Monday, July 29, 2013

The Tree.

On Friday I attended a fun Inky Fingers afternoon organized by Colleen Ross. People made such amazing etchings that I felt a bit embarrassed by my quick & dirty effort.

The Tree (dry point etching, collaged paper from an old envelope)
I used the point of an awl to make the spiral dots (using a hammer). In fact, the funny line you see on the left is because I hammered a bit vigorously and cracked my perspex plate. I used a sewing tool (for tracing patterns) to get the other dotted lines, and rough sandpaper for the grass.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Crocheted legwarmer.

Yes, I completely agree with you. This does not look like a legwarmer. It is meant to form a rectangle (slightly shaped) which you then sew up to form the legwarmer. But after three rows I stopped. I mean, any fool can see that this is never going to become a slightly shaped rectangle, can't they? Or a legwarmer.

I promise that I followed the pattern (which I saw in a local magazine) faithfully, Okay, I admit, not completely faithfully. I didn't use the right yarn, and I did not use the correct size crochet hook. And I have to confess to having been too lazy to fetch my glasses while I was crocheting away, so I may not always have inserted the hook into the third chain, as instructed. And I wasn't too sure of what dc and tr meant but I think I eventually got it right after I googled. Unfortunately I had already done a few before I googled, and I was too lazy to start from scratch. Whatever.

If  I am going to have to follow the RULES all the time, where is the fun, I ask you?

So I sewed it onto the neckline of an old T-shirt.

I might wear it. But I don't think I should tell people that it used to be the first three rows of a legwarmer.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Reading, doing, seeing #7

Well! I have had a busy few weeks since my last RDS  post.
  • Have finished a couple of  Arnaldur Indridason thrillers on my Kindle. Somehow crime in Iceland seems so much more interesting than let's say local or American or British crime ... Anyway, over the last couple of weeks I finished  Arctic Chill, Hypothermia and Voices
  • I also read (Danish) Lene Kaaberbøl's The Boy in the Suitcase. But not in Danish, obviously. But maybe that is not so obvious. For all you know I could be fluent in Danish. (But I'm not, just to make things clear.) 
  • Anyway, I am digressing. On the slightly more serious (but still fictional) side, I greatly enjoyed Ann Patchett's State of Wonder
  • I recently acquired these two books - the first was an out-of-the-blue (and much appreciated) present from my middle son, and the second was one I had ordered some time ago but had not got around to reading (but have started now).

Oh! William Kentridge, how I adore thee. (No, that is not the title, that is just me. The title is Trace.) A beautiful book published by MoMA.

Ideaspotting by Sam Harrison. Full of pithy quotes and little bits and pieces about thinking creatively. As you will remember (or probably not) "idea" is my Word of the Year. Actually, having ideas is not a problem I have, I have many, many ideas, too many, some would say. It is the willpower and tenacity and focus and skill to carry them out. So I should probably be reading a different book. Or books.

  • I haven't done much new apart from Tai Chi and doing my art MOOC assignments (here and here and here and here and here and here) and going to my printmaking classes.
  • I restarted my Profiteri series, ditched the first two prints and made 10 new prints, but I will post about that later this week.
  • I have not done this yet, so strictly speaking it does not fall under the heading Doing. But I am starting to think again of making a zine. I wanted to do one a few years ago, and did not get around to it. Hmmmm - I'll let the idea simmer for a bit ... maybe something will happen ...
  • I have enrolled for two new MOOCs: the Philosophy of Mathematics (University of Munchen), and Creativity, Innovation and Change (PennState). Yippeee!
  • Oh, I made ice cream! Tres yummy and let me just add that I have two sons backing me up on this. An extremely easy recipe - see here. Rich though, so don't eat too much in one sitting. 
  • Saw The Wilhelm Saayman exhibition (In Season Five Everyone Dies) at Erdmann Contemporary - Bloody hell, but his critters are ugly!! But after reading the artist's statement, (I think) I understand why. 
  • Also saw Critics' Choice at the Association of Arts - art critics each chose one work by an artist and explained why they chose it. I found this quite insightful. Great video by Randolph Hartzenberg, by the way.
  • I spent a morning at the R.A.T. exhibition at the SA Museum - beautifully curated by Fritha Langerman. One wouldn't think that an exhibition about brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) could be interesting, but there you have it. It was. One is constantly surprised, isn't one?  Of course, it was conceived and executed by an artist, what more can I say? One thing I really liked about it is that it was displayed in odd (and sometimes dark) nooks and crannies in the Museum - quite an exploration it was to find them all. What would have been really great is if there could have been a couple of real rats running over visitors' feet or something, hahaha. But then I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much, I guess ...
  • I also went to  the shweshwe exhibition at the Slave Lodge - all about the history of isishweshwe in Africa and South Africa in particular. Gosh, who knew that our shweshwe was brought here as blaudruck cloth by German missionaries? As I said in the bullet point above  ...
  • And finally I saw the amazing Bleu Remix by performance artist Yann Marussich (with James Webb providing the sound for this performance).  It made for compelling watching. A bit voyeuristic I suppose - watching obsessively for almost an hour as he oozes blue liquid from his eyes, nostrils, mouth and then later from the pores all over his body. The audience response (and indeed my own) was even more fascinating. See here for an earlier performance.  Adjectives that popped up in my head started out with "grotesque" and "bizarre" but ended up with "moving". Quite weird really. 

