'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.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Adventures Begin ...

A renown entomologist who I have known for about 8 years phoned me up and said he was looking for someone to replace his assistant/ photographer on a forthcoming research trip.  She had had to cancel due to family issues of some sort.  Would I come in her place?

Basically the job would be roughly as follows:
1. attend the Pacific Science Congress in Taipei and and take notes on lectures he was interested in but not able to attend due to overlap with others.
2. take photos of plants and critters, especially insects and spiders, using a camera that he would supply.
3.  deal with any business-related computer correspondence using my laptop as he doesn't have one.
4.  We would be visiting Palau, Pohnpei, and Guam in addition to Taiwan. 

There would almost certainly be a bit of time off for me to do my own thing, and this would likely include the opportunity to go snorkeling.
There would be no payment for me, but all expenses would be paid.
The whole trip would be about 26 days. 

I took about three days to think about it, asked hardly any questions, and said yes.
What would you have done?
Would you have asked any questions?
What would they have been?

Tuesday, 5 July 2016


... I have been having ADVENTURES!  In Micronesia.  Palau, Pohnpei, Guam and Taiwan.
Getting myself together but in the meantime, something completely different ... Go here.

Friday, 3 June 2016


When I was young I would not have eaten this pear. I would have turned my nose up at it, and asked for another, more perfect one.
It occurred to me, as I was cutting away the bruises, how juicy this one was. And when I had it with my muesli, yoghurt, and milk, it was just so deliciously tasty! Almost perfect, the bits that were left.
A metaphor for life, perhaps.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

A Break to watch a Tui

Pausing in my headlong dash, the last-minute sprint, the why-did-I-not-do-it-earlier gallop to the opening night in 26 hours' time ... to watch all the tui in the strawberry tree.
He or she has the lacy collar or cape draped casually over the shoulders, and the cravat of a proper regency gentleman ... rather like this:

No, actually more like this.  (Yes I possibly have been reading too much Patrick O'Brian.)

Anyway, after that build-up, back to the tui.  There are about six working the tree at the moment and one always seems to be singing too.  If you call that "graaack peep peep peep peedlepeedle plonk plonk graaackk!" a song.


I have closed the gallery for a few days to give me time to deinstall and install the next exhibition... Look what happens when one opens a gallery in autumn... 

Monday, 9 May 2016

Trip to Wellington Art

When I was doing my Art & Design diploma we went on a bus trip to Wellington. 

On our return we were asked to create a work about some aspect of Wellington that we had experienced.  There were no other guidelines and it could be any media.
It's no secret that I generally find cities quite difficult to visit for long.  The impact of such a volume of concrete and glass, people and straight lines, is quite overwhelming.  I chose to depict something of this, and contrast it with the scale of a line of school-uniformed children on a school trip to Te Papa.
I drew tiny views of buildings, tramlines, windows, paving, concrete, glass, metal, etc. from the zillions of photos I had taken on the trip.
I drew them with graphite on squares of thick paper, then arranged them in a grid, with care taken to contrast and composition based on tone and line as well as subject matter, and from where (in the field of vision) the subject matter was found.

Then I punched holes in the sides of the paper, inserted metal grommets, and wired the hole thing together.

Recently I framed it up and entered a competition with it and won! a fortnight's display in a local gallery.  Which was pretty neat. 

Trip to Wellington 2011. Katherine Steeds. 80cm x 60 cm. Graphite on paper with grommets and wire.

Trip to Wellington - detail
  And here's a wee video tour of it:

Wednesday, 4 May 2016


Ah Autumn!
In autumn a woman's thoughts turn lightly to ... snuggling up with a good book .... no

Autumn, autumn, how do I love thee, let me count the ways ... Leaves everywhere, nip in the air, gutters need cleaning out .... nah.

Tis autumn, and the slithy toves did gyre and .... no.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Vagrant Spider (Uliodon albopuntatus)

Well, everyone at the party was morbidly fascinated to see the large male New Zealand vagrant spider  that came into the house last night, and, became suddenly pleased to just be putting up with mozzies outside, instead of this inside.  
I think this is a male, as his body is relatively slim and his legs are long. He spanned about 5 cm. I love his orangey pink pedipalps. He probably came inside looking for a mate as this is a common behaviour in Autumn.  He uses his palps to taste and smell, and also, through a special bulb that develops on the palps, to transfer sperm to the female during mating.

