Today is a glorious sunny day
Blossoms are blooming
and I am preparing to return to Autumn
so to capture the moment
here is a collection of photos taken
as I have witnessed
spring unveil itself
here in Harlosa….
I have been playing with a few new ideas here at Bird Lab.
Layers of paper and frayed fabric.
I’m not quite sure about them yet….
Whether I need to do something else…
(another layer? shellac?)
Maybe they would be better on a light box or
in a lantern so you can see the textures of the paper…
something about them i like.. a lot
and something about them isn’t quite right yet…..
(the photos don’t show very well the different textures in the paper back ground… but also a lot of the texture has been lost in the gluing process…)
When I was coming to Harlosa i was asked if i wanted anything… I asked for rope as this is a material i have been using in Melbourne and sometimes it’s not so easy to find…
I have been a bit over whelmed by the response …rope has been delivered to my door, big thick chunky worn rope.
Its taken me a while to approach the rope, partly because other materials have taken my attention, and partially because my head has been full of what i would do with it in Melbourne… so i have been thinking that i need to wait for the response to emerge from this place that i am in now.
Firstly I worked with the white rope
and this appeared…
in response to seeing the Pendulum Tit nest…
Today i bring it inside the thick brown rope
and start to pull it apart.
It’s interesting to see the parts it is made up of.
4 thick stands and a thinner stand also made up of 3 parts that have been twisted together.
It is thick with dirt, dust and oil. It holds a story of work.
It is rugged and strong, like an old farmer who has spent his life in the fields …..
I think i will have lunch before i start……..
Today i got give a box of hand dyed cotton that has been prepared for making a rag rugs…..
Rag rugs are a traditional rug made here in the early 1800’s by the monarchy, and this tradition slowly trickled down to the farming folk.
Linen, then cotton as it became more common and less expensive , was recycled, torn into strips, and woven into rugs…
Rag Rugs were made to adorn the floors of the important rooms. As the traditional took hold, the rugs began to tell the stories/history of the people, as the cloth used held the memories of its former use.
and now i have a box of hand dyed cotton balls with which to make from….
this is my first response……
Well here i am in Harlosa Sweden…..
Today was spent on a bike riding from bird sanctuary to bird sanctuary via the military training base that acts as a reserve when there isn’t target practice happening…. (Ate breakfast yesterday to the gentle sound of guns firing!!)
Apparently the tanks have played an important environmental task…digging up the earth which brings the insects and flowers to the surface…. so now that they don’t use tanks the military go in with tractors to purposely dig up the land…..
I have become very interested in the sounds that surround me… and have been recording via my IPhone the different calls. This maybe a little to do with the lack of extreme zoom on my camera so i am unable to capture the images I want… But also I love the way birds fill the air with music….
The willow trees here are very very old… and they have been maintained by harsh pruning that create lines of tall cropped trunks through the landscape.
We saw a stork nesting on top of one… and below one of the tree’s was a pile of willow…so i have found some materials to begin the first nest/basket…..
It’s ‘Community Arts Day’
and I’m sitting in my studio reflecting on the last 3 months,
As I dither about, flicking through other web sites I find that on this day
Neil Cameron has published a book “The Cultural Development Handbook. An A to Z guide to designing successful arts events in the community “
Neil was the man who introduced me to the world of fire, lanterns and large outdoor community events. I worked with him for 7 years at the Woodford Folk Festival and in a few other places.
That time was wild, adventurous massive, exhausting, exhilarating and the foundation of so much of what I have done since.
In fact, I returned to Woodford this year to create the opening ceremony (with Jyllie Jackson and Kate McDonald). The ceremony was built from tools and philosophies I have learnt from Neil (and others who i meet through Neil and worked with on other projects) I felt that the opportunity I was given this year was a result of the work and time that has been layered into the festival by Neil and all the fabulous artists that worked with him, and those that followed….. over the last 25 years often with limited resources. I thank Neil and everyone else who has been a part of that journey for their time, wisdom, blood, sweat and tears!!
Also here is the video i have finally finished for last years INTO THE LIGHT event.
This was the 3rd INTO THE LIGHT, a community arts event working with the bush fire affected community in Whittlesea and surrounding areas.
A lantern parade was again the spine to the event. Workshops were run in 12 schools in the area plus a number of community workshops. We created a finale with Ian Hunter, the indigenous elder for the area, based on Bungil the eagle and how he became a star.
The core local artist group that we worked with to create the event built a beautiful bird puppet, that became Bungilina, a cross between a Phoenix, rising from the ashes, and Bungil the creator spirit.
We stared with an afternoon of games and activities, including a showing of the Blacksmith tree (this is a very special project that grew out of the fires… blacksmiths from all around the world sent leaves to the fire affected communities after the 2009 fires… and now it is a tree
Our own lantern tree, revamped from the year before was dressed in leaves holding the hopes, dreams wishes of the community. We ran out of leaves. There was a strong desire/need to connect with this process. Some of the leaves were heartbreaking, and showed us that there is still a need in the community for this work,that the burn’s are still hurting, many below the surface, and many people still trying to rebond with themselves, their families, their partners and searching for peaceful place to exist.
This series of projects have been very powerful for me, seeing and feeling the great importance of community art. It does have a place, it is a gentle and inclusive, non threatening process that is more than a nice activity, but actually essential in unlocking trapped memories/pain and creating new pathways, and so so so important.
At the time i picked up a piece of black rope,
a remnant of a place, a time, an event.
and bought it back with me.
On reflecting on my experience
what i called
In 5 days i will be returning to Minami Sanruki
again with Polylgot
I was sitting in my studio starring at the piece of rope that was left
wondering what this visit will be, how will things have change, or will they have
and many more questions about the upcoming visit
and in these thoughts i picked up the rope, and some copper wire
and was reminded of the Japanese art of Kinsukuroi (or Kintsugi)
and i start to weave a nest mended with gold
The weave was tighter, stronger than the first,
the roof rebulit
a new life
still echoing with the history, the journey…….
If only rebuilding
was as simple as twisting some found rope and reclaimed copper……..
I pulled up some bricks
from the front of the studio i live in
to make room for more garden
In the process old tree roots were removed,
as was the min that had established itself through the small garden
that was there already.
i wove them into this……..
a place where new things are given birth too
Weaving the mint was great
a minty smell released
as i twisted and pulled at the roots
adding a freshness
and a sensualness to the task
then i planted
some bulbs into the new garden…..
a touch too late but fingers crossed
and jumped around in a NIA class
to get some energy moving
through this wintry stiff body of mine…..
and it all feels just a bit better
than it did
with a touch of possibility
ready for spring