Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Inspiration behind the poem “Persuasion Before Contact”

I was working on 2 canvasses that I hadn’t been satisfied with. I had painted over the canvasses with acrylic paint, but had reached a deadend as to where to go from there. So I tore up some Chinese newspapers that I’d gotten from a recent trip to Chinatown. And pages from a book that I was going to alter. I added some cut outs, stamps, vintage dressmaking tissue paper, scrapbooking paper, gesso. I layered my ephemera over the canvasses, and then noticed that I’d subconsciously chosen the words Persuasion, Before and Contact.

So I went with my subconscious and added more letter stamps and numbers etc. And came to realise that this project merited poem of its own.

Et voila! “Persuasion Before Contact” by AlyZen Moonshadow. You’ve read the poem, now here’s the inspiration behind it.

From these:
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image(The 2 canvasses that I’d splashed paint on earlier. I did take some close-up photos of them, which can be used as backgrounds for other projects, so the exercise wasn’t completely wasted).

To these:

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I really like the idea of using text and also the concept of letting my subconscious dictate how a piece should look.

Question: which came first, the poem or the artwork?
Answer: actually, it was the artwork. The text used on the 2 canvasses sparked off the poem. However, I believe the concept was already in my subconscious before I even started collaging the elements together. It just wanted to be expressed one way or another, and in this case, both in textual and image form.

It’s All Here…

…if you’re searching for a one-stop resource for everything and anything to do with Art & Crafts, and more specifically (in my case) Mixed Media, go directly to Interweave’s site here. Yup, they are the people that produce the bi-monthly eye candy called Cloth Paper Scissors.

Everything, and I mean even the kitchen sink, can be found on that site. If you want to learn how to carve your own stamps. If you’re curious about encaustic art. If you want to invest in some Gelli plates but don’t know where to start. If you’re curious about this thing called a “Sizzix Bigshot machine”. If you want to know the differences between watercolour, watercolour pencils and colour pencils. If you’d like to know the true capabilities of a Sharpie. If you’re after tips on making books by hand. If you want to learn how to do an emulsion lift transfer. If you’d like to know how to recycle household items into useful items. If you’re curious about Transfer Art Paper. If you want to know about Golden’s Ground Medium. If you can’t decide between Art Journaling and Collage, or want to do both.

It’s all here.

The magazine Cloth Paper Scissors embodies all aspects of Art and Crafts that utilise its namesake. I’d seen this bi-monthly magazine at my local newsagents, but they ran out of copies before I decided to buy it. The only reason I hesitated was because of the price – not Interweave’s fault, but rather the hefty profit margin that the newsagent slapped on.

Luckily, just as providence would have it, Interweave sent me an email (I’m on their mailing list) offering 50% off digital downloads of past copies of Cloth Paper Scissors. (This offer would have expired by the time you read this post, so I won’t bother with the link here. But don’t worry, there are other exciting offers on all the time). So, instead of paying nearly AU$20 per copy of CPS, for the sum of around US$79 I bought the links to download every single copy of CPS from 2004-2013. Yay, Happy Days!

But hey, you don’t have to buy anything from their site. There’s even a ton of FREE stuff you can download. Below is just One example from many.
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And, Interweave doesn’t just do Mixed Media. They also offer everything under the sun if you are into sewing, knitting, crotchet, beading, quilting, weaving, jewellery making etc. And they also do paint and paint techniques. The list goes on.

But don’t just take my word for it…those of you who already know about this motherlode of knowledge about Art & Crafts, will be nodding your head sagely. Those of you who don’t – why are you still reading this? Go online already and check out Interweave for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

From Interweave’s own “About” page:

Founded in 1975 by Linda Ligon, INTERWEAVE, part of F+W, is one of the nation’s largest craft media companies with businesses in magazine and book publishing, interactive media, broadcast programming, and events for art and craft enthusiasts. Interweave’s mission is to inspire, encourage and support creative self-expression.

