Saturday, January 31, 2009


My daughter settling Bug down for the night

Bug surprises us with his daily antics. He now flutters from my finger to my shoulder. I've never been one to wander around with a bird on my shoulder so I have no idea where he got the idea from. He's also learned to open the flaps from the inside of his box and jump out.
We've been leaving a few worms to wriggle at his feet whilst he feeds just to get him used to the idea that his food can be found on the ground. Up until now he has totally ignored them but today he's been pecking at the worms, not quite managing to pick one up yet but it will happen soon. He is so dear, I can't help snapping away with the camera.
Here we have Bug feeding....
...trilling... and squawking
...contemplating a leap onto the desk....
..... at peace with the world.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Maybe you would like to tag along on our walk today. The rain came down with a vengeance just after the alarm clock went off in the early hours so we put off our walk until daylight which is just as well because now you can at least see where you are going even in this mizzle. This is'nt our usual route because it's a little too secluded before dawn.

Let's cross the little bridge fording the stream and then we are on our way.

Past one of the many old oak trees that gave this area it's name...

Looking into gardens ....

Lush green...

Hadedas on all the lamp-posts alerting all and sundry .....

We are climbing up the hill now , huffing and puffing because it is quite a hike. At the top we come to a gate into the forest but it isn't safe to walk there so lets wander back down again.

Inhale the fresh misty air as we descend through monkey country....

At the bottom of the hill we loop around and up on the last leg of the journey.

We pass the Nursery where we buy our plants and sometimes treat ourselves to tea and scones.
Just before the houses you see ahead we turn to the left and over the footbridge again.

Soon we are back in our courtyard before going in for a big mug of tea.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


It hasn't taken long for Bug to become part of the family and he is already developing a character that is very endearing.

The strangest thing about him is that he is not too partial to nests. At the first opportunity he bails out which is probably what got him in trouble in the first place. He likes to sit on my desk while I work. When he gets tired I create a secure nest for him but it lasts five minutes and then he's off across the desk like a drunken sailor. A common idiosyncrasy of the thrush is to dash for cover, almost parallel to the ground with neck thrust foreward like an arrow. Little Bug instinctively does this though he loses balance along the way.

Eventually he finds a spot to his liking (usually on a pile of scrap metal) where he will settle for a while squawking for food whether he's hungry or not.

At 5.oo pm almost to the second he switches off for the night. Last night he learned to put his head under his wing. I was so proud of him! My daughter hates to think what I'm going to be like with grandchildren. As it is I already have a Picasa file full of photographs..

Ringing telephones, alarm clocks, doorbells and stove timers provoke shrill calls from within the cardboard box. He knows my voice and will call when he hears me but not a peep when hubby and daughter speak.

One can't help loving him . He's a brave little clown who is keeping me on the hop all day long but I feel so priveleged spending this short while with him. He's growing fast and it won't be long before we will have to make some decisions about the next leg of his journey.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I've been in an ebullient mood for days and I put this down to our early morning walks, prompted by Julia Cameron, author of Vein of Gold. I've joined the Vein of Gold Group over at CCS and one of the daily practices is walking. It has been hard to pull myself out of bed so early in the morning but definitely worth the effort!

We set off in the dark at when it is cool. It's so peaceful at this time of day and also ideal for spotting wildlife en route . We take Ben our Bull Terrier with us because nobody would dare challenge us when he's around and besides he loves and needs a walk even more than we do.

We've seen a white tipped mongoose hunting for the past 4 days as well as a Bushbuck standing silently watching as we passed by. On one of our walks we noticed a thrush dive bombing a mongoose in the middle of the road. Ben caught a whiff of it and took off with me flailing wildly at the end of the lead. ( I've since been treated for whiplash by the chiropractor :-) As we got to the spot, mongoose disappeared down a drain and my eye caught site of a moving mud clod...or so I thought until I saw a gaping orange mouth .

Ben and I realized what it was simultaneously but I was quick, scooping the baby thrush out of harms way and holding it close while we searched for a nest. Thrush was quite a distance from any trees and he was definitely too young to fly . We couldn't leave him there or even put him in a tree to wait for the mum (who was nowhere to be seen) because he kept bailing off the branch and in any case it was highly probable that the mongoose would sniff him out. After waiting a while Hubby decided that we should take him home because he wouldn't survive out in the open ....what with the mongoose, cars and dogs about....... So home we went!

We have named him Bug because he eats bugs like there's no tomorrow. From dawn til dusk I'm on hands and knees in the garden, searching for rock roaches, wood lice and earthworms. We've now introduced him to Pronutro which sends him into an absolute frenzy of wing flapping chirping euphoria.

Bug is doing very well and all we hope for is to be able to release him back into the wild when he is old enough to look after himself. This could be harder than it sounds because thrushes are territorial and the last time we reared a thrush and tried to release him the other thrushes attacked poor Jack until we rescued him again. It took many more weeks before the others would even allow him to sit in the tree outside our bedroom window.

I wish I had the equipment to record and share what I can hear right this moment. Bug is chrrrpping at the top of his lungs just to let me know he hasn't eaten in the last half hour.

Friday, January 23, 2009


"Playful, wondrous timepieces emerge that take flight on cherubic wings, float and sway on fine wires, or appear frozen mid-explosion with flying springs and cogs that bounce at the touch."
This is the world of Roger Wood. His quirky clocks are enchanting.

Clocks created by Roger Wood

"The source of his inspiration lies in the hundreds of curiously labelled drawers and boxes brimming with artifacts of all discription that line the shelves of his Toronto studio. Wood orchestrates an arrangement from his myriad of treasures until the precise moment that it feels right. Then he quickly glues them all down so they can't escape".

