Sunday, March 16, 2008

the pictorial journey ...

The Redwood forest in Rotorua was our first adventure Saturday morning. We had just one day to get in the sights so we started early. Ever notice how trees look menacing? Well, I think they can do, but then I am a coastal girl who likes wide open spaces and lots of ocean. Still I love trees, they take me back to something earthy ...
I collected moss off windfallen branches, just enough to weave into a little something I am working on later. I like the way you can look through the bush and see all the different shapes and shades of green. Green is definitely one of my favoured colours.
These amazing carved wood people emerged out of the bush ... well, it looked like it from this angle anyway.
Giant solid wooden sculptures, smooth forms that begged to be touched and stroked and well, yes, rubbed. I love tactile things, and I found these quite emotionally moving. I like to see people forms in both hard and soft materials. Large and small. These towered above me.
Fifteen years ago these were made. I am always excited to see when cities commission artists to do works like these. These are our bread and butter money. Thank you Martin for your contribution.
And there are these Maori's playing in the bush on their ... hold on a minute, CELLPHONE! Hahaha, city boys. Take them to the bush and they start texting their mates. Oh well, I am obviously on doing my own thing anyway looking for windfallen bits for the dye pot.

Birds are almost too fashionable now. Like nests, and houses, and altered art. But this wee bird looks beautiful and so does the sculpture behind him.
I cannot help myself. I am drawn to any kind of collection. This is a fantastic insect specimen collection that my boy and I drooled over. Check out the giant stick insect and in the top right hand corner is a native insect called a Weta.
Then we went down to the lakefront of Lake Rotorua which is in the centre of the city. I have never seen a lake like this!
Giant boiling mud pools like a huge cauldron. I honestly wanted to stick some fabric in it and dye some cloth. All that heat and sulphur and volcanic mud, surely something would come of it.
But no we stuck to the path and explored like good tourists. See the steam rising up behind the boys on the lake. Funnily enough, it is also a bird sanctuary and home to thousands of birds.
It was all white, the water and the beach-y area, although not a nice clean white. It wasn't very nice at all. It was also polluted due to the birds I think.

A family portrait. I think my art classes have helped me to see things in new ways like how light falls onto things, the creation of shadows and negative spaces. The guys patiently arranged themselves for this photo. They are my top team.
I mentioned last night it was weird being a Maori in a distinctly Maori city and yet feeling like a tourist. Rotorua is set up for the tourist industry and honestly, I wanted to get off the beaten track, away from the buses and multitudes of Asians and non-English speaking visitors.
I found the beautiful Kuirau Park which was a real treat. It was calm and cool. This scented garden was a real treat and made me wish I knew more about plants. Must be getting old if I am thinking about gardening. Not really, just spending time with India and folks lately, doing stuff with plants has awakened an interest in me I did not know I had. I get excited when I can identify "Eucalyptus Cinerea" trees. I wish I knew more. It sounds so brainy and makes one feel quite clever.
My camera was performing quite well today. I found that Macro function not long ago and ever since have been able to take some decent shots up close. Anyway, a rose this beautiful, how can it not look good? And it smelt great too.
It's seed season here. Acorns, pinecones, walnuts, chestnuts and a few other weird ones too. We found all sorts of different seeds over the past three days. I love that my kids get right into fossicking around and bringing me 'treasure'. I think these are two of my fave photos this time around. That little hand with its tiny offering. Sigh.
And then we looked up, and through the trees we spied ... a market.
With organic produce so delectably displayed.
Some watercress, all that's missing is the pork bones and dough boys for a good feed of Maori kai. Our traditional national dish of boil up! Yum.
A kuia (Maori elder) was selling her Maori potato's. I remember my grandmother having these and the flesh really is purple.
I was disatisfied with the general goods on the secondhand tables but look what was boiling behind this stall. A giant mud pool.

And Rotorua really does have the most beautiful big lush healthy trees. I had to look up all over town, they were spectacular with the light filtering through them. There's something about the lines the branches make, quite distinct forms and shapes.
And then you look down and see the magical drawings on the grass ...
and the speckled shadows on the brick pavements.
Now this is love. We stopped at Lake Taupo, just north of Turangi at a small lake access road. I went fossicking for pumice, volcanic stones, driftwood and giant swan feathers. My husband came along and carried it all back. Then he filled my bottles with lake water while I mucked around getting my photos. We also stopped several times so I could walk railway tracks and find bolts, check out thrift shops and collect nature's treasures. Not once did he complain or pressure me to hurry up. The man is a saint.
All ready for dyeing although those bits of pond weed look interesting in there. My own Lake Taupo water.
A pumice stone, a smooth driftwod, and a funny pipi shell. Don't ask me where these shells come from, the lake is freshwater but these are all along the shore.

Self-portrait challenge.
Mt Ruapehu on Desert Road.
We stopped at a little place called Ohingaiti, just south of Taihape so my driver could sleep. My arm is still paining me, so I couldn't help drive this time. So I went for a walk along the railway lines then me and the eldest popped into the local country pub for a lemon lime and bitters. This big Maori fulla served us. There was no one else there.
There are only about five buildings there. This white one above, is a classic Kiwi colonial style house. It reminds me of Ahipara, the small settlement where I grew up. We weren't on the town water and sewage system. We dug a bore and pumped water up to the main tanks daily. We also had a rain tank and hot water tank. We had an underground sewage tank with one of those funny mushroom concrete things on the lawn. Here is another house, tastefully redecorated.
I don't think we were really the 'bright lights' family this trip. We were happy to go see whatever we could find. We had a very limited budget but are extremely grateful that my husband's company generously paid for its 150 staff and family members to have a weekend away together.
I cannot believe we did all that in 3 days. Whew. Great to hear from some of you already.
I am looking forward to this week starting with a trip to Te Papa, our national museum tomorrow to check out Maori taonga (treasures) in their private archives. It will be a backstage trip so no cameras but as an emerging Maori artist, I am excited to see what is there for my future reference. Perhaps find out more about my own ancestors. I can't wait. Find a way to bring some of that rich heritage forward into the future and build a new layer on it for my future generations. Starting Good Friday, I have one and a half weeks off so I am looking forward to spending time with the kids. I have very little time these days to catch up with friends but I know many of you log on here to peek into my windows.
I just want to acknowledge that things are very good for now. In fact, I am probably the happiest I have ever been in my life. My husband is steady and has a decent job, I am doing something I love, my kids are well and there are no major dramas anywhere. My brother is expecting a son any day now. My mother and father are succeeding. My other brother is carving it up in the financial world. My in-laws are sweet, no dramas there. Thirteen years married this October and going strong. I need to say this so that I can remember this time in my life for myself.
Sweet dreams all, I hope this post finds you well and with something to smile about too.


india flint said...

thanks for taking me with you on your journey...Rotorua was pencilled for 2009 but now it's inked!!

ArtPropelled said...

Oh I enjoyed the tour thank you Rachelle. Those huge wooden figures are indeed beautiful and as you say they invite you to run your hand over the wood.