Mud is awesome!

Last weekend I went to the Earth Building Conference in Peel Forest, NZ. There was a great variety of very interesting lectures from some very inspiring people:

Themes covered included  passive house systems, earth plaster, a very fancy looking Pallet House project, history of straw & earth, earthquake assesments, building codes, a sustainable success story, prefabricated straw bale wall systems, log homes and of course EARTH!

Properties visited included an artists family strawbale home, a lanscape designers strawbale studio & nursery, a beautiful garden, a timber log prefab yard, a timber life & love story, and a kiwi down to earth strawbale construction.

 

These photos are taken on the house tour:

Smartest veggie patch I’ve seen…and it doubles as an animal shelter. Grow your vegetables in comfort! This is a good example for Form follows Function = Beauty

The landscapes designer’s studio sits well in the landscape. This is a straw bale construction.

Controlled crackling on an interior earth plastered wall containing cement. The plaster has been sprayed with water daily for a week from application.

Earth Plaster and Tadelakt on the kitchen wall. The Lamps are made fully from recycled materials.

A light earth plaster and a red Tadelakt wall. Tadelakt is a bright, nearly waterproof lime plaster which can be used on the inside of buildings and on the outside. Tadelakt is a Beber word meaning to rub…..tactile architecture!!

An exposed concrete and a smooth concrete floor. The stones are a nice massage on the feet. Architecture for the senses!!

Earth walls and a simple bath mixer tap.

A designer heated towel rail.

Recycled heated towel rail.

Timber logs

Weathered log cabin.

Door handle: reuse, recycle and renew

 

Body Prints

Thought I better mention that I did other things than paintings too. These are a series of prints I did a while ago, using linocut and wall paper. I did a few courses in print making over the years and really like it, but don’t have a printing press myself and therefore haven’t had the opportunity to really explore it in its depth. I do sometimes use a selftought hand printing technique in my paintings. I would love to explore monoprinting though, as that would suit my style and character most.

These prints are inspired by the human body, a theme all artists explore at some stage in their career:

Back 1

View from Back 1

View from Back 2 

View from Back 3

View from Back 4…Radiating

View from Back 5….. Radiating

View from Front

Back

Rainy Day

After a few of days great spring weather, we’re in for another storm and temperatures are dropping.

I like what the austrian artist and architect Hundertwasser used to say: ‘…rainy days are good days as one can work quietly.’

This is true, as it’s hard to concentrate on painting and being inside when ouside there is beautiful sunshine. But the dilemma is that paint doesn’t dry very well on cold wet days….and things take a great deal longer.

Though I always love a good storm, but after a couple of days I’m glad to see the sun again.

If I would have stayed living in a big city this wouldn’t matter, as there is no great outdoors to be taken advantage off at good weather, nor gardens needing to be looked after.

 

Granny’s Lumpensammlung

Granny's Lumpen

My Gandma is a very special and amazing Lady. She’s about to turn 90 and still rules the house, even though she has a hard time walking around. She lived through the war and that formed her for the rest of her life. Nothing ever gets thrown out if still a smidgen of life left in it. Her house hasn’t changed since I can remember. Most things I played with as a kid are still there for my nieces and nephews to play with. When I stay at her place I sleep in the children’s room on the original three piece mattress. In the drawers are the baby clothes we all wore. A lego castle, we all played with, sits on top of the wardrobe, and a fabric bunny sits on the chair….he’s one of my earlier memories. When I enter my grandma’s house I feel like coming home, a feeling which I deeply cherish. It’s a sense of familiarity and belonging and there is an inherent beauty in it.

My granny loves order and cleanness. She will clean her bathroom every day and scrub the shower after every use, no matter what time of the night. She also has a very thorough way of dealing with her washing. Friday nights are dedicated to it……other people would spend it in the pub or with a glass of wine, but she will spend all night preparing the washing, mending, ironing, etc…often till the next morning. Needless to say she is a night person, while I am off with the fairys long before!!

You needed to know a little about her to understand the beauty of her ‘Lumpensammlung’ as my mum and her sister call it. A Lumpen is a rag, and my granny has a beautiful collection of them. They start of as towels or dishcloth or anything else, and than eventually become a cleaning rag. These will be mended, often till there is nothing of the original fabric left. Often they get stitched together like patchwork or doubled up for another lifespan. The family tried to rid her of this beautiful collection and gave her modern throw away rags, but they just got kept in the cupboard for the next generation, neatly folded away. She just can’t justify to throw away a perfectly good rag. I think it may give her a sense of satisfaction and being, a sense of worth. I guess you could call my grandmother a visionary of the sustainability movement which is getting very popular at the moment.

Anyway, when I saw her using these beautiful pieces of art for cleaning, I asked her if I could have them, as they are amazing pieces of art in their inherent beauty. They just talk by themselves. This is the story of the ‘Lumpensammlung’, which now features in my paintings about houses and homes. They tell a common story.

 

Body Alignment

I went to a fabulous birthday party a couple of days ago and danced a lot…. Loved it. Natty cat and her friend Ben were playing and the music was just too good to stop dancing. The theme was ‘furry and formal’ and even though I had a choice of dresses I could were, I didn’t have any shoes!! Not true, I got 2 pairs of runners, 2 pairs of bike shoes, climbing boots, trekking boots, Flip flops, Crooks etc…..and I got one pair of fancy boots with a small heel. Very comfortable to walk and stand around in….and quite good to dance in. But my knee, which I was operated some time ago, started hurting sometime during the night on the dance floor…..  I had danced a lot on a previous party and had had no problem, as I was dancing in flat shoes or even barefoot at the time. But since I was formal I didn’t get out of my boots….should have worn my furry slippers instead!

Well, the next day I could hardly walk.

Now this makes me think!!!!! High heels must be just incredible bad for our body! It changes the allignment of the forces going through the knee and different points than normal get stressed. These are not used to take these forces and eventually give in. Scary!  WOW…..and why do we wear them?

In Yoga we look a lot into alignment of the body and try adjusting it for the forces to travel freely, to avoid pain and harm to the body.

I don’t even like wearing heels …..