27 December 2012


Lee Sass' room

Living Room - How about this:
I am lying on my back on the floor, the magic carpet I am lying on is just short of me, I am 5'4''. I can't spread my arms out as I would put my right hand in the fire, well if the door was open on the stove. I could rest my left arm on the coffee table, but I might knock the candles and cups or the paperwork and assortment of notebooks onto the floor. The ceiling looks far away from here even though I know I could just about touch it if I stood up. The dog could easily slip onto my head with his inquisitive nose from his favourite chair. I must brush the hairs off the stripes. There really is only enough room for cat pose and leg lifts, that's my excuse anyway.

After some serious exercise I have to move to the sofa and kick away some of the paperwork to put my feet up. I can watch the TV from here now I have positioned it well on my designer boxes. The boxes are from my arts project which had sound built inside and a slot for looking out of. I have six but only two are holding the TV up. They form a sort of totem to TV. The other parts of the art project are holding up shelves behind the second sofa, its good that art is meaningful isn't it? - though I have to say the collaged art boxes and records propped between them hint at my interests and age! I have an attempt at getting up to date with a techno ispeaker/doc thing strategically placed for the most effect (along with an antique/old bit box). I'm full of contradictions, isn't that what makes life interesting?

This living room is true to its name, it is stuffed with things for living - musical instruments, books, computer, desk, files, cupboards and wii, not to mention artwork, mainly my late husband's - his black and white card cuts are both strong and sensitive and hang side by side with homage to him and his life's work made by me and close friends. He was a fiddle player and an artist, he is still here in a container in the corner of the room covered in a blanket of love, next to my old dog Lucy. No one knows he is here, just us. How sinister does that sound! I just haven't scattered his ashes yet.


Anne Mosey's room

Byron Bay, NSW, Australia

The room I’ve selected is my study. It’s where I think and sometimes make art, also do my consultancy work, read books, dream, do my tax and general household stuff, read more books, meditate, write poetry, plan projects, read more books, send emails, write letters, look out the window, listen to the birds, dream again…

It’s a double brick room painted white, about 5 m x 4 m. It has a double glass door all along one wall opening out to the west into a small private courtyard. My desk is there, so I look out on a large eucalyptus tree filled with parrots, kookaburras and magpies (not all together!) which is on the far (street) side of a 2m brick wall at the back of the courtyard, and lots of tall ferns and a bougainvillea with purple flowers on the internal part of the small courtyard garden. Sometimes huntsman spiders and other creatures, geckoes, small skink lizards, mice,etc make their way into the room. No snakes so far. The room has a nondescript carpet in a teal blue with white and brown specks.

There are two long tables on the north and south walls. The south table is covered with messy piles of papers, boxes, a printer, a phone, a box of tissues. Underneath it are three clear plastic boxes with photographs and other papers in them. The table is actually a white painted door set on 2 wooden trestle tables. On the wall above the table are several photos. One is in colour of my father patting his red kelpie dog while standing in his woolshed. One is of my brother standing in a paddock with wooden sheep yards in the background and holding the hands of his two small grandchildren, a boy and a girl, who both have ecstatic grins on their faces. My brother has a rather weary smile. There are some big gum trees behind him. Next to these photos, which are about 40x25 cms, is a painting about 60x90 cms, of a hillside in browns and yellows, and a road going up the hill with a red kelpie walking away from the viewer up the hill. It is late afternoon and there are long purple shadows. Then next to that painting are two more coloured photos, about 20x30 cms. One is a collage of several shots of a grey-haired Aboriginal woman and myself. The other one is the same woman on her own holding a small blond-haired toddler on her lap, her great grandson. She is wearing a turquoise top and a red and blue flowered skirt. He is wearing a black top and white pants. They are sitting on an old tankstand with a dark green wall behind them.

On the western side is the double glass and screen door with a curtain across it to stop the bright west setting sun. Also there is my desk, which was my father’s. It is a small desk, made of walnut, with lots of pigeonholes at the top which are filled with papers, clips, a blue and white spotted cup holding biros, a box of staples, a box of those coloured wall pins, envelopes of different sizes, a tape measure, some sheep’s ear tags, a small black diamante purse of my mother’s, a card from her funeral with her photo on it in a sort of misty oval shape, a roll of toilet paper, and a small spiral-bound notebook next to my laptop which is on the open fold-out part of the desk. There are three long drawers, and turned wooden legs. On the top above the pigeonholes is a small lamp with white shade, two phone books and a small round tin with red roses on the top. 

On the northern side there is a cupboard which was my father’s when he was a boy at boarding school. It’s juts an ordinary brown wooden cupboard with two doors, one on each side, about a metre by a metre high.. The doors are shut, and on top is a cork noticeboard with lots of business cards in bright colours and some photos. On top of the cupboard and in front of the noticeboard is a round woven basket coloured shades of ochre and yellow, made from fibres and natural plant dyes by a woman from ArnhemLand in NT. Next to it is a decorated lacquer bridge card box, brought back by my parents from Kashmir. It is painted with kingfishers and sprays of golden flowers. Next to that is a b/w photo of me as a baby in a white dress, sitting on a lawn, looking very pleased with life. Next to the cupboard, between that and the glass door, are several rolls of paper and paintings, tucked into the corner. Next to the cupboard on the rhs is another long table, a brown wooden one, with piles of papers across half of it and bare the other half. There are two clear plastic tubs under the table with turquoise lids. You can’t see what's in the tubs. Next to the table is a white three drawer filing cabinet, with an empty Beatles plastic mug and a large enamel mug filled with coloured pencils and with red flowers on it. Above the filing cabinet is a framed collection of portraits of members of my brother’s family – himself, his wife, one teenage girl, two teenage boys, a small boy and a baby girl. Next to the filing cabinet is my grandmother’s brown rocking chair, covered with a tapestry back and seat, and a carved wooden head and sides.

