Thursday, December 23, 2010
Words and pictures by Jonny Hannah, Walker books.
Link for Jonny on agency website: http://www.heartagency.com/artist/JonnyHannah/gallery/1
"Jonny Hannah was born & bred in Dunfermline, in the kingdom of Fife. He studied illustration at Liverpool Art School, where he was taught by the legendary Peter Bailey, & then The Royal College of Art. Since he graduated in 1998, he has constantly worked as an illustrator in most fields."
If you are blind with ego and imagine yourself to be powerful, then you are not able to align your true weak human abilities to the powers of nature. Once you connect with the task as yourself, a faltering human, I think, then you are able to listen for some of those ways nature uses, and in using them as well, find strength.
detail of landscape in larger artist impression I am working on
Saturday, December 18, 2010
By the way, the tomatoes from that last "gardening log" post didn't do too well. I still have so much to learn! I have Xanthe White's organic gardening book ready though.
Having a worm farm is pretty easy most of the time, you just throw in food scraps, and once in awhile I add torn up pizza boxes or newspaper and toss everything in that layer round and round wearing rubber gloves. But when it gets totally full and you need to remove compost-- or more accurately, remove worms from the compost --that's a different story.
But I have found a lazier, easier method that I use, and although I don't always feel like starting, I always feel really healthy and envigorated while I am doing it-- clearing out and getting all that nutrient rich compost actually feels really great. You sort of get into this earthy, green thumb vibe, and then you get into distributing all the nutrient rich compost to your garden plants. It gives you energy.
My lazy way is to pour the layers that are ready into a large container (like an empty rubbish bin, or a plastic tub) and pour in alot of water. I used to get worms out quickly by pouring the water through a colander (no, they don't drown during this process), but now I found it's really quick just to drag something through the water to dredge out most of the worms (and anything else that you don't want to pour on your plants. Your garden won't mind the compost diluted with water, it's just very nutrient-rich water that the plants can access instantly, and IT'S REALLY FAST. As disgusting as it is I have found a simple potato masher dragged through the brew will drag out a large number of worms, than you just sluice them back into your worm farm layer that is staying. Worms tend to hold onto an object dragged through the water. (Try dragging a stick, you'll see.) A potato masher has alot of places for them to hold onto.
That's my trick! Here are some photos of us doing it, with Troy volunteering as worm farming apprentice.
I am still really enjoying the gift-making theme. One thing our family seriously loves doing is making things. Christmas my entire life has always involved late nights, using gifts as an excuse to create something, or paint something. Making things involves alot of energy and motivation and bravery to use your skills, especially with artistic endeavours-- when I was making something for someone I loved, this helped me to do it at all. Also, I had a supportive reception. Anyways, also loving buying proper materials and tools, it's not all spartan. I used Christmas as an excuse to buy well made scissors. We've been using a piece of crap for years.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
I find myself looking up words to carols to sing the kids at bedtime, finding Christmas spirit that way. It's really really cool.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
ADDING OR CUTTING USING A CIRCLE: After having created a few tapering swirlies, you can cut using simple circle shape and the Pathfinder tool. Or you can add the ball, which does the same but to your negative space. Know what I mean?
I can also just create a regular stroked line (not stroked with a tapered brush shape), expand that [Object then Expand or Expand Appearance], and just manually adjust the width of the shape's edges. Here I used the spiral tool.
Below, I created a shape to fill the space between the two swirls. Then I selected the shape, chose the eraser tool, set the size of the eraser brush to a small size and stroked the shape evenly with the eraser. (How cool is it that you can erase vector shapes? Another cool way to draw.)
My biggest advice for vector drawing anything in Illustrator or other such programs is to keep the shape loose in the beginning. Don't draw it perfectly as you go, you will just waste energy! As you get used to the pen tool, you can roughly make points for how many you need to make the curves you need, and how many you will need. Although your shape starts out wonky, you will control them in a moment using the Direct Selection (white arrow) tool.
Lately I've been "committing" to a shape. Instead of having many separate shapes, but which look like one (in case you want to change or go back) I've been truly merging shapes so it's one as-simple-as-possible vector, which is a beautiful thing. (Also great for printing T-shirts.)
Saturday, November 27, 2010
So, should I become active politically to plead for city zoning laws to change? How do I make a home on land???
The area where we would love to live is currently near a huge forest, and estuary. The forested area is zoned for development, and we all know, it won't be long. There is also a huge bridge in the plans which will cut through the estuary, through the neighbourhood. This is the most "wild" place we could find that we could afford to live.
