Monsters and Glaciers April 17, 2017 09:56
Ilulissat is a major town on the western coast of Greenland and an entry point for visitors to the spectacular Disko Bay where huge glaciers carve. It was different to my imagination of what Greenland would be like. Eerily beautiful and ancient- no roads linking the settlements huddled on the coast. We were there in Summer and the number of large European cruise ships arriving was disconcerting.
There are more sled dogs than people in the town.
I took way too many pictures of this spectacular landscape to include them here, but the town itself provided a small glimpse into the rich Greenlandic culture.
In Greenlandic the word 'tupilak' means an ancestor's soul or spirit, and previously it referred to mysterious, sinister spirits. They have a long history in the Greenlandic culture and are based on mythical creatures in Greenlandic Inuit mythology. In their original forms - they were considered magical and dangerous and had very specific uses. Once foreigners arrived, locals began producing 'copies' of tupilaks for the curious outsiders. to reveal a real tupilak totem was considered too dangerous. Now, carved tupilak "monsters" are a very popular tourist purchase and can be made of bone, stone, wood.
A small museum and art gallery provided more glimpses into a fascinating and rich culture. Of course, Greenlandic inuits only wear traditional clothes for special occasions.
Something very beautiful about seal skins- every one is different of course. This is a banquet in the art gallery made from three furs.
Next to Ilulissat harbour is the Jakobshavn Glacier, also known as Sermeq Kujalleq in Greenlandic. It produces 10% of all of Greenland's icebergs- and they are usually huge. The largest one was 12.5 kilometres across and carved in 2015. Some can drift up to 4,000kms before they finally melt. Scientists believe the Titanic's iceberg came from here. The pic above are two glaciers freshly carved hanging around Ilulissat harbour and below the glacier itself.
Above a section of Disko Bay glacier further up the Greenland coast. For scale - it is about 1000metres high.
19th century painting depicting Illulissat locals watching the arrival of a foreign ship and things are never going to be the same again.
Ring Road of Iceland April 08, 2017 18:08
Starting in Reykjavik, we drove around the magnificent island of Iceland late last year. It was very easy to do in a 4WD with a GPS (although its impossible to get lost anyway) and I could go back and do it more slowly over several months- there is so much to see and think about. Did I mention charming people, and wonderful food? In spring the weather was sunny and crisp and perfect to sit in a warm thermal pool and watch the sunset over mountains.
It is the home of the sagas and norsemen- steeped in a heady mix of folklore and a remarkable and dramatic landscape- there is too much to tell here in this blog.
So I will post some of my favourite pics and let your eyes do the exploring. What is exciting is that it is one of the few places left on earth that is visibly undergoing physical changes- the sorts of changes like volcanoes erupting, huge glaciers grinding away mountains, rivers carving deep furrows into the mossy landscape and giant iceberg pieces bobbing up and down in the surf of your favourite black sand beach.
You can see the actual edges of tectonic plates and swim between continents, watch water gushing from underneath a glacier and know it has been frozen for thousands of years. Step around geysers which feed directly from deep inside the earth's crust. A big romantic place of places!
Power for the whole island comes from harnessing the thermal resources under the ground and in certain areas there are lots of boiling bubbling pools - and active volcanoes to tip toe around.
So many glaciers! For scale purposes- those weeny boulders in the foreground of the picture on the right? they are human height.
Fishskin leather- totally odourless and light weight but strong. Beautiful patterns and textures.
Traditional Icelandic knitwear is lightweight and incredibly warm. An entire community of knitters went to work in a small village called Vik to make wool garments for the tourist industry and now they have a very successful machine and hand made woollen industry and Vik now is very much a thriving town.
I wish I had a pet polar bear.
Prop Sales and Auctions March 22, 2017 18:49
Fashion as Art March 13, 2017 15:03
I recently travelled to Melbourne and besides visiting my favourite flea market at Camberwell I also saw Fashion Artists at the National Gallery. It explored two Dutch fashion designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren and their concept of 'Wearable Art'.
Since forming their creative partnership in 1992, Viktor and Rolf have gained critical acclaim for their cerebral and witty approach to couture. The exhibition, which coincides with the luxury fashion label’s twenty-fifth anniversary in 2017, explores the elements that make Viktor & Rolf designs unique in the contemporary fashion world.
In a recent interview, when asked if there are conflicts between being commercially successful in the fashion world and making art both designers said they want to do both and what seems like a contradiction is for them just a creative challenge.
This makes for both interesting fashion and interesting art- giving art an actual function besides an artistic one. Although wearing these extraordinary theatrical clothes may not be for those of us who are a bit shy or indeed cash poor. Would you wear these clothes?