Story telling

Many of my paintings tell a story.  This one, which I finished this week, has ants, hiding, standing upright and pressing themselves against a rock, not daring to breathe, lest the slightest movement attracts unwanted attention from a hungry echidna. I think they’ll be safe thanks to their exemplary hiding skills. 🙂

Hiding Ants
Hiding Ants

Now here’s a true story about echidnas that you may or may not know. I didn’t know about this until a few weeks ago, when I entered an art gallery and saw a photo of an echidna in a display cabinet and asked why that was.

The gallery curator showed me Jeanette James’, a Tasmanian Aboriginal, who makes traditional jewellery, preserving centuries of Palawa cultural traditions, echidna quill necklaces.  Each quill is silver capped and strung with New Zealand flax.

She sources this protected species’ quills from road kill.  Jeanette is licensed to collect deceased echidnas.  Because their skin is so tough and virtually impossible to get the quills out without damaging them, the echidnas are buried between eight to twelve months to allow the body to decompose.  After being buried, the quills are easier to remove, clean and then make into jewellery.  I had no idea!

echida-enhanced-fine-quills-760x330

They are beautiful but I have a feeling it could be a little risky (painful) to wear.

I hope there are beautiful stories unfolding all around you and congratulations to all the recipients of the Queen’s Birthday 2019 Honours List.

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