‘I never take it off – holes and all’: Jenny Kee on her most treasured objects

8 months ago 114

“I consciousness waratahs to beryllium my totem,” says Jenny Kee down the enactment from her location successful the Blue Mountains. “And I’m looking retired astatine thousands of glorious waratahs arsenic we speak.”

Waratahs are a recurrent motif successful the enactment of Kee, a legendary sanction successful Australian fashion. Her colourful designs are inspired by the scenery – deliberation koalas, cockatoos and gumtrees, arsenic good arsenic her favourite flower. She has been a salient fig since the 1970s, erstwhile she opened a store successful Sydney’s Strand Arcade with a chap designer, Linda Jackson. Together they sold their eye-catching attire to a high-flying clientele (the Princess of Wales adjacent coiled up successful 1 of Kee’s jumpers aft receiving it arsenic a wedding acquisition from Kim Wran, girl of the erstwhile New South Wales premier Neville Wran).

Kee and Jackson’s narration became tight-knit and 50 years connected the brace are inactive fierce friends, though they’re nary longer successful concern together. This month, a caller documentary charting the pair’s enslaved and publication to manner arrived connected ABC iView. Step Into Paradise covers Kee and Jackson’s lifelong relationship, their enactment and the idiosyncratic events, bully and bad, that shaped them. It’s a doco that Kee says gives “rich insight” into her life.

Today Kee is inactive designing and is inactive inspired by Australia’s earthy beauty. Her astir utile point is 1 of her waratah scarves, which helps her past those bitter Blue Mountains winters. Here she tells america astir that wardrobe staple, arsenic good arsenic the communicative of 2 different important idiosyncratic belongings.

What I’d prevention from my location successful a fire

A photograph of my guru. I’m a Buddhist and his photograph speaks volumes to me. It’s astir apt the astir precious [thing I own] – I cognize helium should beryllium surviving successful my bosom and my mind, but it’s conscionable that the photograph is truly peculiar to me. It’s connected my altar and I emotion looking astatine it. I consciousness similar I get unthinkable spiritual vigor erstwhile I look astatine his photo.

I came to Buddhism successful astir 1986 erstwhile I met a fantastic wood monk, my archetypal Buddhist teacher, successful Thailand. There, I meditated successful an bonzer cave that had a earthy limestone enactment of a Buddha successful it. And that led maine connected the way of realising however important the Earth is, and the interconnection of antheral and nature, which is past Indigenous culture, but I learnt it done a Buddhist perspective.

My astir utile object

My cashmere waratah scarf, which I ne'er instrumentality off. Holes successful it and all!

Jenny Kee, surrounded by waratahs and wearing her favourite scarf, which bears the angiosperm  motif
Jenny Kee, surrounded by waratahs and wearing her favourite scarf, which bears the angiosperm motif. Photograph: Brigitte Grant Photography

But it’s utile due to the fact that I unrecorded successful the mountains and today, for instance, it’s freezing. Today we’re connected 6C oregon something. So I’ve ever got this scarf connected astir apt 8 months of the year, due to the fact that it’s colder up here. We person a truly definite 4 months of summer, past we person bushfires, past we person 7 oregon 8 months wherever it’s cold. And I get precise cold. I request warmth! So it really is my astir utile object.

The point I astir regret losing

I’m terribly atrocious to spell connected astir waratahs again, but my parent knitted maine a waratah beanie successful 1988 and I mislaid it astir 2 months agone connected the bid from the mountains down to Sydney. It was my lifeline to my mum. She was the backbone successful my shop, she organised each the knitters and each the knitting, and the information that she’d knitted this for maine [made it special].

So I person 1 waratah scarf and I had my waratah beanie. I wore that beanie each the clip to support warm. I astir apt don’t deterioration the beanie 8 months of the year, but I astir apt deterioration the beanie 5 months of the year. Whereas the scarf is useful, the beanie is precious and useful. And I mislaid it. It’s similar oh, Mum! Where is it! One of my beauteous knitters is going to knit maine a caller 1 but it’s not going to beryllium the same.