Linocuts, blockprinting and screenprinting

For about 2 years now I have been experimenting with cutting Latvian power symbol designs into lino, then mounting them on blocks of wood and blockprinting onto tea-towels, lavender pouches, kitchen gloves and mitts, aprons, T-shirts. Offering them for sale online through my Facebook page:

As linocuts appear quite rough to some people I also redrew Latvian embroidery designs and had them put onto silkscreens, printing on pillowcases, lavender pouches, leather, ties, dresses, T-shirts, whatever I could think of that might appeal to my public. You be the judge.

The Australian Latvian Cultural Festival (known as KD’s by Latvians) is coming up in December this year in Adelaide, coinciding with Latvia’s independence declaration in 1918 – its centenary. An exciting program with classical music; contemporary music – the Latvian band “Prāta Vētra” is coming from Latvia (performing in the Norwood Town Hall I understand); folk dancing, with an elite group from Latvia performing too, as well as folk dancing groups from all over Australia; fine art exhibition; craft market; mixed choir concert; soloists’ concert; family day; and a New year’s Ball to cap it all off. BIG BIG event!

So I will bring my arts/crafts to its market day, probably intertwined with the activities on the Family Day. Tickets for the events will be available from 15th September. Look for 57.ALKD on Facebook.

Latvian “Sun” design -linocut and blockprinted on oven gloves.

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Changed work location

  Since about September 2017 I have been doing esoteric readings such as palm-reading, numerology and cards on Tuesdays at The Birkenhead Tavern, nestled next to the Port River opposite Port Adelaide in South Australia. If you wish to have a reading I’m there between 11.30am – 3.30pm. Tuesdays only. If it’s your birthday on the day and you can show me your ID with date, then your one reading is free. Bookings not required.

I am no longer at “Gypsy Rose” in Semaphore.

You can keep up with my locations by following me on Facebook at

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1992 – 1999 Adelaide Central Market

About this time I was getting quite engrossed in reading all I could about what the lines in hands mean. Some fellow told me that if I could read the lines in the hand I’d never make a mistake in love again. I was hooked!

It came about that with encouragement by my new gentleman friend Andris, an Adelaide based art dealer, who told me I was good enough to do it professionally and that I should contact the Adelaide Central Market manager, who at that time was a Michael Vaughn, and ask whether I could read palms there. As luck would have it, Michael thought it a great idea, so I set up my card table, 2 chairs and a gorgeous orange lamp vintage 1960s, that glowed like a crystal ball when lit, in front of Lucia’s Pizza Bar. For $10 a person could get their palm read. It caught on quickly and I felt privileged to be able to look in people’s hands, read the map of their life, help them understand themselves, and if they were open to it, suggest possible courses of action that would improve their life. In those years I read for people from 86 nationalities and from over 202 walks of life.

There are a couple of readings that still stand out today in my memory. One young lady, petite and slim, with shiny straight dark brown hair almost to her waist, asked whether a move to Melbourne would be good for her career. Initially I said that if she wanted to go, why not. Then asked her what it was that she did for a living. “Oh,” with a poker face she said: “I treat men like shit and get paid for it.” “Oh,” said I, “what does that entail?” She explained that she dressed all in black leather and cracked a whip over the backs of naked men who had to be on all fours like a dog, with a dog collar around their neck. The men got off on being humiliated. She said sex was never part of the deal. Just whipping them was.

Chinese people, men in particular, had one burning question only: “When will I be rich and how much will I have?” “Well,” said I, “depends on how hard you work, doesn’t it?” They were all gamblers who just wanted to make money at the gaming tables.

The Adelaide Central Market is opposite the law courts and people waiting for their case to be heard would loiter in the market, waiting their turn. One day an elderly man with his equally elderly lady friend came up and asked for a reading. He wanted to know how his case would pan out. Me being me, said: “Tell the truth and I hope you have a good lawyer.”  You know, he looked like your average grandfather. I estimated his age at about 75. I looked in his hands and they showed a talent for talking and good practical thinking. Capable at every level. On every finger tip phalange (upper joint) and on the top thumb phalange there were deep crosses. I had never seen so many on hands. He asked what they meant. I had to admit that I didn’t know, but while he would be in the law courts I would find out and when he came back afterwards to finish the reading, I’d be able to tell him. Off they went. I studied my former teacher Peter Hazel’s palmistry book and got a shock. Thumb’s cross: violence, brute force; other fingers included robbery, cold-heartedness, tyranny, con-artist, devious and shrewd with money. Heck, what was I going to tell him when he returned? I thought to myself. He did return and asked what those crosses meant. I said: “Society doesn’t understand you.” “You’re right there!” he exclaimed. Then I quietly asked him what he’d been in the courts for and he said nonchalantly: “I was up for rape. Considering mi age I got 4 months, the judge reckons I should have got 4 years.”  Another time I had a burly fellow sit down for a reading. His big hands showed great capabilities and I suggested possible career directions. At the end I asked him what he did do. “Well, since you ask,” he proudly said, “I’m Australia’s best diamond thief.” I couldn’t help myself, and asked why he did it. He responded that he had a million dollar gambling habit and he needed the money for his hobby. He went on to educate me about how normal people don’t even know the existence of the underworld that is going on right under their noses. How it operates with its own system.

