F is for Friday: Daniel Spoerri

kichka's breakfastevery picture tells a story, don’t it – Rod Stewart

On the death of his father in 1942, Romanian-born Daniel Isaac Feinstein fled to Switzerland with his family where he was adopted by his uncle Théophile Spoerri. He spent the 1950s gaining extensive experience in every aspect of the theatre and through this involvement and his organization of banquets, festivals and exhibitions, Spoerri met some of the great Surrealists of the day. It must have given him the impetus to move to and settle in Paris in 1959 where shortly thereafter he became a founder-member of Nouveau réalisme. 1960 found the artist producing the first of his tableaux pièges (snare pictures such as Kichka’s Breakfast above) where objects in chance positions on tabletops, in drawers or on furniture were glued onto the surface upon which they rested exactly as they were found. The resulting realistic still-life sculptures were displayed vertically on a wall like a conventional picture and the objects they contained appeared to defy gravity.

restaurant de la city galerie

RESTAURANT DE LA CITY GALERIE, ZURICH, 1965, DANIEL SPOERRI

Spoerri’s use of the mundane fragments of daily life, letting chance and the randomness of use dictate their placement, became more elaborate with time. An overwhelming interest with food as art was furthered through his opening in Dusseldorf of the Restaurant Spoerri (1968) which was decorated with 15 years of the artist’s correspondence and served an unusual menu of exotic meats. A daily inspiration for later works, here the preparation of a meal and its consumption by “customers” in effect transformed the first stage of the  creative process into one in which he relinquished control of the artistic piece- its final immortalization as thought-provoking installation clearly illustrates the connectivity between artist, art and consumer through one of man’s most basic and often communal functions – that of eating. Spoerri’s gastronomic interests were not limited to his own work – he founded the Eat Art Gallery located above his restaurant (1970) which presented solo shows of temporary works made from food by such artists as Joseph Beuys, Richard Lindner, Ben, and the Nouveaux Réalistes Arman, César and Niki de Saint Phalle.

Daniel Spoerri has continued to be involved in numerous activities from the Musée sentimental (Paris, Pompidou, 1979), with similar displays in Germany and Switzerland, teaching a course in multi-media at the Fachhochschule für Kunst und Design in Cologne to the most recent cultivation of Il Giardino di Daniel Spoerri in Tuscany.

Find out more about:

Daniel Spoerri
Spoerri’s An AnecdotedTopography of Chance
Unearthing the Picture Trap video
New Realism

F is for Friday: New Realism

variant spoerri

VARIANT D’UN PETIT DEJEUNER, 1965, DANIEL SPOERRI
OR – MY HOUSE ON ANY GIVEN MORNING OF THE WEEK

Malingering procrastination often has constructive results as evidenced by a partial clean-out of the kitchen over the last few days. Clutter experts suggest that the hearth of the home, that one room where we gather to prepare and give sustenance in the most human of gestures, is the best place to start when attempting to cut down down on the overwhelming amount of stuff we have collected for far too long. At least 9 hours, 7 drawers and three cupboards later, we disagree. The kitchen is the one place where it is actually the hardest to get rid of things – past the due-date salad seasonings and unidentifiable spice packets aside, there are a whole host of items passed down mother to mother (mostly for baking or prettily presenting) that have made several moves and still haven’t seen much action but are not finding their way into the get-rid-of pile without a fight. Madeleine pans for when we are feeling Proustian, glass pickle dishes with separations because Granny knew that condiments really are that cool, escargot plates – the last snail encountered was in the garden and now lives 4 doors down – will we ever use any of it? Miss Z won’t be having any of “that old crap” and laments the fact that the dinner plates and glasses have switched places “now that (she) just got her friends trained where everything was”. They are not the only ones who will be surprised… and we are not finished.

We often joke between ourselves that prolific artists probably had someone to take care of them, do the meaningless, trivial things of our waking hours like laundry, replacing the toilet paper roll or picking the dog-hair covered cheerio out of the hall carpet. This very stuff of life is, to a whole cadre of artists, material for their next project. Pop artists in the 1960s made it their mission to reimagine traditionally accepted subjects using radical techniques, to transform household objects and the commonplace into fine art. The master of making a complicated statement out of what might seem as simple as dishes on a table is Daniel Spoerri – one of the founders of the New Realist movement and creator of incredible snare-pictures, he proves that sometimes a group of random objects read in their entirety tell a larger, meaningful story.

