House Sitting Clay Retreats


I’m leading a very unusual gypsy-like life at the moment, with my time split up pretty much equally on-the-road in my camper/on the boat with my manfriend and in a house with adorable animals who I look after while their mummies and daddies are holidaying somewhere else.

The house sitting gigs are my own personal ‘retreats’.  And now that I have time again, I’ve re-ignited my passion for silver and polymer clay and I use my time at these beautiful house sit places as my very personal clay retreat. As the camper and boat are a bit small to work in, house sitting gives me the opportunity to drag all my boxes of art tools and materials into a larger space to spread out and get creative. I think I’m finding a pattern in the kinds of spaces I am the most creative in…and it’s no surprise that they’re often the places that are surrounded by nature.

Kyogle NSW was my first house sit since driving across the Nullarbor from West Australia to New South Wales. It was actually more of a farm sit than a house sit. Most houses come with animals to look after but farms come with a whole bunch of different animals. There were chooks and guinea fowl, cats and dogs, fish and cows and a horse! It was a delightful first sit experience. The dawn chorus of birds was truly the most awesome start to each and every day.

I didn’t clay much here…it was really just a time of ‘gathering myself’ and enjoying my first ‘alone time’ in years…but it was here that I came up with some wonderful ideas for claying and also ideas for teaching again. I did finish off some ‘clay on canvas’ pieces I started when I was hanging out with Pam Annesley at her Two Rocks studio in WA. More experimenting to come but I discovered some good techniques that hold up well so I’m very pleased.

(btw, if you hover your mouse over the pic and click on the RHS screen symbol, you’ll see a larger pic)

Flint, the new calf.

Inspiring farm view…how’s the serenity?

Clay on Canvas


Maleny in Qld (a new favourite town!) was also a really amazing house sit and I was really happy with the silver clay work I produced, pretty much effortlessly. Here are some examples…




And those last ten days just outside of Mullumbimby NSW, my absolute favourite town in the whole of Australia, was the perfect place to experiment with ideas for the best project to teach at the Contemporary Craft Retreat in Canberra later on this year. Post coming soon…



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Showing 4 comments
  • Pam

    Good for you!

    • livelif5

      Thanks Pam!

  • Avi

    dear Mel…love this blog and your open sharing…and i love those clay on canvas pics…how inspied and inspiring …youre awesome woman

    • livelif5

      Such a lovely comment to wake up to this morning! Made my day! 🙂

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