Tag Archives: nature

Searching for a pea in a clothes-stack

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Jarod Charzewski:

I came across Jarod Charzewski and Derick Melander‘s work recently, and was at first stuck by the array of colors and textures produced from all of the layers and layers of second hand clothing compiled into art. Both artist’s work intends to call to mind how clothes are a part of our life stories, a part of our personal landscape; and also how much waste we produce. These are all second hand and donated clothes, and it’s very easy to see just by walking into any thrift store just much unwanted and unused clothing there is out there. You can see it just by looking into your own closet. I know I personally have a ton of clothes I no longer wear for a number of reasons.

They start to create mountains in my own room, start to creep into corners and crevices. I don’t know what to do with them all sometimes. Yet, I know I still wouldn’t hate new things (or new to me). These clothes I don’t wear, some are just not “me” anymore. Wearing them feels like masquerading as a past version of myself. At the same time I’m wary both of buying more, and of my role as a designer, when I think about all those clothes that go unsold and end up in the trash. We’re consumers, but so much is often produced by the glut of clothing manufacturers that there are no homes for them all. No real use (unless, maybe, more people ship them to countries where people don’t have enough – which already happens to an extent). They take over. They take up space. Clothes are a part of our personal history, but they also create waste. They become a part of a physical landscape.

Derick Melander:

They also, more whimsically, remind me a bit of the fairy-tale of The Princess and the Pea, where a young woman arrives on a prince’s doorstep soaked from a storm and claims to be princess (with no on-hand proof) seeking a place to stay for the night is put to a test (unbeknownst to her) by being required to sleep atop 20 mattresses under which a single pea rests. The idea being that only a princess would be sensitive enough to feel a tiny little pea from underneath so many layers and therefore experience a terrible night’s sleep.

Perhaps someone should create a new fairy-tale of sorts… a kind of merging and melding of The Princess and the Pea and the early 90’s quest to save a rain forest fairy tale (with literal fairies) Fern Gully. Maybe it would be about something like a world after we’ve become so overcome with trash…but in this world the trash and excess has been merged artfully “beautifully” into the landscape… eventually overtaking it. Clothes mountains….newspaper buildings, etc. They’ve replaced the real thing, and it’s interesting to look at, and people forget the real trees and nature and so on and just accept this pseudo man-made nature. But maybe there’s a girl so sensitive she can feel a lone (some kind of) plant seed buried beneath…maybe she digs it up and has no idea what it is… and goes on some sort of quest to find out. But the world has covered our past of natural trees and mountains and etc up. So it’s quite a task. Quite a task indeed.

I shall have to think more about this possible story. Hmm.

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Wishes on leaves

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That’s a mighty fine looking bench there. This looks like the perfect spot to curl up for a while and read, or think, or stare out into the beautiful peacefulness and just be. Of course, it looks like there’s some room behind that bench for some running around and frolicking.  And that tree looks lovely for climbing and perching in for a while…

i remember when i was a child
and used to climb trees
(hesitantly);
we had a little wooden plank
nook and we’d nestle in there
and talk-a talk talk
of small childish dreams
back when everything was
possible
(they were wishes on leaves)

photo via

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Body Stories

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I’ve had photographer Roberto Kusterle‘s page open in one of my browser tabs for a really, really long time. I’ve always intended to show off a smidge of his amazing work, but obviously I haven’t as of yet. Well, today is the day it does seem because I have always, always wanted a pair of wings. It just seems like it’d be right on me. Granted, that could just be influenced by my being referred to as pixie-esque for a good lot of my life and going by the nickname Tinkerbell (or just “Tink”) for two years in college. Indeed, it was always amusing to be walking around and have some person I didn’t really know shout out “Hi Tinkerbell!” across the Green as I passed. Or make a connection to someone in my fiction writing class a few years later who, when we realized we shared a mutual friend, exclaimed “Oh! You’re Tinkerbell!”.

What can I say, my nicknames and apparently odd style has a tendency to precede me. But, that’s besides the point beyond to say, I guess, that I have always had an appreciation for ethereal and otherwordly things; and apparently so does Mr. Kusterele, who’s work does delight and invite into an intriguing world in which I do not live. But, it’s not like those two worlds are separate. What I find interesting, is the ways in which they connect.

I like how the wings seem so normal here. It’s interesting how they seem less like a body part than an article of clothing you put on; something you could choose to have on or off; have different pairs for different occasions, different needs. Maybe sometimes you feel like flying, maybe sometimes you don’t. Maybe sometimes your wings get dirty and muddled, and they need a bath. Maybe you lose your wings. Maybe you’re devastated because you liked them so much. But, maybe you can get yourself and new pair. A new pair of wings.

