Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Light (detail) by Dina Barzel. See more at the Francine Seders Gallery, here.

As far back as I can remember I've been intrigued by texture. In fact one of my earliest memories is of running my hands over newly sawn logs, feeling the rough bark under my finger tips and watching wide eyed as the wood cutter chopped the logs into smaller pieces for kindling. So intrigued was I that I got too close and the inevitable happened. A flying splinter went into my eye and all hell broke loose.

I have another memory of thrusting my hands blindly into the mealie crib, savouring the cool knobbliness of the dried corn on the cobs ..... and the warm fur of an unsuspecting field mouse. All hell broke loose yet again.

My mother's voice still rings in my ears .... RobynnnnnDear, will you please keep your hands out of trouble!

There were so many wonderful things to touch and feel on the farm. Nests of downy feathers, warm smooth hen's eggs, baby animals, wriggly frogs, sacks filled with coarse mealie meal, orchards of good climbing trees and sun baked fruit, rusty wagon wheels, squishy clay moulded into oxen, warm prickly haystacks, cool stone walls ..... In fact the farm was one long tactile adventure.

No surprise that I love the tactile qualities of art. Delicious textures in many forms.

En masse. Recycled Book Sculpture by Yvette Hawkins. Website here. Etsy shop here.

Yvette Hawkins, creates tactile sculptures and installations from folded paper.

Carved vintage bricks by Chris Berti. See more of Berti's work at the Tory Folliard Gallery, here.

Danza Vessel. Handbuilt stoneware by Alexis Strong. See more here.

"I’m drawn to ancient vessels and containers because they hold a secret and mysterious history. The exquisite "art" that emerges from their utilitarian purpose is what inspires me." - Alexis Strong

Plate 21. Oils and mixed media on constructed board by Sam Lock. Website here.

30h3. Oils and mixed media on constructed board by Sam Lock. Website here.

Earth - Repition of an act of mourning (detail) by Barbara Wisnoski. Website here.

"I am interested in the relationship between texture and time. The process of building a piece, whereby a fabric loses its singular quality and becomes part of the whole, reminds me of how time washes a harmonious patina over objects and memories. The prospect of decay is key to the work: seeing how pieces done long ago have changed over time reminds me that they were made from living fibres and, like us, evolve and deteriorate. Also like us, these pieces become more themselves, therefore more beautiful, with age." - Barbara Wisnoski

Sharman's Dress by Mar Goman. See closer details here at the Francine Seders Gallery.

Lyle introduced me to Mar Goman's work. These pieces remind me of my own Hunter totems, here.

Installation by Fred Birchman. See the rest of the installation photographs at the Francine Seders Gallery, here.

This installation made me yearn for a studio where I can spread all my tools and wood about so that I can always feel the creative buzz ..... instead of having to set up and pack away.... set up and pack away on a daily basis.

"Although I am not interested in the nostalgia of these places, as most do not prompt memories of dramatic or trivial events, the alchemy of sawdust and grease, the haphazard organization of wood and metal objects and their mysterious functions attract in me a primal way." - Fred Birchman

Installation by Fred Birchman

Hollow Notes by Marc Wenet. See more of Marc's work here.

Carved Totem by Robyn Gordon :-)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Inside the Birdhouse by Kathryn Campbell Dodd. Kathryn's website here.

The door swings open,
you look in.
It’s dark in there,
most likely spiders:
nothing you want.
You feel scared.
The door swings closed.

Le Strade Di Firenze. Mixed media collage and acrylics on wooden door panels by Naomi Rachel Muirhead. Website here.

The full moon shines,
it’s full of delicious juice;
you buy a purse,

the dance is nice.
The door opens
And swings closed so quickly
you don’t notice.

Assemblage by Robert Rauschenberg

The sun comes out,
you have swift breakfasts
with your husband, who is still thin;
you wash the dishes,
you love your children,
you read a book,
you go to the movies.
It rains moderately.

Green Door by Giancarlo Venturini. Website here

The door swings open,
you look in:
why does this keep happening now?
Is there a secret?
The door swings closed.

History Repeated. Mixed media, encaustic wax and recycled materials by Michele Ledoux. Website here.

The snow falls,
you clear the walk while breathing heavily;
it’s not as easy as once.
Your children telephone sometimes.
The roof needs fixing.
You keep yourself busy.
The spring arrives.

Wellfleet Abstract 3 by Michele Ledoux. Website here.

The door swings open:
it’s dark in there,
with many steps going down.
But what is that shining?
Is it water?

The door swings closed.

Behind Closed Doors by Jane Simpson. See here.

The dog has died.
This happened before.
You got another; not this time though.

Where is your husband?
You gave up the garden.
It became too much.
At night there are blankets;
nonetheless you are wakeful.