One wonders what twisted plot is behind all that paraphernalia sitting on our kitchen counter.

Discover more on Daniel Spoerri next week…

F is for Friday: Ilya Repin

Sadko

Where choice cannot be swayed by desire

Commissioned by the future Tsar Alexander III, the natural and supernatural worlds become one in Ilya Repin’s Sadko, a rich pageant of Russian orientalism depicting a scene from the Novgorod epic poem of the same name. Loosely following the Orpheus tale but in an underwater setting, the emphasis here is on the minstrel-merchant presented with a bevy of beautiful potential brides ranging from the siren, the supplicant, the aristocrat, the eager to the numerous faceless fit for any European salon of the period – his gaze is fixed on the peasant girl Chernava standing on the shore who presents her back to him with an almost rebuffing demeanour.  The canvas itself is slick, containing all the mythic elements necessary to fuel a collective vision of a submerged kingdom – inquisitive fish, phosphorescent creatures, lithe kelp floating amid the bubbles and ruins, right down to the cold clay sea bed. At the time of its execution, Repin was at the Imperial Academy of Arts in France and perhaps longing for his native soil had written, “The idea expresses my true state and perhaps the state of our as-of-yet still Russian art.”  Fantasy and mythological subjects were, unfortunately for the viewer, not to be pursued. Repin turned his prolific talents to the more realistic portrayal of events transpiring in his homeland and the immortalization through portraiture of some of Russia’s great political and cultural figures.

What freedom

what freedom!

Repin’s fascination with the sea is still present in the canvas above painted almost thirty years later: much had changed in Russia, with its worldview shifting from one of Empire to Nationalism, the overriding pre-revolutionary atmosphere enveloping the common man is clear in its components. There is no land in sight, the horizon is vague and one can feel the weighty power of the ocean buffeting the figures.  He embraces the experience while she clings to notions of propriety with one hand on her hat and the other gripping his hand for reassurance. The choice of subject is perhaps an unconscious visual addendum to the Sadko saga – not a true fairy-tale ending but one moment of pure, childlike joy in which the couple are free from the stifling control of state ideology.

As Fan and Stephen Jan Parker write in their book Russia on Canvas, “Western art historians and critics have minimized Repin’s achievements and contributions either because his very “national” identity has not been grasped, or because – and this is most likely – Repin was neither a technical innovator nor the creator of a school of painting. Moreover, he was a realist and not a modernist. Yet in the esteem of both prerevolutionary and Soviet Russia, Repin occupies a position alongside Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, Musorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. He was and is Russia’s foremost national artist, whose oeuvre adheres to the requisities for national art as proposed by the noted painter and art historian Igor Grabar: it must reflect the spirit of the people, expressing their thoughts and aspirations; it must excite; and it must be understandable to the people”.

Discover more at:

Ilya Repin – The Complete Works
Sadko in the Underwater Kingdom
Rimsky-Korsakov: Sadko (opera): Overture
Sadko – the film

F is for Friday: Russian Realism

the duel

The hour of fate has struck at last    The poet stops and silently his pistol drops
alexander pushkin – Eugene Onegin

Oddly enough, it was facebook that led us back to the prodigious catalogue of work by Russian Realist Ilya Repin.  Unreasonable amounts of snow earlier this week rivalled any slavic winter making the roads impassable and muffling the sounds of the city with a white hush. We found ourselves tucked up in bed chatting and glancing occasionally at Miss Z’s laptop screen while she caught up with friends post-NYE. While scrolling through the endless status updates and randomly vague grammatically-incorrect comments, the image above jumped out from a timeline header – as out of place as freesia in February.

Anyone born in a cold climate knows exactly what this work feels like – trees stripped bare of their leafy protection, icicles lengthening with each frigid passing night, every breath drawn sharp and crystalline no matter how many layers we are swaddled in. The duel between Onegin and Lensky, where social considerations outweigh rational thought and end badly, are not that far removed from the constructs of our own age where we are, despite our best efforts, unprotected.

