Thursday, August 6, 2009
The idea to blog the learning process and then create the artwork from that seemed to be an efficient way to go and, for a time, this was true. Until I got stuck, that is.
In February I was working on a scrapbook album for my Dad's 90th Birthday. Part of it was to produce four pages about his war service and it became a fascinating learning process for me. He fought against the Russians in the Second World War and it had been such a traumatic time that he didn't speak of it until fairly recently. For the album he wrote 12 pages for me and that's when I found out what it had been like for him. To honour his war service I spent a good deal of time on the pages and this halted my work on the blog. Also, I used the work from the scrapbook pages in my "Learn.." book so for a long time it was stuck at that point.
So, by the end of February my good intentions for my project had gone off the rails already and it all got away from me and I started to fall further and further behind with it. So I had to alter the process in some way or give it up entirely.
The solution came with the addition of just two words. In the introduction of my book I've written that it's about 365 things I learned in 2009, to which I've added "and beyond". With these words I've given myself permission to finish the 365 things over a longer period of time, so that's what I'm now going to do. Beginning in May I'll add as many entries as I can for that month, and so on. What a relief it is to allow myself to change my mind about something. It doesn't happen all that often and I think it should become a habit to avoid the stress I put myself under.
Yay! I feel so much better about it now.
"Imagine your toaster has an inbuilt computer and it can speak to your fridge. Now imagine your fridge talking to the computer at your local shopping centre. All without your involvement. More and more everyday objects are becoming internet connected. So are we about to witness a new phase for the internet? An internet where objects, not people, communicate: 'an internet of things'"
The idea is that you can put intelligent microchips into everything now, including people, and this means that if those chips are wirelessly connected to the internet then you can track them wherever they go. Interesting, but scary in a way. It solves the problem of stolen goods because they can never disappear, so that's a good thing, but I'd be interested to know what life would be like with everything sending out "I'm here! I'm here!" signals to everything else.
Perhaps convergence is a good thing to a certain point only. I guess we'll see when it starts to happen, then we can decide whether we like it or not.
My mother is a tailor and from a very early age I was taught how to sew. My sisters and I used to sew clothes for our dolls from patterns that my mother drafted for us. I don't even remember learning it and it seems that I have always just known how to sew. When I had my first sewing lesson at school I knew it all already but didn't know how I did.
I think it's a really good thing for young children to spend time playing with and working on craft projects. Who knows what genius ideas may come out of a basic knowledge of manipulating objects and learning how to connect things?
For the piece I wrote this story and attached it to the back of the box they were displayed in. The story was this -
"These Boots had an identity crisis from the very beginning. It wasn’t just that they wanted to be something else, they also wanted to think outside the square and that wasn’t easy.
It was the postcard that finally did it. Just an innocent-looking thing that arrived one sunny spring afternoon. These boots had been relatively happy until that moment. Well, at least they thought so. The postcard was from a friend travelling around the world. It smelled of exotic, faraway places and hinted at new worlds and new ways of thinking. It spoke of freedom.
Freedom had been just another word until that moment but now it brought about alteration and innovation. It was the reason behind the whole redecoration thing and influenced the new designs and textures that now emerged. The designs and desires had been there all along, really. They’d just been hidden behind a facade of conservatism. A facade that had been broken down on that sunny spring afternoon by the idea of freedom.
From that moment on creativity had emerged and made itself known. That creativity provided the energy for the painting and beadwork that adorned the previously conservative boots.
Freedom of speech also emerged during this time. Long-repressed ideas and opinions sought a way out from the dungeons of the mind. The boots discovered how easy it was to express feelings and thoughts. Thoughts about the meaning of life and the nature of time and many other things cascaded from a mind that had been freed from its imprisonment.
Life is all about creation. In every moment of every day we are creating the reality we see. What we see is what we expect to see as a result of our conditioning and environment. We see with our brain, not our eyes. The eyes are just the way we capture information for our brain to process. The world we create for ourselves is totally personal and unique. Just like these boots."
I had a lot of fun making the piece and just today I found it in the corner of my studio. It looks a bit worn and sad and insects have made a home in them. I realised that the boots had embarked on a new journey - this time the inevitable process of decay that is a fact of life itself. The cycle of life.
As everything else, art is ephemeral.
Inputs to the brain functions come from multiple sources - sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, all of the body's internal organs, the nervous system and the rest of the body's structural systems AS WELL AS my thoughts. Whatever I think in every given moment will affect how my brain directs its internal orchestra.
For example, I'm in a cinema and watching a scary movie. One of the actors is hiding behind a tree in a dark forest waiting for the bad guy to find him. It's a tense and nervous moment and I can feel my heart beating quickly and my breath becomes shallow and rapid and only returns to normal when the situation returns to normal and all is well. My body went into "fight or flight" mode because of my thoughts, not because of something that was actually happening. This is the power of my brain.
So, whether I'm consciously aware of it or not, my brain is reacting to my thoughts every moment of every day because that's what it's programmed to do. Therefore, if I spend most of my time consumed by thoughts of anxiety then my brain will translate those thoughts into action in my body and, perhaps, tense up my shoulders and neck to reflect those thoughts of anxiety. Make sense?
So here's my light bulb moment for today.
For some time now I've been complaining about my memory and how I don't remember things and of course my brain has been politely making this so all along. BUT there are some things I always remember without any effort at all (like the fact that DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid) and I'm good with phone numbers. So the "I'm not good at remembering things" is not a rule at all. It's become a belief simply because I keep on thinking it and telling people about it.
