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I had shopped – found some great books at the local bookshop called Browzers; picked up some nice embroidery threads at the local craft shop; laid in some fuel for the body – and I had washed clothes and I had sewn.  I was ready to be a tourist!

My friends Elizabeth and Glen from Aussie Patches were also in town and they had suggested a trip down to see Menindie. We unpacked stuff from the back seat of Glen’s truck and squished me in the back!

It was a reasonably warmish day and the sky was gradually getting whiter and whiter and the visibility reducing as we drove south.  On our return, the evening news reported that we had had another dust storm, though not as severe as those the previous week.

We had lunch in the local pub and then took the drive along the river to Weir 87 and the old homestead ruins. Those of my readers who have been here a while will know I have a penchant for taking pictures of trees and this trip provided me with a great range of river redgums to add to the collection.

In the pictures you can see a white haze in the sky… this was the dust that had blown all day.

The Darling River is apparently in the background of a couple of the shots…it also had a white tinge to it….this part of the river appeared to have reasonable water levels, but then we discovered this was the part upstream from the weir… below the weir was an entirely different story.

It is hard to imagine that this river had supported a thriving river boat transport system in the past. It is devastating to see the manner in which the river and its ecosystem are fading and dying from the lack of natural water flow through the river.


For the 8 days I was staying in Broken Hill, I was staying in a restored Broken Hill style worker’s cottage.

Wilyama Cottage

Willyama Cottage

These old cottages are dotted throughout the town, on odd shaped blocks, tucked down narrow lanes and alleys.  They are clad on the exterior with ripple iron with the front walls and verandas often presenting a different ‘face’ to the street.

This little cottage had many of its original features and had been treated to a most sympathetic restoration acknowledged by the Historical Council in Broken Hill.

One of the most notable things about the Hill was the gardens….despite the heat and dust and restricted amounts of water, the gardens are lush and colourful.

I spotted a rare sight these days……

Something I haven't seen for a long time....a hose with a sprinkler attached laid out across GREEN lawn

Something I haven't seen for a long time....a hose with a sprinkler attached laid out across GREEN lawn.

Near Richmond Vic

Near Richmond Vic

Such a bizarre contrast of texture and form….. the tenacity of the weed plant to take a foothold and persistantly flourish in such a hostile environment – I could not resist recording its success!

surface_5Depending on the time of year, trees take on a whole new dimension…we can gauge the changing of the season by the colours of the leaves on the deciduous trees, the appearance of buds and blossom, the starkness of their empty limbs against the winter sky.


The Australian landscape is coloured by these imports yet retains its own set of distinctive signals of seasonal change.  This year, however, the trees are stressed from lack of water, seared by record high temperatures and confused by sudden burst of cold.


Their barks are shedding, their leaves falling and in some cases they are blooming at completely the wrong time of year! The more established trees in our formal parks and gardens are showing their ages more than ever and sadly, it is estimated we may well lose anything between 15 and 20% of our tree cover in this state to the effects of this drought.


As mentioned in an earlier post, I have this “thing” about trees – more specifically, the wonderful surface textures of their trunks.  For some time now I have been collecting shots of various tree trunks.


I found this one in a car park in Adelaide… although the trunk itself had little variation in colour, the effect of the shadows cast made it all the more interesting.  From memory it was a stinker of a day and any bit of shade was a blessing!


There are some lovely old tree in Kings Park in Perth – this is the same tree I showed in an earlier post but this shot was taken in May – the other in September and the bark colouring is different.


Lovely knarly number – it reminded me of free form crochet at the time I saw it – I’m not sure how I would go about rendering this surface in thread… but I think it would need to be free machining overworked by hand stitching.


Another Kings Park specimen – just loved all the pleats and folds in this.  The length of the trunk was quite badly scarred horizontally; given the width of the band it would have appeared to have been inappropriately “tied” at some point in its life and the scar has remained as the tree aged.

I am still collecting…one day these pictures will form the basis of a series of exercises in thread play, that is, when I find a spare year or three to spend stitching!

Where do you go for ideas for designs for your art?  I find that inspiration for designs come from a range of sources; sometimes I am not even aware of what has been behind some of the pieces I have produced.

I have been known to leap out of the car with camera in hand when I have spotted a tree with beautifully textured bark and I have several pictures taken in different seasons of the same tree trunk in Kings Park, Perth.


I can say, however, that I have never been tempted to use xray images or pictures of internal organs as a stimulus!  This hasn’t been the case with two ladies recently written up in New Scientist magazine – they have produced quilts and a knitted sculptural piece based on images of the brain.

This is defintiely one of those things that falls into the “weird but true” category however it is worth looking at  – this is the article link and this takes you to a special website featuring their work.


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