Discover more on Ilya Repin next week…

F is for Friday: A collective sigh of relief

Mural panoramico

But a portion of the whole

Doomsday hour, like Y2K and the recurrent fiery comet, has passed leaving us all enormously thankful that we can celebrate the dawn of a new cosmic age.  For those who had put off their holiday shopping until after the Big Event, it just proves once more that procrastination is perhaps not the best solution to a persistent problem.  With that out of the way, we can all go back to living our lives and getting on with the tasks at hand – perhaps some time in the future we may even visit the lands that gave rise to this latest apocalyptic rumour – Latin and Central America.

Well worth a trip for its sheer magnitude is the tripartite 250 square metre mural, Presencia de América Latina, painted in acrylics on rough stucco by Mexican artist Jorge González Camarena after an earthquake damaged part of the University of Concepción, Chile.  The artist’s vision was, in his words, one of “genetic and cultural unity, and of course, the target of our continent ” – visually loaded with a mulitplicity of ideograms and symbology, the history of Latin America can be viewed chronologically from right to left. As an example of Muralism, this distinct art form not only presented familiar subjects in a new light but also provided for political expression stemming from Camarena’s (and other muralists)  indigenous roots.

…THERE IS NO BEAUTY LIKE THE BEAUTY OF AMERICA SPREAD OUT IN ITS HELLS /

IN ITS MOUNTAINS OF ROCK AND POWER, IN ITS ATAVISTIC AND ETERNAL RIVERS…

The verses of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda that run along the top of the gigantic work are not exclusive – how can we, as temporary occupants of this small earth, not look around ourselves no matter where we are and not think the same…

Discover more at:

Jorge González Camarena
Pablo Neruda
Mexican Muralism
No Doomsday this

F is for Friday: Behind the apple


son of man 1964

Everything we see hides another thing,
we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.

Magritte

We have a joke that runs something like “what happened in the 80s, stayed in the 80s” not because of the nature of the events that transpired but rather because there seem to be huge blocks of time that lie hidden by what came after.  For many, it was a continuation of the hard-hitting party scene of the late 1970s where weekends began on Wednesdays. Certainly, it was a knock-down drag’em out decade for living large in the most conspicuous ways possible but underneath the silk and sequins was the attempt to make a place for oneself in a world that was expanding faster than most could keep up.

Surrealism held a strange fascination for the up and comers – in those years, a plethora of counterfeits by famous artists circulated in the most unexpected places. There was a generation of eager collectors – just a little too young to have gotten mired in the mud of Woodstock, they had found sources of income (legal or not) that brought heavy benefits; the stock market was booming and flush with cash, they wanted to acquire those trappings – good Italian suits, then hard to find luxury brands, fast cars and art – that would give them an aura of class and refinement. Unfortunately, and not for lack of trying, most of them didn’t know the difference between sh*t and shinola.

It was too good to be true in so many ways – young budgets with an eye on the future, and a taste for art that wasn’t suitable for hanging in their parents’ dining rooms, were wise investing in better quality, limited-edition traceable prints by artists like Leonor Fini and Saul Steinberg. We bought what we liked, whether it was on canvas or paper, sculpted out of iron or old tin cans – our aesthetic a tangible addition to the layers that we built up around our personas.  Whether it is worth anything today is a story for another time…

For more skewed views have a look at:

René Magritte
Salvador Dali
Surrealism
Abstract Expressionism

F is also for Friday: A Swedish Christmas

Now it is Christmas again – Carl Larsson, 1907

Works by Swedish painter Carl Larsson are informed by a very visible love of family – in the soft shades and warm light of often idyllic scenes of home, the artist provides us respite, he offers us in watercolour the relationship between beauty and all that is morally good.  The domestic scenes, especially those of Christmas, remain fresh and appealing for they represent what most of us strive for – a few peaceful moments in the company of loved ones where the cares of the world have fallen away.

For many December is bittersweet, a time for reflection upon the past but also for forging traditions –  those small customs for the benefit of the young,  they who do not yet realize the importance of their heritage and who will, hopefully, keep it alive once we are gone. One wonders whether Larsson was familiar with Ring Out, Wild Bells by Alfred Lord Tennyson.  The poem has been recited at the annual New Year’s Eve Celebration at Skansen in Stockholm every year since 1897.  Its themes are clear and precise, as relevant today as they were when it was first published in 1850.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Read more about these subjects:

Carl Larsson
Arts and Crafts Movement
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Gareth Davies-Jones reading Ring Out

F is also for Friday: Landscapes of Memory

Unseasonably warm, it was more of a grey day than most but the weather warns that this will be the last of it for awhile.  Light rain still falls and with each drop we wonder why it feels more like March than it should in the short weeks leading up to the winter holiday  – where is the first snow, the one that makes us run to the window and just stop, in silence, to look out.  City or country, it is always magical.

