Saturday, February 28, 2009

winter days part one

from the beautiful confluence of writer and artist comes this amazing rendering of basho's ranga entitled "winter days" in its animated format.

"the creation of the film followed the traditional collaborative nature of the source material -- the visuals for each of the 36 stanzas were independently created by 35 different animators. as well as many japanese animators, kawamoto assembled leading names of animation from across the world. each animator was asked to contribute at least 30 seconds to illustrate their stanza, and most of the sequences are under a minute (yuriy norshteyn's, though, is nearly two minutes long)."

part 1
part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6

if you enjoyed this then you might like to visit my other blog over at "flow".

a morning walk

i recently had the good fortune of an invitation to visit another teacher's classroom to observe some stellar practice. lucky me!!
i planned to walk part of the way there along an old railway line that has been (as is the happy fashion in many places) torn up and converted into a public thoroughfare. in the summer this is an amazing route to bicycle and links up with trails that you can ride on for hours to all sorts of lovely destinations and of course, the whole thing is ultra flat as trains didn't like steep hills.

i loved crossing the bridge over the little river and then the lovely trail itself wandering off into the distance with those gorgeous trees overhanging. oh i was so happy - and alone for most of my walk!!!! what an amazing way to start a day!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

sid smith's postcards from the yellow room: podcast III

sid has cranked out a bumper version of his podcast efforts with a third smash edition of Sid Smith's Postcards From The Yellow Room: Podcasts From The Yellow Room III

this is nearly double the size of sid's previous efforts and covers a much broader spectrum of artists all stitched together with sid's lovely geordie anecdotes and observations. as some of my visitors already know, sid's blog is well worth a visit as he provides excellent and insightful reviews of worthy music, incredible photography of the north yorkshire shoreline and that bit of the north sea to which it is exposed as well as occasional commentary on the realities of being a dad and a husband and a family member in the midst of trying to earn a living! for those of you who are curious then hit the link button on the right-hand side of this blog.

anyhow, one of the tracks that caught my attention - and that has me listening to it over and over is a real beauty by an (unknown to me) artist named rafael anton irisarri. so, here is rafael anton irisarri - "hopes and past desires".

Thursday, February 26, 2009

marja hakala - a creative nature

marja hakala has created an extensive repertoire of works that take pieces of nature - literally - and reconfigure them such that their innate beauty is magnified, amplified, enlarged even as they are reconfigured and structured in such a way as to render them aesthetically pleasing but unnatural. it is in this juxtaposition of purpose and intent that her work bears its most interesting fruit.

and then you can simply look at it -

because it is truly beautiful, exciting, and almost addictive in its complex and detailed simplicity.

here is what marja says about her work:

"i work with nature. i create installations indoors and environmental art straight into nature; in forests, parks and trees, at cliffs and so on.

i respect nature. in forest i can hang small, glittering in sunlight and almost unnoticeable glasspearls on branches of a fallen tree. on the other hand i rearrange nature’s own materials in a new way in their own “territory”.

i bring nature’s materials gathered from forest indoors. i use them to create larger installations or smaller objects. for example I placed pinecones eaten by squirrel as pieces on the old boardgame. spruceneedles or cones on the floor can be formed into a big mandala. even withered and faded leaves can have a new life in a work of art – at least for a moment. my works are not meant to last forever.

nature gives us life and energy, opportunities to meditative silent prayer or unbelievable experiences of beauty. if we destroy nature, we will destroy ourselves."

just look:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

bel air by mathieu lehanneur

the air in most people's homes is an admixture of chemicals, many of which are not very good for us. by-products of manufacturing processes that produce materials which decay or relase gases and particulate matter into the air, it seems to me a logical assumption that many of the illnesses and conditions that are being observed in greater degrees than was previously the norm can be traced to this simple fact.

what to do?

designer and innovator mathieu lehanneur has developed a proposal that capitalizes on some research done by nasa when they noticed that their astronauts were getting sick from lengthy exposure to the materials used to construct the spacecraft. the results of the study showed that the peace lily, bamboo palm, english ivy, mums, and gerbera daisies suck more than their fair share of toxic chemicals out of the air making them prime candidates for a filtration system.
here's mathieu's proposal.

while you're here have a look and a listen:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


hokusai self portrait (1839)

it's perhaps fair to say that of all the japanese woodcut artists, hokusai is the most well-known and widely venerated. his iconic image "the great wave of konagawa" seen here -

