Hellena Post - Creatrix

I've tried on so many uniforms and badges that now I'm just me - mother of 8 children and all that entails, flowmad, and human animal parent. Writer of this living book of a blog, philosopher, and creatrix of hand dyed and spun crocheted wearable art. I gave up polite conversation years ago, and now I dive into the big one's.....birth, sex, great wellness, life, passion, death and rebirth.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Washing Post

As you can probably imagine, how and where to do our laundry with 7 children, is a topic we have a fair amount of knowledge and conversations about.  We've done our washing predominantly in laundromats for our 13 years and 7 children together, and I've been very proud of how we've managed our dirty laundry.  For 6 of those years with our babies, we only used cloth nappies, and when we were travelling we'd string them out like prayer flags near our camp.  

We've visited a lot of laundromats in the country.....

And we've come up with many and various ways to hang up and dry washing as we go.  My personal favourite was hanging the washing in our van as we were travelling up here, and with the windows open it worked a treat.

We've also become dab hands at making washing lines wherever we go, and using whatever is at hand in true Womble style.

And up here in the tropics.....where it rains very often......and randomly........it makes sense to hang your clothes under cover.  Our last house had a rather gorgeous verandah that lent itself to being a washing line, as well as an outdoor one.  And as ever,  Currawong being gorgeous makes all household chores fun.  Not to say that it always is, but it is more often than not.

And years ago in our old community we hung our clothes inside for the same reason....and also because laundry left outside had a tendancy to go wandering.  

But here......here at Hippy, Womble, Big Bamboo City Central.....I feel like I've come to my penultimate clothes hanging mecca.  We've got a range of experiences to call on, and we've learnt a huge amount of respect for water over our years of living in the driest state in the country.  And now that we're living off the grid, we're learning a huge amount of respect for solar power.  So we've found the Nirvana of laundromats in Lismore......with a beautiful helpful couple who are always around to give you coins, and the best cleaning machines that we've ever used, that uses at least partial rainwater collected in tanks and solar power to wash our washing.  And we've got into the habit of storing up our washing, till we run out of clothes, and then doing a huge load of it all in big cycles.

Now you may think this is a mundane subject, and why the hell am I talking about washing, but as always, there's a point.  Ever since I read that anarchist piece that I posted in inspiration, and then went on to read more from that mob, I've been really sitting with how when I make something beautiful, I think about how I can sell it, and how other peoples lives, and images, and movies always seemed better than mine, and about how much of my creative energy I gave to the world and not myself and my family.....

So Currawong and I have been consciously trying to occupy our lives, and make our lives our artwork, and turning our mundane tasks into magic and sacred ritual.  Doing jobs that would be boring in four known walls can be an adventure when you're doing them somewhere else.  And rethinking ways of doing things that have to be done every day, so that you can own them, and make them fun, and turn them into something beyond the ordinary......isn't that what we've tried to collectively do since we decided to walk on two legs?  To find ways and means to transcend our mortal and earthly binds and find something else?  Something exciting?  New?  Walking parallel to the dreary existence?

But perhaps it doesn't have to be taking mushrooms and trance trips and all the other indigenous intoxicants, or gods or deities or big universal cycles.  Maybe it can just be through unweaving and reweaving the ways that we do things, and finding those magics and metaphors in even the simplest tasks.  Realising that every single chore, and odorous task, and misfortune, and simple detail can be unravelled and twisted and turned into just about any kind of creation that you could think of.  With metaphors and multi meanings and layers to explore.

Take washing dishes for example.  Nobody really loves doing dishes, except for my mother who's a masochist.  And even though she says she does, she doesn't deep down.  Some people have made a resigned deal with dishes, and they know they have to be done and take pride in the fact they can do it without hassle, but most of us find something about the chore onerous.   I have had moments in my life when I've made a connection with dishes before, like in this piece ( It's in the excerpt from 'Balthazar and Nimue - A Love Story' at the end) I wrote years ago, but I have to say there's been no major love lost between me and the doing of dishes.

And I never would have thought that I'd be telling you I love doing them now.  But I do.  We've built a washing station that is cute and bamboo and made by us, and in true Womble fashion.  We've picked up a lot of good ideas in our travels around the traps, and we finally got a chance to explore them.  There's bamboo holders for the cutlery.  And enough racks and storage around where the dishes are done, that nobody ever has to dry or put away a dish ever again.  Unless they want to of course.  

