Landscapes

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This is a detail from a large cuadro.   Peruvian textile wall hangings that depict life in the barrios, or shantytowns, outside of Lima, Peru. They are embroidered and appliquéd using scraps of cotton and other materials by women living and working in Pamplona Alta. There, as in much of Peru, living conditions have grown worse through the past years; political instability and economic hardship, combined with the terrorism and military repression during the 1980s, challenge and threaten ordinary daily life. Throughout the turmoil women have worked to provide sustenance and stability for their families. The making of cuadros represents an art of survival, which documents their struggle while providing a source of income.

Many of the cuadros have small pockets sewn into the back of them – where the maker will write a message that tells the story of the image.  They are similar to Chilean arpilleras, also made by women who used those pocketed messages to send a message about what was happening in their country, the disappearance of family members and other atrocities.

The small detail of this particular cuadro portrays a memory of a place.  The place where the maker grew up and raised her family – before it was destroyed by political forces who forced them out of their homes.


Below is a virtual landscape – another detail, a different maker.  What I like about wandering around Apple Fall (created by a person called Apple Fall) is the attention to detail.  Not only in the landscape, but also in the many detailed object that he has for sale in the shops on the property.

The last time I was there I met the most unusual avatar – see him standing behind that chair?  He looks like a walking tree – and in the course of having a conversation with him, his leaves turned colors and he went through all four seasons.   The light spring green leaves, which changed to a rich deep green – then orange and yellow that all blew off.  He only stayed bare for seconds – until the small green buds of spring leaves were back.
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You can also see some beautifully made fern terrariums.  I love coming across these in Second Life – and  beginning to have quite a collections of them – maybe a future post.

A book I come back to again and again when I am thinking about landscape is The Language of Landscape by Anne Whiston Spirn.  She writes:

Landscapes themselves harbor both genetic and cultural diversity, and collectively, human habitats comprise a recored of diverse adaptations to similar conditions.  That diversity of response is a resource to be treasured.  Some day we may have to sift through the human repertoire for answers to difficult questions.

DIVIDING/UNITING.  Children bused miles away to visit nature when all around them are products of natural processes: water flowing, earth subsiding, wildflowers and sumacs growing in vacant lots, making soil from rubble and detritus.  Such an absurdity comes from dividing the world into pieces, nature/not nature and so on, habits that prevent a grasp of the whole…….To see similarities among disparate things is at the heart of creativity.  Oxymorons allow us to achieve a difficult unity while experiencing the separateness of the parts.

That line about sifting through the human repertoire for answers to difficult questions is already happening.  It is what draws people to Detroit currently, to examine and photograph the abandon factories and blocks of burned out and demolished houses.  It is the reason that cuadros remain popular and a source of income for the women who make them – and it is, in part, the reason I wander through SL looking for small things worth seeing.

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lights and flowers

irish light

I am writing by the golden light of a beautiful ceramic lamp, bought the last time I was in Dingle, Ireland.  One of my favorite places on the planet.  The glaze reminds me of the way the sea looks in the sunlight sometimes – especially when you look out at the Blasket Islands.  I am not from Ireland, but I am homesick for it everytime I look at the lamp for too long.  The lamp was made by Louis Mulcahey, who along with his wife Lisbeth are wonderful artisans living in Dingle.  You can see their work here and here.

I who am blind can give one hint to those who see — one admonition to those who would make full use of the gift of sight: Use your eyes as if tomorrow you would be stricken blind. And the same method can be applied to the other senses. Hear the music of voices, the song of a bird, the mighty strains of an orchestra, as if you would be stricken deaf tomorrow. Touch each object you want to touch as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail. Smell the perfume of flowers, taste with relish each morsel, as if tomorrow you could never smell and taste again. Make the most of every sense; glory in all the facets of pleasure and beauty which the world reveals to you through the several means of contact which Nature provides. But of all the senses, I am sure that sight must be the most delightful.

Helen Keller wrote that in 1933 – as part of an essay called “Three Days to See.”  She was writing about the everything she would choose to see if given three days of sight.  But it is really an charge to the rest of us – not to miss everything that is around us – even the smallest things….like light and flowers.

