Buttons and bread


Buttons are small daily objects that quietly connect things. They join things up, they hold us together. This blog features buttons as a way of reminding us of the little things that lie behind the actions we take to build strong communities.


The other part of this blog’s title represents the nourishment we get from participating in community life and that we can offer to others also. It is not the nourishment of the exotic, but the everyday sustenance of regular connections, ongoing work and play – bread rather than caviar.

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Putting down the stone

Today was the first day of the Feast Festival here in Adelaide, and I went to a book-reading in the city by Mag Merrilees, whose warm and funny book Fables Queer and Familiar has featured here before. It was a really enjoyable afternoon, with some readings from the book and others from what will hopefully be the second instalment. Mag highlighted reflections on marriage – pertinent as we come up this week to the result of the postal survey on marriage equality. There was the hilarious section in Fables where poor James, the grandson, gets totally discombobulated at the thought of the grannies potentially having an ‘illegal’ wedding and worries himself sick at the thought of them being in trouble with the police. And where his dad has to try to explain why he and James’s mother haven’t got married and don’t intend to, but that Julia and Anne should be able to if they want to. Later, though, in the reading from newer work, one of the characters speaks of ‘carrying a stone’ (I think that was the phrase), an internal stone, of pain about lack of acceptance, and the hope, the yearning for this (acceptance I mean) that is part of the push for marriage equality. This made so much sense to me – marriage not being something that I particularly care about as such – but the importance of acceptance for all of us, especially those of us (probably most of us if we could really know) who feel outside of the main stream of society in some way or another. In particular this week, those in the LGBTQI communities. Hooray for Lesbians I say! Hooray for all LGBTQI-ers!

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Bee happy

Today was the final day of the bee project that started a few weeks ago. The idea was to make pots to grow plants that will attract bees as part of CHO’s Year of the Bee activities.  It was great fun and we all enjoyed ourselves a lot. I was amazed at how relaxing it all was, and was reminded of how much I used to love doing crafty things when I was young – I don’t get to it nearly as much as I would like to these days. I forgot to take pics the first week, but have done so since, so you will get an idea of the different people and their pots. One of the other very interesting things about the sessions was that we started up with the same lumps of unformed clay to start with, and all of our pots turned out so differently. A classic example emerging in front of our eyes of our own unique styles. All beautiful of course. Many thanks to Connie for leading the way with her great skills, and to all who came along and made it such a happy experience.

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Chance and beauty

This blog has swung for weeks now between spring, nature and art (with a little bit of community thrown in), and this week it’s art once more, to report on some beautiful pictures made by Liz Hetzel, and showing at present in the gigantic interior (that’s also the name of the exhibition) of the Convention Centre. I’ve been thinking about them since I saw them, a couple of weeks ago now, and heard from Liz earlier that same week about how they are made. She explains this process in her artist statement, which I photographed fairly badly, but it’s still easy enough to read…

Liz's pics 4

This has had me thinking about how we are in the world, and it is in us. We are marked by the environment that surrounds us as it is marked by us. There is this constant interplay between us and the world that is easy to forget or ignore. These pictures are made in part through chance – how the paint flows over the surface of the canvas as it lies on the ground and settles into the shapes of dips and pockets in the earth, traces itself, rubs itself on the earth – and in part through the imagination and deliberate effort of Liz herself. Liz’s explorations – travel, sense of place, awareness of light and colour, the physicality of doing art, and also the ideas, thoughts, dreams and inventions of her interior world are combined in these lovely pictures that are a bit like topographical maps or excerpts from google earth, or the earth seen from space. Or maybe they are a kind of picture of our gigantic unknown interiors. Or a kind of map to the way we live in our heads and also in a place. Or who bloody knows! But the chanciness and the beauty seem to say something afresh to me about life and I am really grateful to have had the chance to see the work and think about it since…

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My own little farewell to Holden

It’s been everywhere in the news this week, as the last car manufacturing factory in Australia closed at Elizabeth. It has been a big part of the local economy for many years, and so its closure means a lot to many people, particularly the workers, current and in the past.

Growing up, we always had Holden cars – dad had a Ute back in the day – I can just remember it – then we had a brown station wagon, then another station wagon (rego number REO-504!), then The Commodore, which we had for many years. No doubt all of them made at Elizabeth (though there were plants in other states, so who knows really). So my thanks to the people who put in the work over all the years, and all the best to one and all…


Me in need of a haircut, Helen and Richard standing next to the Commodore in 1979 outside the shop in Auburn. Not a fantastic photo of the photo, but best I could do…

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‘Birds’ (part 3)(imaginary)

The strelitzias continue to bloom all over the suburbs – I am like a twitcher, I notice them out of the corners of my eyes these days, their perky eager ‘heads’ glowing from gardens wherever I look. If you don’t look out for them though, it’s easy not to notice they are there – like so many things that we get used to, they become the wallpaper of our lives, there but almost invisible.

I have been imagining what it would be like if they were real birds of paradise, and that they migrate to us each spring, arriving in flocks and taking up residence in gardens everywhere like the flowers do. Wouldn’t that be a sight? We would take notice then I daresay…

Here are some photos of the real birds from the internet (click to enlarge):

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Creativity and imagination

I had a great time earlier in the week at the opening of an art exhibition put together for World Mental Health Day by Sarah and friends at the South West Community Centre (which has featured here before also) in the city. Mark, whose art work has also appeared previously in this blog, was one of the featured artists, along with Michael and Hali. I really love the way Mark just keeps going with his art – he draws and draws, every day, and he has been exploring more colour of late, including using glittery pens. His work is really imaginative and creative, and has a strong beauty that I really like. It’s also funny and quirky. Mark has never had many opportunities to take his work further, but he has just kept going, and kept enjoying making the work. The launch really was terrific. It was great to meet the artists, all of whom have had different challenges, but still had the guts to put their work out in public. Mark did a great speech and I felt really proud to know someone so creative and imaginative. It’s a big thing to allow others to see your work – it puts you in quite a vulnerable position, but Mark and the other artists showed a lot of panache, and Mark for one really really enjoyed the day. The exhibition is on till next month, so if you are around town and can get to Sturt Street and the South West Community Centre, go in and have a look!

I took a few photos of the event – not as good as I would have liked, but it gives a flavour of things.

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‘Birds’ (part 2)

Once you start looking out for something (in this case strelitzias), you see them everywhere. These bird of paradise plants are flowering all over the place at the moment, and I couldn’t resist a few more snaps of them to follow up from last week’s post. I think they have migrated from the north somewhere, and have landed in gardens everywhere for the season.

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