Last night around 10 pm I put this doc on and thought I would just drift off into oblivion and at some point I would actually watch it the whole way through. I do that a lot, put films on and fall asleep and I repeat the process over and over until I do finally reach the point where I finish it. But when I pushed play on Ross McElwee’s – Bright Leaves – I didn’t drift off to the land of nod, I started laughing and couldn’t stop.
In typical McElwee fashion, (like it’s predecessor Sherman’s March) the director starts off on a path of historical research and gets sidetracked with his own interests and agendas along the way. Bright Leaves see him travelling down to his home state of North Carolina to uncover information about his families history in tobacco and his great grandfather’s legendary feud with tobacco baron James Duke. His cousin, an avid film buff, finds a 1950 film of the same name starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, that he believes is loosely based on their family legacy. This sets Ross off on a hysterical historical quest. McElwee sees what could have been had his family continued in the industry, and grapples with guilt of his families connection to the most powerful drug on earth. Pure comedy genius. Essential viewing for Southerners!! In my opinion better than Sherman’s March! See trailer below. Rent from itunes here and Netflix here! Enjoy! oxo gd
I just woke up from an amazing dream! I was shot out of a cannon from Hastings, smack dab in the middle of London, laughing & eating wonderful food with my dear friends The De Havillands and then I was wisked off for glamourous night of jokes and merriment at London’s Palladium with John Cooper Clarke and John Shuttleworth! But it wasn’t a dream it was real! And so much fun too! I wasn’t planning a trip there, but last thurs out of the blue I got a voicemail from John Cooper Clarke saying “Hey kid, your on the door plus one at my london show this sunday, no pressure..” I couldn’t believe it! It was so wild because I had just pulled out a Hire Car Print to post to him. I had it written on my weekly things to do list. I even thought about inscribing “sorry I missed your tour…” But now I didn’t have too! It really was a blast all the other acts were stellar, and I got to chat with him & his wife after wards and present him with my offering. How cool is that? eh?? BTW, Hire Car is one of his brilliant poems, which I became obsessed with 8 years back.. read about it here … But that wasn’t all the excitement!! I also visited the Terry De Havilland Store and saw my work in neon lit glory, basking in the window!! How amazing is that?? It’s like a holy shrine, emitting powerful rays to future wearers and admirers… Wow! All I can say is – I have a wonderful life!! more soon! oxo gd
I tend to not watch many documentaries about artists. At least not from the 20th century onwards. Dunno why, I just don’t. Eames: The Architect & The Painter – kept cropping up on my suggestions on Netflix. I ignored it for awhile. What is there to know about a modern furniture designer I thought. I was a fan, I had previously owned a set of Eames designed Hermen Miller Shell Chairs, and A fake Eames Wood/ Leather Lounger & ottoman. But I suppose in my mind, I assumed them to be austere and serious, German perhaps, like the school of Bauhaus, cold, utilitarian. But what I found was quite the opposite. While Charles was certainly the driving force behind the mechanics of their designs, Ray injected the color and fun. And together approached their designs in a childlike way, learning as they went, creating new, modern, fun worlds.
Here is Ray standing with a prototype of “The Toy”.
After the Eames designs became household names and staples in American households, they segued their creative passions from furniture and sculpture, to film making, even animation! And from 1950 to 1982, that was their main medium they worked in. Creating over 100 powerful visual shorts for the American Government, IBM, and many other big corporate entities.
The Powers of Ten – Made for IMB in 1977, explores life in time & space by the number 10 and is still regarded as a revolution in film, way ahead of it’s time.
