The Work of tgirlqueensland
As a young teen I would sit in my room and draw. In the stairwell of the dark apartment building where we lived after the divorce, I would watch my best friend Rocky draw. He was gentle. His drawings were violent. Mine were like me at the time; benign, sad, and lonely. Rocky’s pencil scratched out lines that turned into severed limbs and heads. These always belonged to women. In heels. I never knew why, I never asked him but it didn’t matter. I thought he was a genius.
I drew fantasy creatures. On their own - devoid of companionship - lost in this world. Like me, I think Rocky was alone. Sitting here now at 59 I realise that back then, I somehow knew he should have been born a girl.
He was the first person I collaborated with. We didn’t use that word but we had discovered a way to merge our two styles of drawing to create fantastical works of art that once my mother saw, caused her to banish me from the stairwell. After that, I would see him around the building but we never spoke. Our eyes met a few times and I was convinced he could see inside me. I hope he saw that it wasn’t my decision.
A few years passed. I was diagnosed with MRKH and taken to a large hospital far from where we lived. I was born female but there was very little internally to illustrate this. I would undergo the procedure men have to become women. It was invasive and confusing; I was too young. Back then there was no support. No therapist, no empathy, not like there is today. Although, I have found the medical community is far more interested in young women with the syndrome; in transplanted wombs, surrogacy, fertility. As if these were the only critical aspects to life.
Time moved on. I healed physically but it would be a long time until emotional or psychological relief would come. I was left to figure this out for myself.
I believe I was saved by my creativity and the gay community. Not intentionally. I simply gravitated towards gay men and drag queens, felt comfortable in their company. I was accepted. They were for the most part, the family I never had. I hurt for them and the discrimination they faced. My syndrome is invisible. Unless I tell someone, there is no way to know. They had and have a whole different set of challenges to deal with.
Recently I met Rinda (Tgirlqueensland) on Instagram. One day I was there, she was there. Time zones apart. I was feeling like I had come to the end of the road creatively. It’s hard to get your work out there now, the marketplace is saturated and technology is not my strength. And I have always skirted social media’s edges with a mixture of contempt and curiosity, never staying long, never believing in its cyber-promises. But suddenly, I was back on the stairs with Rocky.
Rinda and I come from different worlds and yet, there are crossovers I relate to. She was diagnosed with letters as well. Hers more complex and I believe, much harder to deal with. The full story and how she can be supported can be found here.
Despite everything she has experienced throughout her life, she has emerged fierce with bravery, grace and dignity, her creative self burning brighter and more potent for it.
The stunning and imaginative images featured here are her work, her creations. They form part of her journey. The jewellery she adorns was made by me.
Her talent and creative idea generation span a vast continuum from digital art to editing to riveting video production. She is a product reviewer and spectacular Art Model. Her profound and honest observations about life and ability to express these in a way I haven’t read before are inspirational. Collaborating with her, having her as a Brand Ambassador has reignited interest in my work and this includes my own interest.
See a sample montage of her work here:
If you require a highly creative and personalised marketing solution for a product, creation, design, service or business she is available for exciting and unique collaborations using the professional services listed above.
For additional information, to see more of her fabulous work and get the specifics about how you can collaborate with her (and I highly recommend that you do) contact her here...
As this year moves on to its conclusion I realise how much change has taken place in my life, how much change is yet to come. Attitudes change, work changes and I find myself moving in another direction creatively. No sure where it will take me but as I prepare for the big move, as boxes are packed and stacked, as I wait (and wait), I can see the beauty in reflection. In seeing how far I have travelled. In anticipation of a new life.
I found these the other day on a (badly made and very old) handmade card. How bizarre. But it shows me that living in farmland has definitely had a weird influence on me. I mean, really. What the heck.
If anyone has an interpretation of what this means (other than the obvious 'think it's time to get outta here') let me know.
A nine letter word used to express thanks and appreciation. A word that has a nice, solid look to it. A kind of cheerful word.
And unfortunately, an unemployed word in an over-stimulated, continually fragmenting and confusing world.
Let me just say this...
To my incredible customers for giving me the opportunity to experiment and for trusting my judgement, for the support and for your unadulterated goodness, for all the likes and lovely comments, the emails and word-of-mouthisms, to friends in faraway places and those closer to home...a rather large, industrial-sized, stuffed with gratitude thank you from my heart to yours.
*A public service announcement brought to you by the 'Let's put Gratitude back to work' scheme.
While I was away in Liverpool...
...not alot of work has gotten done. But nothing gets done where there has been no stimulation, no risk or cultural influence. It's tough to live and work and expect high-level output when you're dealing with low-level input. I don't count chainsaws and tractors as beneficial stimulus.
May has been my month of exploration. Of never unpacking my tiny suitcase for long. Of planes and trains and a sturdy pair of walking shoes. It's been a full-on few weeks. I tried new things - some worked, some did not. I ate too much cheese, stared at piles of paintings and tried not to get run over by cyclists.
And it's strange the way you never really know what you've experienced until after the experience. I'm back nearly one week and it's all still filtering through. I seem to flit from one thing to the next. I'm somewhere else but slowly, the work is coming back to me. And while it hasn't changed dramatically, change is on the way.
The you-know-what letter is still broken and the week is turning into one of 'those' weeks. So, this is short and sweet and filled with joy because the Christening bracelet saga has come to a constructive end.
