It was an eventful and artful May which began with a mini linocut session with some friends. It’s always lovely to have several hours set apart to make art together… and friends who put together such a tasty spread for a mid-print break.
my blue dragon sea slug
This year I had the opportunity again to work with YoungLives during their weekend retreat. Last year was a painting workshop with the mums. This year, it was a very colourful mum and kids event. We did finger painting, a large collaborative floor painting and also a mum and kid piece. I’m quite liking how the Crayola Washable Kids’ Neon paint turned out. I usually stick with the classic colours but this was what was in stock at the store and I needed several packs.
the retreat location was in the same colour palette ; )
LUSH Live Central took place May 12-13 and showcased organizations addressing animal protection, human rights, and environmental conservation in Hong Kong. As part of Eco Marine, we focused on personal actions and highlighted various #1person1site projects. We brought to PMQ the #natureunnaturepile series for the ocean trash installation. On Sunday, we also led an ocean plastic upcycling art session which turned out whimsical and unique pieces of work by all who took part.
Ecomarine @ LUSH Live Central
Ocean plastic workshop
red light, green light
booth next door—no to shark fin
At the Affordable Art Fair, it was so lovely to see work from three of the artists that have been interviewed over at the Bizzie Bee blog—Kathy Lam, Gail Deayton and Sue Perks.
It was a delight to discover Gaspard Mitz‘s Box Stories as well.
A few favourites—Tracy Emin
and Gaspard Mitz
The Independent Schools Foundation Academy hosted an art workshop with their artist in residence Jennifer Mercede. It was so great to connect with other art educators from Hong Kong and China and have a morning for creative exploration and art making. A big thank you to Julie Emery, Head of Primary Art at ISF for organizing such a wonderful experience for us all.
Lizzie Bee Foundation led an event for Marriott’s service week. We were able to share with their staff about asylum seekers in Hong Kong and what that means for these mums with newborns and babies here. We taught the staff how to sew baskets to hold needed items that will be given to these families.
Art and Its Publics—What makes a Successful
The keynoters and panel speakers covered a lot ground. Conversations need to continue in guiding people towards embracing and understanding the necessity and power of the arts in our communities in whatever form they hold.
Apart from the confirmation that public/art/space/place/practice can never be fully defined or agreed upon ; ), some highlights, realizations, inspiration…
From the Factories—a website documenting the stories of artists and creatives utilizing space in the Kwun Tong factories and how things continue to be at odds with the revitalization policies of the government. This was especially interesting as I went on a walking tour last year organized by Hulu Culture to learn more about Kwun Tong’s history.
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 :).
So this is a tad bit late at four weeks in as a student again. I painted this earlier in the month for my Collecting Childhood project to coincide with the new school year but lost track of things with the the art residency at Kadoorie happening and adjusting to student life. It’s been interestingly full.
In elementary school, I used to get a new Crayola watercolour set at the start of the school year. This time round, blue highlighter and Post-it flags. I do miss those watercolour days and the thrill and excitement it held.
Here are the amazing marine wildlife sculptures I managed to catch in the Washed Ashore exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo before it ended.
Octavia the Octopus
Lidia the Seal
Sebastian James the Puffin
Flash the Marlin
See More the Sea Lion Pup
the accompanying signage was well done
“American” Sea Star—made from plastic resulting from July 4th celebrations
Chompers the Shark
Zorabelle the Rockhopper
Priscilla the Parrot Fish
Did anyone else watch Art Attack in the early 90s? Neil Buchanan’s Big Art Attacks were the best…as was The Head. Vik Muniz’s Waste Land also came to mind whilst looking at these. I only managed to find ten of the seventeen sculptures and missed meeting Herman the Sea Turtle, one of the five ocean ambassadors. Perhaps this was due to the many chipmunk encounters and some stalking of said critters on my part. They’re just so fascinating to watch.
I did of course pop in to check on the pandas…they’ve doubled in number since my last visit :).
snack time all the time
Have a look at what other exhibits are on view at the Smithsonian museums. It’s how I found out about this one.
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.
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.
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.
Pitchaya, translator extraordinaire and Toi, professor in the visual art department.
Drawing upon our childhood in search of moments/events that stand out.
Looking for patterns/organic groupings in our memories.
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.
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.
Setting up our indoor workspace.
We printed on various types of paper.
A favourite was tracing paper.
The print darkens over time and the details become very clear.
They investigated the x-ray quality produced by some plant materials.
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.
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.
first soaking of the bark
sodium carbonate is added to the water and the bark is boiled to further soften it
the inner layers of the bark removed first to use, the outer layers continue soaking
breaking down the fibres with a meat tenderizer mallet
the rubber mallet breaks down the fibres into even shorter pieces
separating fibres and suspending in water
flattening out the surface
pouring the fibre mixture on the mold will create paper similar to sample 2
some of the other paper samples
coconut fibre experimentation
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.