Monday, December 3, 2012

Back in the creative ring...

After a period of creative frustration, my right hand seems healed back to its old self. I tested it out over the last few days with some intensive making, and said limb came up trumps. I'm back in the ring!

I discovered last Friday, whilst browsing a local paper, that an art exhibition run by Byron Community Centre was accepting entries in several categories. The closing date was the following Monday, which meant I had the weekend to get sorted. There was a watercolour and acrylics painting, 'Celestial Ocean', ready to go, it just needed framing up....

I also wanted to put in one of the little dudes I make up, under the sculpture category. So, creative chaos ensued. I'm definitely not a neat person when amongst it. I like to be able to see all the beads, fabrics and wools I'm working with, which tend to be spread out all over the place. It's a bit like collage in three dimensions.

The head, especially facial features, is probably the most time consuming single part. I make it, then hands and feet out of Super Sculpey oven baked clay. Strengthened with lengths of wire inserted as a kind of armature. Then a body out of felt, and finally the clothes go over the top of it all.

Its a very organic process, no preliminary drawings, I just play with the clay. Then get inspired by the materials I have to hand. Often gathered at op shops, garage sales, as hand me downs or from chuck out piles.

Hopefully, resulting in the birthing of a little dude with character....

I put my registration through yesterday. Now its a matter of waiting for the results to come in, to see if I get hung. The Byron Arts Classic exhibition goes up in early January and runs for a week.

Friday, November 9, 2012

No time like the present...

Ive managed to properly fuck up my right hand, hence typing this very slowly and in an uncoordinated manner. Im completely right handed, doing anything with my left hand is dodgey and slow. So im in a place where I can't draw, write, practice my tai chi, cook a meal or open a jar of pickles *sigh*, nearly driving me mental! A few people have asked me what the lesson is in this, uummm that Im chronically right handed and need to watch crappy daytime tv for extended periods in the now?

Anyways, Im keen for a redesigning of my online communications, perhaps uniting my two blogs into one and creating a website. Currently thats being sabotaged by my limbs, but the pause has allowed for reassessment and a  whole lot of imagery flowing through that Im eager to translate onto paper, but must wait for physical coordination to return to do so.

Its said that the hand we use is connected to the opposite side of the brain. Thus the left side of the brain which is rational and logic is channeled through the right hand, and the right side of the brain which is more intuitive comes through the left hand. Which in my case, creates imagery tending towards that of a three year old. I can barely write my name, let alone create anything representative, or expressing the many coexhisting realms of reality. Somewhat humbling and also grattitude inducing, in terms that let me know if I couldnt create id be feeling pretty sombre about my life, lets say suicidal...

Funny that i joke about such things. Yeah, laugh a frickin' minute. You see I'm coming up to the second Christmas without my bro, Dylan.  A true gentleman, who valued his friends and family highly and entertained a variety of hobbies that could make the mind boggle. Mad scientist. But you see, he suffered from depression in his recent years, that gnarly bastard that can catch you in unexpected moments and drag you into odd parallel universes. My lovely bro, who was sane in all the moments that I wasn't, went down to this disease of chemistry and circumstance....

He took his own life nigh on two years ago. When everyone expected it might be me to do so....

Sorry to get heavy, but i just wish to mention, that if you love someones eccentricities and odd tangents, bloody let them know. Embrace their difference, affirm who they are and their importance in your life. Because, before you know it, they could be gone from this physical incarnation.

Tommorow I'm going to a community celebration ceremony marking those that have passed over.  My bro phoned me when I was legally detained in a psychiatric ward, couldn't protect him, and the nurses didn't pass on the message till it was too late. I was isolated on the inside, he isolated on the outside. Fuck it, could it have been different if i'd got that message and been able to return his call.  I hadn't wanted to worry him. Either way, I now watch my parents suffer from that totally wrong process of outliving your own child.

Don't try to tell me suicide is a social phenomena restricted to bla type circumstances, it's no mathematical formula, its peoples chaotic lives. Unpredictable, random, down with the figures, or beyond comprehension, it happens. May Dylans passing wake folks up to the preciousness of staying in touch, and giving time to those we love, whatever headstate theyre in. Reality is often stranger than fiction but ultimately we're all living in a story. Crazy or otherwise, meet those you love where they are, and take it from there. There's no time but the present....

For Dylan, check out >>>

Thursday, October 18, 2012

There's just something about Tai Chi...

