The magical iPhone adventure

I thought it might be fun to have a few guest posts* on the blog while I’m neck-deep in book writing, so I’ve asked a few pals to tell us why creativity is so important in their lives. I’ll still be popping by for the occasional tiny hello (and photos, of course) and I also have a couple of fantastic Creative Life interviews up my sleeve too. I’m thinking of all of you as I write these chapters, thinking about what you’d want to know and what will be helpful. I’m being as honest as i can, and continually pushing myself to dig deeper, down into the guts of healing and creativity. There’s no map to where i’m headed so i’m making it up as i go along :)

Now, on with the show! My first guest poster is the indomitable and fabulous, Ms Sas Lockey…

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The first time I took a photo of myself as an adult, was when I Unravelled. It was bloody terrifying. And it necessitated many minutes (okay, an hour) spent doing my hair and make-up. Because even though I spend every day wearing my face in the world, taking a photo felt (still feels sometimes) very different.

Like many people, my relationship with the camera has not been a happy one. I was so self-conscious as a child, so awkward and uncomfortable in my body, family photos of me show a dour and sunburnt child with a tangled ginger ‘fro from the New Zealand beach air. Images of teenage me painfully show the increasing awareness of how unattractive I felt. I look so miserable. And these were the vignettes my dear Gran chose to enlarge and frame for her wall (aka: Hallway of Shame). The whole business of taking photos became associated with feeling completely rotten about myself.

Since then about thirty years has gone past. And because of everything that has happened to me, I have managed to let go of so much fear and learn how to be my own best friend. And living this knowledge makes me feel a little bit like wonder woman; as though I have a glorious secret.

But even with my grown-up knowledge and confidence, it has taken me the longest time to be comfortable in front of and behind a camera. As a blogger, I have always used words to tell my story, it wasn’t until Unravelling that I even considered that pictures can do this too! When I upgraded my battered and scratched blackberry to an iPhone, a switch was flicked: it was so convenient to always have a zippy little camera in my pocket. I found I was noticing EVERYTHING.

Now I see photos all over the place: mundane everyday things like the contents of my breakfast bowl or a stack of books. I am so much more aware of detail: dappled light on a stone wall, trees dipping into the river, street signs. I have taken so many photos of our cats, Rex and Badger, they actually pose now. With props.

Apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic have made it so easy to experiment. I have a Posterous site that I post my photos to (this took minutes to set up, it’s really easy!), and now there is an extra thrill from sharing what I see.

When I first met Susannah, there were several occasions where I would find myself smiling reassuringly at strangers on the street, in case they thought I was Bonkers Talking-To-Herself Lady, when it was just that I had kept walking and talking and Sus had paused a minute earlier to polaroid a rusty abandoned van. I have always been so impressed (and a bit envious) that she sees beauty everywhere.

Now I completely understand that joy of creating something, just by pointing and clicking. And it has completely shifted my perspective of how I see my little corner of the universe.

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Blogging at Sas’ Magical Mystery Tour and tweeting as @saslockey, Sas is a London-dwelling, ex-pat kiwi. By day she tackles government officials and tech-savvy geeks (usually wearing red pants). Off duty, Sas is an avid reader, driven by curiosity. She is fascinated by proper science, philosophy and the possibility of aliens. Sas is coulrophobic. She does not have an Etsy store.

[photos by Sas – portrait of Sas by me]

* all guest post slots have now been allocated. Thanks to everyone who’s enquired!

The 2010 Gift List

I love buying/giving presents, I love shopping online and I love handmade stuff, so it makes sense that I spend a LOT of time on Etsy. Admittedly I tend to gift myself with presents throughout the year, but i temper my guilt with the knowledge that I’m supporting artists and makers who are running their own creative biz, just like me.

So as it’s that time of year again, I thought I’d indulge my secret dream (to run an artsy handmade boutique–how much fun would that be, eh?!) and share some of my Etsy favourites:

Clockwise from top left: I’ve been lusting after this print from Dolan Geiman for ages; likewise this cute wooden family from Gypsy & Twink.
Very proud to own this retro print cushion from Roddy & Ginger, and love wearing this necklace from Edor – it’s so delicate and perfect.
These soy candles from Oakmoss are the bomb – my favourites are her Sanctuary and Peace blends. Divine!
Jen Altman’s 2011 Polaroid calender looks amazing – i want one!
I have a glasses case like this one from Oktak and it protects my sunglasses perfectly – recommended.
Mr owl lives very happily next to my Roddy & Ginger cushion :)
Everything Mati Rose paints make me ridiculously happy, and these 80s movie coasters from Retro Whale are just too good to be true.
If i had a Mr Photobird in my life he’d find a ‘stashe hip flask in his stocking this year. Totally.
‘Pugs not Drugs’… Need I say more?
I need this tiny wooden Polaroid brooch from Craft Folk. NEED it!
Two more Polaroid calenders from lovely Alicia Bock and Cori Kindred – must haves!
You can’t go wrong with any purchase from my favourite perfumier on Etsy, Sweet Anthem.

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For more gift ideas check out my Pinterest boards (there’s a special list for Wobbles here :) Thanks to Victoria at Sfgirlbybay for inspiring me to make a list!

The Girl Effect

This video about the Girl Effect makes me cry every time I watch it; the combination of the music, the graphics and the information just presses all my buttons in a way that not many campaigns do.

And maybe it’s because i’m still ill with this virus, but I’m finding it hard to write this post today. I watch the video and tear up; i go to the website and i feel overwhelmed. I want to help, and I will definitely donate as much as I can, but it just doesn’t feel enough. I don’t have first-hand experience of life in third-world countries the way my friends Marianne, Letha and Lisa do – I wish i could get on a plane with a bag of old cameras and spend the day playing and creating to help these girls – any girls, all girls – feel seen and heard, to help them feel important. Because they really are – the stats say there are 600 million adolescent girls living in developing countries, and each has the potential to raise the standard of living for herself, her family, her community and her country. I really do believe it.

I believe that girls can do amazing things.

Today I’m joining 30+ bloggers in the Girl Effect Blogging Campaign, a collaboration organised by Tara Sophia Mohr to raise awareness in our corner of the blogosphere. I know that I’m never going to change the world on a global scale, but i can do what i do here in my own small way. My work – Unravelling, writing, photography –  is all about empowering women, so I’m going to recommit to doing the work i do here, and send money so that the people who make a difference can do their work there.

It’s a start. It’s something. One day I hope to do more.

What we can do right now:
  • Learn more. Be informed. Share the reports.

  • Donate: I’m donating money to girls in Kibera, Nairobi, to buy film for their photography lessons.
  • Raise awareness: write a post about the Girl Effect and join Tara’s blogging campaign – tweet about it using the #girleffect hash tag

    Will you join me today and share the videos and some thoughts on the Girl Effect on your blog? Little seeds grow into big plants – let’s start today :)

  • Day twenty-two

    Had a few technical issues during yesterday’s enrollments which left me tearing my hair out for the first hour they were open, but we got there in the end! Luckily I had two guardian angels watching over me as I battled with technology: the butterfly that flew in through the window and kept me company, and the painting that arrived in the post yesterday from my pal Mati Rose. Wings & feathers reminding me to stay calm. For the August break.
    [me & Mati Rose last December in SF]