Weekly Photography Challenge: Wish

Share a wish…I could have found more iterations of this wish for peace love and empathy, but three seems like enough for now. The yellow background piece is a page from an artist scrapbook I made some years ago – lots of bits of junk and scraps of paper went into it, and it was great fun to make. You can see it here.

The rocks I collected over a period of time – “freedom” and “rock’n’roll” are in there too, and I wish I had more of both.

The last image was done digitally, using an art programme the kids had. It was fun, but frustrating trying to draw with the mouse. Much more sophisticated versions are available now, and that programme is well and truly out of date now, but I’m glad I thought to print this one off to keep.

I’ve found a rock with “Love” carved into it since taking the first photo, so that’s at least one wish fulfilled. I also wish someone would come and do my dusting…IMG_1227edit

Vale

a-pencil-portraitHey Kurt,
today was your birthday.
You would have, should have, been 50 today. But you are forever 27, a magic age, neither boy nor man, suspended there forever.
No grey hairs or paunch for you: the girls will always think you’re cute – girls who weren’t born when you died declare their undying love for you. If only you could have known, would you have felt validated by that?
I kind of doubt it. I remember seeing a video of Courtney telling you she thought you were “really cute”, and the doubt in your face. You really believed you were ugly, didn’t you?
People believe strange things, like the conspiracy theorists who insist you were murdered. It might be comforting, I suppose, to think that a clever criminal did it, and not you, despite your reckless drug use and suicidal ideation that pointed to a deep and corrosive despair at your core.
Lets not dwell on the bitter end, not today. Let’s remember you as caring, generous and sweet, a bright and beautiful young man loved by your friends, and by the punk rock community that took you in and released you into the unsuspecting world, adored now by fans the whole world over; a world the breadth of which that boy from Aberdeen Wa could not imagine…
Peace Love Empathy
lets remember and cling to them.
The world needs them more now than ever.
Rest easy, sweet Kurt,
wherever you are.you-could-do-anything

Weekly Photography Challenge:Path +Poem

The week between Christmas and New Year is always rather strange – days seem to stretch and contract in the wake of the rush leading up to the holiday for some reason. We’ve also had some days of tropical heat and humidity, which are difficult to deal with in a normally Mediterranean climate…So it’s Friday already, and my path has at last reached WordPress for the Weekly Photography Challenge.july-aug-2011-584-large

This path is in the Japanese Garden in Portland Oregon, which we visited in 2011, and hope to see again some day. That’s a physical path. This poem travels a path too, and I took another path through my photos, looking for some to illuminate the poem.

I walked out the gate
And saw a rainbow
(Symbol of peace and hope)
My heart
(Symbol of love and passion)
Leapt up
sending the blood
(Symbol of empathy and life)
Coursing through my veins.

I couldn’t find an image of an actual rainbow, but I love prisms in the windows and the rainbows they cast around the room on sunny days. Tran(s)cendence (oops) is an image taken when I had a film camera and had to wait to have my pictures developed to find out how they turned out. It became part of a series of “Sukie’s Original Covers” – handmade CD covers using my work that I thought looked like “Cover Art”, inspired in no small way by Pixies “Dolittle”with Simon Larbalestier’s amazing photography in the inlay booklet.

Sukie’s Original became the name I use for all my artwork, and the Trancendence image is now printed on beautiful scarves by Vida. That’s a path I never expected to travel, but I’m happy that I did.scarf

Friday Poem:Prayer

IMG015I had another poem in mind, but I found this one first…It seems appropriate as the Australian Government is being forced to close Manus Island refugee detention camp – not that they plan to exercise any mercy if they can help it. I’m not sure if that is forgivable…it’s certainly not excusable.IMG_6295 (Large)

Give me compassion
Big enough to forgive
Those who have none.

Heart of Compassion,
Give me the power of love.
Burn out my ego –
It’s better to burn out
Than fade away-
But either will do
For my ego.