On the eastern wall is a white seven-shelf bookcase covering all the wall, full of books, some on their sides, most being vertical. Some are leaning, some are in piles, some are vertical. Next to that is a carved tall wooden standard lamp with a curly globe but no lampshade. Then there is a door into a passageway, which has b/w photos all along it, some family portraits and some landscapes. There are two windows, one long high window above the pinboard, and a large clear glass skylight that lets in a lot of light from the northern side (like your south). There is a fake leadlight hanging light fitting next to the skylight with green and white panels in it. The full-length curtain in front of the glass door is a plain light grey with many folds, no curtain rings, just those folds behind which are hooks on to a rod. 

And I’m sitting on a standard black swivel office chair with no arms. I see the blue sky and clouds from the skylight which is about 1m x ½ m, and tree tops from the long window.


8 October 2012


The Rhinoceros and ME

I signed up for the project late - the last. I get my partner's e-mail address a week later. I get his room description almost 3 weeks later! But I am too anxious to jump in. I know I have procrastinated on writing the room descripti
on and that I will be busy and out of town so I jump the gun (oops!) and send him my room description. An 11 day wait, which I mention only as my excuse for what I did next. I googled his name - Dragan Aleksic, artist. Deceased (b. 1901), Yugoslavian Dadaist. A ghost. This is getting good already! Later I notice the last name has an "EK". The name on the email address Janis gave me has the letters "KE"  Disappointing! Partner Dragan sends his room description. Brief. Mine must have been too long (much too long).

Dragan writes that on the wall is an African King under an Umbrella. I google and find this book - and get it sent from the main branch of the Burnaby Public Library. By Daniel Laine, Ten Speed Press. Again, I am happy, new stuff for me. Maybe Dragan actually has one of these on his wall. BUT he writes there is a Queen Beatrice in the room too! She is leaning over a "strange red object". And he says the African king's umbrella shelters all "the royals".

Queen Beatrix is our bunny in Vancouver, Canada. Has she wandered from our room into his? Maybe HIS "Queen B." is a human? Is she a bunny statue? (I google 'bunny statues', most are too cute. Procrastinating!). Hmmm...there are rolled up yoga mats in the room. Mats. Plural. I am realizing that MY room description said nothing about the other two people who live here - my family.

I am still NOT getting into that room. Still just peering in. Literally. And I have no idea what it is like. Things haphazardly acquired?  Or cool and designery and up to date - something I don't know anything about. A kind of hint that I am interested in the king and umbrella and sprays and cannisters of weird shapes and all the umbrellas and what might be seen from a 3rd floor window and the "impractical" recycling bins he made, "decommisioned because impractical"!!  SO one of my space problems is that these things are on OPPOSITE sides of the room. The Truth: I just won't make the practical choices that would make life easier (read "do-able").  Would be sensible to pick a corner and be done with it.

Diversions from the job at hand: start on "every kind of spice". I choose Persian food.

Over past few days I have applied myself, for what that's worth. Had started with just trying to figure out floor plan - suspect I never did get THAT right. This was next step becz I clearly have no idea how to make it like a room. I think I stayed up there also because I didn't feel very welcome actually!

Can't understand how the three umbrellas "underpin" the coat rack. Seems the real umbrellas are at the opposite side of the room. Sigh. I really want 'em. So must do all sides of room. Containers of all strange shapes kept me happily procrastinating a bit and avoiding basic room perspective. Selected floor colour, just guessing. The cart before the horse indeed, the question really was: WHERE on the floor does everything go?

Marilyn told me how to bisect trapazoids. So I can work out distances on the floor. Such a relief but I'm still allergic to precision though I long for it. Somewhere around the time of taking this pix am heading for thyroid surgery (I'm not sick. No problems. Just a lump. Now taken care of). Then my elderly mother's personal care helper went away. So we went to Victoria for a spell. That was July. Add in son's mood swings. All this no excuse, but sure made it easy to procrastinate.

Perspective on coat rack is wrong. I think maybe it should be the viewpoint of a siamese cat from the top of this invisble wall that is the picture plane. The colour just an underlay I couldn't wait to try it. Had started in pencil on mylar and went to clear cello - tho I am NOT a painter, both beg for colour behind! The preceeding was the beginning of the struggle to get real.

At a glacial pace, measuring lines over and over, I got the dreaded counters and cooker in the right perspective and size, I think, and adjusted some mistakes. Got a bit waylaid this evening looking at coat racks for sale in UK - this rates as procrastination because the burners aren't on the stove, the sink isn't in the counter, the little bench with yoga mats on left isnt there yet, and the shelf of 'every kind of spice' above isn't there yet. I'm finding I like the loosey goosey thrashing about better than what I've got on the drawing board now.

The things that happen in the privacy of one's bedroom! There was more pain than gain in effort to keep abit of my old vanishing point below the floor! It was FIVE FEET below my picture paper! Marilyn laughed at me today "You just guess!", she said. And so tackled the dreaded kitchen wall.

At first when I drew the counter in it seemed it would block the view of one of Dragan's recycling bins. So I jacked her up. But then I realized this not necessary as the counter needn't have a cabinet below....

Just thought to put the enlarged coatrack on one of the earlier efforts (sans kitchen). Also on this earlier effort to in which I had no way to measure back to front distances on the floor.

Bones for an less stiff drawing. Maybe the loosy-goosey ones were better? Have more pieces for this. I "put " the dishes in the low cupboard last night, and did a the trolley for the yoga mats. Must draw sink and taps and stove. I "shopped" (Kettles UK) and found a toaster that cooks an egg too! The description says the "chunky table" is "massive". It's to scale, 6 ft long but the wide legs keeps it from looking long! What to do? I'm not sure!

The archives of DaDa Dragan the Artist "are known to have been taken to the city dump". So his namesake's attempt to make recycling bins to keep things from going to the dump is quite poignant. Therefore I hereby declare this back corner of Dragan's room be a (tiny) tribute to DaDa!

Dragan Alkesic's room

The room is East facing on the 3rd floor - dimensions 5.5m x 4.5m and 2.50m high.
2 windows about 1.m x 1,2m high.
It is a sitting room, dining room and kitchen all in one.

