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Imagine being one of a small group of women who meet up in a country not their own.  Each intent on making a similar journey into the world of photography.   In Italy …exploring the light and the layers of a city created over 2,000 years while experiencing that particular Genoese way of being.

Come join me on a journey of discovery – your camera, your self, and an ancient Italian city.

Is this the workshop for you? Read more over here.


Next workshop

the quick brown fox

Come travel with me to...

Rome from xx to xx December 2099


Christine Mason Miller - The Conscious Booksmith.

I'm teaching this course because I need it.

Christine Mason Miller,  talking of her e-course, The Conscious Booksmith.

I've signed up to do another workshop in the months ahead.  Like the marketing workshop, this one is absolutely vital for me to move forward into a world I know nothing about. 

And so when a woman I have been 'following' online for years, a woman whose work I love, and whose way of putting herself out into the world fills me with respect, offers a workshop on how to make my book real while fitting it into the flow of my own chaotic life ... then obviously I'm going to sign up.

It helps that it is affordable otherwise I might have been left at the window looking in like a kid longing to join but unable to.  But that's something else about Christine.  Her self-confessed mission is about 'Creating spaces, gatherings, businesses, communities, brands and containers that inspire healing, transformation, and stepping more fully into the truth of the world's relentless need for our unique voice in the world.'

In the months ahead, as I step into the flow with my photography workshops, I will also be hard at work on this book I've been dreaming about for years.  And while it has changed from 'all about me and that city I love' to being 'all about that city', it's an idea that has never disappeared.  Only altered and bloomed into something much more than I expected.  And I love what it is set on becoming.

If you are creating any kind of book, take a look at Christine's introduction to her course ...

The Conscious Booksmith: A Mindful Approach to Creating Your Book // with Christine Mason Miller from Animyst on Vimeo.



I Do Not Want ...

I do not want to travel to distant places to give talks about art I made half a century ago. Minimalism does not need to hear from me. I do not want to travel to distant places to give talks about art I made yesterday. Contemporary art is making enough noise without me. I do not want to be filmed in my studio pretending to be working. I do not want to participate in staged conversations about art—either mine or others past or present–which are labored and disguised performances. I do not want to be interviewed by curators, critics, art directors, theorists, aestheticians, professors, collectors, gallerists, culture mavens, journalists or art historians about my influences, favorite artists, despised artists, past artists, current artists, future artists.  A long time ago I got in the habit, never since broken, of writing down things instead of speaking. It is possible that I was led into art making because talking and being in the presence of another person were not requirements. I do not want to be asked my reasons for not having worked in just one style, or reasons for any of the art that got made (the reason being that there are no reasons in art). I do not want to answer questions about why I used plywood, felt, steam, dirt, grease, lead, wax, money, trees, photographs, electroencephalograms, hot and cold, lawyers, explosions, nudity, sound, language, or drew with my eyes closed. I do not want to tell anecdotes about my past, or stories about the people I have been close to. I refuse to speak of my dead. The people to whom I owe so much either knew it or never will because it is too late now. I do not want to document my turning points, high points, low points, good points, bad points, lucky breaks, bad breaks, breaking points, dead ends, breakthroughs or breakdowns. I do not want to talk about my methods, processes, near misses, flukes, mistakes, disappointments, setbacks, disasters, obsessions, lucky accidents, unlucky accidents, scars, insecurities, disabilities, phobias, fixations, or insomnias over posters I should never have made. I do not want my portrait taken. Everybody uses everybody else for their own purposes, and I am happy to be just material for somebody else so long as I can exercise my right to remain silent, immobile, possibly armed, and at a distance of several miles.

Robert Morris, Artist

This amused me so much that I had to share.  Morris was replying to Robert Knafo's request a studio interview and he is very clear on precisely why he won't give an interview.  

You can read more on the story over on the Slow Muse blog.



Magazines from Home

Mana from Heaven ... or that's how the 3 New Zealand magazines I was given have seemed on this lazy Sunday afternoon.

Not that I was lazy.  I have a bin full of paper on the floor next to my desk and my desk is less littered with papers and notes and ... stuff.

Each time I reached a 'clearing/organising' milestone I would allow myself to read another of those 3 magazines. 

North & South was probably my favourite.  Then again, it always was.

I'm aching with flu.  It's been all around me but I had no plans for it myself.  I thought it might have been a food allergy.  I slept yesterday afternoon and then all night too.  A rare feat for me to do both.  I woke feeling better but by lunchtime I was aching and ready to sleep all over again.   I guess it's the season so I'll just concentrate on the fact that I am so glad to see Spring.

I was lucky, I had the book At Least You're in Tuscany for company, so I powered through it these last 24 hours.  Jennifer Criswell offers another take on giving up your career and moving to Italy.

