Como Art Jam!

info Loaded Brush - Saturday, April 30, 2011

Christmas Jamming!

info Loaded Brush - Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tired of the same old office Christmas party? This year celebrate with an Art Jam!

Click here for details!

Creative Collaboration and Conflict

info Loaded Brush - Saturday, April 30, 2011

Our Lemon tree has been particularly abundant, producing deliciously juicy fruit, thanks to the recent rains. In fact, so prolific has the growth been, we harvested this strange piece last week.
The obvious contest between two young shoots produced this rather gnarled octopus – like anomaly. At first glace this appears to be a lesson in potential for self-destruction (or at the very least contortion), when consumed by the battle of direct competition. The rather unappetising result suggests no real winner. But of course this view rests on a rather narrow concept of ‘Lemon,’ that is round, singular and whole.
The more I considered this marvel, the more I admired the collaboration of the two shoots. Struggling for limited resources they joined together to survive and thrive. Indeed there is conflict, but the battle has produced a creative adaptation of our traditional notion of a lemon.
What are some of the conflicts with which you struggle that might benefit from a creative, collaborative change in perspective? Tell us your citrus story!

Turkish Games

info Loaded Brush - Saturday, April 30, 2011

Those of you who have been following me on Twitter will know I have been in Turkey for the past month, drinking tea (to which I am addicted), eating eggplant (more addicted) and smoking the odd cigarette (shhhh! Not remotely hooked). I am proud to report I won at least one match of Backgammon against a local.

Now granted, he had to slow down considerably to match my tedious pace and continue to remind me that the blank face of the die was the worn down four, but a win is a win! Naturally he claims he allowed it to be so, hospitality and all! Of course I know this not to be the case, as at the beginning of the second game we made our very serious bet!

Feeling I had already taken somewhat of a risk merely being female, alone and fraternising with men in such a place, I was not altogether keen to press my luck with further gamble. However my opponent insisted. I countered with,
“Why can’t we just play to play?” After all, I thought, isn’t that what I do so well? As author of The Play Ethic, Pat Kane, wrote “To play is to express one’s full humanity.” It was amusingly pointed out to me that with a bet on the table, I was far more likely to play in a way that reflected my true nature.

There is a moment at the beginning of an Art Jam, when the silence of the blank canvas calls for participants to roll the dice and the risks are perhaps greater than any bet. I could not deny the precious value of this moment. I quickly agreed to what turned out to be a rather tame wager of a bag of pumpkin seeds.

But of course, as my friend also knew, the real game begins when the paint is flowing or the dice are thrown, and tea and talk and new understandings emerge. “If our immediate social universe is about risk, openness and opportunity, then our personal lives must be about energy, enthusiasm, health and optimism, all those capacities needed to enter the fray.” P. Kane

Stay tuned for more reflections on Turkish time and enjoy the games.

The Mother of Invention

info Loaded Brush - Saturday, April 30, 2011
We are told Necessity is the Mother of Invention, but reading Naturally Better by Kristen Morrison, I am struck by just how deeply our notions of what is necessary can vary. Most would agree a Necessity is ‘something essential, a basic requirement.’ I quite enjoyed this definition though, “the quality of being necessary or of not being able to be otherwise.” I think there is much that we simply feel, believe or are driven by, which, perhaps not necessary, is just unable to be otherwise.
Necessity in fact is usually quite boring and uninventive. It is when we strive to improve our situation beyond mere survival that things begin to get creative!
Fortunately for Gryffin, Kristen’s son born with Down Syndrome, his mother embraces her essential creative self to effect powerful change.
The story of their first few years together is the story of creativity and learning at its best. Embracing a spirit of Play (Chapter 2, ‘The Adventure Begins’) Kristen dedicated herself to the learning process. Her book, an amazing Document in itself also includes excerpts from her diary and photographs, as well as letters and notes demonstrating the value of Communication and Collaboration in her journey. Her Integrated approach in an Environment, which inspires and supports learning and growth is contagiously exciting.
Whilst a fantastic resource for anyone interested in a natural approach to child health, this book is a testament to what can be achieved when we value learning and trust in ourselves. Kristen is an inspiration; I encourage everyone to read her story.

Oh! The Places we will never go!

info Loaded Brush - Saturday, April 30, 2011

Roy Lichtenstein 1964

This image hangs in my office to remind me to go places I was never going to go!  To do the things I was never going to do and never thought I could.

Vicki is the friend I turn to when I catch myself saying I can’t.

The original of this painting hangs in a museum in Budapest.  Whilst travelling though Europe, my friend and I had become caught in the vortex that is Prague (another story!) Virtually from our first day there, a lovely American lad set about convincing us to go to Budapest.  Now of course, Budapest was not on our ‘agenda.’ We were rapidly running out of money and we didn’t have time/visas etc.. We had a dozen reasons why we were not going to Budapest.

Of course being American and deliciously young, our friend had a charming immunity to ‘No.’ He persisted with, “WHEN  you go to Budapest, you will stay at such and such” and “WHEN you go to Budapest you will eat..” and of course,  “WHEN you go to Budapest you will meet Vicki.”

We stayed in Budapest for four weeks, tried to leave, got lost looking for the train station and stayed another two weeks, in surrender to the place we were never going to go!  I have many fond memories of the city and cherish all my experiences there, as well as friendships that may never have been if it were not for Vicki.

What was the last thing you did that you never expected you would?

Oh the places we were never going to go!

Hen’s Jam

info Loaded Brush - Saturday, April 30, 2011

Your Hen’s night is a special occasion to make shared memories with your friends and celebrate and honour the inimitable bond of womanhood. It’s also a great opportunity to be a little bit naughty, in a get together with the girls that will be talked about for years to come!
This was the goal for Bridesmaid, Lisa when planning her sister’s Hen’s night in Perth and thus she sought out and found Loaded Brush!

