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~~~~ down to the water’s edge ~~~~
buffels bay, cape point, june 2016
We’ve been having a late-summer mini-heatwave here in Haarlem… so I’m cooling-off by revisiting some pics from a winter’s walk on my favourite beach. Buffels Bay, at the southern edge of Africa, is a very special place and I always try to make a pilgrimage to it when I’m ‘in the neighbourhood’. It’s also always a rich source of colour and pattern inspiration. These photos were taken on a moody, wild winter’s day (a great kind of day for a beach visit, imho!) in early June this year, but you can also see the bay – in all its brilliant blue glory – on a bright spring day here > …
graceful gull & cuttlefish bone
gelatinous, calcified(?), luminous
rugged rock pools | vibrant, variegated colonies
scanning the horizon
more than one way to get where you’re going…
life on mars
looking north towards the paulsberg, die boer and judas peaks
looking south-southeast towards cape point, situated on the southerly edge of africa and sometime meeting place of the atlantic and indian oceans *
* Africa’s southernmost point is Cape Agulhas, ±150 kilometres east-southeast of Cape Point. The Indian and Atlantic oceans meet at the point where the warm Agulhas current meets the cold Benguela current – a point that apparently fluctuates between Cape Agulhas and Cape Point
golden crown & bark of a quivertree
… these are a few of my favourite things.
And there was much opportunity for the gathering of these favourite things on our recent roadtrip across Namibia.
folded, rippled, wrinkled (fish river canyon, african elephant)
elephant petroglyph | subtle mineral colours, dolerite columns
fine forms, more mineral hues
black & white, circles & stripes
bone dry, desaturated
earthy harmonies, rounded rhythms
bright brandberg hills… and a mystery paint spillage in the desert
perfectly patterned, eminently engravable | ancient petroglyphs
desert car wreck… adorned
a decaying structure’s textures & patterns (goageb ghost town)
lines (looking up: hot air balloon cables,
looking down: wildlife highways & byways)
namib desert sands: infinitely intriguing colours, forms…
… and patterns
pleasing points (rondavel thatch, starling silhouette)
all these elements coalesce in the simplicity of a dead tree at dusk
southern border crossing (south africa –> namibia)
I’ve been away, soaking up the winter sunshine, on a ±5,500km roadtrip through Namibia’s vast, arid, ever-changing & starkly beautiful terrain. (In case you’re wondering, as anyone unfamiliar with the lay of Africa’s land might be, Namibia is situated in southwest Africa, straddling the Tropic of Capricorn and alongside the South Atlantic Ocean. It shares its borders with South Africa to the south, Angola & a sliver of Zambia to the north, and Botswana to the east.)
heading north through the southern kalahari
balancing basalt rocks, the giant’s playground
fellow travellers, etosha pan
vingerklip (afrikaans: rock finger), a natural obelisk sculpted by the wind,
and the iconic flat-topped mountains of the ugab valley
tiny termites build mighty mounds
desolate damaraland scape and split red sandstone slabs at ǀui-ǁais (damara/nama: jumping waterhole) a.k.a. twyfelfontein (afrikaans: uncertain spring)
the burnt mountain (black shale shimmers amidst the dominant sandstone) and the organ pipes (angular columns of dolerite formed some 120 million years ago)
closing in on the brandberg mountain,
a ravine-split massif of granite (and namibia’s highest mountain at 2573 metres) that dominates the surrounding desert plains
into the desert
crossing the tropic
magical mountain colours, mighty oryx (gemsbok)
desert camp, near sesriem canyon
over the namib desert and sossusvlei’s…
… red star dunes
(early morning view from my studio window)
As October’s Autumn mists roll in I’ve been giving some thought on how best to ‘winter ready’ our little patch of potted paradise on the roof: four floors up and facing the North Sea it’s likely to be more than a tad exposed to the imminent icy elements. But before I burlap wrap and mulch and push pots into little huddles like so many Emperor penguins I’m taking a moment to fondly remember the verdancy, vivid colours, and bountiful harvest of our compact roof garden’s first summer…
vegetable patch at sunset, late august
spring onions & crazy carrots!
they certainly wouldn’t have passed the EU’s daft
‘general marketing standards’ regime…
… but they had plenty of character
and, along with the leeks, were delicious!
broccoli, not everyone’s favourite vegetable…
… but beautiful when it bolts
(as mine did, practically overnight, during a mini heatwave in july)
deadheading the rhododendrons | baby’s breath (gypsophila)
japanese maple | lavender
catnip (nepeta cataria)
Nature is, without a doubt, the biggest source of inspiration for my work and it has therefore been a privilege and a great pleasure to have had the opportunity (for the first time) to plant veggies from seed, to watch them grow and flourish, to enjoy the fruits of our combined labours, and indeed to observe them go to seed or die back as summer segued into autumn.
In addition to the veggies I’ve also enjoyed getting to know other, non-edible plants. As a first time gardener the learning curve has at times been steep and my favoured (lazy?) approach seems to be one of trial and error. But the gardening bug has most certainly bitten and I’m very much hoping I can keep some of them alive through the winter. I’m looking forward to observing the seasonal metamorphoses to come…
roof garden skyscapes
(late summer/early autumn evening skies)
“i ♥ handmade books: timeless techniques and fresh ideas
for beautiful handmade books” by charlotte rivers
This very pleasing little tome was published in September last year, and I was excited to receive a copy as a gift from friends at Christmas time. It’s full of beautiful & inspiring handmade books by book binders, artists and designers from around the world, and I am delighted to have a little accordion fold book I made featured in it.
sakurasnow, accordion fold book
The projects shown in the first four chapters of the book are wonderfully eclectic and beautifully illustrate the unlimited creative possibilities of book-making. Book ‘types’ covered include folded bindings (such as accordion, flag and carousel books) and many sewn bindings (including pamphlet, long, coptic, japanese stab and french link stitching techniques). There is also a section on interesting page and cover treatments (e.g. suminagashi paper marbling, natural plant dyeing, woven covers etc.) and a chapter entitled “Experimental Packaging” which shows some innovative and fun book cover / packaging projects.
Below are just a handful of the many inspired and inspiring makers featured in the book…
leah buckareff of coldsnap bindery incorporates printing, painting and embroidery to beautiful & atmospheric effect on her books’ (linen) cloth covers
(incidentally, she also produces beautiful, darkly atmospheric music as one half of the band nadja, which you can check out here)
i love these wonderfully structural, experimental stitched (and even knitted!) bindings by luisa gomes cardoso of canteiro de alfaces
lotta helleberg‘s indigo-dyed book covers are quite exquisite!
The fifth and final chapter “Book-Making in Practice” features very practical and comprehensive step-by-step tutorials for a range of different binding / book-making techniques used in the projects featured.
These are complemented by simple, clear illustrations that are completely unintimidating and make even very complex looking methods seem perfectly achievable…
… I’m definitely inspired (and now also better equipped!) to try my hand at some more book-making.