Op shops and kites

AnneBannockYesterday I featured Lynn Taylor’s response to Barbara Strang’s haiku, on a diet. The collage above is Anne Bannock’s response to Barbara’s poem, Op Shop Fever. It is the most wonderful poem. If you’ve read John Masefield’s Sea Fever then you’ll recognise Barbara’s source of inspiration.  Anne has captured the very essence of an Op Shop. Anne sent me the above photo before it was framed – good thinking on Anne’s part as once framed there’s always a slight problem capturing the photo without my reflection sneaking into the shot! A framed view taken from an angle to avoid reflections so it looks somewhat skewiff but I assure you the framing is perfect!


Claridge, Beverly001

Beverly Claridge created this delicious mixed media artwork after reading Gary McCormick’s poem, Daughter.

And after framing, it looks like this.


After months of preparation for our Bellamys at Five exhibition, it will all be over in five days. But we’re finishing with a flourish.  Do come along to Questions and Artists for a very informal afternoon with Janet de Wagt chatting to some of the artists represented in the exhibition.

Poems in the Waiting Room presents

Questions and Artists

Sunday 22nd September from 1.30 -3.00pm

Bellamys Gallery, Macandrew Bay, Dunedin.

Pauline Bellamy, Claire Beynon, Laura Gregory, Peter Gregory, Kate Fitzharris, Cathy Shemansky and Lew Walsh will be chatting to Janet de Wagt about their exhibition work, the poem they chose to interpret and more……..

Seats are limited so please book in advance to avoid disappointment. Email: waitingroompoems@gmail.com or leave a message on 03 4542054 with name, number attending and contact details. Entry by koha/donation to Poems in the Waiting Room.

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Believe’n diets

Shemansky small

Cathy Shemansky chose UK poet Tom Kelly’s poem Believe for her pastel artwork. The  poem starts like this…

It’s happening, the odd crocus
edges out between rocks and trees,
blue tongues licking crisp sunshine

Cathy’s work is stunning, and the colours are marvellous.

Lynn's crittersLynn Taylor’s little sisters stole the show and sold like hotcakes. They were created in response to Barbara Strang’s haiku,

on a diet
she devours
recipe books

Lynn wrote the following:

Feed our sisters. Some of us are full but some sisters have been on a diet of recipe books too long and have been reduced to slinkies. Please save them so they can be stuffed with some tasty dacron or at least have a new view! (You can choose to keep your Slinky Sister as a wall piece or have her evolve into a stuffed girl)

These personalities respond to the haiku I chose and also blend with my own waiting room experiences. While undergoing chemotherapy I was hypnotized to help me turn up to the treatments. A part of this therapy was to visualise a little monster friend who would come along with me – a fun creature who counteracted the grim reality.

Mixed media: new fabrics, predominately hand dyed and screenprinted fabrics, including vintage table cloths and doilies. Buttons, domes, thread, dacron etc. Fabric imagery is made from dying fabrics and overprinted with text from recipe books, silverfish (the ultimate book devourers) scales, tape measures and kitchen items.

DSC02058And again using the same haiku as her theme Lynn made these soft leather and hardcover hand bound books.

Variety of papers, including reconstituted paper handmade from a pulped (Devoured) recipe book -“Dine with Elizabeth”. Screen print, paint, embroidery thread, shell button.

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Four Poets

Before and after By the time I arrived at Bellamys this morning John and Pauline had not only collected the seating but also arranged it so everyone would be able to view the poets. All I had to do was set out the food, organise the drinks and fluff around until our first audience members arrived. All 60 seats were sat upon so we had a Full House. I intended to capture all the audience but  after taking one photo I was distracted and then just plain forgot!

Please excuse the poor quality of photos –  I planned to take heaps but I was enjoying the readings so much I set the camera down and then it was a case of oops quick grab a photo before he/she sits down.

The 4 poets settling inThe Four Poets – Brian Turner, David Eggleton, Kay McKenzie Cooke and Emma Neale waiting while Sue Wootton makes the introductions.

Sue WooSue is a wonderful MC . Her background research on each reader was spot on and she has this knack of making both the audience and poets feel at ease.

KayKay was first up followed by

Brian TurnerBrian and then

Emma NealeEmma

David speed readingwith David closing the show.

