Creativity was very welcome in our family when I was growing up. My childhood days were filled with endless hours of drawing, writing and ‘making things’. These memories inspire me to be with young people to create stories, make art and wade in the creative process.
I grew up in the country town of Ballarat. Our place backed on to the local library. It was like having another room in my house. As a preschooler, I used to climb through a handmade gate in the back fence that we called the ‘plop hole’. I could visit the library whenever I wanted.
I loved to page through picture books, searching through the illustrations. I would spread them out across the library floor and leave them open on my favourite pages. (This did not impress our ‘library lady’.) Some favourites that I remember are Dr Seuss, Edward Lear, Miffy, the Berenstain classics and of course Maurice Sendak. “Sam the Firefly” by PD Eastman was so influential that I went on to write about it in one of my first books at the age of five.
Melbourne has been my home for more than half my life. I enjoy catching a crowded tram into the city to visit art galleries. I have a special interest in Australian painters, including Charles Blackman, Fred Williams and contemporary indigenous artists from the Great Sandy Desert.
I have been writing as well as illustrating and teaching for many years.
I love to collect things especially ‘old’ things. Old things have unique stories which make me wonder. I collect pictures, books, old plates, glasses, photos, toys and art (particularly my children’s art).
My favourite things to collect are memories. I love to journal and write my ideas in small sketch books, adding collages and doodling characters. Recently my father gave me over 6000 old family photos that he had collected to add to my own very large collection of photos. They are an endless source of inspiration for my drawing and writing.
I love walking and swimming and taking photos, but not all at the same time. However, recently my son bought a waterproof cover for his camera so that he could take photos under the water. So, anything is possible.
My favourite day of the year is 21st June, the winter solstice. It reminds me that the shortest day has passed and that long hot days of summer will return. I love to share time with my family, who enjoy many number of sporting activities. We love spending time at the beach, playing cricket, eating fish and chips and exploring our Australian coast line.
But my favourite thing of all is the present.
Now could be the best moment of your life.
Make the most of it. Be you!
“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”