Sunday, 11 August 2013

Awas! Walking heavily at Rimbun Dahan

What a difference a week makes in a new environment! Although nothing seems totally familiar yet, I have started slipping into more of a routine and gathering resource material and ideas for new work.  The end of Ramadhan and the start of Hari Raya has also altered the ambience of Jalan Kuang (the street out the front) - the fireworks have lessened, although not stopped completely; there is a different muezzin on the block, and the calls to prayer are much shorter and less frequent.  I have pretty much walked the length and breadth of Rimbun Dahan, which continually throws up surprises in fauna and flora.

The front driveway of Rimbun Dahan
During my walks I have come across some strange and interesting specimens, some I have never seen before, and others like the palms and ferns, that continually inspire with their architectural shapes, robust textures and vibrant colours.

Scaphium sp.       Sterculiaceae -  Kembang semangkuk
This wonderful flower with olive-like seeds is from the Sterculia genus in the mallow family, colloquially known as tropical chestnuts.  You can look this up in your Funk & Wagnells (oops showing my age)...Wikipedia.... to see the many things it is used for.

This little fellow was having a great time with his mates this morning.
And each morning I am woken to the frolicking of monkeys in the trees outside.  They are so tiny and quick that it took me ages to even focus my camera on them, and as it is a very simple camera, I do not have a telephoto lens to really get in close, so apologies for the poor quality.  However, you get my drift. Excellent subject for endless procrastination in the studio.

A plethora of  inspiration just outside the door
Lovely chevron markings on these trees
 So...why have I been walking heavily at Rimbun Dahan??? The other day Sean nearly stepped on a snake in between his studio and house and yesterday I took an excursion to the nearest town, Sungai Buloh.  Just outside the RD gate on the footpath guessed it...a snake. Dead, thankfully for me, not so for the snake.  Earlier this year I was on residency in Bundanon and the other artists and I perfected the heavy, snake-deterring-walk-with-a-big-stick on our forays to the river, so a bit of deja vu happening, not just at Bundanon but also during my Hill End residency and my studio at Pialligo.

Actually if you go to the Bundanon website they have a slideshow of images on the homepage and if you look carefully I am in one of them, can you see me? Thanks to Camille Serisier and her Bundanon project.

The main drag - Sungai Buloh
Sungai Buloh was built in the 1930's and was the second biggest leprosy colony in the world. The settlement was equipped with advanced facilities and planned following the principals of a garden city. Today it is known for its flowers and plants.

After that hot shopping trip, an afternoon swim was called for in the RD pool just outside my studio.

The main house is in the background
 And then it was back to work. I have found that I work longer if I pace myself thoughout the day with either walks or a swim to break the torpidity of the afternoon heat.  I then work through until around 9 or 10pm, with a break for a quick bite to eat around 8pm.  The local restaurants have still not opened up yet, but I am really looking forward to it!

I have been reading my way through this tome on Natural Dyes, as a follow up from my recent workshop with Joy Boutrup and Catharine Ellis at Penland School of Crafts. Cardon gives a lot of information about dye plants, and fauna, all over the world, which I have been cross-referencing with the plants on the RD website.  I have also been finishing off work for my upcoming exhibition in November at Narek Galleries, whilst I gather thoughts for new work inspired by Rimbun Dahan.

Remember, I will only be posting updates once a week, so until minggu depan,
jumpa lagi,

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