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Blog Page No. 3

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The End of my Garden

Hauntingly beautiful, the artworks of Steffan Dam are not all that they seem.

Originally trained as a toolmaker, Steffen has been working with glass for over 25 years. Blowing, casting, and grinding by hand, he ‘presides over chance’ and traps in perpetuity.

His artworks suggest the elusive and fragile shapes, colours, and textures of nature, specifically underwater life forms such as embryonic shellfish, jelly fish, and other invertebrates. But they are in fact an illusion, a suggestion, an otherworldly biology lab.

The artist describes his process of glass making, ‘To me, a garden is a metaphor for everything unregulated. I cultivate the garden, but then there are so many other factors – slugs, wind, frost, sun and rain. It also depends whether I sow too early, too late, or just at the right time..... The garden is under my control and out of control at the same time....... I simply preside over chance. It is just like the process of forming glass’.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

We'll keep a welcome in the hillsides...

This weeks post from the homeland is on a stunning art installation in Cardiff, the capital of Wales.

Wales is a land of contrast. The draw of its great natural beauty, the rugged coastline, and magical mountains, moorlands and valleys, contrast with the scars left by the coal mines of the 1900’s. A nation, whose wealth was built exporting coal from the South Wales Valleys to the rest of the world, helped to power the industrial age. In his time, the Third Marquis of Bute, who owned Cardiff Bay docks, was the richest man in the world.

The regeneration of Cardiff Bay is now widely regarded as one of the most successful urban regeneration projects ever undertaken in the UK.  The area has undergone a massive transformation over the past 20 years, now hosting world class buildings like The Senedd (see my previous post) and Wales Millennium Centre, home to the Welsh National Opera.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Childs Christmas in Wales

Today my friends, is my first day at home in Wales (UK), and this will be my first Christmas here in over 13 years! But most importantly, this will be childs first Christmas in Wales, and oh what a Christmas there shall be.

As the playwright Dylan Thomas, from my hometown of Swansea, wrote in his famous poem, A Child’s Christmas in Wales,  ‘All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea.’ Magic.

So a little bit of birdy magic for my little girl this week. Follow this link for 16 seconds of animated magic, then read on.

Bronia Sawyer describes herself as a contemporary experimental paper artist, jewellery maker and crafts woman. There is something quite magical about her work. She colours, folds, and rolls the pages of books to create these bird and flower-like plumes of colour. So simple, so beautiful, so magical. I just love them. 'Read more' for more inspiring images of her work.

Time to curl up in front of the open fire, with a hot toddy, and wish for a sprinkling of snow on the ground in the morning. I couldn’t feel more northern hemisphere Christmassy if I tried. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas wherever you are around the world.  Mama Bird x

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Too High Tea House

Maverick Japanese architect Terunobu Fujimori is interested in "architecture before civilization," a time when people were more exposed to the elements. And if his Takasugi-an, or Too-High Tea House , is anything to go by you couldn’t really be more exposed.

Perched 20 feet in the air, atop two chestnut trees, accessible by only free standing ladders, the Too-High Tea House,  more of a Too-High Tree House,  is a one of a kind. As are most of his buildings.  He makes his architectural models by hacking tree stumps into abstract, sculptural shapes using a chainsaw. And when he’s completed the final drawings for a project, he invites his clients to his weekend house in Nagano for a little ceremony he’s devised. Sitting in the private Too-High Tea House, he hands them a hand-rendered version of the final plans. “If they don’t like my design, I shake the building!” he says.

We love.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven

Spontaneous City is a space creation experiment for birds, appearing in a number of urban green spaces across the UK over the last 18 months.

Started in London in 2010, and continuing in Norwich, Norfolk in 2011 for the Norfolk Festival, the sculptures are installed by art and architecture collective London Fieldworks.

The sculptures are made from hundreds of bespoke, wooden bird and bug boxes that create a sculptural ‘habitat’ for the birds, insects and invertebrates that occupy the gardens, providing spaces for shelter, nesting or feeding.  The design of the boxes reflects the local architecture, a metaphorical interplay between the condition of the animal and the human.

Images 1-4 are taken from three new sites in Norwich. The boxes in image 5 reflect the architecture of the nearby Worlds End housing estate in Chelsea whilst images 6-8 refelct the Georgian terrace and 1960's flats that surround the neighbourhood park.

