wire and more wire and then some

February 9, 2014

in the last couple of weeks before school goes back,

i am doing some concrete work which

usually involves a wire armature-

small chicken wire, netting clips and miles of wire.

i am getting better at not sticking myself-

collanderized fingertips are no good for

a string player- the bouzouki is demanding enough

in the fingertip department.

So, just about ready to begin  applying the concrete

to the barrel for  the Rocket Oven and a sculpture.

To be on the safe side i am making a small scale test

piece for the feed tube part of the oven-

a small Fairy sized one (!)

Almost everything i do begins

as an experiment in one way or another-

but when an experiment is successful,

it is no longer experimental.

The surround for the Fairy Garden was based

on earlier an experiment using

empty soymilk cartons as an armature.

If you have lots of these,

this might interest you?

The procedure: use wide tape to make the shape-

as i would be transporting it in my little truck and lifting

it myself, i made it in 4 sections which fit together

where they join. I cut the cartons to get the curved shape

(oh, yeah- best to wash the cartons before

saving as they go badly biological otherwise!)

This is then covered with 3 layers of cloth  painted with

portland cement slurry with acrylic paint added.

[To a half bucket of water, mix in approximately 2 cups of paint

then add cement powder to make slurry-

about the consistency of the proverbial pancake batter]

I used a paint roller tray and ripped COTTON cloth

(old sheets, old clothes, etc) to fit the tray-

it is possible to do quite neatly this way.

Paint the slurry onto the pieces and wrap them

around the armature, in the manner of

Papier Mache-smooth out air bubbles, make sure there

is a good lamination (kind of like the principle

involved in ‘sticking’ a wet washcloth

to the side of the bathtub!)

Make sure the bottom is well covered-

overlap each piece so there are always at least

the 3 layers of cloth!

Cover with plastic and leave for about a week-

i did mine in the patio so i could make sure

the joins were relatively neat (put plastic between

them so they don’t stick to each other!)

Then i painted the sections with the rest of the paint.

A word about Plastic: i source endless amounts

of clean plastic wrap from the skips behind furniture

stores- the horrible underbelly of consumer culture

is that Everything seems to come wrapped

in kilometers of single use plastic.

I save single use plastic and sequester it in my

concrete work to keep it our of the waste stream.

The quantity of plastic trash that can be stuffed

into an empty carton is impressive

or maybe i am just easy pleased?

i heard about the North Pacific Gyre on the radio and

was appalled when i googled it.

If you don’t already know about this,

prepare to be appalled:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_garbage_patch

I got the idea of sequestering the single use plastic

that goes through my household

(in spite of efforts to reduce this, there

is still a shocking amount!)

from’ Trash Rocks’.

Oh, i do love concrete-

it isn’t without blemish from  an

environmental standpoint but it is pretty

good at sequestering plastic!

Check out Trash rocks here:

http://www.instructables.com/id/TRASHROCKS-Eliminate-Unrecyclable-Trash/

Here are the photos of the Fairy Garden Surround

as i was making it.

note: I haven’t ‘strength tested’ it

so from an engineering standpoint,

i have no idea what its load bearing capacity

would be- i made a large one (my original experiment)

to contain my daughter Penelope’s ‘scrippy scraps’

as they were threatening to take over the house-

(she is a devoted paper snipper!)

It could use a 3rd layer of cloth (i only put 2 on it)

but even at that, it will hold its own weight

when stood on end.  Portland cement has longevity

issues ( where Roman Concrete or the Magnesium Phosphate

concrete of my dreams do not!)  and also,

Portland does not actually bond with fibre

but apparently only encases it so…

one day it could all turn to dust but in the

meantime, the Fairy Garden was successfully

contained as are the scrippy scraps!

Image

empty soymilk cartons taped together as armature for concrete cloth

detail of the stepped join for the sections of the Fairy House surround

the surround is made in 4 separate pieces that fit together with a stepped join- this photo shows the detail

the armature after covering with concrete dipped cloth and painting

the finished surround on site


Fairy House

February 2, 2014

Image

a scene from the ‘Fairy House under Wishing Tree’

that i installed at the 2014 Jackies Marsh Forest Festival.

i realize now why the picture looks so ’empty’-

2 years ago i wanted to do a Wishing Tree and put the

Fairy House in as a (pardon my French )

sort of ‘throwaway’ thing’…

Little did i know!

It was a HUGE hit with festival goers of all ages

and left me with a growing belief in Fairies.

The reason that this picture looks so empty is that

i purposely took the photo when there were no kids there

due to the complications of posting photos

with actual people in them

and really, the ‘magic’ of the Fairy House

is not in the ‘infrastructure’-

it is supplied by the children who come there to

play and ‘make believe’!

