Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Before she was famous

Yes, I knew her before...
Deb Conway (brunette), before she was famous. When faux bone/white plastic jewellery was fashionable among the knitting classes. Before Do Re Mi was on Countdown. She was a knitwear model. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

This is my new obsession. Collecting knitting patterns with people in them before they were famous. Yes, a bit of a niche I know. And I only have one other one so far of some curly redheaded broad who used to be in a Country Practice and was later in a tragic travel magazine show and I'd really have to look up her name if only I could be bothered, but one day I'll have a collection to rival the girls at Threadbared.

So this is a nice thought: Before she was famous. At MobWorkspace we can often be found singing under our breath "When, will I , will I be famous" which got stuck in our little budgie brains somehow soon after the arrival of Plastic Girl. And last week we had an article about me, Liana Kabel and some other diamond and gold jeweller (what?! they don't use garbage and found objects?!!) published in the local rag- article link here. So for the benefit of all and sundry I have pasted the full lyrics of this definitive generation x anthem below:

When will I be famous

Yes, you're suitably at one with your body and the sun
Yes, you are
You've read Karl Marx and you've taught yourself to dance
You're the best by far

But you keep asking the question
One you're not supposed to mention
Hey, yeah, oooh!

When will I, will I be famous?
I can't answer, I can't answer that
When will I see my picture in the paper?
I can't answer, I can't answer that

But I can't tell you when
You'll see your name up in lights
When will I, will I be famous?
You keep asking me, babe

You're a slave to fashion and your life is full of passion
It's the way you are
You've suffered for your art with the jogging in the park
You know you should go far

But you keep asking the question (Ooohooo)
One you're not supposed to mention
(I'm not supposed to mention) Yeah, oooh!

When will I, will I be famous?
I can't answer, I can't answer that
When will I see my picture in the paper?
I can't answer (I can't wait), I can't answer that

But I can't tell you when
You'll see your name up in lights
When will I, will I be famous?
You keep asking me, babe (I can't wait)

You won't suffer in silence (Suffer)
You're a talent, you know that I've noticed (I've noticed)
You'd like to be a legend (Ooohooo)
A big star overnight

(Tell me when) I can't answer your question
(I can't wait) It's driving me insane (Ooohooohooo)
And your impossible impatience (Impatience!)
Tearing at my brain (It's tearing away)

Oho, I can't take it, take it much more
Got too much to hope for

(When will I, will I)
When, when, when, when, whe-whe-whe-whe-when will I
Will I, will I
(When will I)
When, when, when, when, whe-whe-whe-whe-when will I
Will I, will, will, will I

When will I, will I be famous?
I can't answer, I can't answer that
When will I, will I be famous?
I can't answer, I can't answer that

When will I, will I be famous?
I can't answer, I can't answer that (What's the final answer?)
When will I see my picture in the paper?
I can't answer, I can't answer that (I can't take it)

When will I (When, when, tell me when)
I can't answer (I can't tell you when), I can't answer that
When will I (Will I be famous)
I can't answer, I can't answer that

When will I (Babe, better believe me)
I can't answer, I can't answer that
When will I (Will I be famous)
I can't answer, I can't answer that

When will I see my picture in the paper?
I can't answer, I can't answer that
When will I (When, when, tell me when)
I can't answer, I can't answer that

When will I, will I be famous?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

War: what is it good for?