- is instantly recognizable from its inclusion in so many artbooks and in association with so many sites devoted to japanese culture.

here is another iconic hokusai image taken from a series he did of mount fuli. this one is entitled "red fuji southern wind clear morning".

hokusai was born into an artisan's family and clearly benefitted from the perspective of his father who placed him into apprenticeship with a woodcarver at the age of fourteen.

you really should watch this this beautifully drawn short film on hokusai.

if you enjoyed that, you might also enjoy this video gallery of hokusai's work.

and the current fan-favourite around the golden fish world headquarters water cooler:

"carp leaping up a cascade"

Monday, February 23, 2009

last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street

i wrote about musician jon hassell some time ago. jon's music has remained a fixture on my turntables, tape players, cd players and laptops for as long as i can remember. happily for me, jon hassell has a new and beautiful cd of music out entitled "last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street." the music takes its title from a rumi poem - excerpted here . . .

last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street
“get up,” i told my heart, “and give the soul a glass of wine.
the moment has come to join the nightingale in the garden,
to taste sugar with the parrot of the soul.”
i have fallen, with my heart shattered
i have fallen on your sacred path and broken your bowl
i am drunk my idol, so very drunk
shield me and take my hand.
a new rule, a new law has been decreed.
break all the glasses and fall toward the glassblower.


"camouflage" mati klarwein

i can't listen to jon hassell's music without thinking of the gorgeous landscape paintings of mati klarwein. they share a common passion for divergence and detail as expressed through their sensual response to this world. words like luscious landscapes, richly emotional, exotic tapestry, start to define the magic parallel-realities these men create with their imaginations and talent.

"headquarters" mati klarwein

here's a brief podcast from echoes devoted to jon hassell.

here's jon's myspace site where you can listen to some old tunes.

here's a very recent and excellent article about jon and his music.

at present there is no way for me to share his latest work with you but if you go here you can listen to and watch its musical sister "maarifa street live".

Sunday, February 22, 2009

tight knit

welcome to the vetiverse. somewhere right in the middle of the beginning and ending of folk music where the sand streams both ways from the past to the future. from the future to the past. in a place where the two streams are so intermingled, so inseparable that they actually become indistinct. time slides sideways away from the hourglass and a a whole new space is created. it's called "the vetiverse". the vetiverse is populated by vetiver, an american folk band headed by songwriter andy cabic and often joined by devendra banhart, cellist alissa anderson, drummer otto hauser, violinist carmen biggers, guitarists kevin barker and sanders trippe, as well as bassist brent dunn.

never heard of them? then read this and this

never heard them? then listen here.

vetiver have released four albums: vetiver (2004), to find me gone (2006), thing of the past (2008) and their latest (and in my view most complete and coherent release entitled "tight knit".

go here for a listen to a streamed version of vertiver's new disc "tight knit".

here's vetiver playing for their supper:

here they are about to eat. i like that almost all of them have their hands pressed in their laps!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

the mermaid of alexander petrov

i am absolutely stunned by how beautiful the amazing paint on glass animation of aleksandr petrov is.

so what is "paint-on-glass?"

" the film is made entirely in pastel oil paintings on glass, a technique mastered by only a handful of animators in the world. by using his fingertips instead of a paintbrush on different glass sheets positioned on multiple levels, each covered with slow-drying oil paints, he was able to add depth to his paintings. after photographing each frame painted on the glass sheets, which was four times larger than the usual a4-sized canvas, he had to slightly modify the painting for the next frame and so on."

today i'm sharing his film "the mermaid". based on a dramatic poem by alexander pushkin,entitled "the rusalka" the worlds of religion, sexuality, and other-worldliness find a point of confluence that leaves many questions both asked and unanswered. the reader (and in this case the viewer) are left to find their own resolution or to remain hovering in an unresolved state.

