Local Heart, Global Soul

October 13, 2018

Woodn’t You Know It, It’s THIS Challenge Again…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch had just settled into our accommodation in Hanmer Springs in January 2018, when we received notification that the winter firewood supply would be arriving.

We were asked could we keep the garage open so that it could all be stacked inside to dry out for winter please?

could we  also please arrange a time convenient to us for this stacking to take place too?

Kiwi Daughter suddenly jumped up with an emphatic exclamation: “Stacking wood? MY Job! I want to do it!”

Her request was relayed to a very surprised Hanmer Holiday Homes staff who manage the house and bookings and Kiwi Daughter got her wish.

Kiwi Daughter has happy memories of completing a firewood stacking challenge almost five years previously:  “Kiwi Daughter Wood Prove Me Wrong…”  (https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2017/01/05/new-2374/) and clearly is relishing the physical challenge once again.

They came with a trailer and dumped a very decent sized heap of wood in front of the garage door, closer at least to the stacking site than in the playhouse last time. She immediately grabbed the gardening gloves and set to work with gusto. In fact she worked so hard it was difficult to get her to some for dinner… a very familiar theme to that of the last time. She did however admit that it seemed to be harder work this time than last time, and that her hands were suffering a little in spite of the gloves.

Aches and pains aside Kiwi Daughter was proud of herself for persevering, and rightly so, we were proud of her too. She got through more than half of the pile the next day, but a sudden change in our holiday plans put the completion of her task on hold for several days. She did however get back to the task in hand as soon as we returned, and did an amazing job. Well Done sweetheart… this is a challenge you completed almost single handily this time and “Woodn’t” you know it, this city kid can get stuck into a heavy manual job and do herself proud!

October 15, 2016

Am I Really Not Able To See The Wood For The Trees?

During our summer holiday in Germany last year, we used the area close to the town of Stadtkyll as our base and traveled around checking out the local area. Since the area is rural it makes sense that the locals heat their homes with wood fires or burners. Therefore it was very normal to see lots of wood piles during our travels and you know me… even the ordinary things can have interesting patterns in them so I started taking photographs of as many of them as I could as we drove past. The wooded countryside was also interesting too of course, and then a possible title for this post popped into my head… a little something about not being able to see the wood for the trees.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Christmas tree farm…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Almost missed this one…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This one was so long I only managed half of it…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Almost missed this one too…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

August 11, 2015

Take A Pew… Take In The View…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I sat in the pews of the Basilica of Saint  Servatius in order to take photographs of the beautifully decorated ceiling.

What I forgot to mention, is that the pews themselves are works of art, most of them are stunningly carved.

As far as I could make out they are all different, but I didn’t get as many photographs as I’d have like to because I was tired and appreciated the quiet sit down, and also this was the spot where photography would be most intrusive to other visitors who were sitting in quiet contemplation.

I kept them out of the photographs and didn’t parade up and down the isle of the church taking photographs because I didn’t feel that it was appropriate at that point.

Many of the pews in this area have a prominent carved end points, and I’m guessing that it’s possible that some of these are “family” pews, that may have been the regular seats of generations of regular worshippers. They are comfortable too (well as comfortable as pews can be) so that’s a bonus. Me, I just love the carved work on them…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

February 4, 2014

With The Frog Or The Bird’s Eye Perspective: Italy Makes An Impression…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m continuing my yesterday’s post where I am detailing some of  Dutch artist M.C. Escher’s early works, may of which were done in Italy, a country Escher fell in love with and later moved to until his conflict with the ideas of Fascism forced him to move with his family to Switzerland, then Belgium and then back to The Netherlands.

One of the information boards in the Escher Museum located in the former winter palace of Queen Regent Emma of the Netherlands, on the Lange Voorhout in The Hague tells me:

Early in his career, Escher experimented with perspective by choosing an unusually high or low vantage point to draw from. The mountains in Italy were perfectly suited to this. For “San Gimignano”, “Bonifacio”and “Temple of Segesta”, he selected an extremely low vantage point, from a valley. As a result the viewer looks up at an object located far above. This is known as “the frog’s perspective”.

In other works Escher chose a very high vantage point, for example in “Morano”, “Ravello”and “Calvi”, the fishing town seen from the citadel. In these prints the viewer looks down at the subject of the work. This is known at as the “Bird’s eye perspective”.

Escher never used the “panoramic view” so popular with other artists at the time. When in 1939 Escher made prints of Delft commissioned by the Dutch Government, he climbed up the tower of the Nieuwe Kerk to show the marketplace from a dizzying perspective.

The viewer’s eye is led downwards rather than out towards the broad surroundings.

In Escher’s time (more specifically, between 1920 and 1940), many European artists played with extreme forms of perspective. Giorgio de Chirico in Italy, Carel Willink in the Netherlands and Ludwig Kirchner in Germany had been using perspective as a stylistic tool since 1910. but their most predecessor was Giovanni Battista Piranesi, who in the 18th Century portrayed spaces using the most bizarre perspectives. 