Even in the real story of Laura Wilder, in her books "The little house on the prairie", the family made a home just beyond the wave of settlement. But now, we are carving up every metre.
The people of the future will reintroduce greenery where they can, and strike a balance. I am going to move there, and fight for all the wildness that I can.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
I copied and pasted the original story as follows from the LA Times website, including their photo, link: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/11/la-county-passes-sweeping-ban-on-plastic-bags.html
L.A. County passes sweeping ban on plastic bags
Enacting one of the nation's most aggressive environmental measures, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to ban plastic grocery bags in unincorporated areas of the county.
The vote was 3-1, supported by Supervisors Gloria Molina, Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Zev Yaroslavsky, and opposed by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. Supervisor Don Knabe was absent.
The ban, which will cover nearly 1.1 million residents countywide, is to the point: “No store shall provide to any customer a plastic carryout bag.” An exception would be made for plastic bags that are used to hold fruit, vegetables or raw meat in order to prevent contamination with other grocery items.
"If grocers choose to offer paper bags, they must sell them for 10 cents each, according to the ordinance. The revenue will be retained by the stores to purchase the paper bags and educate customers about the law.
“Plastic bags are a pollutant. They pollute the urban landscape. They are what we call in our county urban tumbleweed,” Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said.
Mark Gold, president of the Santa Monica environmental group Heal the Bay, said previous county efforts to promote recycling of plastic bags at grocery stores was a failure.
“You cannot recycle your way out of the plastic bag problem,” Gold said. “The cost of convenience can no longer be at the expense of the environment.”
The measure is a significant win for environmental groups, which suffered a major defeat in Sacramento at the end of August with the failure of the state Senate to pass a sweeping plastic bag ban that won the support of the state Assembly and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger amid heavy and costly lobbying by plastic bag manufacturers.
Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich raised the prospect that small mom-and-pop shops could suffer financially because they won’t be able to buy paper and reusable bags in great volume, and could force low-income people to buy bags to pick up pet waste or carry their lunch.
“At a time of economic uncertainty, with a large number of businesses leaving our state and community this would not be an appropriate time ... to impose this additional regulation,” Antonovich said.
Opponents of the ban told the supervisors that a legal challenge to the ban is still a possibility.
With the Tuesday vote, L.A. County’s measure is more stringent than similar bans adopted elsewhere in California, Gold said.
San Francisco’s ban, which passed three years ago, is less restrictive because it still permits grocers to offer bioplastic bags made from corn starch, which are imperfect because they also do not degrade in the ocean, Gold said. Bans in San Francisco and Malibu also do not add a surcharge on paper bags, Gold said, which does not give consumers an incentive to switch to reusable cloth bags.
Washington, D.C., decided to tackle the issue not with a ban on any kind of bag, but a 5-cent surcharge per any item of disposable bag.
Gold, however, said an outright ban will be more effective on reducing the 6 billion plastic bags that are used in L.A. County every year, which according to the county, account for 25% of the litter picked up here.
Government figures show that just 5% of plastic bags are recycled.
Last week, the American Chemistry Council, one of the chief opponents of the ban, warned L.A. County leaders that the proposed ordinance and fee on paper bags fall under the voting requirements of Proposition 26. The initiative, which passed this month, reclassifies most regulatory fees on industry as "taxes" requiring a two-thirds vote in government bodies or in public referendums, rather than a simple majority.
County Counsel Andrea Ordin said Tuesday that the 10-cent surcharge on paper bags is not a fee covered by Prop. 26 because the revenue is being kept by the grocers and not directed to a government agency.
Monday, November 1, 2010
I feel artists pick up, and channel messages bigger than them.
Here are the words, as I want to really listen to them. But just listen to it k.
Well I think it's fine, building jumbo planes.
Or taking a ride on a cosmic train.
Switch on summer from a slot machine.
Yes, get what you want to if you want, 'cause you can get anything.
I know we've come a long way,
We're changing day to day,
But tell me, where do the children play?
Well you roll on roads over fresh green grass.
For your lorry loads pumping petrol gas.And you make them long, and you make them tough.
But they just go on and on, and it seems that you can't get off.
Oh, I know we've come a long way,
We're changing day to day,
But tell me, where do the children play?
Well you've cracked the sky, scrapers fill the air.
But will you keep on building higher
'til there's no more room up there?
Will you make us laugh, will you make us cry?
Will you tell us when to live, will you tell us when to die?
I know we've come a long way,
We're changing day to day,
But tell me, where do the children play?
As a mother, all I do is herd my children beside and away from roads. They can't run free outside because of roads (or developed space). So I really understand this. I also realize by my instincts, how much they need to be running around in a country wild setting, outdoors, in the grass and trees. Because there isn't that space.
