Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Salad Days

I’m lucky in the respect I like the proverbial ‘diet’ food: Salad.

Whilst at primary school my request for a salad as opposed to the ‘chicken nuggets/chips’ caused such a ruckus in the staffroom that my parents were telephoned. Partly because of the memory of this salad has therefore always seemed a bit rock and roll, the forbidden food.
I like the colours/texture and formation of a salad on a plate, it looks like a small wilderness ready to be ransacked by my eager fork. But, I have one proviso- it has to be an ‘exciting’ salad. None of your limp lettuce leaves, squishy tomatoes etc. it has to zing in my mouth.
It is possible to roll a number of leaves together (cigar style) and taste the ghost of a dressing just by the leaves alone. Lettuce varies as much in size as it does flavour, therefore it is possible to get the component tastes of a French dressing by combining lemon/pepper/unctuous flavoured leaves together on one plate.  
My recent Amazon order has included a couple of salad books to inspire my palate, so excited to become inspired again. Caravaggio Caesar anyone? 

Found in translation

I fold paper. I love to fold paper and when I choose the paper I like to do so as if I’m choosing fabric for a favourite dress. To continue this analogy, origami pieces in their purest form are a collection of pockets and I try not to ever buy a dress without pockets. My default stance is to incline, hands in pockets quite often re-finding a piece of origami I’d forgotten about in the said pocket. The firm texture of the origami piece is as reassuring as neatly folded washing piled in our tiny airing cupboard. Tight, bound, and re-strained.
I like to fold a collection of modular pieces of origami to interconnect into a larger piece often looking like a mathematical model. This makes me happy. I struggled with Maths as a child, I’d much rather cup my arm around my head and write a story. Mathematics didn’t make sense until I had a lovely teacher in Prep school. He was so quiet and measured that there was a process to what he taught and for once it made sense. Whenever I click the final segment into the end unit I think, yes this is my offering to the Maths teacher who eased the knot in my stomach regarding algebra.
This is where I get my love of solving puzzles. Although frustrating, I enjoy trying to crack a hard origami piece and this is often more taxing when the instructions are only in photographs.  I sometimes search for pieces on Japanese websites and although the instructions are a mystery to me, there is a delicious enigma to be found in the images.
To crack this and insert the final piece in the model is exquisite. I’ve always liked the idea of sourcing scrap paper to build a model and recycle the waste paper that ends up on my desk. It feels permissible to fold occasionally at my desk. Unlike many hobbies it’s unobtrusive and I consider it a healthy ‘smoking’ allowance time.  Five minutes here and there…..

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

What’s your mood: board?

There is a wonderful scene from Amélie (2001 romantic comedy film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet) and if you haven’t seen it, I implore you do so without further ado, where Amélie’s parents empty their respective hand/bags, vacuum the inside and then repack them. It’s a beautifully captured scene and one I understand completely. I think there is a fascination regarding what people pack in their everyday bags etc. To line the contents with military precision and then photograph it has become a micro-version of keeping up with the Jones’
Whilst this idea does tick a few of my nosey boxes, it is the idea of artists/illustrators/writers mood boards or walls that does it for me. Whilst growing up my parents were generous enough to allow me to paste inspirational pictures/quotes/letters/slogans onto my bedroom wall. Over the years the wall updated with different artist’s postcards or exhibition invitations. I’ve always liked the idea of slicing through a section of this wall, not unlike sawing a cross-section of a tree trunk, to see the interwoven and progressive images- as akin to my DNA as my genetic disposition.
A designer I greatly admire is: Victoire de Castellane, well I admire her wall. The colours and combinations of kitsch and Dior style often leaves me as excited as the creational result itself.  I think like this, I need to process by placing ideas, concepts on a large wall. The great achievements in my life have come from kernels borne of a mood board.
Maybe this is the idea of a ‘book prescription’ again, but a more visual example. To bring together visual representations of what it is you need is a more immediate form of literary enlightenment.

