Saturday, April 28, 2012

At the Japanese garden

Youngest son wanted to take his brother on a tour of our local Japanese garden.

 From the outside ds(14) was not overly impressed. "It's such a small space I can't imagine it can be all that great." he said before we entered.

And "It's amazing how different it is inside. You get a sense of space and calm. Like every bit of it is used but its used to effect so that you feel while you are walking through it that you are in a much larger area and that it just goes on and on." he said as we were leaving.

We all marveled at how the rows of sand were raked and what persistance of patience must go into preparing the sea of sand.
We noted some unusually growing trees, were they clipped or do they just grow this way.

We saw how lines and curves were repeated purposefully.

 So the curve on a bridge is repeated beneath it in the curve of the water and in the distance in the grey/green curve of a conifer. Perspectives were important as was texture and colour.

Altogether it was only thirty minutes but thirty minutes spent in purposeful peace.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Just another brick in the wall

On Thursday we went to the Art of the Brick exhibition.There were some amazing sculptures. Youngest son was a little disappointed at first as he saw it initially as more about art than Lego and he was hoping to score ideas for future projects. However once he started looking without expectations , like his brother, he found it incredible.

A bit of background about the artist: Nathan Sawaya was the sort of kid who by the sound of it, was always thinking up things to do. He wrote stories, drew cartoons,  performed magic tricks and also... played with LEGO.

Nathan qualified as  a corporate lawyer but found when he wanted to relax or just have fun he got more out of scrambling about on the floor with Lego.

I guess his creative spirit was bigger than his desire to work at law but he refound Lego as a medium for sculpture.

According to journalist Scott Jones, “Sawaya is a surrealist
 mash-up of forms and artists. Imagine Frank Lloyd Wright crossed with Ray Harryhausen, or Auguste Rodin crossed with Shigeru Miyamoto, and you start to get a sense of where Sawaya is coming from.”

  A life-size human form sculpture typically takes 2-3 weeks depending on complexity. Nathan makes plans of his work with graph paper before he begins.

 He says Lego appeals to him because it is a clean medium to work with.He also like how the sharp lines and corners of a model blur into pleasing curves when one stands back to view it.

And a brief bio about Lego: The name 'LEGO' is an abbreviation of the two Danish words "leg godt", meaning "play well".It was  founded way back in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen.and a grandson of the founder still owns the company.(now that's one family business that worked well!!)

Apparently the founder was a  pretty creative guy and as a carpenter  made many different toys. His most popular was blocks made of wood. These developed into the plastic blocks of today.

The bricks, originally manufactured from cellolose acetate were a development of traditional stackable wooden blocks that locked together by means of several round studs on top and a hollow rectangular bottom. The blocks snapped together, but not so tightly that they required extraordinary effort to be separated.
Annual production of Lego bricks averages approximately 36 billion per year, or about 1140 elements per second. If all the Lego bricks ever produced were to be divided equally among a world population of six billion, each person would have 62 Lego bricks!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

At the zoo

I don't think we can ever tire of going to our local zoo. Its not that its incredibly large or that it has some incredible exhibitions but more I think that because we are members we can drop in regularly and each visit creates a stronger bond with the animals that live there. today we only had an hour to spend.

We were keen to check up on the baby white-faced gibbon and note its development. We know it is femle and are keenly waiting for its colour to darken before it returns once more to the golden hue of its mother.

 No evidence of this today, but we did observe how actively the youngster was engaging with both its parents; that it was frequently the instigator of such engagements and that the parents both often had to curtail these engagements when they needed some "time out" from the youngsters energy. All very amusing!

On previous visits we had made the acquaintance of Boris the black cockatoo.


We were delighted to renew our friendship with him. Boris was being very canny today and was particularly keen to make friends with the people closest to the exit!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bugs Beware!

We spent the afternoon in our local Botanic Gardens.

With friends we became Bug detectives, discovering the homes of many insects,spiders etc.

The Ribbon Gum, like many other gum trees with rough or flaky bark, make excellent habitat trees for insects and spiders which hide safely under the bark. Often insects are so well hidden that they are not seen by nearby spiders that hunt them. Many animals which shelter under the bark during the day come out at night to feed and find mates. 

Look closely for bug life on the bark. Find the oval shaped holes in the trunk made by Longicorn beetle larvae. These larvae ate the dead wood and left the tree through the holes they had created after they turned into adult beetles.

We  estimated the number of holes present and looked for fresh sawdust from recently worked holes. 

Because the temperature reached at least 30C we decided as a group not to complete our investigations but to postpone it to a later date when the weather was more condusive to explorations.

While others left to catch trains and ride bikes home
 the boys and I decided to explore our large conservatory as admission is now free
 We spied out the two species of birds that have been put in it to control insect life

  Finally  we walked across the parklands to our car stopping to climb a favourite tree.