So if a belief is just a thought I keep thinking then it stands to reason that if I now replace that original thought with this one "My memory is perfect and I can recall all relevant facts whenever I need to" and if I keep thinking it then it will become my belief and, hey presto, my brain will comply and make it so.
Here's to my brainy conductor leading my internal orchestra in playing a new tune!
I looked Gehry up on Google and found that he has some detractors who say that: the buildings waste structural resources by creating functionless forms; the buildings are apparently designed without accounting for the local climate; the spectacle of a building often overwhelms its intended use, especially in the case of museums and arenas; the buildings do not seem to belong in their surroundings "organically"; the buildings are often unfriendly towards disabled people. The Art Gallery of Ontario, for example, had most ramps removed at Gehry's behest, making it very difficult to navigate.
I think I'd have to agree with Gehry's detractors because whilst the Guggenheim Museum looks interesting I expect it took a lot of tricky engineering in it's contruction and also caused a lot of waste in resources.
Gehry has been described as "the one-trick pony" and an "auto-plagiarist", referring to the fact that a lot of his buildings are similar in style, as you can see in the images below.
In 1951, Australian and Turkish Soldiers came together for the first time after World War I. It was the Korean War and this time they were allies. In the first year of the war in the lead up to ANZAC Day they planned a shared commemoration. Members of the Turkish brigade were to meet up with the 3rd battalion but unfortunately on the night of the 24th the Battle of Cap Yong started and the 3rd battalion were committed to that battle as were the Turkish brigade elsewhere. Even though this joint commemoration in 1951 didn’t take place the idea was not forgotten and two years after the end of the Korean war to the sound of Turkish bugles, they finally realised their dream to commemorate Anzac Day together. We have been allies since.
Since 1998 the Turks have been permitted to march in the Anzac day parade. You can read more about this in the Compass archives at -
"Tramp Art was a popular form of folk art that flourished in America from the 1870's to the 1940's. It took many forms, mostly functional but some purely aesthetic: its creators notched, layered, and whittled picture frames, elaborate boxes, and even full-sized furniture pieces. The most common materials for making tramp art were cigar boxes and wood from disassembled crates.
The term "tramp art" was not used to identify this type of folk art until the 1950's, even though by then its production had all but stopped (largely, some think, because of a decline in cigar smoking and thus a decrease in the availability of cigar boxes). The lore persists that tramp art was made by wandering souls, largely anonymous, and that the fruits of their labors were bartered for food and shelter. While there is some truth to this, many who produced tramp art were skilled craftspeople who devoted major amounts of time to their creative pursuits. Most tramp art is unsigned and undated, adding to the mystique surrounding it."
I find it interesting that creative pursuits seem to pop up everywhere and it seems as if we're hard-wired to make things with our minds and bodies. It just goes to prove my belief that everyone is creative, but not everyone realises it.
I'm involved with a number of craft groups and one of the activities that seems to be becoming more poplar is the decorating of cigar boxes. You can buy them cheaply from shops that sell cigarettes and all things smoking related, but I guess they'll gradually disappear if smoking becomes more and more unpopular (as it should).
Polymer bank notes are an Australian invention and we now print polymer notes for 26 countries. The scientists at the manufacturing facility that prints the notes have been working on a polymer panel that can be used to generate solar electricity.
The current technology for solar electricity generation is expensive, which makes the payback period for a new system very long and often uneconomical. The polymer sheets are not very efficient at this stage but because they are inexpensive and flexible they can be used in a larger variety of locations. For example, you can afford to cover an entire roof with them.
Dr Gerry Wilson says "If the world had about six one hundred kilometre by one hundred kilometre grids of ten percent efficient solar cells scattered around the world, we would be able to satisfy the world's current energy needs. These plastic solar cells, we’re not restricted necessarily to put them on land. We could use them to cover our dams to stop evaporation. We could use them in the ocean."
Mark Horstman says "If this high speed printer was printing solar cells, it could do around 200 metres every minute, or 100 kilometres every day. At that rate, in just two months, it could print more generating capacity than a coal-fired power station. And that’s got to be a licence to print money. Here at Securency, they’re rolling out their first proofs of polymer solar cells – six months ahead of schedule, and just in time for a clean energy future."
The capacity of the human mind for invention is amazing.
As a founding member of RG I feel very passionately about the issue of resource use and reuse. My biggest interest in the management team was Education. By taking resources to schools and providing art activities I hoped to convey the awareness of where "stuff" comes from and the importance of considering the environmental impacts of manufacturing and resource use.
From it's early beginnings, the Education arm of RG has gone from strength to strength and I am really pleased to see the effect it's having on school students and the community in general. I believe that it's fundamental to the decisions made at management level in all areas of business to take into account the environmental impacts of projects being considered. The students of today will be the decision-makers of tomorrow and it's important for them to be aware of the environmental aspects of their decicions.
The main message of resource reuse is this -
Every time you manufacture something there are costs associated with it that go beyond the simple financial ones. These costs include the waste stream (leftovers and offcuts) and any pollutants involved (waste water, gases, smoke etc).
Whenever something reaches the end of its practical life it generally ends up in landfill unless some other strategy has been put into place.
Recycling is part of the resource use message but too often it's implemented as a first resort, rather than a last one. By this I mean that resources (like cardboard and paper) are pulped and remade rather than reused in the first instance. Whenever something goes back through the manufacturing process the waste stream is repeated. Reuse would minimise this.
