Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday, 6 September 2021

Congratulations Forza Dragon Boat Club - 30 years and still paddling strong!

 Hi everyone, a different post than what I thought I would bring to you today, but I believe it is worth sharing. 

On Saturday night we went to the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Forza Dragon Boat Club. 

Forza Dragon Boat Club Inc (originally Forza Italia Dragon Boat Club) has been an important part of the Bunbury and Western Australian state dragon boat scene since the club was formed in 1991. The club’s 30 year history has shown distinction at local, national and international levels, taking out the coveted Western Australian Grand Prix Trophy in the 1996/97 and the 1998/99 seasons.  (The Italia was dropped from the name in 2003, voted in at an AGM, and in-line with current trends in sporting clubs, and in an effort to recruit more people into the club)

Here is a very early photo of the club - predominantly made up of people from the Italian community and created, managed and coached by Grant Barbera. 

Here is a pic from 1995 after winning a 1000 metre race. That is me in the front row first female on the left. I was much younger, thinner and fitter then! 

But  my family's history with dragon boating started much earlier than this. I paddled in the very first regatta in our city in March 1990 with a corporate team - The SCM Chemicals Dragonbusters. I was working at SCM Chemicals at the time and we put together a team, and trained for a few weeks before the regatta. We came second the to Lord Forrest Hotel in the Inter-Corporate Challenge. 

My goodness what an exciting day it was. I skipped the afternoon of a study course I was doing to compete. The Dragonbusters went on to to be very successful in the Corporate Division over the coming years, and my husband and eldest son followed me into the sport. The Dragonbusters folded at the beginning of the 1994-95 season, and that was when I joined Forza, with my husband and son following me again

Over the time our family has dragon boated, we have paddled on a State and National level, as well as competing internationally in Macau, Hong Kong, Penang and Singapore. I never imagined when I started paddling in 1990 where it would take us. I have never been into ball sports, but I found dragon boating was a perfect fit for me. 

Here I am with the combined Spirt of Bunbury International team before leaving for Hong Kong in 1993... far left second row. 

And with Forza in 1996 just before their Singapore trip after the men's crew won the right to attend the Singapore Invitational Dragon Boat regatta on Sentosa Island. And below that a photo of me with my husband and son at the Singapore regatta. My son was 17 at the time and swept (steered) the boat. 

Without a doubt these were exciting, heady days. The competition was fast and furious and the Bunbury Aqua-Spectacular Dragon Boat Festival had grown to a two day event with three local premier division club competing in mens, womens, mixed, veterans and junior classes (Forza, Spirit of Bunbury and the Bunbury Rowing Club), at least 5 local corporate teams, and a host of novice, ultra novice and high school teams racing against clubs from Perth and on two occasions a team from Asia. 

In 1998, my eldest son Paul, who started his dragon boat career in 1991 as a drummer, going on to become the team sweep, became a coach, and our youngest son Mark started paddling - as of today Mark is the only person in our state association who has Down Syndrome. The support Forza have given him has been absolutely amazing, and I thank them. It is an incredible thing for us that he can compete equally in a mainstream sport, and with his family in one boat. 

Paul - the guy on the back with the big sweep oar keeping the boat straight and yelling at the crew. 

 In 2005, with the help of a few others from our club, we launched Crewsaders Dragons Abreast for breast cancer survivors and their supporters. Part of a global movement for recovery and exercise and support for breast cancer supporters. 

And in 2009, our family was rewarded for our long term commitment to the sport, our club and the Association, when Forza's new Champion Class boat was named The Harrison after us. Below is a pic of us at the boat launch. That's our daughter-in-law in the middle, who had by then joined us. 

Dragon boating is truly a family sport - where all the members of the family, both male and female, young and old, can compete together in the one boat. It has been a great sport for our family over the years. 

But this post wasn't supposed to be about me and my family. 
Over the years hundreds of people have come through the ranks of Forza and dragon boating in Bunbury. Today there is only one club left in Bunbury, Forza, along with their partner crew, Crewsaders Dragons Abreast. Over that time there has been major upsets in the sport when both the State and National bodies were put into disarray and new associations formed. 

Numbers of club members have also waned, and it has been difficult to recruit young paddlers when there is so much on offer throughout our community. But throughout their 30 years Forza have remained true to their integrity and family values and their motto - Community Strength through Paddling.
Along with Fun, Fitness and Friendship.

My husband and I stopped dragon boating about 10 years ago but it still continues to be a part of our life with our two sons still competing, and our eldest still coaching. 

In 2020-21 season Forza won 6 medals at the WA State Dragon Boat titles. A very good result for a small club of mostly over 40 years olds! 