Interweave features:

18 craft-enthusiast subscription magazines and many more special interest publications.
More than 250 books in print and annually publishes about 40 best-selling, how-to craft books on the same subjects as the company magazines.
An extensive Internet network of more than 30 websites, including the popular online communities KnittingDaily.com and BeadingDaily.com, which bring together the best content from the company’s magazines and TV shows with free e-newsletters, how-to articles and patterns, with an emphasis on community.
Several major events for fiber and bead, gem, and jewelry making enthusiasts, including the Spin-Off Annual Retreat and Bead Fests in locations across the country, attracting thousands of consumers and industry manufacturers and advertisers.
A PBS television series, Knitting Daily TV and major sponsorship of Beads, Baubles and Jewels TV and Quilting Arts TV.
The company is headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The Perils of Homework

Homework
Homework!
Why so much
Homework?

And I’m not even
In school anymore
So why am I doing
So much
Homework?

I used to wait
Til the school bell rang
To welcome my kid home
Every day
From Primary School
So we could catch up
And talk about his day
Watch a bit of TV
Have dinner
Then kiss him
Off to bed

But now
When he comes home
From Secondary School
With his school bag
Heavy on his young shoulders
I shudder
To think about what
Homework
He has to do

Because
Like any Mother
Who wants her child
To do well
In his educational years
You just have to
Keep up with their
Homework
You have no choice
And there’s a
Helluva lot of
Homework to do!!

I will of course
Help him
As far as I’m able
But inside
I’m cringing
Because
Inside I’m screaming
“I’ve done my time
In school already,
Been there, done that,
Got the t-shirt
I have more than enough
On my own plate
Why must I now
Deal with
Homework
All over again?!!”

Aaarghh
The Perils of Homework

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Persuasion Before Contact

Whatever happened
To chivalry?
Where have all
The Gentlemen gone?
Why is this Life
So much of a
Rush rush rush
That even Love
Must be hurried
Got over
Done with?
Let’s skip the formalities
And just get down to business?

Whatever happened
To the Art of
Gentle Persuasion?
Of talking and wooing
Before instigating
Contact?
Has Love taken
A backseat
To Lust?
Or are we just
Too busy
To make the effort
Anymore?
Shoot first
Ask questions later?

Persuasion Before Contact
Romance 123
Perhaps get to know
The Person first
Before you get to know
The Body
A relationship
Based on physical attributes
And no intellectual
Or emotional connection
Is one headed for
A cul-de-sac
Sure, it’s fun
But when it ends
…then what?
On to the next conquest?
…and then what?
Is it a case of
Perpetual
“Try before you buy”?

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And people call Them “Primitive”??

I recently saw a video on a friend’s Facebook wall, about how many ancient Tribes are under threat of extinction due to modern man’s “intervention”. Yes, you read that right. It’s PEOPLE I’m talking about, not animals.

Modern Man has a lot to account for, mostly negative when it’s regarding fellow human beings and animals. Kill, maim, capture, rape, torture, exterminate!! If it’s different, it’s a threat!! Shudder.

Sure, we live in a world of technological wonders, where anything we can imagine is possible…if not now, then in the next 10 minutes. But we seem to have lost our humanity along the way. And instead picked up plenty of ignoble traits. Shame on us!

The video clip (just one of many by Survival International) had captions which read like a Wish List for the “Modern” World:

No Debt
No Bombs
No Prisons
No Poverty
No Homeless
No Pollution
…and people call Them “Primitive”??

I was compelled to leave a long comment about those Tribes on my friend’s Facebook wall. I’ll share what I said here too:

These people are living the life that most of us dream about – a life with no debt, everyone contributing to the whole, communities rich in culture, where the young look after the old and the old look after the very young, everyone suppports each other and helps out in the fields, hunting or gathering. There is respect throughout, and the handing down of ancient healing and shamanic knowledge.

