Wednesday, February 5, 2020

2020 begins....

Firstly, apologies to all those people I told at the Royal Melbourne Show (in September) that I'd have a new Shopping Bag Tutorial up her within days.... Ummmm... Real life got in the way of all my good intentions, and it has slipped down the list of priorities since.


There is still this free Shopping Bag tutorial, and the Zip-Away Shopping bag pattern is available in my Etsy store.

Apart from real life stuff,  I've been working steadily on my (working title) #chemostyle project. Things are taking shape. I even have an Instagram account now!  There's also another workshop coming up on the 29th Feb (register here).

It's been a strange few months... The national grief and anxiety about the bushfires that have devastated much of our country - and the constant smoke shrouding the landscape - formed a surreal backdrop for everything that happened over the Summer break.

The awareness of so much loss - lives, homes, animals, trees, businesses - was palpable with every breath of campfire-scented (or asthma-inducing) air. Those of us lucky enough not to lose our homes or loved ones in the fires have felt survivor's guilt, sadness, empathy, distress... anger at government, despair for our planet, and a sense of foreboding. Emotions have been high in Australia, and fires are still burning. Summer is not over.

That's not cloud over there.... (Photo taken on Dec 31 2019 near the NSW border, looking towards Victoria.)

In the midst of all this, my funny, feisty, compassionate and no-nonsense sister Loretta died. I won't say that she "lost the battle" against ovarian cancer... She lived with it for 14 years - with humour, pragmatism, acceptance and complete engagement with life - and eventually all the medical treatments available couldn't keep her alive. She was brave and focused on the life she was leading and enjoying.

Loretta was an artist and a tireless volunteer within her local community in Central NSW, particularly in the areas of tourism and the arts.

On the night of her wake, we discovered that the local community had honoured her memory with this sign on the Barry noticeboard. We took our glasses of wine for a walk and raised a toast to her as the sun set. To a life well-lived. To a much-loved sister and aunt. To Loretta.

One of Loretta's projects was the annual Textures of One exhibition in Blaney, which is still running this year. I hope that it is the best year ever, in her honour.

Textures of One is an open art exhibition for artists working in a wide range of media. It also includes primary and secondary school "junior" sections. Every piece must include - somewhere - the motif of the lotus (each year, the motif changes). There are prizes in each category as well as overall prizes, and you don't have to be a local to enter (see all the details here).

If you're able to, I invite you to consider making something, or getting your kids involved. If you're in the area, I invite you to visit the exhibition when it's on.

And I'll remind you to live your best life, and treat everyone with kindness. You never know what the people you meet are going through.


méri said...

Dear Nikki , So sorry for your lost - thinking of you
xx meri

Susanne Turner said...

Nikki, please accept my condolences on the loss of your obviously much loved sister. She sounds just as brave, courageous and wonderful as you have proven yourself to be. My hubby and I were in the ACT from just before Christmas until last weekend, and the sentiments you expressed about the fires were palpable in the air along with the smoke. Lives have changed in so many ways for those who have lost everything to those who have lost nothing but air quality. I can’t even bear to think of the creatures lost. Thank you for putting it into words for those who have only TV info to gain knowledge of what has, and still is, happening.

Nicole Mallalieu said...

Thanks Susanne. And I'm glad I was able to articulate something that resonated with you about the fire situation. It's a truly awful thing, and I hope that you are ok.

A Peppermint Penguin said...

So sorry for your loss, but seems like your sister left a mark!

the fires are so remote here with our wet mild winter and the occasional windy storm - but so horrifying. I can't imagine it really.

glad you and yours are ok.

Vicki M said...

I am so sorry to hear about your sister. So, so sad. It has been a sad and disturbing summer here too for sure. I am in Melbourne and am looking out at my courtyard and my plants have an orange tinge from the dust storms and I can see smoke still in the distance. It certainly is not over yet.