Friday, March 16, 2007

Australian Native Animals 101

This cute little guy is my echidna. I say "my" because he lives somewhere on my bush block but I rarely get to see him. Well I say "him" but I really don't know. It's not like he's going to let me turn him over, and I wouldn't know what to look for anyway, even assuming I could get that close...usually, I only see the remains of the white ant nests where he's been and the funny little funnel shaped holes he's dug in the garden with his snout.

Just so you know: echidnas are not related in any way to american porcupines or english hedgehogs, being a lot smaller than the first, larger by far than the second and as egg laying mammals [ monotremes ] are actually second cousins to platypus.

Today I did a really impressive echidna impersonation.
I lay on the table at the acupuncturist with needles sticking out of my legs, jaw and tush.
Basically needles # 1 through to 14 were fine. It was #15 that was the problem. Last week it was mildly painful when he placed five directly over the break and then it sort of subsided into a weird, heavy but not painful sensation... and I had 3 pain free days as a consequence.

TODAY however he must've had one of those buggers a squillionth of a millimetre away from where it was last week cos I gotta tell you it was ... not fun. One second nothing. Next second there were what felt like a gazillion volts straight through my caboose. There was screaming, clenching and a really top quality impersonation of a Harrier Jump Jet. Talk about your vertical-take-off-and-landing!
HE did a lot of apologising.
I did a lot of deep yoga type breathing.
Now this is a whole 'nother issue. You're supposed to breath in through the nose for 6 counts more or less, hold for 3, out through the mouth for 6, hold again and so on. I'm a mouth breather. It drives my dentist insane... and when I'm lying face down, even though it's face down through a conveniently placed hole in the table, I can't seem to get enough air in through my nose and my lungs feel like they're about to explode. Today I concentrated on that whole nose / mouth thing like my life depended on it.

More apologising.

Some quiet time, nice music, gentle heat. One could even forget the invasive presence of foreign metallic objects.
Then we got to the removal of the needles. Numbers 1 - 14 I couldn't even tell if they were in or out, but good 'ole number 15...

Let's just say we had another VTAL episode.

and more apologising

but I'm going back

next week

and in textile related news:

Tomorrow I'm teaching a Shibori workshop at Daylesford. Usually I teach shibori with Procion MX dyes on cotton fabric but for tomorrow's workshop, we're using Gaywool Dyes on silk. This is a hot dye process using a microwave so I dug the old one out of the shed. Do you remember how cumbersome those old microwave ovens were? It was even bigger than I remembered. Still it does the job.

In case anyone's interested in wading through the multiplicity of titles on the subject [ many of which are so simplistic that they're hardly worth even borrowing from the Library ] these are the ones I own and recommend:

This first book is the classic by Yoko Wada and after 20 years, it's still the best. The illustrations are incredibly detailed and precise. Thankfully, it's now in soft cover because the original hardcover cost an arm and a leg and some bugger stole the FerntreeGully Library's copy that we'd been borrowing constantly for years. The Janice Gunner one is prettier with nice big pictures and luscious colours in line with current publishing trends but covers less ground and the Britto one [ a present from my friend Claire R ] is the only one I've seen devoted solely to Shibori on silk and absolutely beautiful. It's mainly concerned with the wonderful textural qualities of pole wrapped silk for wearable art and is very informative but probably not the first one to acquire.


lisette said...

youch! i had a similar point when i was having acupuncture for my back - one needle was always agony going in and coming out - maybe it gets too close to a nerve?

the shibori looks gorgeous i would love to do it one day :)

Tanya Brown said...

Mr./Ms. Echidna is very sweet looking. I love all of those little creatures that rummage around outside.

Sorry about the acupuncture incident. It sounds as ghastly as the other appointment sounded good.

Thanks for the Shibori references. This looks quite interesting and worthwhile.

Sheepish Annie said...

Oh, good gracious!!! That sounds perfectly's hoping for a better session next time. I get the chills just thinking about it!

I wonder how expensive it would be for me to jaunt over and take your class. You know, just for a day and then pop right back? ;) I'm just a train-wreck when it comes to working with color. And yet it fascinates me...sometimes I even get it right.

Quilting Diva said...

Very nice.

Cute little critter you have there.

Laura said...

Oh, the Britto book is practically my bible! I love her scientific approach (she is a chemist originally). It gives me the science I need for predictable results then I can go be creative!

Miss Frou Frou said...

Hi, have spent a lovely hour or so reading through some of your posts, catsmum.

Sorry about the acupuncture... I had 18 months of fortnightly sessions with a chinese herbalist/acupunturist about 10 years ago. Most times were fine, but occasionally one hurt, or bled profusely. He always said they were meant to but... I doubt it...

Of course, there was the time he put a needle in the middle of my scalp and then asked me to keep it there all day.. it was fine, just a slight sort of drag.. but everyone who noticed it (it was folded down into my hairline) freaked out...

Found the library card site... and have had fun making one of my own...

You make me want to get my knitting needles out too... more projects... sigh

NattyChick said...

I envy you your geographic position. I have a bit of a family history in Castlemaine and Daylesford but I'm now living in WA....unfortunately. Love the echidna (and the information too!)

Val said...

Shibori? You may be interested in (already know of) the Kimono House, also in the Nicholas Building in Swanston St. (see my comment on More weird things). Beautiful Japanese fabric!