It’s the Western World that has twisted the whole idea and gotten it wrong. And it’s they who think these Tribes should get “civilised” and join the modern world. But why?? So these Tribes can be exposed to the corrupt world we live in? Where there’s all manner of manmade diseases that they won’t have any natural immunity to? Where they will encounter amorality, violence, wanton excesses, rampant consumerism, selfishness, greed and ego? Where they will be relegated to ghettos or reservations, put through the “System” and treated like second or third class citizens, on the dole, forced to live in modern houses, their children forced fed an alien education stripped of morals and ancient teachings, so that they forget their own culture and history but have to assimilate what the government decrees should be learnt instead?

We have come so far down the wrong path, that we now see ourselves as progressive and modern, and these Ancient Tribes as backward and uncivilised. When in actual fact it is US who are backward and uncivilised, squabbling like children over stupid invented realities like Money, Property, Land and Ownership, and starting wars because someone said/did/is something different to what we’ve been brainwashed to believe in.

It’s high time we looked towards creating a simpler society, or literally got back to our roots. We need to be more like these Tribes, we need to help them survive and thrive instead of dragging them kicking and screaming into this chaotic world we live in. We need to change our own perception of what is inherently good for us and what we’ve been brainwashed to believe is good for us. WAKE UP, WORLD!!

Want to help? Then donate to, or better still, join Survival International, the only organisation that champions tribal people’s rights.

Take a stand now. Be the Change you want to see.

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Out and About in Chinatown

The Chinese or Lunar New Year was on the 19th of February this year (2015), but because it fell mid-week our annual Family Reunion Dinner was postponed til the weekend. Yesterday (Sunday) we went to my 2nd Uncle’s home to join him and my cousins and their children, for our annual gathering. 2nd Uncle is my only patriachal relative in Western Australia. I haven’t been back to my Maternal Grandma’s for Chinese New Year for nearly 20 years now, and since dear Grandma passed away last year there will sadly no longer be anymore Chinese New Years at her home.

As dinner wouldn’t be starting til 5pm, the Kid and I decided to check out the festivities in Perth’s Chinatown first. I had read there would be parades and food stalls and stalls selling all manner of Oriental goods and souvenirs.

Here’s what we saw:

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Yes, there were thousands of people thronging James Street. Yes, it was hard moving about and not spilling peanut gravy from my chicken satay all over my front.

Yes, it was a lovely, warm, sticky day. We are still in Summertime here in the Land Down Under.

Yes, that is a large orange shaped kiosk selling freshly pressed orange juice.

No, I don’t know what Morris dancers were doing there during a Chinese New Year celebration.

Yes, I threw in that photo of a pub called “The Elephant and the Wheelbarrow” because that particular junction looks so much like Small Town America to me.

No, that is not a real Library, it is another bar venue. And no, those rays of light are not a special effect I created.

Coming To My Senses

I am
Coming to
My senses
Waking up
My reality
Is changing
My world
Expanding
Suddenly I am
Standing on
The other side
A stranger
Looking in
When in the past
I was like
Those in the bubble
Oblivious
To what is
Happening
Believing that
I was born to
Work
Pay bills
And Die
Because isn’t that
What everyone else does?

Now the scales
Have fallen
And I can see
Really see
How we must
Turn right round
Scratch out
The past
And start again
If humanity
Is to have
A chance
To survive
All the wars
All the enmity
All the struggles
All the strife
All the heartache
All the stress
All the worry
All come down to
Just one thing

MONEY

Because
The concept of
Money begets
The concepts of
Power and Ownership
Which in turn beget
The concepts of
Greed and Profit
Which beget
The concept of
Selfishness and Ego
Which beget
The concepts of
Us and Them
Rich and Poor
Me, Me, Me

Trust me
When I say
That without Money
The world will not end
It will not
Be Chaos
Think about it
I know the truth
And many more
Are waking up
We cannot continue
To live this great Lie
That pretends to be Life
They say
Those that know
The Truth
Those that can see
Past the great Lie
Come across
As the crazy ones
I’m a lunatic then
Will you Wake Up
And See for yourself?

