Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Projects and Tanned Skin


Emma's blog, Small Town Stories was one of the very first I started reading and it continues to be one of my favourites. I love seeing what she's up to back in New Zealand, very near to where we hope to settle, watching her and her husband Tom carve a little life out for themselves in Featherston. She is also a very talented maker of pretty bags, brooches and beautiful prints (I hope to have one of my own one day!), to see more take a look over here! Thanks, Emma.

Summer in New Zealand falls at the end of the year, beginning in December and wrapping around the last month to begin the year in warm weather, tanned skin and swimming holes. As the working year ends, as a parting gift we’re all given a boost of serotonin, peppered with a touch of Christmas and some New Year resolutions.

Summer for me has always also meant projects. I don’t really lie on beaches. I’m pale for a start but I’m also always thinking – what can I built next, what print should I create, is there something I can sew that I haven’t thought of yet?

When I was younger, my brothers and I spent our school holiday summers building BMX tracks in the bush (forest) out the back of our house. We constructed jumps from ashes collected throughout the year, cut and hacked through branches and raked and dug and cleared pathways before spending afternoons with friends who we dared to go faster and jump higher than we knew how.

These summers I like to plant flowers and vegetables in the garden, when growing seems easiest. I like to nap in the afternoons to avoid the heat. And I like to set myself summer projects so that when I return to work I can look down at my tanned arms and know I have achieved something greater and more tactile than a few shades of darker skin.

A couple of years ago, my husband Tom and I spent two weeks clearing neck-high weeds, raking over earth and sewing grass for our back section. The summer before last I built a gate in the middle of a fence that blocked me from a great blackberry patch and painted the kitchen floor. And although this summer is still five months away for me, I know that I’ll make an edition of prints and paint the little bedroom that we hope will one day be our baby’s.
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