Friday, February 20, 2009

the doormat

the doormat at our backdoor. i love the calligraphic tracery and the slight frosting of snow. winter is woven in its whorls and spaces.

here's some colourful respite!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

nike hindsight by billy may

this is one of those design objects that appeals to cyclists who brave city streets as a matter of course. emerging from the credo - what helps you see helps you live longer (or at least see what's going to nail you!) - designer billy may has come up with a very lovely concept that is both practical and visually stunning.

dubbed the nike hindsight these glasses are supposed to provide the wearer with an extra 25% in their range of vision.

here's the thinking: my field of vision is nominally 180 degrees. to see further than that i have to swivel my head. cyclists know that this invariably results in two things. one, your body swivels and slightly adjusts the direction you're travelling in and more importantly, it takes your eyes and your mind off the road in front of you. both are bad news on busy streets.

using fresnel lenses on both sides of the glasses, the rider can detect motion in a field of view beyond the normal human limit of 180ยบ. here are billy's design sketches.

if nike picks up on this then you can be sure that i'll be finding a pair to wrap around these eyes!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

the splinter

with a header like that you might well prepare yourself for a tale of unmitigated and excruciating pain far out of proportion to the tiny little piece of wood embedded in some fleshy little chunk of my finger or toe.

i'm happy to say that in fact i'm talking about a car. a car? named the splinter? well yes folks, and i'm not sure that a marketing company executive might not wriggle uncomfortably when presented with the challenge of moving a few of these strangely named vehicles into public awareness, but there it is - a wooden car named "the splinter".

so what's the idea here? well joe harmon eschews mission statements so here's a project description instead:

we are building a high-performance, mid-engined supercar from wood composites as a graduate project at north carolina state university. wood will be used wherever possible, including the chassis, body, and large percentages of the suspension components and wheels. the car has a target weight of 2500lbs and a power goal of over 600 horsepower. we aren't trying to sell anything; we aren't trying to save the world, and we aren't advocating that everyone should drive a wooden car. this project is a scholastic endeavour in which are simply trying to explore materials, learn, teach, share ideas, and stimulate creativity.

let's take a look at this vehicle.

i think you'll agree that as supercars go, it's a lovely design and certainly the textural features of the wood lend it a unique edge. if you'd like to see video and live webcam of this car being built then visit joe harmon design!

Monday, February 16, 2009

along the line

a sunset journey back across the height of land from cobourg to peterborough. photographs taken on the fly. afterwards i noticed the distinctive thin black line of a cable in several of the images. i like the way it compliments the order of the newly ploughed farmer's fields and the curves of the hills.

thomas traxler's idea of a tree

roving reporter david (a.ka. "my bro'") is based in vancouver, and his latest check-in included a reference to a smart thinking creative designer - thomas traxler. thomas came up with "the idea of a tree" project. never heard of it? well join the bunch, neither had i. however, there's some very worthy thinking going on here so i decided to dig deep and check out what's going on.

it's a clever concept - an installation that creates a piece of art. useable functional art.

powered by nothing but sunlight and some threads, the "idea of a tree project" shows how objects, that's right objects, can grow during the course of a day. yeah grow during the course of a day. i love this - take sunlight, equipment, material and allow something to happen. the pace of the product's emergence is determined by the amount of sunlight. makes sense right? don't circumvent the natural course of things by resorting to nuclear or whatever else is sparking up the grid that day.

thomas' installation is powered by a couple of solar cells. the amount of sunlight varies of course and what's truly clever and cool is that the speed of the process (which is driven by the amount of sunlight) determines the amount of saturation of the thread, giving a visual recording in the resulting object.

here's a youtube interview with thomas . . .

traxler's gotta pay the bills so here are a couple of links that might tickle your fancy, not to mention the depths of your wallet:

you can buy some traxler ceramic badges, or nip over here for a look at his book and other odds and ends.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

linn olofsdotter

when i was in high school, the hot artist for posters on bedroom walls was peter max. his groovy, curvelicious, psychedelic sheets of glossy paper covered with freeform flowers and long-haired boys and pretty girls were all the rage. linn olofsdotter may or may not be aware of that connection or see the genetic link from her work to peter's but i do.

a visit to her etsy page includes her very long and deep client list which suggests that she is the going concern or "it" girl for advertising companies these days. here's a really lovely piece that would make a great fridge magnet for chocolate lovers!

"patterns and pistils": .

here's an image she created for computer arts magazine:

this lovely depiction of a jellyfish is a proposal for a t-shirt design:

this piece linn created for computer arts is my favourite of all of her work. tasked with the opportunity to depict the energy crisis she created this image:

for almost everything linn olofsdotter related visit her etsy page. to learn more about linn, here's a good interview.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

a smile hides behind everything

i came across the work of iranian poet sohrab sepehri recently. he paints with words.

in assembling the painting from the many facetted perspectives he provides, i find myself compelled to reflect on the whole of the "painting." then, there are the truths.