Although the floor is grey green and the lower part of walls are minty green and dark yellow from the 1m up, the room is glowing with orangey yellow haze. Its very light and pleasant, cluttered but peaceful. As you enter, on your left a coat hanger is caring for a couple of jackets, hat, bicycle helmet and bunch of weird sprays and canisters, all underpinned with the 3 different size umbrellas. Small shelf along the wall full of clutter, trolley with few yoga mats, folding Ikea sofa bed, bundle of fabric in the corner, all along the
same wall.
Straight in front (as you enter) two big windows and small flower pot on the ledge. Between the windows Queen Beatrice is bending down to examine an strange red object. You can see her again on top of 3 dark brass hooks. She is in the company of an African king and his servant who is holding a big parasol for the royals.
You turn right and more shelves (3) and low cupboard underneath with pots, few books, bottles, and similar.Then my personally designed and hand-made multi-use rubbish bin on wheels. Massive fridge, two more of my hand-made recycling boxes on the wheels (all decommissioned as being too impractical).
You turn right again and the Kitchen line spreads across the wall. Surface, washing sink, surface, cooker, surface, end, back to the door. On top of the kitchen line one long shelf across the wall with every possible spice, oil, vinegar and similar, you can possible imagine. Some cups, plates, bottles and similar.
In the middle is a massive chunky wooden table (1,8m x 0,8m). Four different chairs around of which one is foldable and red.


7 October 2012


Made in a local cafe using coffee, hibiscus and paprika

Esther Tennenhouse's room

This room is about 18 x 14 feet. On my right on the long wall is a large window. I’ll get up and slide it open as it’s a sunny day. Now I’m back sitting at the head of our dining room TABLE which has been moved into the living room for a seder - a white table cloth (some spots now). It’s 6 feet long and 4 wide - comfortably expansive, a surface of possibilities and space. And  white light.

The dominating thing in this room is the WINDOW -11 ½ x 5 feet. This is a housing co-op, all dark brown but nevertheless this 11 x 5 picture I see is more than half green (year round green - this is the West Coast of Canada). The London Limes don’t all have leaves yet so one half of the rectangle is sky with some big firs above the roofs.

Right on the window are 24 inch wide 2 and 5 inch long vertical strips of paper (crests of the NWT) stuck to a circular area - about 4 sq ft. sq. In my head I call it Memorial to a Dead Flicker, because I came home one day and found a sort of woodpecker lying on the walk in front of the window and a tiny bit of something splattered on the window. And one bit of feather. I put the paper strips on the glass in the hope no one would again try to fly into the reflection of sky and trees.

Against the far wall in front of me (to the left) is a very unfancy upright  PIANO. You can read above the keyboard: Heintzman & Co. and below that, Toronto. She came to Vancouver via Yellowknife from a man whose aunt gave him piano lessons on her, in Ontario 70 years ago. Too much stuff on her top so I can’t easily check her birthdate - is she 100 yet? I should get out the vinegar, her ivories a bit yellow.

In the clutter on top of the piano: three elaborate EASTER EGGS with fine patterns, black red, ochre and white, one broken, standing in eggcups. A gift in Romania from the wife of an iconmaker/restorer. I left the broken one in its eggcup imagining that with extreme care and tweezers I can repair it. Beside them a single CHALICE, pale blue grey glaze, I got last summer from a potter who lives in the hills in S.E. Saskatchewan. Every year he has a wonderful musical gathering/sale in his shop, all his work out - hundreds of pieces and I looked at every one for a wedding gift for a friend's daughter and picked this cup. Seemed too lonely a thing for a wedding gift so it never got given. It sits and tells me that story every time I look at it. 

At the other end of the top of the piano is Punk Faun who is 21” tall - an afternoon slab exercise in working from a hollow cylinder. He has 4 horns rising 6” from top of head in parallel undulations, closed eyes, and a ring in his nose. Between Faun and eggs is Confusion: a lightbox with the cord and plug dangling out, and an expensive four square inches glazed flower tile from Turkey, turquoise, toasted orange and white. That, with some little boxes of unfinished stuff.

At the left corner beside the piano a violin case leans against the wall partly covering a  big framed enlargement (also propped against the wall) of an old photo of a family in front of a Model T car. Father, Mother holding baby, two other children - one a little boy in overalls with his thumb in his mouth, his father's hand large across his chest (little boys in overalls in family farm pictures always have one strap of their overalls fallen off their shoulder). This is in Manitoba, about 1946, still using real old cars. Because of the violin, all I see is boy’s head, thumb in mouth, his dad’s head and the car roof way above their heads.

To the right of the piano, at the corner near the window, is the TV - a black blindeye thing, a 22 inch screen, not the most modern, a PVR machine beside it. TV is on an old library table - light brown oak with some stiff grace to it (tapering legs, a bit of wood carving, ornate metal drawer pulls with hanging little oval rings). The TV sits askew across half of it, overhanging the edge. I’m always aware the shelf that supported by two curved pieces of wood is not there. I know the shelf has been lurking somewhere in the house for years but now I can’t find the curved part. I feel there’s uncontrolled disorder - of things past, yes, and things undone.

Between piano and TV are some heavy green plate GLASS SHELVES, the lowest of the 3 at the height of the top of piano and TV. Below them is a wide old oak office chair, with arms and high back of 1” slats. These shelves sit on those metal brackets that slot into vertical metal strips that are screwed onto the wall. I am told they should be taken down. They are lethal, especially as they are glass, because this is a zone waiting for The Big One, a big earthquake. We - piano, TV, big window, me and the rubble (of sorts) covering all the surfaces here are sitting on a huge fault. Tectonic plates due to shift over each other, rearranging the concrete pad this plasticated laminated, light wood, flooring sits on.

On the shelves are mostly clay things I’ve made - the smallest visible is a KILN GODDESS, only about 4 ½”  tall, something quickly made at a raku firing, to sit on the kiln. She is dancing (but has lost her fingers) and is the clay equivalent to a gesture drawing. Her pose perhaps looks a bit coy though was not meant to be. But she is amazingly alive so I’m fond of her.

