Tuesday, 8 April 2014

New experiences: Patron of the arts

Image credit: Sue Beatrice
I came across a few of artist Sue Beatrice's pocket watch sculptures online via an article online with some photos, and found them really beautiful. Susan specialises in creating Earth-friendly pieces of art exclusively made with natural or recycled elements.

As I understand it, most of her work using natural elements tends be ephemeral, such as with these sand or pumpkin sculptures:
Sand Sculpt USA - NY Aquarium sand sculpture on Coney Island 

And then there are the recycled pieces, this is from her Facebook Page, All Natural Arts:
"All Natural Arts is a celebration of nature in the form of jewelry and other fun and whimsical items. Using sea glass, stones and other natural elements as well as vintage watches, jewelry pieces, and found objects to create one of a kind treasures for you to enjoy or to give as gifts."

This kind of intricate miniature sculpture also happens to be one of my favourite forms of arts, I find them really fascinating. I think the minutiae, skill level, and intricacy involved are mind-blowing.

In this style, there are some really nice pieces in V&A Museum collection in London (miniature ivory sculptures in particular, if memory serves), and the most incredible I've seen are all in the Imperial Palace Museum in Taipei. Their collection is extensive, for example this insanely detailed sculpture carved into a 1 1/2 inch long olive pit:

So in the spirit of doing either random or simply trying on new things to keep life interesting, on impulse I contacted Susan to find out more about her work. After exchanging a few emails and finding out how she creates these kinds of unique pieces on commission, and thinking to myself I've never done anything like this, I commissioned a pocket watch sculpture for myself.

I'm looking forward to seeing the results and of course will share them with you once I have it!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Book review: Belle de Neige

Image Credit: Ellen Wallace
I just finished reading Belle de Neige and thoroughly enjoyed it. I came across this story quite randomly while checking out what was going on vice.com, read a few of the blog posts, decided to buy the book and devoured it in a couple of evenings. I think it's actually the first time I write a book review on here - mostly lazily copied over from the Amazon review I posted anyways.

I always love crazy stories of the underbelly kind, like Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, or David Koenig's Mouse Tales, and this one is no exception. Life beyond the dronish grayscale cookie cutter lives some are still told is the right way to do things holds so many more fascinating colours and flavours; usually for the best, though sadly sometimes for the worst.

It's a delightfully written story of this kind Belle takes the us on, managing a delicate yet surprisingly well balanced act of bittersweet memories, elated dreameries, gutter elegance, and barking in the face of danger madness.

It made me think about my nephew Keanu quite a lot, reading the epilogue reminding me I can barely read lyrics of or listen to Pink Floyd anymore. Even though it was one of my very favourite bands, I well up almost every time I hear or think about the band now.

It made me think of the travel worlds I've been part of and their underbellies; populated with different variety of interesting locals, backpackers, holidaymakers, scuba divers, tropical island bums, freelancing nomads, and random weirdoes around Asia, parts of South America, and Tanzania. I think I've been one or all of those types at one points or another.

I hadn't thought of it in a long time, but now I'm also thinking I should learn to ski. I've only really been skiing once, when I was like 10 years old for a 3 week school trip so it doesn't even count by now. I wonder if I could be any good / enjoy it.

Sure, we're probably not talking about high brow literary prizes here, but it spoke to me, made me laugh, and moved me. If you like any of those things in life or at least in a book, I highly recommend you take a peek in the world of the Chalet Bitch.

Belle de Neige mérite son nom, unique et magnifique, tout comme un simple flocon.