I don’t think I’ll ever lose my wanderlust. It ebbs and flows like the tides on my doorstep here in Western Australia. Sometimes the pull to stay ‘home’ is strong: when the beach beckons, and the outdoor lifestyle is easy, with good food, wines and friendships.
Then there are times when the lure of new shores overwhelms, the draw of old haunts tempt, and the need to leave this remote city to return to the familiar people and places of my formative years is stronger than the urge to stay.
The word green has so many different connotations. It might simply be a colour, although nowadays it often has a more ideological meaning. It can be an adjective, noun or a verb. It’s the colour of harmony, balance, growth and renewal.
In describing people as green, I used to have an image, as many others do, of someone who wore hair-shirts, was vegan, didn’t use plastic bags and drove a Prius if they owned a car at all.
We don’t all have to wear hair-shirts. Yet I am someone who, when I get the occasional plastic bag, will wash it out to reuse it. I’ll make sure that I upcycle, reuse or repurpose anything rather than throw it in the bin.
Amongst other things, I go on protests to save and protect our environment or promote social justice and equity, and I also take the easy route of e-activism. I campaign to get Green members elected into parliament. I don’t eat meat. And I try not to leave too much of a footprint when I travel.
Even though I live in a city, I’m blessed that I’m still surrounded by my little haven of green – large gum trees that attract cockatoos; small native plants that flower, attracting insects and birds; grape and passionfruit vines; citrus and other fruit trees; and a veggie patch.
For those of us who are so fortunate, it’s easy to be green.
In 2007 I spent a year on the island of Zanzibar. Weekends were often spent at one of the beautiful white beaches, swimming, relaxing and beachcombing. One day I sat with my daughter looking at our spoils and saw she had picked up some broken coral entwined in fishing line and tied it to a piece of driftwood. That was the beginning.
From those rudimentary mobiles, over the years I have refined the art and learned how to craft and design for beauty and endurance. Some still hang around my own home while others have been gifted to family and friends.
In this journey to where I am now, the beach has always featured as a place of inspiration, meditation and rejuvenation as well as a source for materials.
My beachcombed treasures might be fragments of seaglass, shells or coral and to these I add beads and pearls. I source beads sustainably from my travels or I upcycle old pieces of jewellery.
The driftwood, that lines the beach after a winter storm, I greedily collect allowing my dog to play only with those pieces that do not pass muster.
I love to sit, designing and creating.
I love the feel of the smooth glass, naturally tumbled by the ocean.
I love finding a new, unique piece of driftwood, holding it and turning it to appreciate its striations and form.
I love discovering some dazzling beads in an old unwanted necklace amidst the discarded jewellery in a charity shop.
I love the satisfaction of seeing each finished unique mobile.
I love the thought that someone else will receive a little bit of the energy of the ocean and the beautiful discoveries of my beachcombing.
I love and take pride in knowing that this sculpture will give delight wherever it may hang.
I love feeling virtuous in knowing that the majority of the materials have been upcycled into this new life.
And finally I love that each and every day I can walk along the beach and be delighted, be invigorated, be dazzled and energised, and when I get home I can combine these elements and create something new.
And now I also share my treasures with anyone who would like to own one!