Friday, August 31, 2012

‘the great river of soul-murmurings that runs within humanity’

Quoting Ben Okri in the title above relates to the fact his writing inspired two works I've had produced as Limited Edition Prints for this weekend's OPEN STUDIO Event.

I wrote a post at the Studio archive  blog which outlines this more fully.

Given its time for rest I will say goodnight.... do hop over to finish reading this story at the Studio Blog

If you live in these come visit the studio this weekend... you'll be most welcome!
x S

Monday, August 27, 2012

still enchanted...

Two years ago I put together a post called 'enchanting'  which featured images from the camera of a French man called Jeff from his blog 'Life is beautiful'.

Jeff wrote to me the other day... so chuffed I had liked his photos... a little time lag... and I realised I still loved his images for the fact they somehow allow me to feel i am walking in the midst of these places he has shot. I find them honest somehow... they completely drew me in because of an innocence and freshness...something very alive in his seeing!

I struggle with a lot of photography. I dont want it to be too perfect and too contrived. One part of me can 'ooh and aaah' over the perfection of brilliant work but feels left out of it... not drawn in. These on the other hand make me feel like I live in this world and I know it... and in case I've forgotten about the inherent beauty of small things in nature here is a reminder.

The camera moves , we move...its filmic I guess! If you visit his blog remember I took the photos from his blog in 2010... so you might need to trawl around.

I have been writing a little post on my header...long story... I tried about 8 times since friday to get a header image right. I was laid up for 4 days with a nasty cold and caught up with crucial computer tasks.
Dont know why it became so laboured a task to change the header... seemed my fluey head was not at  its most organised... yet this header, the result of a last ditched scan of my images to find something, anythng... seemed to be 'the one' for the moment...and when I started writing about this image I realised a whole lot of things were on my mind that are embodies or symbolised by the equidistant cross. So next post on that. Visual eclectic it most certainly is!

And now to the enchanting world of Jeff!

Do go see what you find over there...
may your week be filled with promise  and all good things,

ps read about OPEN STUDIO WEEK here for info on the weekend event coming up ... much to do in preparation ...but an interesting time indeed!
x Sophie

Thursday, August 23, 2012

the linguascape ...

7000 world languages  |  6 official UN languages  | 127 official languages of UN member states.
image from
United Nations
Year of Languages

Compiled by The World as Flatland

"A language ceases to be spoken every two weeks" ... 2008

UN image from above site.

image: Here

Q: what Radio programs or alternatives do you listen to whilst working?

I tend to have phases myself... for years it was always Radio National but then sometimes I prefer silence ... or talking books... even perhaps a video which I might watch several times so it doesn't matter if I miss bits. Plus if there's a commentary with director & actors I take that in too.

This radio provides often great food for thought. There are paintings I might have worked on intensely over days, even weeks, with a story or idea that I've heard having permeated my thinking... and possibly the canvas.

I listened to a series of talking books by one particular author once when working on an epic painting...the brushstrokes became infused with the themes of the book series.

One thing I have long wished for is to be able to speak or understand languages other than my own native tongue. My three years of Bahasa Indonesia at school was never grounded by travelling to that nearby country... despite the fact that Bali is heavily touristed by Australians and Java and other places have long been too.

I love to hear aboriginal dialects spoken and find it only increasingly interesting to learn more of the vast cultural history that grew out of the soil of this land.

Map of Aboriginal languages in Australia

Ive posted this map on this blog before...I will try and link to that post as this map is such low resolution it cant be read. Click to read the link above for some stats on use of aboriginal languages today.

Google language for an interesting read.

Below is a language Tree from Europe... with the link to the article where it was found which is worth a read.

read more on the Language Tree.

Listening to Radio National recently the weekly program Lingua Franca touched on linguascapes.

I was immediately taken with this concept and found the program which I assume can be listened to from anywhere round the globe.


Saturday 28 July 2012 3:45PM (view full episode)
MyLanguage is a partnership project between the public libraries of all the mainland states and territories of Australia, facilitating social inclusion by making these local hubs of information and communications technology multilingual, via a web portal that gives access to aggregated data in over 60 different languages. This online service provides links to information such as news, digital storytelling, as well as a calendar of events and activities.

It seems utterly important in this contemporary world that we have access to such programs and projects such as the one discussed here called MY LANGUAGE.

The term Linguascape wasn't so easy to read about online. An article I googled explained the concept as the linguistic nature of cultural, human-shaped landscapes... thats the simple bit more here:

Landscapes, linguascaping and transmediality more

I'll leave you to ponder all that...

The concept of the linguascape is a rich one indeed ... 
worth considering  how it has shaped each one of us... 
what unique experiences have been part of our journey 
over many years.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

come and visit soon!

