Thursday, January 24, 2013

Royal Flying Doctors and The School of the Air

Australia is a large continent geographically and its population is mostly concentrated in the large cities.  Central Australia, by contrast is very sparsely populated.  Until our visit there, I'd never thought about how people live in these remote areas.  How do they get medical care?  Where do they go to school?

These two questions were answered for us during our visits to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and The School of the Air.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service provides free medical services to people who live and work in remote parts of Australia.  Each plane is outfitted like a flying emergency room.  They are ususlly staffed by a nurse and a pilot.  In more remote areas they also have planes equipped as intensive care units.  According to the Australian government's website, in 2005 the organization treated 234,783 patients, an average of 643 a day.

The School of the Air provides education to children who live in remote communities.  It was established in 1948 in Alice Springs.  After a few years the School of the Air was officially established.  Before this time, children in remote areas would either have to attend boarding school or complete their lessons by mail.  In 2005 there were more than sixteen schools of the air located in Australia.  Each teacher tries to visit the home of each student once a year and the children and their families try to meet once each school year.  The rest of their contact is over the computers. This schooling costs the Australian government approximately $10,000.00 per student.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Burnie Beans and Aboriginal Art

A burnie bean is a bean from the Monkey ladder vine which is found in wetlands and rainforests in Australia and other parts of the world.  They grow in huge pods, up to 6 feet long.  They look much like a flattened buckeye.  They are used by the aboriginal people, as well as others in jewelry as well as in other objects.  The name comes from the fact that, when the beans are rubbed together they produce heat.  The beans are inedible, they are highly toxic.

Aboriginal folk law says that to carry a burnie bean brings good luck, as well as a connection to mother earth.

On my post titled "Back to Work"  I committed to making some Burnie bean beads, which I did--one just went into the kiln.  In my mind I don't have a shaky hand and I always think that I can do anything that I put my mind to--which I can't.  My first burnie bead is acceptable--but hardly exciting!  I am also obsessed with my "Ice" technique and have little interest in doing anything else at this time.  I am also thinking of getting away from beads and jewelry and into some more sculptural pieces.

As to my work sometimes not resembling what's in my mind's eye--I will no longer talk about my ideas for my projects, but post them as they grow.  So...on that note...I do have myt next project in mind, but won't spill the beans til it is further along.  Also, as it was 110 degrees in Australia for much of our trip, to translate any of that into "Ice" will take some doing!

So...on that note... I post one picture of my version of a "Burnie Bean":

...and on to some more travel memories--while I can still remember them!

Thank you to:




Thursday, January 3, 2013

Burnie Bean Beads

My first Burnie Bean beads are out of the kiln.  They're not bad, but, the first thing I thought of when they came out of the kiln was Suzan Rezac and her favorite word:  "Bigger!"

The burnie bean that I modelled them after is about 2 inches in diameter.  My beads came out quite a bit smaller.

More on burnie beans and some photos in my next post.