Congratulations Forza on your 30 years. May it continue for another 30. 

I am a life member of the Forza Dragon Boat Club. Here is a pic of me and the other two life members, Mark Kusin and Grant Barbera cutting the anniversary cake on Saturday night. 

What is the history behind dragon boating? It began in China as an occasion to drive off evil spirits and pestilence, to find peace and to supplicate the God of Water to precent diseaster and bring good fortune. The festival was later enriched by the legend of the poet Qu Yuan in 296BC during the Chou dynasty. 

Want to read more: You might like:

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

Monday, 30 August 2021

Home from holidays

 Hi everyone. Regular visitors to my blog would have noticed that I have been missing lately. We have been away for the last 6 weeks travelling through the north of Western Australia. We are safely back now, but I am taking a little while to get back into the swing of life. But I promise I will return soon with stories and pics from our trip.

By the way the wildflowers this season are amazing due to the rain we have had this season.  This is one of the Mulla mulla varieties - Ptilotus Exaltatus

Saturday, 14 August 2021

The steam train ride

Something a little different this week..... the start of a piece for my writer's group's latest proposed anthology - Memories of Childhood. 

Some of this story is true and some is embellishment. I remember taking a steam train ride when I was a child. We travelled from Perth to York, east of Perth, Western Australia's oldest inland town. York was established in 1829 to grow crops to feed the growing Swan River Settlement and became the stepping off point for gold seekers on their way to the Coolgardie-Kalgoorlie goldfields.

The images are from a steam train ride we did in the Hotham Valley Tourist Train a couple of years ago in Dwellingup. Unfortunately I don't have a photo I have taken inside the Perth central railway station. Next time I am in Perth I should go there. 

This one below is from Heritage Perth website. I tried to find an old photo of the inside of the Perth Railway station, but could only find this one taken in 1937 of the outside. 

I can still remember the golden light streaming through the steel and glass roof of the Perth railway station. Dust moats dancing in the glowing mist. The cold early morning air biting my cheeks and fingers. I thrust my hands into the pockets of my buttoned up coat and tug the edge of my new knitted hat. The train hisses, engulfing the platform in billowing clouds of swirling steam and coal smoke.

I hop from one foot to another excited to be here and trying to keep warm. My bare legs and short socks do little to protect me from the cold. My sister and I laugh as we blow our steamy warm breaths into the sunlight.

Mum tells me to stand still and pulls me away from the edge of the platform when I lean over to look at the railway tracks.

“But Mum, I saw a cat running along down there”.

“Rubbish, don’t be silly”.

Dad takes my hand and walks me over to the kiosk where he buys a newspaper and a bag of Fantails from a girl with dark curls framing a big smile and bright red lipstick. Dad winks at me as he secrets the lollies in the pocket of his coat.

As we walk back to where Mum and my sister are sitting on a wooden bench with the picnic basket between them, the train’s whistle blows and the train clunks slowly forward. It hisses as it stops just beyond us, as if it too is impatient to be on its way.

A man with shiny buttons and stripes on his sleeves swings down from the nearest carriage.

“All aboard” he calls.

Dad pulls our tickets from his pocket and hands them to the conductor.

He smiles at me and tips his cap. “Good morning young lady. Up you go.”

Dad lifts me up the first step and I clamber up into the train. I scamper down the carriage looking for the seat number on my ticket. Dad stows the picnic basket on the overhead rack.

We seat facing each other on hard blue vinyl seats which are cold under my legs. Dad pulls down the window and I lean out looking up and down the platform watching the people get on the train.

“All aboard! Last call!” the conductor calls. He blows his whistle and waves a green flag. The train sounds its whistle loudly in reply and we start to move forward. We are on our way.

Out of the station, through the city, and then into the suburbs. The train blows its whistle whenever we come to a rail crossing. I wave to people sitting waiting in their cars at the crossings.

The city is taken over by the trees and green paddocks. Cows and sheep grazing. Farm houses with red roofs and smoke lazily drifting from chimneys. Tractors turning the damp earth. I see a mob of kangaroos bounding away across a paddock, their long tails beating rhythmically on the earth. I lean out the window and watch the engine and carriages curve along the railway line through the trees. The smoke puffing from the train’s chimney in big plumes.

We stopped in historic York for lunch and for people to get off the train. I remember distinctly that Mum had made egg and bacon pie for lunch which we ate on the train. 

Today York is a popular weekend destination for people drawn to its historic buildings, an alternative community for people happy to commute to Perth for work, and has a growing arts community. In the collage below you can see the Town Hall, the old flour mill, the convent school built in 18763 and the York main street.  It's really time I visited York again. 