More soon...

but before you go... pop down to the previous post to read about a future thinking woman!

li edelkoort - thinking on the future!

I saved something from May that Felt Artist Wendy Bailye shared at the end of the Dorothy Caldwell Workshop... this writing below from Futurist Li Edelkoort.

                                                           Images from Wendy's blog.

Wendy emailed to us all this piece:

Edelkoort is a trend watcher in the design industry and has some interesting things to say about the life of makers and designers and future trends.

Li Edelkoort -  images found here
Post Fossil - excavating 21st century creation by Li Edelkoort 2011Time has come for extreme change
Society is ready to break away from the last century for good.
To break with creative conventions, theoretic rules and stigmas that now are questioned, challenged and broken.
To break with a materialistic mentality replacing it ...with the crafted materialisation of modest earth-bound and recomposed matter.

In the aftermath of the worst financial crisis in decades, a period of glamorous and streamlined design for design's sake come to an end.
A new generation of designers retrace their roots, refine their earth and research their history, sometimes going back to the beginning of time.

In this process, they form and formulate design around natural and sustainable materials, favoring timber, hide, pulp, fibre, earth and fire.
Like contemporary cavemen, they reinvent shelter, redesign tools and manmade machines, and conceptualize archaic rituals for a more modest, content and contained lifestyle.
Like a Fred Flintstone of the future.

The animal world will keep invading and transforming the life of humans represented in a more abstract and less narrative manner.
fibre and plant are becoming dominant materials animated by organic form and skeleton structures.
Our relationship with all living organisms is at stake. Therefore humans will share and care for each other.
Soon the world will discover that we are all family.

Ecology and sustainability will no longer be enough.
Primitive matter and organic shapes will embody a need of man longing for a more meaningful and ritualistic relationship with earth and the elements.
Resulting in a revival of animism.
Therefore designers create brut and raw shapes that resemble totemic termite mounds, honeycomb shape, spider web laces and timber structures; at times incorporating biotechnology into the making process to inspire design systems for the future.

Nature is a dominant ingredient in this movement, although no longer used in a naive and aspiring ecological language, but as a mature philosophy fit for newer age. Raising the questions that need to be raised.
Can we do with less to become more?
Can design have a soul and therefore be animated?
Can man find a more meaningful way to consume?
Can we break with the past and reinvent the future?

In general, materials will be matte and humble, however the earth and its hidden riches also invites this generation to employ minerals, alloys and crystals; adding lustre and sometimes even sheen to fossil-like concepts and constructions.
Laquered and polished surfaces are enhancing vagabond finds, unveiling their raw beauty while questioning the survival of the world's economy.
At times these designs will echo the essence of the arte povera movement which is bound to make a revival - soon.

image from here.

trend tablet read here.

Reading about Futurists in the weekend magazines that come with newspapers years ago I remember the feeling of being filled with curiosity... questions about this future seeing thing.

Then I was surprised to find when starting out in a serious studio practice aged 31 that one could indeed at times see things before they had reached the zeitgeist. Designing things at that time I chanced to innovate here and there and thus pondered it a little more.

 I believe its increasingly important that we have serious thinking going into future oriented living and thus I celebrate the words of this interesting woman above for putting out such timely thinking for us to ponder!

....and what of your thoughts my friends?

x S

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bread of Beirut | New Writing | Granta Magazine

Photo by Julien Harneis.
Tonight I found this wonderful article below on twitter via NY Time's Mark Bitten titled Bread of Beirut | New Writing | Granta Magazine.

I've included this excerpt from the longer article which I totally recommend you read. I followed up with notes about the writer and her book 'Day of Honey'. As Syria is currently darkened by war these words on the central place of shared food and humanity from Beirut are a reminder of how people struggle to go on with daily life. This writing had such beauty in it for me. I hope you'll agree.

To mark the publication of Anthony Shadid’s memoir House of Stone– which is full of the tastes and smells of traditional Lebanese cooking – Annia Ciezadlo takes us to her bustling local bakery in Beirut; reveals the mysteries of their best recipes and explains why they can also be places of refuge during times of war.

