Monday, February 28, 2011

following on from the last post.... a thoughtful gift offer!

The previous post started with text from the Te Papa Museum in Wellington NZ

Tīkoki ana te waka o Aoraki!
Ko Rūaumoko e ngunguru nei!
He parekura! He parekura! He parekura e!
Ko te motu whānui tonu kua pani.
Kei te hunga kua riro ki te pō, moe mai rā.
Kei ngā makorea, he aha rā he kōrero mō koutou?
Ko te Atua hei whakawhirinakitanga atu mō koutou
hei aupehi i te mamae, ā ngākau, ā wairua.
Kia piki te ora, piki te kaha ki a koutou katoa.

You can read the translation of this lovely Maori language at the  post below. What i wish to let you in on here is an offer from our wandering botanical alchemist India Flint over yonder in the southern part of this continent ... she has a very soft spot for the people across the Tasman and tonight popped in to add a thought.

Just to put you in the picture the talented India writes about this image of her work in progress above:

"...and here are the delicious greens slow brewed from a cocktail of green plants. the deepest colour [top right] was taken up by [drum roll] a scrap of wool fabric.

i love wool. it's a miracle fibre. sucks up plant colour, keeps one warm even when wet, can be knitted/woven/felted/stitched or a combination of any of these, is fire-resistant [EXCEPT when superwashed - grrr] and is a sustainable renewable resource [when the sheep flock is managed properly]"
                                              read more here!

Last week India posted here and offered one of her exquisite pieces... a milky merino travel blanket... in order to make a donation to the Earthquake appeal. Here's the update from India about how it works:

"i'm asking people to make their donation to the appeal and then email me a copy of the proof
the highest donor will receive an ecoprint blanket as a gift from me and i'll make a random draw from all the rest and send the winner a gift as well
           so far about $750 AUD has been donated..."

Sounds wonderful ... and if you know anyone who might be interested do spread the word... 
S x

After calamity ... may we be strong.


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Maori rebel flag: Aotearoa

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Ralph Hotere

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Cruciform II Ralph Hotere - from Human Rights series

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Colin McCahon

Tīkoki ana te waka o Aoraki!
Ko Rūaumoko e ngunguru nei!
He parekura! He parekura! He parekura e!
Ko te motu whānui tonu kua pani.
Kei te hunga kua riro ki te pō, moe mai rā.
Kei ngā makorea, he aha rā he kōrero mō koutou?
Ko te Atua hei whakawhirinakitanga atu mō koutou
hei aupehi i te mamae, ā ngākau, ā wairua.
Kia piki te ora, piki te kaha ki a koutou katoa.
The canoe of Aoraki rocks!
It is Rūaumoko, earth shaker, rumbling!
Causing great calamity! 
The nation mourns.
To those who’ve breathed their last breath,
Rest in peace.
To the survivors, what words can we possibly say?
Let the Creator be your support in this time of pain.
Be strong, get well soon.

"Te Papa expresses its sympathy for the people of Christchurch" is the title of a post I found this morning on the blog of the Te Papa Museum in Wellington , NZ's capital city. The Maori culture is wonderfully represented in this excellent museum... I'm adding this as well....

In the Wellington Foyer, Level 2 of the Museum there is now a place for staff and members of the public to express their condolences. On display is a small boulder of pounamu, symbolising aroha – love and support – for the earthquake victims, their families and friends. It has a tangible connection with the South Island – Te Wai Pounamu – as it was sourced from the Arahura River, Westland. This variety of pounamu is known as kawakawa – as are the leaves of mourning placed on the case in which it sits.
If you would like to help with the Christchurch Quake Appeal, you can do so through the Red CrossMayoral Fund and Salvation Army to name a few. There is also a donations box at Te Papa. All donations will be passed on to the emergency services.

Art at Te Papa by William McAloon (Te Papa Press, 2009)
A Museum publication

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Alembic (The sea) -Ross James

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Lava field - Grant Keith

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South Westland - Russell Clark

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Pam Debenham 1984

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Richard Kileen 

All images above form the Te Papa online collections. Below images form Christchurch Art Gallery.

Yachts on Lyttelton Harbour | 99/285
Doris Lusk - Yachts on Littleton Harbour

Canterbury Plains From Cashmere Hills | 74/172
Doris Lusk - Canterbury Plains from Cashmere Hills

Its always fascinating to view work that comes from a particular region... despite the universality of ideas, medium and forms of art there is much to be said for pouring over the collected works coming from a particular part of the world ... it can offer another layer of experience that can be incredibly useful for gleaning insight into a place and its people.

The artist below, Ray Crooke, painted memorable works from the islands of northern Queensland and the Pacific. After viewing his work a certain yearning to visit comes over me. I found an interesting Qld State Library reference to his work here. I really hope to get to Cairns and the north this year ... the recent cyclone has left many with an incredible task ahead of them. To anyone who's trying to rebuild my thoughts go out to you... wherever you may be!

