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Blog Archive December 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

We'll keep a welcome in the hillsides...

This weeks post from the homeland is on a stunning art installation in Cardiff, the capital of Wales.

Wales is a land of contrast. The draw of its great natural beauty, the rugged coastline, and magical mountains, moorlands and valleys, contrast with the scars left by the coal mines of the 1900’s. A nation, whose wealth was built exporting coal from the South Wales Valleys to the rest of the world, helped to power the industrial age. In his time, the Third Marquis of Bute, who owned Cardiff Bay docks, was the richest man in the world.

The regeneration of Cardiff Bay is now widely regarded as one of the most successful urban regeneration projects ever undertaken in the UK.  The area has undergone a massive transformation over the past 20 years, now hosting world class buildings like The Senedd (see my previous post) and Wales Millennium Centre, home to the Welsh National Opera.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Childs Christmas in Wales

Today my friends, is my first day at home in Wales (UK), and this will be my first Christmas here in over 13 years! But most importantly, this will be childs first Christmas in Wales, and oh what a Christmas there shall be.

As the playwright Dylan Thomas, from my hometown of Swansea, wrote in his famous poem, A Child’s Christmas in Wales,  ‘All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea.’ Magic.

So a little bit of birdy magic for my little girl this week. Follow this link for 16 seconds of animated magic, then read on.

Bronia Sawyer describes herself as a contemporary experimental paper artist, jewellery maker and crafts woman. There is something quite magical about her work. She colours, folds, and rolls the pages of books to create these bird and flower-like plumes of colour. So simple, so beautiful, so magical. I just love them. 'Read more' for more inspiring images of her work.

Time to curl up in front of the open fire, with a hot toddy, and wish for a sprinkling of snow on the ground in the morning. I couldn’t feel more northern hemisphere Christmassy if I tried. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas wherever you are around the world.  Mama Bird x

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Too High Tea House

Maverick Japanese architect Terunobu Fujimori is interested in "architecture before civilization," a time when people were more exposed to the elements. And if his Takasugi-an, or Too-High Tea House , is anything to go by you couldn’t really be more exposed.

Perched 20 feet in the air, atop two chestnut trees, accessible by only free standing ladders, the Too-High Tea House,  more of a Too-High Tree House,  is a one of a kind. As are most of his buildings.  He makes his architectural models by hacking tree stumps into abstract, sculptural shapes using a chainsaw. And when he’s completed the final drawings for a project, he invites his clients to his weekend house in Nagano for a little ceremony he’s devised. Sitting in the private Too-High Tea House, he hands them a hand-rendered version of the final plans. “If they don’t like my design, I shake the building!” he says.

We love.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven

Spontaneous City is a space creation experiment for birds, appearing in a number of urban green spaces across the UK over the last 18 months.

Started in London in 2010, and continuing in Norwich, Norfolk in 2011 for the Norfolk Festival, the sculptures are installed by art and architecture collective London Fieldworks.

The sculptures are made from hundreds of bespoke, wooden bird and bug boxes that create a sculptural ‘habitat’ for the birds, insects and invertebrates that occupy the gardens, providing spaces for shelter, nesting or feeding.  The design of the boxes reflects the local architecture, a metaphorical interplay between the condition of the animal and the human.

Images 1-4 are taken from three new sites in Norwich. The boxes in image 5 reflect the architecture of the nearby Worlds End housing estate in Chelsea whilst images 6-8 refelct the Georgian terrace and 1960's flats that surround the neighbourhood park.

If you are in the hood check them out. Mama Bird.

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