Personally I think that Italy and the early works Escher did there, and the discovery of  the possibilities  that these altered perspectives offered, heavily influenced Escher’s later works for which he became world famous: the seemingly  “impossible” ascending and descending staircases and waterfalls and the transitional spaces works like “water and air” where fish become birds and visa versa.

Certainly it may be disputed that Escher didn’t always stick strictly to reality, but in fact I have found that as a general rule most artists don’t… it’s impossible to see every twig and blade of grass in a landscape, real world “litter”  in the broader sense of inconvenient  buildings, people, or the distractions of everyday items are often left out of compositions for cleaner lines, better perspective, balance, light, mood or colour. In a way I love these earlier works even more than the more famous later ones because they document the source of inspiration and reveal that Escher’s genius about “thinking outside the box” was a quirky personality trait present right from the start.

I love quirky and I adore detail… this won’t be my last visit here…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Temple of Segesta, Sicily”, 1932 (wood engraving) Note: the block in printing is always opposite to the final printed image of the first photo in this post.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Pineta of Calvi, Corsica”, 1933 (woodcut in light grey, dark grey and black, printed from three blocks)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Study for Atrani, Coast of Amalfi”,1931 (black chalk,pencil)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Study for “Atrani, Coast of Amalfi”,1931 (black chalk, pencil)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Calvi, the Fishing Town seen from the Citadel, Corsica”, 1933 (wood-engraving)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Nocturnal Rome: Basilica of Constantine”, 1934 (woodcut)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Delft, Nieuwe Kerk”, 1939 (woodcut)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Delft, Roofs”, 1939 (woodcut)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Inside St. Peters’ 1935, (wood engraving)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Venice”, 1936 (woodcut)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Venice”, 1936 (woodcut) Detail…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Porta Maria dell’ Ospidale, Ravello”, 1932 (wood engraving)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“La Mezquita, Córdoba”, 1936 (black and white chalk)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Coast of Amalfi” (composition) 1934, (woodcut)

http://www.escherinhetpaleis.nl/

February 3, 2014

Take A Stone, or Wood, Ink And Paper: And Create More Than The Sum Of The Parts…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m continuing my series of blog posts about M.C. Escher and the permanent exhibition that’s located on the Lange Voorhout in The Hague, The Netherlands in the former winter palace of Queen regent Emma of the Netherlands.

I visited here in the summer of 2012 with visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine” and together we are enjoying both Escher’s works and the beautiful palace they are house in.

There are a few information boards placed around the exhibition and from them I find out:

M.C. Escher was a graphic artist, specialising in woodcuts and lithographs. Woodcuts are made by cutting a design into a block of wood, lithographs by drawing an image on a specially treated flat stone. A woodcut is a form of relief printing: a gouge is used to carve out parts of a wood block leaving a raised image. Ink is applied to these raised parts and then a sheet of paper is pressed onto the inked block. A lithograph is a form of flat or offset printing: the ink is applied to the flat stone and paper then placed on top.

Escher and the natural world: From early on nature played an important role in Escher’s work.

In itself this is unsurprising: young artists base their work on what they see around them and nature has traditionally been one of the first subjects to present itself. Escher’s family always lived in a relatively rural setting. He was born in Leeuwarden and his parents moved to Arnhem when he was four years old. 

Between 1921 and 1935 he made long trips every year through a remote part of Italy, the country he eventually moved to in 1925, The Italian landscape and nature in general continued to captivate him all his life. As his graphic work shows, Escher was an attentive observer, yet every one of this landscapes gives rise to the question of whether it corresponds to reality.

As early as 1940, Escher’s friend, the art critic Hein ‘s Gravensande remarked that Escher synthesised what he saw, he meant that Escher cheated just a little when making a print.

That last line made me smile:  after all what artist doesn’t use a little “artistic licence”? Transposing a creative idea onto a flat piece of canvas, paper or other medium is a difficult enough task,  and we all see the world in our own way. Capturing that view in a limited space and in a few lines is a daunting task,  carving it into a block of wood is far harder then it looks, the beauty is that in the finished print we can see the essence of that Escher wants us to see… it’s more than paper, wood and ink… it’s amazing.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Witte poes” (White cat) 1910, Woodcut.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Lichtende zee”  (Phosphorescent sea) 1933, Lithograph.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Zonnebloemen” (Sunflowers) 1918, Linoleum cut.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Het Paradijs” (Paradise) 1921, Woodcut, counterproof. ( …very much reminds me of Henri Rousseau’s work)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Drie werelden” (Three worlds) 1955, Lithograph

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 6, 2014

The Biggest Serving Of Chips…

Filed under: BELGIUM,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes when you are driving through a new region or area, reoccurring themes start to appear as you look around you and are busy taking photographs.

