Monday, March 19, 2012


Patchwork Kuba skirt. The Elements of Design by Loan Oei and Cecile De Kegel

"You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend". - Paul Sweeney

.... and that's how I felt when I came to the end of Poem Crazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge. She writes about collecting words wherever she goes and then later fashioning them into poems. It all sounds so easy and I found myself writing poems without worrying about how to begin or whether I was hopeless or not. For the first time writing poetry felt as easy as breathing. Susan also shares touching stories about teaching children (and adults) to write poetry and how she draws students out of themselves with word play.

I've been meaning to share some of the new books I've acquired since before Christmas. Poem Crazy is definitely top of my list!

Poem Crazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge

Leslie recommended The Elements of Design and it arrived on Friday.

Oh what a delicious book! Brimming with colours, textures, forms and shapes.

Whenever I'm asked to name my favourite books I always recommend, The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women. I decided to get The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women as well and though I enjoyed it the first one is still my favourite.

Africanismo : Interior Inspiration from Southern Africa, has been on my wishlist for a while and at last I have it. A great book to flip through.

A page from, Meeting the Makers: Contemporary Craft of KwaZulu Natal

Page above from, Nomad by Sibella Court. Though I enjoyed this book , I LOVED Sibella's Etcetera more .

One: Living as One and Loving it by Victoria Alexander

This book appealed to me from the moment I saw the little envelopes within the book for cards and secrets ..... and then I thought, wait this book is for singles , but reading the blurb at the back I discovered that....

"It's not just for those who live alone. I acknowledge every one has a need for space, to keep a little of themselves for themselves. we all need to have our own sense of self worth. I hope it will encourage you in your acceptance of who you are, who you can be. It's the kind of book where you may find a connection to travel, photography, architecture, people or memories." Victoria Alexander

I've just started reading it ...... so far so good.

A page from One (above )

I was going to have a Lucky Draw for my 300th post. Sheepishly ... I have reached my 308th post, but better late than never. If you would like a chance to win some African fabric (shwe-shwe included), please leave a comment at the end of this post. I thought I would give one or two remnants big enough to make a few cushions or a sling bag as well as a few other remnants for patchwork or collage etc. Winner to be announced on Tuesday 27th March.

And the winner is ..... Deborah Jaouen (Collage Whirl)

Friday, March 9, 2012


The Lewis Chessmen by Lynne Perrella. This color print is up for the lucky draw.

The Game of Kings”
The Cloisters / Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, NY
Exhibit continues until April 22, 2012

The Lewis Chessmen by Tony Jones. See the rest of Tony's beautiful photos on Flickr, here.
A review by Lynne Perrella
The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of Medieval Europe, is located on an imposing hilltop overlooking the Hudson River, at the northern tip of Manhattan. Patterned on ancient monasteries, and comprised of architectural fragments as well as stained glass and structural columns, this unique museum also features open-air courtyards, gardens and serene walkways and columned arcades. I’ve always found this Museum to be an ideal antidote to “real life”, and it is magnificent in any season….including summer when the herb garden is lush, full and fragrant; and winter when somber white snow drifts outline every detail of the vaulted facade. Home to some of the most noted medieval works of art in the world, including the Unicorn Tapestries, The Cloisters recently threw open its iron-bound heavily-carved doors to the infamous Lewis Chess pieces.

The Lewis Chessmen by Tony Jones. More photos here.

If figurative artwork is your bailiwick, you have to admire these remarkable charismatic and compelling walrus-ivory carvings of Kings, Queens, Bishops, Warders and Knights. And if tall tales and mysteries are your preference, the Lewis chess pieces are hard to top. In fact, for years they were described as “curiosities”, and acknowledged as small-scale sculptures. It was kismet that these chess pieces, which rarely leave the British Museum, would eventually travel to the United States and be displayed in the vaulted and atmospheric Romanesque Hall that includes four stone portals rescued from churches dating back to the mid-12th century. It was sobering to consider that the chessmen actually PRE-dated the ancient archways in the room, and are probably some of the most storied works of art ever.

It is believed that the figures were carved by unknown craftsmen in Norway, probably in the 1100s…But the real fun (and rampant folklore!) began when the chess pieces were re-discovered under remarkable circumstances in 1831, on the Isle of Lewis off the Scottish mainland. Although various legends exist, one prevalent story suggests that a man scouring the shoreline started digging in a sandbank and came across a stone chamber that contained at least seventy of the carved pieces, plus an ivory belt buckle.

Considering the largest carvings of the Kings are at least four inches tall, imagine what a cache of seventy figures would look like. No wonder the man reportedly fled, thinking that he had intruded upon “elves or gnomes conducting their rituals”. (Luckily, his wife insisted that he return to his find, and recover the chess pieces for posterity.) Eventually the chessmen passed through many hands before they became part of the permanent collections of both the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland. And – just to make this remarkable story even more compelling – it is believed that even MORE of the chess pieces are still “out there” waiting to be rediscovered.