My understanding of 'Qigong' is that its a series of movements, originating in ancient China, which are syncronised with ones breathing and a meditative state. Designed to activate your awareness around, strengthen and balance the internal flow of 'qi' or 'chi'. The force that is seen as the energy of life in much traditional Chinese medicine, martial arts and philosophy but that can also be translated into other cultures experiences, like 'prana' in Yoga.

Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi is a group of eighteen movements based on Yang style Tai Chi, developed in the 1970's by Professor Lin Hou-Sheng. Learning it gives a basis in the Tai Chi 'forms', activating the health benifits they offer, in a more simply learned flow as a stand alone series.

I first came into contact with this form of Qigong through Dhyana Tai Chi Qigong at our local community centre. I dipped my toe in and enjoyed it, but fell out of going to classes before I had the chance to memorise the movements. About 6 months ago I resumed classes with my teacher, Sandie (front) and gradually committed to practice outside class time, essential to giving myself the chance to consolidate some more and extend into learning Yang style Tai Chi.

Ill be honest, Im not a real active type, I walk, and Im definitely not a morning person. My routine day began with a rolling out of bed, staggering towards the coffee machine, imbibing two cups of caffeine in quick sucession and then a bleary eyed beginning of the day. I had done Reiki training, which I believe can amplify feeling some of the sensations associated with practices like Tai Chi that aim to cultivate the chi. Most of all, I just wanted to do something for my health, that was maintainable and that i enjoyed. So i turned to Tai Chi, and was lucky enough to find a teacher with both knowledge, a kind disposition and a sense of humour (required when you find yourself in knots with limbs disobeying instructions).

I began to have just one coffee, do Qigong as a warm up and then flow into Tai Chi practice, repeating what I learned in class each week, a little at a time. It became part of my morning ritual, and has been so most days for about 6 weeks now. That might not sound like much, but I count it as an achievement. That, combined with watching pretty much every martial arts movie in the local dvd store, has wakened something in me.

This is something that is gently, gradually strengthening my physical self, but also kicking ass when it comes to my stress levels (that being a technical term) and general sense of well being. Gradually, Ive heard tales of both practicioners, and teachers, who came to Tai Chi in varying states of health, some after serious injuries or illness, or later in life, began doing what they could, and have built a solid core of regained health for themselves. Its actually pretty inspiring.

Tai Chi is whats known as an 'internal' or 'soft' martial art. Practiced very slowly, with meditative intention, it is a graceful art. Echoing forms and patterns found in nature, along with the more familiar kicks and punches. Movements have names like Reeling Silk, White Crane, White Dove Spreads Wings, Dragons Mouth.

Im still at the mechanical, ok whats that arm doing over there, oops foot needs to be there, help mental blank, stage but there are moments when I find I am completely absorbed in a move, or synced in with other people who are. That feeling is pretty damn satisfying, and doing it in natural surrounds amplifies this. It must be truly inspiring to be part of the large groups who practice in parks in China, and increasingly worldwide.

If you live on the North Coast of NSW my teacher Sandie, takes classes in Mullumbimby at the Pioneer Hall, 32 Gordon St. Tuesdays, 11am till 12 is beginners/intermediate and Thursdays, 7.30am till 8.30 is intermediate/advanced. All classes are $10. Email contact :  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tai chi dragon....

I drew up this Chinese Dragon with calligraphy, that reads as Tai chi, for my teacher, who practices in the Yang style. Tai chi is an ancient 'internal' or 'soft' martial art, that has many movements sourced in observing nature, aswell as the more familiar kicks and punches. It is a very slow, graceful form, a kind of moving meditation. The different lineages, or styles, are usually named for the families who practiced, and passed them on.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Portrait of Amma...

I drew up this portrait of Amma, the love guru, for a devotee. A lady who is unwell in the moment but of strong spirit. I'm not really one for guru's, but a friend who spent time at her ashram took me, and a carload of other women, to see Amma. Her thing is to just hug people. Not a mwa mwa dahlingk type hug but a bountious embracing and holding. She hugged more than 1000 people the night we saw her. For hours on end, she hugged. Amazing. In India she sometimes embraces people for days on end, literally. She's pretty cool. You can read more about her and the other works shes involved with here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The gentler bay...

The music lovin' Rhubarb, and I wandered down to Tallows beach for a swim the other day, but the water was stirred up and rough so we decided to head for the bay. Not sure if we smelled, or simply that it was close to the middle of the day and folks were being sun smart, either way, the beach cleared, pretty much just leaving us and several surf schools amidst the waves. The bay was gentler, and kindly turned on its picturesque nature for all and any to see. In the distance, mountains, one of which formed the centre of the volcano so pivotal in forming the landscape and soils of this area.