5/04/2017

A subterranean must see in Cph: Sambuichi 'the Water'

Very close to where I live, an old system of underground water reservoirs have become an art space, some years back - and every year Cisternerne present a new wild and overwhelming installation, created specifically for this cavern-like dark and wet space, hiding secretly under the park clad hill by the castle, that I have written about before.

This year it is the Japanese architect Hiroshi Sambuichi, who has created the installation. It's called 'the Water'. I went to see it yesterday, and it was so incredibly beautiful. My absolute warmest recommendations, to anyone living in or going to Copenhagen, and it will be there until February 2018, so no need to rush.

Yesterday was a sunny day, and this is a really dark experience, in the literal sense of the word. You crawl down the narrow stairs to an almost physically tangible pitch black nothing at first - all you sense around you is this cool and drippingly wet cavern and an almost overwhelming scent of fresh cedar and cypress wood - and the peculiar, metallic smell of wetness. Blinded by this sudden shift from blazing spring sun to underground cave, I almost crawled into the space. I couldn't see a thing.

But then the most elegant and mysterious world started to materialize before my eyes - like a dark forest or an underwater shrine. The whole space is transversed by elevated, cedarwood walkways in traditional Japanese style, and here and there they lead you to surprising vistas; the lantern lit curve of a bridge, an island of deliciously green fresh moss. Sudden pillars of natural sunlight, led underground by intricate mirrors. And constantly the sound of dripping water.

It was actually a bit hopeless to photograph, except in the parts where you could see, by sunlight - the semi-dark places just couldn't be done any justice by a camera. Go see for yourself, it's great

Links and info after the images.

There were a lot of references to traditional Japanese architecture and to their perception of the elements - and of course some philosophical layers in the whole concept of the installation, which will grow and evolve as nature wills it, in the period it's there. Read about the whole thing here on the Cisternerne (as the place is called) website.

In the heart of the space there is a very, very dark area, where a different kind of rope line the walkways, and seem to border off a kind of center of the grid - where apparently nothing is - but I saw that the rope was the very rough, handmade hemp kind, that you see around shinto temples, and that white strips were hanging from them. I actually had to take a blitz photo to establish this.

There was something that felt very magical about this roped off centre, and I am sure that the kami were abundant there. I could almost not bring myself to leave, but in the end I was freezing (bring a sweater!) and had to get back up into the sun. To be blinded all over again. 


4/13/2017

Origami Cherry Blossoms

This year Easter and hanami (Japanese for the season of blossoming cherry trees) coincide. So my paper-diy-project Easter egg gift for you, is a very pretty origami cherry blossom. These are quite large, and would look great as table decorations.

There are countless ways of folding a sakura with five petals, but I did a little research, and I think this one is both pretty, easy to make - and it has all the right characteristics of the cherry blossom, like the star shape and that lovely little dent each petal has. Find the tutorial and my special paper, after the images.


These are modular origami, you need to fold each petal individually, and then assemble them. Once you get the hang of it, you may experiment with the dent (the extra fold in the petal, that gives it shape), you can fold that in many ways - and you could also make flowers with much more than five petals, using the same principle.

You'll need glue for these, otherwise they are all over the place!

I made two slightly different designs, and two sizes : about 12 cm. and 8 cm. - or you could scale the design and make miniature versions of them, they are not complicated to fold. Download and print the special paper, that has two flowers of each size and design, right here: Get the PDF


Happy folding, happy Easter, happy Hanami or perhaps just spring!

4/11/2017

Tallinn

Last week I went to Tallinn, Estonia, for the first time - actually it was my very first visit to anywhere in the Baltic countries, even though they are close to Denmark, and tickets are often cheap. I went with a group of girlfriends, simply to relax and stroll and eat nice food, and we were very happy with the visit. We stayed in a modern hotel, right next to the old town center, with its medieval walls, cobblestones, church spires and pastel color houses. It is a beautiful place, and the atmosphere is great, people are nice and there is loads to do, see, eat and drink. This is not a travel tip blog post, but there were a few places that impressed us especially, so let me just give a you couple of warm recommendations.

