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Camouflage and Meditation

Posted on: Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Is meditation a means to hide from, merge with, or simply survive in the landscape of contemporary life? Exposing the heart of one's creative intentions is a terrifying prospect for many of us. Evolutionary adaptations like camouflage allows for concealment from prey and predators. Visual trickery in this instance outsmarts overt acts of violence and thuggery. The art world, in all its free-range, meandering activity, can be a brutal landscape. 

One cannot deny that an exoskeleton forms after years of sticking with it and staying true to one's self. It becomes increasingly difficult to spill forth ideas and exist in a world that feels less than natural and grounding.

In moments of self-doubt, I turn to the wisdom of meditation practitioner Sally Kempton and the imagery of artist Beverly Semmes. Throughout her career Semmes has explored the theme of body and landscape, richly textured ideas about absence and presence, and to use Kempton's words, 'the secrets of what it means to love the life you are meant to live.' 

How else might one discover purposefulness without the haven of a safe perch, a custom-made protective cloak, or the safe-zone of a retrofitted pod? Life can spill forth when the beautiful and the grotesque can co-exist, when prey and the preyed upon are in harmony, when the inner and outer realms mesh in an exaggeration of mysterious grace. Breathability and protection are indeed one in the same.

Hiromi Paper | Washi

Posted on: Thursday, May 18, 2006

image: red radish (unpeeled), handpressed paper

During a recent trip to Los Angeles, I made a pilgrimage to my favorite handmade paper supplier at the Bergamot Art Station. Hiromi Paper, Inc. is a mecca for papermakers, bookmakers, printers, conservators, and admirers of the tactile. 

This fluttering garden of flattened fibers is a treasure trove of handmade Japanese papers ('washi', in particular), decorative papers from around the world, as well as pre-sized sheets of Japanese papers for digital printing. I am particularly fond of their German fruit and papyrus sheets. Each hand cut sheet includes seasonal fruits and vegetables that are pressed to allow for the removal of moisture from vegetable matter. The result is a thin slice of cellular salad that is useful for collage, fruity letter writing, or simply hanging as a manuscript of organic wonder.

image: carrot (peeled), handpressed paper

For more information on Hiromi Paper, visit

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