It was a very enjoyable watch, about 2 souls coming together with a strong love of creating, learning and each other. Together they did change the world. It was so refreshing to see artists working successfully in many creative fields, and not letting society pigeon hole them into one medium. I am an animator, but one day I will design furniture!! Watch this space!! Anyhoo, the trailer below. Rent from itunes from just $2.99. Enjoy! More soon! oxo gd
Wedding bells are ringing. Do you have that special gift that says “wow“? Introducing Bespoke Wedding Stationery Gift Sets – both Gay & Straight!! These sets come in luxurious ivory boxes with satin ribbon tied in a bow. 20 cards & envelopes per box. Each card is printed on 300gsm Mohawk felt textured stock with white envelopes. A6 size – 4.1″ x 5.8″. Available in 3 styles -
Madam & Eve/ Adam & Steve/ & Ozzie & Harriet. The colours are bold and vibrant! Give the perfect gift this wedding season, or use as wedding invitations if your affair is small and intimate…
or just celebrate your love with beautiful hand written notes. Each card also sold individually. Say it with style, say it with flair, say it with Grande Dame exclusively for Burnt Offerings! Click pix to go to shop! oxo gd
Yesterday I had plans to work on some other art projects, but after running myself into the ground the week before, thought it best I have one more day of rest and relaxation. So I laid in bed and surfed netflix for docs to watch. Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap Box kept popping up. I first tried Dr Bronner’s Peppermint Soap in my early 20′s in California. It was kind of a household staple of hippies and counterculture people. I always loved the smell and feeling I got when using it, and I, like many others sat in the bath and tried to read the mad rambling’s on the bottle’s label of the Moral ABC’s. I always assumed it was made by a fundamentalist cult out west, that was about as much thought as I gave it, then a few years ago I read about one of the Bronner’s protesting for hemp production outside the White house. So I thought it might be an interesting story, and gave it a go. And wow! I was really shocked. Emmanuel Bronner emigrated to the US from Germany in 1929. He was a chemist who came from a long line of Jewish soap makers. He pleaded with his parents to join him, but they stayed put, eventually having to sign their soap factory over to the Nazi’s and then both being killed in concentration camps. He married and had 3 children. Both he and his wife went a bit mad and the children were put in orphanages for years, the wife eventually died. He went on and on with his “Moral ABC” preaching, telling anyone who would listen that we are “All-One-God-Faith”. There was no dominant religion. He was obsessed and would go on for years with his mantra, some attribute it as a reaction to his parents being killed. After years of shock therapy he was released from an Illinois state hospital and made his way to California, leaving his children scattered in different places, while he set up his soap business in 1948 in a rundown tenement apartment. His sons eventually joined him and the business grew. Dr Bronner continued his rants, and spoke publicly on unity and the “earth spaceship”. All though many wrote him off as crazy ( and after seeing footage of him, he certainly was a man possessed!), he picked up many fans of his teachings along the way, including Eldrige Cleaver of The Black Panthers! He was a man on a mission with a strong conviction to change the world and in 1997, died at the age of 79.
Since then his sons and grandsons have taken over the business and have made it a successful multi million dollar operation. But not only that, they continue Dr Bronner’s legacy by leading with a wonderful business model. All of the CEO’s have a wage cap and no one at the top makes more than 5 times the wage of the entry level employee’s. They give generous bonus’s to all their workers. They were the first company to use fully recyclable plastic and hemp oil. They have scholarship programs and invest in many community projects. And on top of everything else they give away 70% of all of their net profit to charity!!! Can you believe that??? They really do follow the Moral ABC’s. If only the rest of the world’s corporations had a conscience and would follow their wonderful example! After watching this fascinating doc, that’s it, I am a customer for life! No other soap for me! It’s great knowing when you buy something, where your money is going and how it’s being spent. I urge everyone to watch this fascinating story! And please buy their products and help tip the balance of our world from wrong to right! Trailer below! Rent for itunes for only $2.99! Together we CAN change the world!! Enjoy! oxo gd
This is my new screen print – Queen Bee. I hadn’t planned on doing a 4th design, but when I finished early last sat with 2 more classes ahead, I began piecing together a new print…When I started I couldnt stop. The last week has been hell actually, sitting at the computer tweaking dot sizes, printing tests going over my lines, getting everything just right for class on sat. I literally worked from sun to mid friday, 10 – 12 hours a day on this… I nearly drove myself mad. Dishes piled up, everything fell by the way side as I had tunnel vision. It was like my life depended on it & I would die if it wasnt absolutely perfect! Well I did have a deadline to get my layers in order… Unfortch I went about it the wrong way. I thought I could tape together pieces of acetate (since my printer wasn’t big enough) and have my positives that way. I really made myself jump through rings and hoops… Of course when I got to class I learned you can’t tape acetate together!! And I could have saved myself 2 days of hassle by just printing out the image on paper first… ugh… luckily I scrambled around and was able to do that at the college… Making me 2 hours behind to print… It was a mad rush to get the last layer done, as the last class is 3 weeks away! I did not work that hard for the last week to not witness the fruits of all my exasperating labour! So I went into overdrive… And luckily managed to get a few done… Not sure how many I will have in total, maybe 10, maybe less 6?? 7?? It was a very tricky print to do… 4 layers!! Whew! but I did it! Now I could deal with a spa treatment and relaxation therapy! xox gd
Well I just completed my 8th class of Silk Screening at East Sussex Coast College & I have to admit, I am astonished by how much I have produced. I really didn’t think I would get all my ideas done in time, but I’ve finished early & have 2 more classes left!!! So I am planning another piece!! Yay! Next one – 4 color!!!