I learnt so much about people while I read their hands. Most people want the same things in life: happiness, health and money. Some have a harder time than others to achieve their dreams, while others are born lucky. This discrepancy led me to study numerology whereby I found that there are certain birthdates that predestine a person to a rough trot through life, with frustration after frustration. And it echoes in the lines of their hands. Both these esoteric sciences complement each other.

I had the extraordinary opportunity to be on Jeremy Cordeaux’s 5DN Talk-back show one time when I was asked to read MP Dean Brown’s palms live on air, without him knowing this was going to happen. I looked at his palms and told him what I saw. He exclaimed in astonishment: “How did you know that? Right to the year!” I don’t know how I knew it, I just did. I’m grateful to Jeremy  for having had this opportunity. It helped me business wise.

In my final year of being in the market one of my last clients turned out to be the President of the South Australian Psychologists’ Association. He told me I was very good at what I did, he couldn’t understand how I knew what I knew, and that I was a lot cheaper than they were. I asked how much they charged. “$180 an hour,” (1999) he said. “I got it for $20 from you.”

For those of you wanting to become a palm-reader it is a vocation, not a job. You need to really want to help people, be compassionate and understanding, non-judgemental, as people generally come to a palm-reader after they have exhausted every other avenue of help out there. In my 25 years now as a palm-reader I have learnt things that aren’t in any of the books, especially about health. I expect I will be a reader for the rest of my life.

P.S. currently (2017) I do esoteric readings on Thursdays at “Gypsy Rose” shop at 122 Semaphore Road, Semaphore, South Australia, from 11.30am – 4pm. if you’d like to see me. My business name is “KONNEKT-HEART-2-HEART” because that’s what I like to do.

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interim years 1988 – 1992

Freshly divorced I decided I had to experiment with men. A novice at this sort of thing, no idea really. There was an exciting young Hungarian lover. Didn’t last long. But taught me that you don’t ring men up and expect they’ll still be interested in you. It’s called “chasing them” and they don’t like it. It’s the man’s duty to chase the woman.

During this period I succeeded in buying my own home in Morphett Vale. A Spanish style brick veneer place with a large backyard with fruit trees. We got 2 cats. Females. I wasn’t aware that female cats could get pregnant at 6 months. WRONG! In no time at all we had 12 pussycats. I put an ad in the paper: “I love cats, but 13 cats are 7 too many. Give away to loving homes.” Fixed.

So we had 5 cats remaining. Zubite, Silky, Patrick, Muffy, Pookie and Minki. Hang on, that’s 6 cats. And then Soxy showed up on the back doorstep and the other cats said: “She’ll let you stay. We know her. She’s a sucker for cats.” And I did. And I am.

Zubite and Silky fell victims to Baysol, snail killer. It was so sad. Zubite in particular was an exceptionally insightful tortoiseshell. Pity her insight didn’t stretch to snail poison.

Soxy became Pookie’s surrogate mum and kept him in line after his mum Zubite died. Soxy met with an untimely death under the wheels of a car and Pookie was devastated, as we all were.

Patrick, our ginger tom, was my son’s favorite. Patrick loved to sleep in the warm sunshine and it was his undoing. He got cancer. It was a dreadful day when he died.

In 1992 I was asked to do some design work for a Latvian art dealer Andris who was manager of Latvia’s chess team going to the Philippines. Even though Andris lived in Australia he was a fervent patriot of Latvia and Latvians. I designed the T-shirt for the team to wear in the Philippines. My kids rolled their eyes and said: “You’re not doing it again for nothing are you???” Andris did pay for the technical costs. The cheque bounced. He later fixed it.