Most of the world assumes that “French fries” must come from France, but the real truth is that ” French fries” as the snack we know then today originated in Belgium.  Both in Belgium and The Netherlands they are known as “friet” (fries)  and in some areas of Belgium as “Vlaamse frieten”  (Flemish fries).

One thing is for certain, the Belgium population loves it’s fries. I started taking a few photographs of advertising signboards along our route and for every photograph I captured here I probably missed at least two more.  There were advertisements for fries everywhere, in the end I lost count of how many I saw, there were so many.

The other thing I saw a lot of were stacks of firewood either as neatly stacked piles ready for the winter or as logs  drying out and waiting to be chopped into smaller pieces.  In true Sherlock Holmes fashion I clearly deduced that most of the homes along our route must have wood-burners as the main source of their winter heating.

What I like about both is the absolutely random variation of the sizes and styles they both displayed and how they give insight into local habits. (In Dutch cities no-one has any space for a large firewood supply, so open fires or log burners are a positive rarity). Countryside wood-burners, flickering amber embers and the roar and crackle of an open fire are things I really miss from my New Zealand childhood and are an experience that my own children rarely ever get to see. Fortunately we are not a family who eat fries very often at home at all. We indulge when on holiday as a treat, but once we reach our own door again we are fast back into our preferred home-cooked food with vegetables routine.  So between the “chips” and the wood chips, this would be the biggest serving of fries I have ever seen in a single day…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 2, 2014

Decorations In Wood, Turrets, Towers, … And A Cable Car!

We are about to leave the town of Vianden in Luxembourg and continue our journey northwards. I find the town fascinating because there is a delightful mix of architecture and lots of  beautiful decorative features to photograph. I particularly like the decorative woodwork on the roof edges of a few of the houses we see, and the proliferation of little towers and turrets on houses, churches and towers in the town.  There is even a cable car running up the hill! Once more I can’t resist and my camera is busy…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Spot the Cable Car!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph ©Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 28, 2013

It’s Hard to Tear Myself Away, But Finally Through All The Detail, …I Find The Door

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s not only stained glass that sets my artistic senses humming… there are carved  plaques, massive wooden doors,  carved cherubs and acanthus leaves, both in wood and stone.

Here in Sint-Romboutskathedraal (St. Rumbold’s Cathedral) in Mechelen, Belgium, there are grand columns with exquisite trailing vines twined around them,  a statue of the Virgin Mary with amazing  painted detail on her gown… or the font, also in carved  and embellished in red, blue/green and gold paint.

The acanthus leaves continue around the top of the central columns, or on the base of a plinth holding a very large candlestick.  It’s a detail fanatics heaven and this detail fanatic is in her element.

Of course these photos are not only here for me to drool over and to share with you, they are also part of my  artistic “inspiration file”…

…where better to study flowing drapery and beautiful forms than from the examples of skilled artisans who preceded us through centuries past. It’s a lesson on how to get things right. It’s a history lesson and an art lesson all rolled into one. I can only hope that the spirits of these people somehow know that they continue to inspire people centuries after they have gone.  This is my last post about the inside of Sint-Romboutskathedraal, but it’s certainly not the last time I intend visiting here.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

acanthus and patterns 1j (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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acanthus and patterns 1q (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 9, 2012

Resistance is Futile…

In this post you’ll have to indulge me…the Detail Fanatic in me is just itching to drool over the detail in the furniture I featured in yesterday’s post. My Zoom lens was working overtime,  resistance is futile,  let’s lean in close and take a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 8, 2012

Using up the Off-Cuts and Scraps…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post we have arrived at the Kauri Museum in Northland…

Kauri was a highly prized timber in shipbuilding, house construction and flooring but to a far lesser extent for use in furniture.

This is because the more “interesting”  wood contained sap…in fact I spy an amazingly beautiful piece of polished timber (first photo) with a label on it that reads:

The Industry wanted and found, clean , straight grained and uninteresting first grade timber. The fancy grained and gum impregnated timber seen in the museaum was waste more often left in the bush or used as boiler firing

Fortunately now we are enlightened and Kauri is quite rightly a highly protected tree and the museum has amassed a small collection of Kauri furniture. Personally,  I’d have any of these pieces in my home in a heartbeat.

I even find it beyond belief that this beautiful wood was only considered as off-cuts and scrap material for almost the first 100 years of New Zealand’s Pakeha (white) settlement.  Maori of course understood the value of Kauri too,  but by all accounts used it sparingly for very special things like building ceremonial and ocean going Waka (canoes).

There are many old grand villa style homes and public buildings in New Zealand that were build around 1900  that still boast stunning Kauri floors or staircases and in one way I’m pleased to see the wood put to good use (if the tree was going to be cut down anyway) but in many cases the “wastage” of wood was massive and on a scale that these days would be thought a reprehensible and moral tragedy.

In this post I’m taking a look at some of the beautiful furniture in the collection…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Ok, so there’s no way I’m getting these boats into my apartment but they are Kauri too.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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