The role of organisations such as Reverse Garbage is to divert the leftovers, offcuts, overruns and surplus stock from a range of businesses to the community for reuse in a variety of ways. Reuse can be the reuse of the product/item in it's original form/intention; reuse in a different application in its original form; or reuse in an entirely new and creative way.
Creative reuse of resources is a great way to divert materials away from landfill.
A few years after RG had opened the doors at West End I was pleased to see how far our reach had stretched when I walked through Myer one Saturday afternoon and saw a display cabinet of watches and the shelves had been covered with little colourful plastic dots, which looked good. I looked closer and recognised the dots as being the offcuts from a company that manufactures plastic washers. The "holes" are punched out of the washers and discarded. Fortunately, they now go into the bin destined for RG, rather than the one destined for landfill. I have some of them in my stock of art materials in my studio, although I haven't decided how to use them yet.
I left RG five years ago and went on to other things and I recently went to the tenth anniversary of the business, still going strong. The current mangement team is doing a great job maintaining the momentum we began.
One of the things I learned about while I was there was how to create images on acetate using stamps and pens. When I got home I experimented some more and made the piece in the photo. I took the pic with the acetate taped to a glass door and the view of the garden behind it.
The transparency film I used is an HP film for inkjet printers. It's designed for overhead slides and has one side that's a bit rougher than the other so that the ink from my pens sticks better. I used black India ink with a rubber frame stamp to begin with, stamping it on the smoother side of the film. Then I placed the frame over an image from a Be Creative magazine of stained glass and used a black Sharpie pen to trace the image into the centre of the frame. Then I turned the image over and coloured it from the back, the rougher side. The pens I used are Marvy brush markers from Uchida and they came out really bright.
I like the stained glass effect of doing this and am now thinking about how I might use this process in my other work.
The photo here came from Google Images and I found a great website where the author shares many bookbinding techniques. You can find his instructions for this book at
When I went to the website to check out the instructions I also read about the artist and found out that Cai Lun was the inventor of paper in China in 150AD.
Despite all of the complaints about the web, I find it very safe and informative and I use it regularly for self education. I am grateful for the generosity of everyone who's willing to shares their thoughts and skills.
My husband has an older son, Luke, from his first marriage. Luke was 13 years old when I was pregnant with David. He lived with his mother and only visited us on some weekends and I was keen for him to feel like we were all a family. So my husband and I went out to a cafe with Luke to decide on a name for his soon-to-be brother. We agreed that it would have to be a unanimous decision so we each started suggesting names until there was no disagreement from any of us. It took quite a few options to arrive at the first name so then we went through the process for his second name.
David is now 20 and he and Luke have a really close relationship. I would like to think that the name thing had something to do with this. Interestingly, when Luke's first son was born David was 13 so there's the same age gap between him and his nephew as him and his brother.
So if I ask myself the question "What's in a name?" then I'd have to say that in this case there's a bond and kinship that "by any other name would smell as sweet."
This waterfall is part of a mural I painted at Upper Mt Gravatt Community Kindergarten with my friend Chrissy. I was really pleased with the way it turned out because I was new to public art murals and at first not sure of myself and what I could do. After this mural Chrissy and I went on to paint a few more together as well as separately.
When I heard about a mural being painted along Barry Parade in the valley by an Italian artist who works with passers-by and volunteers I decided to drive by and have a look. I ended up doing some work on it today and will go back a few more times to help.
Since prehistoric times when the first humans started making marks in caves we've been daubing paint on walls and leaving our mark in a variety of ways. I find it incredibly satisfying to create an image that is recognisable and which (hopefully) beautifies the surface it's painted on. A bonus is the reactions of people walking by. When I was working on the one I painted on Platform 4 at Milton Railway Station I had regular visits by a mother and her little daughter who insisted on stopping by to watch me work.
There are hundreds of artists around the world creating beautiful paintings (and chalk drawings) in public spaces and leaving their mark. I like the idea of being one of those people and will continue to make my mark whenever I have the opportunity.
The first example he looked at was "Spot.us". In this model a journalist submits a pitch for a story and also states how much he/she needs to fund it. Anyone who thinks that the story would be a good one to cover can donate some money towards it. To avoid bias, no single donor is permitted to cover the entire amount. If the donations don't reach the sum requested then the journalist has the option to produce the story anyway. If he/she decides not to go ahead the donations are refunded.
The www.spot.us website states that -
"Spot.Us is a nonprofit project to pioneer “community funded reporting.” Through Spot.Us the public can commission investigations with tax deductible donations for important and perhaps overlooked stories. If a news organization buys exclusive rights to the content, donations are reimbursed. Otherwise content is made available through a Creative Commons license."
The second example was The Printed Blog. This is the world's first daily newspaper comprised entirely of blogs and user-generated content. You can find it at www.theprintedblog.com
The third one was about Every Block. In this model stories are compiled about what's happening in particular communities, as opposed to the usual national or international focus. The idea is for readers to find out what's happening near where they live. The www.everyblock.com website says -
"EveryBlock is a new way to keep track of what’s happening on your block, in your neighborhood and all over your city."
My personal opinion about journalists is that, generally, they have a lot to answer for in terms of fear-mongering and misleading the public. I hope that these new models of journalism will bring with them a new ethic of truth in reporting.
The guild meetings are attended by a diverse group of interesting people who are all passionate about making books. They have a stock of materials to buy and a cupboard of books to borrow. It's wonderful. As a member I can go along to monthly workshops to use the guild's equipment as well.