Well the plastic toys are about the only benefit I can think of. Here is my flatliner brooch pin range - made from vintage plastic army men. They will soon be available for sale on my online shop. They are a very limited edition as the modern army men no longer are made with good quality plastic that melts nicely. Like cheap easter egg chocolate, they are padded out with dirt, bits of grit and paper. They don't melt so much as burn (photos by war correspondent, Wayne): Anyway, my Flatliners are inspired by the disturbing street art I saw around my 'hood one day:

+ beach plastic + war bowl by mosely meets wilcox + plastic girl's gorgeous melted Tupperware jewels. The Flatliners are spirit blobs. Unlike their pre-melted selves full of action and deadly intention, they are dissolving back into the earth, their weapons gone all flopsy.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Computers are Bad

Okay, time for geek week backlash. My previous posting was the RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) bracelet made from computer keys and today I do NECKPAIN. Because computers are bad for you in so many ways! The Luddites knew what they were doing when they took hammers to the machines of the Industrial Revolution and now we must enact the final solution.
Here are some of the different ways that homo geekiens have managed their computer rage from a survey by University of Maryland where they research all the important stuff. Click here for full list.
  • I name my computers, and I use their names pretty much only when I'm mad at them. When my old computer, Charles, use to be bad..I'd yell, but then I tried giving him hugs instead..
  • I scream at my computer because I know that it hears me and is laughing at me.
  • Pull the plug instead of going through shutdown or report this error to Microsoft.
  • I tend to bang on the keyboard harder when I get frustrated but not to the point of breaking it. I don't curse at the computer but do say harsh words to it occasionally.
  • I take frustration out by yelling foobar outloud as i don't want to damage expensive hardware. I also tell everyone around me how evil my computer/ the technology was.
  • I've never hit a computer screen hard enough to break it, but this week I hit my car windshield and cracked it. Maybe I should find a road rage survey.
  • I often show my PC the middle finger!
  • I sometimes put my Hands around my monitor's "neck"
etc etc, very funny...University of Maryland seems to have an entire faculty devoted to the study of Computer Rage and you can visit this site to find safe and cathartic ways of venting like the recommended mouse torture pictured at left.
I have often come close to some of these behaviours whilst editing the jewellers and metalsmiths A5 booklet quarterly newsletter but never whilst blogging. Blogging is good. Nothing bad has happened to me while blogging...yet. Any rage against computers comes out of me in the way I meticulously take apart computer bits and reconstruct them into delicate pieces of jewellery.

Seriously but. They have improved a bit over the last 20 years. I remember back in the bad old days of the early 90s I sharehoused with a systems analyst who would return home from a 90 hour week sporting monitor burns all over his face and looking like Michael Gambon in The Singing Detective. We didn't have much sympathy for him though as he was earning more in a couple of hours than we earned in the whole week as underemployed artists!
But maybe we are getting more intolerant of computers. We should be more in control of negative emotion. My theory is the more disposed you are towards inflicting violence on a computer, the more likely you are to inflict it on a living creature. Like those studies on domestic violence survivors whose pets have also been at the receiving end of violence before and while the interhuman abuse got really bad. Anyway, food for thought. If you are going to enact violence or nasty words on anything, think of how it might effect those around you first. Have a laugh at yourself instead! And do it for the sheer joy of destruction, not out of hate!

Don't forget, Junk IT starts this friday!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Geek Week 7: Geek go bye bye

All this blogging has given me an overuse injury. It is only 8.05pm but I am sooo sleepy. Guten nacht meine kleine geekinder.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Geek Week 6: Coastal nerd shortage

During a recent trip to Point Lookout I was alarmed by a geek shortage that surely must be threatening scientific research. Those expecting to find people surfing, swimming, fishing, not wearing very much clothing even for a chilly day would not have been disappointed. However, those looking to find the usual cluster of nerds perched high on a windy rocky outcrop roped off from the public with ‘do not disturb’ signs, clipboards, number clickers and binoculars counting humpback whales were totally let down. And that includes me.
It is one of my favourite winter holidays to watch the official whale watchers do their stuff. It is all to do with the oh-so cute way that they square their backs and grind their teeth to all the annoying questions from lingering tourists.
Now its not like there weren't any whales going past either. Mind you, maybe they’ve relocated the whale count to the sushi train. Spare a thought for the whales though- after all, they are headed to Hervey Bay to be chased around by Mimi MacPherson while trying to give birth. That's no picnic. Some of them may well prefer the slow mercy of the harpoon. And if Aussie scientists cannot even be bothered to count them, let the Japanese scientists have a go.