The photos seem to get blurrier as the readings progressed.  I assure you no alcohol was consumed before or during the reading. You know that expression ‘a bad hair day’ well for me it was a ‘bad camera day’.

The poets, Sue, the audience, my catering mates, the Bellamys and my ever supportive husband, Barry,  all made this event thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you all.

The food2

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Visitors to the Gallery

card tableIt was blustery and wild down at Macandrew Bay this afternoon. Visitors were blown in the door and the blazing fire was an immediate attraction. There’s something about a weathery day, people’s conversations are softer, words are slower, and hugs are closer.

gallery visitorA cat came in from the cold but wouldn’t venture far from the door once she spied Tabitha, who was visiting the Gallery with her owner Pat Berman.  Pauline stopped for a break from working in her studio and

Gallery visitor 2wandered into the Gallery with some home-made bread and cheese for my lunch.

sharing my lunchMouth full how could I resist Tabitha’s well-practiced ‘starving look’. Note the speaker in the background. I collected the sound system this morning for our FOUR POETS reading tomorrow afternoon. We’re closing the Gallery from 1-3 while the reading is on as there will be no room for wandering around – we have a FULL HOUSE.  John happily tested the microphone giving me a private poetry recital!

gallery viewsViews of the Gallery on various days. Note the fire is out in the lower picture – proof it is not always cold in Dunedin!

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When penguins come home in the evening


Penguins lurking in the Gallery

Back in my teens I spent many weekends exploring the Otago peninsula. I never failed to be enthralled by the evening sight of penguins surfing onto the beach on their bellies, waddling over the sand and hopping up the dunes to their burrows. When I first read Fiona Farrell’s poem, Penguins, I was immediately transported back to those years.  Penguins tells us about these small creatures clambering onto the rocks to their burrows. If you’ve ever wondered what they do when they get to the burrows well Fiona has the answer.  Naturally, they take off their shoes and socks!

Philip Webb selected Penguins as the poem he wanted to work with and created two artworks – one on a canvas and one we have framed.


Penguins 1 on canvas


Penguins II prior to framing

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Beaches and cabbage trees

DSC02075Lesley Towart’s take on Rosalind Horsman’s poem, Beach. This artwork took some placing as it is intricate, small, and exquisite. The large walls of the Gallery were too overpowering so we found a small nook where it looked at home. On Thursday Pauline and I had a play and moved works around, just for the sheer joy of rearranging them. We found another nook for Beach where it looks equally at home. Come on down to the Gallery and see Beach. You may think the best place for it is on your walls!

DSC02065Jo Keppel’s response to my poem, After the rains, is wonderful. Jo created five small works  – mixed media collage – which follow the five verses of the poem. They can be hung side by side, one under the other or even purchased separately.

Because there’s no need for me to seek permission from the poet to reprint the poem on the blog, here it is!

After the rains

After the ten day rains we ease our way out of
the house where we have become to ourselves
and each other, unbearable.

He points out the lettuce tree like the one at kindy.
I correct with ‘cabbage.’ As long as there’s no
brussel sprout trees he’s not bothered.

He whispers, see the wind breezing the beautiful
flowers, and the daffodils nod in delight
at this recognition.

Our stale and snappy winter words have been
released and spring’s warmth is seeping
into our conversation.

I’ve got little hummings bubbling inside me and
I haven’t swallowed a bee. I catch his sideways
look and we burst out laughing.

Ruth Arnison


He whispers, see the wind breezing the beautiful flowers


Our stale and snappy winter words have been released

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Last year John Holmes created a tiny concertina book for the exhibition which featured several of the haiku poems. This year John has printed and bound several poems into another beautiful concertina book and it comes with its own slip cover. No more words, I’ll let the book speak for itself.


Year of the Dragon

A Rainy DayThe first and the last poems are illustrated.

DSC02036The concertina book with some of the slip covers in front

Poems featured in John’s book are; Table Manners by Pauline Cartwright, Turf War by Sue Wootton, Radishes by Lorna Crozier, Year of the Dragon by Greg O’Connell, A Rainy Morning by Ted Kooser, and Life’s Little Indignities by Alistair Robinson.

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