Burn out my obscurations!
Fade away my false self!
Empty me of everything
But Peace and Love and Empathy.IMG_6297 (Large)

If only governments could be emptied of ego, obscurations and falseness, and filled instead with compassion. I can dream…

The first photo is a drive-by shot with my old phone during a hailstorm – very obscure! then we have a crystal from a broken chandelier, and last, the rainbow light that the sunshine summons from a faceted crystal, always so pure and beautiful, I can’t help but fetch a camera if I have the chance.

Friday Poem: Brotherhood

The politics of this country is a sore point with me, more so than usual, as it is, I’m sure, for every disgruntled idealist, so I’m sharing a sort-of political poem this week. (I just typed “plotical” for “political’, which may well be a Freudian slip…) Please note that I use the term”anarchists” in the ancient sense that humans are able to behave decently (with peace, love and empathy) without needing rules imposed on them to do so. The more modern bomb-lobbing type misused the word to put themselves outside of the law and also the common decency originally implied…rainbow heart (Large)

Transcendental misfit poets
Wild softhearted anarchists
Strike a blow and strike a chord
With a paradox absurd.
what’s the point and what’s the matter?
Smug complacency must shatter.DSCF4507 (Large)

I suspect that creativity and art are the way to go in countering dominator culture. “Fighting” it is just joining in, so that doesn’t work.

“Ah, the dreamers  ride against the men of action, Oh see the men of action falling back…”

Leonard Cohen

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The images I’ve used are from mixed-media artists books I’ve made.

Creativity: Escape XXVII

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I have come to the last few pages of my altered book, “Escape” – next week I’ll have to find something new to share! On this page, I simply crossed out most of the text with a medium-tip sharpie, and painted it out with watercolours. I’ve stuck on the frame from a sheet of postage stamps, then filled the spaces in various ways – redacting words from the original text in some of them, and stamps and a sticker for others.

I didn’t do this all at once, coming back and adding more from time to time. I generally work over several pages (at least) at any one time. This tends to unify the whole book, I think, since colours, stamps and styles of doodles etc are repeated through it.DSCF9445

I like what happens when a macro shot of a detail blows it up so much bigger than the original, and tiny details become visible.DSCF9446

This page was a simple matter of the Kikki-K sticker, lots of colour and a reminder of what I love to do – Create! Plus a butterfly, which, although I used black ink, has gained colour from the paint underneath.DSCF9447

This is the second last page of the book. Most of it is covered with a big yellow sticker. My late father-in-law loved garage sales, and buying all sorts of (potentially) useful things, and I think that’s where the multiple sheets of yellow stickers (various sizes) came from. The key – a jewelry charm – is held in place with a piece of wire. You can see the ends twisted and stuck down with tape next to “create” in the previous image. The music notes suggest joyful freedom to me.DSCF9448

Last of all, the inside back cover. Out of a  stack of maybe 15 pages, I cut an arch-shaped hole, working through several at a time, after which the whole stack was glued together, to create a niche. It so happened that the old novel had a character called “Kurt”, which I didn’t know when I bought it in a junk shop for it’s cover (50cents, if I remember lately). The name appears from an accidental tear beside the niche, so the last page went from there. The image glued into the niche is printed on a paper made from a mineral rather than tree pulp, which has a pleasing matte finish. I coloured it in with felt-tip pens. The arrangement of seven hearts, drawn in a continuous line and rainbow coloured, is a symbol I have been using for years for Peace (the rainbow) Love (the hearts) Empathy (the blood drops). I left the last sentence on the page, because it fit with the drawing of Kurt Cobain.DSCF9450

 

Friday Poem: Life

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A lot of terrible things seem to have happened lately, the earthquake in Nepal being the biggest. There is no one to blame in the case of such natural disasters, and it is natural to feel helpless in the face of it – especially watching it on a screen from far away…

Life is suffering –
Empathy is painful
Love is hard
Peace  is impossible.

Once you’ve understood
all that
Dearest Chela
The rest is easy.IMG_4306 (Large)

If you didn’t know, “Chela’ is a student of a spiritual teacher.