An interesting turn of phrase, that-

to ‘make believe’

Was it J.M. Barry who said that ‘every time a child says

that they don’t believe in Fairies, a Fairy dies’?

Maybe the corollary is that every time

someone ‘makes believe,’

something is born- a Fairy perhaps?


one month ago i wrote…

February 1, 2014

 

” as the radiation threat magnifies by the minute

at Fukshima Daiichi and the radio discusses yacht races

while seemingly North America needs to be evacuated..

voices out on the sidewalk  break the early evening,

already loud and angry drunk, maybe a good thing

we didn’t take the bus to see the fireworks?

depressing to think that our gluttony for endless power

has pushed us perhaps over the brink already-

we pop the corks and sing Auld Lang Syne

in the kind of brutal innocence

that there is no excuse for anymore.

A young boy, victim of the war in Syria,

says he will tell God Everything, these his last words.

Does God not already know?”

 

  <from ‘Oh Life,’ an online diary site that

  updates via email with ‘random’ posts from your past,

  a kind of ‘grab bag; fortune cookie style look

at ones recent and not so recent history, often suprising!>


day three…what was i thinking when i started this?

January 19, 2014

What am i thinking now for that matter?

When i started this blog, it was to have a place

to post my artwork, discuss experimental

concrete work and aspects of my attempt at

living ‘sustainably’ on my bush block.

Since then, i have relocated to the city

but i still have a garden-

and i guess my personal focus now

is how to live as ‘sustainably’ as possible

in a rented urban context,

staying reasonably sane without the starry night,

the Fairy Wrens and the singing forest,

making music and art as the core busy-ness of life

rather than as a ‘hobby’.

Sometimes i consider turning off the electricity

and evolving a 12 volt lifestyle while the city

whizzes around me. Exercise bicycle powered laptop

for instance ( i have the recipe for this in my files…)

Guerilla gardening has an immense appeal-

the word ‘sustainable’ is fraught with contradiction-

the infrastructure web has a vicelike grip and it

is slightly unsettling to think that everything we use

has an invisible legion behind it- the resources,

the waste products and the human involvement-

an ethical soup with serious underlying implications.

And, without a reliable food supply

generated where we actually live,

the possibility that a disruption of supply could leave us

trying to make soup out of our old boots is unsettling-

somehow laying in a 10 year supply of canned beans

and getting a machine gun to protect it

from the hungry neighbours

doesn’t ‘do’ it for me.

At my land, i was ‘off grid’ except that

the matches, candles,batteries, gas bottle refills and ice

which allowed me that ‘luxury’

were all issuing directly from a power and

resource guzzling manufacturing sector.

And then there is Food-the chemical load,

the ‘Looks like Apple, tastes like Chemicals’

produce from the supermarket…oh, my.

It’s balancing act on the high wire

with no net, no manual,no culture to fall back on.

How, when we are quite literally stuck in the web,

do we make changes to the way it works?

Is it good enough to be content

with ‘small acts’ such as ‘recycling’

(which, in many cases is actually ‘downcycling’)

and buying fair trade coffee

while out there in the world,

it’s like a real life disaster movie where

millions of unpaid ‘extras’

are suffering REAL suffering, not the Hollywood kind-

when the wildest conspiracy theory

now sounds quite plausible,

when every keypress you ever made is

recorded somehwhere to possibly be used

against you for someone else benefit?

“The Panopticon is watching you,

keeping track of everything you do”

Meanwhile,In my garden,

the carrots have sown themselves-

not in the neat carrot bed i planned

but they are there – the carnations bloomed

and they have the most amazing smell-

well, technically you’d have to call it a Fragrance

rather than a smell-  

intense!

And, by a miracle, a cucumber survived the heatwave-

i found it under a cloud of alyssum that had gone to seed.

Sun Rah says “Space is the Place” and

It turns out that ‘Space’ is a code word for ‘Heaven’.

In my garden, everything is good,

it is a little  bit of Heaven , maybe ?

Going with the code,

it’s a ‘Galactic Garden’.