Beside her, a GREENMAN face with leaves like the small leaved oaks along the lane by the park here - light brown clay, but lying down so you only see some of the leaves. Beside that, looking at me, the tiny black eye of a ivory (or maybe bone) SEAL bought in Iqaluit on a puppet troupe tour. This little seal swims an inch up from it’s rock base held up by little wooden peg, its flippers and tail are spread wide, stretched, and so quite delicate and thin. On that shelf is a white clay CONE, like a well sharpened pencil tip, standing on it’s base - one of six variously shaped cones on the shelves. The others pierced and slashed and impressed, one painted with reddish stain. I hold these over or up to the light and look at them from inside and outside. There's also a RAM’S HORN made into a shofar. It is not the small, single curve kind, it has a twist, but is not the huge long spiral kind either, just middlesized.

On the second shelf is a propped up WHITE PORCELAIN GREENMAN, a very free improvisation. You can see just his eyes and the stalks that are his eyebrows flowing into the happy finger squished leaves of his forehead. On this shelf there is also a photo of departed miniature shnauzer 'Trouble' (she wasn’t).

Next to the shelves, on the wall above the TV, is a linoprint about a foot square of a man (Eskimo) shooting at three flying ducks from the shore. The lake is a circle of blue with vertical white gouges to show waves. The interesting thing is that most of the turquoise lake lies upon a dark blue patch that has short horizontal white gouges and his empty boat is floating on it. So the lake is superimposed on the river (or ocean). The artist knew exactly what place this was and drew a hill in the upper left background.  He was very traditional and only just introduced to printmaking. Perhaps this is why the clouds in the white sky are blue, like the lake.

The SIDEBOARD to my left is centered on the wall facing the window. This wall is orange, done with a sponge, to match an invitation to the event in the enlarged photo above the sideboard: 15 people dancing, three musicians behind them. Under it, a power bar, a bit of an octopus with 5 cords plugged in. It’s old, from Quebec, with lovely burled grain, reddish mid-brown and curly wood decorations. About 35 items competing for space on top of it.

There are FIVE ANGELS on the wall on either side of the photo - not particularly sweet, androgynous. No. They’re more male. One brandishes an Assyrian sword. He’s wingless. I roll out pieclay like a pie crust and then lighthandedly (as with pie crust) fling it about a bit, billow it, gather it very freely then finish with very realistic detailed faces and hands. Haven't made any for a while. Very fragile. Two on either side of the big picture over the sideboard. One is above that violin case at the piano corner and between them lives an Indonesian marionette - white face, faded rose clothes, but the sequins still sparkle. At over a foot tall it is a bit bigger than my angel guys and more colourful (I don’t believe in angels but they are nice to me - they can levitate, they can be fragile because they agree to live on the wall. They gave me a chance to be figurative but still play with clay…so don’t put them down!). A 6th is totally hidden behind the TV, “The Traveler”. Must have been a handy picture hanger there.

Visible on sideboard: upright rainstick, 1 ft. long, painted black with a snake with hot pink head and body yellow and blue and pink, and around little pink wiggles, like sperm. A little dark green curvy lamp with rose shade akimbo. An Ikea light - just a large frosted upright 15”rectangle. Another marionette, brown wood face, large eyes, red hat with blk and wht spots and flute covered with gold brocade held to his lips. Nearby 12 inch thin African spearsman, 8 or 9 small family pictures, a scramble of large newsprint with large “aleph” visible.

Almost finally, how could I forget? Under a footstool in front of the TV I hear her munching - QUEEN BEATRIX (of the Netherlands, not Ms. Potter). A Netherlands Lop with dark grey ears coming down, grey nose and eye patches on white, mostly white with large grey patch on back and some grey spots. A bit of a brush cut on top of head and a half circle profile. Her Majesty’s a Very Nice Girl but Doesn’t Have a Lot To Say. Though there's a metal pen under the TV table, its folded up and she runs free, so you might see her anywhere in the room. She has a little curvy-legged footstool embroidered with clunky flowers (by a mother or aunt of friend with acute design sense who hated it and gave it to ME). Suits HRH quite well. Sometimes she hops up (8 inches) and stands up for a good look around. She uses litter box of wood pellets. In interest of full disclosure I’ll admit the odd bunny bean misses the box. And bits of green hay get scattered on the floor at that end of the room. Now you see her, now you don’t. Pretty shy. She has chewed the wood baseboards only a little bit in two places. She does like to chew wires so most chords are sheathed in shiny plastic tubing. (She likes to hang out at the two power bar octopi.  Image: bunny having electric shock?) When she washes her face, like a cat, she flips up her ears one at a time. Part of her charm.

Behind me on the wall facing the piano wall are10 framed pix ceiling to floor, 4 Northern prints: ladies juggling, drum dancers, Senaktok, netting birds for a masted ship, photo of daughter wearing wreath, Valerie Palmer show invitations, dog team, hiker in our mountains. Tall narrow bookcase: books, chaotic.

Finally: usually the big table is not here. Usually the futon is here. But sometimes it is folded down into a bed and in it there is a very old lady, less than 5 ft tall, with a short fuzz of white hair, in it. Eyes closed, most often. Alzheimer's.

A quote from the movie Amadeus - “Too many notes.” Thanks for reading if you got this far!  Hope there’s something to work with.



3 October 2012


Bev Nel's room
Our Kitchen

I am sitting in our kitchen – it is new that I can say ‘our’ as I have only recently moved here – moved in with Chris. It’s not a big room. I am sitting on an old 2 or 3 seater church pew, and will describe the room from this point. I am sitting at one end of our kitchen table, an old wooden table marked by years of cooking, eating, farm tools and implements. It usually has a mixture of work and kitchen stuff on it…

As I write there are only a few things on it but there are echoes of the past. In front of me on the table I see my car keys, my red recipe book, and some black gloves. There’s also a letter ready to be posted. Around the other three sides of the table are wooden chairs – I can see their backs.

