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by Sharon Davey
(Darwin, NT, Australia)
I am originally from WA outback, from a time before some station homesteads had electricity, when food was still cooked in wood burning stoves (best smell in the world), washing was done in "coppers" using Sunlight soap and the old blue bags, emergency contact was burning a stack of tires burnt for their thick black smoke that could be seen for miles.
My first school was at a aboriginal mission called "Jigalong" where I was the only white kid. Seem to remember that all I learnt there was how to sew bean bags for team sports. We were taken on bush food foraging parties with the women all the time, we were treated as one of the kids. In the afternoons all the women and children would trek @ 5 miles to the branding yards to watch the men gelding and branding scrub cattle. At the end of the day the women and children would trek home with the men riding horses or piled into jeeps. No equal opportunity there!
The first place I learned to swim was at Wittanoom where swimming lessons were held at the Gorge outside of town - bit soupy when there hadn't been any rain to flush. Wittanoom is now a ghost town (or close to)because of the asbestos mining that was done there. As I am writing this I looked the town name up for spelling and see the government now has a warning website dedicated to keeping people away - wow. We as children used to sit on the yards pulling this pale blue rock into individual pieces. Half the town was empty even then and we used the abandoned houses as play houses was great with real stoves too.
When I was older we lived in the same town as my Grandparents in Point Sampson. This town had its water trucked in as there was no supply in those days - flushing the loo was a treat! Nanna made the most exquisite shell ornaments, she made little critters for fun too. We had the task of collecting shells for her, it was quite an achievement for her to get supplies eg glue, dyes before internet, or regular suppliers of such things. Bush kids meeting the ocean was different. We had heard all the dangers that may lurk in the water of any depth on the reef such as stone fish, deadly sea snakes and the blue ring octopus. The reef consisted of large tidal pools with coral walkways(similar to rice paddy fields). Our Mother left us on the beach with strict instructions to stay there - yeah right! After she was a good distance off we began to venture out. At some stage we got a bit too far and Mum started yelling for us to go back or we would be in for it. If Mum said that you would have to know my Dad to know that it was not an idle threat and to be taken seriously at once. So we hurried back along these walkways and I slipped into a pool. MY GOD! I was sure that every deadly creature on earth were all coming out of their hidey holes to get me in their waist deep home. I didn't want to touch the sides to get out with all the reeds what was in there. One word PANICK! My younger sisters had very sensibly gotten to the beach, lucky them. Big sister was busy trying to find a way out without actually touching any thing. Finally must have done it because I am here, not there still stuck with every sea monster imaginable. I was very careful after that.
We came to know the area exceptionally well, with all the roaming alone, no parental supervision, we did come to recognize stone fish, octopus hiding and other stinging creatures. There was the legend of the 15 foot Hammerhead Shark that roamed around the jetty looking for morsels. In those days it was local belief that they are harmless though no one was game enough, adult or child, to put this to the test. He was massive just cruising from one side to the other with his company of suckerfish.I heard that the old jetty burnt down and they built a new one for the prawn trailers to dock at.
Many, Many other adventures but I had better get to the point of this site. I have been in the Territory for over 25 years, doing my nursing training in Alice Spring which later supported further nursing adventures whilst in the RAAF.
I make art pieces and jewelery from gifts given by the ocean. I collect all my own material for the pieces and promise that No marine life is harmed in the collecting. If a Hermit Crab happens to be in residence of a particularly beautiful rare shell, I admire, wish, sigh, then remember that possession is 9/10 of the law and replace him. A couple of times I have accidentally bought one home, it is then placed in a jar with a cat food kibble(dogs won't eat dog food either) and water then returned to the beach from where he came. I strongly believe it is possible to enjoy the sea bounty without causing harm. The rock from this area in exceptional with regards to color, patterns and shape all made by Mother Nature. I do not claim responsibility only bring it into a form that people can enjoy longer. With the beach beveled glass who has not picked some up and thought how beautiful, but what to do with it, working with the rocks led me to trial ideas with the glass so that it too may be viewed and appreciated in a different setting(also cleans up the beach). Driftwood, the collecting of is fun, to find interesting pieces before the bon-fire lighters get to it is no mean feat.
With all my designs I scupulously endeavour not to infringe nor repeat others use for similar material. I believe for myself, of strictly adhering to my concepts. My individual use of these materials is to pass the message of no harm to others and to see the beauty in the smallest specimen. My designs are my visual tool for this concept and hope that by viewing them that others can appreciate and carry the idea with them.
Below they are asking for a picture, I shall not include one of my works as they are changing all the time, instead shall include flowers for you to enjoy. I do not accept commissions for pieces though requests may be considered.
If you have managed to stay with me this far, congratulations, I would love to hear from you either at the Coolalinga Market (8am-2pm) or via (technology -wow)email email@example.com
Time to feed the puppies, kitties and me.
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