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!]