Julian’s away again this week – workshops in Melbourne. He misses home so much when he has to work away – and we miss him! He rings throughout the day wanting to know how we’re doing, what the animals are up to, to tell us of cool things he’s thought of trying …
But when he leaves, and I give him a hug and kiss and wish him safe travels, he always says “Oh you’ll be glad I’m away! You won’t do any “farming” – you’ll just spend the week making stuff and having a lovely time!” Ha!
See, Julian’s version of “farming” is creating new things, breaking new soil, surveying new corners of the property, and planning what to do with them … I’m more into the maintenance of what we have. On his days off he says “What are we doing today?” And if I answer “Oh you know, feeding the animals, weeding the silverbeet, painting the pumpkin theatre (simply a posh Victorian – as in the era – name for outdoor display shelves – usually of auriculas – I reckon I could have pumpkins!), picking up some more straw and feed. With a bit of knitting, bit of cooking, bit of housework. The usual stuff.”, he retorts “That’s not real “farming”! What are we MAKING!? What are we ADDING!?”
This man has a dream and he relishes every moment he gets to bring it to reality. Lovely really. But I’m a bit useless with a shovel, chainsaw, or angle grinder. And I sure can’t carry hardwood pallets, or lift the chicken house to adjust the door catches.
So yes. When he’s away, Noah and I busy about each morning, caring for all the feathered and furry critters, getting all the chores done, tidying up our little home and porch … and then :-) Why there’s definitely time for making. And we LOVE making. Truly adore it. Especially together, for long afternoons at a table covered in lovely supplies, sharing ideas, tips and techniques, uhming and ahhing over each other’s work, and the inspiration or patterns we find. It’s our idea of bliss.
Noah’s creativity usually centres around the stories he writes or reads. He is the king of doll making and loves to design and make the most detailed little dolls of his original characters or favourite story characters. But at the moment, he’s on a bit of a crochet kick and is currently crocheting lalylala’s exquisite Mermaid Doll for me for Mother’s Day!
Me – often I’m making homely things or clothes, or working on furniture. But I am also perfectly happy to devote a day to something completely frivolous :-) It’s lovely just to play – to add fabric and embroidery to knitting and crochet and just make something that has no other purpose other than to be incredibly satisfying to do and pretty to look at.
I find Pinterest to be an amazing source of inspiration . And I’m equally amazed to say that if you check my Pinterest site, you’ll discover I have 79 boards and over 4 and a half thousand pins. Oh dear – that suggests I’ve probably spent too many delightful hours poring over the beauty and imagination to be found there.
Recently, I’ve discovered the exquisite work of Yana Volkova. She’s an incredibly talented Russian artist and doll maker – this is the first of her dolls I found – and now I’m besotted with these beautifully simple, layered, traditional Russian rag dolls. If you check out my Doll board on my Pinterest site you’ll see a heap more.
The little farmer I stitched today has not captured their simplicity. I only have patchwork fabric on hand (everything else is packed away in boxes still). And I embroidered her a face. Noah read that traditionally they don’t have faces so that evil spirits may not possess them. But I quite like naively embroidered faces – and I especially love this doll! – so I added one – I’m incapable of the less is more philosopy.
And when I look at pictures of Russian women in traditional dress their attire is fabulously intricate, colourful and almost stiff with gorgeous, rich embroidery. So my little farmer is like a cross between the two. She has a lovely stout shapelessness (I can relate to that!) with the simple gathered fabric arms and layered clothes of her traditional rag cousins. But with a whole heap of exotic colour and pattern. I knitted her a wee shawl for her shoulders and added a scalloped crochet border to her huge head scarf. I like her – a lot!
But I want to try again – next time I want to crochet the body – I find it really hard to get the shape I want in a doll with fabric – much easier with crochet. But I’ll still wrap a layer of hessian over her head – that homeliness is essential. I want to make her body longer and her head a bit smaller, and layer the apron bits more rather than the western styled gathered apron my little farmer has. And I need to find some simpler fabrics that I can embellish rather than go for the patchwork look.
However, I think the little farmer is a sweetie. And she certainly knows her way around a farm. She collected wood for the stove, brought in the goats, settled the chickens, herded the ducks, fed the guinea pigs – she even gathered flowers. And she made us smile.
Tomorrow – I want to make her a baby – in a sling on her back. I think she’ll enjoy that. Check out this mama and her bubbies – divine!
Yes, I confess, I’m much more comfortable creating with fabric and yarn than I am with excruciatingly heavy pallets and uncooperative chicken wire. And I’m very grateful for the gift of an afternoon with nothing else to do but make.
Maybe I’ll make Julian a boy farmer doll. They can be our farming guardians :-)