Monday 26 March 2012

animal abuse

about 3 mths ago i took a short cut through the olive grove behind my house with Perry  and we came across the little stallion that belongs to the goat shepherd a bit further up the hill. both dog and horse freaked out when they saw each other. but as the horse was tethered by his foot we circumnavigated him and continued on. about a month later the horse was tied up 2 narrow terraces further up to some bushes and was badly tangled up. he also had his bridle halter hanging from his neck in a way that he could easily put his foot through. i thought then he was a bit skinny, but they usually are in the winter, though the people here don't have them outside they prefer to keep them stabled in pitch black up to their necks in shit for 6 mths considering it a healthier option. admittedly a tethered solitary horse has no means of keeping warm and without food he stands very little chance. but i figured the shepherd was throwing him some straw and water now and again so i untangled him after i tied up the dog who might have run onto the road from fear. 
well damn him if the first thing he did was get as close to the dog as possible while the dog pulled back as far as possible and sent a resounding kick in the general direction of Perry's head, catching him slightly just above the eye. mmmm i thought thats gonna do wonders for perry's equine relationships, so i avoided the path. snow fell, rain fell, cold north winds blew and then spring finally came. so i think - i'll take the shortcut again as the shepherd has gotta have moved the horse by now. 
well the poor little [despite the kick] bastard was tangled up on 50cm of rope with his head almost tied to the ground in exactly the same spot as a month ago. i was really shocked by how bad he looked. even for here. so i untangled him again and was in 2 minds to just take his rope off - though the one round his foot would probably have to be cut off. i took him 2 terraces down where there was a bit of grass coming through because he had overgrazed the whole area. and down there was a tiny 10 cm wide 3 cm deep trickle of water from a winter source - he drank sipping in the dips for a solid 5 minutes. he also had not had any water for some considerable time.
i called Gabi when i got home as she had known the shepherd since he was a boy and asked her to talk to him and find out what the hell was happening with the horse.
as it turns out the horse had kicked him or something like that and he had tied him up there to die. Gabi hurled all kinds of abuse at him - not that it would have any effect - as she told me later an old story about a dog he had that was badly burnt, all of its face and ear was raw meat, she had asked what happened to the dog - he said - it bit me so i threw a pan of burning oil at it.
and so where do you go from there?

this was the day after i moved him and gave him some water. we have since moved him again next to a tank of water and cut him some grass also. but this is not a long term solution.
one of the things mentioned was that a gypsy was going to pick him up for 30 euro's to sell him on as dog meat, thats the standard price they give, though if the horses are in better condition - ie meat on them they are shipped to italy live in terrible conditions for human consumption. that incidentally is where a lot of racehorses go, as only 1 in 1000 make it. 
They don't shoot the horses here - they have a policy of tying them up usually next to a big hole dug by a bull dozer and leave them to die. i'm not really sure what the shepherd was planning to do with the carcas. there is no animal police and the police would either just laugh in your face if you report it or say they would do something about it and do nothing. 
things have improved considerably for dogs and cats on the island - due to an animal shelter run by a dutch couple and surviving on donations. but as yet there is nothing to help horses and donkeys, and they are very badly treated especially now that they are no longer a necessity but merely a hobby - and that in itself is another chapter entirely.

Saturday 24 March 2012

joan miro flowers

one thing leads to another and generally spring leads to everything, that explosive feeling, all the paths and walks start resembling a jungle of vegetation - kind of miniature and lower by congo standards but its all relative. Samos is very lush - well what isn't sprayed by pesticides, and as i've mentioned i've been walking a lot - and the difference in one week is astonishing, irises and anemones, daisies and late daffodils everywhere, slightly higher and wilder the beginning of wild orchids - tiny little shy cousins of the ones in flower shops.
yup - flamin' flowers everywhere
so its had an influence and this kind of came out of the metal - and reminded me of Miro

which led to these, because i wanted something a little more organic:

and here i want to thank a friend for sending me the copper that i was able to heat and bash and generally play with, it was great fun.

and finally in this vein of the earth renewing i got gabi to take the stitch out of my finger, which she very kindly did and i have to say felt disgusting, but at least now i don't have 2 ends of neon blue nylon where my nail might start again. anyone squeamish should not continue further but i think its looking ok

it looks that colour cos we put iodine on it - looks like nicotine stain :) and she said i need to do some physiotherapy on that first blurred knuckle as it won't straiten out now - from keeping it out of the way all the time

Monday 19 March 2012

what is it to be colour

"colour is the touch of the eye, music to the deaf, a word out of the darkness. because i have listened to souls whispering - like the susurrus of the wind - from book to book and object to object for tens of thousands of years, allow me to say that my touch resembles the touch of angels. Part of me the serious half, calls out to your vision while the mirthful half soars through the air with your glances.
i am so fortunate to be red! i'm fiery. i'm strong. i know men take notice of me and that i cannot be resisted."

my name is red - orhan pamuk
i like the way he writes about colour, especially red, its such a primal colour, so connected to our creative. i'm always drawn to making things in red, i see john drawn to paint with it. anyway i just like this piece of writing. and isn't the word susurrus just great?

order of merit - kinda looks like a medal

finished this as a choker - quite short

Saturday 17 March 2012

working on some pendants

and finally completed my bone pendant necklace, its that 4 string round plait i get lazy about half way through, then theres tiny turks head button knots that are much more difficult with fine string than with leather, rawhide or leather lace even. i found the upper bone on the beach and its got that lovely sea smooth ness to it, the inner bone is from treasurehider and is fossilized bone sticks from marine animals of the miocene epoch (about 23 - 5 million years old). the one is suspended inside the other.

and then these pendants i've been working on, the first one is a shoe horn with paper and gold leaf and a copper hoop at the top. the second is a door latch. both had great rust beautiful texture thats been rubbed back and sealed. 

i'l be making these into necklaces that i want to keep relatively simple.

