When I find a blog or website I like, I want to eat its contents, understand the nuts and bolts of it. But with years worth of entries it can be hard to know where to start. So I’ve put together this page to help you find your way around and dig up things that might be of interest.
First, a bit about me. You can read my profile here.
I am Deaf
I’ve been writing a lot about what it means to be Deaf and how to include us. You can read about that here. I’ve got a free online Auslan (Australian sign language) course, with weekly bite-sized lessons of around ten signs each. If you’d like to learn, you can find that here.
I am an author and illustrator
My newest book, Future Girl (in Australia) and The Words in My Hands (in North America), is the art journal of Deaf sixteen-year-old Piper, is a call to arms and a visual extravaganza of text, paint, collage and drawings, woven into a deeply engaging coming-of-age story set in near-future Melbourne. I detailed my experience of Deaf culture and what it feels like to be d/Deaf. The book is the winner of the Readings Young Adult prize was selected as Kirkus’ best YA fiction for 2021. It is currently being adapted for the screen in partnership with Orange Production co. Explore teachers’ notes and readers’ activities here.
After being a circus performer for many years, I discovered marionettes in Guatemala. This led to me creating The Grimstones, a gothic puppet show which toured nationally and internationally for years. When publishers Allen and Unwin saw the show, they commissioned me to write a series of books based on The Grimstones. The books are available in my shop and can also be found in or ordered from bookstores across Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and United States. They have also been translated into Finnish and are available in Finland.
I work as an artist
For an overview of the kinds of paintings I paint and what they mean, download my press kit. You can also check out my gallery. If you like my work, you might want to follow me on Facebook, where I post my newest creations and tell stories about what they mean to me. You can also read blog posts in the category Art By Asphyxia. My work is available online in my shop.
I am often asked how I became a professional artist. My journey started when I began art journaling. I focused hard to develop my skills within the pages of my journals, and eventually took online courses to learn to draw and paint faces. Eventually, after people saw my work in my journals, I started selling my paintings. By clicking on the hyperlinks in this paragraph you can read my blog posts during that journey.
I love art journaling
I am an avid art-journaler, and I love to share my process to help others benefit from this amazing tool for self-expression, problem-solving, planning, goal-tracking and self-esteem. Get my e-course, Make the Book of your Dreams, to learn how to make and use an art journal like mine.
If you’d like to see inside my journals, you can check out a video flip-through some of them here:
- Art is music for the soul
- Journal No. 45
- Pink hair girl
- Order in the chaos
- Bird’s eye
You can also see images of pages from my journal here. You might be interested to see how I make use of symbols to express myself in my art journal, and become motivated to develop your own repertoire of symbols.
I write music
Even though I am profoundly Deaf, I have learnt how to write music. I found it very challenging to learn music information as a Deaf person, and to figure out how to adapt music for my specific range of hearing. I have written a free online music course for other d/Deaf/HoH people which teaches music in the way I wish I had been taught.
It is now my goal to create a pathway for me and other d/Deaf/HoH people to access music made for us via mainstream platforms such as Spotify. I have received funding and am working on researching and developing this. The project is called Amplify – Accessible Music Project.
I built a house when I was 22, for $10,000
I built a small mud-brick cottage in Melbourne when I was just 22, for only $10,000, where I lived for 20 years. Read this story in Grass Roots magazine, and this newspaper article, which showed how I lived there. You can see a tour of the cottage and garden here, and read about my solar heater here and here. I had an outdoor bathroom, water tank, composting toilet and camper van. There was also a top bar hive of bees for honey. The house wasn’t always this big – for the first fifteen years I lived here, the lounge and kitchen were in one room and my family and I slept in this tiny loft.
You can see how the whole place looked in 2014 with this photo tour of my house and garden.
Sadly, for reasons outside my control, the house was bulldozed in 2019. I now live on a small farm near Byron Bay, Australia, where I combine food growing with art, creating a magical aesthetic with plants and natural elements. You can see my garden here and here.
Despite being Deaf, I love writing music
You might think that because I’m Deaf, I don’t enjoy music. That’s not the case at all. I love music as much as any hearing person. The problem is that most of the time I can’t access it properly. I can hear some notes but not others, and my hearing aids distort sounds, so when I listen to conventional music, it usually sounds as though it stops and starts, and many sounds are missing altogether. It can descend into a chaos of unpleasant white noise. I began working with music in an effort to adapt music to make it enjoyable to me. I have ended up creating a process which any d/Deaf/HoH person can use to make music tailored to their own hearing. I’ve written a course in how to do that here.
I am into resilience and sustainable living
I am passionate about living a simple life that is sustainable and self-sufficient. In working out how to respond to the environmental disasters we face, I read Sharon Astyk’s Depletion and Abundance, and decided to join her project, the Riot for Austerity, where participants aim to reduce their use of resources to 10% of the average. The idea is that if everyone in the developed world uses 10% of what we currently use, then we would leave the world in a better place for our children, avert the worst of climate change, and adapt more easily to peak oil.
The Riot for Austerity led me to a great many DIY projects. The biggest learning curve I faced was learning how to really produce food in my backyard, as opposed to a modest summer harvest. I wrote up what I learnt here: How to really grow food in your backyard. You might also enjoy reading The 5 ingredients of a successful food garden.
I have also blogged about other DIY projects:
- A simple composting toilet
- How to put up local food for winter
- Keeping an angora rabbit for sustainable textiles
- Raising backyard chickens for meat
- How to make undies from an old T-shirt
- A rocket stove from 16 bricks
- Homemade candles and more candles
- Eating weeds
- Homemade shoes
- Homemade felted ugg boots
- How to store woollens
- How to make a greenhouse tunnel
- How to live without disposable products
- Giving without spending
- How to live without disposable products
I’ve written a few posts about why doing this kind of stuff is important:
- How big corporations are damaging us and the earth
- Not buying much
- Ever get the feeling you’ve had enough?
- The Money-less Man
I am interested in intentional living and minimalism
I have documented my efforts to intentionally choose my lifestyle and the people in it:
I’m interested in health, food and nutrition
I currently follow a lectin-free diet which I am very committed to as it helps reduce arthritis pain as well as stabilising me at a healthy weight and providing numerous other benefits too, such as a reduction in brain fog.
Before that, I researched raw food diets and decided they were not for me. Then I read Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and decided to try out traditional foods. I was blown away by the vast improvements to my health, and how hearty and satisfying my diet became. You can read about Traditional Foods here. I also made a poster to help summarise how to choose traditional foods, which you can look at and download to print. I loved to eat food baked from scratch. This includes making sourdough bread and lots of fermented foods.
I also swear by raw garlic as a cure for colds and flu.
When I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, I was told by doctors that there was no effective natural treatment, and that they didn’t know the cause. I embarked on a round of DIY medical research and eventually did discover both causes and natural treatment options for the disease.
I have also suffered for years from CFS/ME and done much research into the illness.
And finally, I am passionate about activism
I have written about
- the aesthetics of disability equipment,
- how gender stereotypes are created,
- The problem with how Deafness is represented in books and movies,
- the importance of #OwnVoices content in the media
- NDIS and how they could improve their process
- My submission to Royal Commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability which provides much insight into lived experience of Deafness.