Evil and Art

I wrote this in July, but was hesitant to post it as it talks about subjects that carry a lot of emotion. It was in response to a radio programme I listened to, that attempted to answer the question, “Is art done by evil people, inherently evil?

It has become a topic of conversation over the last few weeks since Rolf Harris was found guilty of sexually assaulting some children in the past. Here in Western Australia, we have loved Rolf for years (me included- does anyone remember his television show and his amazing paintings?). Our populace is almost in mourning that our immensely talented and successful personality has been revealed as a sexual predator. He came from a place that revered him and gave him the keys to the town, they have now been revoked and there are moves to erase his presence from any public place which has his signature. His portrait of the Queen is (I have read) being removed from public view.queen

My question is this; does the artist being evil, mean that the artwork and every good thing  he/she has done (and Rolf has done a lot of charitable works) have to be negated?

There are a few famous people whose reputations have been shot down in flames for being paedophiles, the most notorious recently being English entertainer Jimmy Saville (deceased). The revelations about him have been truly horrifying and far-reaching, Gary Glitter (aka Paul Gadd) was imprisoned in Vietnam (or was it Cambodia) for sexual predation of children and is reviled wherever he goes, but what is it that separates these awful men from the likes of Roman Polanski and Bill Wyman, who had “dealings” with underage girls and yet still enjoy public appreciation of their work?

I don’t think Gary Glitter is known for charitable works, but my understanding is that Jimmy Saville raised millions of pound for charity, all the while intimidating, grooming and interfering with children as a sideline.

I am not an apologist for paedophiles, let’s get that straight. I am disgusted by them and find their “antics” beyond comprehension.

My question remains however, if someone evil creates a thing of beauty, is that thing also evil?

Bryan Ferry issued a public apology for his comments in appreciation of the work of Leni Riefenstahl and Albert Speer (Nazi propaganda film maker and architect respectively), but he was not commenting on them being Nazis; as an artist, he was looking at the aesthetics of their work. The Public were outraged and condemned his comment, from which he quickly back pedalled. Anyone who has been to Germany and seen the work of Speer, cannot help but be favourably impressed, in itself- the work is not evil. Riefenstahl made propaganda films for the Nazi Party, but her camerawork is often stunning.

I just found this article http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/opinion/global-agenda-magazine-good-art-bad-people.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 which presents the topic in a very balanced way, I encourage you to read it and have a think :)

If you had known, would you…

… have had children?

I love my children with an intensity that sometimes leaves me gasping for breath, but if I had known how hard it was going to be would I have craved motherhood the way I did?

It took three years for me to hold my newborn son in my arms, it was love at first sight. He was and is perfect and yet perfectly flawed. My daughter came along four years later, desperately wanted and welcomed with celebration; she was and is perfect and perfectly flawed.

We all are.

When I look at this picture IMG_0055  

I can remember like it was yesterday, dressing my 5 day old boy in his “going home” outfit (which he promptly poohed on and ended up in a singlet and nappy). I can remember the fear and excitement, the pride and wonder, the wish to put him back inside me to protect him from the world.

Motherhood was hard, I had postnatal depression for 19 months and my memories are clouded by a murkiness I can’t shake. The photos are clear, but they mask an intense sadness and desperation to be the best I could be. The PND was predictable considering the fraught time we had actually getting to have a live baby, but I come from a family of stoics and weakness was not tolerated. I battled on and was ridiculed by my (then) General Practitioner for thinking I needed help.

Time moved on and my dear, sweet son was never an “easy” child. Every transition was battled through (by both of us), I have often wondered if the anxiety I had when he was small has led to him being the person he is today; so intelligent but easily defeated, fearful of failure and with a very high wall around him. Call it Motherguilt, but I do feel responsible.

Four years later my husband and I welcomed our daughter into the world, as she was placed up on my chest, I whispered “Happy Birthday Clare” and she promptly fell asleep. She is a child of resilience and calm.


IMG_0017 Caring and quiet, but with a fun side too, she is often shocked at the political incorrectness of my generation. Injustice weighs heavily upon her and she has said occasionally she would like to join a hippy commune cut off from the outside world so she didn’t have to know what awful things were happening to her fellow humans.

He is working his way to being an engineer (if he ever weans himself off his drug of choice- computer games) and she is looking seriously at marine science, she has always been a creature of the sea. They are beautiful and bright and have so much going for them, they have led comfortable lives. It all sounds wonderful doesn’t it? As any parent knows, it is the lovely things we cling to, that help us through the bleakest, darkest times.

Those times are with us all, some of us just have it harder than others.

If I had known how hard it was going to be, would I have had children? My younger brother is about to become a parent, he has wanted children since he was young and now at  the age of 42 his dream is hopefully going to become reality; I am so excited for him and his lovely wife I feel like bursting with happiness… I suppose there is my answer.

