Saturday, 31 May 2008

Friday Archive (belated)

The cover illustration for my entry in to the Textiles Institute competition in 2nd year at RMIT Brunswick. The Grand prize was/is 4 weeks tuition and accommodation at the Paris American Academy.

Probably the last time I played with gouache and pencils (I was soon after introduced to Adobe illustrator
and it's been my friend ever since).

I was a finalist, but wasn't really in a position to give it my all (quite the theme for my time at Fashion School really).

I am sometimes saddened that I was not able to take advantage of all the awesome opportunities that crossed my path at RMIT. But bigger things were happening, not all apparent from the surface. It is this deeper story I am reminded of when ever I see this drawing.

Still reeling from my Grandfather's death the previous year - it was a time of great emotional upheaval for me.

Part of my rationale for going back to Uni was to find somewhere to hide while I continued my daily, if not hourly, battle with clinical depression. My ability to function had been seriously hampered for some time, but I loved working with textiles and if I didn't show up for a few days no-one got cross. As a Mature Age student, most teachers guessed if you weren't there you had a good reason.

My Grandfather's death set in motion a series of events that have changed my life dramatically. Ultimately for the better, but in the midst of the maelstrom it was hard to see that.

I had chosen to cease all contact with my Mother. A decision that was not made lightly. A decision that still makes me an outcast with half of my family (including my nearly 99 year old maternal Grandmother). A decision that had me frightened, however irrationally, that she would show up on my wedding day and try to ruin the one thing that has kept me alive. I have grieved for the loss of her in my life. And I suspect I will always despise Mother's day for its annual reminder that I chose to rip out my own heart rather than let it kill me from the inside out.

I started going to CASA house. Buried deep was a secret so horrific I'd managed to hide it from several years of psychological analysis. The layers covering up the abuse were finally starting to be peeled off. Several years on, I still struggle to put this into words. If I could write a dedication in the book of "my life so far...", I would note profound gratitude to my counselor Mary M, for well, everything.

But from this pile o' shite, some flowers were born. With the money from Granpa's small estate, my Dad took me on an overseas pilgrimage to discover my roots. It was a profound experience with infinite joyous memories I draw from everyday.

I also got the opportunity to get to know my father. Our past together is complicated. He was a violent and angry man for a long time. He hurt my brother and I very deeply. But I have managed to achieve an adult relationship with him, which I value very much.

I also realised that Jms was my "till death do us part" guy. Despite our shared experiences of diabolical marriages, it was still an institution worth signing up for. Sitting in the bath, as he washed my hair, post 22 hour flight from LA, I informed him we were getting married.

I think I managed to make it back to school for the rest of the semester (mostly). I cobbled a garment together for the finalists' fashion parade, but my heart wasn't in it. My brain was busy re-wiring itself.

And I can honestly say - that I must have done a pretty good job of it - because my current RSI "stumbling block" has not plunged me back into the darkness of depression. It may inspire tears, frustration and require a re-think of my career path and goals, but by and large I am pretty happy to be here.

My friend, the gorgeous and awe inspiring Laura, won the competition. And she deserved it. I may have delusions of fashionistic grandeur, but this girl IS fashionistic grandeur - and with the callouses to prove it. I continue to be blown away by her hard work and vision. I await the debut of her own label with bated breath.

1 comment:

Lilli boo said...

You are one diabolical girl..I read your post on my blog and laughed out loud that Orion asked me what was so funny..didn't know how to explain that one! Then I though I'd see what you had been up to and find I am riding this most amazing roller coaster with you Cato, I was almost in tears..girl you know how to affect a person...Just remember you are also one very talented and incredible have much to offer the world through your creativity..don't ever forget that!