Bella Ruggine

Bella Ruggine
Nor did I choose this path for myself, either consciously or deliberately. I came to it at the end of a long dark tunnel and then only as the last recourse, the thing I’d been avoiding all my life. ~Steven Pressfield~

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Our European Road Trip: July and August 2016

Bruce and Averil's European Road Trip
July and August 2016

It is June 5th 2016 and I have arrived back in Introdacqua to finish packing. We plan to get on the road around the beginning of July. We are going to be camping, with a mixture of staying in cabins or hotels depending on the weather, or my state of mind.
Our schedule will go something like this:
4 days in Francavilla at Rose's apartment
4 days Barcelona
A few days in Locanda Asinomania to wind up our affairs, banking etc.
From there we are going to travel north through Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France then onto London. We are booked to fly out of Heathrow end of August.


Prior to going off on our road trip we had quite a few get together s with our friends and our adopted Italian families. A wonderful dinner at our Italian family restaurant. Pino cooked a delicious meal and later Eugene played the accordion and we danced the night away.

A truly memorable evening 
at Clemente's with our dear friend Guido.
It will be so hard not to see my friends again for a few years

·        Highlights of our road trip 2016

·         4 hot sunny days at our friend Rose's apartment on the beach at Francavilla, near Pescara.
·         4 days in beautiful Barcelona. Gaudi's work and biking around the city. Celebrated Bruce's birthday.
·         2 days at Asinomania Locanda near Sulmona
·         4 days camping at Lake Garda, Italy. Swimming, sunbathing, biking.
·         Verona, 3 days camping, sightseeing, opera at the Arena "Aida", Juliet's balcony
      Venice from Verona on the fast train for the day.
·         Austria:  Innsbruck shopping. Salzburg camping, sightseeing.
·         Vienna: 6 glorious days, camping near the Danube River, biking, Klimpt at Belvedere. Schiele and Klimpt at The Leopold Museum. An evening at the Hofburg Palace, the Hofburg orchestra playing Strauss and Mozart. Hunderwasser, his museum and his works.
·         Czech Republic: Prague: jaw dropping Old Town architecture, 3 cities in one, all different. Charles Bridge, art, camping then cabin for a couple of days. Bruce went biking. Lots of unique stories to find in Prague, John Lennon Wall, Pissing Statue,  The Revolving Head Sculpture, the good food and beer.
·         Bratislava: We drove to Slovakia for a day trip from Prague. Bratislava, another lovely Old Town. Bought some art pieces.
·         Germany: 2 days camping at Dresden: very lovely. Met a Dutch couple, who we went on a river cruise for the day with.
·         Bad Kissengen:  Camped for 3 days. A beautiful city. One of the most famous spa resort towns in Germany, which we stumbled upon. Truly lovely. Tea shop encounter. An evening at the hot spa pools, biking around the city and out in the country. Such gorgeous parks.
·         Bamberg: 1 night at a local pub. Drop dead gorgeous UNESCO city. Music night in the Square. Love Bamberg.
·         The Rhine Valley: 4 days camping at Sonnerneck, on the Rhine, near the quaintest town of Boppard, which is situated right on the river. The Rhine is a working river, with huge barges of coal, scrap metal, and also many river cruise boats. Night festival of lights. Walks in the park, sketching.
·         Burg Eltz Castle:  An amazing fairytale castle in the middle of nowhere. Interesting tour. So lovely.
·         Holland: Arnheim then onto Amsterdam. Scruffy, unkempt and beautiful all at the same time. Hip. So much to see, canal tour, fascinating architecture. 4 wonderful hours spent at the Van Gogh museum. So much to love about Amsterdam. Stayed 4 days at the IBIS in Westpoort (I am from Westport, NZ)....Day trip drive to flea market day at Edam. Such a gorgeous wee town on a series of canals. Yummy fish 'n chips at Hoorne.
·         Belgium: 2 nights Bruges: Well, hello Bruges another UNESCO city. We biked, ate and shopped.
·         Ypres...Ieper: 2 nights.  Menin Gate, This is a long held goal of mine, to attend this memorial the Last Post at the Menin Gate. It is held every night of the year at 8pm. Flanders Fields Museum, Passendale Museum. The Western Front. So much New Zealand WWI history here in this area. We went to so many war cemeteries, Caterpillar Valley and Tyne Cot  being the most important. Coming across the NZ Memorial near Fluers. Not having enough time to visit the Somme War Museum. Next time.
·         France: Arras: 2 nights. Highlight of the trip a visit and tour of the Wellington Quarries Memorial. So much of our NZ history here, also. Arras buildings in the square so stunning. Saw the Giants in the info centre. Called into Lille, lovely buildings also.
·         Lochnagnar  Crater: impressive.
·         Dunkirk: camped 2 nights by the beach. gave our tent and a lot of camping gear and stuff to a lovely French family.
·         UK: Deal: 3 days: stayed at a lovely B and B. Gorgeous wee beach side town.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