Ray Crooke

Ray Crooke - Island song

The Art of Ray Crooke
Ray Crooke

Before I head off I want to mention this astonishingly watchable film I saw with friends last night. The title of this post - "After calamity... may we be strong" - is fitting.  INSIDE JOB offers up a  brilliantly constructed analysis on what brought us to our knees globally in the Global Financial Crisis ... and poignantly makes links to the most vulnerable in this story of global consequence ...those who suffered loss of homes, livelihoods, opportunities, accees to education... the homeless and impoverished ... and for what... the greed of a few and the benefit of the top 1%.  I thought this film might be arduous... it was actually compelling and a must see... and this morning I read that the future of food is being gambled on in the same way the sub-prime housing market was. I'm just getting my head around that... there'll be more at the homage to the seed blog as soon as possible on that! This is an emerging story!!!

Inside Job is up for an Oscar... I dont know what other films it's up against... no doubt other very deserving docos... can I just say... if you have not seen this film... see it.... whether or not it wins an Oscar...
we all need to know the background to this story .... and the biggest shock for me... some of the very same people who architected the avoidable fate of so many in 2008 are back in key position in US GOVT etc. WHAT IS THIS??????
This affects all of us... artists have had a big wake up call along with everyone else. People are thinking twice about how they spend their money ... this film will make you think a few more times too!

Have a good week ... and as a wonderful blogosphere friend says:

Be safe all.  Be strong.  Be smart.  Persist.
visit Mlle Paradis here

PS I promise I'll post something lighter next time. I have finally got some huge tasks out of the way and my paints are sitting there staring at me... its been 6 weeks since i was in a position to paint... and Im missing it badly!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thinking of everyone across the Tasman in and around Christchurch!

Devastating news streamed from across the Tasman yesterday afternoon ... there's frequent daily flights between Brisbane and Christchurch due to the migration between these places ... with many people here having family over there or travelling there often. I wanted to pay tribute to this wonderful region and join others sending best thoughts and wishes to all concerned.

I was just reading the SBS world news site and found this post about social media to the rescue. During the recent Qld weather events social media proved its invaluable role in linking people with important information.... and in the 24 hours since Christchurch's devastating Earthquake its been providing other layers of critical support.

on a trip to Christchurch January 2010

I've posted on New Zealand in the past... its an extraordinary place to visit and many travellers have deep affection for this part of the world. Geographically spectacular and memorable ... its a landscape that comes with its share of volcanoes, earthquakes and geothermal earth forces. Here's one of the posts from last years trip... there are more from around that time too.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Views of the city yesterday showed parks and gardens as places of respite and safety ... location of  temporary medical centres .... and perhaps a safe place to be yesterday at the time of the quake?

Tranquil scene from Botanic Gardens

From the Christchurch Museum
 This was one of a number of images I took in the Museum ... from a section on Migration. Of course significant exhibits on Maori Culture feature there and an area dedictated to exploration in the Antarctic. Its struck me that the contents from the Museum like this above would likely be lost.

Lyttleton looking to the port - from last years trip 
 Lyttleton was the epicentre of the quake... I spent some hours in this fascinating village on route to Akaroa at the tip of the peninsula. I was very sad to hear of 80% of the buildings here sustaining damage....and as to the safety of people here Ive not heard any reports.

 Lyttleton is a port town on the north shore of Lyttelton Harbour next to Banks Peninsula, 12 km by road fromChristchurch on the eastern coast of the South Island of New Zealand. According to the 2001 census, the usual resident population of Lyttelton (including neighbouring bays such as Rapaki and Corsair Bay) was 3,042.

The harbour is an inlet on the north-western side of Banks Peninsula, extending 18 km inland from the southern end ofPegasus Bay. It is surrounded by steep hills formed from the sides of an extinct volcanic crater, which rise to a height of 500 m.[1] Several smaller settlements are dotted along the shore of the harbour, notably Governors Bay and Diamond Harbour. A small island, Quail Island, sits in the upper harbour southwest of Lyttelton.


A home for Māori for about 700 years, Lyttelton, or Te whaka raupo was discovered by European settlers on 16 February 1770 during the Endeavour's first voyage to New Zealand. The earliest evidence of a human presence in the area are moa bones dating from roughly 1250.
In August 1849 it was officially proclaimed a port.
Lyttelton was formerly called Port Cooper and Port Victoria. It was the original settlement in the district (1850). The name Lyttelton was given to it in honour of George William Lyttelton of the Canterbury Association, which had led the colonisation of the area.
The Lyttelton Times was one of the principal newspapers of the Canterbury region for 80 years, published from 1851 until 1929, at which time it became the Christchurch Times, until publication ceased in 1935.
Aiming to establish a Church of England colony in New Zealand, the Canterbury Association was founded in 1848. As Lyttelton was a harbour, and had a large amount of flat land suitable for farming and development nearby, it was ideal for a colony.
In 1862, the first telegraph transmission in New Zealand was made from Lyttelton Post Office.[2]
In 1870, fire destroyed all the wooden buildings in Norwich Quay, on the main street of Lyttelton.[2]
On January 1, 1908, the Nimrod Expedition, headed by Ernest Shackleton to explore Antarctica left from the harbour here.