Relationships are fragile in Beirut. Instability at the top filters down into your intimate life. Neighbours, brothers, sisters, lovers – they can all turn on you overnight. Governments collapse. Friends emigrate. Houses that survived the Ottoman Empire disappear in a week, killed off by sky-high real estate values. Trust is essential; trust is impossible. That’s one legacy of the long, lingering civil war, which officially ran from 1975 to 1990 but never really ended.
But the furn is another legacy. During the war, cooking gas would periodically run out. When that happened, Beirutis returned to a tradition as old as the city itself, the habit of the communal oven.
The practice of sharing an oven goes back to the ancients, when Babylonian temples fed their subjects on the leftovers from the feasts of the gods. But the urban public oven came into its own in the medieval Whenever there’s the threat of violence, people rush to the bakery for bread, of course, but also, I suspect, for reassurance.Mediterranean. In cities all around the Middle Sea, Christians and Muslims, Arabs and Armenians alike brought bread and other foods to the oven at the pandocheion, a Greek word for inn that means ‘accepting all comers’. For a small fee, the public baker would cook your food, saving scarce heat and fuel for all to share – a kind of culinary carpool. Private ovens encouraged segregation; public ovens led to mixing, cross-pollination, and negotiation – in a word, relationships. And probably, I imagine, a fair amount of food and recipe sharing across religious and ethnic lines.
I looked up this writer Annia Ciezadlo and found her book Day of Honey which looks like something I would love to read.
Book by the article's writer.

"Her book is among the least political, and most intimate and valuable, to have come out of the Iraq war…  There are many good reasons to read “Day of Honey.” It’s a carefully researched tour through the history of Middle Eastern food. It’s filled with adrenalized scenes from war zones, scenes of narrow escapes and clandestine phone calls and frightening cultural misunderstandings. Ms. Ciezadlo is completely hilarious on the topic of trying to please her demanding new Lebanese in-laws. These things wouldn’t matter much, though, if her sentences didn’t make such a sensual, smart, wired-up sound on the page.... Ms. Ciezadlo is the kind of thinker who listens as well as she writes. Her quotations from other people are often beautiful, or very funny…. Readers will feel lucky to find her. —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Her epicurial tour cracks open a different Iraq. She looks into its dusty cookbooks, explores its coffeehouses and savors the foods of its many regions and religious sects. Her book is full of more insight and joy than anything else I have read on Iraq.... Her writing is at times so moving that you want to cry for countries destroyed, but she writes with such wisdom that you don't fret over the future of these 4,000-year-old civilizations."The Washington Post Book World
From the writers Website: Read more here.

A luminous portrait of life in the war-torn Middle East, Day of Honey weaves history, cuisine, and firsthand reporting into a fearless, intimate exploration of everyday survival.
In the fall of 2003, Annia Ciezadlo spent her honeymoon in Baghdad. Over the next six years, she broke bread with Shiites and Sunnis, warlords and refugees, matriarchs and mullahs. Day of Honey is her memoir of the hunger for food and friendship—a communion that feeds the soul as much as the body in times of war.
Living in occupied Baghdad, Ciezadlo longs for normal married life. She finds it in Beirut, her husband’s hometown, a city slowly recovering from years of civil war. But just as the young couple settles in to a new home, the bloodshed they escaped in Iraq spreads to Lebanon and reawakens the terrible specter of sectarian violence. In lucid, fiercely intelligent prose, Ciezadlo uses food and the rituals of eating to illuminate a vibrant Middle East that most Americans never see.
We get to know people like Roaa, a determined young Kurdish woman who dreams of exploring the world, only to see her life under occupation become confined to the kitchen; Abu Rifaat, a Baghdad book lover who spends his days eavesdropping in the ancient city’s legendary cafés; Salama al-Khafaji, a soft-spoken dentist who eludes assassins to become Iraq’s most popular female politician; and Umm Hassane, Ciezadlo’s sardonic Lebanese mother-in-law, who teaches her to cook rare family recipes (included in a mouthwatering appendix of Middle Eastern comfort food). As bombs destroy her new family’s ancestral home, and militias invade her Beirut neighborhood, Ciezadlo illuminates the human cost of war with an extraordinary ability to anchor the rhythms of daily life in a larger political and historical context.
From forbidden Baghdad book clubs to the oldest recipes in the world, Ciezadlo takes us inside the Middle East at a historic moment when hope and fear collide. Day of Honey is a brave and compassionate portrait of civilian life during wartime—a moving testament to the power of love and generosity to transcend the misery of war.

lipstick jihad - Covering War At The Dinner Table
Image from Jezebel
Some of the most wonderful experiences of hospitality I can recall come from people from this region of the world. Tonight in my Journaling class we read the words of Sufi Poet Rumi...such grace!
“Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged” 
― Rumi
“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds' wings.” 
― RumiEssential Rumi
“The ground's generosity takes in our compost and grows beauty! Try to be more like the ground.” 
“Work on your strong qualities
and become resplendent like the ruby.
Practice self-denial and accept difficulty.
Always see infinite life in letting the self die.
Your stoniness will decrease; your ruby nature will grow.
The signs of self-existence will leave your body,
and ecstasy will take you over.” 
― Rumi
Wishing you a lovely week,
x Sophie