I am at one end of the room against a wall – and looking in front of me I face a wall that has the main entrance to the house (on the left side of this wall). The door is an old heavy white painted door – again with years of scratches and marks…it has a heavy bolt at the top left, and various coats hanging on the back. This includes my red raincoat, Chris’ Levi jacket, and other farm work coats. Because it is an old door there are draughts – and I have just fitted some old pink carpet along the bottom of the door – which has made a huge difference! Above the door is a large clock face – with Roman numbers. It actually is a new clock made to look old. The time is 3.15pm.

Directly in front of me is a wooden cup holder (diagonally criss-crossed, one that folds), with an assortment of mugs all hanging in the same direction. Below this hangs an old brass thermometer. Below this is our grey/silver dishwasher. Upon the dishwasher is a blue metal lamp and our fruit basket…I can see the tops of pears and a lemon! Next to the dishwasher and into the corner of the room is the sink. The sink is a bit rundown – with white drawer fronts and brown doors below. One of the doors is hanging off a bit ! The tiles above the sink are a bit dull – beige – and with a few missing leaving a messy bit that is crying out to be painted! Above the sink is a window – about the width of the actual sink and 3.5ft high.
It is an old window – which needs replacing. The frame has been painted in pink – but because it is so old it is not weather proof – and so we have covered it with some old Perspex which is a bit cloudy and scratched. I can see through the window though – and can see a huge tree – which is in our garden. It fills the window frame.

Above the sink and running out from this corner of the room, along the wall to my right, are 3 wooden shelves approx 2.5 feet long. These shelves have the CD player and CDs on. On the lower shelf are boxes of tea – and one tea caddie in black tin. From this lower shelf (which is over the sink drainer) hangs an old white colander, pink handled scissors, and a table mat made of cork and in the shape of 5 fishes. Then there is in the middle of this wall a large window – approx 5 ft wide and 4.5 ft high. 

This is a lovely double glazed clear window with a fab view across the farm and fields. This shows the flat Lincolnshire landscape. I can see a winter sky, streaked with dark grey clouds across a light grey sky which is yellowing as I write this as the sun is low. A bit earlier the sun was shining through this window which was spectacular….as the clouds momentarily clear there is now a glow in the room from this low winter sun. We have a long green net bird feeder hanging from the window outside, where small Blue Tits visit and hang from to nibble away at the peanuts and fat balls. It’s great sitting here watching anything from 2 to 8 birds nibble away. I see our green grassy garden, and leafless hedgerow, reaching up into the sky as it is need of trimming…. In the near distance on the left a barn roof, and in the far distance more fields edged with trees.
Often these fields (and directly next to our garden) are filled with black and white cows. As it’s winter the cows are inside – but it would be fine to bring in this if you want to! This is a dairy farm and the cows are part and parcel of being here!

The window sill (inside) is a useful shelf…from left to right there is: a generous shapely rounded yellow jug with a light green handle, a tall pink orchid which is strangely always in flower!, two large pots of geraniums – in for the winter – one with red and one with pink flowers, both in pots too big for the window ledge but I couldn’t find another spot for them, next is a small white pestle and mortar, and then two large ceramic jars filled with the usual cooking utensils – wooden and metal spoons, fish slices, draining spoons and a rolling pin. There is also a garlic filled bowl and the salt cellar. Just below and to the right of the window is our dark green cooker with a couple of large cooking pots – one half filled with veg chilli for tonight! A red and orange striped T-towel hangs on the front of the cooker.

Below the window is a beautiful old wooden sideboard which has twisted wooden front edges. The top is made of marble – fab to roll out pastry on! This is the main food prep area. On the left of the side board is the metal kettle, and white toaster…sort of cluttered area with chopping boards, bread board, brown tea pot, silver coffee pot, pot of growing parsley, 2 cooking apples, wooden sugar box, white butter dish and egg box.

To my left is the walkway between the front entrance door and the rest of the bungalow. The wall is painted orange – but not a bright orange. More a peachy orange….. It’s feels a cluttered wall….from left to right there is a blackboard with a mixture of writings; numbers, measurements, dates, Yoga terms and descriptions…..all pieces of writings from before I was here…some of which feel sacred and never get rubbed out! Above this is a shelf with an old bowl and basket filled with paperwork bits and bobs. Then an old pair of weighing scales….and a few cobwebs. Then along the wall to the right of the blackboard is a lower two shelf unit on the wall – filled with CDs, a bowl of keys and pairs of sunglasses…also cluttered! A lovely photo of Chris surfing in a blue sea sits on the top shelf. Below this standing on the floor is a three shelf unit filled with paperback books. From the ceiling is a wooden clothes hanger – at the moment clear of any clothes – but there is a piece of mistletoe hanging from a light blue ribbon on the end of it.

The last space on this side of the room is the pantry door. It’s potentially a nice wooden door with 4 horizontal panels – but it could do with sanding. You can see in the past someone has had a dart board on it as there is a circle of tiny dart holes radiating outwards from a blank neat circle of wood. It looks like the sun with its wild sunrays spraying outwards. On the door over this dart hole area hangs my blue apron and a blue, red, yellow and green towel. Above the door is a cheap clock with a black surround.

In this last corner (which is between the pantry door on the left and the main entrance door on the right) is our cream plastic bin. Above this at chest height is a triangular shelf. The wooden shelf has a hand carved scalloped edge. This is also where the orange wall meets the white wall of the main entrance. On this shelf is a collection of Chris’ history….a mix of old photos of friends and family pinned to the walls, and an upside-down surfing helmet in turquoise filled with odd bits and pieces including an old stick, golfing tees, golf balls, nuts and bolts.

The floor of the kitchen is old blue vinyl/lino. Because we’re on a farm it is difficult to keep clean – shoes and boots are always left outside the door – but we have a dog that tramps mud into the house! Use all or bits of this writing to make your art! Good luck.