The image below is of graffiti on the wall in Lyttleton when I visited.

Maybe it is through the tragic circumstances of life we remember we are all indeed linked ... and in a sense of one body!
S x

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Greenhouse by Joost - at Sydney Harbour for 6 weeks

 "I have designed the restaurant in reverse. I’ve started at the end and worked back. My dream has always been to build a restaurant that creates no waste and now I believe I can achieve it!” – Joost

temporary greenhouse, cafe, bar on the harbourside.
This is a good reason for a trip to Sydney if you ask me.... well ... add in a visit to family, friends and such! I love the fact this is temporary set up. It was set up in Federation Square in Melbourne in early 2009 when I was there for a month so I got to see the earlier version Of this brilliant idea!
I think  should let others do the describing.

Joost Bakker’s Greenhouse opened last Friday. Visit the website for all the news...

When I said harbourside I meant it... that wash is fairly close to the open window
... must be very refreshing sitting there looking out!

He thinks of everything!

Joost on the building site

a wall of strawberry pots

The David Bromley painting on the shipping containers

artist at work.

Thanks to the support of Design Files who did the most lovely blog post on their site by writing Joost and the Greenhouse a letter today. It was also great to see you on Friday night for a drink and to enjoy our new space.
How do you do it?
How is it that on December 23rd, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority offered you, out of the blue, this amazing location at Circular Quay for one of your world-famousGreenhouse temporary restaurants, and less than 2 months later it is HERE for us all to admire?
How is it that local council seem to turn around approval on all your crazy ideas in a timeframe most architects could not even imagine in their wildest dreams?
How is it that you manage to inspire so many brilliant and super high profile local creative people to be involved (David Bromley, David BandSpacecraftQueen B Candles, Top chefs Jason Chan and Matt Stone, to name only a few) – with little or no lead time at all?
How is it that you rope in support from so many businesses and project sponsors (Framecad, Little CreaturesMiele and many more) without a corporate logo to be seen?
How is it that you manage to get by on about 2 hrs sleep each night, without a wink of grumpiness, red-eye or evidence of energy depletion?
How is it that you inspired this design blogger to travel to Sydney twice in the past month just to see what you’re up to?
I’ve heard from reliable sources that you have Jedi Powers.  I believe it.  You’re AMAZING.
From Lucy ;) ”



Born into a dynasty of Dutch flower growers, Joost is a discipline-crossing creative who constantly draws on his ‘horti-culture’ to make artful commentary on the world’s wasteful ways. Working exclusively with the discard of human activity he has fashioned such extraordinary forms that the word ‘rubbish’ has risen from the scrap heap.Joost has been commissioned to design furniture, vertical gardens and event spaces in his trademark style juxtaposing nature and industry.  In March 2006, Joost set about the construction of a new home for his family, employing a unique building system; a contemporary take on a great sustainable construction method utilising straw bales set into a 100% recyclable steel framework. In 2008, the same building principles were used to construct the firstGreenhouse by Joost’, an exhibition and event space at Melbourne’s Federation Square which was open from November 2008 to January 2009 and attracted 1,000 visitors per day, global media attention from major publications and over 2.5 million viewers on YouTube. A permanent Greenhouse by Joost is currently located on St George’s Terrace in Perth, Western Australia and in 2010 received the Restaurant of the Year in Perth and attracts 800 to 1,000 visitors per day.

