naturepiles

There’s been naturepile work happening on Lantau, Hong Kong created by Shekou International School sixth graders on their Week Without Walls trip.

It’s been exciting for me to follow along on their adventures and creations. Have a look here: @morganstudentart and also check out #naturepile. Tag yours as well if you fancy joining in on the fun :).

Lately in the arthouse…

jo the spectacled caiman

 

and other happenings…

The other day, I finally managed to catch up with Jo who was relaxing in the sunshine and being cooperatively still. Usually it’s just the turtles out and about and Jo nowhere in sight. Lots of hiding spaces I read in the sign.

 

 

Pineapple Bun and friends had their home cleaned yesterday. I heard some commotion next door so popped over to have a look. Later in the afternoon, Oak Ye (or the other unnamed Bengal Monitor) was checking out the window now with a clearer view.

 

Looking out from the Art House is Tai To Yan staring back. I need to hike over there one day soon for some views of Kam Tin, Tai Po and of course a look back over at Kadoorie.

I also made a new sign for my workspace : ).

this week in the art house

img_0084

Great start to the week having a workshop run through with some of the Kadoorie Education Department. It was a condensed version but gave me a better sense of logistics and flow, areas to focus on with students, and sections to refine. As usual, we definitely could’ve spent more time outdoors exploring in the recently cooler and drier weather! :)

 

I’ve also been observing and noting how different types of plant matter dry and decay

and exploring working with pressed leaves.

kadoorie art residency

img_9873

I officially began my art residency at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden earlier this month. These past few weeks have been spent exploring, prepping materials and planning workshops for October and November.

The area I decided to focus on is around the Art House and since it’s quite small on the existing map, I walked the space and drew out my own. This includes the fruit forest on the left and the area behind the Art House—the hills, waterfall, stream, Walter Kerr Gardens and Wildlife Walkthrough.

This is one of the enlarged maps, similar to the smaller ones participants will be using on their exploration and collecting walks. The waterfall pictured on the right is so far, my favourite place at KFBG. Can you find it on my map ; )?

Always delighted at discovering new things each time I go walking in the same places. This was the most interesting find of the day.

Some other visitors came by and said they were mushrooms but I showed them the stalk I think they fell from and convinced them it was a fruit of some sort. I made a quick naturepile of course—too good to pass by.

 

Here are some other items I came across and brought back to the art house. The shell is unexpectedly thin.

img_9905

Before heading off to class, I met three of my four rescued neighbours. They live in the reptile garden next door. They’ve got much personality I feel inclined to make some art about them in the near future.

To the left is Pineapple Bun! He’s a radiated tortoise (Astrochelys radiata). Actually his name is Por-law-bao, which does mean pineapple bun in Cantonese. I totally see it in the shape of his shell. There are also two elongated tortoises—Kay and Sam, of which I only saw one. I have to study their markings a bit more to distinguish them apart. Lastly is Oak Ye, a bengal monitor (Varanus bengalensis) who was digging at that spot for quite a while.

That’s all for this week from Kadoorie as I won’t be going in again because of mid-autumn festival. Have a good one, eat a mooncake or two and take some time to look upon the moon.

 

 

 

Life and Aesthetics

IMG_6202

During my art residency, I had the opportunity to guest lecture for the Life and Aesthetics course at Chiang Mai University. It’s offered by the Faculty of Fine Art but open to anyone at the university so it was a diverse group of students. My question for them was: Where do stories come from and what do we do with them?

I shared with the class my interest in people’s stories and how they can be anchored to objects. Several of my personal projects explore this idea. Experiences and memories come to mind when we see or recognise things from our past. Sometimes they are objects, sometimes words, sometimes a smell, sometimes a feeling. When we take the time to articulate our stories, they frame our viewpoint and how we interact in life. When we take time to listen to other people’s stories we find intersections with our own and make connections.

Looking through their shared memories, I got a peek into what it’s like growing up in Thailand. One thing I noticed that recurred frequently in their drawings/writing was the use of 555. 5 is ห้า (H̄̂ā). I need to take that up!

We closed with Q+A which oftentimes doesn’t work out too well but after class, I was pleased to find students eager to participate in my collecting childhood project and wanting to chat. Thankful for this experience and being able to meet and interact with so many new friends.

cmu cyanotype saturday

IMG_6259

On Saturday Morning, a group of art students from Chiang Mai University came over to Rumpueng for a cyanotype workshop. I showed them some of my previous prints and went through the process of mixing up the chemical solutions and preparing the paper/surface for printing. Found materials from the area were used for printing and we had a few hours to explore and experiment together.

 

papermaking with natsumi

In Year 9 my CDT (craft design and technology) teacher ran an after school environmental club and taught us how to make a mold and deckle for papermaking. We would collect paper scraps from the classrooms to blend into pulp to make new paper. I also did some recycled paper pulp making with my kids back when I was teaching kindergarten but have never made paper from natural plant fibres. I found my mold and deckle cleaning out my classroom in June and knowing I was going to be in Chiang Mai this fall, on my list of to dos during my time here was to learn how to make Saa–mulberry paper.

IMG_6548

Natsumi is a friend of Pitchaya, one of the art residency coordinators. She’s on a one year exchange at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai University from Japan and we connected at my cyanotype workshop last weekend. She’s been refining her papermaking with mulberry and exploring other natural fibres like coconut. She offered to show me her work and process and let me have a go at making mulberry paper.

 

She showed me on her laptop some of the other papermaking equipment/machinery she used in Japan that speeds things up. In Chiang Mai she is making everything by hand. It is a long and laborious process but I found it, like printmaking, to be quite calming and therapeutic.

Will have to see what type of papermaking I can get up to back in Hong Kong.

Both her and Pitchaya are creating site specific installations for doi saket_inter which is opening November 5, 2014 at Nong Buow Lake, Doisaket, Chiang Mai. If you’re in the area, go check out the art festival which coincides with Loi Krathong.

highschool workshops

The highschool workshops took place earlier this week. The students are on term break so I really appreciated them taking the time to come out to Rumpueng to spend with me. The original plan was to do a mapping of place through texture and object collections but because of workshop timing, it would be dark out.

We explored our vision of place instead, contrasting how other people like visitors or tourists perceive our city/home and how we would choose to convey it. As a fan of mail and Chiang Mai being a popular holiday destination, the postcard format was used.

What is it that we value and find meaningful in the place we call home?

We looked at typical Chiang Mai and Thailand postcards depicting wats, monks, tuk-tuks, elephants and developed ideas for our own set of cards sharing what we would like other people to see and know. Here are a few of the pieces.

Our second evening was spent exploring different book structures and how the tetra-tetra flexagon could be used. Ideas ranged from depicting changing feelings to a children’s story to the elements earth, wind, fire, water.

IMG_6120 IMG_6118

 

I haven’t learned much Thai yet and English was limited but these two evenings we were still able to share and learn from each other. I’m continually amazed at how people communicate and especially how art can give us a voice in so many ways.