So I had to console myself with collecting beach plastic and once again I was upset by the tides of change. A luddite really does not like progress. And that is what appears to have happened. I always used to find a few treasured and weathered plastic soldiers/Indians/cowboys among all the beach plastic, funeral flowers, pumice, used condoms and syringes in the flotsam at South Gorge but this time came up empty handed. Children must have changed their patterns of play since I last noticed. Did someone say they are all indoors eating cheezels and blasting away the enemy on their megastations instead of playing civilised wargames with plastic figures in the great outdoors? And those prissy-pants clean-up-Australia-do-gooders have been at it again, picking up all the plastic flotsam and moving it to their secret locations. I must say I find it all very upsetting.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Geek week 5: Dungeon Master Blaster

Okay, I live with a Dungeon Master. It's out now. I don't have to call him DM or anything weird like that, to me he is just Wayne the Magnificent. And from what I hear, he runs a bloody good game though I have never been a part of Wayne's world in that respect.

He pulled together a bunch of gamers via the internet and every year they have their anniversary D&D game at the Marriott hotel. You can check out the website for their current game and a view into their world of Anderfarnoria.
One year he asked me to make amulets for each of the characters for the anniversary game. That is one kind of anniversary these nerds will never forget and everyone knows jewellery is always important for these commemorations. So I made these (selection pictured above) from pebbles collected on remote beaches in Aust and New Zealand with engraved symbols that related to each the characters. So here I am- Jeweller to the Nerds.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Geek week 4: Blessed be the geeks

After Miss Liana and Miss Windbag’s blogs yesterday about not being particularly geeky at all and being 80% geeky (respectively), I paused to reflect on the generous nature of the nerds that are around us. We all have an alpha nerd friend to help us out when we get in a fix. They are always super helpful and seem to love the challenge of solving tricky problems. No matter how nerdy you are, there is someone nerdier and they seem to want to share their knowledge and help you to learn. They are like a bunch of hippies and it reminds you that the human capacity for cooperation and sharing has played as large a role if not greater than the 'survival of the fittest' model that we are told is the fundamental evolutionary truth (and actually is in some art circles)! It is a hidden economy of gifting that never really gets recognised by economists and has had good things like the Linux open source systems that are spreading so much joy among microsoft haters. I hope the nerds know that they are appreciated by neo-luddites like me. For all that they do.

I said to Liana once that my alpha nerd partner and his nerdier friend were going to upgrade the computer that we share to add more storage capacity and that they had ambitions to make it into a super computer. Backups had to be done of my precious image files and it was a major disruption to my blogging/internet schedule. She said “God I HATE it when they do that!” It’s true, I wouldn’t mind how many gigglewhatsits my computer has. As long as I’m number one on a google search for ‘jewellery’ I couldn’t care less. And it is the geeks that hold the key to that.

Now I'm off to the beach for a coupla days to de-geek and watch whale watchers.

Geek week 3: Geek Gold Mine

Today I am giving you a sneak peek of some of the gorgeous GEEK CHIC must haves NOT made by Rebecca-the-Wrecker available at the upcoming Junk IT exhibition. And they are ALL so very green - in more ways than one.

It is interesting how they are all so green and green. Our graduate student at MoBWorkspace , Bibi Locke, has an environmental conscience and was asking me how to get green gold in Australia. Green gold is recycled gold from IT waste and other industrial applications as well as old jewellery. It is used in electronics because it has such wonderful working properties and in its pure form never tarnishes or corrodes in air. Shame on me, I didn't know much so did a bit of research. But it looks like you have to be careful about the source of any green gold that you might lay your hands on if you want it to be ETHICAL as well! I found an article on ABC online about the problem of E Waste. Here is an except:

"'Recycling centres' have sprung up in developing nations to cater for the exported waste. Electronic goods are reused or recycled in unregulated and unsafe conditions. In towns like Guiyu in China it is not uncommon to see open burning of plastics and wires and smelting of circuit boards to reclaim metals. Riverbank acid baths are used to extract gold. Lead-containing cathode ray tubes from monitors and television sets don't render much of marketable value and so are dumped. Toner cartridges are pulled apart manually, sending clouds of toner dust into the air. The workers, some of whom are children, generally work without facemasks or protective clothing. Guiyu's ground water is now so polluted that drinking water has to be trucked in from 30km away"


"A few years ago the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) started a mobile phone and battery recycling program. AMTA partnered with environment group Planet Ark to educate the Australian public about the program. Hundreds of thousands of mobile phones have been recycled, recovering gold, nickel, copper and plastics for other manufacturing and keeping the cadmium from the batteries out of landfill and therefore out of the water table. This program is now a role model for both mobile phone recycling programs overseas and for recycling programs for other types of electronic waste."
read entire article here
Gold has always had a bloody history. Even recently. Who knows if some of the gold in your wedding ring may have been stolen by Nazis from the people they persecuted in the death camps? Or torn carelessly from the earth in developing countries with devastating health and environmental impacts for the surrounding communities and underpaid workers?
This photo of the flooded jungle downstream from the Ok Tedi mine in PNG. Source: courtesy Mineral Policy Center. It comes from a World Resources Institute article on on one of the worst recent gold mining disasters close to home for Australia geographically and economically with the involvement of Australian mining company BHP.

An organisation promoting ethical gold to the US public and jewellers No Dirty Gold and is supported by influential Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) They maintain that gold mining is one of the dirtiest industries on earth and have urged retailers to adopt a clean gold policy. It sounds like something I should follow up and let you know what I find out. Because to be honest, silver is gold's naughty little sister and I've gotta do some detective work to see where mine is coming from.

Anyway, enough of all the doom and gloom. If you want to avoid all that and support ethical local production, get along to Junk IT next week! I'm going to get there especially early for Danielle Wood's fabulous handbag so HANDS OFF everyone!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Geek Week 2: False idolls

After seeing Miss Liana's geek week posting showing her collection of Liana 'Kelly' dolls I started to wonder if it was really safe working with her in the studio. It's a bit weird. We haven't asked residents before to undergo psychological testing but now might be a good time to start.To try to normalise her fetish, here are a few of my favourite dolls. Because I'm really normal.
The 'Pretty in Plaid' Barbie was a present from my workmates when I quit fulltime hard labour at the library 7 years ago. But not before taking my employer to the Industrial Relations Commission for daring to move my desk (true!). In losing the case (due entirely to the outrageous political influence of the conservative party anti-worker legislation), I was left with no other option but to quit in pique and set up my jewellery studio, something I'd been avoiding since graduating college 6 years before.
I think my cybrary workmates got me a barbie because I so needed a few pointers in the personal grooming dept. As a child I never had a Barbie though secretly desired one. Thus I missed out on acquiring the skills so critical to the development of a successful female. My younger sister had campervan barbie, spa barbie, pool barbie, crystal barbie and Ken and all I had was some cheap barbie ripoff air hostess doll whose legs would not even bend backwards. My sister is now married with 3 children and I'm rebecca-the-wrecker.
As a direct result of barbie deprivation during the developmental stage of feminisation, I went through a mercifully brief stage of melting and cutting up barbies into jewellery and meathook sculptures during the latter half of a gold and silversmithing degree. While the results had none of the sophistication of an exquisite Margaux Lange design, this did enable me to avoid learning how to set faceted gemstones. Today I still don't know how to use makeup and I cut my own hair into a variety of scarecrow influenced styles. But Pretty in Plaid Barbie helps me to understand the concept at least. She stands on top of my bookcase and commits suicide everytime a train rattles past. I think the thought of public transport fills her with despair. And any children who visit and ask to play with Miss Pretty in Plaid are given short shrift indeed.

