Thursday, June 6, 2013

I call. You're stone.

   I call.  You're stone.
One day you'll look and find I'm gone.

This is a Pashto landay from Afghanistan.  I discovered them today - or rather they discovered me - and I am unable to focus on anything else.

Landay is the Pashto word for a short poisonous snake.  These witty, often bawdy two line poems were traditionally chanted around the campfire, often to the beat of a hand drum and were usually anonymous. 

   Unlucky you who didn't come last night,
I took the bed's hard wood post for a man. 

They were brought thousands of years ago by Indo-Aryan caravans. Today, although banned by the Taliban they are shared virtually via the internet, Facebook and text messages and contemporary rhymes abound:

   How much simpler can love be?
Let's get engaged now.  Text me.

Many refer to war:
  Be black with gunpowder or blood-red
but don't come home whole and disgrace my bed

  Because my love's American,
blisters blossom on my heart.
 
There is a very beautiful and informative article here  and a podcast with Eliza Griswold who I really want to read more about.

She travelled to Afghanistan with photographer friend Seamus Murphy and they made this short (14 min), beautiful video called "Snake - poetry of the women of Afghanistan" which you can watch here. 
His photographs can be seen at Seamus Murphy Photography and are really worth looking at.


It would seem that the book to read is Sayed Majrouh's "Songs of Love and War"

I've been in such a rush to share this that I haven't begun to do justice to this subject but if you love poetry, particularly such raw, vital poetry, that has survived centuries and evolves to this day against all odds then some of these links are really and truly worth clicking on!!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

April Fools - which one to choose

 I've been working with April Fool flowers for the upcoming SA Print Gallery exhibition "Botanic Prints".  Kevin has kindly said that the title could be seen in the broader context so I think one of these will be considered.  I'm quite happy with some of them.  I LOVE fynbos but don't really like drawing or painting flowers.  These plants are so spectacularly different that I am loving trying to capture their essence which for me is all about the fleshiness and the voluptuous decadent orange redness.  I am reminded of Sylia Plath's poem about tulips "....the tulips are so red.  They hurt"  or something close to that.  These determined buds force their way through the solid earth like bright red little fists and then glare at the world with their garish redness in the midst of the grey green veld.



Hard Ground Etching - Hand coloured with watercolour


Drypoint etching on plexiglass with acrylic ink text and gold pastel

Drypoint etching, handcoloured with acrylic ink and water colour

Drypoint etching with chine colle (Gampic silk tissue coloured with acrylic ink), hand coloured with watercolour and acrylic ink

Drypoint etching, hand coloured with acrylic ink

Hardground etching, hand coloured

Drypoint Etching

Drypoint Etching with chine colle (hand made paper and Gampi silk tissue)  think I must colour the stalks

Making Paper

Making paper is a real test of faith in the impossible or improbable.  It's hard to believe that the paper pulp mixture which is more watery than very runny porridge can actually end up as paper.  Its also hard to believe that the slim layer of pulp in your mold will actually come off intact and not just flop out in a soggy mess.  And lastly it seems unlikely that the newly formed piece of very wet paper will ever come off the piece of paper it is drying on or alternatively it might fall off and return to being a pile of pulp again.
Miraculously, 99% of the time, none of the above happen.  freshly made paper is as resilient as a baby and it survives a fair amount of inept handling.
This week I showed Mariana the basics of paper making. We had wet and messy fun and here are some photo's to prove it. 
Mariana removes the mold and deckle from the basin of pulp


Having fun splattering ink onto the wet molded paper before releasing it.

The spotty paper still on the mold
Pressing the mold onto the mound to release the newly formed sheet of paper
Just love those irregular pieces of hand made paper

Friday, February 8, 2013

10 Seconds of Falling ready to go


Finally completed, this hardcover concertina book will form part of an international book exchange/ installation compiled by Cheryl Penn.  I've used Arches Hot Pressed Aquarelle 300g,  a copperplate nib and bleach on black Osmiroid ink.  the completed book has been coated in a mixture of beeswax and turpentine to protect it . 
The book slightly open.  When fullly open it is about 2m long.  I envisaged it hanging vertically with the figures tumbling earthwards.
"Maybe they're just birds, Honey"
"Jumping is something you can choose to do"
"Maybe it felt like flying"
"Those terrible shapes"  The text side written with copperplate nib and bleach resulted in a lovely sepia text.  The content comprises quotes from relatives and friends of those who died.




Friday, January 25, 2013

Things You Can Do With Me

Things You Can Do With Me is a small scroll book with several long narrow pages and nestles in a porcelain bowl I made some time ago.  The paper I used is butchers paper.  After I had written on it I crumpled it up, sometimes wet and then bound the pages at one end by sewing a brass female figure which I cast using the cuttlefish method.

The book with the pages unravelled

 One of the pleasing things is the ease with which it stands.  The white ink is acrylic and I wrote with a copperplate nib.   You can get them at The Deckle Edge for R3.50 each.  The ink dries waterproof and so you can do what you like once it has dried but it's there to stay.  The text comprises endless verbs : love me, reveal me, conceal me, survive me.....

Curled up

I did strengthen the spine, where the brass sculpture is attached with a fine, well frayed piece of organza and then added natural beeswax to that to help to stabilize it.  It smells like honey too!