It's about our culture's belief that we have come to a great place in our culture, but actually, what do we lose? I challenge this assumption. What we lose when we develop everything is of far greater value. Freedom, wildness, birds...forts...being somewhere outside ourselves.
(Another amazing song of Cat Steven's is of course Father and Son.)
P.S. Also check out Ben Harper's Better Way.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
All the images are small "details", as I can't show the wide pages of the book here.
The book is meant to be about farming and how it has changed over time, but it has a very strong gleam of meaning about sustainable living. The book shows the same spot over the centuries, so you can see at a moment what took ages to experience. Some things are clearer at that speed as well. The first stage is "Clearing the land", 800 (England). We clear away forest to grow crops, and the forest provides building materials, fuel and many other things. We grow food on a farm surrounded by woodland. People rent land from a lord, who owns everything.
In the next stage, "Two hundred years later, the country looks much the same, but there are fewer trees." You can see stands of trees everywhere, and cleared areas. The lord cuts down trees at will to use. It's really interesting how they make their clothes from flax (linen) and sheep's wool and cook on a fire in the house. Lots of skilled work to do and everyone is working together.
"The farmer's wife spins the wool into coarse thread on a spindle, then weaves the thread into fabric on a big loom. The woollen fabric will make warm clothes and blankets. The girl is winding flax onto a distaff, ready to spin into fine linen thread. Underclothes are often made of linen as it is less scratchy than wool.
"Inside the house, a fire burns brightly on the stone hearth. The farmer's wife bakes flat loaves of bread for the family on the hot hearthstones. Meat and thick, filling soups are boiled in the pot hanging over the fire."
A few hundred years later, the men repair hawthorn hedges that line the fields, they've been there for hundreds of years but need to be reworked and repaired.
"The men are warm despite the bitter cold. Their homespun tunics and leggings are made from coarsely woven wool, held together with leather thongs. They wear stout leather boots and felt hats to keep their heads warm, and around their waists they carry leather flasks of ale for refreshment."
1300A new house is being built by the farmer, but unfortunately, "In the countryside beyond, most of the woodland has been cut down, but a few mature trees still grow in the hedgerows." So, what was once woodland remains in the cracks and grooves of the land.
Just that. A little gleam, the farmer becomes quite prosperous, the pages follow with illustrations of dairy farming, making cheese (in a press) and so on. Later with a soul-less flutter there is the tractor sitting there on the lonely farm and no more people. No community drinking ale and fixing the hedgerows!
Well, this is the way of life that our current way life is based upon. Just notice the trees.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Update October 2012 - since this post I bought my son a tshirt from their organization to support them, and will be going to an Auckland fundraiser (expensive) event soon, to support the cause of protecting whales. (It just makes me sick that people are still killing them!)
Sunday, July 4, 2010
2. Believe in yourself. Not too much, and not too little. The craftsman's edge is the humbleness, and critical eye, but also you have to believe in magic. Always be aware of how you are feeling-- know your nature-- curb yourself if necessary, urge yourself if necessary! Make a leap.
3. Good enough. Don't be perfectionist, you won't be able to move on. Just do "good enough". You'll get in the flow then, and when you are in a higher flow, will go back and fix easily what you now can, naturally.
4. Listen, listen, all the time. Otherwise, what is the point? I often find myself knowing I should do one thing, and ignoring it for a minute-- but a minute later I change it, as I know I should listen.
5. All the time, you can work on your discipline and patience. If you are about to work, but have to do the dishes first, but feel impatient-- do the dishes! After all, that is how you will work.
It's worth it. After all, what could be better than being the universe's pencil?
Saturday, July 3, 2010
I recently ran across this meteorology book with a really simple way to cut out a six-sided snowflake! You just use a compass (I used a mug) to make a circle, and then you fold it in half, then into a third (see image below) towards the middle. Then you fold it out and just cut out the inbetween spaces between the fold lines. (I think you fold it in half again to cut out the decoration along the edges to ensure greater symmetry.)
Credit: Meteorology by Graham Peacock, Wayland Publishers, East Sussex, England (1994). Credit: Snowflake Cut-out by Savannah Dale.
Here is another diagram that shows how snowflakes are formed that I found on the web, "Snowflake Morphology" (Translation: How snowflakes change.)
I don't know enough meteorology to understand it fully, but I get a gist from this diagram! They turn out different ways due to different conditions.
The amazing photo at the top of this blog was photographed by Kenneth Libbrecht, a professor of physics at California Institute of Technology. He photographs snowflakes in the field and in his lab. To see more snowflake photos, go to
You can also learn more about the snowflake types! The beautiful crystals we picture when we think of snowflakes are called stellar dendrites.
