One of the fun things grandparents get to do is buy ‘stuff’ for grandchildren. Sometimes we get it wrong, sometimes it is a huge success. I’ve drawn up a list of the most successful presents grandparents have given their grandchildren. Maybe it will help you find something different. Continue reading
Recently I saw the movie Queen of the Desert starring Nicole Kidman. I had not heard of Gertrude Bell but I tell you she was one inspiring woman. Born to British nobility with a strong will, her life took a turn when she escaped for a stint with an Uncle in the diplomatic Corp based in Tehran. She has been nicknamed the female Lawrence of Arabia.
Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, CBE was an English writer, traveller, political officer, administrator, spy and archaeologist who explored, mapped, and became highly influential to British imperial … I recommend the movie, great scenery, great imagery of camels, gorgeous men and probably too much Hollywood. However on a winter afternoon who cares, not every movie has to be outstanding.
Gertrude Bell received her early education from Queens College in London and then later at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford at the age of 17. History was one of the few subjects women were allowed to study, due to the many restrictions imposed on them at the time. She specialised in modern history, in which she received a 1st class honours degree in two years.
Died: July 12, 1926, Baghdad, Iraq
Parents: Sir Hugh Bell, 2nd Baronet, Mary Shield
Why it was made in 3D I have no idea, anyway the photography is superb as the camera pans us up into the detail within the domes. Having been there it was a delightful look through Italian eyes at their stunning architecture and art. I had no idea the portals for the Papal portraits had a limited number of spaces. When they built the Basilica they figured the world would have ended if they had so many Popes ( I can’t find out exactly how many) – well recently that was changed and they added more portals.The documentary had many little known historic facts. Anyone slightly interested in history this is worth the 90 minutes.
‘Eye in the Sky’ stars Helen Mirren. It is a riveting thriller about drone warfare and its perils, about the moral dilemmas facing those who pull the trigger.The chain of command is longer than you think!! A very good and thought provoking movie that men and women can enjoy. Alternative review
From where I am sitting in New Zealand the advent of phone photography has contributed to the understanding and appreciation of Photography as an art form. Some would disagree but I think people are realising that they can make images with their phone and that some people do it better than others. Photography as an art form is coming of age. Galleries are happy to show photography and the public are flocking through their doors. The fact that I sold 10 fine art images at my recent exhibition in Auckland supports this statement. I know two other photographers who have sold works these past few weeks. Photography is collectible. Continue reading
Exhibiting during the Auckland Festival of Photography – is it madness or pure pleasure? Well it is all of that and more. Exhibiting is a roller coaster of emotions… I often wondered why I had agreed to say yes! But I am delighted I did.
Initially 6-8 months out from the exhibition date I made the decision to have an exhibition it seemed easy enough back then. I also wanted a solo show, my first. So I had months to think about it and so with a flippant yes I was committed. Continue reading
This is an article by Secundus under the heading The pakeha and the Maori and the sub heading “MEDICAL FILE …a doctor remembers.” It appeared in the Palmerston North newspaper in the seventies. On the reverse are advertisements for Ford 1977Toyota Carona’s $7500.00as new 22,000 k’s. So this helps date the article. Note Maori has a capital M but pakeha did not. Continue reading
Many photographers never reach their potential or receive the recognition they deserve, or think they deserve. What makes a good photographer? or a good photograph? Simple question, well no it is a very complex question. Do you mean a recognised photographer or a good photographer? Do you mean a financially successful photographer or a good photographer? Do you mean a photo you’d hang on your wall or a headline image from the newspaper?
Image from Exhibitions Gallery – Newmarket – looking upwards to the Phillips Fox building in Queen Street, Auckland.
Float plane & Luxury Fishing boat The Lady Di – a 74 footer at Boca Grande.
Boca Grande Florida is the upmarket holiday resort on Gasparilla Island in the Gulf of Mexico. B.C. became known when The Presidential Bush family purchased property there. The homes are palatial water edge properties boasting all day sunshine and sparkling blue water. One home I noticed had everything, almost everything anyway: open the front door step into the pool, exit the pool and board your yacht moored at the gate, say good morning to the Manatee or the Dolphins swimming past and perhaps chase the tall White Heron out of your pool. This is Boca Grande – – I didn’t stay there – I cruised past!
