Thursday, 31 December 2009

Last Day of the Year/Decade?

Is it the last day of the decade today? I hope so, because that means that the 20 year fashion cycle will push next year into 90's nostalgia, and there is nothing I love more than wearing died petticoats, lace with cargo pants and combat boots.

When we came into this decade I was 14. Since then, quite a lot has happened. I finished high school, moved to Siena, Italy. Moved back home. Lived in England, then Bologna, Italy. Then home again. I did an arts degree in Melbourne. Found my soul mate, moved to Spain and more recently bought a house in Puglia with him.

Well those were the big things. Lucky I started blogging, that should keep the memories filed in chronological order.

I spent the last morning of this year outside in short sleeves, pruning my olive trees. I still can't believe we own a house.
Being back here and seeing this place has made everything seem real, and exiting. S says that these feel like historic moments. As though we are living in a bright memory being recounted 10 years later. That sums it all up.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Recipe from Puglia.

I’ve been a little vague about the whole thing. I need to get around to writing out the whole house-buying story, something I wanted to do this summer to keep this online journal complete and accurate, but didn’t for scaramanzia, which is an Italian term meaning fear of jinxing something. I’ll do it in the next couple of days, in the mean time, here’s a recipe for anyone interested, typed with love directly from Puglia.

Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa
(serves 4)
700g of Orecchiette. (buy them fresh somehow, or make your own using water, semolina flour and this youtube video... Though I will admire you greatly if you learn from this... it took me a morning of private instruction.)
I kg Cime di Rapa (Turnip tops. Buy organic turnips, and use the green bits. Use the turnips themselves for something else, I can't think of anything off the top of my head. Maybe soup? If these are unavailable use broccoli)
4 anchovies
1 clove of garlic
12 tbsp of olive oil
1 chili
2 tbsp bread crumbs

Wash the turnip tops, get rid of the hardest leaves.
Throw them in some salted boiling water.
Once the water starts bubbling again, add the orecchiette.

Meanwhile, use half the oil in the saucepan and sautèe the garlic and chili. Chop them up first if you want these flavours to come through stongly, otherwise leave them whole and take them out afterwards.
Add the ancovies and melt them into the oil
Add the bread crumbs and continue cooking until they are crispy.
Drain the pasta and turnip tops when the pasta is cooked al dente.
Mix the condiment with the pasta in a bowel,
Moisten it all with the remaining olive oil

Writing my mediterranean travel/ cookbook is something that I’ve put on the back burner for the last year. I’ve been researching it very half-heartedly for the last year, (I think Ihave about 5 interviews scribbled in my journal) but seem to have too many other half-finished projects going on. I thought it might be a nice idea to start sharing some here on my blog on the off-chance that someone who stops by might be a keen cook or an italian food lover, and at any rate able to fathom the idea of cooking and eating again so soon after christmas...

Thursday, 24 December 2009

We're Back in Italy

I could tell by the transport delays, the 8 hour standing train trip, the excessive food intake, the consumerism, the comments on weight gain/loss in the same breath as the greetings, and the ridiculous administrative problems we have already encountered.

I have the kind of love/hate relationship with this country that only occurs when you know another culture just about inside-out.

On the positive side, lots of nephew love, lots of goood food (I know I just complained about that about 2 lines ago). Lots of laughs with Salva and the family. Lots of Christmas and quite a few extra degrees in the air.

And a magical country house among the olive trees that is so close to being ours....
Merriest of Christmasses!

Sunday, 20 December 2009


-6 degrees celsius.
98% humidity
The brightest Spanish sun you ever did see. Like when you turn up brightness, saturation and contrast to near maximum settings on photoshop... Like this.

(Photo of me eating soup by Salvatore, turning up of brightness and contrast to ridiculous levels by moi...)

Lots of coffee,
some reading, and
a spot of baking in the afternoon.
Present wrapping (something I take pride in)...
Suitcase packing (going here for 14 days, though not the entire usual trek. Just straight to Puglia for Christmas, and back. In a plane, which will be a convenient first...)
All to an exotic soundtrack... from the comfort and safety of these sunny rooms we flit and float about in....