Thursday 15 March 2012

blindness and memory

"Before the art of illumination there was blackness and afterward there will also be blackness. Through our colours, paints, art and love, we remember that Allah had commanded us to "See"! To know is to remember what you've seen. To see is to know without remembering. Thus painting is remembering the blackness. The great masters, who shared a love of painting and perceived that colour and site arose from darkness, longed to return to Allah's blackness by means of colour. Artists without memory neither remember Allah nor his blackness. All great masters, in their work, seek that profound void within colour and outside time."
my name is red - orhan pamuk

i've been having fun working with this stencil tin, and i sure have a lot of it. i found them in various tanneries in karlovassi and i love the texture and colour the tanneries and time have given them. they also work well for collaging and leafing. the paper i use for collaging i've had for years, was also found in a tannery, its an old ledger written with ink thats gone brown on the thinnest paper, the acidity in the ink tends to disintegrate the paper but it creates beautiful layers when collaged. And i have collaged everything with it - from 2 m x 2m canvases down to box art . Probably one of my most useful and loved finds. the calligraphy is also gorgeous. 
though i've found lots of paper related things i never found another ledger with such thin paper. the only thing that came close was discovering some exercise books from a young girl who was at school prior to and during WW2 - all her books from elementary school to her final year. during the war, what with, i imagine the paper shortage, there are 4 exercise books with very thin yellow paper, mostly written in pencil and the handwriting is tiny compared to the others, with lots of scribbling round the edges and all subjects in one book.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

preparing a loom

after seeing la touchables post about learning the loom i was reminded of some photos i took last summer of my friend gabi warping [?] the loom - preparing the lines for the threads that are on the loom. she was doing it with one of the old ladies from the village - alexandra who was taught by her mother.

those nails in the front are for wrapping the threads around to get them off the rolls without turning into a tangled mess, needless to say it is a great old building but probably won't be useable this year. it has the floor space to pull the threads far out to roll them on the wood that alexandra is working on

gabi has an etsy shop - saiita - that she's just getting going. she also gets orders for pieces here on the island. she loves doing the weaving and has put the loom together herself from an antique, replacing the individual parts.

Friday 9 March 2012

i am dreaming

of this

whilst out walking i came across this

is it wild i ask myself - i have never seen anything like it, how has it survived the uncontrolled hunting season on the island, a little later on the walk i came across another, it had a little more white in the head area.

Sunday 4 March 2012

work in progress and it smells like spring

well i had an intense making day today, no interruptions, no other activities, even curtailed my 3 hr walk to a bit of beach combing, don't think perry was too impressed with that but stella loved it, nice and leisurely just how she likes it.
i even managed to get some photos done before i lost the light

2 completed pairs of earrings, i usually make the one and leave the second a few days but no i was on a strait line from a - b. been cutting up and gold leafing some of my old stencils from the tanneries. great textures and colours on them
then i was working on a bracelet, well they is the most difficult for me and i've been fiddling with the bits of leather and metal forever trying to make something work

i love this leather, when you wet it and form it takes on a hue of mahogany, damn near as hard too, so it needs a lot of smoothing and rubbing back and polishing.

yep more of those tin framed icons - mismatched - bright colour

i also finally managed to photo the lovely goodies that steph sent me - real treasures i adore them - every last tiny one 

actually there is more bits and pieces but i'm playing with them already, i gotta get this shooting lovely presents as they arrive thing together, but i cant usually contain myself.
lastly there's a pic of stuff i is fiddling with - that might or might not come to anything but got shot in the mania today

that last one is going to need some work in all those little grooves, the middle one is a pendant and is waiting for me to finish plaiting a 4 string round plait which i'm not good enough at to do while watching tv, so its on hold, thats got very ancient bone suspended in newer bone with copper.
well google is probably going to flip out and leave ya all with a bunch of question marks as its prone to do these last days for me. spell check hell i got to make food before i wither away :)

Thursday 1 March 2012

once every 12 years or so

yesterday gabi and i took off up the mountain in search of the snow that was coming down the mountain to meet us, we parked the car near an old monastery above vourliotes and continued on foot, much to perry's delight as he'd spent too much car time already. i also had the holga with me loaded with film, which is a bit of a miracle these days as i'm not much of a multitasker. 
as we're walking higher with cars passing by looking to play in the snow through the comfort of their dashboards, the snow is getting thicker and crisper and the sky is turning darker with that tinge of yellow in the grey that hails more snow and there is not even the hint of a breeze in the air - believe me thats rare on an island. so its starts snowing, lightly - first few tiny feathery flakes that become more insistent as they get bigger. we were beside ourselves with glee.

perry's first encounter

shepherds pen in the distant wilderness that used to be pine forest

this lone dead tree is still standing after 8 years

mountain farmhouse in a vineyard

you can see the snowflakes if you click the image larger.

after all that i came back and actually developed the film, no mean feat trying to keep the water at 20 degrees, first film i've developed for myself in months, underdeveloped the film accidentally by 5 mins, which was probably a stroke of luck as the snow whites didn't get blown out. we had some mighty good fun. i know this is tedious for all you people who get snow every winter but it only happens like this here once every 12 years or so.