When I was very young, up untill I was about maybe 3 or 4 years old, we lived in a beautiful old house on the central coast of New South Wales, Australia. It was a lovely place to live (as you can see below) with beautiful bushland behind and only a short walk through that bushland to a very private and secluded beach on the shores of the waters of Lakes Entrance. The house is still there (as I have just discovered via google maps) and still looks the same as it did 30 or so years ago.
I was an adventurous child, and one day I climbed up on the railing of the front verandah so that I could sit on it, swing my legs over the edge and watch the world go by. Unfortunately, my balance was not as great as my sense of adventure and it was only a few moments before I fell to the ground below with a thud.
With the wind knocked out of me, I lay there for a moment, before putting my hands down beside me to raise myself up from the ground. It was then that I felt the bite. I pulled my hand up quickly and looked down to see a Redback spider slowly crawling away from the scene of the crime.
Now even though I was very young, I lived in the Australian bush and therefore our parents had taught us from a very early age about what creatures around us might hurt us and what we should do if they did. With that in mind, I squished the spider quickly with my thumb, picked it up and, still hurting a bit from the fall, walked into the house to my mother who was standing in the kitchen and told her what happened.
When she saw the dead spider in my hand she sprung into action, whisking me off to a neighbours house in order to get a lift to the local hospital.
I don’t really remember much more of the story, although I have been told that on the way to the hospital I became quite ill and the area around the bite started to swell a lot.
After all this, anyone would think that I would have a major hatred of Redback spiders and their ilk, but no. Instead, since then, I have felt somewhat of an affinity with them. I found myself being more greatful that at one of the only times time in my life when such a bite could have been potentially fatal, the little creature did nothing more than make me feel a bit poorly and leave me with a bit of a yarn to tell.
That affinity promped me, in the mid 90’s, to create something celebrating both the awesomeness of my friend the Redback and my love of modern and traditional Aboriginal Art, and so my piece ‘Redback Dreaming’ was born.
Now, once again working from a photograph (the original piece residing back in Australia with my brother and his family), I have created a range featuring this design and posted it for sale at ‘Lee Lee and the Bee‘ for the world to enjoy.