If you wander over to Klockwerks you will see why Roger has to glue everything down before they escape. It's a hive of whirling, whirring clocks! My wish is to explore those curiously labelled boxes and see the myriad of treasures for myself.

Sunlifter by Rodney Alan Greenblat

Rodney Alan Greenblat has mastered "quirky" with his cheerful sculptures and paintings.
"I have a dream to create an entire environment, to build my own world. Then, when it's necessary, I can get away from the one I'm in."

Gulliver by Tom Otterness. Photo taken by Brian Kelly. See photo essay here.

Scotchtape Man

I discovered a wonderful post on the blog, Inventorspot. 10 Works of Art to Make When You're Bored out of Youre Mind, by Diana Eid. This is where I found Scotchtape Man......and Banana sculptures...and piddling lemons. What a hoot! But wait there's more! An Australian artist spent 10 years searching for a surgeon who would be willing to transplant a 3rd ear onto his arm. His arm??? Perhaps he wanted to listen to his funny bone.

Geoffrey Gorman is another sculptor who has mastered quirky. His canvas wrapped creatures are slightly off beat, a quality that appeals to me. Geoffrey has now started a blog so go and check it out here.

Citri by Geoffrey Gorman. At the Jane Sauer Gallery.

Leanne Pizio's art, consisting of wacky ceramics and whimsical paintings is bound to put a smile on your face. I love Head Lice!

Head Lice by Leanne Pizio

Yayoi Kusama's work makes you stop and gape. I posted the red spotty balloon tree for Dneese, (Queen of Quirky) who is busy knitting pyjamas for neighbouring trees and poles. Read about her Guerrilla art tactics here.

Ascension of Polkadots on the Trees by Yayoi Kusama

Guardian Angel by Don Pezzano

If Dneese is Queen of Quirky I suppose Don must be King of Quirky. See more of Don's work here.

Three doors down by Alison O'Donoghue, the Mary Lou Zeek Gallery

Etching by Robert Barnov

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Oleg Denisenko is a Ukranian artist who creates quirky/bizarre etchings. They have cross between a Don Quixote and Leonardo Da Vinci air about them. If you want to see more of Denisenko's amazing work go here and here. You need to see the enlarged prints to appreciate the detail. Go and have a good look. They are brilliant!

"The holiness of taboo is esteemed" - Oleg Denisenko

Rainbow, 2005. Etching. Edition of 50. Davidson Galleries, Seattle

Elixer of Life, 2004. Davidson Galleries.
Traveler, 2006. Davidson Galleries

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


It's an overcast day and there's a thin layer of mist settling in the trees on surrounding hills. Perfect! Not too cold or too hot to work outside. Thanks to a few days like this I've managed to finish the door I started over a week ago. I chose a repetitive design so that I could work almost automatically without anything new taxing my brain. I enjoy the meditative state that comes with repetitive work.

Carved Door: Ancestral Voices

This is the first piece I've created in 2009. I had hoped it would get me back into the flow, breaking the hex that takes a hold at the beginning of each new year, but somehow I don't think I'm in the flow just yet. I have moments of inspiration like hiccups. The good news is my creative hiccups usually lead to a long stretch of productivity.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Silence Spoken by Lewis Knauss (USA). Woven, knotted, linen, feathers, handmade paper, wire.

A gallery I've recently discovered on the net has my heart doing backflips.With a focus on Art Textiles and Fiber Sculpture, Browngrotta Arts showcases contemporary art from around the globe.

Its a small world isn't it? by Judy Mulford (United States). Gourd, waxed linen, fine silver, antique buttons, Japanese coins, beads, pearls, photo transfers, pounded tin can lids, Peruvian beads, paper, dye, paint; knotting and looping.
Complex Hexagonal Plaiting Spiral by Norie Hatakeyama (Japan). Plaited paper, string.
King of the Hill by Norma Minkowitz (United States)
Women Sketch 1, by Ceca Georgieva (Bulgaria). Burrdoch burrs.
Felt piece by Gali Cnaani-Sherman
Even If...., by Ase Ljones (Norway). Stitched drawing.
"Embroidering takes time, it's a slow process that gives room for silence. I seek silence. In the quietness I can bring back memories and find new ways to go. I often work with series, where small changes create a rhythm, tranquility or excitement in my works." - Ase Ljones
White Pine Dendroglyph, by Dorothy Gill Barnes (United States). Pine
"My intent is to construct a vessel or related object using materials respectfully harvested from nature. The unique properties I find in bark, branches, roots, seaweed and stone suggest a work process to me. I want this problem solving to be evident in the finished piece. Some of these structures are basket like." - Dorethy Gill Barnes
Surf Play, by Pat Campbell (United States). Reed, Paper and wood.
From Chaos to Reality, by Aleksandra Stoyanov (Israel and Ukraine)
"Israel has two sides, from one it is a land, a country we are living with its contradictions, war, problems, beauty...From the other it is the Holy Land, promised and given by God. The work reflects the Holy Land, shining in the golden light. When I keep threads in my hands I feel that they are ground, the grass, that there is a life in them. The feeling of thread in my hands is the first appeal for me to begin working on a new piece.." - Aleksandra Stoyanov
Sabi Tea Jar II, by Nancy Moore Bess (United States)

Discourse by Caroline Bartlett (born Zambia, living in UK)

"My recent work has focused on the act of collecting and archiving, and on the overwriting of histories. As a result, processes of erasing and reworking, folding and unfolding, have become central to both ideas and working methods, permeating responses to other stimuli - such as recent visits to Japan and Australia. A preoccupation with the tactile and its connections with memory continue to be an ongoing concern while the use of print as a means of marking cloth, and a continuing involvement in stitch and manipulation techniques provide me with a working vocabulary and the means by which I process and articulate ideas." - Caroline Bartlett