You can see his orange pedipalps clearly here.

A good image to show some of his eyes.  I think I counted eight altogether.

Vagrant Spider

       Here's a lovely male Vagrant Spider that came inside tonight.  He is about 6cm across. We have been having a BBQ party to say farewell to my son James and his lovely German girlfriend Silke, and the doors were open so I guess he thought he would pop inside and check out the place.
They are nocturnal, not well studied, and man, can they run fast!  This one pattered audibly across the carpet before I cornered him and got him into a jar.  I will take some more photos and let him go down the bank of the estate.

See the salmon-pink palp… I thought it was a bit of debris on the carpet at first, until I looked them up. In twenty-two years here, it's the first one I've seen.

Some people keep them as pets, and I can certainly see the appeal.

Loads more news to share.  See you tomorrow.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Brown Mantis, Green Mantis.

About the time I left home and went to University, 1978, New Zealand was  I N V A D E D .
Before then, if I saw a praying mantis, those pumas of the insect world, those bold, confident and king predators, it was certain to be the New Zealand species: bright green, with a peacock feather-coloured eyespot on each forearm.
Then from somewhere, the South African mantis began to take over. Brown or green, with a fluffy egg-case, but no bluey-yellow eyespots, the South African female mantis even wastes the time and energy of the NZ males, for she sends a more alluring scent than the rare NZ female.
Here are a couple of the now far more common invaders on James' pitcher plant. I can't remember the last time I saw a real NZ mantis. Pity the pitchers aren't bigger ...

Can you spot them? There's a brown one and a green one. 
Here they are closer ... 

More information here:  http://www.radiolive.co.nz/How-you-can-help-save-our-native-praying-mantis/tabid/432/articleID/21079/Default.aspx

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Art Prep Exercise

 My assignment:

Copy the sentences below into your journal and fill in the blanks. Feel free to illustrate your musings if you like.


Once, I lived in a tree house because __________________________.


I furnished it with________________________________________.


My tree house had a style you might call ________________________.


My tree house looked like ____________________________________.


People would say this about me:_______________________________.

Once, I lived in a tree house because my house was dark and gloomy and I so I left it for the entire summer to be surrounded by the sound of growing, the smell of green, and the twinkling colour of birdsong every morning.
I furnished it with only natural materials that would harmonise with my new summer home, and that could provide nesting materials for the birds, food for insects, or would simply disappear back into the environment when I had to leave when winter came
My tree house had a style you might call 'econouveau', and I was so popular with the birds and animals they became tame and would eat peanut butter off my toes when I rested them on the windowsills. 
My tree house looked like a tree. It was almost invisible in amongst the branches unless you looked really hard, or visited at night and spotted the faint gleam of my hurricane lamp.
People would say this about me: 'She's taken this environmentally-friendly lifestyle too far!' But secretly they were intrigued and unknown to each other visited my in my treehouse clandestinely and stayed to eat mandarins, cashew nuts cake and ginger beer, and play scrabble and then were easily persuaded to sleep the night, watching the stars wheel beyond the leaves, the moon rise and set, and always leaving refreshed as they descended the ladder in the morning. 

Sunday, 3 January 2016

How to be Moderately Successful.


* it is actually ok to make people use coasters#

#because I said so, and because I do. 

So, what do you think the above photo is? 

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Just About to Cop It

Here's the rain coming. It's nice and warm, however. Too late now to wish I'd cleaned out the gutters yesterday.

Tauranga is at the point of the smaller arrow. The wind direction is the bigger arrows. This was the situation 12 minutes before writing these words. 

Friday, 1 January 2016

My Genuine, Mass-Produced Good Wishes for 2016

This image shows my local seaside town last night : hot-spot for thousands who visit and also climb and sit around on the summit of the extinct volcano (Mauao - Mount Maunganui) all night and wait for the first day of a new year.  This would have been their view. Look at the hoards of people.

The other popular place is Whangamata where a tame New Year's Eve meant only 22 were arrested.

I was even more tamer-ly tucked up in bed having a lovely sleep.  Mmmm-mm!

Eye Candy Day 59

"I don't really relate to nature. I relate more to poetic questions about knowing something.  Recognizing something."