there is no cloud,
there is no wind,
i sit beside the pond,
the swimming fishes, light, i, flower, water,
the pureness of the cluster of life;
my mother reaps the sweet basil,
bread, sweet basil, cheese, a cloudless sky, wet garden petunia,
salvation is at hand: within the garden flowers.

over the foot-bath in a copper bowl, what caresses the light pours,
the ladder at the garden corner, brings morning on earth,
a smile hides behind everything,
the time's wall has a hole through which my face is seen;
there are things which i don't know;
i know that I will die if i cut away a leaf,
i ascend, rise to the peak, i posses wings and feathers,
i can see in the darkness, i'm brimful of lanterns,
i'm brimful of cloud and earth,
i'm brimful of sun and sand,
i'm brimful of vines,
i'm brimful of path, of bridge, of river, of wave,
i'm brimful of the shadows of reeds in the water,
i'm brimful of the movement of that willow tree at the garden's end.
how my inside is empty.

sohrab sepehri

sid smith's postcards from the yellow room: podcasts from the yellow room II

here's a lovely pic of sid's digs up in whitley bay.

hot on the heels of his first podcast of wonder and loveliness, sid has banged out a second podcast from "the yellow room" and it's a real doozy!! Sid Smith's Postcards From The Yellow Room: Podcasts From The Yellow Room II

here's the playlist for those of you who are "unsure" . . . just a "heads-up" - where the first podcast could be listened to as a sonic accompaniment to an evening of "wish i had wish i was wish i could (pensive, reflective, thoughtful music) . . . " this one drags you full-tilt, full-blast to experience first-hand that space between your synapses when they are on manic overload and then just as quickly drops you squarely into a gorgeous tone-poem that creates a huge and detailed space on piano and violin. "i buy silence" ratchets it up a notch again with some power-pop edged music and then into a beautiful piece by the (unknown to me) valgeir sigurdsson who crafts a space populated by glitch and drum machine and toy piano. finally into a lovely melancholy piece with accordian and voice occupying the middle-space.

1. the power of myth by omar rodriguez lopez

2. a letter from the front by david cross & naomi maki

3. i buy silence by the david cross band

4. focal point by valgeir sigurdsson

5. has been cavalry by jon boden

Friday, February 13, 2009

a stolen kiss

illustration by edmund dulac

a pdf of this glorious magical dream of a book can be viewed and downloaded here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

the base of a tree in february

such a simple image - the base of a tree. i went for a walk through the woods and saw that the snow is melting back and the autumn leaves -frozen for months beneath the snowpack - are returning to provide luscious shades of rust-brown and tarnished gold to to these colour-deprived eyes!

young woman in an evening dress

young woman in an evening dress (1879) berthe morisot

her mouth, her eyes. they're saying so much - and so little. this painting is about a finely poised containment. presence counterpointed by ambiguity.

what has happened? what will happen? narratives flood from her simply sitting there.

the gown you wear is curiously like sound--
tangles of dahlia-murmurs taking shape
in shrinking, mellow sprays.
the everlasting journey of your heart
gliding over a sleepy litany
that winds through scattered star-flowers of regrets:
the everlasting journey of your heart
is like a fragile traveler of sound--
a murmur seeking the love that gave it birth.

maxwell bodenheim

more of maxwell's writing can be found here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

dot allison sunset

words that dance inside themselves and act as vehicles for the imagination of the reader or listener are friends to this man who has heard moments of true beauty in the work of dot allison. her latest music contains one tune that i would love for you to hear:

the words:

among the birth and bud

of each new smile

that said without a word

"i have lost once or twice"

with the knowledge of decline

but only

in the sense of sunsets

dipping full blush
like girlish eyes

again to rise

again to rise

sunsets fail and roses grow
some where a legend i’ll not know

step by palsied step

the days they deliver us new bread

kneaded by worthy hands

aged by a billion life-times

to age a billion more

the sunsets fail and roses grow
somewhere a legend i’ll not know

there was something

among the birth and bud

of each new smile

that said without a word

"i have lost once or twice"

the music:

here's dot's blog.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

dame satan

a band getting more than its fair share of headphone time according to all the other bands clamouring to get some tunes into my ears is dame satan.

so their name doesn't make you want to rush out to hmv and pick up their latest disc . . . i get that . . . but, listen to their music here and i think you'll hear what i hear. a lovely take on the very best of modern folk with a touch of something other.

ghost warrior

dame satan operates out of a website here. dig deep at this website and you'll find their latest disc. you can listen to this disc in its entirety for free here!