Thursday, September 27, 2012


 Simple Pleasures by Jason Theaker. See Jason's photos here 

A poem by William Stafford ...

You, Reading This, Be Ready

Starting here, what do you remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
Sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
Than the breathing respect that you carry
Wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
For time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
New glimpse that you found; carry into evening
All that you want from this day. This interval you spent
Reading or hearing this, keep it for life --

What can anyone give you greater than now,
Starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

Having discovered Jason Theaker's beautiful photography here,  I found his list of Simple Pleasures here which got me thinking about a few simple pleasures in my own life....

Early morning mist in the forest
The slate blue of stormy skies
The smell of wood smoke on an icy breeze
The contented chirp of guinea fowl scratching for food
Walking for miles along an empty beach
Following the cows home at dusk after a day's fishing

A cache of Wild Coast pebbles

A sun beam shining across my desk
Book browsing and coffee 

Soft piles of wood shavings....
Forgetting everything but the piece I'm carving

All photos are mine except for the first photo by Jason Theaker

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Friday the 21st September is International Day of Peace. People from all over the world are taking part in the flags for peace project to create awareness....

..... even if it's just to fly flags in one's own garden.

I decided to create my flags out of Shweshwe cloth since Shweshwe has a long history in South Africa. Apparently it dates as far back as early Arab and Phoenician trade along the eastern seaboard.

The name Shweshwe is derived from the sound it makes before the starch is washed out. 

The flags have already caused a gentle stir in my neighbourhood. When I put them up in the tree my neighbour's laundry lady told all the neighbours within shouting distance to look at my flags. I don't think they knew it was International Peace Day so it has given them food for thought.

Mary-Jane Dodd has created a blog especially for the project so go here and find out what other participants are doing. There are some very creative flags "flying" for peace.

"flags for peace is a project aimed at uniting those from all over the world in a mindful, cooperative and interactive way" - Mary-Jane Dodd.

 Thank you Mary-Jane for bringing many of us together for this project. See Maire's blog here

....and see here.
Diggity Dog did his best to help hang the peace flags.

Friday, September 14, 2012


My wood quilt has been a long time in the brewing ... the tinkering.....
the carving .... and finally the assembling.
I intended to take my time with it but a part of me kept niggling...
it ought to be finished by now.

"I really do prefer to give the ideas time to surface .... and I need to work repetitively with impulses to make them part of my vocabulary or language .... a way has to be found into the rhythm that works ... quite simply". - Sophie Munns

I found my rhythm as I was creating each "patch" of the wood quilt but when it came to putting them all together I lost my way and spent many weeks pondering. Eventually I decided not to "sew" the pieces together as originally planned because the quilt was busy enough and I glued them instead. Even then it was not quite right. Another few weeks of tweaking ensued. On the day I deemed it fit for the gallery it sold to a regular customer who just happened to email me on that very day. It was meant to be!

As with a patchwork quilt made of cloth this piece has memories and stories worked into each square. You can see a few of my ideas here. I kept in mind that in Africa nothing is wasted and had fun using found objects and rusty bits that had been lying around in the bottom of boxes. I also wanted to use elements that reminded me of Africa.

(The name for the piece came to me while I was assembling it, inspired by a favourite book ... The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner)

Shards from an old African pot.
Pebbles, driftwood and shells from Transkei beaches.
Cowries symbolizing feminine energy and wealth.
White seed beads symbolizing purity and protection, faithfulness, spirituality, holiness.
A carved wooden sun bristling with nails for protection.
Black and white patterns which represent the contrast of:
dark and light
good and evil
male and female

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Sanctuary XXVII, Exquisite drawings by Naomi Aho

NEST by Marianne Boruch

I walked out, and the nest
was already there by the step. Woven basket
of a saint
sent back to life as a bird
who proceeded to make
a mess of things. Wind
right through it, and any eggs
long vanished. But in my hand it was
intricate pleasure,
even the thorny reeds
softened in the weave. And the fading
leaf mold, hardly
itself anymore, merely a trick
of light, if light
can be tricked. Deep in a life
is another life. I walked out, the nest
already on the step.

Sanctuary XI by Naomi Aho

What is it about a nest that is so magical...
so mysterious?

Sculpture created from found bird's nest and scavenged driftwood by Christopher H. Paquette

Christopher H. Paquette's art statement strikes a chord ....

"This series is an exploration of my emotional involvement with the natural environment and the search for wilderness and solitude as a remedy to societal pressures."

Lizzie Farey

Intricate pleasure .....

"Nests intrigue me because they utilize existing structures, such as trees or architectural features. Processes of accumulation also intrigue me, such as the creation of a bird's nest or the build-up of driftwood on a riverbank". - Laura Ellen Bacon

See Youtube video abou Laura's work here

Jayson Fann from the Spirit Garden

"I don't mean what other people mean when they speak of a home. because I don't regard a home as a .... well, as a place, a building .... a house .... of wood, bricks, stone. I think of a home as being a thing that two people have between them in which each can .... well, nest". - Tennessee Williams
The Eyrie Chair by Floris Wubben (made from steam-bended ash)