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1st Marriage

I rebelled first at age 25 when I married a fellow Latvian from interstate, not knowing his everyday self. We are so game when we are young! I was soon to learn that he was a very heavy beer drinker. He could down 12 large bottles in a single evening and still not seem drunk. I think it’s called alcohol tolerance. Over the years he could have build a skyscraper from all the bottles. Despite this expensive habit he was fun to be with in company. He had that charm to keep people interested.

We started off marriage living with his mum. Soon realising that we’d better move out as I didn’t get on particularly well with his mum. I had married her favorite son and she wasn’t about to give me the reins. She was quite formidable. I remember one time, early in the marriage, when my husband was at the local pub, the Reepham, she told me I had to go and get him and bring him home. I refused. So she got up and walked to the Reepham (we lived in Croydon Park, SA), went straight into the front bar where he was enjoying a beer with the boys, took him by the EAR, yanked him off his stool, and dragged him home. He didn’t have the nerve to go back into that pub for 3 months! It changed nothing about his drinking.

We moved to Henley Beach. Good move. One night in particular stands out. We’d returned from an outing and as we crossed the concrete carpark we saw something moving on the ground, backlit by the full moon. On closer inspection it was a huge yabby! Maybe more like a marron. How the hell had it got there?? Well, said husband, it ain’t going anywhere else. We boiled the beast as you would a yabby: with dill and salt. It was mighty delicious!

We did try living with his mum again but it led to buying our own house in Alberton. A 150 year old cottage which had had only 2 owners in its lifetime til late 1970s. The second owner told us that the first owner remembered standing on the back doorstep as a child and watching the ships come up the Port River. It had a large backyard and was perfect for my husband’s vegetable patch and interesting diggings. The most beautiful thing he dug up was a porcelain satsuma button. Japanese. Recently I found out through an antique dealer that these things were once buttons, large ones, and could fetch around $300. I wasn’t selling mine. I made it into a brooch. I also found an 1883 threepence.

By 1982 we had 2 children, both beautiful. One thing about Latvians, we produce beautiful children. For reasons I can’t remember my husband’s mother offered her house for sale, with the condition she went with it. The other brother and wife didn’t want to buy it with those conditions, but I, the eternal optimist, thought that I had finally matured enough to live peacefully with his mum “for love and affection” said “Let’s buy it!.” Husband wasn’t so sure. What if you can’t get on with mum? The house had been built by Charlie’s Dad in the early years of settlement in Adelaide, after arrival as a Displaced Person from Latvia. It was a beautiful 2 storey house with a lovely garden, in Croydon Park. If you drive past 8 Chrysler Road, you’ll see what I mean. I guess I was enamoured. Mistake. BIG mistake.

The best thing about living there was that Charlie’s mum was a devoted grandmother and both our children loved her. She had been a top cook in Latvia and now in Australia she catered for Latvian events and once a year invited all her friends over for a culinary feast. Charlie got his talent for cooking from his mum. He was working as a labourer laying concrete foundations for houses and dreamed of being a professional chef. I had a Graphic Design job in an advertising agency and was earning 3 times the average wage so I said: “Go do it! I’ll pay for you to do the chef’s course at Regency College.” So he did. Came top of his class when he graduated.

His life as a chef saw him very busy working at establishments such as “The Old London Tavern,” “The Cathedral Hotel” in North Adelaide and “Frenchie’s Restaurant” in West Lakes. To unwind after hectic cooking shifts he’d stay in town between shifts and after shifts. We didn’t see him much.

It came to pass that he started seeing other women and eventually I found out that it wasn’t merely having a chat. I pulled the plug on the marriage, took the children and moved out. We divorced in 1988.

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1974-75 Work & Marriage

Even with my illustrated books under my arm I am unable to get a job. Finally I do manage to snare one, and the government gives my employer a financial bonus for employing me. I work for Coles Melbourne pasting food items and prices for newspaper ads.

Having returned home to mum she tries to do the control bit again. “Be home by 10pm.” No!! I hunt for somewhere else to live and announce it. Basta! She is shocked. I have lived 18 months overseas. I don’t envisage having to answer for my every move to my mother at the ripe old age of 24. Forget that!

