I have had a few weeks of more or less study freedom I thought I may try to get started. I decided the best way, (not to mention the most economical and potentially rewarding), would be to get an ordinary playing card deck and make my own.

My Homemade Lenormand Playing Card Deck

I took a playing card deck, a packet of OHP permanent markers, a fine permanent black Sharpie and a roll of white correction tape. I got my details and keywords for the cards from the Learn Lenormand website.

My Homemade Lenormand Playing Card Deck

I numbered each card and wrote the name on the top of the relevant cards from the playing card deck. So for the Rider, card number 1 in the Lenormand deck I used the Nine of Hearts. I screwed up on this card so had to bastardise another heart card to replace it! The words were written randomly with the fine Sharpie. I found that using the correction tape worked great for mistakes, and also for making white space to write the meanings on the court cards. You could also use white gouache.

My Homemade Lenormand Playing Card Deck

I found a lot of meanings for some of the cards, and now believe it would have been better to have one main keyword in large letters and a few in smaller writing. Anyway this is just the beginning, it can always be improved upon and developed. Katt, a fellow member of Aeclectic Tarot  told me they use three decks so there are three of each card with an alternate keyword on each. In this way, when you lay out the cards you get a scaffold, if you like, of a sentence and you just have to fill in the blanks.

Handmade Lenormand from Ordinary laying Cards

Anyway, I am sure I will have fun playing, and making this deck  gave me a lot of insight into the cards, in the same way that making your own Tarot Deck does. Lenormand is that bit easier to tackle as it only has half the number of cards! Another advantage of making your own deck is that ot gives you a basis to review other decks on the market before buying. Like everything in life it is ogod to have a go yourself  in order to appreciate what goes into something.

I am happy :) I shall make it a bag now… a cute wee one!

Handmade Lenormand from Ordinary laying Cards

Beautiful People Making Beautiful Books

I had to share this video, found on Dispatch from LA… Thanks Mary Ann.

Such gorgeous people, and those papers hanging out to dry, yummy, you really wanna go and play with paint and glue. Love the rain scene too, I want that deck…

Paulus Berensohn is such an inspiration.


Soul’s Kitchen from TOTM Film on Vimeo.

2 Moons

Today I drew Luna from the Connessione and yet another Wand! The Five of Wands from the Tarot Noir. The Moon card is pretty serendipitous because I drew it today on the full moon. So a double whammy I guess.


The moon card has some mysterious stuff going on. At first glance the two hands at the bottom seem to be squeezing dental floss from a tube and flossing the moon’s teeth. Then we see that the hands are half hands and half birds. It’s like the practical earthly side and the higher consciousness working together through the moon somehow. One hand feeds the mouth of the bird on the other hand. The hand that is not holding the tube holds some pebbles that may have come from the water, the fingers look  a little bloodstained or maybe it is just sand. I am very much a Moon person, by birth and nature. I love the hours between 8.00pm and 8.00am, my lowest time is early afternoon. The lower the sun sinks in the sky, the happier I become. This card feels very right now.

Moon - Luna

The Five of Wands is what I call the play fight card, five has a feeling of 2 pairs and an odd one out. Sometimes I feel like the odd one, but in a food way. I am part of my family yet single, the mother creature. This card can mean stress and disagreement, but I think today it is telling me to enjoy the playing, be more frivolous without guilt, because I have earned this time to play. Especially as it is the holidays here in NZ! The Moon throws a happy shadow on the five of wands too, and the cards of the past two days having been wands adds to the positive nature of this five.

Taking the two cards together I see the Moon card as dreamy, playful, even a little goofy. I can never sleep around the full moon, I get maybe an hour or so and then wake up, usually around 3.00am. Sometimes this is ok. I have learned over the years not to fight sleeplessness, but to use those wakeful hours more positively. If it means I am fit for nothing during daylight hours then that’s just fine…after all there are 2 weeks of holiday still left.

A guard ain’t no bad thing…

Today’s draws, from the Connessione and the Tarot Noir, follow on from yesterday seamlessly!

I drew Coscienza or Conscience — number XX, which corresponds with Judgement, and from the Tarot Noir, I pulled the Nine of Wands.