There are two parts to the construction of a book - the text block and the cover (or "case") . The text block is put together using a set of rules and it's pretty-well defined before you even start. However, the design and manufacture of the case can be a totally individual and creative process. It's like the creation of a book is a whole brain process, using the left brain for the text block and the right brain for the case. Very satisfying.
I'm keen to learn about how to use leather for binding and I'm already planning the books I'd like to make.
One of the really interesting things I learned about is the Japanese non-meat products in the supermarkets. Made mostly from beans, these products actually look like the meat products they are replacing. I'd expected the non-beef patties that I saw but the non-bacon rashers of bacon were a real surprise.
The trek was part of my culinary training and I've been practising my asian cooking since then (and getting really good at stirfrys) but I think it may be some time before I'll have the courage to try food like the non-meat bacon.
"Holiday is a contraction of holy and day. Holiday originally referred only to special religious days. In modern use, it means any special day of rest, as opposed to normal days off work or school.
In the United Kingdom, vacation once specifically referred to the long summer break taken by the law courts and, later, universities—a custom introduced by William the Conqueror from Normandy where it facilitated the grape harvest. The French term is similar to American English: "Les Vacances". In the past, many upper-class families moved to a summer home for part of the year, leaving their usual family home vacant."
So there you have it. William the Conqueror introduced quite a few new things to England, the buildings of castles being one of them, as well as this idea of summer vacation. I also didn't know that about the link between the word vacation and leaving your home empty.
Of the council the RCC says this -
"The year was 325 A.D. according to the Roman calendar. A council was convened by order of Constantine, the Roman emperor. He had been a leader in the cult known as Sol Invictus (Invincible Sun) and now wanted to unite the Christian sects in the empire under his existing church; the Universal Church of Rome. Many changes to the religion of Christianity were about to take place at that council, including:
Formulation for wording concerning the Trinity based on Anthanias
Changing Verses of Bible
Eliminating certain verses and books from the Bible
Declaring Arian's "unitarian" (belief in the Unity of God) as heresy
Changing the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday
Changing the date of Jesus' birthday to December 25th
Introduction of Easter (pagan worship called "Feast of Ishtar")
Church of Roman "officially" became the "Universal Church of the Holy Roman Empire" (the word 'Catholic' means 'universal')
The Roman Catholic Church took on a new face."
This means that the RCC hijacked an existing pagan feast and turned it into a religious event instead. I guess at the time it helped to unify the pagans and Christians living in Rome and was probably a good thing. It also means that the next time anyone laments about Easter being more about chocolate than church you could say that it was originally about eating nice things so it's legitimate to go back to there.
Monday, August 3, 2009
The story is about the Sarajevo Haggadah, an illuminated manuscript that began it's life around 1350 in Barcelona. Geraldine has taken the known history of the manuscript as well as theories about it's journey to the present and created a beautifully crafted story.
As a book artist, I'm fascinated by the story of a manuscript that's managed to survive through many situations when it might have been destroyed. It's as if the book itself charmed it's owners into protecting it.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
It comes about when I overwhelm myself with things that MUST be done by yesterday. I get into a mode that I can only describe as a 'frenzy of inactivity'. With a thousand things calling for my attention I find I can't do anything at all and descend into this quagmire of fast-set glue and DO NOTHING at all.
Sometimes in my state of feeling guilty about doing nothing I fill my time by playing Solitaire on my computer. Spider Solitaire is best because it takes longer to play. (Sigh)
The best solution I've found for this is regular meditation because I feel more relaxed and in that case am able to focus better on the important things, although this is no guarantee that I won't get myself into this frenzy in moments of weakness and inattention.
As a fallible human being I have to accept that I'll continue to have good times and bad times. Hopefully the bad times will arrive less and less as I get better at my meditation practice.
Singularity is a scientific term that refers to a point in time in the development of something when there is a jump to exponential growth and the outcome becomes unpredictable.
Singularity University has been set up to research developments in technology and to prepare the population for the implementation of these developments. The concern that brought about its establishment was that today technology is advancing at an exponential rate and there's a need to keep up with this and create bridges between disciplines.
An example of this growth rate is the Human Genome project. It was initially predicted that the genome would take 30 years to map but it only took 8 years because of the development of faster computers.
The university doesn't have to look too far in the future for ideas to follow up because of the rapidly-advancing current technologies. The profile of the ideal student for the university is one who already has an in-depth knowledge of a particular scientific field so they can work on cross-disciplinary projects with other students.
It certainly sounds like a great idea to me!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
From his website, www.gittoes.com, I copied this comment "Gittoes acknowledges his journey is one into the heart of human darkness. He has become a witness. “ I believe there is a role for contemporary art to challenge, rather than entertain. My work is confronting humanity with the darker side of itself.”"
To find out more about this amazing artist, visit his website.
"Tuesday 7 April 1663
Up very betimes, and angry with Will that he made no more haste to rise after I called him. So to my office, and all the morning there. At noon to the Exchange, and so home to dinner, where I found my wife had been with Ashwell to La Roche’s to have her tooth drawn, which it seems aches much, but my wife could not get her to be contented to have it drawn after the first twich, but would let it alone, and so they came home with it undone, which made my wife and me good sport. After dinner to the office, where Sir J. Minnes did make a great complaint to me alone, how my clerk Mr. Hater had entered in one of the Sea books a ticket to have been signed by him before it had been examined, which makes the old fool mad almost, though there was upon enquiry the greatest reason in the world for it. Which though it vexes me, yet it is most to see from day to day what a coxcomb he is, and that so great a trust should lie in the hands of such a fool. We sat all the afternoon, and I late at my office, it being post night, and so home to supper, my father being come again to my house, and after supper to bed, and after some talk to sleep."
