Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Baby: personal legend #1

Mel Robson a fellow craft artist of Brisbane has tagged myself , Plastic Girl and Rebecca the Wrecker with the topic of revealing six things about oneself that haven't been blogged about before. Now, while I might be a Windbag I'm not the most forth coming in talking about myself personally. I suppose, being a storyteller by nature, when I want to speak about myself I'll tell it like a story, so it has to be told in a certain way. Not wanting to spoil the opportunity to tell six stories, I've chosen to tell you six expanded personal legends over the coming weeks instead. Personal legends are the stories about ourselves we cultivate over time, becoming polished and fixed the more they are told.

Baby: personal legend #1

My Cat Baby doesn't like anyone but me and my partner John. Come over and she will run away and hide until you are gone. My Dad for instance has serious doubts that we even have a cat and asks to be shown the mysterious Baby whenever he comes over - of course that isn't possible as she's hiding somewhere!

Baby was born at my house and has always been with me. I often say that I've known her since she was a can of Whiskers (cat food brand). Baby was one of four kittens and one of the biggest, but she was a little different from the rest. While her other brothers and sister would run and frolic around the house she would be doing something else - I guess she's a lot like me. This, however, got her into trouble as once she decide to climb up onto the video player under the TV table she slipped and got wedged between the video and the table leg. She could not have escaped by herself but luckily I found her and lifted her to safety...phew, that was lucky!

To Baby I'm her grandmother. One morning I was in a half doze when I heard Baby calling me as usual to get her her morning food (at about 4:30 am) I thought I heard her say "Ganny." It gave me quite a shock, so I woke up! When I thought about it, it seemed quite reasonable, because she had known me as her mother carer, therefore I was her grandmother in the chain. I was very touched that she had included me into her family relations.

I've taught Baby a few ways to communicate with me and I with her. Apart from having our own meowing sounds, I have a bell hanging down on the front door just for her, she rings it when she wants me to let her in. If I don't come straight away she rings it again, but Harder! I call myself The Cat Butler. Another thing is that Baby loves to eat my food. She'll stand next to my small table and watch every morsel as it travels to my mouth. If she thinks it should be hers she will even try to direct it to her with her paw on my hand. Having dinner can be a very fraught affair for me, so I developed a way to tell her when the meat was finished so she would leave me alone. I put my palms up in front of her and wiggle my fingers. She then knows that dinner is over, she turns and walks away to then make "I want to go out, Ganny" meow as she waits by the door. The Cat Butler is so well trained!

Baby has a very distinctive personality, we love her. She's our secret cat, even if you never met her, she's a big part of our lives.

Image 1: MajicCatsMini one of my Flying Star Toys

Image 2: Baby as a kitten. She now has golden eyes.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Craft is Us - reclaim the right to define

Redefining Craft CODA by Dennis Stevens is a *must* listen to podcast for all craft based artists, and certainly informative to artists in general. Many friends of Windbag and Thunder will feel reassured to hear Dennis discuss issues that we as craft artists are facing today, but most importantly it reaffirms the inside view of creativity as the place to speak on art and craft practice, its development and its wisdom.

Many of us will recognise ourselves in the description of Distributed Learning Communities and Communities of Practice as we whole-heartedly embrace the potential of Web 2.0 Internet connectivity.

There are so many areas within the podcast worth discussing. I was very excited after listening to it and I'll be going back over it in the future. If there are any areas you'd like to discuss after you listen to it (approx. 30mins), please let's discuss it in the comments. I'll even the discuss why I've chosen to illustrate this post with a 19th century Tibetan Tsakli painting of a double bird headed flying scorpion.

Special mention to Shibori Girl and Jude for the link to this podcast :)

Monday, January 15, 2007

1000 Cranes: Snow Walkers

Allow me to introduce you to some new friends of mine - Snow Walkers. Snow Walkers are cranes that like to walk in the snow. Doesn't it look like they're wearing little red caps? :)

1000 Cranes is the encompassing title for the crane variations I'll design. The Japanese have a legend that if you fold one thousand paper cranes one's wish of good health is granted, as the crane is a symbol of longevity and grace.

Snow Walkers are designed to hang on the wall. Birds of a feather enjoy flocking together.

But they also enjoy private walks. My Snow walker steps thoughtfully along, high up on the wall in my lounge room.

Snow Walker is a new Flying Star Toy. Handmade with the finest materials - cotton, linen, muslin, silk. You'll find them in a range of gentle colours and they are so soft to touch.

If you look carefully you'll notice the wings form a heart shape.

Snow Walkers have quiet personalities, thoughtful dispositions, and a curious but friendly mind.

Monday, January 08, 2007

For Jude - symbol of wholeness

Today, I was contemplating the new symbols on Jude's "Listen To the River" quilt. I felt a feeling of wholeness from the arrangement (as I could see it from the photo). A red crescent, circle, and wavy lines on blue indigo ground with two white cranes wheeling about the circle. I immediately understood the symbol of the circle as completeness and wholeness, but why did the crescent, the waves and birds seem to resonate on the same lines?

While musing on the feeling of the day in a restful lull: the barometric pressure unsure of its direction towards fine or stormy, the breeze of the mind caught me up in a felt vision of the crescent, a feeling of rightness accompanying it. My eyes travelled to the shape of my new crane toy (Snow Walker) hanging on the wall, it too having a crescent like shape. Then the symbol transformed into the crescent on the sea and grew into the house-boat moon ark, an image recalled in the illuminations of William Blake. You can see it above. Interestingly two angels - winged beings accompany the boat.

Since the feeling of completeness came with the image I unfolded its understanding to be an image of the self. The Divine Ark that with consciousness illuminates life and man, held in the physical vessel of the body, sails upon its companion the unconscious sea, the angel points to it as the way of wholeness that man must come to.

Jude's quilting, in my opinion, is the work of someone who has grown past the stage of the novice, rather her work is that of the true artist as master craftsman - free to make truly unique works of art, fit for the contemplation of a matured soul. This is what I look for in art. I inwardly thank every artist that I find it in, for their devotion to their craft and to the work of unfolding themselves as unique personages.

Image: Plate 44, Jerusalem:The Emanation of the Gaint Albion, 1804. This printing from 1991 reproduction, The William Blake Trust in conjuntion with Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02907-5.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Hour of Transformation

A new year awakens the spirit of growth like Spring awakens the natural kingdom of plants. In the hour of transformation the psyche grasps its mature golden feathers and a beacon of light hangs in the temple of the soul.

Happy New Year 2007!

Windbagandthunder is back from holidays. I hope everyone is well rested for the journey ahead.

(image: Turkish carpet from Kayseri, floss silk prayer rug. Image from "Contemporary Hand Made Turkish Carpets" by Ugur Ayyildiz, 1984.)