I like trees, obviously, if you haven’t noticed. I think it’s because of, and it’s kind of hard to explain, the human side of them. Metaphorically speaking, perhaps. You know how people can say “oh, so-and-so is a very grounded and/or down to earth kind of person”, or “oh so-and-so’s head is in the clouds and/or such a dreamer!” Yeah? You’ve said something like that before, yes? Well, I’ve been called both, at times; though, as I’ve said I’m a very in-my-head daydream-y kind of gal. But, I can be realistic, and practical, and totally thoroughly logical. Its kind of like a tree, and how it has it’s leaves all up in the air, free and rustling with the wind, branches going every which way all wily-nily. That silly top of the tree with it’s head in the clouds. But that very same tree with the free- for-all leaves (and fruits and flowers, and etc!) also has roots that flow deep into the ground. It has a core. Its grows a new layer every year. It reminds me of someone who once told me that I was very head in the clouds-y and that to feel more grounded, I should close my eyes and imagine that my legs were a tree and to picture roots sprouting from the bottom of my feet and heading into the ground. Sometimes I do that; but mostly, I think it’s nice to think that you (and I mean we all) can be both. Each part needs the other to be.

See what I mean! The top of your head, your hair: Leaves! Ha! And, I’ve always thought it would be kind of fun to have a hat like that. I’m working on it.

This one makes me think of affection and human touch. How it lingers, and how energy spreads and sticks with you.

All pregnant ladies all over the world get the baby belly. It’s what comes next that’s interesting. I mostly thought of the recent article in the New York Times about mother’s in Germany and the ensuing commentary in the comment section regarding mothers and whether they should or should not work and governments do or don’t or should or shouldn’t support families. What’s best is a never-ending debate.

And, with that, I urge you to go check out more of Robert Kusterele’s work; it’s definitely interesting:

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Nature and the Beast : Scarlett Hooft Graafland

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I saw this image in one of the typical small squares on notcot and, at first, passed it by. I looked at it again, noting the curious red-orange of the igloo against the stark white of the background and admittedly was reminded of the character on Heroes who can freeze people into blocks of ice and then they shatter, their red insides are scattered blocks of ice. So, it seemed necessary to then click on the picture and see what that igloo was actually made of. Was is, in fact, something kind of gory?

Turns out: It’s orange lemonade. (!)

The photo is just one in Scarlett Hooft Graafland‘s series entitled “You Winter, let’s get divorced” (how can you not smile at that name?!). Ms. Graaftland spent four months hanging out with some Eskimos in northernmost Canada photographing nature and the culture that lives according to its whims. Nature rules pretty much everything there; something most of us are reminded of occasionally (snowstorms, hurricanes, etc), but generally take for granted. It turns out that this is one of Ms. Graaftland’s primary fascinations. I found reading her recent interview on “Don’t Panic” extremely interesting, as she explains:

“I am mostly interested how local people survive who live in such harsh circumstances – the Inuit in the extreme cold, endless winters on the one hand, and also these Bolivians who live in the Altiplano in the highlands of Bolivia. On the borders of the salt desert, it seems almost impossible to be able to make a living. I like to experience nature as such a strong force. We humans might think we ‘rule the world’ but at the end of the day we are just a tiny fraction.

I like to play with this idea in some of my photos, to place elements in the landscape and create odd relationships by combining the ‘man-made’ and the natural as a fragmented story. The fact that I grew up in The Netherlands where each piece of land is completely cultivated might be part of it. When you fly over the Dutch landscape it is totally divided in straight lines – nothing is left untouched. It makes you long for more ‘natural landscapes’.”

Personally, I love reading/hearing/seeing about people’s artistic processes (I loved seeing T. Murakami’s intense preparations for some of his pieces. The line drawings, the tiny color swatches, the little notes)((to me, it was almost more interesting)). And also about other cultures and ways of existing. So, it was lovely to get to read the back story on these pieces and see how the locals felt about it, reacted to it; what it was like to spend time in a world so extremely different from your own. Since I like writing and words and stories so much (and figuring out what makes people tick!), I find these sorts of things to be another great layer to the art. It can really help start/add to a discussion.

From her series in Bolivia, “Salt””

“The enormous white space invites almost like a drawing paper” – Scarlett Hooft Graafland

(Scarlett’s work will be showing at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London until March 29, 2009)

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