In another lifetime and at about this same time of year, it was a tradition to look for a Christmas tree in the bush before the snow became too deep, mark it and then return with a sharp axe once the house was ready to receive it.  On one such mission accomplished, the walk back was a quiet one when the scene above unfolded before us.  There was no choice but to just stop – and watch as the light along the horizon slowly changed and the clouds rolled through blue, mauve and apricot.  The moment marked a lifelong predilection for big sky landscapes, a quality of light and softness that makes one sigh or draw breath and hold it in as if to capture a part of this beauty for ourselves.

On New Year’s Eve decades later, a hushed midnight stroll down the main street of a small town found us awestruck once again.  There in the window of a gallery was our very private memory, every detail captured as if the artist had been there with us.  Morning couldn’t come soon enough.

This is what art is all about – having it grab your heart and wring from it something so deep that there are no words.

Here are a few 21st century landscape painters whose work speaks for itself:

Douglas Edwards
Renato Mucillo
Frank Corso
Ed Roxburgh

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Style

Whenever one needs a reminder of exactly how things looked and sounded at any point, in say the last 75 years, all we have to do is surf through virtual reality. The closest repository of all manner of trend, fashion, vogue and design, simple searches can bring back very particular memories – whether it is the sinewy curves of a buffed e-type jag, the pout of a hollywood icon, the grandeur of a world-class opera house or a melody long-forgotten, every bit is like a prompt out of the past.

Pull out your red shoes… and let’s dance

We all have ways of expressing ourselves and pretty much everything we lay hands to becomes impressed with a personal, distinctive hallmark.  Across the Bored marvels at so many ways of seeing and the manner in which we put our stamp on this world and so the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge topic spotlight is on – Style.  

“What is style to you?” – can it be acquired, assumed or inherent, is it old or new, the tilt of a hat,  swagger in a walk or lilt in the talk, styling or stylish…

We would love to see your vision.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary on a random topic that pops into my head (such as the above) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or opinion of yours or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble – but it has to be about the topic!
  3. Please, don’t just link to an old post… challenge yourself.
  4. The Challenge will be open for 6 days after it is posted upon which I will post another.
  5. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

 SO – Create your Two Cents Tuesday Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Two Cents Tuesday” challenge on your own blog.
  4. Feel free to pick up your badge on the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge page
  5. Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.

F is also for Friday: Japanese Pre-War Painting

The first snows are almost upon us.  The light is changing, becoming more muted, much like the sky filtering through in this late 19th century watercolour.   There is nothing like a good mystery to keep indoor life interesting and the search for information about the artist who captured the very breath of winter in these few sure brushstrokes proved riveting.

We have become accustomed to being able to find what we want with a tap on the keyboard – names, biographies, archives – and when all else fails we resort to Wikipedia, but sometimes the trail has been cold for so long that little remains.  Such is the case with Japanese Pre-War painter Ginnosuke Yokouchi (1870 -1942) whose slate, apart from images of some recent reprints and works in a private collection, seems to have been wiped clean.

Oddly, the scene (above) of the little group on their way through the snow to the local temple made one think of Pissarro – it is as if the two painters were inspired by the same soft light, the crispness of the winter air and the serenity of daily village life unfolding around them, even though they were worlds and years apart.

Road to Versailles at Louveciennes – Camille Pissarro, 1869

Was Yokouchi a part of the group of Japanese painters during the Taishō period so greatly influenced by European Impressionist works?  Perhaps, but for lack of a backstory, we may never know…

More to look at:

Impressionism
Ginnosuke Yokouchi at the Hanga Gallery
Japanese Watercolours
Camille Pissarro

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Photograph Something New

Something old, something new…

Some of us are curators for OPS – other people’s stuff – whether we choose to or have the mantle bestowed upon us by family and friends.  With some of it, we scratch our heads and wonder what the initial attraction was and then gently pass it along; other objects have  their own fascinating history – where they came from, whose hands caressed their smooth surfaces in passing, why they were so well-loved in the first place.  These things become our legacy, but unless we take the time to tell their stories and get others to look at them in a new way,  it is just OPS…

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Photograph Something New asks us to cast an eye on our immediate surroundings – See what fresh perspectives have been captured there!