If you are in the hood check them out. Mama Bird.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ghosts of Gone Birds

Enough with the Olympics posters, official or otherwise.....this, my friends, is priceless.

Doco maker Ceri Levy is the brains behind Ghosts of Gone Birds. Working with hip creative agency Good Pilot out of London Town, Ceri and over 120 artist, writers and muso friends and supporters, have come together to raise awareness for BirdLife International’s Preventing Extinctions programme.

Switching off now? Don’t. This campaign is brilliant.

‘We are raising a creative army for conservation through a series of multimedia exhibitions and events that will breathe artistic life back into extinct birds species’ says the team at Ghosts of Gone Birds, ‘Shedding light on front line conservation work being done around the world to prevent any more birds migrating to gone status’.

An innovative art exhibition, spoken word and music events make for a tidy creative events programme. But it is the brand identity, images and series of information posters which sell the concept and cause so brilliantly. Do read on to see the series of posters, and follow this link to their website to read the ‘Ghost Stories’ behind each image.

Ten out of ten from Mama Bird.

Love it or hate it, modern, abstract BritArt is back in the headlines this month with the launch of the 2012 London Olympic poster series. The designs are for the Games’ official commemorative posters which will be shown around the world over the next ten months.

A predictable cry of ‘infant school art’ from the UK's Daily Mail has been tempered by a more informed ‘touching idealism’ from The Guardian. Art critics are kinder, but it seems members of the public were hoping for a more ‘crowd-centric’ approach.

The twelve leading UK artists selected to design the posters, including four Turner prize-winners, have stirred up quite a storm despite following in the footsteps of art greats David Hockney, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichenstein, all of whom created posters for previous Games.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Eco Chic for Three

A block of land in Byron Bay, slowly evolved into one couples prefect eco-house, designed to have the lightest possible footprint on the land.

Rachel Bending remembers the first time she laid eyes on the Byron Bay hinterland and the strong connection she felt to the area. ‘The Byron Shire is very similar to where I grew up in ‘Old’ South Wales in the UK’ she says. ‘Both have stunning, unspoilt beaches, rolling hills and farming land, leading to rugged, wild forests and cliffs’.

With her partner, Campbell Rowe, Rachel bought a block of land in Byron Bay in 2003. To familiarise themselves with the property and see how it reacted to natures elements, such as the sun and wind, Rachel and Cam spent four years living part time on the site in a caravan, all the while commuting to Byron Bay and Sydney to run Rachel’s environmentally focused business Bird Textiles.

Read the rest of this interview, from the current November issue of Australian Womens Weekly, by clicking this 'read more' link.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Fly Catcher

Originally trading as makers of fly catching paper in the early 1920s, Japanese company Kamoi have been manufacturing various forms of industrial masking tape for over 80 years.

In the summer of 2006, three women; a gallery owner, an artist and a graphic designer, made a trip from Tokyo to the production factory. They had with them a small book of collages and patterns made using some of Kamoi’s coloured rice-paper tapes. After their visit, they were further inspired, and invited 17 of their artist friends to design patterns and prints for them. These in turn, were once again presented to Kamoi.

Kamoi saw the potential for growth into a whole new market, and realised the idea, launching the sub-brand MT, focusing on ‘sweetness and functionality’. Cleverly designed packaging and a super slick, very Japenesee marketing campaign complete the picture. The rest is history.

MT, the Japanese washi masking tape, has become a global art, craft and design phenomenon.
The kinda idea we all wished we thought of. Enjoy the piccies courtesy of Hello Sandwich. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Every Object Tells A Story

Wikipedia defines the hobby of collecting to ‘include seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloguing, displaying, storing, and maintaining whatever items are of interest to the individual collector’.

Some collectors are generalists, accumulating merchandise, or stamps from all countries of the world. Others focus on a subtopic within their area of interest, perhaps 19th century postage stamps, milk bottle labels from Sussex, or Mongolian harnesses and tack.

For me, over the years, my small highly collectable, rather exclusive collection of hand blown glass birds, by reknowned Finnish glass designer Oiva Toikka has been somewhat superseded by a larger collection of birds. You see, roughly around the time my nickname became ‘Bird’ my dear friends and family took it upon themselves to start buying me bird themed presents. I should clearly state, I had no hand in this decision, it was as if a great big fluoro light went on in the collective brain of those around me. From here on in, I was going to be easy to buy presents for. And that they did. Bless them.

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