Today is also a Tuesday. Interesting coincidence.
Monday, July 6, 2009
There's a general trend back to the old crafts as more people seek simpler and more economically effective life choices. Sewing machines are back in vogue and there's an increasing interest in knitting and crochet and other craft skills.
Pip has a blog that's worth checking out. It's at http://meetmeatmikes.blogspot.com/
My mother is a tailor and taught my sisters and me to sew when we were very young, so sewing and craft have been in my blood all my life. It's pleasing to me to see so many people discovering craft as a worthwhile activity. It's such a big part of my life that I couldn't imagine my life being any other way.
Her name is Rhonda Hertzel and her blog is well worth a look. Since starting the blog she's attracted followers from around the world. Her original idea was to write a book but when she was turned down by publishers she decided to set up a blog instead. Now that she's become popular through the blog she's been approached by a potential publisher.
Check it out at http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/search/label/Simple%20Living
Earth hour was started in Sydney in 2007 by WWF and there was so much enthusiasm for the idea that it went global the following year. This year the support was even greater and many captial cities worldwide joined in.
The experts felt that gestures like Earth Hour can only make a difference if the politicians are actually listening and realise how many people are concerned enough to do something about it. Generally, there was a feeling of skepticism among the participants so I did some research for myself on the issue.
One of the common threads in the discussions I read seemed to imply that the unused excess power gets grounded anyway and doesn't make a difference but this was refuted by an electricity generation technician. He said that generating systems are very responsive and can be adjusted according to demand, so it does make a difference when a lot of people switch off their lights.
Well done to the WWF for this initiative. It has given individuals an opportunity to make a positive statement about their concern for the environment. I'm going to put some thought into how I'll personally respond to the Earth hour project in 2010.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
No part of my physical body is more than 10 years old.
My body is made up of cells that renew themselves on a regular basis. The type of cell it is and where it's located determines the rate of renewal. Cells in the stomach lining, for example, are replaced every 5 days and the entire skeleton is renewed about every 10 years.
Even though my birth certificate says I'm 54 years old the only part of the physical me that is actually that age is my mind. This leads to the question "Where in my no-more-than-10-year-old body does my mind reside?
The only logical answer to this is that my mind resides in every cell of my body, moving into the new cells as they grow and creating the body-mind being that is me. This makes sense as every cell of my body contains a complete DNA map of my whole body.
Another question you might ask is "Given that my cells renew themselves, why don't scars and injuries disappear over time?" I imagine that this is where cellular memory comes into play and the memory of an injury gets passed down through the generations of cells. I expect they mirror the condition of the cell they replace, but can this be changed?
I assume also that the mind controls the aging of the body and the rate at which this happens as there can't be some sort of Universal Aging Rate for everyone. As evidence of this assumption I present the following story -
When I was in Year 12 at High School there was a teacher that most of the girls lusted over. He was tall, dark, gorgeous, a great teacher and about 35 years old. Less than 5 years after we'd left school a friend and I ran into him and were totally stunned because he was grey-haired, wrinkled and looked more than 20 years older.
The reason for his transformation was that his wife had become gravely ill and he'd nursed her for 3 years until she died. She was the love of his life and her illness and death had devastated him. With such powerful negative emotions consuming him his mind accelerated the aging process in his body and turned him into an old man overnight.
If thoughts and feelings are the language of the mind and this dialogue translates into the form of the body then it must be possible to influence the wellness of the body by ensuring that the majority of our thoughts are positive and happy ones.
I'm so convinced about the truth of this assumption that from this moment on I'm going to direct my thoughts away from negativity and sadness towards a happy feeling place.
What do you think and how will you respond to this idea?
Monday, May 25, 2009
Having called this post "thought is everything" I realise I could have reversed the order and said "everything is thought" and both statements would be true.
We think of ourselves as being a body that exists in what we generally refer to as our reality. Scientists analyse that reality and tell us the facts that make up the "truth" of this physical manifestation. We observe the physical world that we move around in and believe that we know exactly what's true and real. How much of the picture are we actually aware of?
My reality is unique to myself because my mind filters all the information coming from the outside world through my viewpoint and beliefs. No one else can occupy the same physical or psychological space as me. My personal reality is therefore created by my thoughts on a moment-by-moment basis. To illustrate how this works consider the following situation -
You've gone into the city with a friend and you walk through the mall on the way to a coffee shop. You notice an altercation between a police officer and a suspicious-looking middle-aged man in a shop doorway and make the assumption that he's been caught shoplifting or something. Then your attention is drawn to a busker who looks rather poor and shabby and you hope that he can play well and will get enough money from his music to buy dinner. Near the busker is a mother trying to console a crying infant and looking very drawn and tired. You wonder if she ever gets any help at home.
By the time you arrive at the coffee shop and take a seat your mood is somewhat deflated by what you've seen and how it's made you feel. In total contrast your friend starts talking enthusiastically about the fantastic artwork display she's just seen along the mall. Her excitement about it takes you by surprise because you didn't see or notice any of it at all. You may as well have been in two different places!
By your thoughts you created one reality while your friend created an entirely different one. So which one is true? They both are. Everyone lives their own truth and that truth is constructed by your thoughts. Thought is everything.
Rene Descartes, a philosopher, was born in 1596 and died 53 years later. He was a profound thinker and writer and his most famous statement is "I think, therefore I am; OR I am thinking, therefore I exist". It appeared in his "Discourse on the Method" published in 1637 and also in "Principles of Philosophy" published in 1644.
