Saturday, December 15, 2012


Driftwood Christmas Trees. Click.

I always enjoy Neil Gaiman's Christmas/New Year message. This one is last year's message ... in case you missed it :-)    

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family life.

Whatever is is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever."  -  Neil Gaimen

Wishing all my blog readers
Everything of the Best
and thank you
thank you !
for reading my blog.
I'm taking a blog break over the holiday season
and will be back in January.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Mike Moran. See more on Mike's website here

As a child I was lucky enough to have, not one, but TWO horses. A very dear little Basuto pony named Coleford for riding in gymkhanas and a thoroughbred named Chestnut that I preferred to ride when not practicing for gymkhanas. Chestnut was an ex-racehorse whose beauty astounded me. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would get to ride a horse of this caliber but when he lost an eye in a pitchfork accident and he could no longer race, a neighbouring farmer bought him (for far less than he was worth). My stepfather rode over to look at him and knew I would love him so he bartered a prize cow for the chestnut which he then presented to me. Oh what a day! 

When my stepfather died my mom sold the farm .... and the horses. I suppose I could have taken up riding at a later stage but I never did. When I found this poem by South African poet Colleen Higgs it evoked in me the poignancy of losing my horses.

Mike Moran. Click to see website here

 MISSING HORSES by Colleen Higgs

My father's hands were big and tanned
the backs covered in dark hair
he was a sportsman
good at polo, golf, squash, darts, tennis
a man with exceptional eye-hand co-ordination
and he could draw horses
from memory

In the second half of his life
he missed horses, everyday,
horses were his inner life
he yearned for horses, to be among them
to ride them
to smell the hot sweat of horse after a polo match
to hold soft leather reins in his hands again

My father only once ever laid a hand on me 
he wasn't given to hidings
he wasn't an affectionate man either, not to me, 
I loved him because I knew
how sad he was about the horses --
my mother made him choose
it's either me or the horses, she said

 Most of you are familiar with Cathy Rose's horses but I just had to include them in this post again.See Cathy's website here. 

 Malen Pierson's found object sculptures are new to me. Have a look at his website here.

Malen Pierson. See website here.

Zoe Rumeau's quirky horses make me smile. See website here.

Zoe Rumeau. See Zoe's work here.

Holly Roberts. I am so enjoying Holly's blog at the moment. See more of Holly's whimsical work here

Nichola Theakston. See more of Nichola's amazing animal sculptures here

Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones are the creators of the life-sized war horse puppet. Read more about them here.

South African duo Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones are the co-founders of  the Handspring Puppet Company. They created the life-sized war horse puppet. To find out more about this amazing puppet, watch the TED talk here.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


 Handheld figure by Robyn Gordon

I set out to carve a figure that fits comfortably in the hand and which would eventually develop a patina from handling it. It has a long way to go :-)

 Power figures by Robyn Gordon

I love the patina on wooden objects which are used daily.

Photo by David Lacina. Click here to see more of David's photos.

Look at these beautiful headrest/stools which are still used all over Africa. They are carried around by tribesmen wherever they go (hoping, perhaps for a cat nap under a tree) .

 How Kenya's Turkana men sleep by Victor Englebert. See Victor's blog here.

African headrests are carved out of a single piece of wood to the correct height and size to fit the user's head. The headrest should keep the head off the ground and keep the hair-do from being mussed.

Photos by Eric Lafforgue. See website here.

They are also used to sit on.... especially if the terrain is thorny.

 Hamer Grandpa, Ethiopia by Manon van der Lit.  Click here to see more of Manon's photos on Flickr

Carved dolls are handled daily by young women who wish to be blessed by the fertility deity, in the hopes that one day they will conceive beautiful, healthy, fat babies. They are worn tied in front ......

..... carried on the back ...

Akuaba Doll, Ghana. Photo credit: Herbert M. Cole.  More information here.

.... or played with in much the same way as my daughters played with their dolls.

Dassenech girl with doll by Eric Lafforgue. See website here

In Angola the Mucubal babies wear Ombeleketha talismans on their backs until the baby is walking.

Mucubal baby, with talisman  by Eric Lafforgue. See more of Eric's wonderful photos on Flickr here  or on his website here

With daily handling the patina of these objects deepens with sweat and natural oils. Some times goat fat is rubbed into the wood.

Agere-Ethiopia's photos on Tumblr. See more here.

It's easy to tell the difference between newly carved objects and those which have been used constantly for food preparation and storage.

Eric Lafforgue. Website here.

Hands of Samburu Tribeswoman by Keren Su. See more of Keren's work here

Walking sticks develop a lovely smooth sheen where the hands constantly grip ...

Agere-Ethiopia's photos on Tumblr. See more here.

..... and then there are the guns which unfortunately also develop a well used sheen.

Agere-Ethiopia on Tumblr. See more here.