Monday, February 28, 2011

A BIG week

By Lilly Blue

One week. Three childen, one birthday, four theatre shows (one worked on, three seen)- two meetings, four rehearsals (including one in the playroom) one class, two new future projects and a swimming carnival. And BIG. I am finding it hard to write on the blog, and easier to post the words/pictures of others. Perhaps this is a good thing. I don't know where to start, I have too many words.

I write a to do list late at night, after Twyla has fallen asleep, her questions and and body exhausted, finally. Not that I rush the intimacy of pre-sleep conversation, I relish it, and grin my delight quietly, adoring her and her quirky view of the world. "Mummy do you like donkeys? I like donkeys, not scary ones, friendly ones. Mummy I can hear someone practicing the flute, it is the next door neighbor. Can I see it? Why? Why are they doing it? Is it dark time now? Why? Why Mama? When the light comes can I have a swim? Talk to me Mama, say words, no mama say them loudly not quiet like that, why are you saying them quietly" Her sentences run into each other and she talks until the breath before she is asleep. I feel her body soften under my hand. I inhale deeply, breathe out, lie still for a moment and wonder if I have the energy to crawl out of the dark and meet the night. I always do. I seem to have inexhaustible stamina for BIG, perhaps in part because I want to offer an opportunity for that powerful, imaginative world that Twyla inhabits to be available in the pages of a magazine. A celebration of make believe, made real.  A carnival of new ideas and unreasonable dreams.
Two of the Festival works I saw spoke of children. Artists children. And the stolen generation. I have essays on each. Maybe I will link a research page to BIG, I will build a house furnished with words. I wish you could cook with them, then words could contribute to my ailing domestic sphere. Tonight Lilly writes for us both, and her shadow birds on the water above land here in Perth with the tiniest splash of rain to break the heatwave for a dream of a minute.

I ache to be in the studio spending more time with Boatbird, the Grumpi Ladies and Jo. Yet I know that for BIG to grow well and strong it is important to create a strong foundation. I try my uncertain hand at a business plan, excited to be in such unfamiliar terrain and loving the steep learning curve. I hear Jo's voice in my head as I write, in moments wondering if the words are mine or hers. The mysterious territory of co-authorship and  six months of conversation history provoking the unfolding of a shared vision. It's like unwrapping a present over and over again, charged and irrepressible.

Still, even with this urgency and excitement, I turn mostly towards Twyla and her needs as the days fly by, and relish the magic and beauty of our shared world. It goes so fast, this life, perhaps BIG will help us remember to relish every precious moment of it because before too long our own little birds will be flying off into the world to make their own nests. I don't want to miss a treasured second of it!
Says the actor (Ernie Dingo) in the play tonight, "According to the accordion, there's only one talent that we's all needs to possess. Look after ya children and ya family and let life take care of the rest".(Waltzing the Wilarra by David Milroy). Indeed.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Brunch Birds!

Lexi, 3.5yrs, Perth
Lexi resisted all urging from Mum to decorate her chicken with glitter and stickers, but offered instead a small concession in the form of a gold glittery wing.  This is a chicken of few words.  No chicken bling.

Breakfast Birds
"I Was making picture pancakes for family and friends yesterday and a few birds arrived unexpectedly to delight them and bring a sparkle to our breakfast compansionship. Perhaps they will bring some delight to Big Kids readers too."
Paul Macklin, Sydney,
Head Hand and Heart

How gracefully they fry

Friday, February 25, 2011

Maria Pizzirusso and her beautiful AVE, Melbourne

Morgan, 6, Melbourne

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fly me to the moon

  These two birds have been waiting for each other.

Guardian the Owl, Jonah, 9, Halls Gap,Vic.
(Read here about Jonah and his family's 'sculptured life' )

My first flight

My first flight was to be to the moon.

I waited all night until my little eyes wouldn’t open anymore. Somehow I kept them open.
I waited until my neck wouldn’t support my head anymore; I pushed it up with my hands and waited.
The adults promised me I would fly to the moon that night of the party; if I were good then I would get to go.

I think they forgot about the promise, but I never did.

