Hullo! I’m Pip’s friend Gemma. I’m a bit of a craftster. A bit of a writer. A sometimes curator. And, mostly, a doer. Recently my do levels kinda dropped when I left my long-time job. I loved my job A LOT! I loved what I did. I loved who I worked alongside. I loved being in the city. But, it was time to burst the bubble, take stock, change gears and do something new. Or at least new-ish.
It has been weird. And the weirdest thing has been finding a new pace and looking at myself in a new way. Here are some things that have crossed my radar in this new phase of mine.
Le Tigre are on my running mix. And it’s totally a thing – when they pop out of shuffle, I get a smile on my face and I find my pace. It’s upbeat, go-get-em, positive, tough-arse music. Hello Kathleen Hanna, you are a force! I was lucky enough to go along with my very own riot grrl friend Sarah Barber to see the MIFF documentary about Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, Julie Ruin) “The Punk Singer”. If you like DIY, if you like punk-rock, if you like a devil-may-care-approach to fingernails, if you like community and if you like a damn good story of tenacity, toughness and vulnerability – go see this film if you can!
I loved the way Kathleen Hanna’s friends and colleagues spoke about her. (Cue the likes of Kim Gordon, Joan Jett, JD Samson, Adam Horovitz and even young gun Tavi Gevinson)
I loved her sense of style. (Why shouldn’t a feminist like dresses?)
I loved seeing all those cut n paste fanzines. (I was a dedicated photocopy, cut n paste zine maker as a teenager too)
And I loved the surprises and the making-connections of her absolute place in history. (Our history!)
And I totally loved seeing the rolling credits at the end of ALL the songs that were played throughout the doco. Really made me realise how incredibly prolific Hanna was, and how I’ve only scratched the surface with my aural knowledge of her.
When it came to my taste in flowers, my mum would always say “Oh you’re such an Aries!”. Meaning, that I liked all the strong, upright, sculptural garden blooms. It’s true. Dahlias are my super faves. Especially the intense almost fluorescent ones. And there is nothing I like more than an oldy timey suburban garden that has a glorious combination of dahlias, strelitzias, red hot pokers, mother-in-law’s tongue and a nice mix of cacti & succulents. And really a good bunch of succulents can really MAKE a garden. Even when other blooms are dormant, you can count on succulents to be there, standing up for you and holding the fort for the rest of the garden. They are a bit like the architecture of the best gardens.
The other rad and heartwarming thing about succulents is that they are super-easy to propagate … and hence the perfect shareable plant. Break off a piece (from a plant you own, from a plant in a friend’s garden, or maybe one in the public domain)**. Let the break dry out over a few days (some people say 3 or 4 days, some people reckon as long as 10 days). Prepare your containers (I have been using old tin cans – but I bet you could collect some super cute ones from the oppy.) Pop your new bit of plant into your pot with some damp, loose soil mix and it should not take long for roots to take hold. Voila!
A friend of mine has started a Succulent Swap group, so that we can get together and share plants and expand our collections. Greenness! Community! Cheap fun!
In the meantime I’m flirting with taking it up a notch and teaching myself to make little concrete planters.
GEMMA JONES is an artist, collector, a writer, a craftser and an occasional DJ with a passion for rare sixties soul and girl groups. She completed a Masters degree at University of Melbourne with a thesis on ideas of nostalgia in contemporary Australian art. Gemma has a cat called Cuby and runs the Kaotic Kraft Kuties craft collective in Melbourne.
More of Gemma’s Ten Things next week!3