Descartes believed that the only thing that truly exists is thought and that thought creates what we perceive as reality. Everything is thought.
If this is the case, and I believe it to be so, then I can choose the thoughts I wish to have and the direction that I want my life to take. I am the one with total control over my thoughts, no one else. It's a comforting idea to think that I'm no one's puppet unless I choose to be so.
The next time you're in the mall will you see the poverty or the artwork?
A few years ago they both learned to fly and have their pilot's licences. At the time my husband said he'd never buy an aircraft but fate had other ideas and not long afterwards he owned a twin-engine Beechcraft Baron. It's been fun and has covered its costs by being available for charter.
The second thing he said was that he'd never own a flying school, but guess what? Today, April 1st, was the launch date for a new flying school and charter business at Archerfield Airport in Brisbane. It isn't called Just for Fun, though, as that doesn't provide the right sort of image for a serious flying school. It's Flight One and they shortly expect to have 3 aircraft in the fleet.
As most of the discussions about the business were held out of my earshot it seemed to me that Flight One just appeared one day as if by magic.
Rupert told of his inability to communicate with his son how this all started to change when Rowan encountered a horse in the property next to theirs. The horse unlocked something in Rowan and this development set off a chain of events that led to their journey to Mongolia.
There seems to be a shift in thinking about autism that's very interesting. It has generally been viewed as some sort of personality deficiency or disorder up to now but the shift in thinking says that it may be a change in the communication process. I watched a video on the Abraham-Hicks website with a woman who works with autistic children and she's concluded that they communicate in an entirely new way and she's been able to work out how to connect with them and has changed the lives of families as a result.
I expect that Rupert and Rowan's story is an example of finding a way to connect that allows communication. In their case it was through horses.
In 1973 Spike wrote a book called "Badjelly the Witch". Laura loves the story and so do her children and she wanted her father to write a sequel but he refused and told her she should do it herself. She didn't feel she could do it at the time but now she has and it's called "Hocus Pocus versus the Stinky Pong".
She has other books in the pipeline so the legacy of Spike's sense of humour lives on through his daughter.
I looked it up on Google this morning and found out that there are many different ways to make it, so I thought I'd explain my process to add to all the other ones out there.
You need silk fibre tops in assorted colours, textile medium, netting that's more than twice the size of the piece you're making, a foam roller and a container to use it with, sponge, towel, dishwashing liquid and embellishments (optional).
Start by laying out the netting in a tray or on a surface that can be cleaned. Tease hand-sized pieces of silk fibres from the top and lay them out thinly in a horizontal direction on one half of the netting. (I used one colour for this layer). Then lay out a second layer vertically over the first. (This one had many colours in it.) At this point you can add some embellishments (just a few and very small) like metallic thread, dried leaves, sequins etc. Then top this with another horizontal layer of fibres and fold the netting over the top.
Put a few drops of dishwashing liquid in a cup of water and use the sponge to thoroughly dampen the silk in the netting. Turn the piece over and wet the under side as well. Make sure the piece is thoroughly wet and then soak up the excess water using a towel.
Make a 1:1 mix of water and textile medium in a container and use the foam roller to apply this to both sides of the piece. This time don't dry it off with a towel. Place it on a wire rack to dry or hang it on a line. When it's dry remove the netting. At this point it can be ironed or stitched. I used a sewing machine to do freestyle embroidery on mine.
It's fun to make silk paper. Why don't you have a go?
There's an aquarium in the Dubai mall that's been constructed using the world's largest piece of acrylic ever constructed. It's 80cms thick and 2 stories high.
Lyle Squire junior from Cairns Marine has just finalised a 190,000kg shipment to Dubai from his base in far north Queensland. The shipment included thousands of reef fish, sharks and stingrays from the Great Barrier Reef. Each shark in the shipment needed a 5000l round container weighing 2-3 tons so the logistics of the exercise were a challenge, but only a few of the smaller fish didn't survive the journey. All of the large animals made it.
They weren't fed for a few days before the journey and not at all during it and when they arrived in Dubai they had to go through a lengthy aclimation process. Because they were checked for disease before they left Australia they could go on display as soon as they got there.
They expect to get about 30million visitors per year and there's an education centre next to the aquarium which gives the message about the need to conserve these animals so they are ambassadors for our region.
I wonder if they suffered from jetlag?
Thursday, May 21, 2009
"Why is the plural of chief, chiefs not chieves?"
Kate's reply - "The older word is ‘thief’. It was around in Old English times (it appears as early as the 7th century). At that time, English speakers always turned ‘f’ into ‘v’ when it occurred between two vowels — so one thief, but two thieves (the vowel in the plural ending was originally pronounced). This pronunciation rule is no longer a living part of our language and what we’ve been doing over the past few hundred years is regularising words like thieves, so they fit in better with what is now the usual rule for making plurals. The plural of ‘cliff’, for instance, is no longer ‘cleves’. There are some words that have been quite successful in resisting this kind of regularising. Typically, these are everyday words; think of leaf and its plural leaves. The word ‘chief’, however, didn’t come into English until the 14th century from French. So it arrived after this pronunciation rule had disappeared from the language – chief therefore has always been regular (chief-chiefs).