Last night I dreamed I flew home to New Zealand.  It was a long and difficult journey.  A complicated dream.  And so it was incredibly disappointing to wake and find myself still here in Belgium.

There was a red rowboat, parked up on the beach, last time I was home ...


The Crossroads of Should and Must, Elle Luna.

Should is how others want us to show up in the world — how we’re supposed to think, what we ought to say, what we should or shouldn’t do. It’s the vast array of expectations that others layer upon us. When we choose Should the journey is smooth, the risk is small.

Must is different—there aren’t options and we don’t have a choice.

Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s our instincts, our cravings and longings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that swells up from somewhere deep inside of us. Must is what happens when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own. Because when we choose Must, we are no longer looking for inspiration out there. Instead, we are listening to our calling from within, from some luminous, mysterious place.

Elle Luna, an extract from The Crossroads of Should and Must.

I can't recommend this essay highly enough.  Most people 'should' read this but, then again, what do I know ..


Habas con Jamon, by Yaiza

My parents grew Broad Beans out in the garden of my childhood but never did we make anything as interesting as Habas con Jamon with those beans ...

Today Yaiza had to use water for the final part of the preparation.  That would be instead of beer or white wine but still ... it was delicious.

Thank you to Yaiza who patiently taught me these recipes, and put up with my camera, and with my constant note-taking too.  Details were recorded and my big hope is that I can recreate tonight's dishes next week.


Learning to Cook Spanish Food

Today I learned how to cook 3 different Spanish dishes ...

Yaiza came over, armed with the ingredients I didn't have, and showed me how to create a delicious Tortilla.  And an Aioli sauce that is so divine I'm not sure how it won't be on the menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Or that's what everyone was saying as they handed the pot of it round the table. 

Then there was the Habas con Jamon ... and I was left wondering how it was that New Zealanders could have failed to create that dish with their Broad Beans and ham???  Then, as the final touch, Picaillo.  A divine salad, small pieces of boiled potato and eggs, cherry tomatoes, green beans, and tuna.

And oil.

So much oil but it was truly divine.

Tonight I'm realising how much I missed in life due to my mother not knowing to send us out into the world - to the beach, the forest, or simply 'out', with a package of cold Tortilla to save us from hunger and associated horrors.  Ithink my childhood might have been that much happier if my mother had copied the Spanish mothers and done this simple thing.

Oh my was all so good.  Here is a close-up of the two Tortilla's created here in my kitchen.  More of this Spanish cooking is planned.


Today ...

Today is all about creating ... text for the workshop descriptions, and more text for the Newsletter I'll be sending out soon. 

Then I want to process Federico's photographs from those days in Genova.  And I have a range of interviews almost ready to publish.  And some more to transcribe.

But that photography workshop last Sunday ... it's still making me smile.  Ellen sent this photograph she took of Anna.


Photography & Personal Development Workshop, in Italy


That Photography Workshop for Women Last Sunday ...

I led a photography workshop for women on Sunday and all I can tell you is that I absolutely loved it.

My intention was to introduce this small group of women to their cameras ...  so that they understood how to use their cameras off Auto, how to work with light and take the best possible photographs.

But I need to mention how much fun it is to bring women together.  It's always so powerful somehow.  There's a different kind of energy that flies between us all.  There are the conversations over lunch, and the curiousity about each others lives, the sharing ...

I know that part of the pleasure I get from putting these workshops together is simply about the people I get spend time with.  Remarkable souls.


Anne Lamott, writing from the last Saturday of her 50s.

This is the last Saturday of my fifties. The needle isn't moving to the left or to the right. I don't feel or look 60. I don't feel any age. I have a near-perfect life. However, I grew up on tennis courts and beaches in California during the sixties, where we put baby oil on our skin to deepen the tan, and we got hundreds of sunburns. So maybe that was not ideal. I drank a lot and took a lot of drugs and smoked two packs of Camels (unfiltered) a day until I was 32. I had a baby and then forgot to work out, so things did not get firmer, and higher. So again, not ideal.

My heart is not any age. It is a baby, an elder, a dog, a cat, divine.
My feet, however, frequently hurt.
My skin broke out last week. I filed a new brief with the Fairness Commission, and am waiting to hear back.
My great blessing is the capacity for radical silliness, and self-care.

I'm pretty spaced out.  . I don't love how often I bend in to pull out clean wet clothes from the washer, and stand up, having forgotten that I opened the dryer that's above, and smash my head on the door once again. I don't know what the solution to this is, as I refuse to start wearing a helmet indoors. I don't love that I left my engine running for an hour last week, because I came inside to get something, and then got distracted by the dogs, and didn't remember I'd left the engine on. It was a tiny bit scary when a neighbor came to the front door to mention this, and I had to feign nonchalance, and act like it was exactly what I had meant to do all along

Anne Lamott, an extract from her Facebook post.