Tuesday, 27 February 2007

The patterns

A lot of people have asked how I did the patterns on the recent greeting cards. Some have also asked why I'm not taking photos anymore! Well the patterns are all made up of photographs...and I've written a page explaining how it's done, and why I did it.


Islamic polygonal tiling is so mathematically sophisticated that only in recent years can mathematicians really appreciate it! The BBC article is here.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Rivers and Tides

Anyone who admires the work of Scottish sculptor Andy Goldsworthy should see this amazing film. Goldsworthy uses found materials in their natural setting, and documents the natural processes which change and eventually destroy them. The film showcases Goldsworthy's astonishing patience, and also his spontaneity, in a way that his own photographs and writing can't convey. A highlight for me was watching one of his leaf-chains being swept down a stream, snaking and swirling along with the current.

Another remarkable film from the same director is Touch the Sound, about deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie. The film isn't just about her, it's also about sound itself, and how conscious she has become to the nuances and possibilities she senses all around her, without hearing as we do.

Pigeons navigate by Earth's magnetic field

Say NZ researchers who tried confusing them with the Auckland Junction Magnetic Anomaly.

Watch out for the other birds

This paraglider was attacked by eagles!

"Like an astronaut returning from the moon"

Said the paraglider who flew, inadvertently, at 32,612 feet. She made it down safely. Wow.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Great New Zealand Books

One of my New Year's resolutions was to read more New Zealand books. Two gems I have come across are:

New Zealand: A Natural World Revealed by Tui de Roy and Mark Jones. Don't let the unmemorable title put you off, this is a sumptuous book, full of the sort of photographs that make you think the authors must have spent years, if not decades, amassing them. Particularly memorable are the sequences of kea, kakapo, and kiwi.

Occasional: 50 Poems

Occasional: Owen Marshall

I thought Owen Marshall only wrote short stories, but I happened upon Occasional: 50 Poems, his 2004 poetry collection. He has a trick of being brutal, plain-speaking, and lyrical, all at once. I don't know how he does it. Try this, from "Marlborough":

"Were we ever told of a great duke and a famous victory? If so we soon forgot them in that burning present which is the only tense that childhood knows. The sky was dizzying then, like a great blue book opened till its spine was broken, and the perpetual, golden-maned sun roamed so fiercely from east to west...."