As an aside, it seems that words relating to fairy tales or fantasy have somehow been successful in retaining irregular plural forms. It almost seems as if irregularities like wolf-wolves, dwarf-dwarves and elf-elves-elvish have now become a feature of this style of writing. Tolkien himself, I suspect, has a significant role in this linguistic development, particularly with respect to the success of the form dwarves. In this case, the plural of dwarf was originally regular; in other words, dwarfs. So even though it sounds older, dwarves is actually a new form. The earlier pronunciation of dwarf was ‘dwerg’. It ended in a consonant not unlike the gutteral [ch] sound at the end of Scottsh ‘loch’. English eventually lost this sound — in this case, it changed into ‘f’. However, this change happened long after we’d lost the pronunciation rule that changed ‘f’ to ‘v’ between vowels. Hence, the plural of dwarf was always dwarfs, pure and simple. Tolkien chose dwarves, even though as a philologist he knew this was historically wrong. He has a note to this effect in the beginning of ‘The Hobbit’. He writes, ‘In English the only correct plural of dwarf is dwarfs, and the adjective dwarfish. In this story dwarves and dwarvish are used’. These forms have an antiquated ring to them, and even though in ‘Lord of the Rings’ Tolkien offers a different explanation, I feel sure it’s primarily this reason that he chose dwarves to describe the ancient people in his tales. The popularity of Tolkien’s writing, I think, will mean that archaic forms like elves, elvish, wolves and, indeed, the late arrival dwarves will not be regularised to elfs, elfish, wolfs and dwarfs but will remain as an earmark of the fantastical."
I think this is a great example of life following art. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings is a favourite of mine because when Tolkien did his research for the trilogy he studied Finnish folklore and he based the Elvish language on Finnish.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
It seems to me that while we may not be able to control the cards that we're dealt in this life, we have total control of the game we play with them. We can choose to be bold and adventurous, timid and retiring, or adopt the role of the victim in the game, or indeed any other role.
At any point we can decide that the game is not to our liking and not working for us, in which case we can adopt a change of strategy. It's all about free choice and it all hangs on how we feel and whether we want to continue to feel that way.
I guess these thoughts were prompted by a story I heard on the radio about a particular child soldier. He was kidnapped at the age of eight and forced to live and fight as a soldier until he was 16, when he was rescued. There was enough abuse and trauma in his life to have turned him into a permanently scarred mental case, but this didn't happen. Instead he chose to use the abuse as a catalyst for personal growth and, having resolved the situation for himself, go on to help in the rehabilitation of other children. He didn't see himself as a victim and was therefore able to step out of the role that circumstances had put him in for a time.
There are cases like this all the time in different situations and it leads me to wonder what influences different people in their reactions to circumstances. Personally, I'm a "glass half full" type and I'm yet to encounter a circumstance that has me totally floundering in victimhood. Given that I'm now more than halfway through my life I don't expect this to change anytime soon. For me optimism begets more optimism. I can't help myself.
How do you react when bad stuff happens?
The steel wire I use is sold as tie wire and has been heated so that it's soft to use. The heating process also leaves it covered in soot so it's dirty to use as well, but that cleans off.
To make the jump rings I twisted the wire around a metal rod to form a spring that was about 3 cm long. I needed quite a few rings so I made 5 of these. Then I put the springs one at a time into a small vice and used a jewellery saw to cut lengthwise through one side of the spring. This gave me the jump rings.
I looked on the internet for ideas on how to form the rings into a bracelet but I didn't see anything I liked so I worked it out for myself. First I linked 2 rings, then held them together and put another ring through both. Then I put another ring through just 2 of them and continued in this way, attaching the next ring to the previous 2. When it was the length I wanted I formed a hook with wire and attached it with another jump ring. Voila!
To clean the bracelet I first used a wire brush to take off the soot, although a lot of it had already ended up on my hands by this stage through working on it. The forming and cleaning of the wire acts to harden it so by the end of the process the bracelet really was as hard as steel.
After the wire brush I used a set of polishing papers from 3M. They graduate from rough to smooth and I put a lot of elbow grease into it, so the steel was very shiny at the end. To finish it off I rubbed Renaissance wax into it. This stops it from rusting and keeps it shiny. I am very happy with the result.
I had decided to spend the day on tools and metal stuff so I set up a workstation for making chains from steel wire and another one for using a dremel.
As I said in an earlier post, I did a workshop last year with Keith lo Bue and learned heaps about the correct use of tools so I was keen to share what I'd learned with my friends.
The thing I learned in the process was that there's a fine line between being too prepared and not being prepared enough when you go to teach something.
Being too prepared may sometimes result in an inability to be spontaneous and not being prepared enough may result in an inaccurate result. Both of these outcomes were part of my experience of the day but I'm sure noone else noticed.
As always, getting together with people who share your interests is fun.
"Philosophy is concerned with the process of thinking, rather than finding the right answer," Lynne says. "Students learn to explore issues together, to question, and to disagree respectfully."
You can read an article about it here -
I love one of the comments by a year 4 (age 8-9) student of the school who said "Walls can be made from brick, stone, metal or other building materials. They can also be made from emotions such as fear or hatred."
I hope this teaching methodology becomes more widespread.
Reporter Brendan Trembath - "As old as mankind, graffiti can be seen as a cultural expression and a tourist attraction, or as vandalism inducing fear. It can morph into high art, political comment, or territorial border security. "
The reporter looked into many aspects and perspectives of graffiti and interviewed a broad range of people, from taggers to police officers. It was a really informative report.
Some of the things that appealed to me were -
A comment by one young artist saying that "you're not a graffiti guy if you've never done a train"
Doer is an artist on the Sydney scene. "Doer says by the time he was 13 he was hanging out with bigger and more notorious graffiti groups. Some members would give up graffiti after a while, and others became involved in more serious crime. But Doer went down a different path. He saw the artistic potential of graffiti and studied art at university. Doer still does the graffiti murals known as pieces, but says he now concentrates on legal walls."