Simply wonderful restaurant (see interior a couple of photos above): Vanaema Juures (meaning something like 'Granny's Place'). Traditional Estonian food with a contemporary twist, and very charming interior - old lamps, family photos and stuff - but somehow not in a kitschy way, just friendly and cosy. And great hostesses!

Best bar in town, we think (see also photo above): Self Baar - a nice little gin bar, and is a must if you like a G+T. Here they have 50 different gins and several tonics, lemonades, cordials and whatnot to mix them with. And they spice them up with hawthorn, cucumber, peppercorns and other magical ingredients - and they are heavenly. Also, of course, super nice staff. 

Great spot for lunch (see last photo): F-hoone - a big, lively restaurant in an old industrial building, situated in the middle of Telliskivi Creative City (an old industry area near the train station, now workshops, small businesses, bars, pop up shops and general lots-going-on). Best place for some very relaxed studies of the Estonian hipster - and the food was delicious.

I can only say: if you get the chance - go to Tallinn!

3/28/2017

Plastic Fantastic

These necklaces by French multi media artist Blandine Bardeau, make me spring happy! I have a huge jewellery collection, and do not necessarily demand from my jewellery, that it is actually wearable - of course lots of it is, but other pieces are just loved by me for other qualities: sculptural beauty, some fun way of using materials or fine craftsmanship. 

These are probably mostly showpieces, made from soft plastic tubes and from around 2012. I like what she does with the material, and I like the reference (as always) to African tribal jewellery. Blandine is a very versatile artist, she does all kinds of work, and now primarily paints, it seems.
Check her out here.



3/22/2017

Yellow

When Easter is near, the color yellow is everywhere. Such a feast for the eyes! I love yellow. Back in the Easter 2015, I made yellow himmeli from plastic straws and a bit of yarn. And my son got a yellow helium balloon at some event. It even had eyes...

Last year, I was very busy around Easter, and only found the time to post something about these paper flower balls I made, when Easter was long over. 

So I'll re-post them here - they are a yellow and slightly re-designed version of these. I made them a bit smaller, and more buttercup like, and they are super easy to make. They consist of 12 identical petals with slits, and you just slide them together, to form a ball. Add a string if you like, and hang them from a pretty branch.

Print the petals on regular A4 paper - and print on both sides of the paper.  



3/15/2017

Architecture bucket list: Saarinen/Bertoia chapel at MIT

In my childhood home we had four large coffee table books (from a time before such books became common). They were bound in crimson pleather, and must have had colourful dust jackets, that must have gone missing at some point. To me, they were just 'the red books'. They were photo books with themes such as 'Fantastic Buildings of the World', 'Nature's Wonders' - and that sort of thing, you get the picture. And that was just the point: they were full of the most stunning full colour pictures, from LIFE magazine and National Geographic, as far as I remember. I clearly see, that much of my curiosity, my lust for travel and interest in architecture comes from getting lost in those books, hours on end. 

The books themselves are gone now, but I regularly have a moment of "where on earth have I seen this before, I know this from somewhere....? Aaaaaah, of course. I saw a photo in The Red Books!" 

This is exactly what I thought, when I saw an image of the wonderful hanging sculpture/room installation/altar backdrop, Harry Bertoia made for Eero Saarinens small chapel at the M.I.T. campus in Massachusetts (built in 1955). In one the aforementioned red books, there was full page of this fantastic cascading sculpture, and it was a particular favorite of mine. The utter simplicity of the idea, the way this feature in the space is almost alive and magical, like a waterfall of light or snow or flower petals.....

The windowless round brick building itself, is very simple (but has lots of lovely details in the brick- and wood work). The only natural light comes from the giant skylight above the altar, which is simply a white marble cube.

Now see for yourself (and there are a few links and a bit more info after the pictures).


All images are sourced from this very well written article from archdaily.com - read the article here, if you want to know more about this small, peculiar and stunning building:


3/08/2017

In honour of persistent, unapologetic women everywhere

There are so many wonderful and awe-inspiring stories to share on March 8th, thank god, and so many platforms that does that so much better than this one. But I have long wanted to post these absolutely stunning, powerful and remarkable portraits of Tina Turner, and she will be my inspirational, aspirational sisterhood poster woman today. 

