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It has been a while, but here is the next instalment in the collaborative sketchbook project I’m working on (at a slow but steady pace, across continents) with my friend Yoko [the preceding three instalments can be found here (3), here (2) and here (1)]

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

yoko followed on from my previous entry (above) with a line of
ghostly trees leading us deeper into the woods…

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

… with a turn of the page the moon has risen,

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

and in this magical forest wolf takes on the visage of a deer

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

from little red riding hood’s basket spring bursts forth,
to conquer the frozen landscape

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

but she keeps an apprehensive eye on this other woodland wanderer…

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

… wary of his bloodied paws.

(this is notebook [amsterdam] * – artwork by yoko hayashi)

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mujinotebook (tokyo)

my intervention with yoko’s previous entry in the second of the two notebooks (above) introduced a plump, purple caterpillar…
a juicy snack for the watchful crow perhaps?

mujinotebook (tokyo)

or can he crawl to safety, over the page,
and fulfil his destiny…

mujinotebook (tokyo)

… as one in a whisper of moths?

mujinotebook (tokyo)

I drew these moths with Indian ink and a dip pen, and was once again reminded of how tremendously satisfying the scritchy-scritch-scratch sound of a metal pen nib on brown kraft paper can be! I’m also rather partial to the unintended, random patterns that emerged on my ink blotting sheets (as seen in a couple of the frames in the ‘work in progress’ animated GIF below)…

mujinotebook (tokyo)
(this is notebook [tokyo] *)

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* notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam, and notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo.

Since Yoko and I began this collaboration I have moved from Amsterdam to Haarlem. But as the two cities are extremely nearby neighbours we’ve agreed to stick with the ‘Amsterdam/Tokyo’ label for the project to avoid confusing ourselves (and Yoko informed me that ‘Haarlem’ (NL) and ‘Harlem’ (NYC) are spelt the same in Japanese… which could indeed be confusing!)

Previous Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts: (1) (2) (3)

 

springbok skull and glassblown polar bear

In celebration of today’s vernal equinox – and the promise it brings of much more light to come – here are some of the sunlit critters currently keeping me company at home and in the studio…

puffer fish and finger lickin' cat

paper puffer fish… finger lickin’ good

felted owl by swig (swig-filz-felt-feutre.blogspot.com)

owl (elegant fowl!) waits patiently in his not-quite-pea-green boat… (but pussycat is apparently too busy licking his paws for nautical nuptials?)

seahorse mobile by flensted

gently floating seahorses

abstracted cat

abstracted cat

work-in-progress wolf drawing

an unexpected rainbow cast across a work-in-progress wolf drawing

what cd shall I play now?

precarious pile of CDs (my studiomate’s DJ-ing aspirations are foiled again by his lack of opposable thumbs)

gira waving
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credits (in order of appearance):

◈ the skull once belonged to one of these majestic creatures
◈ the polar bear was made by the clever glass-blowing ladies of blåst glasshytta in tromsø, norway (northernmost glass-blowing studio in the world, apparently!)
◈ the fish is a japanese paper balloon – i found him at roppongi in amsterdam
◈ the handsome owl was made by the amazingly talented felt artist swig (you can pop over to her website right now for a spring postcard giveaway!)
◈ the very soothing seahorse mobile was created by flensted
◈ the angry (or is he remorseful?) yeti silkscreen print was made by kronk

(not included in this list are my own wolf drawings and the pictures of my furry studiomate :)

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

notebook [amsterdam] – work in progress

Here’s the next instalment in the sketchbook/notebook project I’m working on with my friend Yoko (if you’d like to read the introduction to this project you can find it here, and the previous instalment here)

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

notebook [amsterdam] – work in progress

I made these pages a few weeks before heading to the frozen north, but clearly my imagination was already immersed in snow-laden landscapes. As always I had a lot of fun filling my pages and (once again) couldn’t resist putting some GID paint to good use…

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

notebook [amsterdam] – glow-in-the-dark (GID) moon

My studio assistant, always ready to ‘help’ when there’s work to be done, provided a very effective brush for removing eraser rubbings from the page…

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

notebook [amsterdam] – gira lends a hand tail

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

Shortly after I’d posted this off to Yoko I received the other notebook from her (thanks for the efficient service PostNL and JP Post!). It sounds trite to say, but my breath was quite literally taken away when I turned to her latest entry…

mujinotebook (tokyo)

notebook [tokyo] – (all artwork by yoko hayashi)