We're still draining the sink into buckets that we empty, and we're working on the fridge (you're gonna love that one), but we're well on the way.  But beyond that, I love doing the dishes now.  I've never liked drying and putting away, or finding places to stack clean dishes, and now with my little washing station it's actually a joy.  Everything has it's place.  And it's like doing a great big puzzle with groovy places to put the pieces.  Dirty dishes enter the sink and bubbling water, and exit onto wrapped wire around a bamboo pole, and dishracks, and handmade wire hooks for the frypans and saucepans, and places where everything can go, to dry in its own time, and be easily reached by short arms.  I even got myself a range of plastic gloves, from orange scented to sustainable rubber, and a dish mop (always wanted one for some reason), and special scourers and cloths and brushes.  That are all placed in the hollow ends of bamboo poles or strung about in some kind of creative way.  I've got 'plans' (I always think of Lister talking about his 'plans' for Fiji on Red Dwarf when I say that) for the kitchen, that largely rely on it drying first, and then wrapping it, but I want to add some more little shelves, and turn the twisted wire for the cups into really solid cup dryers, where the cups can sit upside down, and then wrap the wire with green wool and maybe even add some leaves to turn it into the cup vine.  

Our life is the canvas, and we choose to paint and dream and play and turn everything into learning and a game like the kids do.  They have far more to teach us than we could ever teach them.  And they're very impressed with me for solving the dish dilemma that we've all been having for years.  Some of you will have a good idea about how many ways washing, drying and putting away can be turned into a million different degrees and arguments and discussions and bargains and aversions. 

But back to my washing, which is the point of this post afterall.  Yesterday I dealt with the mother lode.  With my Ectopic experience, and the ramifications of my last post about our market in SA resulting in an offer to help out with the Nimbin Market, and starting the religion that we've been talking about for years, as a means to empower ourselves as home learners, and create a movement for social change, equality between belief systems, and Humanimal sovereignty, using the vehicle of religion so as to protect it in it's birth..............we've kind of let the washing get on top of us.  There were not one, or two, or even four or five, but SEVEN LARGE LOADS OF WASHING that needed to be hung up.  And I nailed them.

And like many other hunters of one kind or another, I got a photo taken with my trophy.  Cause I've got to tell you now, that this amount of washing would have really overwhelmed me until recently.  And I would have been really grumpy while I was doing it.  I had to really use my combined skills and experiences to let it be a journey.  To hunt for the deeper experience. To face overwhelm with love.

But this whole thing I'm talking about.  This taking of the jobs and tasks that make up family life, and observing them, and streamlining them, and playing with them, and seeing them for the sacred tasks they are to clothe us in love, and feed us and our souls, and make our life interesting and full of potential lessons to learn.  It doesn't always work that way, and I still have a yell at times and growl and frown and wish I wasn't doing it, but sometimes it's actually a joy.  A yarn.  A story.  A metaphor.  And I can't help but think that these are the things that we are here to do.  These are the tasks and journeys and routines and requirements for our lives to run smoothly and comfortably.  We've been doing them for millenia in all sorts of different ways, using different materials and procedures......but they're still the things that run along in our lives, alongside the huge stories and life events and cataclysmic fates, they're the cogs that keep our wheels running.

So I spent the day in gentle washing contemplation, with the mother lode of full baskets, and I used all the little ways I've worked out since building our verandah, to dry out all our clothes.  I even had to rig up some other lines, to fit it all and still leave room for some view.

Nicely hidden behind the drums so as not to obscure the view......

And I even got Currawong to take some photos in a 'hail the conquering heroine' kinda way.  With my washing.  That I enjoyed sorting out into pants and tops and the rest of it, and setting out in ways that we could walk around and still get views, and using all my tools at hand to get a nice and family friendly spread.

If there was ever an award for hanging masses of washing happily and creatively....I reckon I should get it.  Or maybe I just made it by creating this post?


  1. I will N.E.V.E.R. complain about too much washing again. I am absolutely completly totally cured. You are the queen....... Colette

  2. lol Hellena! A true heroine! I spotted the skeins of wool in amongst it all - all dyed in so many amazing colours. A story in itself... Helen xx

  3. You know what, I have never enjoyed a post about washing as much as I Loved this post!! The colour, the joy of all those kids (I only have 5 lol).
    Wow..Helena..I think you are amazing <3
    I really love coming here :)

  4. hehe....makes me giggle....as one who also has found the zen in the mundane, and one who has taken great pleasure in prayer flag arrangements of brightly coloured nappies....thanx, as always Helena...x

  5. Hey Ms Post, I love your posts and your washing is EPIC. I like washing - I stick mine in my spinach patch for extra watering - but I have a two-people family so mine is puny in the face of your mighty labours. :D It reminded me of Kaarina Kaikkonen's art installations made of washing - here's some links, might give you ideas for even more fun with it!
    Love, Ouija (been reading for a while, but firefox usually won't let me comment )


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