Anna Mae Bullock aka Tina Turner: always an idol of mine, definitely a nasty woman, a fighter and such a real human. These photos are from 1969, and are by Jack Robinson (read more after the pictures). 

Jack Robinson, the photographer who shot this series in New York in 1969, had a really interesting story, it turns out. I Googled him, because I wanted to credit these images correctly, and came across  his unusual life story. 

In the 1960s, he was a superstar fashion, celebrity and journalistic photographer in his native New Orleans and in New York, but in the mid 1970s, his career started to decline for a number of reasons, addiction being one of them.

He left New York to care for his elderly parents in the South, gave up photography for good, became sober - and started out on a second career, one in which he seems to have excelled almost as much as in the first: he started working in a company that made stained glass windows, and became amazingly good at that!

He lived in Memphis, Tennessee and made stained glass windows (winning awards and all kinds of praise for that as well) the last two decades of his life, and when he died in 1997, only few people knew about his early career as a photographer. But boxes and boxes of neatly preserved and catalogued negatives and contact sheets were found in his flat, and he was discovered all over, resulting in book publications, exhibitions and so on.

2/13/2017

You should definitely heart someone

Tomorrow it's Valentine's Day, and I think we should absolutely spread some love around.
The world needs it.

Last year I showed you how to make Japanese folding letters for Valentine, menko and tato, and made you a hidden heart origami letter. This year I thought these might be fun....


They take five minutes to fold, and are made from a regular A4 sheet, so you don't even need to worry about square origami paper! I made you a PDF with a lot of red/pink patterns, and scaled the A4 dimensions a bit, to work around those unprinted edges all printed sheets must have. Just grab your scissors and cut away that edge.


Write a nice message to someone you think needs a bit of love, and fold it like this. Or use them for parties, wedding invitations or Christmas ornaments. I made a whole bundle, as you can see, and they ended up as a garland. They are actually very well suited for garlands, the construction has a natural  slit to pull the string through, you'll see for yourself when you try.

Wanna see my garland? 


2/09/2017

Inspiration: giant mobiles by Xavier Veilhan


Xavier Veilhan is a French sculptor / installation artist, who does these massive mobiles - among many other things. The mobiles are the part of his work I really like, they are fantastic. He doesn't stray much from his style: they are always done with very simple elements: spheres, sticks and sometimes round discs.

Sometimes they hang from a contraption, that becomes part of the work (the one above is particularly great, I think), and at other times they hang from the ceiling. What makes them intricate and really impressive, is the sheer scale of them, they are huge! Wow.

All images here are from his own very informative website - which you can check out here.
This year he will be representing France at the Venice Biennale.

And now: the mobiles! Or a small handful of them, anyway.




2/04/2017

Inspiration: paper and acrylic artwork by Klaus Staudt

It's great when you just stumble upon something at just the exact right moment, so that it sets off a whole stream of ideas, that lead to other ideas, that lead to other ideas...! You know what I mean.

Yesterday I was browsing around on Pinterest, when I came across an image of this minimalist, simple white-on-white relief, apparently cut in some kind of paper. It was so elegant and sharp and precise, and I clicked through to the source and found out that it was made by a rather famous German artist, Klaus Staudt. I had never heart about him, but I googled and clicked around, and found one amazing image after the other. 

I find them very beautiful and inspiring - both as patterns, as paper art, and in how they use shadow almost as a physical material.

Super condensed bio on Klaus Staudt: born in 1932. One of the leading figures in constructivist or concrete art. Famous for his geometrically intricate paper and acrylic reliefs and sculptures and represented in many museums and collections around the world. 

Here is his website (in german) - check out it's super minimal style - and here is an interview from 2015, where the camera does some wonderful close up exploration of his work, while he talks.

His art is the quiet, subdued and obsessive kind, that perhaps does not catch your eye at first glance in some flashy collection of contemporary art, but grows on you when you start to really see it.