Tarocchi di Connessione and Tarot Noir

I love images on the Connessione. You can really delve into them to find layers of meaning. This card, Conscience, has the figure, scratching their head or conscience maybe. The main image is surrounded by images of books, infinity symbols, and what to me looks like an hourglass, or actually two hourglasses. there is a document that looks aged and which could be a last will and testament. There is more indecipherable writing on the wall, as with the Devil card from yesterday. Judgement is associated with Pluto, the death planet, but here we have many signs of rebirth and renewal in the spirals. This card seems to show that the next life is in your hands ready for you to decide how to proceed. The historical elements along with the hourglass ,seem to point to things from the past, possibly things we need to change or learn from. Everything is there, but the figure has to work out the puzzle. I still have this thing about the writing on the wall though, that maybe I am ignoring…


The Nine of Wands is often depicted as a darker card, with a wounded soldier struggling on to the end. Often the way is barred behind him. I like the Marseilles image better, and the meaning given by the Golden Dawn – The Lord of Strength. The nine wands are as tightly bound as the ten, but there is only one in the centre holding them fast. The Ten of Wands has two  batons in the centre which could oppose each other and entrap each other, so that one cannot escape without the help of the other.

Together I am thinking the cards are telling me that I have the strength to get past whatever is blocking me and that I have all I need to do so. I need to look to my better judgement and beware of repeating past mistakes. There is also an element of maybe being too guarded, because of the past. This would fit my long term mood, and my love of being single… a guard ain’t no bad thing!

There are many cages…

I haven’t had time to study the cards in depth recently, but I am hoping to get back into the habit over the holidays, and beyond. Tarot study gives me quiet time, a space in which to meditate and contemplate.

We spend so much time rushing from one thing to the next without stillness, as if we will miss something if we stop for breath. For me the opposite is true, I know I miss so much more of life by treating it like a moving walkway in an airport. It is important to me, to take time to do the things that bring me joy and add depth to my hours. The Tarot has been part of my life for so long, even with a new deck the relationship is somewhat established already. Sitting down with the Tarot is like taking tea with a close friend, comfortable and honest.

This week I am using two decks, The Tarot Noir by Chronata, and the Tarocchi di Connessione.  The latter is a major arcana only deck, in English it is The Tarot of Connections. The Tarot Noir is a Marseilles based deck, with funky black and white images, no borders and rounded corners – perfect.

I drew a card from each, Limits – XV from the Connessione and the Ten of Wands from the Tarot Noir.


The Connessione artist different names for the cards, and Limits is usually  The Devil card. The image shows an angry character firmly grasped in a hand, which he doesn’t seem too happy about. It feels as if he has been exposed for who he really is. The quilted cocoon that he is wrapped in suggests luxury t0 me, a luxurious prison. There is writing scribbled on the wall but even with a magnifying glass it doesn’t read as anything much just a few letters. Below the devil critter, on the bottom half of the card there are many cages. So we have someone in a prison of their own making, and the writing is on the wall. But I wonder if the hand is that of the devil, who has the person in his grip — or, is the devil the one being held? Could be either way.

Tarot Connessionne and Tarot Noir

The Ten of Wands here is a tightly locked knot too. It feels too bound, too stressed, a barrier to going any further without change or some let up. This card combined with the devil seems to underline a feeling of being held captive. It also makes me think of an illusion of order and strength that in reality is a cover up for something very out of control.

I think maybe I have overdone the partying this holiday season, and need to cut back now, before it becomes my master. I need to be in control, as I do have an addictive personality. Well, the cards are definitely honest and brutal at times.



A number 3 is best

Had to share a few more pics to illustrate some of Dolly’s finer points… Like the super shiny MAGS!!!

I even washed her, and I never wash my car…

Dolly x 4


Dolly, side by side with Old Faithful… who shall not be put out to grass… ;-/


She’s a wee beastie alright! Number 1 cut is too short though 3 works best.



Falling in love again…

I didn’t want it to happen, never dreamed in a zillion moons that it could ever be…

But it did.

Yesterday I fell in love with a lawnmower.

Dolly is amazing, life changing —  in the way that only a gorgeous, silver  mower called Dolly can be.

Dolly is a utility mower, made for paddocks and rougher meadow type grass, like ours. For years I have struggled with a tiny Cobra classic with a 14″ cut, blunt blades and just about everything broken that could be. Dolly has a 21 inch cut, and that makes a huge difference. She goes through long grass, and shoots all the clippings out the side. I haven’t had her for 24 hours yet, but yep this is love…

You have to have had a relationship with an old, bedraggled mower, to appreciate a prince among their kind.

I just cannot stop wondering over this gorgeous ‘Cut’ grass as opposed to bent and squished grass…

Dolly the Mower
Dolly the Mower
Dolly in Action
Dolly in Action
Gypsy inspects Dolly's work
Gypsy inspects Dolly’s work