Nearby is a lesser known holiday destination… Little Gasparilla Island where I did stay. Continue reading
In the heart of downtown Atlanta lies a garden covering an acre of land. Nearby a four lane road carries traffic at a frenetic pace backwards and forwards; allowing little time for motorists to catch a glimpse of the colourful flowering azaleas at the entrance to the longish driveway.
The house has a slightly Dutch styling to it with ornate decorations on the highest point- step inside and immediately you’re transported to an art gallery- colourful and eclectic. Continue reading
If you are travelling to Sydney read on..
I always book a Silver Service cab to take me to the Sydney airport from wherever I am. They are reliable, an excellent service. However they are more difficult to locate on arrival in Sydney so I usually take pot luck with a taxi off the ramp or better still take the train to the city then find a cab…much cheaper.
On arrival I had pre -booked Corporate Cabs Australia and they didn’t turn up!!
I’ve blogged about Sydney several times, check out this blog for day trip ideas and other tips.
Cafes, there are hundreds to choose from and some are doing very innovative food creations.
Menu items that caught my attention in Sydney this week were:
At my local Clovelly cafe The Top Hat I spied these:
Toast with sour cherry, fresh figs, ricotta and honey served on sour cherry toast.
Cold Drip Japanese filter coffee served on ice
Affogato Expresso served with scoop of ice cream; Yes we have affogato on menus too, desert menus but this was on their drinks menu-
You could easily swap the Sour cherry toast for raisin bread I think!
Lot 19 Cafe in Elizabeth Bay –
Poached eggs in clay on ratatouille with grana Padang and dipping toast
The Horny Bunny – Apple carrot ginger and celery.
I only had coffee and that was excellent and the folk were friendly.
A fabulous small Italian restaurant serving fresh cuisine, menu sample here.
Calamari Sant’ Andrea
squid fried, rocket, balsamic 22
tuna ‘tonnato’ 23
heirloom, figs 24
prawns, clams, cuttlefish, bottarga 29
I headed to the historic old Art Noveau Ritz Theatre in Randwick – interesting one car park building but no vacancies – not good for business and the street parking was only 1 hour! Anyway I enjoyed the movie; The Lady in the Van with Maggie Smith. A great $9.00 worth- I thought Maggie Smith brilliant, I’d expect nothing less. The story is one most of us would rather not face – about being old and dealing with the elderly!
Re the theatre, it was built in 1937, it is an example of the art deco cinema architecture that found a home in Australia during the 1920s and 1930’s and has 5-6 theatres. It seems to have lost much of its elegance and style which is rather sad but it does run the best art movies.
The Opera House
I parked underneath in the enormous car park. They validate your ticket if you attend a show, parking was only $19.00 for 2 hours. So always ask. Sometimes there is a seal basking on the steps – a local resident so watch for him ( or her!) One of Sydney’s top restaurants is in the Opera House complex. Treat your self before or after the theatre Reservations suggested.
Lunch (Friday – Sunday 12:00pm – 2:00pm): 2 courses $100, 3 courses $130
Dinner (Monday – Sunday 6:30pm – 10:00pm): 3 courses à la carte menu $130
Another fun place to visit is The Grounds at Alexandria. A great selection of eateries and a few animals to amuse the children. Look out for Kevin Bacon!
Bus tickets sometimes cannot be purchased on board the buses, so buy an Opal card at a diary and put ten or twenty dollars on it, no expiry date. Efficient way to get in and out of the city. Parking in the city can easily be $50.00 for two hours!!
So this is just a few brief comments on our nearest getaway, Australia.. Air fares are cheaper than ever and Sydney has sooo much on offer. Watch for VIVID in May and June. The sails of Sydney Opera House will be lit with works by Indigenous artists for the first time this year for the Vivid Sydney festival from May 27 to June 18.
To photograph Vivid watch this video. and impress your friends with amazing images.
The shopping is amazing, remember to claim your tax back as you depart Sydney airport. Westfield in the city Level 4 has 3-4 fantastic women’s shoe stores, trust me I know!! There food hall is excellent, yes they have a Michelin Chinese eatery there. Din Tai Fung Restaurant… I love it. 188 Pitt Street | Shop 504, Level 5.
