This post follows on from yesterday’s – Fe-Archia – and is an excerpt, written by Whitney Nicholls-Potts, with images by Ashley Church, from the Fe-Archia archives. (Purely by coincidence, the wonderful Natalie was also the designer of Undone Journal… Oh and also, Whitney has also been an Undone model… Love these multifaceted girls…)
Here is an excerpt from Natalie’s chapter: A part of something –
< A Part of Something >
Natalie Thomson – Graphic Design
May 29 2014
I met Natalie at a river bach, in the wops, over New Year’s 2013-14. It poured most of the time and the river was icicle cold and tea brown with tannin from the rain. I remember thinking she was so natural. Everything about her just felt very natural and independent. We bonded on New Year’s Eve – dancing under a tarpaulin to Beyonce’s freshly dropped album, over the tiny and insignificant speakers of a laptop about to run out of power. We huddled in close to the laptop and tried to sing along without singing too loud over the music; much to our dismay at just wanting to really belt out ‘Drunk In Love’ like it should be done. How many friendships were born over Beyonce that summer…
We caught up at Te Papa, on a free-entry night in May, and walked through the Throne of Emperors exhibit together. You had to have some form of local ID as proof that you were a Wellingtonian: Natalie still had her student ID card, and I had my library card. She showed up in op shop corduroy pants with freshly chopped hair and a holey inside out Batman t-shirt, inside out because, she admitted, she wasn’t a huge Batman-head and: you gotta believe in what you wear on your t-shirt. We talked about being transplanted from England to New Zealand at age seven; her unusually both sided, and few generations each, Steiner-educated family, Russh magazine, the internet and growing up in the Hutt; her love story with boyfriend, Mac: a darling man who skateboards and drinks beer out of cans and goes to salsa dancing classes with her on Tuesdays. We also talked about the politics of being the new girl and the power of girl friendships. She is gentle, assertive, practical, a dreamer. As we walked through all the red and gold replicated relics Natalie mused: it’s funny how gold is only valuable because it’s gold.
Introducing Natalie –
Feminism, to me, is young women and girls that want to own their femaleness, but also defend the freedom to not be feminine. That’s the kind of feminism I consume. I think what would be really cool is having traditional, feminine, female stuff to be elevated to the level of the masculine aggressive career woman. Including men. Allow a father to stay at home full time caring. Imagine that? That is considered so odd and almost emasculating. Why is that a bad thing? Because you judge that job as being completely inferior. How can you support all of society if we are all having careers? I love being allowed to be as feminine as I want and as expressive of myself, but also be as capable with practical things; I want to put some shelves up, no big deal. I feel like so many guys don’t understand themselves at all because they have no practice talking about it. They don’t even know what’s going on in their own head and it seems like that’s because that whole side of them is not considered relevant by anyone – except maybe their girlfriend.
I love when I can feel myself gaining understanding of myself and I feel like I’m getting somewhere with myself. I feel so freed from what people think of me. I don’t mind being not considered attractive by the general population. I’m quite happy to blend in as any old human with a rash on her face and no make up on, do you know what I mean? I like to dress up pretty, that’s really enjoyable, but I don’t need to all the time. I feel really free to just be the background woman that’s doing something. You can really think about what you want to think about and do what you want to do. I feel like I’m understanding a lot more lately, what I want in the long term. And my fears have gone so much down about failing and being crap. I’m feeling much more like, fuck it, you’ve just got to try and what have you really got to lose? I feel like I’ve got so much less to lose, I don’t know why, I didn’t have anything to lose in the first place.
Photography by Ashley Church @ Dinosaurtoast