A great find! Ok, I found it awhile ago, but I wasn't blogging then! (Or finishing any goal quickly, let alone sharing something in a simple, finite way. I ran across Eternal Creation awhile ago, clothing made by tailors in Dharamsala- the home of Tibetan refugees, and the Dalai Lama. I loved the Tibetan-western fusion clothing and amazing design, but couldn't afford the clothes. But I DID order something called a "Tibetan Children's Colouring Book. It really is the ornate drawings of monks, that your child can colour in. It's so special. Definitely something I love for my children to soak up.
Click here to order a "Tibetan Children Colouring Book" from Eternal Creation. If the link gets changed, it's at www.eternalcreation.com, then Gift Ideas , then Children's Books.
No matter what is going on
Never give up
Too much energy in your country
Instead of the heart
Work for peace
In your heart and in the world
Work for Peace
And I say again
Never give up
No matter what is going on around you
Never give up
- H.H. The Dalai Lama
BOYCOTT CHINESE GOODS
Saturday, June 26, 2010
All his writing is painfully hard. In the trade he is classified in the bleeder category, agonizing over every syllable. He dodges the obvious question, "Which comes first, the drawing or the writing?" One seems to challenge the other. An obsk should look like an obsk, if not, to the guillotine. Apparently "Judge Seuss" makes the right decisions for the text and drawings are happily compatible.
"Each book takes about a year," he says. "I put my working drawings on my study wall, work on something else, and eventually as I pass by I detect what's wrong. But the best thing to do is to go to
He means it. He was stuck on The Lorax. His wife Audrey said, "Forget it. Let's go to
"The only piece of paper I had at hand was a laundry list, but I used it to outline the book. The structure was there. It had nothing to do with the elephants as such. The scene just triggered the plot. The logjam was broken. I've tried to do it since but it hasn't worked. Perhaps the clue is complete relaxation to let the subconscious in."
He pooh-poohs the word "genius" when applied to him, saying, "If I were, I wouldn't have to work so darn hard."
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Release date: 6 September 2003 (2003-09-06) (Toronto Film Festival)
Nominated for an Academy Award in 2005 Best Documentary
Nowadays, mankind plunders the earth more and more in search of her treasures
This drives the spirits away...that should protect us from bad weather and from diseases
We have to remember that we are not the last generation on earth...
Now we'll pray for forgiveness so that the spirits may come back"
ALL people used to think this way. According to the quick research I just did, the Mongolian people are generally Buddhist. A "Lama" led this ritual. (FYI-"Dalai" means Ocean, so "Dalai Lama" means Ocean of Wisdom.)
Also I really enjoyed what they said about TV when the young boy was asking his Dad for a TV after seeing it for the first time on his trip. His grandfather said:
"You don't need that. You'd spend the whole day watching the glass images.
That's no good."
The "ger" was so colourful, and perfect for the conditions of the place, the windstorms that arose. The film showed it naturally, you could imagine being comfortable there, living there yourself. In an interview afterwards (on the DVD) Luigi Falorni says that it was a conscious choice not to create the film of the "exotic nomad", which included the shock of butchering an animal etc, or the other common portrayal was the intellectual and critical examination of their culture, as in women's roles, etc. When the Mongolian director Byambasuren Davaa told him of the ritual that they had, the Hoos ritual to bond the mother to a calf she has rejected, he loved the simplicity of the story. I loved the way they made this documentary too.
I am just so curious about how we are meant to live, how these people live, and they were so magical in their realness. They were just natural, the mother singing to her little toddler, as I do, when I follow my instincts. All the beauty in the documentary was a beauty we find through everything. And that I also yearn for that is missing in the modern life that we have chosen.
When they came to the town, with it's material benefits, you also just lost all that colour they had, and beauty they had in their nomadic lifestyle.
I am fascinated by what I know we are missing.
Here is what looks like a Mongolian website about itself: http://www.mongoluls.net/mongolia.shtml
Ten Black Sins
To kill any animal. To steal, betray. To exploit other people. By mouth. To lie. To swear, scold or call names. To slender. By spirit and heart. To be greedy for status, money and fame. To envy. To be stingy. To be mistrustful and unsociable.
Ten White Charities
Always save the life of any animal. Be generous and openhanded. Talk with good manners. Don't gossip. Be peaceful. Don't lie -- only tell things that have really occurred. Don't say bad words. Don't deceive. Don't have a disputing heart. Don't allow a greedy spirit. Don't have a bad opinion about other people.