Sylvia Oates' room

Our Living Room
I’m sitting at our dining table, which extends diagonally into the room. This room has a vaulted ceiling which slants from twelve feet high on my far left, or east wall, to eight feet high on my right, or west wall. Behind me is a table full of books and knitting. Beside me is a gooseneck lamp. On the table are bamboo mats and a gardenia with shiny leaves and one fragrant flower. There are three chairs around the table, one with a rounded back with spindles, the other two squarish, also with spindles, and painted a bright turquoise that has crackled. Windows to the west and north form a little nook and then the west wall continues with a sliding glass door, which opens onto a balcony.
Straight ahead is the south wall with a big window. In that sunny corner towers a seven-foot avocado tree, which grew from a pit I found sprouting in the compost bin. The south wall is dominated by a large oil painting of a forest clearing. In the southeast corner, a television set is towered over by a gigantic philodendron (“Monstera”) on the top shelf, reaching up into the vaulted ceiling. On the shelf just below, a splendid piece of branching coral stretches almost the width of the shelf.
On the east wall, another large painting hangs over a bookshelf. It depicts my mother and dad’s wedding reception in India in 1940. It shows my grandparents’ garden with a canvas wall as backdrop, servants in turbans, huge umbrellas for shade, a long red carpet on the grass leading to the cake under a striped awning. My mother is barely visible in a froth of white, my father is in uniform, my grandfather confers with the minister, a pith helmet lies under a canvas chair.
Have I mentioned the plants? They are everywhere! A wall to my left, painted a dark rusty red forms a backdrop for a fig tree on a low table. From the top of that wall a spider plant shoulders aside a tiger’s paw begonia and cascades over two watercolour portraits in black frames. The window sill in the west nook hosts several bleeding heart vines which have gone mad, climbing around the zebra and giraffe masks my daughter brought home from Africa, and waltzing around the window!
Below the painting of the clearing (54 x 60”) is a sweet little vignette composed of my father’s chair and my mother’s chair, both badly in need of re-upholstery, facing toward each other either side of a semi-circular table (handpainted by a local artist) supporting a flaming poinsettia in a red foil pot. The chairs each have a cushion with a spiral pattern. To the right of this group stands a square pillar lamp 5 feet tall made of crushed rice paper and lit from within. This is immediately to the left of the avocado. In front of the lamp and to the left of the avocado stands a small wooden table from India, with carved panels for a base and an octagonal top inlaid with ivory and brass and encircled with a border of carved leaves and flowers.
Moving around the room to the left, the lower shelves below the Monstera, the coral and the TV, contain electronic gadgetry (a DVD player, a VCR, and a small digital TV box), and below that, a zafu. My beautiful classical guitar hangs just to the left of this shelf unit – so rarely played these days.
Left of that (we are now on the east wall, the high 12-foot wall) – I’ve already told you about the painting, but below that is another important part of the room. And that is the bookcase that my partner Jerry built for me three Christmases ago. It holds plants of course: another Tiger’s Paw, and an Alocasia x amazonica (Elephant’s Ear) and a music system. On the next shelf is a bamboo box full of CD’s, a stack of artbooks, a stack of New Yorkers and a dozen VHS tapes held up by an ebony elephant. Next shelf; a basket of wool that I spun myself, in skeins dyed with indigo and onion skins, dating back to before my daughter was born, and a stack of large format books: Bird Songs, A Tent with a View, African Children, A Sacred Balance, Mountains of the Middle Kingdom, The Serpent and the Rainbow. The bottom shelf holds a tub of children’s toys for when our neighbours’ children come for a play date.
Jutting into the room from the east wall, against the book case hidden from our view behind the dark rust wall, is the couch: pastel stripes, the slightly ragged seat cushions covered with a pale coral crocheted throw. In front of the couch is the coffee table, that Jerry reclaimed by sanding the wood and painting the frame a glossy black.
What else can I tell you? The wall-to-wall carpet is the colour of pale sand. Through the patio doors I can see the bare twigs of the grape vine on the balcony. Beyond that a cloud-filled sky (we’re on the fourth floor) and wheeling seagulls.

24 September 2012


Yanis Ertmanis' room

The building is a tall rectangular pagoda with a fluted roof. It represents the best of all chinoiserie-style elements in vogue nearing the twentieth century, from the Tiepolo-style monochrome panel paintings to the tones of muted emerald, orange salmon, pistachio cream white, ochre gold, pink terracotta and cream grey marble. The room is essentially a stately rectangular pagoda/gazebo with a tent like roof that follows its tent like configuration into the ceiling. Inside the predominantly green room the corners of the walls have been chopped diagonally to create a hexagonal feature to house a very tall apse niche displaying statues.

Full Interior Architectural Pattern
The architectural pattern of interior design elements include:
Entrance door ED, Panel Wall PW. Niche N, Window W.
N-PW-W-PW-N-PW-W-PW-ED-PW-W-PW-N-PW-W-PW-N-PW-W-PW-ED-PW-W-PW then back to the beginning.

Proposed Image Architectural Pattern
From the left W-PW-N-PW-W--PW-N-PW-W-to the right

The Stool as Measurement Tool
The stool is a proportional device that is reflected throughout the room. Its height and depth is three quarters of its length. The floor plan is of similar proportions to the stool. The proposed view is visually cutting in half of two windows on either side of the room both leading to the feature wall. The feature wall is 11 stools lengths wide and 11 stool heights high etc. The niche is 2 stool widths deep, the panel wall is 2 stool widths wide.

The marble floor
The marble floor has an almost dusty rose and a grey/cream checkered pattern lain on a diagonal and appearing diamond shaped from this view. The niche creates a diagonal at each corner, the line of the niche is exactly parallel to the floor marble. To create the diagonal from the right angle corner the niche extends 2 stool widths in both directions. The panel wall next to the niche sticks out 1 stool depth. From the outside corner of the panel walls you would draw a diagonal line this will create a hexagonal feature.

The marble border design
There is a grey/cream border that is exactly 1 stool depth deep, the border travels all the way around the room and into the half round base of the niche cavity. The grey/cream border is delineated with a dusty rose border which is created by replacing the last cream checkered tiles with rose marble.

The ceiling
The ceiling is an octagonal shape, it is peaked tent like, it is stark white with a substantial green border and an equally substantial white border that rims the green walls.

