Bavarian Marble, Berlin and Big Hearts

Because someone has taken one of the three Wunsiedel marble Stand AppArt tiles into his home we have been able to get to the start of The Merry Road to Santiago.

Stand AppArt on Bavarian Marble

Whenever a thing is done for the first time, it releases a little demon ~ Emily Dickinson

While I was in Berlin for Tallulah Rendall’s album launch we went to the printers to pick up a piece for her exhibition and I noticed a marble tile and right there and then emailed three jpegs from my phone to Gunther at the printers.

Tallulah very kindly picked them up and brought them with her when she came over to play How The Light Gets In festival in Hey on Wye shortly after. I actually opened them up for the first time in the cafe and all the staff came over just to hold and feel them.

They are so tactile, it was so lovely to see and feel the images in my hands, the texture just makes you want to run your hands over them.

This was the first time I had seen my work in the real world, not just inside my phone.

I had my first three pictures, on Wunsiedel marble (which probably originates from wunne = glades, and sedel = noble seat, which seems elegant and elvish) from the Upper Franconian district of Wunsiedel in northeast Bavaria.

They are the only ones of their kind as it is far too expensive a process. Today one of them has gone into a private collection. A very special person with a big heart who has been a tremendous supporter, the sort of person an artist is truly lucky to have in their life, has persuaded me to let them have one.

Because they have taken one of the three Stand AppArt marble tiles into their home they are keeping us on the road. Or more accurately we have been able to get to the start of The Camino. We have been able to book the three trains, two underground trips and an overnight bus to get us to St Jean Pied de Port to start out on The Merry Road to Santiago.

Thank you Pierre …

Flying, Friendship and Time

By buying two of The Merry Lives of Windsor photographs we have been able to book our first refuge on The Camino, half way up the Pyrenees. I can’t wait to toast Tina up in the mountains on our first night on The Merry Road to Santiago.

Dead water swamps MI

“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” – Moorish proverb

I met Tina Harvey at a Comedy Night in The Limberlost bar on the beach of Houghton Lake, Michigan. We both laughed at the same joke, and then caught each other’s eye.

How can one silly moment seal a lifelong friendship that has survived the distance between our different parts of the world?

I was only in town to shower and catch my breath, then I was going to travel up into the Upper Peninsula to find bears. But, Tina showed up at my hotel the next day, the extraordinary haven that was the Best Western.  I was on a lounger by the lake, it wasn’t that warm and I was reading the August copy of ‘O’ magazine wondering where life was going to take me.

We chatted. I ended up staying for 9 days.

Traverse City MI from the airIn that time Tina drove us in her gleaming, sensual, golden Corvette up to Machinaw City to see the Mackinac Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the Western hemisphere. We went to see Aaron Murdick’s 120-year-old family tradition of making fudge on marble slabs, and ate huge steaks at some restaurant on the way home. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but I do remember the steaks and the laughter.

It was a real Thelma and Louise day out (without the rangy hustler sadly, but on the plus side, skipping the cliff edge)

She is also responsible for 48 of the most terrifying seconds of my life.

She persuaded her husband, Jim, to take us up in his little Cessna 172 Skyhawk. It’s a really little plane to find yourself in a very big sky in.

When he handed me the joy stick, I absolutely refused in my head while arguing with myself that I could not ever face my boys again if I didn’t say yes to the chance to fly a plane.

Like I said, the most terrifying 48 seconds of my life as I waited to fall out of the sky.

Sunset over Michigan lakes

Clearly we survived. It is one of the most extraordinary experiences flying over the lakes of Michigan at sunset in a plane that is at play in the air.

This isn’t the world’s greatest photograph but I love it for all the memories it means to me.

We flew over the Dead Stream Swamp, an 11,680-acre stretch of uninhabited land that the waterways curl through like ribbons carelessly left out on a lawn. Seeing it from the front seat of a single-engine, high-wing aircraft had the hypnotic effect of drawing me down into the very heart of its northern white cedar forest.

The next day one of the last licensed trappers left took me in a small outboard into Bear Lake, a bog pond bordered by a sphagnum-heath mat.

There are no souvenir shops with shot-glass memorabilia.

It takes a special kind of person to take a stranger on trust and put yourself out to give them time. Either with Tina or because of Tina I have banked some incredible memories that will keep me rocking on my stoop.

Today I just posted her two of “The Merry Lives of Windsor” photographs.

The trouble is you think you have time, The Merry Lives of Windsor, by Melanie Gow
The Trouble is You Think You Have Time

 

The trouble is you think you have time, The Merry Lives of Windsor, by Melanie Gow
The trouble is you think you have time

Unsurprisingly she was taken by “The Trouble Is You Think You Have Time”, she has a rock solid ability to count blessings. More than that she is one person who will tell you if life knocks you down roll over and look at the stars. Tina has been a comfort blanket in the evening rain when I was in an emotional hole, and has encouraged me to keep making the leap of faith into life.

By buying two of The Merry Lives of Windsor photographs she is keeping us on the road. We have been able to book our first refuge on The Camino, The Orisson, half way up the Pyrenees. I can’t wait to toast Tina up in the mountains on our first night on The Merry Road to Santiago.

Thank you Tina ..

