Welcome to Olga Brolga.
Ever since I created my Crocodile Wrap I thought I would like to fashion something similar but very different. Don’t ask where I went to school but this is exactly what I wanted to do. Same, same but different! So I looked high and low and in between garbage bins but impossible for me to put my hands on another beautiful jumper to cut up and then put together at random and on impulse. I never give up and for years I have been looking at every op-shop possible including market places to locate the right jumper for the right job. Before I keep rattling on I just want to know if you are familiar with my Crocodile Wrap! If not please have a look at “My Crocodile Wrap” but don’t get lost in my beautiful web page. Please return to this story as it is breaking world news and world records. I have got interviews on red carpets and tickets are selling out quickly.
Sometimes you have to travel to the far end of a country to the gate where the forest unfolds or even to the far end of the world to fulfil your dreams. Sometimes you have to meet up with nature spirits in the middle of the wilderness or even face the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland before you reach your goal. Facing a monster can be a challenge but I do it every morning when I look in the mirror! I am getting used to it. By the way I knew I was born a monster simply because I wanted to be one! I was also difficult to handle for my small family as I wanted them to have a challenge too. Why would you choose to be conceived by a certain pair of parents if it wasn’t to give them a confrontation! Just asking! I think my family was relieved when I left home at barely 18.
Well I happened to go to Tasmania last year having a lovely time road tripping around. I made my way to Sandy Bay a bit of an upmarket suburbia just outside Hobart Downtown. It was an overcast dull day and what else to do than go window shopping. I soon found a tea shop, a book shop, a delicatessen, a kids shop and on the corner an antique shop. I very seldom venture into antique shops. First of all stuff is expensive next I have nowhere to put stuff as I mainly live out of a small van where the pictures on the wall has been exchanged with sea and forest views. Where bushes, flowers and rolling hills are my television and the birds, the wind in the trees and the lap of waves on a deserted beach is my radio and music. It is a lovely lifestyle with one pair of knitting needles, one spinning wheel, one crochet hook, one sewing machine and a loom.
However I was attracted to this antique shop and as I always say follow your instinct follow your gut feeling I went in and had a good look around. Many pieces on display were beautiful and some old woollen looking fabrics could fit in my suitcase but what to do with them at home in the warm tropics living the outdoor life? I was just about to leave the shop when my higher self paid attention to this rather large and old looking trunk. You know one of these trunks that was used more than hundreds of years ago on sea voyages. The type of trunks that washed up on the beach where Robinson Crusoe and his Pirates friends such as Thomas Cavendish, Peter Love and Piet Hein were munching on coconuts having a break from the treasure hunt just like me.
When I was a kid I loved bedtime stories and Robinson Crusoe was one of my many favourites. If you didn’t know Crusoe was a castaway who spend 28 years on a remote tropical desert island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives and mutineers, before eventually being rescued. I always wanted to be a Crusoe. Somehow it never quite eventuated. The closest I have been to cannibals was in the Philippines somewhere up high in the mountains in some far away small village. I recognised the cannibals by their tattoos. Lucky me I knew they had ceased being cannibals when Mc Donald moved in and people started eating rubbish food. I don’t blame them! Why eat people who eat Mc Donald’s food? During the same trip I visited a museum also up high in the desolate mountains and saw a great display of daily life of a cannibal tribe. Some of the photos taken in 1958 showed a group of natives carrying captured humans and big pot on open fire ready for cooking. Lucky that the photographer got away to have his photos developed.
Back to the trunk which still had some seaweed attached to the lid listening carefully you could hear the mermaids gossiping with the sirens trying to allure you like any other sailor on open sea. The trunk as a matter of fact pulled me close and the smell of naphthalene hit my nostrils and set me back to my childhood in a split second.
My mother was fantastic with a pair of knitting needles and she knitted me one jumper after the other. She had no idea that I could not use or wear out all these beautiful jumpers but she kept knitting. She loved the Norwegian designs maybe because her mother was from Norway. She made me one of the very old traditional designs and I loved it. I wore it until the threads started to fall apart. I kept mending it with all sorts of yarns found in my grandmothers sewing kit until one day my mother took it off me and presented me with yet another gorgeous jumper. Now don’t get sidetracked and what I wanted to say was that all my winter jumpers were kept in a trunk from Norway decorated with roses. I love anything floral and I loved the trunk with roses. When winter approached the lid of the trunk was lifted and the fumes from the jumpers were that of naphthalene. It made my stomach twist my lungs scream uncontrollably wanting fresh air. It made me sick and I puked in the trunk then all the jumpers had to be washed. Not my fault but how do you explain that to a mum always in control.
