Friday, July 30, 2010

celebrating 80

If you dont hear a peep here for a bit its because there's lots to do.... Dinner for 48 Saturday night ...lots of fuss... for a person who's put a lot of energy out over many years and still hits the tennis court, climbs ladders to tend her garden, reads books for her 2 bookclubs and knits beautiful rugs to give away - and thats for starters!

Celebrating  80 years ... this Saturday is a special birthday in my family... my mother turns 80. Friends and family are coming together ...the photos have appeared out of hiding... and I have not even found mine yet! heres a few photos Id not seen apart from the wedding and the young family!

my grandmother on the family farm - c late 1930's

my mother on left with her brother and sister - c 1940

mother and her daughters near the house and wisteria vine

1957 - the wedding day

70's family - I'm the eldest of four

late 80's - 90's (?) youngest brov, Mum and I

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Being compelled to represent flora in art has a long history

Capri  by Joseph Stella

Recently I visited the fascinating HUMAN FLOWER PROJECT via the blog 'not all those who wander are lost' of  South Australian based textile artist (botanical alchemist) of enormous talent and renown India Flint.

botanical alchemy on the line and in the book form - a must see!


The Human Flower Project is an international newsgroup, photo album and discussion of humankind’s relationship with the floral world. We report on art, medicine, society, history, politics, religion, and commerce. Written and photographic submissions are welcome.
Since its inception in September 2004, the Human Flower Project has been non-commercial, focussing rather on research, news gathering, commentary, and visual documentation. I hope to present worldwide perspectives on this topic and welcome contributors of all ages and nationalities. Julie Ardery

This Project is the brain child of Julie Ardery - a sociologist and writer in Austin, Texas. I was overwhelmed by the wealth of material at this site... and suggest a good visit when you have time. I know  often we like to shown a lot of images and not need to wade through the text... blogging after all lends itself so beautifully to the visual arena of life.

Anyone drawn to flora in art-making and design ..... this site is a little like adding rich nutrients to your garden of ideas...  here is something to mine and to ponder. Seriously worth a look!

From the mourners of a Neanderthal man buried with flowers in 60,000 B.C.. to today’s megawatt floral designers on HGTV, people have turned to flowers out of anxiety, necessity and joy.
By studying flowers, we look into human emotion and value. Since the flower trade is global, and has been for centuries, by following the circuit of plants across the world, we track international relations and economics.
Seeing how artists represent flowers, we re-experience what it is to be living temporarily, alongside life in many forms different from ourselves. Julie Ardery

I bookmarked numerous articles but will share this today!

First up:  In Architecture, Ancient Plants Grow - (archive 16 feb 2009)  an article written by Russell Bowes who looks back several thousand years to the papyrus, palms, lotus and acanthus still rooted in the world's building styles. Bowes is a garden historian and lecturer based in London.

Stylized papyrus blooms top columns  Ramesseum—Luxor, Egypt
Photo:via wiki

By Russell Bowes
Ornamentation of a building is not strictly necessary.  Doors, windows and walls function just as well plain as decorated.  Yet for thousands of years, people have turned the structural parts of buildings into naturalistic and stylised depictions of local plants and flowers.
Was this for the joy in decorating plain surfaces?  Or did the leaves and fruits have deeper meaning? Perhaps ancient buildings speak to us in a language we no longer hear, with words we no longer understand.

File:Hathor with sacred eye in papyrus.JPG
Goddess Hathor stalks through papyrus plants, from Papyrus of Ani
Photo: via wiki

The earliest Egyptian builders worked in a landscape inhospitable to trees.  Thin soil, negligible rainfall and constant desert winds don’t support large stands of timber; thus, buildings constructed entirely of wood were extremely rare.  In the millennia before the widespread use of stone as a building material, with wood at a premium and with relatively crude hand tools unsuitable for working what little timber was available, the ancient Egyptians used more abundant materials which were more workable with the tools they possessed. 
The Egyptians staple building material was made from bundles of reeds, woven with palm fronds for added tensile strength and liberally smeared with layers of mud from the Nile. Palm leaves, however, are not completely flat but curve at the tip, and these curved tips were often left poking free of the structure at the tops of walls, forming a curved ‘architrave’ between the uppermost section of the wall and the roof. In centuries to come, when walls were made of stone blocks, this curve would be translated into stone, becoming the cavetto cornice which is such a distinctive feature of Egyptian architecture.  Often painted to resemble a row of palm fronds, they served constantly to remind the later Egyptians of their architectural heritage. 
Read more by clicking on the website above and going to the
archives for the date I posted... for some reason this in not opening as per usual at the article page. I thought this excerpt below was a fascinating reminder of the difference between originating and copying ideas...  the Romans subsuming the Greek cultural legacy.
The native flora of Egypt and Greece profoundly influenced the buildings each culture created.  The effects were both stylistic and symbolic, with each country’s buildings honouring their gods and paying homage to indigenous creations myths.  The Romans, having subsumed the forms of Greece into their own culture, with sometimes little or no understanding of the ideas that lay behind them, exported their adopted architectural styles around their empire.  The use of the principal elements, in decorative terms, reappeared throughout time and around the world.
Years ago I did my own appropriating of ancient forms as part of an investigation of how intrinsic symbols were in the ancient world. I was interested in the perrenial fascination with form  - the way that symbol still speaks to us even when meaning is lost or not apparent. Staying 4 months in Greece in 1987 and travelling to Egypt the following year I was able to indulge in my passion for these ancient cultures at some length.