For more on giving your belongings a voice, have a look at What is the Memory Book?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal – Urban

A fascination with graffiti and architecture combines for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal – Urban.  Talk about the changing face of the city in some circles and you’ll either be met with suspicious glares, get embroiled in a heated discussion about the lack of civic leaders’ adequate foresight or will be pleasantly surprised by the rehabilitation of a down and out neighbourhood.  A vision, conception, the wrangling of red-tape and public consultation,the first scarily destructive steps taken towards revitalization – all these are but part of the protracted birthing pains leading up to the awakening of a unique community. Like a newborn child, the shell of this building only hints at what it could possibly become.

F is also for Friday: Impressionism

A favourite amongst many masterworks

Across the Bored had the privilege of visiting the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to see the French Impressionist collection currently on tour courtesy of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  Consisting of four relatively small spaces whose walls were hung with the cream of the Impressionist crop, this exhibition was filled to capacity at the time of our visit.  Nonetheless, the works on display are truly jaw-dropping.

Now, here comes the but – we were acting as field-trip chaperone for a group of grade 9 students from a friend’s art class…

Although well-behaved, polite, reasonably responsive (for 14 year-olds) and happy to have the afternoon off, only about 10% of them had any idea of what they were about to see. This wasn’t for lack of preparation on their teacher’s part but rather that they just didn’t care…  Luckily, we had a lovely tour guide who not only knew fascinating details about the paintings presented but also had the magical gift of keeping the group relatively engaged for what could have been a very long hour otherwise.  The only time she cringed was when one student kept repeating “Is it real?”

The temptation to blurt out “NO, it’s a digital reproduction – it’s a knock-off made in CHINA and you can get one in the gift shop” was great.

Afterwards, as they all sat on the stairs of the museum foyer, we made the mistake of asking them if they had liked their visit.  Blank faces.  Really?  Well, what type of art did they like?  “Music art”, “Dance art”…  what?  Do you mean like Warhol, Richard Hamilton or Banksy?  Blank faces.

Here is what they did like…

OK, so it’s cute…

Didn’t get a chance to look at the date on this installation but it sure has echoes of Brazilian design team, Fernando and Humberto Campana’s 2002 Banquete chair…

Where is the snake?

Oh well, looks like we will be going back to the Museum.  Solo this time.

More to look at:

Impressionism
Impressionist Masterpieces from the Clark Collection
Giovanni Boldini
Claude Monet
Edgar Degas
Statement Furniture: Fernando & Humberto Campana – RETROSPECT

Travel Theme: Bright

Part of a 7 foot canvas shaped like the continent of Africa

Even the hard to roust Miss Z is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning with the end of Daylight Savings Time and the arrival of the first few snowflakes twirling aimlessly down from grey skies. The gorgeous brilliant colours of summer are asleep until next year but those of us who live in the darker northern climes tend to bring them inside to illuminate the long days.  The painting above hangs in the stairwell: at first it raged at us with its boldness, now we are used to it enlivening an otherwise dull bit of space. Changing with the light and season, this piece of art becomes a part of the  Travel Theme: Bright portfolio.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Manipulation

As is: iphone photo taken through car window at 130 km per hour

This week’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge topic – Manipulation – was inspired by Ohm Sweet Ohm, a recent photo challenge and a series of articles and discussions circulating about the validity of iphone photos as “real” art (see the bottom links for more).  Actual or virtual, raw or enhanced, point and shoot, SLR or DSLR, good or not – beauty, art and an appreciation of the world around us are where we find it. Judgement shouldn’t rest on the effort taken, and the tools that we use, to bring images to a state where we are satisfied with them.  As a friend once said about the unwanted gift of a print from a relative – “I don’t care whether it’s a Picasso – I don’t like it!”

Judicious cropping, the use of levels, curves and contrast, topped with the graphic pen filter from photoshop result in the American gothic novella illustration

The noun “manipulation” has a bad rep; most of the dictionary definitions have negative connotations but perhaps, in this century of change and alteration, the editors should append their entries to include a few words on a positive note.  The very act of creation is making something out of nothing (although the opposite could be argued as well), it is manipulation of the best kind. We assign meaning by presenting images in a certain way – whether our audience gets it or not is irrelevant, what is important is that they take away their own impression.