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I have friends on this side of the screen who are flower farmers.  They call themselves  avant – gardeners.  They call their business flower & bee.  A great inspiration in so many ways,  they are doing something meaningful and beautiful.  The above image is of a bouquet from them, sold at one of their pop up shops last year.

blossom flower bud spray bloom floral flora sprout spray wildflower

blossom flower bud spray bloom floral flora sprout spray wildflower

blossom flower bud spray bloom floral flora sprout spray wildflower

 

flowers for site

Sometimes my dreams are seamless between the virtual and the physical.  I am sure there are those of you out there who know this feeling.  The above image is of a peony blossom from my garden paired with one of kean kelley’s vases full of blossoms.  Kelley is one of the reasons I started blogging.  She recently put out a call for bloggers and I thought, “oh geez I love her work and I could write about it all day.”  But I didn’t have a vehicle – so this blog was born.  She epitomizes the concept of “small things worth seeing.”  You will see her work all over the grid – I love recognizing it and seeing how people utilize it.  You can visit her mainstore here.  Expect to see more about her on these pages.  But for now, enjoy the blossoms, the little light with crystals, and the stand up frames (these last two are some of her latest creation.)

blossom flower bud spray bloom floral flora sprout spray wildflower

blossom flower bud spray bloom floral flora sprout spray wildflower

blossom flower bud spray bloom floral flora sprout spray wildflower

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candle-light    illuminated    lit   luminescent    bright    golden    sunlit    bioluminescent

ablaze    sunstroke    lamplit    floodlit    inflamed    reddened    bright    iridescent

luminescent    incandescent      glorious    fairy    light    sunbeam    sunburst    sun ray

twilight    gloaming    sunup   sundown    aurora    glow    radiate

gaslight    torchlight    moonshine    meteor

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containers

These beautiful jars made by Nico Griffith of Tartessos Arts captured my attention tonight.

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I was thinking about something Herman Hesse wrote:

“There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside of them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.”
― Hermann HesseSteppenwolf

These jars – from the physical, not the virtual world came to mind when I found the ones that Griffith made.  IMG_2530(Deadman’s Fugitive Red olla  ca. AD 700 – 1175)  This undecorated pot with a reddish coloration is from a prehistoric culture call COHONINA.  These people originally lived in west of the San Francisco Peaks in Arizona.  They migrated northward into the region believe the south rim of the Grand Canyon and eastward into the area north of Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument.
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This trio of vessels represent contemporary  Navajo potters.  The Navajo have been making pottery (historically women’s work although today both men and women create pottery) for personal and ceremonial use for hundreds of years. Pottery within this culture as an art form developed in the late 19th Century as the railroads brought tourists into the region. Navajo pottery is unique within native southwest cultures. Clays are hand dug and several clay types may be mixed together to adjust the chemical, physical and aesthetic properties. They do not grind up old pottery shards to add to the clay for temper like other tribes. The Navajo consider old pottery to be the property of their Anasazi ancestors and not to be disturbed. The pots are created using a coil and pinch technique.  They are then pit fired with juniper wood for several hours.

Containers – our own or those we have crafted, out of clay, out of wood, out of pages.

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Small things worth seeing…. #1

The Buddha is one that sits in the back of my skybox pond and sometimes I just take a moment to reflect and center myself there, sitting in the chair across from him.  This particular  Buddha was created by Anthony Gartner, a creator in SL who owns THE DREAMER CREATIONS.  The store is full of small things, as well as furniture, beach and garden products and so forth.  I had origi#1_001nally gone there to find a pitching boat he sells – which I also love.  But Buddha caught my eye and I end up thinking about him and looking at him much more than I do the boat.

The Buddha reminds me that I often shove life to the very edge of what I can do – and find myself angry and frustrated when things unfold more slowly than I would like.  But life does not unfold on my timeline or according to my plan.  The surprises it holds are all a part of what I need to accept.  What I want and what I get might seem at odds – and there is the lesson.

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