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Natural mosaics

Perhaps I should have been a geologist.

I have spent my studio time this week listening to Bill Bryson's wonderful book, A Short History of Nearly Everything, and laughing. I am only a few chapters in but already we have covered the Big Bang through to quantum physics – all in language I can actually understand. I am currently hearing about the science of geology, including the various historical and hysterical guesstimates about the age of the Earth and the ‘gentlemen’ geologists that fought so rabidly amongst themselves about who was right. The fury of these supposedly learned men arguing their own position reminded me of being on the P&C Committee at the local primary school.

All of which, histrionics and giggling aside, got me thinking about rocks and landforms and the natural mosaic, and how much I am drawn to these. Although to be fair, I really don’t care what kind of rock it is or how it was formed or when it got where it did. I just like to look at it. No great geology brain here – for me, it’s all about the visual. Line and texture are my two favourite things.

Nature, of course, does these so well. The photo above, for instance, was taken at the Isle of Staffa, in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland. (No blue sky, yet again. Thank you, “Oh, you should have been here last week” Scotland.) Thousands of basalt columns rise out of the sea and seem to melt against each other, slumping into the ocean like oozy strands of licorice. Quite astonishing and totally stunning. Unlike Bill, I don’t care how it happened, I am just happy to know it is there.

My mirror mosaic is humming along. I have finished one strip of the frame and am more or less happy with how it looks. I intend to work a bit more green into it as I go along – there is too much blue. Actually, I have so many different pieces of tesserae, loads of different tiles and glass cubes and mirror pieces and even more tiles, that I am in danger of creating a confused, rather than cohesive, work of art. This is very different to any other mosaic I have made. I really thought that the random quilt-block approach would be easy, but it is not. I guess I haven’t really planned enough of it to be in control of how it is growing, which is what I thought I wanted to experiment with, but it turns out that that just feels, well, uncontrolled. And as a control freak of the first order, I find it all more than a little disturbing. I will persist in the approach, however, and try to access my own streak of Jackson Pollock.

So, the elephant in the room (or at least, in my head) is my missing blog post last week. I had written most of these words here, with the intention to post them, when I got the chance to attend a two-day Social Media for Business course at the local community college, the same college I start teaching at in a few weeks. Perfect! Just what I need. The course was to cure me of my social media ignorance and give me insight into all the things I need to master, including giving me tips for better blogging. Fabulous. I figured I could delay the post a day or two and learn something.

But like all plans, or excuses, it went pear-shaped pretty quickly because, of course, the blogging component wasn’t covered on the first day, was it? No, that is not until next week. By the time I worked this out it was nearly Tuesday, which is closer to next Friday than last Friday, so it seemed to make sense to put it all on hold for a couple of days and call it this week’s post. So here it is. If I learn anything next Monday I’ll try and work it in for the 28th.

For those who have asked for a duck update – all is good. Our solo duck is still alive but looking a bit lonely. Although it has all the chickens around, the clucking and the quacking don’t sound at all like the same language, so I am currently looking for a duck buddy. The chickens have gone from not laying any eggs to actually laying heaps but us not knowing where they were. I let them out one morning and watched four of the mommas hurry, with crossed legs, straight off down to the orchard and dive into a clump of bananas. Lo and behold, when I looked I found two dozen eggs all in the one nest, some still warm from just being layed. There was much complaining and pecking from the Mrs Norris’s (that’s what I name all my chickens, after Mrs Norris from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park) when I scooped the eggs into my t-shirt. So far this week we have had quiche, egg-and-bacon pie and French toast, as well as fresh deggs for breakkie. We are now keeping the chooks locked in ‘til midday until they learn the rules. Mind you, they got their revenge in the days after when I realised that when I had scooped the eggs into my arms I had also apparently scooped up about a hundred grass ticks – all of which dived straight into my shorts!! What joy!! A week later and I am still itchy in places it is unseemly to scratch at in public.

And, final joy, we have had good rain. Yay. I can go back to planting seeds in the veggie patch knowing that I might actually be able to give them enough water to survive.

Oh, and final, final joy, I now have a Comments Box!! Yes, there it is, just on the right there. Please click on the box and tell me something. Cheers, and have a wonderful week.

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