'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Film by James

Just a quick post today to share a lovely little clip that was taken, composed, and music added, by my son James who does volunteer work at the 'House of Science' in Tauranga.


Here it is embedded:

Thursday, 20 February 2014


A number of my regular visitors will remember that I spent pretty much a whole academic year back in 2011 very involved with bugs and small critters.  I was doing my post-graduate degree in art and design, and during the year went from intensively studying aspects of beetles to cockroaches, and then finally ended up with honey bees.
I did a survey here and elsewhere.  I asked about 500 people what they thought of various insect/arachnida species, and also 'watched' my own reactions. (We still have a felt-pen cockroach on the lounge wall as part of an ongoing experiment).  Spiders were the least liked critter.  Next came cockroaches and wasps and other biters and stingers.  Most liked were butterflies.  Bees were interesting to me because they sting but were also liked because they were a role model for industry ('worked hard') but unlike the other 'good worker', the ant, they also 'gave us honey'.

But back to spiders.  Despite huge amounts of knowledge that we now know about the critical importance of spiders to almost all of the world's habitats, we still find their predatory air and 'confident'  or stealthy movements disconcerting.  Perhaps because we see them as challenging to our position as ruler of the Earth?

Anyway, all this is a long way of getting around to saying that I was especially fascinated to see this latest in robotic technology.  What's your reaction?  A tingle of fear to see it 'crouching' to 'look' up?

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Good Enough

I'm a bit of a perfectionist.  I like to do things properly.  This is a good driver in my work of art-making.  But in the other world, the imperfect world, like any personal quality, it's a Good Thing and a Bad Thing.  There have been many times in the past when my fear of failure or, more prosaically, lack of enough time or the perfect tools, has paralysed me and I haven't even begun something, let alone finished it.

Recently I have been occasionally astonishing myself and saying 'good enough is good enough, just get into it and get it done!'

The day, nay the evening before Aftermas this year, I was moaning about the uneven step that was the scene and contributing cause of my literal downfall last Aftermas, and GB simply thought for a few seconds, said 'Quick-drying concrete!', got in the car, bought a bag from Mitre 10 Mega and within 30 minutes the step was done.  Inspirational!

The new level step where I broke my ankle last year.

Aftermas is a great incentive. Between Christmas and New Year's I spent a happy three days finishing off the edges of the cobblestone area in front of my studio. It was like leaving until last all the edges of a giant irregular jigsaw puzzle.  I had a collection of part-pavers and pieces and amazingly, had only three left over when I had finished filling all the holes.

It feels so good to be done and dusted after mumble years of unfinishedness.
Now, a quick sweep with the broom and it looks so nice! Sure it's not perfect.  Sure the leaves still get stuck in a few gaps, but at least they're only little leaves now.  Now it's such a pleasure to go down the back steps and out to work in my wee studio.

The steps to our back door, and the alleyway for visitors to my studio.

My art studio.

Sunday, 9 February 2014


Craig (left) and my two boys, 1996.
A year ago our family shared in the sudden and inexplicable loss of a young man.

Nineteen years ago we moved to Tauranga and met the L family.  For about three years while he was still at primary school I used to pick Craig up from school and he played at our place with my three kids until his Mum or Dad picked him up about 5.30. Later Zoe started school and for a while we had both Craig and Zoe after school. We wouldn't have a kid's party without first checking that Craig and Zoe could make it on that day.  And likewise for their parents (who had become my closest friends) for the grown-up get-togethers.
Craig and Zoe went to the same University as my three, and this time last year Craig was home again after spending a year in Aussie working.  My James and he had been looking at a few flats locally and were deciding on one to rent together.  Craig was about to sign the contract for a new job.  About 4am on the morning of the 6th February 2013, Zoe heard a noise from his bedroom and found Craig on his floor.  He died half an hour later despite repeated attempts to revive him.  We still don't know the cause of his death.
Our memories of Craig are precious, and we will always hold them dearly.  

'It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up.  And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know.  It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is.  You foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.'

-Lemony Snickett