How'd it come about? I can't say. I woke one morning, sat down in front of all the remnants and the idea was there inside my over-worked ***ea-brain. Not a moment too soon.
So, next? Sometime next month I'm going to cease talking about my own stuff and begin talking about other ***eo***le's stuff. Not a moment too soon.
Due to keyboard circumstances beyond my control this- letter after O - ost is going to be tough to read. See it's tough already. This being the case I will use *** as a re***lacement letter and make it short.
Not a tremendous amount to re***ort. Much of the same crazy on the Boreen. The ***otholes worsen by the day.
The new website is still in ***rocess. Miss S***arkles is still drinking water from the bathtub. And I am still afraid of the Christening bracelet's remains. But never mind. Thankfully, I have been distracted by wedding jewellery requests.
Back to sim***licity. Again. Tradition with a little alternative twist. I have gone ***earl mad and I think it's restoring my sanity. Hurray for wedded bliss. Let's hear it for bridal showers and bridesmaids. Who cares about the deteriorating road conditions, the broken letter after O. Kitty thinks bathtub equals giant water bowl, yeah, so what. Website, shmebsite. I'm adorning the betrothed and their entourages.
I could get used to this. Es***ecially if I ever get the chance to design jewellery for a Goth wedding. All that black. All that eyeliner. Gawd! Where do I sign u***?
And Cat weddings (don't look at me like that - Miss S***arkles has a boyfriend in Wales).
Seriously. Any wedding, any theme, anytime. Anything to kee*** me from taking gratuitous ***othole ***hotos and ***ounding so hard on the letter *** that I end u*** breaking my com***uter.
It has taken me exactly since the end of February to get to this point. I've had this mound of damaged jewellery to recycle for someone. The first few weeks were fine. I had been doing a lot of circuit training, eating a lot of milled linseed (not sure what bearing this had) and was feeling strong and brave and happily went about destroying and rebuilding the more straightforward pieces.
Then it was time for the Christening bracelet and I got cold feet and cold hands and started to sweat about the whole thing. I kept thinking, this person has had this (and worn it) from the time of drooling and diapers, over sixty years ago. It's a classic piece of silver as far as I'm concerned. To cut it up just seemed wrong and a bit disrespectful and no matter how many times I picked up the snips, I couldn't get myself to make the cut.
I wondered if first-time surgeons felt this way. I thought of Weird Al and that damn surgeon song. The one he sung to the tune of that damn Madonna song. I don't like Weird Al or Madonna so that made me sweat more.
I thought, 'what if I screw it all up? What if I get jeweller's block or something?' Then I talked myself down from my latest self-imposed anxiety attack and realised that (1) this wasn't brain surgery and (2) I've been at this for a long time and, somehow, things always turned out alright.
So today, after days of staring at the bracelet, of nights lying awake designing in my head and in general driving my long-suffering husband demented with a steady stream of, 'do you think it will be ok's', I did what you see in the photo above. In fact, I was fairly aggressive about it and dissected a second bracelet (just in case the first bracelet didn't think I had the guts) in the process. I started looking at old designs and thought, 'yeah, I should cut you up too'. I viciously chopped a few silver earring hooks for the springs. I was on a spree and it scared me. It reminded me of that zombie apocalypse show, of all the adrenaline it would take to keep wielding your big knife/fancy sword/axe/arrow-shooting gun thing because the walking dead simply won't stop attacking. It must have scared Ms Sparkles too because she did one of her flying leaps onto the desk. She's very good with the 'ole reality checks.
It took several hours of work with intermittent staring breaks, some pacing and I think lunch (not sure about that one) to arrive at these. I burned my hand on the drill twice, hammered my fingers a few times for good measure and said the 'f' word at least a million times. But at least they're just about done.
A moment of blissful peace descended. I felt calm, at ease, everything was right in my world. I went outside to the polytunnel. Maybe I could take a break now, dig in the dirt a bit, water the seeds, look at the pretty flowers. As I reached for the watering can on the table a picture seemed to cloud my vision. My work table - snips, knives, drills and the discarded remains of the Christening bracelet. Waiting. Watching...
Upcycling is not my favourite word. I'm not even sure what it implies. Does 'up' mean 'better'? Higher value? Trendy? It's one of those words that sits slightly askew in my head and never feels right to say.
Call me a Luddite (I call myself one) but personally, I still like the word 'recycled' as a way to describe taking something old and turning it into something new.
Whatever the word, the idea of giving a piece of damaged or old jewellery new life appeals to me. So, when I was asked to work with these two bracelets I saw it as a welcome opportunity.
These aren't complex in design, nor is the result earth-shattering. I just like the idea that I could reinvent items that have significance to their owner. While we live in a time of constant change and constant advancement where most things are disposable, that actually means something.
After so many months of elaborate, detail-defying, nit-picky, eye-straining work - after hours upon hours of building, baking, colouring, arranging, pouring and waiting (not to mention the arduous task of chain-making) these little 2" by 1" Limited Edition hearts are a gift to myself for Valentine's Day (but they're also for sale - €35 a pop including a presentation box plus a little handmade card: such a deal).
A return to simplicity. An escape from the bonds of myself as head of production (whip-cracker, incessant workhorse, terror among artists). In other words, a welcome break from my crazy. Rejoice (at least until after Valentine's Day when the need (obsession) to make things difficult for myself returns).
Until then, Happy Hearts to you.
And some other items
Telling stories and making jewellery since the days of big hair and eyeliner.