Down the Garden Path

I've been doing a lot of living offline recently because of gigs and festivals. Every time I come home, I have a few days before I have to leave again. (This has actually been my life all of January) 

The craziness started Thursday evening with a gig at the Gaelic Club. Button Collective opened for the East Pointers (who are a crazy good Folk/Celtic Trio from Canada) From there, we proceeded to spend the rest of the weekend at Bulli for the Illawarra Folk Festival. 

Shirt: Thrifted, Belt: Home Made, Skorts: Home Made, Tights: Ebay, Boots: Dr Martens 

Shirt: Thrifted, Belt: Home Made, Skorts: Home Made, Tights: Ebay, Boots: Dr Martens 

I adore Folk Festivals. There's such a special vibe surrounding them, probably because most people who attend also play music. Unlike commercial festivals, there's virtually no separation between artists and patrons, which makes everything feel super intimate and community oriented.

Illawarra was such a great festival. I met so many cool people, saw so much brilliant music, had so many great Jams, played some great gigs with Button Collective, and played some unexpected gigs with Rebecca Bastoli (Who is not only a lovely person, but a great songwriter. I had so much fun playing with her and her band) and Scarlete's Revenge (They had unexpected lineup troubles, so I had a jam with them to cover some parts they were missing). 

Usually after a festival I spend the next few days recovering and feeling sad that I'm not still there playing all the gigs and jamming all the time. I had none of that as Monday and Tuesday I was occupied with Flutation, which is an Annual Flute Summer School run by Rosalie Bourne and Vanessa Ropa. 

I was lucky enough to be put in a smallish ensemble of great Flutists lead by Rosamund Plummer. She picked out some great repertoire (We played a Flute Quartet arrangement of a Bach Piano invention (I don't remember which one) and a Piece by Gary Schocker called Pop) I pretty much spent the whole time taking my Bass flute for a spin in this ensemble. I also participated in Shawn Barlow's Beatboxing workshop, and Luke Gallen's improv workshop, which were brilliantly run and quite educational. 

Shapes is also back in action as of this week! We had a jam to write some fresh music, and will probably start gigging again in March, which will be lovely.

This is my last night at home before I'm off yet again (this time for a wedding!) So it may be more than a few days between posts.

Daisy for Days

I feel as though I've been in limbo for the majority of this week. I got home Friday evening from being away with the Button Collective, and now today I'm off again, first to Sydney for a gig at the Gaelic Club with the East Pointers (they're a rad Celtic Trio from Canada)  and then to Bulli for the Ilawarra Folk Festival.

This whole week has been pretty unproductive. I mean, I did things, and saw people, but I haven't started on any "long term" projects as I've known I'll be going pretty soon after coming home. I'd call this week a week of busy work. 

Shirt: Thrifted, Belt: Alannah Hill, Pants: Self Drafted, Boots: Dr Martens.

Shirt: Thrifted, Belt: Alannah Hill, Pants: Self Drafted, Boots: Dr Martens.

I went and got a long overdue haircut yesterday, hence why my hair is significantly shorter in this post. Usually I like to keep my hair rather short, but this year life happened, and my hair ended up the longest it's been since I was 14. Because it got so long, I figured I'd get a new style done (I had enough hair to play with style). You can't see it because of how I've done my hair here, but the undercut goes all the way round.

One thing I did manage to do was hit the sewing machine and make my very first pair of long pants. I've been seeing a lot of pants with this silhouette out and about/on the internet, and have been designing a pair like this in my brain for a few months.   I used a light denim (sporting a daisy print) I picked up from spotlight, and decided to go with a scalloped hem (because it's the little details that count). I feel that I have finally mastered the fit of my pants block with these long pants (normally when I sew pants, I end of having to make a bunch of changes from the original pattern I've drawn as I sew. Totally didn't have to do that with these) 

A few weeks ago I went on a trip to spotlight with a friend of mine, and she bought a skirt pattern (because she wants to start sewing). Ever since then, I've been thinking a lot about why I tend to self draft rather than use a pattern. There are a few reasons and all of them just a little bit ridiculous (but I stand by them none the less) 

Reason 1: I feel like I'll learn more by self drafting. This would absolutely be true if I had a pattern making resource book/ made a muslin before sewing to test fit and record changes/ recorded all of my changes either in a notebook or on the pattern

Reason 2 + 3: I feel like it's cheating to use a premade pattern/ I want to make something original. This is a sort of two in one - because it's absolutely not cheating to use a premade pattern, you can make them original by altering them AND there's no such thing as "originality" because everything is inspired by everything else, and is either borrowing elements of a thing or doing something to react to something else. 

