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…
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 : ).
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! :)
observing and documenting
looking for examples of radial (or rotational) symmetry
creating our dishes whilst
thinking about colour, pattern, symmetry…
Which dish do you fancy?
I’ve also been observing and noting how different types of plant matter dry and decay
and exploring working with pressed leaves.
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.
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.
Painting with cyanotype solution, exposing in natural light, developing in water. Quite like how the blues have been turning out.
This is a good read on the cyanotype process from Christopher James.
I’m spending the month of October here as one of two artists in residence. It’s my first time in Chiang Mai and this place is just beautiful. In the 4 days I’ve been here, I’ve gotten a whirlwind tour of the area around Rumpueng: three wats, the Chiang Mai University’s campus and Faculty of Fine Art buildings (they have stone carving class!), museums, cafes, neighbourhood eateries… and met artists from near and far.
map! and hand drawn too
31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit
a peek into part of the printing studio at CMU
rooftop creative space, CMU
lake at CMU that is frequented by Chinese tourists because it may have been the setting in a popular movie…am still doing recon on this
This is my work area before I unpacked all my art materials. Getting used to how much space is available and planning on doing some larger scale pieces.
I was able to sit in on a life drawing class with some second year uni students that took place at Rumpueng. They concluded the session with a class shindig–a Thai bbq. Such a lovely time with them and of course delicious food.
Am also enjoying
waking up to the bantering of roosters
collecting around the neighbourhood
Catch day to day happenings on instagram.