Standing in the antique shop I overcame my childhood memories and had a good rummage and guess what! In the trunk underneath dresses, g-strings and curtains was a fine-looking jumper similar to the ones my mother use to knit for me. Same, same but different! This jumper had a different colour scheme but very much the same design as the Norwegian ones. I could not believe it! I was speechless. Not many friends would think that I could be speechless but I was. My imagination was already going wild my thoughts were running like a mad horse at the Derby Race last year and I had the design in my mind within a minute. I grabbed the jumper and it was a Laura Ashley. That’s awesome. Now who is Laura Ashley? I went to the counter displaying my best poker face and paid quick smart before anyone else could claim my discovery. I was over the rainbow with joy.
I finally found the exact jumper I needed for my Olga Brolga Wrap. Not that I knew the name of the wrap at that stage but as I started working on the project the name came to me. I was having a ball thinking up how to cut the jumper into pieces and then stitch it together again. I was dreaming of colours to use. Should I knit or crochet? It was a big question. Lucky I was at the end of my holiday on Tasmania as I could hardly wait to get home and get started. I knew I had some yarns stashed away in a box in a safe place in my van. I got itchy feet I wanted to go home. Finally back in Mareeba and first thing was to wash the jumper to get rid of the naphthalene smell. That done out came my pair of scissors. To make sure the jumper would not unravel I stitched each piece on the sewing machine. I was in heaven! The jumper could now undergo the magic change into a wrap infusing my energy into every stitch of the garment. The wrap started vibrating.
A new master piece was borne. My friend Maria calls me Ulla the Doula. I liked the name straight away. It had a good feel to it. I didn’t know the word Doula until Maria told me that a Doula is a birth companion helping giving birth to children and she thinks that I am a Doula because I give birth to all these stories that I write. I decided on the spot to make Ulla the Doula my artist name. This is Maria she is my model. She is awesome.
The main colour of the jumper is red. I love red flowers especially roses and hearts but I don’t wear red very often. To break the red colour I thought to add blue. I simply had to balance the Olga with the Brolga. I love blue too but it is a bit difficult for me to wear it as my mother use to say “Blue suits any fool”. It is amazing how these sayings can follow you like a nightmare year after year. And you don’t really want to be a fool especially not when you are 7 years old with a face full of freckles.
Red is action, courage, energy and strength. It is warm, positive and vital. It gives us a feeling of confidence. It is your willpower. It promotes ambition and determination. It is a stimulating colour, it loosens and opens blocked energy it releases stiffness and constrictions. Red represents life, fire, growth and burning away of negativity and weakness. It is the colour of blood, of birth and death. It is ruled by planet Mars and the element of Fire, both aggressive energies. Red is the Earth, the soil, the stones and trees. Red makes you wake up and feel alive. It heals regenerates and inspires enthusiasm.
It is linked to and will activate, stimulate and energize the Base/Root Chakra. It awakens our physical life force energy, and keeps us motivated and able to achieve our life’s goals. It can stimulate deeper passions, such as sex and love, courage or hatred and revenge. Red stimulates the adrenal glands giving us the ability to survive.
Blue is a cooling, positive colour, indicating loyalty and reliability. It is relaxing and calming on all levels and promotes inner security and confidence. Blue is a peaceful colour enhancing tranquillity and healing. It calms the emotions and halts nightmares. It is all about trust, responsibility and honesty. It can be used to awaken intuition, artistic self expression, inspiration, and to ease loneliness. It is sensitivity. Blue is the breath and without the breath we die. It is purifying and reduces stress.
Blue is linked to and will activate, stimulate and energize the Throat Chakra. This chakra is often referred to as the “power centre” and “the greatest centre in the body” because it is the primary centre of expression and communication through speech.
Blue is the colour of the ocean, of sleep and of twilight. It is ruled by the element of Water and the planet Neptune. If you want to know something about King Neptune’s wardrobe see ”The Wardrobe of King Neptune and Moon Goddess Johanne”.
Now that you have read my story about Olga Brolga wrap you could ask yourself “Why on earth call a wrap for Olga Brolga”?
Good question! Olga is the feminine form of Oleg which means holy. The name originates from Scandinavia yes where I come from and if it wasn’t for my parents I could easily have been named Olga. I actually like the name Olga! It also means enthusiastic and blessed. In the 10th-century Saint Olga was the wife of Igor the 1st, Grand Prince of Kievan Rus (a state based around the city of Kiev). So there you go.
Brolga is formerly known as the native companion. It is a bird of the crane family. I love watching the beautiful dance of the Brolgas. It is an intricate mating dance so graceful and I love their call when they fly over. The Brolga bird is grey and those of you who have read the story about my Inside Out Jacket know by now that I don’t like this colour. To overcome my grey colour phobia I replaced grey with red and blue. You can find out more about grey by viewing ”The Inside Out Jacket”.
When you drape Olga Brolga around you, you will feel like a sophisticated performer floating above the meadows and open plains gracefully sipping nectar from one flower head to the other feeling energetic, full of beans and cheerful. When you wear Olga Brolga you can hear the female bird make a trumpeting sound which sets you free and you radiate happiness. Straight away your creative interests and talents surface from deep within. Wearing Olga Brolga is magic!