this morning I cleaned the studio after a nerve wracking few days worrying that my Volvere 8 dentist drill was cactus
I bought this machine to engrave glass back in 1989, it is my favourite tool, it carves, engraves, grinds, polishes & can drill holes in most materials. It has become an extension of my hands but I nearly killed it trying to drill a hole in the lid of Moon Unit II.  The drill caught the edge of the synthetic interface lining the surface of the papier maché mold and seized…
I took it to the service department at Gunz Dental on Monday and waited nervously for 24 hours, it was like taking my best friend to the hospital only to find there was nothing wrong with it, I had accidentally flicked the forward switch to neutral in my panic…
here’s some process shots of Moon Unit II
the awl worked perfectly to make the holes for stitching the leather to the lid
the leather stretched well although controlling the edge of the stitched moon was tricky so I added a knotted piece of Perlé cotton
the 1.5mm round leather cord finishes the edge well
started stitching a spiral base with three different weights of black linen thread, the thick waxed thread which I thought would work is too coarse, will start again with some Gütermann black linen thread tomorrow & see if the branch hanging in the garden across the road will be good for the dreaming tree

This is a call for making a small talisman of love for
“I dream of a world where love is the answer”
a collaborative project joining hearts from around the world
The talismans need to be small as there is a lot of weight to suspend already in
the 44 pennants  that have flown out to this circle of hopes and dreams
H 1.5cm x W 1.5cm (H 1/2″ x H 1/2″)
they can be made of anything that speaks from the heart of love for our beautiful broken world
cloth, stitch, metal, buttons, feathers, shells, stone, bone, wood, paper, etc
all the talismans will be stitched to the branches of the dreaming tree, they are jewellery scale like Mexican milagros
if you want to stitch, paint or write more words perhaps a paper or cloth scroll that is 1.5cm (1/2″) in height x as long as will fit into the width of 1.5cm (1/2″) when rolled up and tied with a thread
(using thin cloth or paper will help to give more space to work with)

Definition of a Talisman-
“A talisman is something thought to be imbued with some magical property. It can both protect, and radiate power, and is often used in ritual.”
from “Amulets – A world of secret powers, charms and magic” by Sheila Paine 2004
“The word talisman is derived from the Greek root teleo which means “to consecrate.” And it is precisely the act of consecration which gives a talisman its alleged magical powers. For contrary to the amulet, which is usually an object naturally charged endowed with magical properties, the talisman must be charged with magical power by the person preparing it. Also, while the amulet is used for general purposes, such as averting evil or attracting good luck, the talisman is always prepared for a definite reason.”
from “The Complete book of Amulets and Talismans” by Migene González-Wippler 1991

“Plant your love and let it grow” as Eric Clapton sang all those years ago
if this resonates with your heart & you want to make a talisman please e-mail <mocrow(at)>
for my snail mail address, the talismans will need to be made & posted to me by December 2018
the installation will be exhibited in the Braille for the Soul show scheduled at Artsite Gallery for March 2019

am halfway through reading “No is not enough” by Naomi Klein, it’s heavy going, our beautiful broken world is in a very precarious place, the hollow men that have made this corporate coup are paper tigers, we can make them irrelevant with love for our beautiful planet and caring for each other but things are going to get very strange in the process
“I dream of a world where love is the answer”

Moon Unit I resting at the Xroads altar cloth by Grace of Windthread
I needed to finish this moon test to release it for the Full Moon by stitching tiny black glass beads into the piping ’round the edge to help balance the two sides of the moon… it may well have been better left alone but I had to give it a go!
from the side
the spiral dark side of the moon
now it’s time to move onto Moon Unit II in preparation for finishing Once in a Blue Moon