Work, Latvian Theatre performances. In 1975 the Latvians have a Theatre festival and it’s Melbourne’s turn to host. I’m in “Bez Siltam Vakarinam” (translated: “Without a warm dinner”) with the Melbourne troupe. From Adelaide comes their group. I meet again a chap around my age who’ve I’ve known for 10 years, not overly well, but enough to have felt a bit of a spark. I take a day off work to spend with him. My mother rings me in the flat and says: “Why aren’t you at work today?” I reply: “I took a sickie.” “Are you sick?” “No. But Charlie is here from Adelaide and I want to spend my day with him.” There is a 30 second silence at the other end of the line. Then she says: “The next time you take a day off work you will report to me!” … As you can imagine I don’t like this one little bit.

Charlie drives back to Adelaide and on the way stops to ring me: “I can’t stand this distance. Will you marry me?” “Yes,” I reply, “when do I leave?” I quit my job, drove to Adelaide. We got married by a celebrant in his mother’s house. His mum wore white, I wore a floral skirt and mauve top. I didn’t invite my mother to the wedding.

Some weeks later she rand me and asked when I would be coming back. “Not coming back,” I said, explaining why. There was another 30 seconds silence at the end of the line. Then she asks querulously: “Can I buy you a washing machine?” Sure mum. Thank you. And so a new phase of life begins.

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Europe! 1973

Still on a high, living in Germany with a Latvian family, the opportunities for self-expression are coming in and I grab them enthusiastically. I illustrate 3 Latvian books for Ziemelblazma, a Latvian publisher in Sweden, and receive newspaper accolades for my illustration capabilities. How nice!

In July-August I study Stage Design in Salzburg, Austria and revel in the theatre atmosphere. Our classroom is in the Hohensalzburg (Castle).  Our class is granted privileges to see behind the scenes at the theatre festival as our teacher, Guenther Schneider-Siemsen, is the resident stage designer of the Vienna State Opera, and he has designed the sets for Carl Orff’s “Das Spiel der Ende der Zeit.” The sets are mind-boggling in their technical complexity. I’d never seen anything remotely exciting as this in Australia, ever!

Our class is to design and draw to scale and construct (to scale) sets for Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” I draw costumes and design a set. At the end of the 6 week intensive course we exhibit our work and the local paper writes glowingly that we have accomplished more in 6 weeks than students studying full-time in the art school in a year. I’ve kept the newspaper clippings. We feel chuffed with ourselves.

One of my fellow students runs exhibitions in Wittlich in Germany and she likes my art. Through her I have my first solo exhibition and it’s in Wittlich!

In October I experience Munich’s Oktoberfest and amaze myself that I can drink one of the huge steins with beer. I also buy a dirndl (German national costume) and feel quite at home. (a little note here: just recently I have discovered that part of my heritage is German!)

In December 1973 I visit my parents’ homeland Latvia for the first time. I had asked for a visa in summer but I get 10 days in winter. How kind of the Russians to let me experience minus 20 degrees Celsius, an experience never to be forgotten! And I thought 12 degrees Celsius in Melbourne (Australia) was bloody cold. Ha! It was quite unusual to be allowed to stay with relatives at that time as the country was still under Soviet occupation. My dad was married before and had a son and a daughter there. My sister was 12 years older than me. I stayed with her and her young family. It was strange to see all the signs in Russian and propaganda on buildings trying to instil in the populace that communism was the answer for the future. Well, they got that wrong. Latvia reclaimed its independence in 1991. Having lived my entire life in Australia (born in Adelaide) I was unused to having to watch what I say when walking out in public. My brother-in-law told me to shush and pointed at the street lights, saying that they had microphones in them to eavesdrop on the populace. If I wanted to ask him anything concerning the country we should go into the forest because there were no microphones there!

What I enjoyed most from my 10 days in winter in Latvia, was all the theatre performances I attended. The high standard of theatre there was fantastic! It was strange though to have military police with rifles stand next to exit points in the theatre. One of the performances I attended was “Spele spelmani” at the end of which the hero sings “Put Vejini.” For all Latvians everywhere this is almost like a hymn for us. It is the yearning song for the wind to blow us home to Latvia. It is very patriotic. There wasn’t a dry eye in the hall. Strangely enough I don’t think that the Russian guards knew that this was such an important unifying song for Latvians. If they had known, they probably would have banned its performance. Russians weren’t inclined to learn Latvian, and still now in 2017, there are many Russians in Latvia who refuse to learn the language. Practising religion was also forbidden. We went to a music performance in the Dom Cathedral. We were packed shoulder to shoulder in our rows of seats and I could sense that everyone was just glad to be in God’s house. The feeling of unity and prayer for freedom was palpable.

I arrive back in Melbourne December 1973. Wish I didn’t have to come back. Feels strange being in Australia again.


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