An Aussie funny to wind up with.
” We live in a semi rural area. We recently had a new neighbour call the local council P & W office to request the removal of the WOMBAT CROSSING sign on our road.
The reason: ‘Too many wombats are being hit by cars out here! I don’t think this is a good place for them to be crossing anymore.”
True Story from Australia.
Sarah lives in one of the most idyllic places on the planet on Great Barrier Island. The island is only a 35 minute flight from Auckland but it is light years away from city life. When she was 17, recognizing the uniqueness of Shoal Bay she set her sights on buying a piece of land from her family and 12 years later she took ownership. Her dream was to be a successful potter. I’m not sure when she fulfilled her dream but now as a mother of a teenage daughter and younger son there is no doubt about her success.
Sarah’s studio in Shoal Bay is easily found near the Tryphena Wharf nestled amongst Nikau and fern alongside a gentle stream home to hundreds of tiny glow worms. Recently she had a bridge constructed to a secret bathhouse in the bush. Rustic or romantic(purely functional Sarah says!) you decide. She has a small character filled, self contained unit where you can escape the city for a day or a month. The room has a mosaic floor and other artistic curios adorning the walls and a large tree trunk is the centrepiece of this room full of quaintness. for enquiries contact Go Great Barrier and ask about ‘The Gallery’
In her studio Sarah throws pots and runs two gas kilns and a wood fired kiln – producing a wide range of domestic ware, tile work and hand built sculptures. The entire studio is a treasure trove of ‘stuff’ shared with a few friendly spiders and outside two fat goats help avoid lawn mowing duties.
I was inspired by Sarah’s enthusiasm and dedication and put a few questions to her.
Sarah, when did you decide to make pottery your career? and do you have any formal training?
I went to Carrington Polytech in 1990 to study interior design. As often happens in that environment where you are exposed to a wide variety of materials and techniques, I deviated from my path into design, having been captivated by ceramics. For the last 2 of my 4 yrs there I majored in clay.Returning to the Barrier the year after I graduated to build a studio on my fathers front lawn.Having felt the stigma of ‘stepping back from design to craft’ I was not setting my sights on being a ‘wealthy potter’Rather I was certain that I just needed to have a space where I could make stuff to my hearts content, and if that meant struggling forever to make ends meet then so be it
Have you won any major awards for your pottery/stoneware?
I have found that I manage to make a living mostly selling direct from my studio, as a result I am very complacent about entering into award competitions.However I did grab a couple of mugs off my shelf in 2009 to pop into the mug show at Lopdell House, Titirangi as I happened to be in town at the right time, And was honored to be awarded ‘Best mug in show’
Have you kept your first ever piece or didn’t you realise that would become a treasure?
I have kept one of my first pieces I made on the wheel and it is great to bring out when I am teaching someone to throw…. saying ” don’t give up…. see how bad my first one was!!”
Like your daughter you also went to boarding school at Epsom Girls in Auckland but you are an original Barrier girl. Were you born on the Island?
I was born to the island, coming home at 2 weeks old on Sea Bee Air.
What did your parents do on the island?
My Dad came here to retire in 1966, meeting my mum a couple of years later as she backpacked around and had 2 more children of which I’m the youngest.
You seem to have numerous projects on the go – how do you decide which one to start on every morning?
I have too much to do so I do what I want, usually motivated by what is inspiring me most at the time, although in saying that I’m currently working through quite a long order list so that takes priority…. and yes the lawns are being avoided.
Above is the outdoor bath and her new project is the bridge access.
What is your motivation?
I think I have the best job in the world, I get to create in a wonderful environment and can juggle it around family commitments. It is very seasonal so while I am flat out over summer there is a fabulous off season when I can sink my teeth into other projects.
Many young artists would be envious of your studio and space not to mention your success. What advice would you give to a young enthusiastic artist?
just start….. many things in the beginning were a bit daunting in particular the logistics of getting everything to and from the Island. As I look back I recognize things that used to be a challenge and now are second nature.
So next time you are on Great Barrier Island collect a gallery directory from i-Site and explore until your hearts content!
PS Say hello to Sarah and her goats!!