More information about York here: Visit York

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 
I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

MosaicMonday at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf
Sharon's Sovenirs 
Our World Tuesday
Pictorial Tuesday 
ThroughMy Lens 
My corner of the world through my camera 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global hosted by Randomosity. 
       and Little bird - Pienilintu
Thankful Thursday 
The Lovin' Life Team over at: Deep Fried Fruit
 Month end link up @ Live love craft me

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

Monday, 19 July 2021

The origins of Jack & Jill went up the Hill

 I am sure you all know the nursery rhyme,

Jack and Jill went up the hill

to fetch a pail of water.

Jack fell down and broke his crown

And Jill came tumbling after. 

We had quite a conversation the other night with my grandson about why this is flawed. He pointed out that you wouldn't go up a hill to fetch a pail of water from a well. At the top of a hill the well diggers would have to dig down too far to reach the aquifer. So true. I had never really thought about it, even though I have been plagued by this poem all my life.... my name being Jill. 

I must have thought about it during the night as the next morning after breakfast I drew this, albeit very basic, drawing. 

I realised that there is nothing in the rhyme to suggest they went up a hill to a well, though most illustrations you see have them going to a well on top of a hill. 

I decided therefore that there might be a waterfall feeding into a pool or lake on a hill from which they could scoop the water. We have scooped water with a bucket from a river or lake on camping trips many times. 

My son commented that it just goes to prove that you should never assume. 

And my grandson's response: "If it was a lake at the top of a hill, why didn't it flow right down so they didn't have to walk up at all?"..... good question.....

Our friends who have been to Iceland say that just about around every corner when you do a drive around the island it seems there is a mountain with a waterfall, and a house with a red roof. So I figure this scene I have drawn is plausible. 

This illustration below is from the public domain book, The Book of Knowledge, The Children’s Encyclopedia, Edited by Arthur Mee and Holland Thompson, Ph. D., Vol II, Copyright 1912, The Grolier Society of New York. The original copyright for these books was 1899

The illustration does indeed show a well at the top of a hill

The rhyme continues:

Up Jack got and home he trot

As fast as he could caper

He went to bed to mend his head

With vinegar and brown paper. 

Why vinegar and brown paper? According to History House in the UK: 

This refers to the use of a vinegar and brown paper poultice for the treatment of wounds, bruises and other injuries. It is a very old remedy which is still used today for swelling and bruising, or headaches.

For bruises, one method was to take six or seven sheets of brown paper and soak them in a saucepan containing vinegar. The vinegar was heated and allowed to simmer making sure the paper did not break up. The paper was then applied in layers over the affected area. Often secured in place with a cloth or rag.

But what is the real origin of the Jack and Jill rhyme? Research shows me there are a few different suggested origins. As with many nursery rhymes there is a more sinister origin that we are unaware of as children when we sing them. 

Below is a suggestion according to Vagabomb's article: 10 Dark and Disturbing Origins of Popular Nursery Rhymes written by Shahana Yasmin in 2016. You should click on the link to read about the origins of many of our nursery rhymes. It is fascinating reading. 

One origin suggests Jack and Jill are actually France’s Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, who were convicted of treason during the French Revolution, otherwise known as the Reign of Terror, and beheaded. Jack or Louis XVI, lost his “crown,” i.e. his throne and his head. And Jill, or Marie Antoinette's head soon came tumbling after.

So there you have it, the origins of the Jack an Jill nursery rhyme. I encourage you to go to the Vagabomb post to read about more grizzly backgrounds to our popular childrens' nursery rhymes. For instance, do you know the background of Ring a Ring a Rosie or London Bridge is Falling Down

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed my post today.
Are you a Jill or a Jack? Were you plagued by the rhyme as a child, or even an adult?

And just because the wildflowers are starting to pop in Western Australia I thought I would share a few. 

I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week and stay safe. 

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

Monday, 5 July 2021

The art of botanical eco-printing on paper

Hi everyone. I hope all is well with you and yours. Today's post is in response to a couple of enquiries about eco-printing. 

 The first time I tried the art of botanical eco-printing was at summer school workshop in January 2016 at the Stirling Street Art Centre with Jane Flower from Folios and Fibre. I loved it from the start, but in truth it took me about a year before I actually started to experiment at home. 

Since then I have done some more workshops including an eco-printing workshop in Albany with Penny Jewell but also making inks and paints with Helen Coleman in Mandurah - fascinating! 

I have also done some online workshops with India Flint from The School of Nomad Arts. She is the queen of eco-printing in Australia, and before Covid took over our lives, used to run workshops overseas as well. 

