Monday, October 25, 2010

Just a quick non-post

The kids are on their half-term break from school. No plans to travel anywhere. I'm remodelling Clara's room, have a lot on my mind and lots of work. I'm also in the thick of a very challenging personal project. Not much time to blog or leave meaningful comments on my favourite blogs (which I miss!) I vent my very little left-over energy in the kitchen, cooking with my girls. Yesterday was a TOTAL PIG-OUT DAY.

In the picture: Clara's scrumptious banana muffins and Ana's world's best chocolate brownies. Not in the picture: my spice and Port wine cake (it was still in the oven). Preps for Hubby's birthday party next week.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I spy with my little eye

Still uncarved
Fruit of the season: pumpkins and Egremont Russet apples.
(Yes, the pumpkins are still uncarved.)

Campus OU

Seeing red can be good.

Slices of my Autumn quotidian.

I will be away for a few days.

Monday, October 18, 2010

For Whom the Bell Tolls

St Mary's Church

As the bells of St Mary's pierce the heavy silence of this bleak morning, John Donne's words spring into my mind:

Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

St. Mary's church is a positive factor in my life, even though I don't attend it and am not religious in the traditional sense.


Mystical Church

Shenley Church End, Church of St. Mary

Last night it snowed a lot (6)

Last night it snowed a lot (10)

Shenley Church End - St. Mary's Church

The Church of St Mary, in Shenley Church End, dates from about 1150 and originally comprised of chancel, nave, north and south transepts and perhaps a central tower. About 1190 the chancel was rebuilt and the only parts of the original structure remaining are the transepts and the west wall of the nave, at this time the south aisle was added.

Much work took place on the structure in the 14th and 15th centuries. The large five-light window was added in 1490 which has been considerably repaired. At the west end is a pointed door of the 14th century and above is a large 15th century of five cinquefoiled lights under a four-centred head, all extensively repaired. In the north aisle is a large monument to Thomas Stafford of Tattenhoe (d1607).

The tower contains a ring of six bells; the treble is modern, while the second and third are by Newcome, 1615 and 1616 respectively, and the fourth and fifth by Bartholomew Atton, 1593 and 1610. The tenor, which bears the inscription 'Missi De Celis Abeo Nomen Amen Gabrelis,' was probably cast by Robert Burford in the early 15th century. There is also a small bell with no inscription, but probably of the 17th century.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ernesto Neto

Last night I became fascinated with the Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto. The photos of his installations and sculptures completely blew me away for their originality and for the bewildering mix of revulsion and empathy I felt on an almost visceral level as I browsed through his work. His art is abstract, but it's not only visual: it creates environments and brings "interactivity" to a new level. I read that people love going to see his exhibits because these somehow manage to fill observers with the warm fuzzies and creep them out at the same time. I can't wait to go to one and it's unfortunate that I just missed experiencing his work at the Hayward Gallery in London this summer, my daughters and I would have loved it, I'm sure.

Ernesto Neto has a peculiar approach to space and the body. Rio de Janeiro, his native city, epitomizes the conflict between nature and culture and this has shaped his art. His sculptures often deal with the tensions exerted by gravity on skin-thin materials and his installations often take up the entire exhibition space. He uses gossamer-thin, light, stretchable fabrics in nylon or cotton that resemble fine membranes and  fixes them to the ceiling by long, stretched threads so that his works hang down into the room, creating shapes that are almost organic. Sometimes they are filled with scented spices and hang in tear-shaped forms like gigantic mushrooms or huge soft, blobby, stretchy membrane-like things. He also creates peculiar soft sculptures which the visitor is allowed to feel through small openings in the surface or even wear. His spatial labyrinths further encourage the visitor to experience his work and interact with it. The experience must be very pleasant and unique.

His monumental 2006 installation Leviathan Thot at the Pantheon in Paris was supposed to "contrast the animality of a tulle-and-polystyrene creature suspended under the dome of the Pantheon, with the weight of History and the cultural layers of this landmark".  It looks absolutely mind blowing.

Leviathan Thot, 2006
Leviathan Thot, 2006
Leviathan Thot, 2006 
Other works

Breathing the Voyage, an interactive work incorporating camomile and lavender 
(photo by the Guardian), 2010
While nothing happens, 2008
While nothing happens, 2008
Circleproteitemple, 2010, photo by the Guardian
Horizonmembranenave, 2010, photo by the Guardian.
The edge of the world, 2010 - photo by the Guardian

Otheranimal, 2006

Ernesto Neto in his studio
Ernesto Neto in his studio

PS - None of the pictures in this post I mine; sorry if I don't credit all of them, they were obtained from a lot of different internet sites through Google Images. If I've used one of your photos and you'd like me to remove it, please drop me a line.

The portraits of Ernesto Neto are by Jacob Langvad Nilsson, and are copyrighted to him. Please take a look at his gorgeous site here: 

Thursday, October 14, 2010