OK.... THis you have to read... from here
I have designed the restaurant in reverse. I’ve started at the end and worked back. My dream has always been to build a restaurant that creates no waste and now I believe I can achieve it!” – Joost
Suppliers will only be able to supply fresh produce in returnable Chep crates. Like in Perth, fresh milk will be delivered from the farm straight to us in returnable stainless steel buckets with which we will make our own butter, yoghurt and mozzarella cheese. In Perth we stone grind almost 1 tonne of wheat every week and I anticipate we will use more here in Sydney.
A local wheat grower will provide us with wheat direct from the farm every week, we cut the thread on the bags in such a way that they can be returned and re-used. We will use our Flour Mill to grind the wheat into fresh flour to make bread, pastries, pasta and wood fired pizza. Oats will also be rolled fresh.
All our waste from the kitchen will be organic. This organic waste will be composted on site using a JoraForm in-vessel composter. This will grind and produce 10 litres of compost for every 100 litres of waste. Our  compost will be required to maintain the roof top garden. In Perth this year we have added almost 6000 litres of compost to our roof top garden (that’s 60,000 litres of waste we have composted!) Our cutlery is made from plantation timber and will be composted in the JoraForm, even the baking paper we source from Finland is unbleached and can be processed through the composter.
The rooftop garden is planted in Chep liquid bins that are traditionally used for transporting olive oil. The rooftop bar serves wine from returnable kegs or barrels. The beer will only be available on tap. I have also been working with Mitch from Hepburn Springs Mineral Water. Greenhouse Sydney will be the first to use carbonated water derived straight from the aquifer into kegs. This pure Australian carbonated water will be used to make our own Tonic, Soda and Cola. The house pours of Gin, Rum, Vodka and Whiskey are also Australian made and owned. Mark Douglass (glass artist) will transform the empty bottles into beer glasses as he does now for Greenhouse Perth.
The staff t-shirts designed in collaboration with Space-craft and Joost, re-printed using natural dyes, are overruns of political and business t-shirts salvaged by the Salvation Army.
The Greenhouse Sydney interior walls will be completely clad in MgO board (magnesium oxide board).  Joost has developed MgO board impregnated with Bio-Char so that The Greenhouse can store carbon within its walls! The Greenhouse steel framed walls are filled with straw and its doors and windows recyclable steel framed.
The toilets are Australian made Caroma Dorf, with the sink above the cistern using water from the hand wash to fill the next flush!  Waterless urinals are used and the kitchen and bathroom floors are lined with natural linoleum.
Joost has designed & made chairs out of old aluminium irrigation pipes.  They are incredibly light & have been named Squirt Chair! The leather used for the seats are off-cuts from a saddle makers in Ballarat (Victoria’s last tannery).  Lights have been made from willow trees and rolls of old fencing wire.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Día del Amor y la Amistad" Day of Love and Friendship

Latin American countries I read celebrate Valentine's  day  as the day of love and friendship. Quite fitting I think... In Guatemala it is known as the "Día del Cariño" (Day of the Affection).

In Slovenia, a proverb says that "St Valentine brings the keys of roots," so on February 14, plants and flowers start to grow.  Valentine's Day has been celebrated as the day when the first work in the vineyards and in the fields commences. It is also said that birds propose to each other or marry on that day.

In Pakistan the Jamaat-e-Islami political party has called for the banning of the holiday.[65] Despite this, the celebration is increasingly popular[65] and the florists expect to sell great amount of flowers, especially red roses.[72]

In most of South America the Día del amor y la amistad and the Amigo secreto ("Secret friend") are quite popular and usually celebrated together on the 14 of February (one exception is Colombia, where it is celebrated every third Saturday of September). The latter consists of randomly assigning to each participant a recipient who is to be given an anonymous gift (similar to the Christmas tradition of Secret Santa).

Looking at the cultural and historical variations is quite fascinating ... of these cards below from former times I think the letter to Susanna is the one I covet.

Alas ... no-one penned me an epistle like this one so full of genuine devotion (well the print is so tiny who knows what is being said!) ... instead a few random heart-ful messages came via Twitter!!!
Such is life!
Actually it was a wonderful day ... up early ... bike ride to a fav cafe... reading the papers, thinking time.. an excellent meeting later on full of project possibilities... dentist ... oh yes that brought the mood down... came out with a numb nose, cheek and an eyelid that was quite twittery. Anyway things got better again! 
Started thinking about a trip north in the autummn months. And managed to get a lot done!

So ... which of these would you covet? Or not! 

File:Valentine Cork 1850.jpg
Handwritten Valentine poem "To Susanna", (Cork, Ireland dated Valentine's Day, 1850).

File:My Dearest Miss.jpg
St Valentine's Day card, embossed and printed in colour, with silk panel and printed message "My Dearest Miss, I send thee a kiss", addressed to Miss Jenny Lane [or Lowe, or Love] of Crostwight Hall, Smallburgh, Norfolk, and inscribed on the reverse "Good Morrow Valentine"

File:Valentine Seascape 1900.JPG
Unusual seascape Valentine, date unknown but probably pre-1900

File:Postcard by Nister 1900.jpg
Postcard by Nister, circa 1900

File:Buster Brown valentine.jpg
Richard Felton Outcault (January 14, 1863-September 25, 1928), Buster Brown

File:Mechanical Valentine 03.JPG
Scan of a Valentine greeting card circa 1920.

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A pop-up Valentine, circa 1920, measuring 2" x 2 1/2".

File:Anthropomorphic Valentine, crica 1950.JPG
Anthropomorphic Valentine, circa 1940-1950

 Wishing you all a happy "day of the Affection!"