A group called Dirty Rotten Scoundrels are a really nice bunch of guys who don't really get involved in the politics of violence over territorialism, it's more about the art and they're all really artistic graffiti writers.
An artist called Ben Frost lives in a warehouse in Surrey Hill, Sydney, and the walls of it are a moving feast of changing graffiti. If an artist thinks he can do something better then it's generally okay to paint over someone else's work.
Well known artist, Banksy, did a piece in Melbourne that was much prized by the building owner. Uprotected, it stayed in place for 5 years and then the owner put a piece of perspex over it to make sure it didn't get trashed. Soon afterwards someone sprayed silver paint behind the perspex and destroyed it.
From the drawings scrawled across the nation by Aboriginees, to the scratchings of the early convicts, to the political statements of the 1960's and the spray cans and stencils and pasteups of today it seems that graffiti is alive and well in this country and anyone who's conducting a war against it is fighting a losing battle.
Song writing is an agonising process for him and he says that the large part of the work he produces is never heard because it gets tossed out early in the piece. He works really, really hard because he believes that this is the only way to produce work that people will like. Sometimes, but this is very rare, he'll write something very easily and he thinks of this as a reward for his efforts.
Is it actually true that only hard work produces worthwhile results? Maybe not. According to his biography, Paul McCartney composed the entire melody of "Yesterday" in a dream one night. Upon waking, he hurried to a piano and played the tune to avoid letting it slip into the recesses of his mind.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, "Yesterday" has the most cover versions of any song ever written.
So the creative process exists in a multitude of forms.
I decided that I could really only get a snapshot at any point in time, so that's what I did. The scrapbook page of my dad cutting a hole in the ice in Finland (1955) is for an album I'm doing for his 90th birthday this year. It's my favourite page of them all because I think it works so well and yet it took me less than 20 minutes to do, unlike so many more that I've agonised over.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Skates made from bones, like the ones here, were first designed 5000 years ago in Finland for survival. As there are 100,000 lakes in Finland it's a benefit to be able to cross them quickly in winter so this is what they came up with. We Finns are certainly an inventive bunch.
Whilst these gave the user more speed than walking they wouldn't gave been great in terms of control so the technology of skates changed when steel came on the scene many years later.
These antique skates from 1941 are quite cute with their curved blades and leather boots. Given the style of the blades I think they'd trip you up if you tried to do more than go in straight lines.
These are like the ones I use. I bought them in Canada when I was there in 2006. Keeping them white is a challenge given that the mats at the rink are all black rubber ones and tend to rub off onto them. If I was a diligent person I'd clean them regularly but that's just wishful thinking.
One of the cottages I enquired about was perfect in every way and I was about to contact the owner when I thought I'd check it out via the maps first. By doing so, and zooming in on the property, I found out that it backs onto a railway line! Needless to say, I deleted it from my list of possibilities.
If you haven't used it yet go to http://www.google.com.au/ and click on the 'maps' option in the top line. When you put any address in the search box you'll see it and some properties even have street view photos.
Up on the right hand side are three option - map, satellite and terrain. The satellite option is best because you get to see what the place is actually like. I've used this to familiarise myself with what the road is like near where I'm going so that when I drive there I know what to expect.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Owen has studied the belief in ghosts from a historical perspective and makes the following oservations -
500 years ago ghosts were seen as rural folk and now they're urban, so it seems that observers see them through the lens of their own cultural perspective
ghosts manifest themselves as pale beings, generally at night, which could possibly indicate that what the viewer is seeing has more to do with moonlight reflecting from something than a physical object.
visible ghosts are in the minority and non-visual phenomena are more common: for example, a feeling of clammyness or the smell of someone's perfume.
the Anglican church is more likely to have exorcists than the Catholic Church.
opinion polls tend to indicate a distinct rise in the belief in ghosts and this trend is consistent with a decline in religious beliefs.
demographically English ghosts are more likely to appear in churchyards.
very few ghosts appear as infants or babies which is surprising as there were so many infant deaths.
the desire to believe in an afterlife prompts the belief in ghosts and this wishful thinking has resulted in many movies about ghosts.
Owen spoke of the state between life and death and referred to this as the "liminal" space. The word derives from the Latin word līmen, meaning "a threshold" and refers to a conscious state of being on the "threshold" of or between two different existential planes. In an anthropological context this state is the time for a rite of passage which involves some change to the participants, especially their social status. For ghosts it's the line between life and death and folklore says it's a porous space that allows travel between the two, hence the appearance of ghosts among the living.
According to Abraham (via Esther Hicks) the transition from life to death is instant and the consciousness rejoins source energy from whence it came. At this point we become fully aware of who we really are. For more information on this see http://www.abraham-hicks.com/
I believe that there are more "beings" in existence in our vicinity than we can see through our lens of "reality". If this is the case then it may be that sightings of ghosts are actually examples of our picking up on the vibrations of these beings. It follows, therefore, that our minds interpret these vibrations through images of familiar things because they have no other context to relate them to.
It was apparently set up by some guys who were unhappy with the way education was happening (or not) so they decided to set up a social learning network. Participation in the network is free but the cost of the individual tutoring that results is an arrangement between the tutor and the student.
The idea is that you either sign up to teach something or to learn something, or both, and the subjects you can learn include just about everything you can think of.
The site is here http://schoolofeverything.com/
I just love how the internet is changing everything about how we function in our communities and in the world as a whole.