Dear friends, have a wonderful week. Go and make some art. But don't ooze blue stuff  - I don't think it is good for you.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Art MOOC # 6: A Circular Argument.

Last week's assignment was to construct a "Cabinet of Curiosities". I used 40 of the found pieces that I usually pick up on my walks (I have three boxes of these), and decided to focus on circular objects. I incorporated in the piece the philosophical concept of a circular argument as well as eight hand drawn illustrations of spiritual and religious circular symbols. You will find yin-yang, the circumpunct, enso, the Flower of Life, ouroboros, the quartered circle, The Seed of Life, and finally the Sacred Chao (a symbol of Discordianism -  a parody religion, which uses subversive humour to spread its philosophy).

A Circular Argument (wooden slide tray, found objects, black thread, glue, wire, paper, pen, ink, paint)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Book of Rumours.

Yay!  I have finally got as far as binding my three Rumours etchings in a book of sorts - a three-page fold-out file format. I attached the prints with split pins to cover pages, which I covered with blue cotton fabric. I used gauze bandage for the hinges. I covered the hinges and split pins on the outside with narrow strips of fabric. Small circles of fabric were attached as 'hubs' on each print, holding red strings to symbolize a network. Finally I attached the title and string to tie up the book. I used my brown paper artist proofs for this book as it is meant as a prototype before I go onto the real thing.  If I have the energy to do it all over again ...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Art MOOC Week 5 - An Installation.

Last week's assignment was a site-specific installation work. I chose to do mine next to the sea near where I live. My purpose was two-fold - I have noticed how often people (including myself) walk or cycle along this pavement, sometimes without looking and noticing the lovely view. I guess when you live here, you get used to it. But I wanted passersby to stop and pause a while - to see the sea.

Along the road next to this spot is a painted number 15  - probably a distance marker for a road or cycle race. I first started thinking about the problem of plastic litter while watching one of these races where  participants were given liquid in small plastic bags - which they dropped next to the road as they continued. Although these were removed by a cleaning team after the race, a considerable amount blew over the fence into the bushes, rocks and sea. I have also noticed how other plastic litter - plastic bottles and plastic bags -  accumulate against the fence. People seem to simply throw away stuff while they walk or drive without thinking about where it lands up. Once I started researching the problem of plastic litter in the sea I was horrified. I learnt about plastic micro-beads in facewash and how they end up affecting marine life. I learnt about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and other gyres.  I collected 15 facts about the problem and made 15 cards - the front was embellished with a message to stop and pause a while, and the back had a horrific fact on it. These I tied onto the fence with red yarn.

I also tied 15 packages (wrapped with gauze bandage) onto the fence - each package contained a shell, sea coin or small bit of sea weed.

The installation was completed by positioning 3 dolls (which I made from plastic detergent bottles and caps. and then covered with tissue paper) on top of the fence.  I stencilled the letters S, E and A on their backs. They gazed out over the bay, while below them the cards and packages whirled and twirled in the breeze. Several friends came by to have a look, and a number of passersby stopped to investigate while I was working. L'Usband (cleverly hiding himself) took several video clips.

And so dear friends, I wish you a happy week.
Pause a while
See the Sea.

See The Sea x 15 (plastic bottles and caps, tissue paper, yarn, glue, card, paint, rivets, gauze bandage, sea shells, sea glass, sea weed, bamboo pegs, pen,  ink, installation on fence overlooking False Bay).