Moon-Test-1-Mo17Moon Test 1 Mo17
H 5cm W 10cm
electric blue suede, vintage thread, Abaca paper, blue silk cord, blue piping, vintage starry cloth from Nancy of Pomegranate Trail, grape vine tendrils, 1.5mm & 2mm black leather cord, beads, Lapis Lazuli
side view
dark side of the moon stitched with Gütermann black linen thread
it’s a bit wonky but I learned a lot!
suede doesn’t like paste
the edge of the papier maché mold needs to be reinforced
the decorative piping is a bit too trizzy
Moon Test 2 will resolve more issues before working these ideas into Once in a Blue Moon
“I dream of a world where love is the answer” rough scale drawing
it will be app 10-12 foot high & wide
the 44 pennants cut out of the vintage wedding dress have flown out all around the world
to be filled with good vibes, hopes and dreams and returned by December 2018
will wait to begin making the dreaming tree and moon boat until this time next year as I will need to arrange my studio space to fit it in & make it narrow enough to fit out the front door when it’s ready to go, will start waxing the rusted steel dress form at the gallery soon
with deep gratitude to the wonderful circle of cloth conjurors for the encouragement & good vibes, magic is afoot!

Madeleine tore one of the applique circles out of her skirt to give to the dress & it turned into a heart! then she tied it into the left sleeve with some white silk thread & snipped the tiny frayed heart you can see just below it
the first cut photo courtesy of Madeleine Tuckfield-Carrano
the skirt all cut up into pennants ready to fly out to be stitched with hopes and dreams for our beautiful broken world
there’s still plenty of pieces left if you want to come aboard
the cloth is weighty, old and full of story
hold it in your hands, listen with your heart & dream
then do whatever feels right – fray or bind the edges, burn if that’s your turn, add bits of cloth or special beads, feathers, stones, bones, paint or dye, stitch or just fill it with good vibes then when it’s done send it back to me by December 2018
“I dream of a world where love is the answer”
for the Braille for the Soul show at Artsite Gallery in March 2019

PS all 44 pennants have flown out but if you want to join this circle make a small talisman and post it to me by July 2018

“I dream of a world where love is the answer”
a line from a new song in process by Old Man Crow
remember that old wedding dress I was gifted a few weeks ago?
and how I was wondering what it could be?
I have invited Madeleine over to make the first cut, we will share a bottle of fine wine to fortify our spirits whilst listening to Rod Stewart singing The First Cut is the Deepest
and then cut the dress up into pennants along the creases
to be stitched with hopes & dreams
which will hang from a dreaming tree bound with the buttoned back for the trunk and the buttoned sleeves will make the branches
the tree will ride in a papier maché moon boat covered in egg shell with Honesty sprouting from the bow and stern on a sea of tulle floating on a rusted iron dress form that lives at Artsite Gallery
this is a call out for anyone interested in stitching their hopes and dreams into a pennant to fly in this dream?
once the first cut is made I will cut the skirt into long pennants and post them out
making crone magic for our beautiful broken world
PS the whole installation will be made up of many parts
as part of the piece I will make a list acknowledging all the participants and where each is from arond the world
for the Braille for the Soul show
at Artsite Gallery
scheduled for March 2019
so there’s plenty of time

PS all 44 pennants have flown out but if you want to join this circle make a small talisman and post it to me by July 2018

Moon Test 1 is still in process
the hand of the suede and the fine stitches were mangled by the PVA glue and trying to stitch through it just made it worse so that gave me an excuse to play with more glue, adding some Japanese abaca paper and cutting out some tiny stars from a wonderful starry cloth Nancy of Pomegranate Trail gifted me awhile back, then the over the top piping and silk cord for the edge, a few blue glass beads and some Lapis Lazuli
sitting on the base of the old Starry Container to get an idea of how the form will look
stitching the 1.5 mm leather cord with Gütermann black linen thread and pressing each round over the mold to keep the curve even for the dark side of the Moon
Visited Birdsall Leather in Botany yesterday, bought 50m of 2mm black leather cord and a reel of Crawford no 18 4 cord black waxed linen thread for the big moon as although this test is working well it will need lining &/or reinforcing to be sturdy enough to hold the top
also popped in to see Rosemarie Jeffers-Palmer of Amazing Paper & Sydney Bookbinding to buy more paste & Kozo repair tissue. She confirmed that suede and paste are notoriously difficult to combine because pig skin is so porous but recommended making more tests. I will try rolling out the glue on a sheet of glass and pressing the leather onto it, using a few different mixes- 50:50 PVA to starch paste & 25:75 PVA to starch but feeling that stretching the leather over the papier maché mold with the interface glued into place will work best, like stretching a canvas for painting.