Flying Ships

I loved this story about Luigi Prina, his friend Eugino and their flying ships. Eighty-three years old with the spirit of a boy, the spirit of someone still caught up in the magic of imagination

o-BOATS-570This story reminded me of a dream I had one night. I was visiting Italy, a remote part of the country that still had many ancient buildings. As I walked through the streets, I came to a canal where there were traditional boats. I got in one of the boats and began to row down the canal. As I traveled, the boat began to rise and fly through the air, up above the cobbled streets, through the stars. This was, no doubt, influenced by my trip to Venice.

imagesImage reminiscent of my dream by Vincent Besanceney

In Egyptian mythology, Ra traveled across the sky and the underworld (Duat) following the sun in two solar boats, Mandjet (morning boat) and Mesektet (evening boat). There’s also a Russian fairy tale (ferry tale?) called The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship. Click here to read a synopsis of the tale. The Trobianders of the south Pacific talk of a flying canoe which is central to their mythology. And of course, there are the star ships of science fiction, including the famous Starship Enterprise.

The reality of flying boats is much less magical and romantic. Here’s one that I’ve seen a few times in my life:

boatThis is a Canadair CL-215, photo from the Wikipedia site on Flying Boats. It differs from a sea plane in that it has a “purpose-designed fuselage” that gives it buoyancy. I live, surrounded by forests, which means in summer, forest fires. These boats have the power to land on water, scoop up a load of water and take off again to dump it on a fire. This summer, fires have been intense. People have been evacuated from their homes. One evening, smoke came through our screened doors and windows so thick that my throat burned.

I’m always amazed at the courage of the fire fighters, especially the Rapattack teams that repel from aircraft into the burn sites. Unlike city fire fighters, forest fires are a lot harder to contain and there are no fire trucks or hoses to support their efforts. Just them, their equipment and the occasional dump of water from the flying boats. My gratitude to the fighters who guard our homes here in the mountains.

Paper Art

If you look at my page In the Studio, you will see I am working with paper at the moment. There are so many artists using the same medium. I just came across Amy Eisenfeld Genser’s work on My Modern Met. I like the colours she chooses.

Another artist working in paper whom I recently learned about is Anna Berry in the UK. I particularly like her kinetic installation Breathing Room.

Japanese artist Katsumi Hayakawa has produced a stunning architectural paper city. Very inspiring.

I began my process of working with paper following my mother’s death. Today marks the one year anniversary of her passage. The shredded paper that I’m using for this project comes from sorting through both her papers and my own. I appreciate having an art practice at times like this. Often my work is conceptually-based but at other times, like with this work, art has power to heal and transform.

Here’s to my mum, you will always walk with me.


Wellcome Library

I just learned today that the Wellcome Library had made it’s collection of images available through Creative Commons. The Wellcome Library is funded through the Wellcome Trust. And Wellcome was take over a few years ago to become part of Glaxo Smith Kline. Remember all the controversies about patent protections versus generic drugs? Here’s a link on the topic. So it’s rather ironic that they are offering up the images for us to use. The Library collection might be a good source of material for art that critiques Big Pharma, as I did in Benign Sells, Malignant Sells. 

The images in the library are fascinating. I found this one

L0051649 An affluent man receiving galvanic electric therapy from aGalvanism in Piccadilly.

An affluent man receiving galvanic electric therapy from a French quack doctor, while staring intently out of the window. Coloured etching.
The patient says: “Mercy on me, what a wonderful effect – bless me, theres a pretty girl over the way – I’ve a greate mind to run after her.” The operator of the electric current replies: “Dere mi – you Angloise – you no believe in galvanism – be gar two-dree shock more make you young again.”
Published: Roberts.[London] ([128] Middle Row) :
Size: platemark 25.6 x 34.9 cm.
Collection: Iconographic Collections
Library reference no.: Iconographic Collection 11822i
Full Bibliographic Record Link to Wellcome Library CatalogueCopyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 wasn’t familiar with Galvanism so did what we all do and checked it out on Wikipedia. Luigi Galvani was a scientist who discovered a phenomenon he called animal electricity, believing that the nerve twitches in dead frogs were caused by a type of electricity. This idea lead to several things, including electro-shock therapy to “cure” or aid mental illnesses. It was also thought that it could bring the dead to life and that idea gave us the classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It is also the source of the verb “to galvanize”, as in “We were galvanized into action.”
Here’s another favourite. I can’t wait to discover more!
L0012192 Fever, represented as a frenzied beast, stands racked in theL0012192 Credit: Wellcome Library, London
Fever, represented as a frenzied beast, stands racked in the centre of a room, while a blue monster, representing ague, ensnares his victim by the fireside; a doctor writes prescriptions to the right. Coloured etching by T. Rowlandson after J. Dunthorne, 1788.
Coloured etching 1788 By: James Dunthorne after: Thomas Rowlandson and John Milton
Published: T. Rowlandson,[London] (50, Poland St.) :  29 March 1788
Size: platemark 41.6 x 56.1 cm.
Collection: Iconographic Collections
Library reference no.: ICV No 12244
Full Bibliographic Record Link to Wellcome Library CatalogueCopyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

Oxygen Gallery

Today, I’m gallery sitting at the Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson, BC during the Columbia Basin Culture Tour.  The current show at Oxygen is Spin Off by Megan Dickie. Megan explores struggle, in a playful and physical manner. Here’s a link to her website:

I like the Oxygen – they bring in a wide variety of contemporary artists into the community. The previous show was High Muck A Mucks, curated by Nicola Harwood. Here’s a review I wrote about it for Galleries West Magazine.

BRITISHCOLUMBIA.v3“Website Interface: British Columbia”

Tomoyo Ihaya, “Website Interface: British Columbia,” digitized watercolour and guache, size variable.