claws and mud

Unique ceramic dogs by South Australian artist Elodie Barker

Unique ceramic dogs by South Australian artist Elodie Barker

 via Sculptural Bowhouse

Lula notices that the honey pot is shaped like an elegant long-nosed dog – a pointer maybe – with crossed forelegs and its head tilted back to form a handle. She gently lifts it from the glass shelf, noticing a small hole in each  delicate ceramic toenail, from which the honey, presumably, will pour.

It will make a perfect gift for her friend Reeza (beekeeper and dog lover) so she takes it to the counter and pays the hefty price written on the tag.

soft paws to protect flooring

soft paws to protect flooring

Soft Paws for Flooring Protection by FindAnyFloor.com.

Lula has to cross a river to get back to her house, barefoot and muddied up to her knees, but she doesn’t mind because a perfect gift is hard to find on this remote island.

While wading through the warm clay-coloured water, she thinks of the dream she had the previous night; of the strange animal she’d met there on the edge of the nature reserve she was staying in in her dream … and then sees the bushveld landscape (acacia thorns and dry scrub) where she had spotted the small, compact dream animal – about the size of a large Maltese poodle – but with dense, short fur.

It had short, sharp claws – not unlike the ceramic nails of the wrapped-up dog she was carrying now, Lula realises.

In her dream, several rows of claws protruded from the animal’s stubby neck, like a designer collar.

Kruger National Park Landscape (Photo: John Wesson)

Kruger National Park Landscape (Photo: John Wesson)

Centre for Environmental Rights.

The animal seemed to be wounded and in distress. There was another woman present, holding a spade, threatening to decapitate the frightened creature if Lula couldn’t/wouldn’t take care of it.  She longed to cradle it like a baby; instead ran back to her tent to fetch a bucket to carry the spiked animal to the edge of the dry river.

Walking away, Lula felt as if she was joining all of creation on a stage; birds, animals big and small, insects, reptiles, flowers – all drenched in an African sunset of flame and ash.

The performance felt personal; for her eyes only.

sunset

Photos of the Kruger Private Reserves | Perfect Africa.

****

Reeza’s party is wonderful – literally full of wonder: everywhere Lula looks, someone is engaged in some form of extreme creativity – an opera singer walks up and down the indoor staircase singing Lucia di Lammermoor, while a cross-legged sage nestled on the leather couch in the downstairs living room wrestles himself in a bout of impossible chess, board balanced on his lap.

Dame Joan Sutherland

Dame Joan Sutherland, a.k.a “la Stupenda”

Lula glimpses the headline on the paper lying next to him: “Reburial Aborted”.

There’s definitely a poem in there, she thinks.

present tense

The glorious supermoon energised me last night – finishing this post (in draft mode for weeks!) is the proof. Listening to the downpour outside, winter’s teeth finally showing, it feels good to muse on what inspires me; to reflect on what is happening here and now.

supermoon comparison

supermoon comparison

Supermoon – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Supermoons occur about once every 14 full moons in a full moon cycle (the next one will be on August 10, 2014) when a full moon coincides with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit. The technical name is the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system, and it is known that the gravitational stress on the moon during a Sun-Earth-Moon syzygy can trigger a moonquake – of no consequence to our planet. ( I like the idea of a moonquake … and the idea of an earthrise, as seen by astronauts from the moon.)

A different perspective is always invigorating.

Facts (however fleetingly remembered) add to my enjoyment of the natural world, but sometimes it feels appropriate to surrender to mysteries that can never be known. (At least not by me.) The language of mathematics and geometry continue to fascinate me, and draw me in, as I race through books with titles like “Thinking Mathematically”; “2 x 2=5”; Mario Livio’s  “The Golden Ratio”; “The nature of Mathematics”; “Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities” – and for good measure a history of Anesthesia, which deserves a post of its own.

discrete mathematics

discrete mathematics

via ETH – Computer Science – Prof. Dmitry Feichtner-Kozlov.

Discrete Mathematics is a branch of modern mathematics which distinguishes itself from the more classical branches in several important respects. Probably the most characteristic feature, “the trademark” of Discrete Mathematics is to study mathematical concepts in a constructive way. 

I cannot say I understand much of what is written (e.g. this definition of discrete mathematics: “The classical question Does there exist an object with property X? gets transformed into How can we construct an object with property X?”)  but the words spark ideas and images for new work. The visual interpretations of advanced mathematical systems by ancient civilisations like the Maya, further feed my obsession to understand something of the magical world of numbers.

Dresden Codex, leaves 27-30 (from Compendio Xcaret)

Dresden Codex, leaves 27-30 (from Compendio Xcaret)

Realms of the Sacred in Daily Life: Early Written Records of Mesoamerica.

The Dresden codex depicts a number of rituals and gods and documents aspects of daily life such as agriculture. The leaves displayed are part of the tables documenting the astronomical movements of the Great Star (Venus) and the first page of the lunar cycle tables (page at far right). Much of the damage evident in this facsimile occurred during the bombardment of Dresden during World War II.

Paris Codex, leaves 21-22 (from Compendio Xcaret)

Paris Codex, leaves 21-22 (from Compendio Xcaret)

The Paris Codex contains almanacs, calendar counts, constellation tables, and depictions of the spirit world as it relates to the terrestrial world. In this rendition of the spirit world, the four seated figures at the top of leaf 22 are Pauahtuns, associated with the four world directions, the rains and winds. Just below them are two death deities, identified in part by their “death-eyes” collars. Between the two groups a sky band indicates the division of their positions in the heavens and on earth. These two realms are separate, but they are shown to be part of a unified whole by the green sky ropes that twist and weave among the figures.

Madrid Codex, leaves 13-16

Madrid Codex, leaves 13-16

The leaves displayed here show a portion of the almanac section used by priests to perform divination rites relating to essential daily activities such as hunting, weaving, and agriculture. The four horizontal rows in the lower half of each panel are composed of the glyphs of the 20 named days which, as in the Aztec calendar, cycle 13 times through the 260-day Sacred Year.

willemien de villiers | orchid | oil on canvas

willemien de villiers | orchid | oil on canvas

In this painting I recently finished, I dissected and photographed and researched the morphology of orchids; those exotic botanical creatures that seem to possess the power of speech. I heard the voice of one given to me on my birthday in March, still blooming and bewitching, as I attempted to capture its cellular soul.

willemien de villiers | the mysteries/underside

willemien de villiers | the mysteries/underside

willemien de villiers | detail, underside \ the mysteries

willemien de villiers | detail, underside \ the mysteries

These images of the underside of my stitched cloth, “The Mysteries”, somehow best reflect how I feel right now. Mystery upon mystery; unraveled yet knotted and secure. I feel like Lula in her dream: joining all of creation on a stage; birds, animals big and small, insects, reptiles, flowers … content, yet curious about what will be revealed.

Happy creating!

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