The evening’s activities were a heavily guarded secret (challenging given the Bride’s interrogation skills prior to the day and many excuses to peak through preparations early in the night!) Nevertheless the bridesmaids managed to surprise Steph with a Loaded Brush Hen’s Jam.
Whilst the cocktails flowed facilitator Cellina gave the girls a few tips on balancing brushes with bevies as they excitedly awaited the arrival of their model! Sporting a chic art smock the model appeared and cheekily invited the Bride-to-be to remove his shirt and choose a pose. Cheers went out as the girls raised their glasses and initial trepidation melted into smiles. The joy of mixing colour and sharing a lively challenge filled the bohemian atmosphere of fun and friendship, along with some of the hen’s favourite tunes.
Immersed in their own painting the girls soon begin to remember their empty glasses and eager to see what their friends were up to they gradually mingled sharing laughs and hidden talents. One by one they surrendered their brushes and went forth as newly creative creatures, the buzz lingering in the night.
As a final group photo was taken for the Hen’s special DVD memento of the evening the model contemplated the winner of the coveted Hen’s Jam Trophy! Prizes were awarded to several of the girls for their colourful interpretations of the nude and as they disappeared into the night, paintings in hand, smiles and laughter filled the air.

The sound of Space

info Loaded Brush - Saturday, April 30, 2011

In my former life I was a teacher. Yes I am a rare breed, I survived high school twice. But it was a narrow escape both times and now I have managed to move in next door to a school whose siren blares 6 times a day, clearly to reassure residents that the prisoners, er that is, students, are by no means masters of their domain.

Fortunately I have come to realise that mastering your domain is the very lesson we should be learning, for your Space, is the often less-than-silent partner in everything you do. It plays a part, for better or worse, in your mood, your productivity, your physical, psychological and social being.

Some people are particularly good at making and maintaining beautiful spaces; I call them creatures of comfort. They prioritise their space and know how to make it suit their needs. Now before you have an attack of guilt over your miss-matched, unwashed coffee cups, remember ‘beautiful’ is a relative term. Expensive, big or even neat, may not be the most beautiful, efficient or appropriate space for you. However, be warned, your space is invariably shared by others who will have entirely different definitions of beauty.

So what are the factors which impact your space? In this and following posts we will explore the six main elements which shape your world.

I have recently developed a deep professional crush on Julian Treasure. A Sound Specialist, Julian presents a wonderful TED talk about the four main ways sound affects us.


Unlike my sister, who needs complete silence to work, I actually find some background noise or music quite reassuring. However the persistent yapping of my neighbours dog so raises my blood pressure that not even the native birds which happily frolic and sing in our sprinklers can compete. Fortunately I have discovered the solution to my pain stop-barking-dog-neighbourhood-barking-complaints

Sound plays an important roll in all of our Jams, we use a variety of music and it is always interesting to watch the subtle changes in the mood of play.

Tell us what sounds inspire you or fill your space?


info Loaded Brush - Saturday, April 30, 2011

I have a friend who seems to attend weddings often enough to rival Hugh Grant!  Fortunately he is male, so virtually all he need do is have his suit dry-cleaned and show up!  Now whilst dry-cleaning costs have risen, it hardly compares to the costs a female will begin calculating from the moment they RSVP.  A new dress, hair, make-up, nails, shoes, gifts, transport and even accommodation may all factor in.  By the time the Hens party is being arranged many guests are beginning to consider ways to reign in the budget and sadly the Hens is often a casualty.

Here are 5 reasons you should put the Hens Party at the top of the Wedding priority list!

1. Connect with other wedding guests

It was my great pleasure to host a Clay Play Hens Jam for my cousin’s fiancée. In attendance, amongst more than 30 women of all ages and backgrounds, were both my Mother and my Aunt.  Naturally my Mother knew none of the Hen’s young friends or family and I suspect was somewhat apprehensive in a room full of strangers.  It didn’t take long for some rather raucous debate about the degree of creative licence exercised to foster friendships amid tears of laughter across the whole room!  However it was my great delight to hear that at the Wedding itself the young guests remembered my mother and made a point of saying hello, with smiles and winks!  The pre-wedding fun of a Hens can really help break the ice and provide an opportunity to build new connections without the formalities which surround the Wedding Day.

2. Honour the friendship of  Women

There are many wedding traditions that leave me puzzling, but the one I am increasingly honoured to be part of is the Hens party.  I cherish all my friendships, but there is something unique about my female connections, a special relationship that I know I can always call upon in time of need.  In fact, it is biological.  Time with female friends is known to reduce stress amongst many other benefits.  A Hens party respects and celebrates this unique bond.

3. Show your Support

Getting married is ironically one of the top ten most stressful life events (according to the Holmes and Rahe stress scale.)  Take this opportunity to let the Bride know that you support her as an individual.  Whether you are a friend from childhood, a soon-to-be relative or new ally, be present and go with the flow!

4. Because it is fun for you too!

My philosophy is that a great Hens party is for everyone!  Embarrassing the Bride and boring or ignoring the guests is happily a dying tradition.  The plans and activities may not be your first choice, but put on your dancing shoes anyway (or kick them off!) and find your fun in the experience and the company!

5. Share a Memory

Finally, long after the last of the Wedding cake has been eaten and you can’t remember who you danced with on ‘the big day’, the laughs shared on a Hen’s night will be relived over coffee and chaos for many years to come.  A unique Hens experience is a gift that will be cherished always.

So the next time you are asked to ‘save the date’ ask which date the Hens Party will be and make it a Must not a maybe!