Yes, life is good, but I'm feeling a bit uneasy. Things it might be:
The cold weather
The endless consumerism wherever I look.
Something else...?

As I like to say to my mother when she tells me about a problem,
"Oh Well.."

Saturday, 19 December 2009


I was asked in an application form to recognise the most important issue facing artists today...

The role of the artist is visual communicator. Artists tell stories, reflect the world and its events, and express emotions through their chosen form. I feel that the artist's goal is to communicate something. One of the most important questions facing artists today is how to retain the poignancy of such communication in a time where visual communication is accessible to everyone, and the sharing of information so rapid.
Affordable technology such as the digital camera gives anyone the opportunity to be an artist.
Professional artists shouldn't be challenged by this, nor feel the need to “prove” the merit of their work and assert why it is, in fact, art, because I reckon that being an artist today is, more than ever, about visual communication, and some kind of recognition that this is somehow important. Gasp. That was a long sentence.
What I'm trying to say is,
We are all just so naturally competitive, I think.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

It's Colder...

I know I write about it being cold a lot, but it just is. So. Cold.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

On Weekends,

I like staying inside in my studio and experimenting with the spanish light.

We have given up leaving the house unless it is necessary. This is why:

I'm enjoying this winter* so far. Perhaps it's because of the glowing logs. Or perhaps it's because I know I won't have to tough out the whole 5 months of fog and bone-freeze. We are going to Buenos Aires (where it will be summer) in February. Salva is going to finish his thesis, once and for all next year and then....

We will find a European city to live in, with a thriving art and music scene, 3 bedroom apartments for under 500 Euros a month, and brisk but sunny winters. Does anyone know the name of this city?

I'm kind of serious.

Anyway, I now need to write an autobiography for my masters application and it's proving quite difficult. It's also been difficult to think of some people who I'm willing to bother for a reference. What a stupid request that is, anyway. Obviously I'm going to ask someone I like, and who I believe likes me. I'm not going to be asking my year 12 maths teacher.

So I'm going to do it, but don't let that distract you. If you read this, tell me where I should live.

*I know winter has not really begun yet. Winter means time of cold in this case.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


I had my exhibition and it went kind of well.

People were positive, and they seemed genuine. It was a really positive, encouraging experience for me.

Now I just need to:
Enrol in my masters.
Start planning my next show.
Open my etsy shop. (I'm seriously blocked about this.. I've been saying it for months and months. I just have this vision of a dust covered etsy shop with tumble weeds blowing through it for a few weeks before sadly hanging a little wooden closed sign on its door) - *Sigh. Must open it anyway, it's stupid not to have one, don't you think?

Friday, 4 December 2009

On Blogging

Blogging is weird.

My Dad once said that he didn't get the idea of a public journal. I guess I should have reminded him about all the self-publishing urges that proceeded the blog. The Letter to The Editor writer? That's a pre-blogger. The toilet graffiti artist is a frustrated blogger, and the sky-writer might just be the "celebrity" blogger that has so much traffic that they have sponsors and so many comments that they have to turn them off...

I was explaining the blog phenomonen to a friend over the weekend, and suprised myself with the explanation of why I do it.

It started as a way to show my art, and it still is primarily. It has also become a convenient story-telling site for whoever happens to be interested (my mind flicks to the scene in Julie and Julia where she happily receives her first comment on a post and opens it only to find it's from her Mum).

For me it's so much better than an actual journal because the fact that I have to express myself coherently is a writing exercise, which is really nice. It also means I can actually understand myself when I go back to read it.

The downside is that sometimes I have to read through my own lines to remember what I was actually feeling on any given day, because I can't bare all on here, just can't. It's strange that the majority of blogs I read are big, soft, intimate spilling types.

That allows for connection with others which is probably, really, what it's all supposed to be about.