Sofa size: tweaking vibrance, hue and saturation, cropping and the application of artistic and brush strokes filters in photoshop

Nature is the mistress of manipulation, from animals using tools to the strangling vines that plague our gardens in their climb towards the sun.  Babies are manipulative in a sweet, endearing way; small children learn it early as part of their skill set; teenagers start to refine it by practicing on each other in a microcosmic mimicking dance;  but, adults take the art of manipulation to a whole new realm, infusing the word through action with as many variations as there are synonyms and definitions.

So  “What does manipulation mean to you?”

We would love to see your vision.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge:

HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary on a random topic that pops into my head (such as the above) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Feel free to attach photos or artwork you have that fit the current week’s challenge.
  3. The Challenge will be open for 6 days after it is posted upon which I will post another challenge.
  4. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

 SO – Create your Two Cents Tuesday Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.

Interesting articles:
Binoculars and iPhone Give Pro Cameras Stiff Competition at Olympics
Stop Arguing About Instagram and Go Make a Picture
How the iPhone changed my photography
Pix Before Pixels

Weekly photo Challenge: Big

Anyone remember Devo? Close your eyes, flash back to the 80s and listen to the words…

“I am a (wo)man with a mission and yes, I’m in a big mess”

The blogosphere resounds this week with a wild variety of pics for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Big. Our household vibrates with largeness of a different kind – the ever-expanding, threatening to swallow one whole, can’t get a handle on kind of volume that results from  its occupants less than domestic skills and acquisitive tendencies.  We are all, by nature, collectors: books and paper ephemera, photos, slides, paintings, shoes, action figures (don’t ask), silver oddments, bits collected on trips, the list goes on. While it makes for an interesting nest and provides many a topic of conversation for first-time guests, it does entail some time-consuming curating.

Miss Z takes great pleasure in saying that our house is more organized, cleaner and “way better” than those of her friends and while this may be true and is some small consolation, we are still overwhelmed by ….. a big mess.

Big pile of laundry: not mine – at least it’s clean

This particular Monday arrived with a big thumping of construction equipment down the street accompanied by the barking of the big dog making a big deal about the big cat that likes to harass him.  A big argument about the correct way to compost got things off to a big start and now a big pot of chili sits simmering on the stove while a big pile of laundry slowly gets done and a big pile of ironing increases hourly. A big window full of emails to be answered and notifications to view could have been a big headache but were softened by a big cappuccino. So it is only a blog about Big to finish with…

Ample are the resources at hand and
Astronomic the patience needed to endure
Bear-sized muddy footprints
across the floor;
Colossal are the olives plunging
Deep into the pot
Enormous;
Formidable are those whose efforts
Gargantuan become even more
Heroic in the retelling;
Immense are the skies above,
the stars a
King-sized,
Larger-than-life
blanket to wrap you in;
Monolithic proportions abound
around us
Newsworthy, noteworthy
Oversized and over-promoted
Preposterous art;
Queen-sized media
Rotund in its
Stupendous glory
a 21st century
Titanic of information so
Unbelievable, so
Voluminous in its pervasiveness
yet
Wide-ranging are the possibilities…

Serene amid the weeds

Rose quartz necklace – Ideflex Collection

An especially bright morning called out for closer inspection of the garden that we had left, somewhat unhappily, at the beginning of the summer in the hands of non-horticulturists. It tends to be wild back there on the best of days, a hodge-podge run to ruins English garden that lets grow what it will. Like us, it resists attempts at too-neat order – flowering weeds sprout rampant in the smallest patches of dark earth and each season brings a new yield of blooms that seem not to have been there the year before. Huge bright green elephant ears beckoned as an ideal bed for a piece of jewellery finished in another climate. A chinese clavicle pendant of rose quartz from Studio BBG was the catalyst for this necklace; two large Murano glass beads, some pink jade, blush pearls and silver spacers add lightness and bring an element of reflectivity to the larger rose quartz rectangles.  Feminine in nature, this lovely pale pink stone is said to be the crystal of love, emitting a calming and cooling energy. It gives inner peace and makes the wearer receptive to matters of the heart. Much like the garden…