Sophie Munns: 'ancient , but reverberating still'

The other article I wish to highlight  JOSEPH  STELLA'S  RESOLUTION  is posted on the 13 of january 2009.

This article brought to mind the bloggers who make a resolution to do a painting a day or something similar. Apparently Stella also did this - Im not sure for what length of time - perhaps throughout his life. What stands out for me is that he felt such a strong necessity to 'buck the system' whilst at art school (and no doubt afterwards). Painting flowers was forbidden where he studied and steel girders were definitely the order of the day. Julie Ardery writes this after becoming aware of the 'human flower project' as she puts it that Stella embarked on.

“...that my every working day might begin and end, as a good omen, with the light, gay painting of a flower.”
Joseph Stella called this his “devout wish” (My Painting, 1946)—synonymous, we’d say, with a resolution.
We came upon Joseph Stella’s resolution this fall, visiting the Smithsonian American Art Museum. His articulation of a human flower project was printed on the wall label below Neapolitan Song, painted in 1926 – four years after Stella had revisited his beloved Italian homeland.
Neapolitan Song
Neapolitan Song (1926), by Joseph Stella
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
From the little we know of him, he seems to have mustered this resolution and followed throughearly in his career, bucking considerable peer pressure to do so. Studying at the Art Students League in 1896 (hotbed of early Modernists) he bridled at the academy’s “rule forbidding the painting of flowers.” Low-life in the city and steel girders were the order of the day ( actually Stella was quite good with girders, too). By 1897 he had moved to the New York School of Art to work with William Merritt Chase, a pro-flora painter to be sure.
(For much more about the artist and his floral works, see Joseph Stella: Flora, the text available online. It catalogues an exhibition held January 8 - March 6, 1998 at Eaton Fine Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, and includes a long essay by Barbara Rose.)
Catalogue of Joseph Stella, Flora
Eaton Fine Art, Palm Beach, Florida

Reading about Stella’s life, we wonder if he didn’t suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, as the gray winters of New York and, later, Paris, really got him down. He seems to have required periodic infusions of sun and green to keep on working: a long visit in Venice, the Naples trip, and late in life, a journey to Barbados. We think it also probable that each of us carries a special affinity for the climate, the colors, and plants of our childhoods. For a painter, this affinity would reasonably be intensified, in some cases amounting to a kind of craving – Van Gogh for his irises, water lilies and palms for Joseph Stella.
As for his devout wish – to paint a flower every day – what a sign of health, to turn personal necessity, no matter how quirky or against the grain, into an explicit plan. May all our resolutions be as honest and as clearly consummated.

... well ... plenty to explore at the Human Flower Project.Thanks to India I found my way there and hope you might too!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

its a "lets see what's been filed away" day

The good thing about losing things is when you find them again.... when you can find them again...if you can fin them again! Some things today are still lost but some good finds ...  and tonight going through my emails...looking at what I saved to look at later... here's a few of those things - a bit random... but what the heck...

 Instillations by Judy Ledgerwood

Visit the gallery site where the artist was recently showing work to read more on this artist.

From OWI images of an intriguing hotel...  HOTEL AP in Luxembourg:
Photos Sarah Blee

Also from OWI
The house of DROOG founder Rebnny Ramaker: photos Muller Fien 
- do I like all these shelves and the thought of all those books! 

ARDLP : photos by De Baerdemaeker Kat
from Spain ... this is her home in Paris.

From OWI...
called MADE IN INDIA photos by Ocelli Laura.
The owner of this Apartment is a fashion designer who 
moved from New Delhi to New York 22 years ago.

OK...thats a bit of colour for the day!

The moral of the story: a good search for lost items is never wasted always find some treasure you have forgotten about.

OH... talking colour and out here!!! From But does it Float!!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

recognoscere ‘know again, recall to mind’

The story continues... I just posted at the homage blog quite a few postcards from the mail art show I had not posted up before... so definitely take a look over there if you wish.