I think i prefer that to

the ‘Galactic Gas Station’

i heard about on the radio

in a discussion on  mining asteroids

and the problems involved in

resource plundering

at zero gravity!


day two- the name of the blog…

January 18, 2014

well,i am rather hopelessly behind here –

everyone else seems to be on day 15 or so

but at this stage it can’t be helped- So…

The name of my blog:

i have considered  other options-

when i get a bit rapturous about animation

i want to call it ‘ beginning adventures in animation land’

or something equally dumb

but then i come back to ‘my beautiful life’ because,

after all this time, i finally realize that.

even when i am not sure how it’s going,

if i take time to notice, 

Beautiful Things are happening all the time

so it IS my Beautiful Life,

even when  it isn’t easy,

even when it’s inconvenient or

heartbreaking or both…

Life is Beautiful and the only thing

that i can even consider adequately reporting on

is my life as i don’t know what yours is like

( That was why we invented conversation!),

SO-

there you go,

the name of my blog.

The quotable quote would have to be Rumi:

” be grateful for whatever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond>

<the last line of Rumi’s poem ‘The Guest House’> 

 

 

 


OK, so ‘daily’ might be stretching it…

January 11, 2014

Image

But i have been Thinking about it and writing daily-

an avalanche of words, so many things 

and each one a story that leads to more stories until

one has ventured a long way from the original subject.

 

Being that as it may, this is the ‘day one’ post for the

Zero to Hero Daily Blogging Challenge-

in the spirit of ‘better late than never’

day 1 task is to ‘introduce myself’.

<embarrassing!>

 Deep breath, stand up straight, look you in the eye,

hold out my hand and say “how do you do? my name is Eo”

<phew- guess that was the hard part over>

Oh, but now i must explain Who i am and What i am doing here…

<this might be the real hard part…)

as I am a somewhat transitional person in that i seem to constantly be

different than who i thought i was- therefore never quite sure 

about the ‘who am i’ question, or at least how to answer it…

when i was a kid, i always thought that everyone had a flavor except for me-

i thought i only ‘tasted’ like water (which i now understand does have a taste but

i didn’t know that then…)

When i started this blog, i described myself as a

“Black Irish Mexican” -a description which, altho strictly speaking not true,

does resonate for me in that as a child, I always never wanted to be ‘white’,

much of my family background turns out to have been Irish

and Mexico was my first ‘Spiritual Home’…

but all that would take Way too long to explain-

this might be easier:

I was born in the year of the wood Horse under the sign of Geminii

with a Virgo Moon and Scorpio rising-

(for an Astrologer, i need say no more!)

But for everyone else,

i am 59 years old female person and consider myself lucky

to be on the brink of my 6th decade-

i hope to live to be 111 (eleventy-one)just like Bilbo Baggins

but i’de like to skip having hair between my toes, if i may.

I am originally from California but  am an Intentional Tasmanian now.

Tasmania is the best place on Earth.

i  brought 7 children into the world

and now that most of them are grown

i am studying Music at the Conservatorium in Hobart,

<my impossible dream somehow come true!>

I am in the 3rd year of my Bachelor of Music

deeply immersed in the Singer Songwriter degree.

I am a mostly self taught multi instrumentalist-

i play flute, cello, bouzouki, ukelele

and would like to play the saxaphone-

if i could have  an extra few hours in a day

i would also play the accordian and sometimes do anyway.

I love sounds and have become quite enamored of my little Zoom recorder.

I am also doing an Associate degree in Art- i like to paint and make

concrete sculpture. Thinshell concrete (ferrocement) is a subject  dear to my heart.

<i do Love concrete- never thought i would say that but there you go>

i am hard pressed to find anyone who would like to engage in passionate discussion

about concrete but i haven’t given up hope.

I used to make alot of Puppets but due to dampness, rats and poor storage facilities,

most of my work has perished.

I love making big Puppets for Parades and Festivals-

in fact, making any kind of Artwork for celebrations.

i also give workshops- i love designing and making things-

in fact, i could describe myself as a ‘making things person’.

a manual labourer?

an artisan?

I just gave a Lantern making workshop for the Taste Festival

with the coolest little LED lightbulbs-i liked showing the kids how 

a flimsy piece of paper can be made strong by rolling it into a tube!

And i also love gardening- i don’t usually get much in the way of harvest 

but there are always Surprises in the garden,lessons to be learned and

small miracles ( or big ones like Globe Artichokes, a totally architectural plant!) 

In my heart of hearts i am probably a Fairy- 

i found this out at the Jackie’s Marsh Forest Festival when

i put in a Fairy House under the Wishing Tree and

‘impersonated’ a fairy for the duration-

it actually felt like i was approaching my true self-

but then maybe it was just the ‘Festival Rapture’?

Well, that is probably more than anyone  wants to know about me

and i haven’t even got to the ‘Why i am here blogging’ part-

i have neglected my blog (hence all the tumbleweeds)

and i would like to do better with it,

(actually’ tend’ it more  rather than being content to

fire off a haiku to my twitter account

from the bus stop on my mobile every so often…)

SO with that intent, i will try to work through this Zero to Hero Daily Post Challenge

(*but not daily- there couldn’t be enough words in the world for that!)

