Crystal Songlines: Opulent Ochre

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It was actually getting an image of a piece of Ochre in my collection which prompted me to unpack all the crystals I’d stored away a while back. This Ochre comes from Coochiemudlo Island (yes, it’s a real name!) off the coast of Brisbane, Queensland, and it was gifted to  me, along with two smaller pieces, by a good friend who now lives in New Zealand.

Ochre isn’t strictly a stone. According to Wikipedia, it’s: ” a natural earth pigment containing hydrated iron oxide, which ranges in color from yellow to deep orange or brown. It is also the name of the colors produced by this pigment, especially a light brownish-yellow.”

In Aboriginal culture, red ochre is sacred. Along with other colours of ochre – yellow and white – red ochre can be used in artwork, body paint and protection for weapons. Although I can’t find any information on the internet, if I remember rightly red ochre is also used for medicinal purposes.

The piece I have is a rusty-red colour, it’s high in hematite as its hard and heavy, while the two other pieces my friend gifted me are a pale pink, much softer and easy to scrape for the pigment. For me, therefore the large piece of ochre is linked via hematite to earth energy and resonates with practical creativity.  No point being creative if you don’t actually do anything!

The above image was developed from a photo of my piece of ochre. It represents our links to the stars, but also the long history of ochre being used in rock art with the image of hands re-appearing not just across the sacred sites of Australia but also in other places, such as the caves in France, and in Native American art.  It’s why I’ve included a hand-print to link to those who’ve walked on this earth before us and connect with us through their use of red ochre. I also added in the metallic decoration at the top to link to present-day work with ochre by creative spirits and by those working with Aboriginal cultural heritage in Australia.

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Pale pink Ochre
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Red Ochre

 

 

 

Below is a link to an Aboriginal artist talking about the sacred aspect of working with white ochre and also how to use the pigment. The second piece is about Aboriginal art while the last link is to Aboriginal cultural stories. Hope you enjoy this information – I got quite homesick looking at all this!

Ochre in Australian Aboriginal culture

Aboriginal art

Aboriginal Culture Stories

Beauty over Cruelty

BeautyoverCruelty

I’ve been absent from the internet since New Year as I copped a really ratty virus doing the rounds in North Cyprus. I’ve had severe bronchitis, muscle pains, lousy cough and killer headache which have knocked me for six and left me resting or sleeping for most of the time since January 1st. Great start to the New Year!

However, when you get dealt lemons, you make lemonade: as part of the rest and recovery I’ve been watching both series 1 and 2 of “Art + Soul” with Hetti Perkins, a prominent art curator in Australia. The series covers  Aboriginal art in all its complexity, range and depth from rock art through to modern art forms. It’s brilliant and one phrase struck me: “Beauty Prevails Over Cruelty”.

In these present times where there is so much cruelty, anger and violence, this phrase confirms for me my perspective that the focus of the art I create is to uplift people and offer a perspective of beauty and brightness to counter the negative energies swirling around us.

So I hope your lives are enriched with beauty,  love, joy and kindness in 2016 and beyond.

Karijini National Park Treasures

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Astronomite – Karijini National Park, N-W Western Australia

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’d used a photo of Mundjina Rock as the basis for a piece of art. Here are two different type of rocks from the Karijini National Park in the north-west of Western Australia.  Each has a quite unique, distinct pattern which seemed to resonate with rock art. So below them I’ve also posted some photos of Aboriginal Australian rock art which dates back 40,000 years.

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Munjina Rock
Aborignal rock Art
Aboriginal Rock Art
Munjina Art Gallery
Munjina Rock Art Gallery
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Munjina Rock, Karijini National Park, N-W Western Australia: Earth’s Fingerprints
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Munjina Rock, Karijini National Park, N-W Western Australia – Genie & Lamp
Aboriginal spirit Bunjil rock art near Stawall
Aboriginal Spirit Bunjil rock art near Stawall, Victoria

Astronomite
Astronomite
Munjina  Gorge,  N-W Western Australia
Munjina Gorge, N-W Western Australia
Munjina Gorge, N-W Western Australia
Munjina Gorge, N-W Western Australia
Aboriginal Rock Art - Animal
Aboriginal Rock Art – Animal (frog?)