Katrina at worked on this wonderful card above when she joined us at the communal table on her visit to Open Studio Week and decided she would like to contribute to the Mail Art Show. Children had been earlier drawing seedspods so textas and paper was still sitting there.
Great ambience and conversations... thank you for visiting Katrina! must go and see the new mail art submissions... this came all the way form Portland Oregon and is made entirely from seeds. Cathy from is a multi-talented creative person...a published writer, creator of zines, a librarian, seed artist and more!

To go to the Homage blog now... click here!

All week playing on my mind has been the list of thankyous owing to those who contributed in small and large ways to the recent  OPEN STUDIO WEEK.
Somehow this event was quite large all considered - and comprehensive, detailed and intense.
This 'recall to mind' meant  reliving the days full of activities, the part played by people  .... and so far I have written only about the two people I am most indebted to...

You can read post Ive written at the homage blog on why these two amazing people played such an important part in the week long event. Basically there would have been no studio week if it came down to doing it solo!  Hopes and plans would have tumbled down this major imput - and I'd have most likely run out of energy by day 3 and put a 'gone fishing' sign on the door!!

children drawing seedpods at the studio - they were so engaged - really taking the observation very seriously...5 years old approximately... and just so delightful!

This was as you can see a very people oriented week... and I cant begin to tell you how much the contributions of others made the series of events work... and well... beyond my wildest hopes!

more soon!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tea anyone?

From a post titled Rust jewellery at Tales of a Junkaholic blog found at Pia Jane Bijkerk's wonderful blog.

...and this lovely shot from a trip to Isle of Wight... go take a peek...

I have posts waiting and photos to download first...this was a bit of whimsy between tasks... its my go slow week!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

south of here!

A quick post... found an interview I really liked at Design Files with a very inspired guy... Joost Bakker. When In Melbourne In January 2009 doing a one month residency at Victoria University I was able to get along to the fab cafe that was temporarily set up at Fed Square...close by to the wonderful Ian Potter Gallery and much more.  

I have some photos I took ... but in order to post tonight and get some sleep...very quickly...these are from Lucy at design Files.. click above to go visit!

From design files:

An interview with Melbourne florist/event/installation creator Joost Bakker . His incredible sustainably-built pop-up bar/cafe The Greenhouse was installed at Federation Square over Summer. If you didn't get a chance to visit, you might remember my coverage and photos here. It was SUPER amazing. Like, Milan-Design-Week-style amazingor Marije-Vogelzang-style-amazing...! Temporary design projects on this scale rarely happen in Melbourne, which is why The Greenhouse won my heart (and so many more!).

Anyway as you can imagine, at that time Joost was super busy, but luckily things have calmed down slightly and he has kindly taken the time to do an interview! Yay! It's great to learn a little more baout Joost - he's been featured a lot in the media (remember that Vogue Living feature earlier this year showcasing his beautiful home?), but I feel in this interview Joost has really given us a more personal insight into his motivations and the passion behind his work. :) Aren't we lucky!?

For more background info about Joost check out his website - lots more photos of his stunning floral pieces and larger scale installations. 

Tell me a little about your background - what did you study and what path led you to what you’re doing now? 

Migrating to Aus at age 9 had huge influence on me. Learning the language and culture, but the most profound impact was from learning, watching and being involved in our family business- growing flowers. My father tried planting all sorts of different varieties of flowers, this was important to watch, this way of trying to make different things work, testing assumptions. They became successful and the business quickly evolved, I observed sheds, greenhouses, glasshouses being constructed around me. The most complex construction happened in '97 it was a glasshouse from Holland. That set my thoughts in motion about different housing, more efficient ways of doing things.

You have gained an incredible reputation and received many accolades for your unique approach to floral design and installation. What were you initial plans when you first embarked this career? Did you ever expect to be working on the great variety of projects you are now so well known for?

No I definitely didn’t expect to be working across the different variety of projects that I am now, and I definitely didn’t plan to be working as a florist. For as long as I can remember I've always questioned how florists worked and always thought about different ways of doing things and being true to the product/materials. Having an understanding of the effort that goes into growing flowers makes you aware of their total beauty. I began wholesaling flowers and the whole journey evolved from there. 

Also check out the current Joost venture:

The importance of Soil

Nothing is more important. Soil feeds us and everything else in this world. It filters the air we breathe. Its billions of microbes, bacteria, fungi and minerals keep us healthy!
Growing plants in healthy soil is simply logical. Creating healthy soil out of waste is even better. This is truly sustainable as 70% of our waste is organic.
By using compost worms and bio-char we’ve created healthy soil. Consider that one teaspoon of worm castings can contain billions of microbes, bacteria, fungi and minerals.
Combining this with Bio-Char (waste turned into carbon using pyrolysis) and compost made from green waste, pine bark and coir provides plants with all they need to be healthy.