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Project Palimpsest/Butterick: Some Art I Just Created

Following on from yesterday’s Freebies, and in line with my recent obsession for mixed media art, here are some examples of Art that I’ve created using close-ups of my Project Palimpsest/Butterick canvasses.

The images on the left are of the close-ups, and on the right are the results after blending. There is some discrepancy with the size of the originals and the results – this is because I have resized the final image.

The App I use most for blending images these days is called Photo Blender. Not the most imaginative by name, but it offers the highest number of blend modes than any other App I know of. I really enjoy playing with the different blend modes until I come across one that I like. All effects are tweakable by simply swiping your finger across the screen.

Here is the link to Photo Blender: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.primary0.photoblender

You can click on any image to see a full-page version of it. Enjoy!

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P/S: I think I just might put these up for sale on my Society 6, RedBubble, Zazzle and FineArtAmerica stores. Hmmm…:-)

Project Palimpsest/Butterick: Part III (FREEBIES!!)

I’ve taken some close ups of sections of my 2 Palimpsest/Butterick canvasses, and am sharing them here now as FREEBIES.

If you wish to, you may download them to your device or computer and use them as elements for your own collage or mixed media projects. These are JPGs, but you can easily convert them into PNG format to suit your projects.

Enjoy!

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Happy Lunar New Year 2015

You don’t have to be Chinese or even Oriental, to ring in the Year of the Goat 2015, which falls this year on February 19th. Goat, ram, sheep …it doesn’t matter, as the Chinese word “yang” covers all ovine animals. (I’m reminded of that famous scene in the movie “Babe”, where our ubiquitous porcine hero has to recite the Ovine Oath of “Baaaa ram ewe” to a flock of sheep he’s herding at the championship trials).

The UK’s Telegraph has written an interesting segment on various aspects of the Year of the Goat. Read it here.

For those curious about what Chinese Astrology has to say about people born in the year of the Goat, and what this New Year holds for them, here is a very interesting article covering many aspects of it:
http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-zodiac/goat.asp

Some famous Goat people: Bill Gates, Nicole Kidman, Zhang ZiYi, Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson, Leonard Nimoy, Clint Eastwood, Coco Chanel, Marc Chagall, Camille Saint-Saens, Mark Twain, Franz Liszt, Vangelis.

This festive season also marks the world’s biggest annual mass migration of people, as they head back to their ancestral homes (the homes of their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents) where the Family Reunion Dinner will be held on the first day of the Lunar New Year. That’s when the entire clan will meet and sit down for a sumptuous banquet, gifts of mandarin oranges are exchanged and married people give children red money packets (hong bao).

And then there are the long strands of Chinese firecrackers snap-crackle-and-popping all over the place, creating carpets of scarlet confetti, and lots of fireworks in the sky. Don’t forget the Lion dances, real feats of acrobatics, as shopkeepers dangle heads of lettuce from poles out of 2nd storey windows or balconies, for the Lion to catch in its mouth. There’s a red packet tied to the lettuce, it holds money for the entire troupe. The Lion will then ritually “eat” the lettuce, then throw shreds of it all around.

(Image source: Google)

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It truly is a case of Eat, Drink and Be Merry.

Here is a Chinese Baidu heatmap of the Mass Migration in China during the festive season, where more than 1 billion people will make the journey Home. Imagine the traffic chaos and the crowds on trains.

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Last year was the year of the Horse, and I created a digital Chinese New Year card that I shared online as a Freebie to anyone and everyone.

This time, it’s my Year of the Goat offering. Feel free to copy and share my Goat card (it rather reminds me of a “hong bao” money packet) with your family, friends and social circles.

GONG XI FA CAI!
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