Saturday, December 4, 2010


this counts as a candle, originally uploaded to the brenneman photo set.
'Where was I ten years ago' was my big question this week. Ten years is a long time, in ten years a lot should change. It is the time frame of those long term goals, those goals aaron always goes on about us not achieving.

Ten years ago I was carrying my first child, I didn't know what he or she would look like or how I'd be as a mother. I knew I would stop work, that I would devote myself to this baby and that I would do the best job I could possibly do. I didn't know that I would spend the first two years waiting—waiting to hear their voice, waiting for them to crawl, to walk, to talk. I didn't know how much I'd relish those moments.  My full time work was over and I was glad of that, my work as a mother was more than enough.  My plans included another child, and a life where I could paint when I wanted and look after the kids as well. Four children later and I would never trade this life, my life for anything.

My canvas and my paints eagerly await my return.  Nearly, I keep saying, nearly.

made paper IImake your life into art
made paper I
That child, the one I was carrying ten years ago, had her birthday this week. I thought 'what was I like when I was ten?'  I began to compare my ten-year-old self to her.  I remember wanting to be a fashion designer, I drew girls in the outfits I would conjure up out of my wardrobe. I listened to my walkman, she listens to her I pod. I would walk to the local shops on errands for my mum and walk home from school, she has only once walked to the post box with a friend and she was ecstatic to have done that, she is driven to school. I didn't really read a whole lot at that age, it was later that I would get into Judy Blume. She on the other hand devours books, the scope and variety she is exposed to I never even knew existed. I remember painting a clown on a canvas at this age, I remember thinking it was really good. She is drawing still lives, making patterns, drawing manga. She draws like she is lost in another world. I was like that when I was in year twelve. She speaks and communicates so eloquently and can negotiate and discuss anything.

I was quiet at home, especially if my Dad was around. My relatives thought I was shy. My sisters thought of me as, well, not really there. I was good at pretending to sleep at night, to soak things in and keeping them as secrets. There were many things to soak in from your teenage sisters. It was only when Dad was not home could I be the at home person my daughter is now. Joking, laughing, being a kid.
the three
My newly turned ten-year-old is all that I wish I had been at her age. I see myself in her when she is with her friends, when she is drawing, when she is struggling with her maths. But mostly at ten, I didn't even know kids like her existed. I cannot possibly imagine where someone like her can go in their life. The miles ahead of my ten year old self that she is now. I am excited and eager to see where her life takes her.

I didn't ever learn to really sew, or to make clothes or to become the designer I wanted to be. But in my late thirties I found that I was actually really happy behind a machine, that I actually could follow a pattern. I wanted to make something special for her tenth birthday, something Mamma made. I may not be sewing them pants and dresses but a fully lined bag seemed do-able.
1 am
Turns out though that tricky doesn't even begin to cover it. I wanted this to be a big bag, large enough to to put all her things in for all those sleep overs. Girls like to carry a lot of stuff, this I learnt begins at age three.

A 1970's print curtain was the perfect weight and the right design to go with the cute turquoise polka dot fabric I had, not at all a conscious decision to use a fabric design  from my childhood. A front pocket was a must, she is writing a diary and has been all year. Of course a cool girl like her would do such a thing.

I am ever so glad that she has recorded her life this year, in her series of diaries, three volumes in total which are more like little collages of her life. I love the little drawings, the large font dates on some pages, the stuck-in pages from when she was at a sleepover and had forgotten her diary. Some pages are typed, some are Eliza drawn, mostly they are indelibly etched, recorded for all time. She will have them to read when she is like me, my age, me right now.


  1. Oh ines you must have wished to have a younger sister to play with.while i was dating boys you were only 10 wow and i was barely there for you.You were so quite and shy and i didnt even realise then that you would have held all those secrets about us.You turned out to be a wonderful mother, sister and a very talented artist, cook and a author, love you ines

  2. OMG Ines, the therapy session at your place was just what we all needed, I feel like a house has been lifted off my shoulders lol.... Thanks for the beautiful afternoon tea, and yes folks, she whipped up a cake, creamed, iced in under an hour!! Tasted magic xo (sis)