Photo found at the Boylston Chess Club Weblog, here

The Lewis chess pieces are distinguished by similar facial features throughout all the characters, giving them the appearance of a united family. Their prominent staring eyes provoke a sense of mystery and drama, and clothing details and thrones are replete with intricate carvings of interlocking tendrils and geometric flourishes. Each Queen rests a palm against her cheek, seemingly in wonderment or deep thought, Knights are depicted atop strange draped steeds and carry heraldic shields; while the stalwart Kings sit on elaborate thrones with swords placed across their knees in readiness. The Warders are the most bizarre in appearance, as they literally bite down on the top edge of their shields. These strange helmeted figures, fittingly called “Berserkers”, exude an intensity that is stark and provocative.
Staring into the glass display cases, it was irresistible to think of the sets of hands that originally carved the pieces….or sorted through them on that desolate Scottish beach…. or held them while contemplating some winning strategy….or perhaps carefully examined and catalogued them for a museum collection. Passing from hand to hand, they survive, endure and thrive…..and the story-telling that accompanies them everywhere they go just sweetens the pot. Chess, anyone? - Lynne Perrella
I'm sure you have all enjoyed Lynne Perrella's review of the Lewis Chessmen exhibition as much as I did. Thank you so much Lynne! As always your enthusiasm is contagious and I hope to see the chessmen someday.
The Cherry on the Top ...... Lynne is offering a prize for a lucky draw: A full-color 9 X 12 print of the beautiful artwork you see at the top of the post by, Lynne Perrella, as well as a book titled "The Lewis Chessmen / British Museum Objects in Focus" by James Robinson. Leave a comment at the end of this post and I will announce the winner on Friday, the 16th March.

It also happens to be Lynne's 31/31 feature day at The Altered page today so hop on over to check it out here or to see more of Lynne's art and workshop news on her website here.
And the winner is....Darlene Campbell (Freenie Belle)

Friday, March 2, 2012


The ball is rolling at THE ALTERED PAGE in preparation for Seth Apter's new book, The Pulse of Mixed Media.

We are into the 3rd day of ...........

...... and since I am one of the very fortunate contributors, Seth has written a post about me today, so hop over to the Altered Page, here and see what he has to say ..... but WAIT!!

Before you go, read about A Day in the Life of Seth Apter. We have all wondered how Seth squeezes so much into his day ..... so ......"the next voice you hear" will be Seth's ....

My weekdays vary greatly because my time is split between my two professions: artist and psychologist. I am self-employed in both cases and have had the luxury of being able to create (and modify) a schedule that really works for me.

Some days are fully spent in my private practice office, seeing clients from the morning through the evening. On those days, I do my best to find time to keep up with the part of my life as an artist that lives on the computer - checking and writing emails, responding to blog comments, and checking in on Facebook and twitter. After I return home on these types of days, I usually get to work on whatever art project I am involved with at the moment.

On other days, my time is shared between my studio and my office. They are both in the same neighborhood, so I am able to travel back and forth between my two work spaces very easily. When I am in my studio on days like these, I split my time between making art and working on the computer. I am the type of artist that is always working on many projects at once so the amount of studio time I have, determines what I will do. I might work on backgrounds, pull together some found objects to use in a piece, work in my visual journal, bind pages of a book, etc. I also spend a great deal of my time and energy on the computer. In fact, the longer I have been an artist the less time I seem to have to devote to art. Working on my blogs takes up a majority of my time on the computer, but there are so many other things I do there too: upload and organize my photographs, visit other blogs and websites, contact people about ongoing projects, email, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.

My best days are those days that I can be in my studio from morning till night. I start each of those days on the computer and find I often lose myself there for hours. The rest of the time is spent making art.

Recently I have been working on two series of artwork - more than 20 pieces - for an exhibition. Up until the time I began to work on my book, I would also work on the many collaborations I have been involved with.

This year I have spent a lot of art time making samples for my upcoming workshops. Sometimes I just experiment and work on pieces of art that never make it to my blog. Right now, much of my studio time is being spent on promoting the book. There are also times when I leave the studio to do research. And by research I mean visiting the many galleries and museums that are in NYC. I always bring the creative inspiration I find back to my studio. And in between all of the "work", you might find me going for a run, hanging out in Central Park, meeting a friend for coffee or lunch, visiting a different neighborhood in NYC, spending time with family, etc. But mainly, I MAKE ART.

Dear Seth, thank you for finding the time in your busy day to answer my question. Most of all a BIG thank you for everything you do for our art community. You have a knack for bringing us all together at The Altered Page and then sharing your limelight in the articles you write as well as in THE BOOK we have all been waiting for.

The waiting is almost over ..... Can you believe it? Soon I will be turning the crisp pages of my new copy of The Pulse of Mixed Media. Available at Amazon and Kalahari in South Africa. All artworks and photos in this post are Seth's except for my self portrait piece for the book which you see below.

A sneak peek of my self portrait .......

Seth is offering a few copies of the book on his blog so leave a comment here to get your name in the draw.