Reason 4: Finding a pattern/cutting it out/ making changes to get the fit right is hard work and I'm LAZZZZZYYYYYYYYY. Do you want to know what's just as hard? Making your own pattern, cutting it out, then making changes to get the fit right. 

The only reason for self drafting I have that isn't totally ridiculous is that I find it exciting. I enjoy the adventure and problem solving that comes with self drafting a pattern, and (as much as I complain about it sometimes) I really enjoy discovering new to me techniques by reinventing the wheel. 

I know I've been promising tutorials forever, but I think I'll actually start making them, because I'd love to show people how to draft their own long loose super comfy pants. 

Teeny Tiny Sunflowers

I've been playing a lot recently with The Button Collective who have a dress code of brown, blue and neutral. This means I have been wearing a lot of brown, blue and neutral. I have lots of outfits I love in this colour scheme, but after wearing it for nearly a fortnight, I needed some colour.

Shoes.jpg

And colour I have had! I opted for mostly yellow today to combat all of the muted tones I've been sporting lately. This outfit was also good to combat the heat of the day (After a cold couple of weeks, Australia has worked out what temperature Summer is suppose to be)

Summer break is a really weird time for me. I've gone from disgustingly busy and strictly scheduled to mildly busy and loosely scheduled. It's lovely not having to worry about time. This new (and brief) influx of time allowed me to plant a garden with my Dad yesterday (which was one of his Christmas gifts to me)

Aforementioned Garden

Aforementioned Garden

He set up 3 big planters in the backyard, bought some fancy dirt, and gave me a bunnings gift card which we used to buy some plants. We planted snow peas, jalapenos, cucumber, berry tomato, eggplant, capsicum, spring onion, spinach and a sunflower (which we ended up putting in the ground because we ran out of pot space) 

I've really enjoyed gardening since moving out (especially growing stuff I can eat!), and it was lovely to spend some quality time with Dad.

In the afternoon I traveled down to Sydney for a gig at the Union Hotel with Button Collective. The other band that played was Echo Deer, who I've seen a number of times at mutual gigs. They're music is a chill mixture of folk blues and country, and as per usual they played an exquisite set.

So yeah, life is chill. Which is a nice change.


Dogs on a soapbox

wpid-pict_20150520_150904.jpg I had my first gig with Button Collective on Monday. It was amazing. The crowd was great, the musicians I was playing with were great, and the songs we were playing were great. It was just a brilliant night, with brilliant peeps and brilliant music and I cannot wait to do it again next Monday.

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Like many people in their early 20's  I've been doing a lot of thinking about life, and I've come to a few realisations, mostly concerning the artistic path I'm traveling down.

I decided that I wanted to play flute for a living when I was 6. My parents had this tape called Lord of the Dance, which I watched on a regular basis. I loved the music, and I especially love the sound of the flute. When I eventually took up flute 4 years later I was directed down a classical path. The classical education I received was brilliant, and has prepared me wonderfully for the professional music world, but it did have some downfalls, the most notable of which was a conservative approach to musical occupations (preparing for a non classical carreer was never presented as an option).

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The other educational misfortune I've experienced was the idea that I have to choose one artistic discipline. When I was in year 12 I was made to choose between visual arts and music. (obviously) I chose music, and up until semester 2 last year I hadn't really approached art making "properly" since Highschool (and even then, I've only really started to get back into the swing of artmaking over the last few months. I filled a sketch book this week. I haven't done that since highschool yo!)

As  much as I love music, sometimes I wonder if I made the right choice, although recently the thought has been why did I choose at all (I actually know exactly why I felt like I had to choose. The way the HSC/University applications/subjects are structured makes it incredibly difficult to play around with the idea specialising in more than one subject. That and my school teachers offered me no advice about my options)

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I've been left with this creative need. In a dream world I would be able to study music and creative arts full time side by side, and not have to worry about how I can fund my creative pursuits. But that's not the way life works. I feel like outside of the creative bubbles found in major cities, the general populous actively tries to oppress the "creative" way of life, because didn't you know, the idea of living off your art is silly and unobtainable because it's not "real" work.

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If you made it to the end of my creative soap box ramble congratulations! I'd love to know if you've ever had a similar "existential crisis" and what it's about.