Jen Jamieson, Perth

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The world was our carnival

Twyla and I return from the little Island with dirt beneath our fingernails and a heart full of ocean. We slept in a tent with the sand from our castles and a rowdy family of paper-mache cats. At night the waves were our lullaby and Twyla made stars with her torch on our canvas sky. Anyone who was interested learned from her that our ‘house’ had two doors and that she could zip and unzip its edges ‘completely by her very own’. I fell in love with the sea all over again, like before, when I was smaller. We drew with sticks in the dirt and made small worlds with shells and seaweed that were stolen gleefully by the waves and the wind. Peppermint tea and dark chocolate. Late night conversations around fires and quiet. Remoteness, gatherings, story, earth, and a mulberry tree with a wooden swing. 

At first she thought they were butterflies

The circus festival was a flurry of hoops and scarves. There were winged creatures on stilts and children leaping and soaring through the air, summersaulting onto spiders webs, and eating donut’s filled with chocolate. We learned to balance and fly like whales with our hands and feet holding each other up. The world was our carnival and I was reminded that there are so many different ways to live this life, and so much to be grateful for. 

It was a magnificent adventure. I was able to drink into my bones the awe, curiousness, celebration and opportunities for connection that I dream will live in our BIG pages. I am so grateful to Jo for carrying the load in my absence, and more than thrilled to be back in the conversation that brings us closer and closer to the publication of our first issue! 

Mother and child sipping peppermint tea
by Lilly

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Owl, Penguin, Seahawk and CHIIP

Jet, Serafina and Fynn
1st Grade
Woodbridge School,
1st Grade
Woodbridge School,

Walking through Salamanca Markets in Hobart with Twyla asleep in the ergo on my back, I found these cards made by first graders at Woodbridge Primary School as a fundraiser.

I see birds everywhere now.

It feels like the whole world is flying!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lilly and the Love Bird

"Love Bird" Humphrey, 6, Perth
I painted this at a bird sanctuary in Kalbarri.
I've been to Kalbarri, it's so fun, there is a river just over the road


Received the “The Mystery Envelope” filled with postcards, drawings, photos and other pretty things.
One postcard read “Imagination can take you anywhere”.
Where is my imagination?
In between my eyebrows I found my secret eye!”

I found myself lying on a white gigantic moving cloud.
Sliding down the colour blue all the drawings started to take shape and with my magic camera I took photos of my “First Forever Flight”
Elena Iacovou, Sydney
Lilly has landed with washing flying, commissions circling, girlchild growing and bits of the circus still in her hair. Immediately our live chat email picks up where it left off and we thunder through a thousand overlapping thoughts, proposals, questions and winged things. The BIG bird flock is circling in a holding pattern that is awesome to watch.We are completely caught up with the BIG navigation and begin again amid the heady slipstream of continuous first flight.
Victoria Crowned Pigeon, Bali, by Jo Vanderzwan, Perth

Monday, February 14, 2011

Composed and ready for take-off

Alexia, 16, Perth

Metabirdy, Image from Metadance by  Chrissie Parrott, (dancer Sharlene Campbell, photo by Jon Greene)

Bird Call has officially closed.
To the artists and kids that have contributed to our first ever call out,  THANK YOU!
 You have given such BIG wings feathered with Bravery, Imagination and Generosity.
 We will continue to pilot this flight with you as we prepare the LAUNCH edition of  BIG.
All birds and flights that have answered the call will be published in the next couple of weeks. If you still have a bird that is jostling to join the flock, please fly it and we will do our best to include it.
It is midnight and I close the big sky to get some sleep.
BIG is composed and ready for take-off,
a metabirdy in resonant light. x


Sunday, February 13, 2011

India and the Island bird

We are 24hours out from the end of our BIG Bird Call and you still have time to contribute with your birds, words or flight details. Today, two long distance birds soared into the BIG nest, and it seemed impossible that they could fly so far. If your bird has not yet appeared, please be sure it will fly in the next couple of weeks as we get our BIG sky in order. We have so many awesome birds here waiting in the wings and contributions are posted when a match is made, not in the order of arrival. It is getting so very noisy in here now and we couldn't resist the momentary calm that quietened the flock with the landing of Sreyasi's Kite, and Anica's Shape of a Bird.

Sreyasi, 12, India
The Shape of a Bird

I gave her my heart, and she flew with it, in the shape of a bird, all the way to far, far, far.

She never once said she’d give it back.

When she arrived there, they didn’t know what to make of my small heart, so far from home. A soft, pulsing thing.

I waited. I waited hundreds of years for her to finish with it, not knowing it was in her nest, beating without me.

The nest was deep and filled not with eggshell but with the things that once mattered to her.