 

Nothing puts the comfort into a blanket like being left, The Merry Lives of Windsor, by Melanie Gow
Nothing puts the comfort into a blanket like being left behind in the evening rain

How Luke 23 v 33 became The Lord of Death and compassion for the world

I had to agree with the face, he is less Luke 23 v 33 and more comfortable in his Lord of Death role, and the whole three stages of Bardo.

I went to a Mixed Media and Printing taster day lead by my friend and artist, Caroline Crawford, and somehow I ended up loving bleaching and waxing, but particularly bleaching.

I’m still talking about an art class I should point out.

I have to work on a “Crucifixion” photograph for the Cookham Stages of Christ Trail and I have an idea about the “sins of the world”, and somehow I started out with a tortured face.

Most everyone else was working with beautiful images of nature or patterns

I made my face from string on cardboard, printed it – threw it out.

The face didn’t like it.

The start of The Lord of Death in The Bardot Thedol

So I stabbed away at a pizza base, printed it out. We, the face and I, liked it.

But by now I had a scarlet background and Tibetan prayer flags running through my mind. Traditionally these flags have woodblock-printed texts and images, wishing peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom for the world.

I was really beginning to regret the three glittery leaves I stuck on my work.

I had to go to lunch. Hungarian Goulash if you want to know, it was very good.

I vaguely recalled The Tibetan Book of the Dead and The Bardo Thodol take on attaining Nirvana.

20130216-080808-PM.jpgBasically someone reads The Bardo Thodol as you die to help you reach Nirvana, you have three attempts or you have to come back and be reborn – to put an entire philosophy into a nutshell.

I went back to class.

If you fail the first two, in the Third Bardo your soul encounters the Lord of Death, who holds up a Mirror of Karma and demons inflict torments and punishments for the evil you have done on the Earth.

The incantation of The Bardot Thodol urges you to recognise the entire scene is just a projection of your own mind.

If you cannot you are drawn remorselessly towards rebirth and seek a cave to hide in, which actually turns out to be a womb and you have to go through it all again.

I had to agree with the face, he is less Luke 23 v 33 and more comfortable in his Lord of Death role, and the whole three stages of Bardo.

20130216-080851-PM.jpg

 Then the bleach was introduced. What a revelation, I love working with bleach, yup, ordinary household bleach.

The rest of the time flew in a haze of tissue paper tearing, PVA and bleach, with my tortured face. It’s a bit of a mess at the moment, but once it’s cropped … and maybe a bit more bleach.

The final words of The Bardo Thodol are: “Let virtue and goodness be perfected in every way.”

And that is how Mixed Media hijacked the whole crucifixion thing.

By The Way, Tibetans believe the thoughts on their flags will be blown by the wind spreading compassion and good across the world to bring benefit to all.

PS I’ve gone out to buy some bleach, oh and the glittery leaves? Gone.

Find more @ Caroline Crawford

The class was held in the Longbarn at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts

Baptism By Ice, Art Fair on the Street

It’s been a fab day so far though, sold a pair of Windsor Castle in the snow pictures which will be given to the parents of the bride and groom at their wedding next month.

20121201-033056-PM.jpg

Hour six on the street in barely above freezing temperatures and not a mulled wine in sight.

It’s been a fab day so far though, sold a pair of Windsor Castle in the snow pictures which will be given to the parents of the bride and groom at their wedding next month.

I had to give them the matching greetings cards as a gift for their up coming wedding, because I felt so honoured. Silly really.

Anyway? The “staff” haven’t crumbled since I fed them bacon sandwiches this morning, and Im letting them have a break.

There is nothing like sharing headphones listening to “Tenacious D” with a bag of Haribo

A great first experience of our first art fair with Art on the Street, Maidenhead

A Camera, a Jug, a Hydrangea, Paint Brushes and a Cotton Reel

We had to produce three still life logos representing art, craft and antiques, they had to be generic and not be one specific person’s art or craft, and be an antique that could bridge all eras.

Windsor Emporium, still life logos, arts, Mealnie Gow

I spent a delightful morning taking very specific pictures for my friend Jackie Couzens. We have talked at length about what images, presented in which way to meet very practical requirements could be the best representation for the Windsor Emporium going forward into it’s third year.

They also had to be generic and not be one specific person’s art or craft, and be an antique that could bridge all eras.

They had to embody the three areas covered by the Emporium: art, hand-made crafts and antiques, they had to fit in a square shape, they had to float in a neutral space and they had to carry the three colours used in her emblem.

And they had to be elegant, simple and balance well with her drawn emblem

We had to produce three still life logos essentially.

We did a couple of test shots found what we liked and didn’t like, and I was tough enough to tell Jackie she had to put my artistic sensibilities to the side and stay objective.

Which meant we threw out two of the three and decided to reshoot the third .. which means all of them, yes.

After a rummage through every item in our houses and few other helpful artist friends we had honed our thoughts from the first shoot, and we got them done so the designer could pop them in and get them into the Windsor Brochure – right up against a deadline to publication,

I am so proud to be a part of Jackie’s incredible enterprise, the Windsor Emporium provides a monthly space for artists, artisans and antique resellers that they would not normally have any other way.

Find more @ Windsor Emporium

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