The niche
The niche creates a diagonal at each corner, the line of the niche is exactly parallel to the floor marble. To create the diagonal from the right angle corner the niche must extend 2 stool widths in both directions. The niches are are elongated apses with a domed tops, they are open at the bottom allowing the grey cream marble to fill its space, the niche interior is painted in green shades and bold marbleization. At the arched top of the niche is a panel that continues up to the ceiling. The panel is 1 stool height high at its peak

The Statues
The statues are figures in black robed tunics that reach mid calf. They are three stool heights high.
The figure on the left has a rich red tunic that peeks just below the skirting of the black tunic. The red tunic almost reaches the base creating a shadow in fact the lower half of the niche is in so much shadow that the black tunic almost disappears it is a deep rich red that brightens the corner subtly, with a band of gold edging it. The black tunic has two white bands from the mandarin collar down the front , along the bottom and up the side vents. The edging rims the drooping sleeves, the figure has its hands outstretched palms up as in offering, the hands and face are stark white, his black hair is pulled tight to the head in a bun, samurai like. The shoulders and head are silhouetted by the green marbleized background.
The figure on the right has an all black tunic with a green square with an insignia on his chest. Below the black tunic is a rich blue under-tunic that reaches his feet. Just like the other statue the hands are outstretched the face is also white. There is an almost floppy black box hat with a black feather plume perking up at the back like a perky fuzzy cat tail.

The bases
The bases are mottled green blocks exactly the same size as the stools with a bevel at the top exactly as deep as the stool’s platform. On top of the base and set in slightly is a golden coloured stone slab the same height as the green leather pad seat.

The Top Panel
The top panel encloses the dome of the niche. It is flat at the top and arched at the bottom. It is one stool deep at the peak of the arch. It has a substantial green border and a gold, wide, inner frame, an organically shaped, rim of foliage delineates the cream white panel. The white inner panel is devoid of imagery except at the centre of the panel, the green foliage is clumped into a ball giving the panel the appearance of an eye.

The painted panel wall with wainscoting:
The wainscoting
The green wainscoting is two stool widths wide and and two stool heights high. A stool is placed on the floor right in the centre of this wainscoting. There is always a triple gold border in this case there is a gold line just below the panel then another line directly underneath then there is an gold rimed beveled, green inner panel.

The painted panel
The painted panels show three egg-shaped wreaths that join like figure eights. The lowest wreath is the most egg-shaped, the middle wreath is more long oval shaped and the top wreath is almost skull shaped. The wreaths are of thin green leaves that droop in arches the first two wreaths have clumps of foliage at the bottom (imagine holding up an egg and only at the very bottom is there imagery the rest of the egg is creamy sky), while the very top wreaths have foliage that drops right where the cheekbones on a skull would be while inside is a flying bird or two. The lowest wreath has a vague image of buildings or shrines nestled amongst the leaves, while the middle of the egg-shaped foliage vine has some fronds of leaves have arched their way inward. The middle wreaths each have figures submitting something to a shrine, they have robes on and hair in high peaked bun the image is small and at the bottom of the egg while near the middle of the egg some fronds of leaves have arched their way in. All the paintings are on a cream background while the figure and leaves a rendered in varying shades of green and orange salmon. Around the outside of the wreath and contained by a green outer border is a salmon crosshatch trellis design.

The box window with wainscoting:
The wainscoting
The green wainscoting is three stool widths wide and and two stool heights high. Two stools are placed on the floor right in the centre of this wainscoting with a space one third chair widths between them. There is always a triple gold border in this case there is a gold line just below the panel then another line directly underneath then there is an gold rimed beveled, green inner panel.

The window
The window is three stools wide, on either side of the window is a painted panel wall two stools wide and on both ends are niches that are two stools wide. The nook instep of the window is one stool depth deep while the wainscoting area sticks out one third of a stools depth. The window is eight glass panels high and five panels wide and is topped by a subtle wooden arch. The side panels of the nook start as two gold square frames just above the sill that are sitting under a long rectangular gold frame that goes the full length of the window. Above the window there is a rectangular frame that follows the arch.

The top panel
The arched panel that also occurs over the niche is one stool heights down, the panel has gilded molding that surrounds white panels that contain leaf wreaths with a clump in the centre - when you squint they look like eyeballs above both niches while the panel above the window is virtually blank white.

The chandelier
Dropping down from the white ceiling as a crystal chandelier. To visualize its shape imagine the front view of an ant its roundish head merges with its roundish chest, now imagine it is on the ground and all its feet are brought in close, where the calf area is is all crystal while the bent legs are of gold. Now imagine that the ant has raised its thorax high up, the tip of the thorax is attached to a gold chain reaching the ceiling. 



Janis Bowley's room

I chose this room because it is unique, and this quality begins even before you enter it. The unique room is in a special place - in fact the room is also a building, but we won't go there, we'll go inside with an alice-in-wonderland key.

The view, for our purposes, includes the entrance door and at least five windows (there are more). If you leave the door open sunlight streams in through it and the window beside it, which are on the right-hand of your view. The door and windows on this wall are south-facing. There were glass gallon jugs of apples turning into cyder on the windowsill – beautiful amber light in the sun. The window is two-sectioned and wood framed. Unusually, one section is designed to slide in front of the other so it could be open by half its width and its full height. A person could then easily climb through. Each window section is divided into five glass panes of a nice 'landscape' format.

The slightly larger left-hand window only lets bright north sky light in, but it's only a few paces opposite the door so usually your view is full of light in the day. This window is also designed to slide open and also has ten glass panes of similar format. All the sliding windows in the room are rotten and do not open now – some panes are missing and covered in stapled-on clear polythene.

At night there have been oil lamps and candles on the sills and a warming coal fire in the grate. From the outside peering in the cheerful light, people singing and playing instruments, makes your heat soar. The fireplace is on the left-hand wall in the view.

Central to your view is three small windows in the far end wall – two tall narrow ones side-by-side and one small one (that the owl used to come in by) above in the roof apex. The narrow windows have four glass panes each of a pleasing, roughly square format. The charming upper window, tucked deep into the wall, has three small panes each about the size of a CD case. Sky, hedge and trees are seen through these east-facing windows.

