Saturday, March 29, 2008


The one place where I know I will find inspiration is Coach Creative Space. Dan Goodwin, the mastermind behind this site keeps coming up with new creative avenues to explore. Just when you think he couldn't possibly say anything more about creativity, he comes up with another plan to get the creative juices flowing. One particular topic, The Ten Commandments of Creativity made me focus on the guidlines that I use to keep myself as creatively fulfilled as possible.


1. Do what you love.

2. Embrace the whole creative process.

3. Find your tribe and share art and ideas.

4.Balance your time between solitude for making art, the time spent with family and friends as well as time to do the things that feed your soul.

5.Record ideas in a notebook. Keep a file for cuttings, sketches, quotes and inspiration.

6. Begin!.......even if its one small step everyday.

7. Keep moving. No stagnation. When you feel stuck, do something ..... anything, even if it's just writing a journal entry. Writing often stimulates the creative process.

8. Remember to replenish especially after a long work phase .

9. Show your work. It's no good hiding it. Start by sharing with the people that "get you" and slowly widen this circle as your confidence grows.

10. Losing myself in my work is my ultimate goal. My daily meditation.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


This is my interpretation of the Dogon creation myth. I carved the three panels several years ago and have repeated the theme many times over.

In Dogon mythology the world was likened to a granary, divided into compartments to hold the people, animals and seeds that God planned to send down to earth. The first granary came tumbling down from heaven on a rainbow, having been loosened from it's riggings by a bolt of lightening. It crashed to the earth, splitting open on impact and the contents scattered across the land. Seeds began to take root and man settled where the millet grew best. Thus, life on earth began.

There are many more details to this myth which I won't go into here because they would fill a book but let me share some of the background and symbolism in the panels that I've created.

The Dogon tribe of Mali store grain in tall clay granaries with thatched rooves and tiny doorways big enough for a small person to squeeze through.

This dogon granary is being filled with millet. A third person climbed through the top door and is inside stacking the millet. This photograph belongs to Hugo. See more of his photos on Flickr, here.

The photograph above is a genuine granary door in my own collection. The rows of figures at the top of the door depict the ancestors that guard the grain.

~The meaning behind each animal, colour, pattern and symbol differs slightly from country to country within Africa

~The God on horseback (middle panel) is named Nomo. He is guardian of the earth and there are many stories told about him.

~The horse was the first animal to leave the granary and it signifies power and chieftanship.

~The leopard is equated with the ruler because both are dangerous and powerful.

~The hornbill which is perched on the roof in the end panel signifies the continuance of man. He is also mediator between heaven and earth and he will transfer the dead to the other side.

~The snake encircles the earth to keep the oceans from flowing away or the people from falling off.

~The union between God and Earth produced sacred twins. It is believed that gods are born in pairs.

~The black and white check pattern represents the separation of dark from light, good from evil, ignorance from knowledge and male from female.

~The zig zag patterns signify the path of the ancestors.

There's so much more to each image than meets the eye. African mythology is mysterious and exciting and gives me a reason to be passionate about what I do. I love it!

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Why do we collect things? I supose we all have our reasons but I'm not buying Freud's theory that it goes way back to potty training days. He suggested that it's all about losing control and losing what was in the potty and that we, the collectors are trying to regain what we lost way back then. SNORT! I collect for inspiration for Artsake!......and nobody is going to convince me otherwise.

My biggest collection consists of shelves and shelves of books that have given me endless pleasure and inspiration. One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my mothers lap with my ear resting on her chest, listening to the hum of her voice and the beat of her heart as she read stories to my brother and I.

I love African art and though I've only been collecting artefacts for a short time I have always drooled over the beautiful pieces in art books. The Ethiopian icon above is one of my favourites. It is small enough to fit comfortably in the palm of my hand. It has two doors and four small paintings in all.

Our bottle collection started by chance. It just so happened that my husband was given a waterbottle from the Boer War and another from the Second World War. At about the same time I received two precious perfume bottles in wooden ampoules which were sent to my mother by a besotted suitor stationed in Egypt during World War 2. Thereafter bottles just seemed to arrive so we declared it a collection.

There must be thousands of junk collectors who haunt flea markets in search of that special piece. I seek out metal objects to add to my carvings and have been known to shriek when discovering the perfect keyplate. I am learning to be nonchalant and keep my emotions to myself, but my husband will let the cat out the bag by exclaiming "Did you not SEE this???"

Pebbles are another thing altogether. They are free!......and they are usually gathered on holiday so they have a nostalgic connotation to them. I will pick one up just to feel the smoothness in the palm of my hand... and then another and another until my arms have stretched down to my ankles.

Then there is my bead collection and my shell collection and the aged button collection and the natural curiosities and anything that will look good on my totems.

I've been intrigued by primitive symbols since I was a schoolgirl. A drawer overflowing with little scraps of paper covered in weird sketches finally prompted me to get them all into a notebook. So now I am a symbol collector. It doesn't take much to start me off on a new collection and I could go on ad infinitum but its time to take a coffee break.

Friday, March 7, 2008


I love to browse the internet looking for unusual art and I am constantly amazed at how clever people are!

I fell madly in love with these brightly coloured crayon sculptures by Pete Goldlust. They are so simple and yet there's a magic about them. Memories of that first box of 48, no doubt.

Jonathon Callan is another artist who thinks outside the box. He created this huge organic form out of I don't know how many books and there are a lot more ideas where that came from. It was quite difficult to decide which piece to share.

There are several examples of Jennifer Maestro's fascinating pencil sculptures on Hundreds of pencils were cut into 1-inch sections, points were sharpened, holes were drilled and they were all joined together.....and Voila! Well thats over simplifying it but you get the general idea.
The concept behind Elaine Hanowell's lighted sculptures is not that unusual but they are rather beautiful. She makes each piece with handmade paper, bamboo and collage elements which she collects from all over the world. You can see more of her delightful Calligraphy Koi on :

Out of all the unique artworks I have seen Jean-Luc Cornec's phoney sheep are still my favourites. What do you think?