In addition to words, i would like to post my photographs, paintings, sculptures-

and when my audio and cyber chops manage to meet in the middle,

i will put some songs and sound pieces on.

I probably left some stuff out but

 for the sake of brevity ( never the soul of my wit, i’m afraid)

i will stop now !

 

 

 


2014, a new leaf

January 7, 2014

In the spirit of ‘the daily post’ challenge

( oh, they do love a challenge)

i am returning to this somewhat ‘tumbleweed strewn blog’

which, in the way of Art, imitates my life…

It is the summer holidays now which,

as a fulltime university student,

always seem to involve

a sort of personal reconstruction-

school takes SO much concentration

that all else is put on hold so that

when the spring semester ends,

i can’t remember who i am exactly…

and the luxury of time to contemplate this is almost daunting.

Not that one could tell it is summer this week-

Hobart has been lashed with rain and buffeted by wind

with the temperature plunging in spite of

the endless global warming conversations-

maybe we are in for an ice age after all?

.The pumpkin plants in my garden are sulking

(the second planting as the first got fried

in the heatwave we were having…)

and the cucumbers have given up the ghost entirely…

the tomato plants look like bonsai!

So in between the tumble weeds,

hard to tell if we are coming or going.

Hopefully i can honour my New Years Resolution

‘to be more organized’

while time speeds by so fast

that that i can barely even keep up with being unorganized?

The beginning of a song landed in my mind

while crossing the street in Glenorchy yesterday-

piece by piece it seems to accrue

without needing much from me-

so i will just let it grow

(no deadlines, it’s the holidays!)

and get to work on my latest experimental concrete project,

while i hum the parts-

it’s a Rocket Oven which is a little bit exciting.

I have  been researching designs

but of course nothing

seems exactly like what i had in mind

so i have taken what i could

and headed off into the Unknown Zone-

(it’s so hard to stick to a  recipe- i am a hopeless improviser)

i do want an actual oven out of it

and concrete is unforgiving when it comes to retrofitting.

I now know where i went wrong on my first trial oven-

it was made of mud and infinitely retrofittable

but this time i am using refractory cement for the heatface parts,

lots of perlite for insulation and a containment

vessel made of ferrocement.

The first stage is the oven dome,

done in castable refractory(Shiracast)

and it is like a skull- i made it over a dome

shaped out of sand and i really like it!

What’s missing here is the pictures- i will get onto that..

But i have made a start at reclaiming this blog-

i was going to begin a New One but hey,

after a while i wonder

how many times i can start over?

While i suppose in the Zen of being present and mindful,

giving up the attachment to linear thinking and the limitations of duality,

one should start over continuously as a practice

but maybe there is value also in ‘returning to the site’ ?

Soall  tumbleweeds aside,

this is still My Beautiful Life and i will carry on and see what happens.

The most gorgeous golden smile of a moon

hangs over the backyard tonight

and for some reason the hoons have stayed in so

it is almost quiet in the hood-

(normally they are doing wheelies between the roundabouts

as soon as the supermarket is closed-

nothing like a donut in the parking lot to make you feel real!)

There is a fragile expectant sort of air,

as if we were on the brink of something

(which i suppose we always are ,

even when we think that nothing special is happening)

the future calls itself into being,

taking us with it regardless

and it is rarely ordinary.

When we notice this, we are amazed.


Christmas eve 2013, found in my notebook:

December 23, 2013

 

capture a tornado in a jar

keep it, like a firefly

on the table next to your bed,

let it light the night.

do everything now

‘from the heart’,

the tornado that

is at the center

of you.


Poem#30 NaPoWriMo2013 ’30 Poems in 30 Days’

April 30, 2013

there is a firewall in my mind-

is that crazy or

does it keep me from being so?

mostly i don’t know it’s there,

all quietly unaware…

until it leaks,

things burst through,

rampage about and break stuff,

cause havoc

until their air is gone

and they dissipate,

become again the shadow world

there behind the wall,

where i am not myself at all.


Poem # 29, the Penultimate of ’30 Poems in 30 Days’

April 29, 2013

did we startle into being

like waking to an alarm bell

or was it a long slow glide

like a swan landing

on outstretched wings-

did awareness creep

like a tide rising

fibre by fibre,

first a finger, then a toe

for what we are, it seems,

we did not always know-

were we ‘else’ before we ‘became,’

a player in some other game?

a porpoise, a mountain or a star

whatever it is we might have been

before becoming what we are..?