If you look carefully you'll see all of the windows are skewed slightly in walls sagging over time. The room appears like a hand-made upside-down boat – timber roof ridge beam and ribs, but with foot-thick stone walls!

Recently about fifty people squeezed into the room to listen to a young woman singing. She sat in a chair central in your view of the room and facing you. She sang her own words in a deep rich voice that stirred souls.

Oddly, furniture keeps appearing in the room. There were about a dozen tidy, very old wood school chairs, two long school benches and a few wood folding chairs. Then a small comfy sofa arrived – a faded cotton rose colour. Then a fat armchair appeared – too hideous to describe! And finally two puffy two-seaters, very comfortable but hideous design and sick-making pink fabric. The sofas are now covered in a variety of disguising throws. As all the furniture gets moved around, only a bit of it will be in your view.

The wood floor boards, only inches above the earth, are covered now in mid-blue industrial carpeting stained in places from where the owl shit fell from the roof rafters. There are other objects in the room – two large tables, a china cabinet and a bookcase full of books but they are behind you in your view. You can see two old oil lamps on the sill of the central narrow windows, and there's now a glass vase full of daffodils on your left-hand windowsill. On the wall above the fireplace is a small framed drawing I did of this room's south-facing wall from the outside. When I stood on a ladder to remove cobwebs from the ceiling rafters, I could reach the uppermost mid-rib with a broom. Currently the room is strung zig-zag above us with bunting (we made) in rich colours.

Alone in the room I hear hedgerow birds nearby, and stillness. And in the quiet I hear a babbling brook of time – laughter, someone instructing, dogs playing, general conversation, children, Odo The Arblaster tramping around his land – centuries of voices held in this room that sits still.

Optional info:
-colours: white-wash white, stained wood, mid-blues and jewel colours.

22 September 2012


Janet Passehl's room

"One room is for eating, sleeping, singing, sex and accounting.
There is a desk,"

Dear Richard,

I am outside looking in this room through glass. I am inside this room. More will be revealed and concealed as light and temperature change, as I age, as air enters and leaves, as people move through, assisted or opposed by stillness.

Your description is very generic! Could you give some other hints like the kind of light that is in the room, the color of sound of the singing. I understand sleeping, but what is the nature of the accounting. The phrase "The house is as clear as the panes in their steel frames" refers to a house, and not the specific room. I am ready to draw!

I have landed in my room. A complete description is forthcoming that will surely beguile you as it has done me.


Hi Richard,
That was only the beginning. There is more to come. Sorry to confuse you. It was just something for you to begin thinking about. I would argue that the "The house is as clear as the panes in their steel frames" does in fact indicate something about a room in that house.
Everything essential about the room is in the tone of this text, and I would like for you to interpret and imagine this room.
If, however, after you read it, you would like more guidance, I will provide it.
I am ready to draw, too!

"The house is as clear as the panes in their steel frames.
One room is for eating, sleeping, singing, sex and accounting.
There is a desk, a music stand, a thin brown mattress and a white rug across which to navigate
spillage and regret.
A child, bowl and fork.
Yellow dishes, hair-dye, old newspapers, and crayon drawings of the moon.
A sinuous pot-bound tree mimics the form of antlers on a young buck, pregnant red tips so tender
this is no room for a human."


Richard Snyder's room

Hello Janet,

I have been selected to make a voyage to the distant Orion Nebula, code named M42. They said I would I ride in a previously untested vehicle that travels three times the speed of light. They assured me that dark matter would not be a problem, but I have my doubts. They brought in jesters to make jokes about ionized hydrogen.

They told me that you are my primary contact to report my findings. But they are fudging details on the exact location where I will land. I don't hesitate to tell you that I am a little scared. I think they are taking advantage of me because I am unemployed and expendable.

They assured me that I would be invisible. I hope they are not lying.

Over to you, Richard

Dear Richard,

Be aware that although you may be invisible, you may be detectable in other ways. In fact, invisible may be irrelevant where you are going, as whoever/whatever populates that place may not be gifted with the sense of sight, but could possess other means of apprehension the likes of which we are unfamiliar, and against which you may have no defenses. So please be careful.

I have emptied my mind all preconceived notions of space (both inner- and outer-) and am ready to receive and record the data that you send. If you should fail to return, I will do my utmost to make sure that your mission has not been in vain.

Over to you,

Hello Janet,

I have arrived at my coordinates at Orion Nebula, code named M42. The ride was rough, and my vehicle lost all video, so I can only verbally describe the room. It is large by earth standards. It appears that it is not a domicile. I am invisible to the inhabitants of this planet. I have been able to learn their language, it is a rudimentary system of grunts and whistles. There is a "person" who appears from time to time in the room. He seems to be engaged in a practice that I don't understand. He has a machine that spins, for what reason, I do not know.

I found a measuring device that appears to be in "inches and feet". So I have chosen said device to describe the dimensions of the various objects around the room.

The room is approximately 40 "feet" wide and 100 "feet" long. The ceiling is 20 "feet" high. I am going to describe only a portion of the room where most of the activity takes place.

I would like to call your attention to some objects in three dimensions that are very beautiful. They are "cylinders ", open on the top and closed on the bottom. There are two of them there. The biggest and most beautiful is black in colour with white, dried drips on the outside like a waterfall, and measures 50 "inches" high and 52 "inches" wide. The other cylinder is blue with similar drips of dried liquid on the outside. This cylinder 36 "inches" high and 41 "inches" wide, also open on top.

The second cylinder is being used by an apparatus which I do not know the purpose as yet. The apparatus measures 82 "inches" high, 20 "inches" wide, and 59 "inches" long. When activated, it sounds like this:

R Snyder- Hockmeyer 01

There is also a vehicle nearby, which is yellow that is 70 "inches" long, 7 "feet' high and 37 "inches" "inches" wide. There are also stacks of white colour stacked against the back wall almost up to the ceiling.
Let me know if you need any more information.

Orion Nebula, code named M42

Earth to Richard,
Data received. Am now attempting to translate.
P.S. What is "blue"?