Australian Gnome Convention


Here I am, gentle reader, on the 26th January. I attended the Australian Gnome Convention in the Blue Mountains. The Rotary Club put on a spectacular festival. There were Gnome books, DVD’s, humans and dogs dressed as Gnomes as well as thousands of real Gnomes on display.

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In a world that is heavy and a life that is hectic, to be surrounded by whimsy was wondrous. I met an extraordinary felt artist, and to my delight, she offered to teach my daughter and I. We listened to poets and a high school band of ukulele players. They played modern songs and even a little Fleetwood Mac! Man, I want to learn how to play my ukulele properly! There is something about this little instrument that urges others to join, which is why we have an upcoming festival in Katoomba, dedicated to the ukulele. We were entranced by young  singers and delighted by Maria Venuti, she of the large personality and um, voice.

I surround myself with performers and artists because without their inclusion, life is beige. There would be blandness, cookie-cutter identities, and no alternate ways of interpreting life. Bah to that! My soul leapt to the beat of my soaring heart when I heard the entertainment. I caught up with my poet friend, Brian Bell. He is an extraordinary talent, whose range knows no bounds. We both had abstract drawings done by his friend, Richard Cutler, an artist of fifty years standing. No matter how much time has passed, Brian and I just pick up where we left off. I met him for the first time when I was in my early twenties and continued encountering him on the poetry circuit. We have some marvellous talks, Brian and I.

After being surrounded by music and performance, clay and Gnomes, felt and wood-turning, I was loathe to return to normality. Who am I kidding! My life has never been normal, and I can’t do normal. My clothes, hair, home, outlook, friends, daughter, birds, and everyday life are quirky and whimsical. I can’t change that and nor would I want to.

I returned with a trail of enchantment following me, like bread crumbs dropped by Hansel and Gretel.

 

 

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Gnomes and Destiny


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When I was nineteen, I started a business, selling my art and poetry, as well as crystals and curiosities at markets and on consignment. I was extremely busy during this ten-year period, particularly when I reflect on all the surgery I had at the same time! I lived in a grungy, funky part of Sydney, and would often walk down the street to hang out at the all-night bookstore and grab some fabulous Indian food. I was into ceramics, and had my Greenware fired in the kiln of a nearby business, before painting them. I only managed to hang onto two of my pieces from this time. Before I left the area, I retrieved them from the shop where they had recently been placed…

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I haven’t paid them much mind in the intervening years, only to gift them a smile as I passed them in my living room. I have pared back my commitments since Christmas, and have made time to clean and reflect, de-clutter and organize my home. I stopped yesterday and studied my little friends, reflecting on a time when I had created and painted, written and pottered. I recalled the nights spent painstakingly painting them; the joy I felt when what I had created was bought. I looked closer, and noted that they hadn’t been cleaned for a while. Getting a wipe, I lovingly set to work. I turned them over, and there on the base was my daughter’s name, a daughter I wouldn’t have for another decade. I don’t know why I had thought to send them off with the following: Painted with love by E.Rose.

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A chill went through me. When I had finally fallen pregnant with IVF, I had another name altogether picked out for this baby, if it was a girl. In my eighth month, I dreamed of her, and she said that her name was E. Rose. (full name obscured to protect privacy). I changed her name accordingly. I had no recollection of ever signing my work with her name years before. How many hundreds of times had I done so? I called to her and told her the story and she was as delighted as I. “You knew me even then! You loved and wanted me before I was here!” I certainly did. Slowing down and having time to notice my little gnomes gave me a great gift. My daughter was intrinsically entwined in my younger years, letting herself be known, even on an unconscious level. When you say “I can’t do this anymore,” and allow yourself to slow, it’s amazing what you notice. Gnomes may even hold a breath-taking, thrilling message, just for you.