My Novas Infinite Doll (number 11) is one of Florence Forrest's wonderful creations and an essential for all radiation affected geeks. Novi sits next to my computer and soaks up electromagnetic radiation which it needs to survive. Sometimes Novi helps me sort through old keyboards to find stuff for my neo-luddite range. Like the Barbie, Novis are not really suitable for young children. A little baby who was visiting with his mother the other night mistook the electromagnetic radiation absorption beak for something that might dispense breast milk. Poor Novi! He is in trauma counselling.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Chic Geek Week 1

Welcome to geek week on Rebecca the Wrecker, Plastic Girl and Windbag and Thunder (and whoever else wants to join in!
I am starting off with my "I Robot" Necklace made from computer key and st silver- part of my new neo-luddite range.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

There's a Bear in There

Being a procrastinator by nature, I have not yet managed to part with the Bear. In truth, I am finding it a bit difficult. Everytime I get dressed, sometimes more than twice a week in the winter months, I have a desire to wear the Bear but am forced to settle for some inferior garment like a woolly old jumper or my daggy brown velvet jacket.
Don't worry, I did wash the Bear in preparation. I even used soap. Nasturtiums were cast over my neo-luddite methods which did NOT involve a fabric softener or complicated squeezing water out of the fabric to promote fluffiness of the pile. And I even cut off his button eyes in preparation for his transformation but I came to the conclusion that more was needed to help me move on. Something religious if not overly spiritual. So the Bear was duly crucified and parcelled up to prepare him for resurrection at the skilful hands of Florrence Forrest aka Dolly Doctor who has kindly offered to turn him into my new best friend, "Coatie". A teddy bear with a past life and a great future.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Hair Control for Neo Luddites

At 'Junk IT' I'll be launching a revolutionary new approach to hair control:
The Neo-Luddite Hair Control System uses a blend of computer technology and old fashioned elastic to deliver a crafty solution to all of your head hair styling requirements.
Eliminating the need for hot rollers, permanent waves, various nasty chemical styling products, not to mention those endless trips to the hair stylist, this simple and affordable product empowers the wearer to take full coiffure control. Flexible and easy to use, available in the latest fashion colours, be sure to try the Neo-Luddite Hair Control System soon before everyone else does!
*Available PC or MAC format
**Available in single strand or double strand elastic for heavy hair days

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Spot the phoney

It’s not difficult to become disillusioned at the unrelenting ugliness of our built environment. We could be anywhere in the (western) world circa 2006 I guess, it's like a cruel god has taken a cloning stamp along the main road and repeated the same combination of tilt slab supastores/billboards over and over. But every now and then you find a speck of gold that makes it all okay. One to look out for when driving north out of Brisbane is a certain palm tree of significance. Passing though Windsor, Lutwyche, Kedron, if somehow you manage not to run your car into the nearest power pole out of despair, look to your right. Next to the abandoned 1970s Pizza Hut you will see an amazing sight. One of these palm trees is an imposter.

The genius of nature is at work behind this wonderful disguise for a mobile phone tower. Being a neo-luddite I eschew the mobile telephone, but if I had one, I would immediately plant it in my back yard and watch it grow into one of these beautiful trees. For surely they have learned to replicate themselves. The fruiting body of this example has been fertilised by millions of messages from mobile phones all over the world ensuring the diversity of the gene pool. In a bizarre twist, the phones have used the humans as agents for their sexual reproduction – you've heard of 'phone sex'.

Ripe and ready, the phonelings drop to the ground to be collected by hungry humans always demanding the freshest, fanciest phones. Sadly, they get smaller every year, suggesting that the population is under threat. Or is natural selection playing its part here? From Palm to palm the cunning phone is then dispersed far and wide waiting for the day when it is discarded or lost and returned to the soil to begin all over again.

I hope they put a Vegetation Protection Order on it.