If you can, you could make a donation to Oxfam, UNHCR or one of the other charities working to assist the thousands made homeless and without access to clean water and food in Nepal.

Or one of the other places on our shared earth where suffering is sharper than for many of us…

Every little bit helps.IMG_4216 (Large)

Weekly Photography Challenge: Creative Walls

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I’ve had a busy week, with a four-day workshop, learning some different book-bindings at Grampians Texture, with book artist Adele  Outteridge– besides which my computer has been recalcitrant, refusing to do what I asked of it. (I think it’s feeling better now…) So I’m compressing a week’s worth of posts into one. july-aug 2011 013 (Large)

Some years ago, I had gradually covered much of a wall of my workroom with various cuttings, clippings and posters, as well as the odd feather and leaf. I would now call it an “inspiration wall”, but I hadn’t heard the term at the time. One day, I took it all down, possibly to repaint – I don’t remember – but I then used all the bits and pieces to make several framed collages, of which these are two. They all have touches of red in them, which helps to unify the disparate elements. The second one has a poem I wrote, typed up on the electric typewriter we used to have…

“Peace!” is my battlecry,
With love I taunt my enemies,
And when they writhe in travail
on the floor
I ache with empathy.

There is also a clipping from a magazine explaining what empathy actually means and a quote from Carl Jung -“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.”

Any collection of clippings and mementos could be treated the same way, framed and hung on a wall to be enjoyed, rather than hidden in a drawer.Bainbridge Is

This last piece was originally installed on the door of our fridge. The photo in the middle reminded me of the one on the right, which I hunted out in my old school mag…which reminded me of the boy next to me (we are out-lined in red) in that photo of the editorial committee, Castlemaine High School 1972…and the poem I wrote when I heard that he had died rather young…which I wrote, it happened, around the time that Charles Peterson photographed a band from Olympia, Washington, on Bainbridge Island. Then I wrote another poem about these coincidences, and stuck them all on the fridge, linked together with red thread, and there they stayed, and yellowed, until I took them down because they were so tatty.

However, I didn’t throw it all away, but transferred it onto a piece of paper in a drawer; eventually, I made a background of tea-stained board, which I embellished with stamps of flowers and birds, echoing the meadow where the band were. I applied them with the tea-stain still damp, so that they blurred slightly for a pleasing aged look.I also added rust-stained paper rings (meant for reinforcing holes on paper) and a coloured image of a bird, similar in outline to the stamped ones, which rounded out the composition ready for framing. It’s one of my favourite things (of which there are many….)

Friday Poem: She Said

I wrote this while the poetry challenge was on a couple of weeks ago – I should have made a note of what poetic device I was aiming to use here, but I really like the little twist in the story.pod 2

Tell me, what are you thinking,
My honey? she said
What are you thinking?
She said.
Tell me dear, what is happening
there in your head?
honey, what are you thinking?
She said.
He turned to her slowly
and smiled with his eyes.
I know what you’re thinking.
She said.pod 1

I chose three macro shots of dried flower pods from my files, and edited them a bit for what I think is a poetic effect. There’s a twisted stemmed pod form a double poppy, and the other two are the back and face of a lotus pod, with the seeds peeping out of their niches.pod 3

Friday Poem: Desire

a red shadowIt’s St Valentine’s day tomorrow – I’m not sure whether that makes this poem timely or quite the opposite…The ideas expressed in it are influenced in part by reading Polly Young-Eisendrath‘s book “Women and Desire: beyond wanting to be wanted”, alongside my wide reading of Buddhist ideas.a yab yum

To be desired
is not desirable to me;
I complete
no-one but myself.
Desire wants
to acquire some object.
To be
in relation to
is a better way
to be.

Desirelessness-
to be simply,
to simply be:
To be an object of desire
or to desire objects-
Neither of these
will do.
Desirelessness-
to be emptied of desire
To be Free.a rock tray