Unlike most herbs and flowers, our Herbs and flowers, have not been harvested. They come with the root system intact which means they still have their life source with them.  Without this root system a plant is dead.  Our plants are alive, full of energy and nutrients.  Beautiful blooms providing you with clean air and herbs with nutrient packed leaves.
These plants are grown in Urban Crop soil. Not a fertilized soil that takes copious amounts of fossil fuel to produce. Urban Crop soil is full of life, so our plants go home with you, complete with their own little supply of soil.  This is their fuel so they should be kept in their packaging for the duration of their stay.
Our Flowers and herbs are not pumped up with water.  So they won't collapse into a shrivelled slimy heap within hours of getting them home. Urban Crop herbs will love to sit in your kitchen for a week or two, ready for you to harvest as you need them.  Urban Crop flowers will produce the most extraordinary blooms that will dazzle you for longer than any cut flower.
Urban Crop plants believe in an after life.  So when they have been consumed, or flowered as much as they can, you simply put the plant, packaging and all in your own compost. Or bring it back to us for composting. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

July 18....the last day...

Its been an extraordinarily busy week and one which has played out like a filmic assemblage of diverse experiences and conversations... !
Botanic Gardens of course attract every kind of visitor from far and wide! And they came! People recounted tales of foreign shores and wondrous plants and places.
Just quickly I will add a few more images... under this poster for tomorrow's afternoon event. I have to apologise for abandoning the usual mix of posts... partly there's been no time and partly there's been too much to report on - and wonderful postcards to add! Also the blogs have been the place some have visited to read what's on... so they are serving as a bulletin board.

Next week will get back to normal slowly ... and I may even have time to trip around visiting others blogs and see what everyone has been up to. Shall look forward to that I must say!

If you are local and can make this event above... do come along and say hello!!

Now to the lovely bloggers/card-makers whom I'm pleased to introduce here....

One morning Jay Dee Dearness came in to visit and spend a little catch up time ...only to find us flat out getting ready for an afternoon event. Before long she was industriously employed adding  postcards to the wall... including her own... and all I can say is a huge "thank you Jay Dee...your timing and effort was impeccable!!!"

More from the Private Party! by Myrtle Street Studio.

Jay Dee at her Opening night of Myrtle Street Studio.

Private Party - Part 8 by Myrtle Street Studio.

Jay Dee earlier this year opened her very own Artist Run Space in Brisbane which you can read about at her excellent blog Myrtle Street Studio. Jay Dee works in photography and various printing mediums.... and the new set up is I well imagine a printers paradise!

Below is her wonderful hand drawn postcard (with watercolour) which arrived in the mail early this week... one of the many she graciously arranged on the wall on her visit!

Below: Now for a special postcard from Los Angeles... from the effervescent Mlle Paradis.... this card had to be photographed closed then opened to appreciate its delightful construction. The top layer was of tissue paper... delicate yet bold! Each time I look at it I cant not think of Henri Matisse. Perhaps the free form colour paper construction element to it... a certain "frenchness" that seems to lodge in my mind... rightly or wrongly!
She sent others too which I shall delight in posting  later!

This was a photograph I loved that the lovely MP worked from! Posted on her blog June 24... go visit her at the city of angels ...Im not the only person delighted by the vivacity and yet cool and quiet observations that catch you by surprise when you least expect it! And often in a comment she leaves with you! This girl has a knack for the words that say with you! 

More postcards have been added since this photo was taken!

This beautifully wrapped and poignant postcard is from Julia at Verdigris Rose in Melbourne. the back is just as appealing... but I have refrained from exposing the address of Julia by posting the photo! Bi thank you julia... many have commented on the idea behind your card and the way it is presented.

Also from Melbourne below:

I love Lucy's blog... nourish me. It does just that whenever I visit... go look through her'll see what I mean!  Love pomegranates too... this recipe looks divine! And words... Lucy has a way with them! THANK YOU LUCY!

... and whilst on the theme of pomegranates Ro Bruhn who hails from the Dandenongs in Victoria delighted visitors with her vibrant pomegranate juice colours and tactile print on deliciously thick paper! You may have noticed I am taking quite a lot of time to post all these wonderful cards... well... I just think they are so lingering over...and the makers are all to be praised for bringing so much vibrancy to the week in the Randall Studio.
The audience is very impressed by the beauty of the gesture... the sharing aspect of this show. I think people need to be reminded of this fine aspect of human beings ...this capacity for allowing enthusiasm to spill over... and for turning concern with an issue as big as the future of seeds into a celebration of the abundance of nature we have access to!

I still do have more to share... but... on account of the evening growing late I shall sign off and take some rest... big last day tomorrow.... and fter what was a huge day today! If anyone reading this visited this week I send my best wishes... and to all who popped my call out onto their blogs, wished me well for the week or managed to do the slow mail thing..... and dazzle us with their artfullness   THANK YOU!!!
S x