Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Goose Tale

I called my grandparents oma and opa. They arrived in Northam , Western Australia as assisted passage migrants, in 1955. The history of those migrants is being documented, they helped make the fortune of WA, building the railway and working in the mining industry. Although Northam is a country town, it is a large regional center, the rail exchange is there, it’s the collection point for the sheep/wheat industry, dotted with huge silos for grain and holding yards, all waiting to be shipped out by rail. It's hot in summer, freezing in winter, a far cry from Linz. However, my family adapted and thrived.


At first the migrants all lived in the old army barracks, called The Holden Camp, which I eventually learned, meant holding camp. The Aussies drop the ‘g’ and that’s how the camp got it’s name. Nothing to do with cars! Although it did have its own road system. Long after it was torn down as a barracks and migrant holding camp, the second generation migrants (me) learned to drive on the roads which were never removed.


Eventually the migrants earned enough money to move out and buy houses. My grandparents were no exception and owned several properties. Like many families in our neighborhood they kept fowl, grew fruit trees, grape vines, almond trees, cultivated large veggie gardens. The lessons of the war were learned and they leaned towards a partial self sufficiency.


My grandparents also kept geese. Now, in the movies, when you see a flock of geese, they are usually walking in stately procession along a lovely brook or in a green meadow. In reality, geese are highly domesticated birds that like to be as close to humans as possible. They make good guard birds, announcing the arrival of visitors and strangers with loud honks. Also, in the movies, the goose girl or boy is usually attired spotlessly. Again, in reality, the entire back of their garments would be completely befouled by goose crap from constantly slipping on it and falling on their arses.


Goose crap is the WORST crap in the entire universe. It’s a sickly whitish green with horrid, darker green streaks, it is slimy and copious. It's a cross between snot and crap. Charming. Because geese like to be close it’s usually all over the backyard, right outside the door.


But that’s not their worst attribute. Geese have vile tempers. They attack for no reason and don’t know the meaning of the phrase ‘pick on some one your own size’. Many times I saw a terrified and screaming younger cousin charging up the garden path (last count, I have 23 first cousins) pursued by a shriek-honking, semi-flying, with pounding wing span of around 5 feet, bill as sharp as a razor, enraged goose. This usually ended when the poor mite would slip in goose shit and the feathered fucker would try and peck him or her to death whilst buffeting mercilessly with it's strong wings. Fortunately opa would hear the mayhem before any real damage was done, race out to the yard with a broom and beat the bird back.


We knew then, that oma’s signature dish would be on the menu that night. Uppity Goose Stew...with dumplings.


Merry Christmas and if you're having goose, enjoy. That bird probably had it coming.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I've been making some crochet snowflakes as gifts. I have many that my great-grandmother made, some before I was born. Studying the design, I've managed to reproduce and elaborate on her designs. It's been a wonderful exercise in connecting to her. She's been gone for 30 years now, yet she still has something to teach me. Enjoy the photos :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

A detail shot of the skulls. They're made from salt dough. Painted in a rustic, folk art style.
I'm getting ready for my Dia de los Muertos Halloween party. Here are a few shots of party preparations underway. Lots of paper flowers and painted skulls. More to come! The alter is in the first stage of development as I establish the levels.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Here is the finished necklace. It took me a while to resolve the final form. What I have achieved, I think, it a nice balance of old and new components, in a very wearable piece.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I've finished more beaded beads and a bezel around one of the vintage buttons.

Tension within a composition refers to the interplay of elements. In painting or drawing, it's the way objects or subjects interact with each other, colours blend or contrast. Tension is also affected by the manipulation of perspective. Lines in drawings also create tension, as they cross and diverge or play against the edge of the canvas.

Tension is defined in clothing or jewelry by the way it plays against the lines of the body. Sometimes designers choose to enhance the body, sometimes disguise or manipulate the organic shapes. For example, a designer like Colette Dinnegan favours lines that flow with the natural shape of the body whereas the architectural structure of an Issey Miyake garment reshapes the silhouette.

In my composition, I've thought about tension with the composition and also how the final piece will interact with the body. I intended juxtaposing disparate vintage elements. I wish to create harmony, so I will use beaded beads to resolve tension between the disparate elements through repeating pattern and colour. I would like my necklace to grace the collar bones and shoulders with flowing lines.
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This is the back of the beaded watch face. I've left the bezel open. I've had such a great response to this, people like the front as much as the back, that I've decided to design a swiveling bail so the wearer can choose which side to show.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


You can see I've chosen circular forms, which I'll repeat throughout the composition. By repeating the circle in my composition, the eye travels along the whole piece, seeking out 'stepping stones'.

This week I've completed the beaded bezel on the watch face and some beaded beads. Look closely at the beaded beads, they have repeating patterns. This necklace will be poly-rhythmic; there is the circular motif and as you focus in on the elements that make up the over all design, repeating patterns emerge.


I'd like to touch on rhythm in my design. Humans love rhythm; in the beat of music, syllable stresses in poetry, prayer and meditation and even daily life, as we go about the routines that are productive and comforting. I think that the need to mimic heart beat, breathing, footsteps, eye blinks, is indicative of our response to rhythm. We seek it out in art forms.

Sometimes rhythm is symmetrical, such as the five feet of iambic pentameter, sometimes open ended and a-symmetrical, as in a beautiful haiku poem that allows you to use your imagination to extend the imagery and meaning beyond the brevity of the words. Rhythm is equally important in design.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I'm making a one of a kind piece of art jewelry and documenting it both here and on my Facebook page. I've chosen shades of amber and amethyst. The purples range from deepest amethyst to almost lilac. The colour range will give a nice blend of light and shade. The warm amber is a good counter balance to the cool amethyst. In the little dish are some of my favorite vintage bits: glass buttons, a watch face, brass buckle and for a clasp...a Victorian metal twinkle button.

If you'd like to visit me on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gallery-Vittoria/75565308496?ref=ts

Welcome to my new blog.

I live and work in a beautiful and inspiring part of the world...New Zealand. There's a lot to talk about, my art, my travels, writing (I'm a poet) and much more. I'm looking forward to the journey.