Thursday, 28 March 2013

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Touch and Presence

We communicate so much by how we touch. Touch is our main form of non-verbal communication. It isn't true to say that we don't use this medium of communication enough, however what is true is that we don't touch mindfully enough. Here's a real simple example - shaking hands with another - where are we in that moment? Very often we are in our heads, thinking perhaps of the next piece like what we might say after the introductions or how we might remember this persons name for the next time we would it be if we could be there, only there in the shaking of another's hand, absolutely nowhere else....being present to what that touch is communicating - nervousness, joy, shyness, fear, welcome, curiosity....

The thing is, we cannot know what we are communicating to another through our touch unless we are aware of how we are, nor can we know or be attentive to what another is communicating through her/his touch unless we are present in that moment.

Presence is a core element for touch to be sacred. The very first thing is to be here now, in one's body...This has to be the starting place from which to reach towards another .. Embodied, present and with an intention of care. From such a staring place, connecting with another through touch profoundly affects the heart of both individuals. Such touch emanates not from the hands but from the heart, mind, body and spirit of a person; it is an integrated response.

There is something sacred in the energy that is created, some wisdom accessed that is way more than something I can explain through intellect for this kind of wholesome touch "...has the power to connect two souls in a mutual recognition of their shared humanity" (Nelson)

Touch that communicates from the whole person to the whole person is deeply restorative. What I have learned through my years as a massage therapist is that touch may not change the reality of a persons situation, however what is restored in the experience of being touched is connection. Caring touch can lift a person from isolation or loneliness back to a place of connectedness.

The integrity of our touch comes from our heart. We touch others by the way we are with them. Careless touch comes from the hand that is not connected to the heart, where the heart is distracted temporarily or otherwise.

The integrity of our presence communicates.

When touch emerges from the depths of our integrity, it is a channel for tender compassionate care to be given and to be recieved.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Holi Festival Of Colours

''Life is extraordinary. Embrace it.''

Holi from Variable on Vimeo.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Slip Alternative/Upgrade

 Taken from

When to use Magic Water?
Magic water is used when the bond between two pieces of clay is a suspect for cracking during drying or bisque firing. Cracks can occur in the following conditions:
  1. When one piece of clay dries faster than the other which typically occurs when it has a smaller mass or thinner than the other piece (e.g., a mug handle).
  2. When one clay piece is applied to another piece that is already a dryer leather-hard (e.g., when waiting is required for a thrown pot to harden before applying hand-built piece).
The above two conditions are more susceptible to cracking because when one piece is dryer that the other, it is therefore shrunk more than the other and will not continue to shrink uniformly after they are attached to each other, thus - creating stress.
When to use Magic Mud / Paper Clay?
Same as above with more extreme cases. It enables the joining process to be less critical and therefore one can build more spontaneously as well as build wet clay on dryer clay. Stress cracks during drying reduce dramatically. It can also be used to connect broken bone-dry pots / sculptures. Sometimes it works fixing broken bisqued pots (needs to be re-bisqued after applying magic mud). When fixing broken bone-dry or bisqued pot, always apply more magic mud / magic slip than needed and build the layers slowly allowing the layers to dry in between applications. The excess slip can be filed down after the bisque firing.
Why does Magic Water work?
Sodium in the soda ash and the sodium silicate is a very powerful flux. The silica in the sodium silicate adds some glass-former. The water is to dissolve the soda ash (which is soluble) and therefore travels a little way into the wet clay. The sodium silicate is sticky and dries really hard and faster than the clay does. The end result is that the Magic Water makes a sticky layer of almost-glaze that soaks into the surrounding clay and dries hard. Thus, cracks are prevented in the drying and the bond is stronger after firing.
Why does Magic Mud /Paper Clay work?
In addition to the reasons mention above (Magic Water), the paper fiber will bond the two pieces of clay better and resist stress more effectively during the clay drying / shrinking process (has no effect during firing).
How to make Magic Water - Recipe?
Magic water solution Soda ash powder form
sodium silicate

How to make Magic Mud - Recipe?
  • Chop up 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of either paper napkin, toilet paper, or paper towel
  • Add 3/4 to 2/3 of a cup of bone dry clay hammered into small pieces, or powdered. It is better to use the same clay for both, magic mud and your actual project.
  • Soak over night in Magic Water poured one inch above clay and paper mixture.
  • Blend in electric blender
  • Pour off excess water
  • The slip created is ready for use

Ann Van Hoey

David Swanson

Artist Statement

 Transformation is a two sided coin, one side is growth, the other decay; the two elements can exist only together in symbiosis. My work reflects on the nature of these forces and the systems that employ them. I play the role of the designer of systems, the catalyst, the observer, and sometimes the subject. Materials, objects and images serve as records and metaphors for human parallels.

        Lever: porcelain, steel: 2007

Friday, 15 March 2013

Carol Bove

Carol Bove is known for her simple yet intricate assemblages of found and made objects. Carefully arranged on pedestals, elevated platforms, or directly against walls and ceilings, these yield unexpected, poetic, and multi-layered meanings, which seem to derive from the composition of the objects rather than the inherent substance of the individual components. Using a wide range of materials, including books, driftwood, peacock feathers, metal, concrete, foam, and loans from other artists, Bove’s works are subtle assemblages resisting categorization despite their determined relationships with Modernist display methods.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Listen to your internal signal, not the external noise.

"Why are you even wasting your time with this hobby? It's not like you're ever going to become a champion. You don't even have enough money to get a real teacher. You're not going to figure it out on your own reading books and practicing by yourself. And let's be honest: you're not the most genetically gifted person. Shouldn't you just accept what you're really capable of and make the best out of the hand you've been dealt?"

The words of a former close friend burned deeply, as I stood at my beginning. In his mind, he was being a critical realist because he cared. And I truly believe that he did have my best interests in mind. He was wrong to let his fears cloud his words, but he did care.

Twenty five years later, I'd be voted one of the 6 most influential martial artists of the century for sharing the lessons along my journey to find great teachers, who allowed me to see my true potential in the clear reflection of their lucid waters. If I ha...d never started, if I had given up anywhere along the way, I would not have been able to surround myself with those who would lift me up toward my own dreams, rather than hold me down under their own fears. More importantly, I would not have had the opportunity to let my teachers insights influence so many through my writing and speaking.

Don't let someone make your sky into a ceiling. Climb and soar. You are only confined by the walls you have been building for yourself. You decide when you've had enough growth, success and abundance. Only you. Don't let others blame your situation on family, friends, genetics, government, enemy, job, boss, skills, money, geography, or condition. Blame darkens. Accountability illuminates. Don't dim your light because someone else complains you're shining in their eyes. Ignite. Set your soul on fire.

The more, through their choices, others drift from their own truth, or the longer their fears keep them ignorant of it, the more they will hate you for speaking yours; the more they will try to hurt you for doing what they're afraid to do; and the more they'll try to climb over each other, like crabs in a bucket, when they see you escape your self-imposed limitations. Others will broadcast your failures yet whisper your triumphs. Listen to your internal signal, not the external noise.

Live by choice, not chance. Make changes, not excuses. Be motivated, not manipulated; useful not used. Have self-esteem, not self-pity. Share autonomy through accountability, and freedom through personal responsibility, not confinement by blame and enslavement by self-entitlement. Don't let others ensnare you into wearing the cynical countenance with which they've insulated their perception of their own potential. Emancipate yourself with the courage to go ALL the way absolutely alone, if you must. And everyone will benefit from your example; for the success of one us realizing their dreams, benefits all of us realizing our own.

very respectfully,

Scott Sonnon