On The Move

I see I haven't posted for over a month. That's mainly because we've been on the move. Moving from our temporary home of 4 months, on the hills, overlooking the shattered remains of Christchurch city. The city is slowly coming to life now and the future looks bright.
From there, back to Introdacqua, Italy to finalise the packing up of my art gallery and work studio. Now that we have sold the house here, it will be back to Christchurch to look for a new home, but mainly I'll be on the hunt for a new space to work in. That is going to be the difficulty. Since most of the old buildings in Christchurch city have been demolished, it will be hard to find suitable premises at reasonable rates. This is the new challenge that I face.
But before I get to that stage, we have places to go and new people to meet as we are planning a six week camping trip in our trusty Toyota van. Staying for a week in Vienna, then onto Prague, Dresden, Berlin, through the rest of Germany ending in Amsterdam.
We will leave the van in Calais, where we hope we can donate the van to a refugee family there.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

SAQA Auction 2016 is Coming Around Again

Yes, already time to make make and post this 12" x 12" piece off to the SAQA Auction. I have been working on it this past week.
It is my contribution for 2016. The top layer is the eco dyed and printed habotai silk and chiffon silks that I've been printing with eucalyptus, acer and a dash of Indigo dye, over the past few weeks. It is hand embroidered Kantha style and finished off around the edges with blanket stitch.
I have named it 'French Blue' as I love the soft subtle colours which remind me of France.
'French Blue'  2016 12" x 12"
French Blue detail
Find out details of how you can bid for this piece online at the upcoming 2016 auction go here SAQA Auction 2016
Add this date to your calendar:   bidding starts September 16th 2016

Saturday, 16 April 2016

A Little Bit of Everything....'Ebb and Flow' Piece

This week has been a productive week, which has included a bit of everything. The start of the week was such beautiful autumn weather. Clear blue skies, no wind. It was a great opportunity to work outside. I started by soaking many small (A5) sheets of water colour paper in a bath of iron water, I made a small batch of indigo.  I experimented dipping leaves into the indigo dye then placing them on the paper, some with indigo and some without, but with some splotches. I then clamped them together and put them in the steam bath for a couple of hours. At the same time I did some silk bundles of eucalyptus, acer leaves, onion skins and other bits and bobs. I popped these into the pot.

Not a bad day's work.
Eco-printed paper

Eco-printed paper
Eco-printed silk

Eco-printed silk
 I made this abstract, collaged piece (below) from the silks I dyed that day and other eco-dyed silks from past efforts. I particularly loved the indigo.

'Ebb and Flow # 1'
29" x 71"  74cm x 1.8m
I have machine stitched, but not entirely finished, as I think I'll add some hand embroidery
Details below:


I also managed to finish a collaged piece for the 'Canterbury Plains' series.Hand and eco dyed, rusted and stamped, silks. It is hand-stitched, Kantha style.

'Abstract Collage'
15" x 28" 38cm x 71cm

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

A Creative Easter Weekend

Easter weekend was spent creating what I call my small A4 compositions: Materials used were, paint, paper, card and fabric.

Abstract 1

Absract 2

Abstract 3

Abstract 4
Abstract 5

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Art Residency in Iceland

I'm happy to say I've been accepted for a residency for May and June of next year to further my wool felting techniques in Iceland at The Icelandic Textile Center . Not having been to that part of the world, I can't tell you how excited I am about this amazing opportunity to live in this wild landscape and to hone my skills, not only in felting but also natural dyeing with the plants from the area.

In NZ we don't have Icelandic sheep. I'm looking forward to working with this lovely wool and to incorporate the long locks of wool into my clothing range, art and home decor pieces.
The Village of the residence

Icelandic Sheep

Monday, 21 March 2016

Fete at Governors Bay

A beautiful day yesterday. Perfect for the Fete at Governors Bay. I set up my stand with a selection of my home decor felted merino cushions, merino throws, silk scarves and other bits and bobs. It was a pretty quiet affair, but I managed to sell a couple of cushions and a few scarves. It was good to get out and chat with people and to catch up with old friends. It finished earlier than expected, so we went for a drive around to Diamond harbour. Always lovely around that area. Had a beer under the shade of a large oak tree, then made our way home.