My children are young adults now, life has been difficult as a parent, but has it been worth it?


second image for cropping

Mom and Dad


A message for all

Originally posted on RicelandMeadows:

Hello little one!

Hello little one!

November 10, 2014

Yesterday morning, we had a new calf born. He is a big little guy. He is doing well and had no trouble finding the dinner plate. Yesterday afternoon, I went to check on him. What I found was something I had not seen before. There in the meadow, in a clump of grasses, the little boy was resting. His mom and dad were licking his head and body. Sure, I’ve often seen moms attending to their babies, but to see our big old bull tenderly licking his son, was awesome!

I don’t know why I found it so amazing. I love my children and worry about their safety. I check in with them often and follow their progress on their life journey. Some, I watch from afar, but I do watch and worry and celebrate every little thing. Last night, I held my youngest…

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What is style and other stuff

DSC_0972Every now and then a blog post comes up talking about style.What is it, what does it mean to me? Basically, I dress for comfort and a bit of individualism; the days of suffering for fashion are long gone for me and thank goodness I say!

I have decided that one of my favourite styles is wide-legged pants, personally I don’t think that there will ever be enough wide-legged pants for me. Years ago I had a pair of wide-legged linen trousers that were my favourite. I still have them, but there is only so much iron-on mender that can be used before things start looking too tragic.

My solution was to draft a pattern off said trousers before they gave up for good. This is so long ago that  I had never inserted a zipper, let alone sewn a fly-front. So my pattern was for draw-string waisted pants. This pattern has become my favourite, to the extent that I have made four pairs of pants off it. This weekend I made two pairs, a white pair to replace my original faves and a navy blue pair, just because…

Today is my birthday and this evening my Husband took me to the cinema to see “Pride”, (and I must say how proud I am of my Welsh heritage after seeing it; but that is another story…). I wore my new blue pants and a new pierrot-collared sleeveless blouse to go with it, I felt pretty funky! Look, I know my taste in clothing is pretty wacky a lot of the time, but I dress for myself and the rest of the world can go jump!

While I was getting ready to go out, I laid a few outfits on the bed to make choosing a bit easier and there is definitely a theme here!

DSC_0970  tonight’s garb DSC_0965 another contender, white pants, newly-made Sorbetto top and coral-coloured bolero  DSC_0966 white pants and blue peasant blouse

tbh, I really like them all. It was a hot day here in Perth (around 36 degrees) and those outfits are all pretty cool temperature-wise; plus I know that there will never be anyone I see who is wearing anything that looks like my clothes and really, isn’t individuality one of the attractions of sewing for oneself?


52 and still got it (well, still got something anyway!) ;)

The Mule and the One Red Hen


…and so is most of life!

Originally posted on Storyshucker:

My coworker often discusses drama caused over the years by one of her friends. At lunch she described the latest events to me and several others as she pondered whether she should even continue their friendship.

Knowing she’ll always deal with flare-ups of unpleasantness had my coworker in a quandary. Their friendship is great for the most part, but occasional negatives are difficult to deal with. She asked us for advice. I gave no advice but made a comment to the group.

“Jiggs would have said this is like the mule and the one red hen.”

Puzzled faces awaited my explanation.

As a kid I spent many summer weekends at the farm owned by Dessie and Jiggs, my aunt and uncle. I like to think I helped around the place but the reality is I played in the creek and ate Dessie’s good cooking. Often we’d ride over to see…

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The hippy skirt/pants thingy…

Remember this?  P1030576 Well I made it in the linen I bought from Potters recently… P1030575 (the putty-coloured on top).

P1030584I had a brunch this morning with friends, one of whom I haven’t seen for 34 years and I guess a part of me wanted to impress (a little bit anyway!). P1030582 The top is tencel and metal and was new from the op-shop for AUD$9, a bargain for a designer label garment. It went with the skirt beautifully :)

The construction was pretty straightforward and went without a hitch, I did however grade up as my experience with Japanese patterns is that they are rather petite (width, not height). Any way, when it came to fitting, the extra 1cm I added to the side seams had to come off, otherwise there would have been a severe over-bunching problem. As it is, I am thrilled with it, the linen is so light it is almost like wearing nothing, just perfect for a hot summer’s day (not happening yet though).

One puzzle for me was the button placement. The way they were on the pattern was on the outside of the garment, but buttoning the “legs” together meant there was a weird twisty thing happening between them- yukko. P1030583 I instead, put the buttons on the inside and so, when buttoned, they are on the outside, sitting flat. As pants, they definitely have a hippy vibe happening!!!P1030587. I chose these coconut beauties P1030585because I thought they were a nice little detail.

Finally, it was lovely seeing friends  10492095_824195087603322_8915429208904556210_n  1654222_10204700995072023_3022337650452996510_nand sharing good food looking over the beach on a cloudy, spring day  10411217_10204700735865543_2659565293570561350_n (pics copyright P. Kelly and A. Melia)