This little 500 pixel wide image doesn’t do this wonderful double-page spread justice! The textures, colours and details are so very beautiful, and utterly absorbing…

mujinotebook (tokyo)

mujinotebook (tokyo)

notebook [tokyo] – details (all artwork by yoko hayashi)

Yoko has also recently posted some words and pictures about the project on her blog (check it out here). I particularly love seeing her work-in-progress photos – I can imagine peeking over her shoulder as she works in the notebook 9,283 kilometres (as the crow flies!) away.

mujinotebook (amsterdam-tokyo... face off!)

tokyo-amsterdam face off :)

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* notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam, and notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo

Previous posts about this project: (1) (2)

masks, northwest coast first nations @ museum volkenkunde, leiden

“Bella Coola Indians wearing ceremonial blankets and ‘Crooked Beak of Heaven’ masks”, c.1886, City of Vancouver Archive

I haven’t had much free time to spend on this blogging lark recently… hence my even-more-sporadic-than-normal posting schedule (so thanks to all you fine folk who continue to pop in and say hi despite the almost tangible odour of decay wafting about the place!).

One of my main motivations for maintaining this blog is to have a repository of images of things I’ve encountered out there in the big, wide world and found interesting, inspirational or meaningful in some or other way, a repository that I can (cross-)reference when an injection of inspiration is needed (and which I hope can be a source of inspiration to others). And so, despite the lack of free time, I definitely wanted to make sure I added these masks to the ‘collection’ for future reference! Magnificently crafted and utterly compelling, they’re from an exhibition entitled “The Story of the Totem Pole” currently on (ends 1 April 2013) at the Museum Volkenkunde (which we luckily chanced upon when we were in Leiden in early Feb for the “Spoken en Geesten” exhibit at SieboldHuis).

mask, northwest coast first nations @ museum volkenkunde, leiden

Wolf Mask, Richard Hunt, Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl), c.1970-1980
[wood, paint]

mask, northwest coast first nations @ museum volkenkunde, leiden

Mask, Haida, late 19th century
[wood, paint]

mask, northwest coast first nations @ museum volkenkunde, leiden

Dogfish Mask, Robert Davidson, Haida, 1981
[wood, paint, operculum & abalone shell, mixed media]

mask, northwest coast first nations @ museum volkenkunde, leiden

Life and Death, Perry LaFortune, Coast Salish, 1986
[wood, paint]

mask, northwest coast first nations @ museum volkenkunde, leiden

Bukwus Mask, Joe David, Nuu-cha-nulth (Nootka), 1981
[wood, paint, horse hair, mixed media]

mask, northwest coast first nations @ museum volkenkunde, leiden

Hawk Man Mask, Freda Diesing, Haida, 1975
[wood, paint, abalone shell, cedar bark, mixed media]

mask, northwest coast first nations @ museum volkenkunde, leiden

Bukwus Mask (Wild Man), Calvin Hunt, Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl), c.1970-1980 [wood, fur, paint, horse hair, mixed media]

mask, northwest coast first nations @ museum volkenkunde, leiden

Wolf mask, Richard Hunt, Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl), c.1970-1980
[wood, paint]

I cannot resist a natural history museum, but visiting one is always a very conflicted experience for me*. On the one hand I’m filled with awe and wonder at the beauty, diversity and downright magnificent strangeness of nature, and on the other hand I’m wholly overwhelmed by the collective weight of all those dead creatures – thousands upon thousands skinned, stacked, bottled, tagged, pinned, preserved, shellacked and mounted for our edification and viewing pleasure.

My experience at Vienna’s Naturhistorisches Museum was no different. Complete and utter absorption coupled with a persistent and unshakeable sense of loss…

In our endless search for answers we’ve got a lot to answer for.

sunfish, inside and out
(A beautiful sunfish skeleton photo, taken by Lewis Carroll in 1857,
can be found here)

* I’ve recently started reading Stephen T. Asma’s ‘Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture of Natural History Museums‘, and am hoping this will shed some more light on the whys and wherefores of the very polar responses I (we?) have to natural history museums.

some of my work, available on etsy
support worldwide wild cat conservation

copyright

All images and words on this site are © suzanne norris / sakurasnow unless otherwise specified.

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