I have also learnt a lot from some on-line Facebook groups for eco-printers like Eco-dyeing with Friends based in Tasmania, Australia. There are lots of these groups on Facebook, if you are on Facebook, with people who generously give their hints. 

In some ways it has taken over my life. But I delve into other arts too! There are so many things I want to explore. 

I really love to eco-print on paper. The very act of laying the leaves on paper, bundling them, and unwrapping to see the result is very relaxing and absorbing. 

In March and May I displayed my work at a couple of art markets, and I was asked by a number of people if I ran workshops. They were disappointed when I said no. 

There are a few reasons for this. I would be "borrowing" the techniques I have learnt from other people - people much more skilled than I who have done hours of study and experiments. To me, borrowing their techniques to teach would be unethical. 

Also I really am still learning. I don't get consistent results. I know myself I have paid for workshops which don't deliver, and I don't want this to happen to any students who might come to a workshop of mine. 

I have a long way to go, and still lots to learn, however, I am happy to share a few simple steps towards printing on paper. If you want to learn more, I will give you some links. 

First of all, gather your leaves. In Australia it is illegal to pick up from the ground or pick leaves from a tree in the natural bush (forest). So really you must do this on private property where you have been given permission. You should also identify your plants, as some plants are poisonous.  

Leaves can be fresh or picked up from the ground. Both react differently in the process, as does the time of year, climate, and how dry the winter was. So many variables! Most of my printing is done with eucalyptus leaves and I have identified a few varieties in my area which print well... usually....but not always! 

Next choose your paper. I use Printmakers paper, though many people use Watercolour paper. Experiment with different papers, but I suggest not using anything too thin as it will just return to the pulp it came from. 

Tear your paper into the sizes you require. You also need something to bundle the papers between. You can use, as I usually do, household ceramic tiles - you know the sort they stick onto walls in bathrooms. Or you can also wrap the paper around rusty cans, or even old engine filters or old trampoline springs!

Next lay your leaves on the paper. I usually dip my paper first in tea water made with about 4 teabags and hot water. The tannin from the tea helps with the printing process.  If leaves are dry, they can be reconstituted by soaking in hot water. 

Lay down the leaves then put another piece of paper over the top. 

Then bundle the paper between the tiles, or around a can, and bind tightly. I do this with strips of cloth, which I reuse over and over. A bit of rust can help with the printing process, but do not use vinegar as this will make the paper brittle. Some people throw rusty nails in the pot. 

Next is to simmer the bundle in a pot of water. I use rain water so it is not affected by chemicals in household water. I believe creek water which has lots of tannins in it is great. The cooking must be done outside in a well ventilated area. DO NOT use pots you are going to cook food in!  Keep dedicated pots. I have a gas burner which I set on my patio. Please be aware of fire bans if you are cooking up a pot in summer. Throw some more leaves into the pot. 

This pot of water can be used again if you are going to use the next day or in a couple of days. The water will get darker, and the prints a little darker with each use. So it is up to you how many times you want to use it. 

Put the bundles in. Bring the pot to the boil, turn the heat down, and simmer for about 45 minutes. Then turn off the heat. I usually leave the bundles in the pot for a couple of hours. Then take out, stand to drain, and don't open until the next day. I then leave them for another couple of days on a bench with weights on top of them. Some people open their bundles straight away. 

In this bundle below which was around an old rusty car air filter, I have put some cloth between the paper and the metal. 

Once the paper is dry, I stack them between sheets of paper under a stack of heavy books for a few days or a week to flatten the papers. 

Each one is uniquely different and cannot be replicated. Leaves picked fresh from a tree will print differently to dry leaves picked up from the earth. Lack of rain will affect the printability. The underside of the leaves (they call it the moon side) will print better than the top side. You can see the difference in this print below. It is often difficult to tell with eucalypts which side is which. 

It is a good idea to take notes to refer back to later, especially when a print works well. 

I love the anticipation of unbundling, though there are often failures which I have no idea why. But you can try overprinting these. 

Prints can be framed, made into greeting cards, or used as covers of notebooks, or whatever you choose!

Doodling on the papers is also fun. Below I have used paint I have made from boiling bark, and an ink pen. 

A few links for further study: 

India Flint, the school of Nomad Arts

Eco-dyeing with friends group on Facebook

Mamies Schoolhouse on Faceboook

Natural Dye Education on Facebook

Eco-printing, dyeing and painting on paper on Facebook

Most important, experiment and have fun. I must stress I am not an expert, you need to do your own study and experiments. I encourage you to do a workshop if you see one in your area. However, be careful, as there is a lot of misinformation out there. 

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this little introduction into botanical eco-printing on paper. Have you tried eco-printing. Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your comments. 

I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.