Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Living Well Is the Best Revenge

This weekend, a ‘Bank Holiday’ weekend in the UK, we decided to pop into Oxfam Books for a mooch and I stumbled upon a book which this Blog post is dedicated to. “Living well is the best revenge” is the memoirs of Gerald and Sara Murphy, champions of the ‘Lost generation’ writers.
Upon a recommendation we recently saw Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’ and it ignited a forgotten teenage interest in: Hemmingway, Stein and the Fitzgeralds’ crowd. The book title was a beacon in a collection of ‘arghhhh’ moments this month.

The advent of social networking sites has wormed its time-sapping way into my mind. I like to catch-up with friends/colleagues’ news but I often find that the time I’d like to be dedicating to creative pursuits is marred by update reading. This fascination with other people’s lives often leaves me feeling, ‘Blimey, they’re achieving so much, travelling to so many places, experiencing a life that I’m not conscious of.’ This acknowledgement is sometimes shocking because it makes me question my own life in comparison.

The ‘Art man’ and I live a good life, a quiet but good life. We enjoy theatre trips, eating out in exquisite restaurants, reading, talking, creating, seeing good friends sporadically and we’re both very close to our families. In a time when we’re trying to streamline/minimalise our creative endeavours, our social/familial life is there already.

So perhaps the Murphy’s title is fitting and something we’ll endeavour to continue to do in the face of such ambitious activity online…..

A room of one’s own (to fold)….

The nature of platonic/modular origami means stepping, although tentatively, into the world that is mathematical formulae. I may have hinted in a previous post that this is an unknown and often confusing land that I can’t seem to relate the pleasurable act of folding with.  I often look at a new model (paper form) for quite a while before starting, re-reading the images and miming the folds with ghost paper between my fingers. I do find doing this eases the frustration when attempting it in real time, as do the little notes I annotate new instructions with.

I remember reading an article written by Nigella Lawson about how she was left her Grand/Mum’s old recipe books when they’d died.  A recipe book is as much a social commentary as any found in the Lancet: finance, frustration, families etc. but all the more accessible as it is written in a familiar hand.   I am a natural cook. I suppose that instinct comes from learning by mistake; there have been a number of inedible meals produced by these origami-active hands that for want of a better phrase have to be put down as an experience.  Now I like the challenge of producing a meal fit for the ‘Art man’ out of fridge remnants. I enjoy that. In much the same way I enjoy forming paper modules for bits of paper that arrive in the slipstream of junk mail that arrives daily. I separate the paper/envelopes into 3 piles:
1st: Urgent post to be dealt with 
2nd: Crap to be recycled 
3rd: Crap but with potential to be folded into something beautiful.

The only issue with the art of Origami is just that, appreciating it as an art as opposed to a craft. After a productive day I’m left with a plethora of forms that just sit there on our table looking unkempt. The ‘Art man’ can produce a painting and as it sits on the coffee table in its noble sketchpad there is almost an arty/elevator soundtrack to accompany it. Uber-cool!   My paper forms look as if a German designer has opened his Dyson and stuff has fallen out.

So, I plan on solving this dilemma. I like the form of hung origami (think 1000s of cranes) or paper tessellated quilts, strung across a wall. I’m lucky in the respect that I have near enough carte blanche to display work in our home, really the walls would be better if I did. But my idea is to decorate with folded wallpaper on the walls or generic landscapes turned into the leaf/tree design the paper started off from.
Wish me luck… 

Below the water's surface.

There are a collection of quotes in Du Maurier’s:  Rebecca relating to postcards:

“I did not answer him, for I was thinking of that self who long ago bought a picture postcard in a village shop, and came out into the bright sunlight twisting it in her hands, pleased with her purchase, thinking "This will do for my album. "Manderley", what a lovely name.' And now I belonged here, this was my home.”

“I leant back in my chair, glancing about the room, trying to instil into myself some measure of confidence, some genuine realisation that I was here, at Manderley, the house of the picture postcard, the Manderley that was famous. I had to teach myself that all this was mine now, mine as much as his, the deep chair I was sitting in, that mass of books stretching to the ceiling, the pictures on the walls, the gardens, the woods, the Manderley I had read about, all of this was mine now because I was married to Maxim.”

“There was a postcard of the Lake of Geneva leaning against it. The Bakers had friends in Switzerland”

At the same time I listened to ‘Rebecca’ on an audio book my Dad bought me a postcard collection of seascapes. I love this book of seas, from calm to stormy-scapes each one felt as if it would start leaking sea water if I was to move the postcard too quickly. The love of these postcards materialises in my love of looking for these singular pieces of card in films, paintings and especially the post-box.
The paintings of Samantha French are so evocative I often find myself looking at them during a work break to refresh my work weary eyes, often resulting in a desire to plunge my head underwater to activate the inner reset button.


In the past I have made inspiration-week postcards. One week’s inspiration making up a collage inspired postcard. Ironically I vary rarely post these cards, instead I archive them to remind me of, ‘the week that was’ if you like- I like the tactility of these cards in much the same way I liked flicking through photographs from the family box. Those prints from the Eighties now have an eerie orange glow to the images, as if every Birthday party or trip to the zoo was back lit by Ziggy Stardust.

So I challenge you, create a postcard from everything that has flittered into your mind over the last 24 hours.  The percentage you accord to each image is as telling as the image itself.