Orig. (ami) sightings:

One of the reasons for this blog was to chronicle my desire to start making modular origami. My love of origami exploded when I was a child and even now, I feel calm whilst I have a small piece of paper between my fingers to fold. In the previous blog I questioned what my identity was, origami is a definite part. A lasting legacy will be she was good with paper….an epitaph me thinks. Or maybe light the touch paper and run….ok enough now.
A sneaky love is looking out for origami pieces captured in the background of films, this makes me squeak with excitement to the point to ‘Art man’ has to cup his ear for fear of deafness.  
But I’d like to link a beautiful piece of animation which makes my point more clearly than I can. The animator Joaquin Baldwin’s film is exquisite in its origami philosophy (the soundtrack ain’t bad either):  

Thursday, 5 April 2012

The importance of being Wallis

It’s a fact that I am, have been, surrounded by very strong women.

These women are touchstones for every aspect of my life: home, academic, style, philosophy and love etc. I don’t make this statement as a detriment to the men in my life just I look to these women as beacons to compare my own life with, especially as I start to realise I’m doing alright.

As I’ve mentioned before in this Blog, I’m still searching for a style niche. I’m regarded as being fashion aware and if someone I work with was to describe me they’d say: “funny, glam, stubborn and booky” (I’m not conceited, I just asked a work colleague and that is what he bravely said-from the other side of the desk). However, if I ever have to do something official, important or difficult I have a guise that I don. Black, red lips/nails, pearls and/or bling. This is me, as much as Earl Grey tea, listening to Billie Holiday, scrawly handwriting, over usage of the word ‘lovely’ or love of dusty bookshops. The women I look to and return to for confirmation are pictured above, each unique and terribly glamorous. 
I sometimes sit at my dressing table methodically brushing my hair only to say to the ‘Art man’ if only I looked like Wallis/Blow/Coco. To which he’ll respond: ‘they had money and other people to do things for them’ whilst this is true and I thank the ‘Art man’ for his truth, I still wonder what I can do to rub a little of their magic on me. So I’ve found a compromise….Ms Hepburn.

Simple in her taste and style; kind with her words and loving to her family. Now that’s the role model for me.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Head(ing) to Spaghetti Junction:

I find it very difficult to state what it is I am defined by these days. I look around and loved ones seem to have it sorted, granted not all of them are overly happy in a portion of their life triangle (work, home, life) but they are reliably them no matter what time of day. The Art man can be found more often than not blogging/drawing/listening to bizarre music, my Mum preparing work for her role as a teacher/reading about the latest techie piece or edgy fashion; my Dad is systematic in his actions rather than specific action. When I was living at home still I liked the sound of my Dad at work, albeit the muffled radio from the garage whilst he was tinkering, the Bob Dylan music on a Saturday morning with ad hoc ‘sirtos’ dance moves or even now the ‘wipe down’ of the kitchen work surfaces makes me feel everything is well in the world.

The latter practice is something I adopt when feeling stressed. Needless to say, I’m not sorted- far from it. I have an idea and whoosh it’s the next best thing and I’m flying with the hope that this new ‘fad’ will change my life and it’s the thing I’ve been searching for all my life. Just this weekend whilst The Art Man was on one of his many constitutionals ( Note to reader, both the art man and I are Welsh and as such, wherever we are we have to walk to the highest point to survey and get our bearings. In Cheshire this is more of a challenge but ambitious molehills often suffice) and I decided to minimalize (again) my possessions. I say mine because I don’t have either the strength or gin supply to contemplate the Art man’s paraphernalia. So with the ambition to create organised calm I attempted to don Dad’s organiser superpowers. The result was far from perfect and I ended up lying on a milieu of clothes not unlike Alice after she’s tumbled down the rabbit hole unto a pile of debris. To add insult to injury our adoptive cat, Pickle, sort to either comfort/patronise me by further by curling up on top of the mountain of clothes and falling asleep facing away from me.
Heaven for me would be to have wall to wall kitchen cupboards with their own little boxes (individually labelled of course) with everything in its place. But maybe I should look at individually labelling me first to understand why, to use our feline lodger’s name; I get into such a pickle myself….answers on a postcard and all that.