Through a post-colonial lens

I’ve just discovered the work of Australian artist Lizzie Buckmaster Dove via the Daily Imprint blog. Her beautiful paper constructions conjure up a world of 19th century botanical illustrations and specimen collecting with a 21st century post-colonial twist.

In her piece Carnation: Crimson Bottlebrush  the bottlebrush (native to Australia) is transposed with the carnation (of European origin). The cut-out sections simultaneously suggest being made to ‘fit’ within existing frames of reference while also expressing a sense of dislocation from this framework.

If anyone is in Sydney,  Lizzie Buckmaster Dove’s exhibition, Into the Woods, opens at the NG Gallery in May.

Image credit: NG Gallery

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A tiny glimpse

A picture from my wedding in February. We had a lovely day!


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Bonfire of the ‘bad’ books

I’ve just discovered (via thinkings of a lili) the existence of the Happy Ending Foundation, an organisation I most definitely DO NOT want to join. The Daily Mail reports that:

The Happy Ending Foundation is planning a series of Bad Book Bonfires for later this month, when parents will be encouraged to burn novels with negative endings.

The foundation has also written to school librarians across the country to coincide with Children’s Book Week, which began on Monday, urging them to take ‘ controversial’ books off shelves.

Surely it’s possible to help children to achieve a balance in their reading that includes both happy and sad endings? I certainly don’t agree with the sentiment expressed by one foundation member that: ‘Books should let them be assured that the goodies-will come out on top.’

Update: a comment below from Inkygirl has informed me that it was all a book marketing hoax for a certain series of children’s books which I’m not going to give extra publicity to here.


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Grown from the page

Su Blackwell

I love Su Blackwell’s book-cut sculptures, they combine two of my favourite things – art and literature.  They have a very beautiful handmade aesthetic and there is a magical, entrancing quality to them.

(I first spotted Su Blackwell’s work on Oh Joy last year and I was reminded about her art when recently browsing Bibliostructures)


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The name of the game

 I’m trying to get my blogging groove back, so here’s a meme I’ve just seen on Charlotte’s blog.

1. My rock star name (first pet and current car)

Sunny Nissan

2. My gangsta name (ice cream flavour plus cookie, or biscuit)

Vanilla Florentine

3. My fly girl name (first letter of first name, first three letters of last name)


4. My detective name (favourite colour, favourite animal)

Red Otter

5. My soap opera name (middle name, city of birth)

Clare Melbourne

6. My Star Wars name (first three letters of your last name, first two of your first name)


7. My superhero name (second favourite colour, favourite drink, add “the”)

The Turquoise Gin and Tonic

8. My Nascar name (first two names of my two grandfathers)

David Frank

9. My stripper name (favourite perfume, favourite sweet)

Chance Truffle
10. My witness protection name (mother’s and father’s middle names)

Henry (my mother doesn’t have a middle name)

11. My weather anchor name (fifth grade teacher’s name, a major city beginning with the same letter)

David Detroit

12. My spy name (favourite season/flower)

Spring Freesia

13. Cartoon name (favourite fruit plus garment you’re wearing, with an “ie” or “y” added)

Strawberry Jeanie

14 Hippie name (what you ate for breakfast plus favourite tree)

Bran Magnolia

15. Your rockstar tour name (favourite hobby plus weather element, with “the”)

The Reading Hurricane Tour (I thought I’d better go with a dramatic weather element).


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Not that kind of bride

I’m getting married next February so weddings and marriage have been on my mind lately. I’ve found that while I’m very happy to be celebrating and Bridezilla book from Amazongiving public acknowledgement to my relationship with my partner, I am very ambivalent about becoming ‘the bride’. 

Ariel Meadow Stallings, in her wedding memoir, Offbeat Bride, nicely sums up the feeling:

For me, the scariest part of getting engaged was feeling as if I were suddenly buying into an identity that wasn’t my own. I was having a bridentity crisis.

The concept of ‘the bride’ has always had negative connotations for me. I think this partly comes from my mother – she never did the big white wedding thing herself and getting married has never been seen as the pinnacle of achievement in my family. Also, being someone who tries to stay out of the spotlight, being cast as the bride (a ‘look at me’ type role) is very confronting!

I’ve also found that the bride conjured up in popular culture and by the wedding industry is supposed to behave in particular ways and have a ‘my life is perfect and complete because I’m getting married’ attitude. The ‘bridezilla’ stereotype is the most extreme example of this: the perfect wedding day must be realised – at all costs. I don’t identify with this ‘bride’ at all and I like to think that I’ve got lots more to achieve post-marriage and not just on the domestic front.

I’m not sure that there are many women who really relate to this bridal stereotype (although I do know of at least one real-life bridezilla!) but the myth perpetuates even if it’s just seen as something to conform to or react against. I think there’s a reason books like Offbeat Bride and websites like Indiebride exist, many women just don’t conform to the traditional notion of the bride but still want to get married and have a lovely wedding day.

Weddings are such highly symbolic events, it’s an interesting process to decide which symbols you want to retain and which to leave behind – engagement rings, white dresses, being given away, bouquet tosses and changing one’s name – so that you end up with a wedding that’s reflective of you and your partner as a couple.

(On the topic of deciding whether to change one’s name see my dear friend Legal Eagle’s recent post on the subject as well as earlier posts by Kerryn and Emily posting on What We Said.)


Filed under books, feminism, marriage, popular culture, women

I’m not short or pessimistic

I saw this quick quiz over on Kerryn’s blog. Here are my results:

You’re Prufrock and Other Observationsby T.S. Eliot

Though you are very short and often overshadowed, your voice is poetic and lyrical. Dark and brooding, you see the world as a hopeless effort of people trying to impress other people. Though you make reference to almost everything, you’ve really heard enough about Michelangelo. You measure out your life with coffee spoons.

Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

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