flexing my muscles.

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incredibly close

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thanks to strangers and friends, and people with knowledge about things that i still don’t understand, this little site is finally allowing me to upload photographs again. it’s been a glitch in my blackbird world, a glitch that has deterred me from posting too much for a while. it just didn’t feel right without pictures, you know? anyway, gratefully, it’s fixed now. and i’ve got thousands of miles worth of photos and stories that i’ve been saving up to share.

and since today is a recovery day from a nasty flu, and i’ve found myself escaping from the heat of my farm field home to a quiet hideaway with a fan and electricity, it seems like a good time to tip toe back into the land of picture-book storytelling and put some color back into these word scrawled pages.

so today i give you pictures.

a handful of shots i took while staying in the shack at Fig Hill this past January, in the green wonderland that is the Bega Valley, NSW in summertime. D was off making a record on far away shores, and i took residence near the chook pen, at the bottom of a steep hill, with the nearby company of dear friends. i packed sewing needles, a basket of cloth, and a few spools of thread and set about making little stitched studies with no other aim but to create something every day.

there is a beauty in the utility of spool + needle + thread that i never tire of. i love that they are tools and materials that have never really changed. they hold stories. they get the job done. they are fragile and durable all at the same time.

they are materials that make sense to me. and sometimes, that is everything.

 

 

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lost beauties

there’s a little silver caravan that sits at the end of our dirt lane. it’s a rickety tin box with a tarp over the roof. it’s a loaner from good ol’ Sambo, and for the last couple of years it’s rotated between being our bedroom, our kitchen, and our tool shed.
this year, it’s my art studio.
mmmhmmm. lucky me.

it is perched on the edge of the hill that slopes down to the valley, and when the wind blows, the little room rocks and sways. i always keep the door propped open, just in case i need to make a quick escape in a gusty breeze.
the corner window blew out in the winter rains last year. it’s now just a permanent breezeway.

i have a table that hinges to the wall, adorned with pencil scribbles of roof angles, wall measurements, and wiring maps. my chair is a hand-me-down drafting stool from Miss Anne’s shed. there is a clothesline along the wall, cluttered with photos and findings and notes. the ledges are piled with sea urchins, spools of thread, rusty metal, and beach-combed bric-a-brac.

i love it in there.
somedays i sit until the sun has sucked out all of the light, and my strained eyes just can’t see to sew another stitch. even then, sometimes i just linger and sit. and listen. and drift.

the other day i wandered over to open up the caravan doors for the day…let the cool of the morning move in. i saw something move in the corner. i found not one, but two  little butterfly beauties hanging out in my little art home. they found their way in, but somehow couldn’t remember how to get out. or maybe they just liked it there…smile.

i cupped them, one at a time, in my hand, and walked with them outside, and then i opened my hand and waited…delighted, that they didn’t just up and fly away. one in particular seemed quite happy to hang around. she even spread her wings and flaunted her glory for me. i reveled in it.

i love when the days hold tiny surprises.
i’m not sure there’s a better way to have started my day than a visit to a windy tin can art room that fluttered with lost beauties, and a few rare moments of stroking the fine hairs of a butterfly spine while it rested in the sun in the palm of my hand.

goodness + gratitude, indeed.

when i have wings

art by Lisa Congdon

art by Lisa Congdon

mmmmhmmmm.

(image courtesy of the much-loved Lisa Congdon.)

snow day

1. mint hot chocolate.
2. parka and track pants and a shovel.
3. Lisa Congdon’s colourful illustrations and good words.

lisa congdon

lisa congdon


4. loving my wintery treetop attic view
5. empty suitcase and a pile of clothes.
6. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. it just works for me. you know?
7. finally got around to reading and finishing Blankets. not sure what i’d expected but i don’t think that was it.
blankets by Craig Thompson

blankets by Craig Thompson


8. “the scared is scared of the things we like”
9. the gift of unexpected hours.
10. a favorite by one of my favorites:
fish

in not so many words.

this weekend held a lot of things, including two felting workshops, one little girl’s art making birthday party, a whole lot of baking, one cold on the mend, one missed Julie Doiron concert, and not enough sleep.

the stereo played a lot of beyonce (yes, that’s right) and Lucius, oh and Grace because this song never stops being beautiful,and even, um, some of this… because that’s just what you gotta do sometimes, you know?

there were some good reminders given, like:
1. fresh snowfalls under mid-winter night skies are worth bundling up for.
2. hot soup is one of life’s finest offerings.
3. sleep changes everything.
4. art making is good. plain and simple.
5. kitchens were made for dancing.

took a few pictures to prove it all happened. little Claire photo-documented the art birthday party at the Gallery, so credit for the “eyes of a 6 year old awesome shots” go to her.

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sitting here, on the far side of it all, i’m tired as, but i’m also ridiculously grateful. this life is a good life. even when it’s hard, it’s good. remember that, rae.

before you learn the tender gravity

Painting by Victoria Ward

Painting by Victoria Ward


Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing
inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

– Naomi Shihab Nye

so long ago we were dancing and singing and it all meant something.

frozen pipes.
blueberry cornmeal muffins.
boxes of books.
finally writing back.
hot cocoa with candycane.
yoga in the afternoon.
open mouth kisses.
giving ideas legs.
drying laundry on a wooden rack.
cleaning out the medicine cabinet.
getting only what i came for.
sponge bath.
slow drip.
baking bread.
cleaning up.
anticipating.
over-protecting.
being home. enjoying it.
oh yeah,
and this.

The Two of Us by Mandy Renard

The Two of Us by Mandy Renard

Lhasa de Sela

“The world doesn’t adjust itself to the soul: the beauty, the magic of the soul is what I want to bring out. My job is to do it my way.” – Lhasa de Sela

Photo Credit: Jérôme Lapierre

Photo Credit: Jérôme Lapierre

Give yourself a beautiful gift and just listen.

……

(Lhasa de Sela quote c/o the black ewe )

Frida Kahlo

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
Frida Kahlo

image c/o Lucienne Bloch

image c/o Lucienne Bloch

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Words + Photos + Credit

Unless otherwise noted, all original photography and text are property of Raechelle Kennedy. If you see or read something here and feel inspired to share it somehow, please be considerate and give the artist (me!) credit, or even better, drop me a note and make sure I don’t mind.
Thank you!

Here + There

Secondhand Sainthood and the gift of losing it all – Topology Magazine, December 2015

Ten Things Made – Topology Magazine, December 2015

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