Monday, September 07, 2009

Dogu, the 2500-5000 year old clay figurines from Japan, tell the story of a culture that celebrated women and fertility. I was enchanted by these artifacts at the National History Museum in Oeno Park, Tokyo, Japan last week. And found myself wondering what story historians 2500 years from now (yes - I'm a optimist) will tell about us, based on our artistic artifacts?
Background: Quote from Suite 101 The Power of Dogu – Exhibition Preview: Ancient Japanese Ceramic Figurines Will be Shown at British Museum

© Frances Spiegel

Dogu are ceramic figures with animal or human features. They were produced using high quality pottery in a wide variety of shapes and sizes with curious decoration and intricate geometric designs. A number of techniques were employed including modelling, clay appliqué, decoration with twisted plant fibres (jomon means ‘cord-marked’) and burnishing. Many were painted, usually with red pigments, or covered with lacquer.

Some have definite female features while many others are not gender-specific. Some figures wear facial masks, while others have heart-shaped faces or triangular heads. Some dogu appear to be praying while many females squat as if in childbirth.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Confessions of a Paper Lover

"You can't fake authenticity." Verna Allee's prophetic words on social vs. value networks 3 years ago

Recalling the Native American tradition of giving thanks for animals who gave their lives to be a meal -- I'm ready to start doing the same for the trees that produced my main source of sustenance. Yes I consume paper and cannot live without it. I want to be green and save trees. Yes the virtual world works in many ways (e.g., right now -- writing this confession to paper addiction). But cannot imagine ever replacing paper for:

Writing on the Walls: I work on 4 foot by 8 foot (or looooonger) sheets of paper on the walls, weaving words and images to help people at meetings see how their ideas fit together. Yes, there are tree-saving alternatives: Erasable white boards, tablet PCs, even mini e-drawing tablets with mock pastels. But for me the magic seems to be in the paper. I have to touch it with my hands, spread pastels with my fingers, and hear the squeak of the marker on the paper. Awaiting the electronic solution that will leave my hands and conscience clean.

Binders: For every book and research project, I create binders with print-outs of writing -- yes, paper, paper, paper. The thicker they are, the more I feel I've accomplished. The final publication is usually a slim volume, but the binders behind it let me feel the weight of the work behind it. I understand the new Microsoft table shows the "layers" of work, but will it be the same if you can't feel how heavy it is?

Then of course there are books, newspapers, letters, postcards....I could write more but am running out of ideas and must return to my notebook and pen.