Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Geometry of Transformation

There is a great pleasure in watching the pond ice become fluid; the shapes are bold, the contrast is high; there is the movement of the ice patches as they drift around the pond. When the temperature drops the ice pieces try to knit shore and land. Sometimes this mending looks like wings, but everyday the mending grows weaker until today there is only open water, and frogs singing.

returning to water 1, 2015

returning to water 2, 2015

returning to water 3, 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Beauty of Melting

This past week has been glorious with winters snow in full retreat. The stream beside the house is running high and I lie in bed drifting off to sleep with its roar in my ears. The pond has drawn lines where the ice is splitting, huge cracks appearing, freezing at night and thawing wider and deeper during the day. I can hardly bear to be inside; I don't want to miss a moment of the wonder of spring.

The first crack appears on the pond, 2015

A leaf, stuck in a crack, 2015

The mending of the cracks, 2015

ice pulling away from the edge of the pond, 2015

Layers of ice, 2015

And at dusk, the first reflections, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Barkcloth Clothing

On the way back from Istanbul we stopped off for a brief orgy of museums and galleries in London. It was a feast, and I am still recovering;  one of my favourite shows was at the British Museum, called Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing." In the islands of the Pacific, cloth made from the inner bark of trees is a distinctive art tradition. Probably brought to the region at least 5,000 years ago by some of the first human settlers, its designs reflect the histories of each island group and the creativity of the makers. Spanning the region from New Guinea in the west to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in the east, "[from the British Museum website]. I love the strong colour and pattern, some of the clothes reminded me of the paper dresses we wore in the '60's.

In my jet lagged state I have said that this exhibition was at The V & A, and thanks to a friend [thanks Margaret!] who gently pointed out that it was at the British Museum ,I've fixed the links and the text. Sorry about that.

Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing. British Museum, 2015

Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing. British Museum, 2015

Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing. British Museum, 2015

Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing. British Museum, 2015

Barkcloth, masi kesa, The multiple bands of motifs around the centre of this cloth were applied using stencils. This technique is unique to Fiji. Fijian cloths featuring the elongated diamond motif interspersed with linear patterns have been made since the early decades of the 1800s. [text from the British Museum website]

Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing. British Museum, 2015

Waist garment, salatasi. In Futuna in Western Polynesia, waist garments known as salatasi, sashes and turbans were finely decorated with geometric patterns using a pen made from coconut fond, a technique considered ancient and distinctively Futunan. radiating triangles filled with stepped patterns are typical of salatasi, but the trio of spikes surrounded with black add a strikingly unique element to this cloth made in 1840s. [text from the British Museum website]

Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing. British Museum, 2015

Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing. British Museum, 2015

This is a women's skirt; cloths several meters in length were layered and gathered around the waist to create the full skirts of hawaiian women. Red plant dyes known as 'ula'ula were widely used to decorate barkcloth in Hawaii. Linear patterns were pressed into the cloth using multi-pronged liners of wood or bamboo, dipped in dye. [early 1800s, text from the British Museum web site]

Monday, April 6, 2015

Dreams Come True

Ever since I first heard the words in grade 2 or 3 geography, I have wanted to see the places that were called Constantinople, Bosporus, Golden Horn, Haghia Sophia, Istanbul, and Sea of Marmara; that place of intersection, of what seemed like the centre of the world. It drew me like a compass finding magnetic north. All I needed to do was convince J. We spent a week in that city, in a small hotel nestled into the great walls of the Haghia Sophia, waking each morning to the haunting Call to Prayer, walking the streets, up and down the hills, taking ferries up the Golden Horn and across the Bosporus, to Asia and towards the Black Sea, We walked the Hippodrome where the odalisques were looted from Egypt by the Romans and then further looted by the Venetians  [you can see the horses on the plinths in St Mark's Square in Venice]. It was an extraordinary time for me, a dreamscape made real, it was haunting, it was a parallel time and it was a dream come true.

Looking out the windows from the Haghia Sophia towards The Blue Mosque. 2015

Light streaming through the windows of the Haghia Sophia. 2015

The Basilica Cistern, laid out in 532, the roof held up by 336 columns, water reached the cistern which held about 2 million gal. from the Belgrade Forest, 12 miles north of Istanbul. 2015

The brick domes in the old part of  The Grand Bazaar, 2015

Taking the ferry up the Bosphorus towards the Black Sea. In the distance is the Ataturk Bridge joining Europe and Asia, 2015

One of the domes at the Church of St. Saviour in Chora, undergoing restoration, I loved the frescos


The Call to Prayer, recorded by accident the 1st night we were in Istanbul, a happy find on my camera. [Hopefully this will work!]