I did about 25 diff versions of Hire Car, and about 30 of Black Leather. In fact the prints are so big, I had to cut & paste the images so I could fit them all in one!! This is going to be a one off, that I hopefully fill in with embroidery, but if that fails, I shall paint it and stretch it on a frame. The pic above and the Black Leather prints, were so massive!! 30″ x 40″ & 20″ x 24″!!! I had to do them with my instructor as they took 2 people to pull the squeegee!! But, more is more! That’s my motto! I really thought I would be rubbish at this. I even told my wonderful instructor Myles Calvert – “do you know I Love Lucy? That’s me!” I pictured myself failing miserably and sabotaging everything, but I think I’m getting the hang of it!! And can’t wait for the next class!!
I’m still going through the editions, but will have them up on my etsy shop soon! In the mean time Ink-d Gallery has some up for sale… Check em out!! More soon! oxo gd
I totally sobbed like a baby this morning upon learning the passing of Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek… Clearly I am going through something else, all though they def had a massive impact on me… I first got into them when I was 12. I was getting really into Hendrix at the time and another librarian that worked with my mom named Fred made me a cassette with their first album on it. I was instantly hooked. I bought everything I could of theirs and locked myself away in my pre teen angst bedroom blasting it up to 11. But me being the human documentary encyclopaedia that I am, it was really when I watched the doc – Mr Mojo Risin – The Making of LA Woman- that I felt a strong affinity for Mr Manzarek. He was passionate about playing the keyboard. And he did it so well. He spoke to many generations with his music. What was clear to me is that he absolutely loved what he did. And isn’t that the key to happiness? Loving what you do, having a passion and following it. A brilliant man has left this earth, but his wonderful epic sounds live on. Watch the doc below in full, witness his joy! R.I.P. Ray!! oxo gd
So Mamma made it to Pearl Fryar’s Topiary in Bishopville, South Carolina last week. I havent spoken to her directly yet, but I gather that it was the highlight of her trip and something like a magical pilgrimage. Mamma has quite a green thumb and is always doing things in her garden, adding new planters, paths and walls; places for the birds etc… So I’m sure being in this luscious green wonderland must have been a truly heavenly experience. She told him about me (aww!) and gave me this direct message from him “If you have a passion for what you do, keep doing it, even if others think you’re crazy. Eventually people will start noticing and then those folks will know they were wrong!” How Sweet! Love him! And esp love my mamma! Happy belated Mothers day! oxo gd
My mom turned me on to this wonderful documentary – A Man Named Pearl – about a self taught topiary artist in Bishopville, South Carolina. She is taking a trip up there and his garden is one of her stops. I’m so glad she reccomended this film, as it was the perfect watch to my Sunday morn. Pearl Fryar was the son of share croppers who grew up to work in a tin can manufacturing plant for 35 years. It wasn’t until mid life that he became interested in plants. The local gardening center allowed him to pick scraps and cuttings from their cast off pile, he took them home and created THIS! Looking at his work I am reminded of so many things – Henry Moore’s sculptures, Frank Gehry buildings, and Doctor Suess’ landscapes all covered in a rich, leafy green layer. So beautiful! Pearl had no formal training, he just got stuck in and learned as he went. Never sketching or using wire molds, he builds and sculpts as he goes. He also doesnt use any pesticides! So not only is his garden filled with magical green shapes, but lots of birds and butterflies too! But he not only transformed his garden to something special, he inspired his neighbors to transform theirs, he inspires children to be interested in nature, he inspires art students and others to think outside the box, he attracts thousands of visitors to his near bankrupt town, helping the economy to flourish. But most importantly, he transcends racial stereotypes and helps bridge the divide in an area long plagued by segregation. And his passion is awe inspiring! If you wanna see a great feel good doc – Watch it!! On itunes & netflix! oxo gd