Toria by Clay Ketter. See more here.

The door swings open:

O god of hinges,
god of long voyages,
you have kept faith.
It’s dark in there.
You confide yourself to the darkness
You step in.
The door swings closed. - Margaret Atwood

Door by Susan Lenz. Blog here. Many amazing things to see!

Street art on doors. See more fantastic street art here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Amulets, talismans and charms from one of my earlier totems.

Seth has invited bloggers to re-post a favourite post from their own blogs. I have chosen my Amulet post for no special reason but that I love the photographs. To see the favourites posted by other bloggers go to The Altered Page here and follow the links.

Amulets, talismans and charms. Those three words conjure up all manner of images in my head. From snakeskin pouches holding ancient Ethiopian prayer scrolls to Bamana hunters tunics festooned with tiny leather parcels; Christian Crusifixes to the Hand of Fatima; rabbit foot charms to the saint christopher medals so many of us have worn at some stage in our lives; then there are the old favourites such as charm bracelets and the silver charms found in christmas puddings.

Details from totems I have carved. The central figure is the Healing Goddess

There's some overlap in the meaning of the three words...amulet, charm and talisman. Shiela Paine in her book Amulets says.... "An amulet is a device, the purpose of which is to protect, but by magical and not physical means."

"A charm is something believed to bring good luck, health and happiness. In so doing it might also be expected to protect from bad luck, sickness and misery, but protection is not its primary function."

"A talisman is something thought to be imbued with some magical property. It can both protect, and radiate power, and is often used in ritual."

Telling the bees by Keith Lobue (The title refers to the old folk practice of telling the bees of a loved ones death; it was believed that the bees were attendant to the soul of the departed.) Keith Lobue's website here.

One of my favourites ....... Requiescat by Keith Lobue

Talisman by Susan Lenart Kazmer. Website here.

Talisman by Caroline Soer. Blog here.

Pocket Divinity, pewter sculpture by Malaki Blunt. Blog here.

Warrior of Light (protection for Obama) by Adriene Cruz. See blog post here.

Ethiopian prayer box beads from Africa Direct. Link here.

Inuit amulet cluster. Ivory and sinew. Follow this link here.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Steine by Einhorn 3. See Flickr photostream here.

I've come to the conclusion that artists will stack almost anything for the sake of art. From rocks and bones to driftwood and tree trunks.

The City. Assemblage by Wayne Chisnall. See Flickr photostream here.

Found objects to furniture, boxes and shipping containers.

Book Tower. Wheeled sculpture by Wayne Chisnall.

Books, newspapers, concrete blocks, glass bottles .... you name it, it's been done.

Gloria's Piece by Kate Hunt. Newspaper, twine and steel.
Kate Hunt's series of work, made with stacked and bound bundles of newspaper is quite extraordinary. Visit her website here to see more.

Detail of Gloria's Piece by Kate Hunt.

Colony 45 by Randi Parkhurst. Website here.

Velma Bolyard's beautiful handmade papers. Blog here.

Sculpture by Tony Cragg.

Tony Cragg is master of the stack. See his impressive website here.

Assemblage by Tony Cragg

Beauty in unexpected places. Photograph of stacked sleepers by Craig Williams. Flickr photostream here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


"When you start working, everybody is in your studio -- the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas -- all are there. But as you continue, they start leaving one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you're lucky, even you leave." - John Cage

My husband left for the Wild Coast at sparrow this morning, (actually he left even before the sparrows woke) .... and I've been carving ever since. There is something so liberating about being alone to do one's art. It's not often that I get this opportunity but when I do I make the most of it.

One more square for my "slow quilt" and a mug of coffee on a chilly morning.
Today I started work on a new totem. I love that feeling of anticipation when I have an idea of what I want to do but am open to new directions. It takes a while to forget the things I should be doing, the people I should be calling, but once I get into the flow of the process all the shoulda's disappear and carving becomes a meditation. That's what it's all about for me.

For the last few weeks I've been dipping into The Potters Tale by Neil Wright, a book about South African potter,  Andrew Walford. My mom took up pottery when I was a school girl and I remember that Andrew's name was always spoken with awe. He was the ultimate clay artist known for his beautiful Japanese brushstrokes. I wish she had lived to see the gigantic tiles Andrew is making now. She would have been extremely impressed.

To end off ...... a merging of Africa and Japan in these amazing images. See more here .

This unique blending of two ancient cultures is the brainchild of Cameroon born designer, Serge Mouangue who joined forces with Tokyo based kimono maker, Kururi to create these spectacular kimonos in 18 African prints.

"The kimono is an icon of Japan", says Mouangue. "I'm fascinated by the cut and the attitude and poise it creates among women when they wear them."