My heart was one of them.

Anica Boulanger-Mashberg, Hobart, Tasmania
Anica is editor of the very beautiful Islet Magazine.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The familial nest

Families are incredible structures in themselves. Your position in the pecking order determined by so many things. We love the way this awesome family has got together to contribute these portrait birds in the familial nest (baby Joe's contribution was to sleep in order to allow time for the whole creative process to take flight!) We also love Karen's Earthly Joyride blog of creative ideas. Very cool. Thanks guys!
Note to all bird-watchers: If you want to add your creation to the BIG blog, you have five days left to fly them here!

A square of florist foam, rounded and hollowed out. Lots of thick impasto glue. An impressive array of twigs, leaves, gumnuts, bark and fronds from a walk around Studley Park Boathouse a few weeks ago. A few pairs of eager hands willing to stick, dig, place, manipulate and create a bird's nest.

Tom comments on the skills of the birds in building their nests "without even a base like we have! And they don't have hands!"

More glue for the birds. Torn newspaper over polysterene balls. Two big ones for the Mummy and Daddy birds. Three smaller ones for the Tom, Annalise and Joe birds. Paint colours selected carefully. Cardboard beaks added and pinned. Eyes painted and wings created.

Each little bird carefully placed in the best nest position. A little nudging and shoving. "I want my bird to be next to the Daddy bird!"

There, it's finished, it's us.

Karen (37), Tom (7) and Annalise (4), Melbourne


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Birds never land, cats never catch them

Che and bird, Eva fernandez, Perth

"Che" is the cat of fab Perth photographer, Eva Fernandez, and he has featured in a few theatrical photo-shoots about town! You can see more of Eva's gorgeous studio and childrens portrait work here and more about her practice here. Che pounced here at BIG unable to resist being amongst all these birds. He certainly caused a bit of a flutter in the BIG sky but luckily I found Hannah's bird, who travels by stealth and looks never to land near dear Che as she rests while remaining in perpetual flight. A sky bird who never lands. (I can think of a few of those!) Still, I put my words between them, just in case. Meowww.

Hannah, 11, Perth

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Viollisa Bird / TILT

"The Viollisa Bird", Makaela, 7, Perth, created for BIG, Jan 2011

The Viollisa Bird
Talks to other birds through song
Front eye for direction
Back eye for safety
A glowing light comes off the bird so other birds can see it
PS. it's only able to be seen in the darkness
Every airport has a particular smell. Hong Kong International Airport's a dried fish/market stall smell while Heathrow is all diesel dust and desperation. Landing in Adelaide Airport smells like normality to me, sunlit acres stretching to a thin horizon out the windows, an abundance of space and light, a welcome respite from the winter I had just left behind in the UK.

It's only an hour, transiting at the airport towards this trip's final destination in Melbourne, but it's an intense flavour burst of the familiar. I fall back into the speech patterns I know.

--Hey, how you going? Boarding pass, please.
--Good, thanks, how're you?
--Good, thanks. Right, that looks good. Here you go. Have a nice flight.

The plane tilts left after the thrust of ascent and the land drops away, leaving me with just a teasing glimpse of a blue stretch of water and a golden line of sand, wavering out of sight

Ivy Alvarez, Cardiff, Wales,  written for BIG, Jan 2011

A small black borrowed journal flies to me holding the most beautiful bird in its pages. The Viollisa Bird. From far away a writer sends me words in airport transit. Tilt. The writer and the young artist have never met, except in this sky. There is a new flock of birds in the BIG email. It is amazing how each bird finds its BIG mate. If you flew us a bird, rest assured it will fly here soon when a match is made. If you want to join the flock, send us your bird/words by Feb 14th! Lilly and her very own Viollisa bird will soon tilt back here from the Bay of Fires with bird drafts and beginnings sketched on dry leaves and under skin. She is BIG time missed.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The restless nest

Ariana, 20, Perth

 'Nest' by Jessica Jubb,  Perth

It is back to school today for West Australian kids. The official start of the new year, and one that sees me with only the girlchild left in the nest. The Boys delay and delay the official holiday end. They are home birds both and I will miss the constant hum of song and activity here. 
I am also ready to find my way with time again. The rhythm of work in relation to sleep patterns and school pick-ups and studio space. The order of things. A deliberate choreography. 

I pick up the irregular feathers that fall from their backs as they leave and stick them onto my fingers.


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