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Another Maquette With Plexiglass

I'm still experimenting with ink on plexi and have a dilemma, I don't like working on a plexiglass surface; there is no response, no dance between the ink and plexi, so unlike the response of paper. This seemed like the perfect solution but it's not for me, so more experimenting needs to be done.

Plexi and fold, 2015

Just plexi, 2015
I'm going to take a spring break from social media for a few weeks, so Happy Spring everyone and see you in a few weeks.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Language of Snow and Screen

It's been warm enough lately to open the windows in the bedroom, and the other morning we woke up to a new sight. During the night the temperature had dropped and snow had fallen, actually snow had been blown around; so that looking at the windows I had the sense of trying to understand a new language.

The pattern of language, 2015

reading the grid, 2015

a paragraph break, 2015

the sun comes up and language melts away, 2015

Monday, March 9, 2015

Stratigraphy, Notes

Continuing my series "Ode to My Refrigerator" I am amazed by the colors; it must be the quality of the light at this time of year, the angle of the sun and the reflections from the snow that fill the kitchen with light. And I am longing for the earth, to feel my feet in the ground, to feel softness underneath rather than the frozen white.

deep down, 2015

at the bottom of the sky, 2015

piercing light, 2015

Stratigraphy is a branch of geology which studies rock layers (strata) and layering (stratification). It is primarily used in the study of sedimentary and layered volcanic rocks. Stratigraphy includes two related subfields: lithologic stratigraphy or lithostratigraphy, and biologic stratigraphy or biostratigraphy.

Lithostratigraphy is a sub-discipline of stratigraphy, the geological science associated with the study of strata or rock layers. Major focuses include geochronology, comparative geology, and petrology. In general a stratum will be primarily igneous or sedimentary relating to how the rock was formed.

Biostratigraphy is the branch of stratigraphy which focuses on correlating and assigning relative ages of rock strata by using the fossil assemblages contained within them. Usually the aim is correlation, demonstrating that a particular horizon in one geological section represents the same period of time as another horizon at some other section.

Historical development

Nicholas Steno established the theoretical basis for stratigraphy when he introduced the law of superposition, the principle of original horizontality and the principle of lateral continuity in a 1669 work on the fossilization of organic remains in layers of sediment.
The first practical large-scale application of stratigraphy was by William Smith in the 1790s and early 19th century. Smith, known as the "Father of English geology",[1] created the first geologic map of England and first recognized the significance of strata or rock layering and the importance of fossil markers for correlating strata. Another influential application of stratigraphy in the early 19th century was a study by Georges Cuvier and Alexandre Brongniart of the geology of the region around Paris.

From Wikipedia

Words and phrases to use: original horizontality, principle of lateral continuity, layering = stratification

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cut, Fold, Bend

While I experiment with different inks on plexiglass [thanks everyone for the suggestions] I also had time to make some maquettes of shaped work, which led to cutting and folding some of the shapes. Still a lot of details to work out, but exciting.

Just folded maquette, ink on foam core, 2015

Just cut, 2 flat works, ink on foam core, 2015

Flat and folded, ink on foam core, 2015

another view, Flat and folded, ink on foam core, 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

Experiments on Plexiglass

Over the past few days I've been experimenting with ink on plexiglass, as one of the ways these works [Pentagons and Hexagons] are leading me is to work on a shaped support, and I hoped that I could cut the plexi into shapes. But first I needed to see if the ink would hold. I used 3 different surfaces for the plexi, all with poor results. Now on to plan B.

Ink on plexi, no sanding, 2015

Ink on frosted plexi, 2015

ink on sanded plexi, 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015


A few years ago I started to photograph the reflections on the refrigerator [you can see some of them here]. I call it my Donald Judd, as it's basically an aluminium box, and this week I noticed how the light was changing on it; layers of subtle colour seemed to wash over it reminding me of strata of the the earth or visions of the universe. Or maybe its just more cabin fever.

A line of light divides, 2015

Broken line, 2015

2 light lines divide, 2015

layers of horizon, 2015