Friday, August 29, 2008
Looking around at the incredible diversity of colours, shapes and textures was utterly entrancing. I was soon reminded of the crocheted coral I discovered at The Institute for Figuring at the beginning of the year. By the time I got back on the boat I knew I was going to have to find myself a crochet hook: I just had to try making some coral for myself.
Fortunately my friend Freya in Cape Tribulation had a crochet hook for her dreadlocks , and plenty of yarn for making gorgeous knitted fairy wings. I borrowed a ball of variagated pink/purple and began. Since it was about 30 years since I last crocheted, it took a wee while to get the hang of it again, but then I was away, trying to imitate what I had seen in the water and at the IFF. Then I discovered wunderkammer's wonderful Sculptural Crochet Primer and my repetoire began to expand hyperbolicly. When I got to town and could get other colours of yarn, my growing collection of coral bits started to look a lot more like the real thing. These photos are just some of my earlier efforts. I'll post some of the current, even spunkier stuff soon.
Crocheting coral is such a fun, satisfying and interesting activity that its hard to tear myself away to take care of other things like blogging, housekeeping, sleeping or even reading. It's the same obsessive passion that I have for making books and letterpress, that I have had for knitting, embroidery, gardening, studying and other pursuits that litter my life story. You could call me a dilatante but in keeping with my usual obsessive behaviour I am also researching reefs and learning as much as I can understand about what they are and how they work... and how they are at risk of extinction from pollution, climate change and other human influences.
One of our guests at the Hideaway this weekend a microbiologist who studies coral and I asked him how much the Great Barrier Reef had changed since he was here in the early 1990s. Unlike all the local people I've talked to he didn't hesitate to express his shock and horror at the degredation of the GBR. The main thing cause, he says, is over fishing. With most of the big fish (including sharks) gone, algae smother the coral and kill it, interrupting the whole complex food chain.
The Reef is still so beautiful, so amazing, that it is easy to think everything is alright. But there are many days when I walk down to the beach and am horrified to see fishing boats right up close to the shore here, in amongst the reefs. Although the Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage Area most of it is actually not legally protected from commercial (or any other) fishing.
I'm not sure what I can do to make a difference except stop eating fish altogether, continuing to pick up trash when I see it on the beach, minimsing my personal carbon footprint as much as possible and sharing what I am learning about corals with anyone who looks vaguely interested. Which, dear blog reader, may include you! If you are more than vaguely interested, this site has some suggestions for how to help save coral reefs.
Friday, August 22, 2008
First Rob made the framework of reo bar
Rob uses everything he finds here.
Looking at a gnarly rootball
he sees Medusa’s throne, and makes it.
We live with massive slabs of fallen trees
dragged in from the forest,
smoothed and sealed into muscular furniture.
Rob sculpted the head with three layers of chicken wire
The living room is decorated with driftwood au natural:
a lifesize giraffe, a baby rhinoceros head, a giant melomy fleeing.
Only the frog in the lightshade is real.
Spiders and bats, branches and vines
all come inside, recognizing a sympathetic habitat.We breakfast with the brush turkey.
Applying the first of two layers of concrete
Outside, narrow tracks lace through the forest,
past structures that seem to float among the treesbut human presence here is not tentative.
Ask Rob’s towering, earthy avatar,
the stern moai rising from the ground