Photos of the Studio and Dread Art!

Hard work is happening to get our studio ready in time for our first client booked in next week, and I’ve been asked to share photos. 🙂 I just delivered the chairs today, the paint work is almost finished now, we just need to add a final coat to the purple walls – it’s a very dark colour so inclined to look patchy unless we really stack on the coats of paint. I’m alternately really excited and inspired about it all, and overwhelmed with anxiety and dread. Working hard on dealing with that.

One unexpected upside has been that now that I know I have a studio to display my work, I’ve been so excited about art again and making lots of things in my studio! It’s by far the most effective technique I’ve ever tried in dealing with feeling blocked creatively. That’s such a wonderful bonus for all the stress of setting this up. 🙂

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Our lovely display for beads – some of us love to decorate our dreads 🙂

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Our new chair for clients! I’m in love with it. Can’t you just see yourself relaxing in this while henna or inks are done?

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I told you I loved this chair. You can see our gorgeous purple walls here – one more coat to go hopefully!

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Dreading chairs! Adjustable heights, as comfortable and friendly on backs and joints as we could find.

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Dread Art! I stitched this little bead sleave last night, and I love it.

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More dread art! These little wire dread coils are gorgeous! I made this myself, using copper wire, Swarovski crystals, and a beautiful paua shell button from New Zealand.

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A second handmade dread coil I’ve created, this one is a bit finer for my little dreads. 🙂

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I bought this beautiful tree on the drive back from my friend’s funeral. It’s going to hang on the studio wall and be a little reminder of her.

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The studio room, coming along.

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Close up of a couple of beads – I’m sourcing all of these extremely carefully. Did you know that eBay has a warning about ‘Tibetan Silver’ beads? I didn’t! The term is unregulated so it means any silver coloured alloy. Some have been tested and found to contain lead, or arsenic! Wow. So, only sterling silver/quality natural ingredient beads will be sold from this studio. These are hand carved wooden skull beads.

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The body art chair and a lovely ergonomic stool, for the artist.

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We’re very excited about this beautiful huge mirror and can’t wait to hang it!

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We now have a big supply of synthetic hair for natural coloured extensions

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And some really cool colours too.

Community and dreadlocks

I’ve been trying to write a post here for a couple of days, but life continues to be hectic, mostly in a good way. 🙂 I’ve snatched a moment now where Rose, my goddaughter Sophie, and her Dad are all napping. I don’t do naps. I blog!

News! This is what my shower currently looks like. It’s been blocked since Friday. Can’t use the bath either. So I’ve been cleaning myself under my sprinkler, having sponge baths, and borrowing friend’s showers.
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This is the bucket of tree roots a plumber has pulled out of the drain so far. Some of them are quite large! Apparently someone will come by sometime this week with a high pressure jet thingy and blast them free.

Until then, I’m glad I own a sprinkler and thank god for friends willing to share bathrooms.
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For those of you here who may not have caught up with things, I now sport a whole head of beautiful dreadlocks! I got them done on a whim while in Melbourne, after the parts who can give talks and be brave and whatnot made it abundantly clear they were not impressed about doing this with really boring hair. It seemed a fair trade. So after waking past this shop:
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I said to myself, this is my kind of place. The lovely Weird Sistas shaved the sides back and wove the most beautiful, natural, clean, product-free dreads I’ve ever seen.
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More than that, we had the most wonderful conversations about life, community, getting screwed over, love, voices, parts, taking risks, and serendipity. I was utterly blissed out and I love my dreads. They are beautiful, smell amazing thanks to the cinnamon spray I got to take home, and incredibly easy to care for. My usually hyper sensitive irritated scalp has settled down considerably since I’ve had them woven in. Happy!

Rose is inspired and excited, and hoping to take their classes and learn to weave dreads herself. This could be the most wonderful opportunity for us both to be in a creative, artistic, people oriented, alternative field, and we’ve been talking about little else all week!

On a personal level obviously it would suit me to have her able to maintain my own dreads, but bigger than that, doing dreads is no more all about hair than doing body painting is about paint. It’s about community, connection, listening. You’re doing something very personal with another person, something creative, but also an exchange. People who sit for the hours of dreads generally talk. They share what’s on their hearts. You need to love people, to be an exceptional listener, to have a genuine heart for then to do this work. Rose most certainly does.

I love that this isn’t mental health work the way my peer work is, and yet it’s not nothing. There’s something about an exchange of kindness – in my own work, about the privileged space in which people may be literally naked, where you work with them to bring a new artwork into the world. (through body painting) To be more embedded into our local alternative communities feels absolutely right. To be making choices about career that fit so well into our hopes for children soon. There’s so many exciting things afoot!

The other day I mentioned I was hiding from admin at a local belly dancing event. It was wonderful! Piles of beautiful fabrics, jewellery, lovely cheap good food served with gracious care. Henna art, chai tea, women of all ages and shapes adorning themselves, feeling good about themselves, feeling a sense of connection to a community.
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I love these groups so much. I feel so at home in them, the poverty that isn’t brutal, the sharing, the artistry.

I’m finding different cultures and connecting more and more with them. Getting out of the straight jacket of middle class ideals imposed onto a life of low income and disability. There are so many other ways to live. Alone, I’m so, so vulnerable. As a group, nearly anything is possible. People share spare rooms, lemons, recipes, child raising ideas. It’s such a different world from the fearful one that’s been engulfing me, all of us alone in our homes with our appliances for company, trying to stop anything in our world changing. I’m found people who believe in sharing what you have, who think that blood doesn’t make family, who understand that life doesn’t always go to plan, and that sometimes that’s a wonderful thing.

I’m not so afraid of winding up homeless again anymore. I love and tend to a whole community of people who love and tend me back. I think if I fall again I won’t be alone. I’m finding different ways to live and love and risk, and that gives me so much hope.