Thursday, October 18, 2012

Earth pigments

There is a richness of minerals of all kinds in the mountains here, some of which give the soil the most wonderful brilliant earthy colours. All of Apulaya has been painted with earth pigments and the feeling of beauty and calm which these lend to the place are magnificent.

I am using some of the above orangy pigments in a piece I am working on right now during art classes - the texture is magnificent and I am looking forward to seeing the finished results.

The above photo is from the salt mine we went to the other week - the photo is perhaps not as clear when it comes to the colours as one could desire, but if taking a closer look there are reds and blue green soils on the mountain and some yellow spots too, all places with potential to pick up pigment, take it home to grind and sift it, mix the powder with water and a bit of acrylic binder and voila!

You can paint the most magnificent things. Several layers are applied, paint, dry, apply again - and slowly slowly something rather pungent and delicious shows up on the paper.

Teaser detail from a bigger painting inspired by Peruvian Huari art - it is meant to be a painting but it does not hinder me in having tapestry weaving dreams about it all ready.

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Inspirational views from a peaceful studio.

Today as I was painting with earth pigments I took a short break and went out on the balcony which is all around the studio - I looked up and away and there is Pitusiraya - the Apu which is so beautiful every day, this is not the first time, nor will it be the last time that I mention it.

Other mountains on the other side of the valley, although far away still magnificently impressive and a sight to behold.

Turning the camera a little down wards - the portals I come through when I come and go every day and in the back ground one of Emerita's beautiful stone sculptures.

And keeping the camera turned on more of the nearer events within the walls of the garden - here is the sweet six year old daughter of the house with her little black dog Chava and the two lambs. I was focusing the camera on the little group and suddenly they were all standing instead off laying and sitting breaking up a wonderful meeting and peaceful time with each other.

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Woven challenges

I don't weave everyday, not physically anyways. Often though a weaving thought flitters by, be it an idea to better handle the shed stick so it doesn't so often end up on the floor or how to experiment with a pattern etc.

The above photo is how much I have 'produced' while here, the bottom piece with the 'scissors' weaving into each other is often occupying my brain - I am hoping to be able to finish it by Monday, when my next class is taking place.

It is a long and (to me) complicated pattern - by the end of the red and white ribbon I had decided that it would be better for me to start working out the patterns on paper instead of trying to figure it out intuitively. Well, maybe I thought about it even earlier on - but definitely when I fell in love with this scissor pattern, well, then there was no way back. My super patient teacher just knows the pattern, she knows all the patterns, they are right in there in a treasure box in her beautiful brain. I knew it would take me ages to just figure it out staring at the warp and flipping warp threads up and down -even if I did get to sit and watch Apolonia weave the first scissor and start the second one .... and so I sat down with two ball pens, a blue and a yellow, and started the process - now I can put my ruler under the next upcoming line and if I go slow enough well, then I don't have to do one step ahead and two backwards like at my class on Tuesday, it really was quite ridiculous.

Although I am proud as a peacock about my accomplishments within the Andean belt/ribbon weaving world the weavers who sold me these in Chinchero have made me burn my candle a little less bright, not that they put my weaving down, they didn't even see it. I just felt rather humbled when they opened up their bundles and the treasures of both larger and smaller pieces they had brought to show me at the dye workshop in Chinchero rolled out. What I have managed to learn until now is lovely and a first minute step on the way - and really, I am still working on the technique of not loosing the shed stick all the time. It is a lovely challenge and adventure.

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Morning walk to Apulaya

Each morning Monday to Friday ten minutes before nine I set out with my backpack - heading for Apulaya and the learning experiences of the day - before I even get there there are things to observe. The state of the river I have to cross - remembering Valerio's words, never to cross in silence but speak, sing or whistle so you do not surprise and scare the river. Sometimes there are people doing their laundry on the rocks, sometimes laughing boys chasing each other. And if the young bulls have not been put out on the pasture yet they are in the back yard chewing up dried corn stalks.

The bulls on the rooftop with the jug for water at their side, the cross behind them, all bringing fertility, health and wealth to the house.

These cacti, agave, I am not sure - they grow every where, some places they are cut down, sometimes used for making rope, their fibre very strong and coarse.

and the friendly but stern presence of Pitusiraya, who sits there bright gloomy, brilliant and that one time a few weeks ago on fire. The head Apu of this area.

There are walls surrounding most houses, this is one of them, perhaps painted with earth pigments. It is a beauty to behold.

And once I have entered the big red iron gate at Apulaya this is the sight that greets me, pots still empty but waiting to be filled with beautiful colours - I think when I go back on Monday they might be, I heard a rumour that plans were under way, the ever present hens and roosters with their funky behaviour and lovely soundscape.

And last but not least these two little dogs, always ready for a back scratch and a quiet moment - Chava the little black lady always ready to play with the six year old daughter of the house, being right on her heels when she comes back from school around noon. I feel ever so fortunate that I get to expand my brain and heart in this environment.

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Pisaq 2

Endings and beginnings - this is at the onset of the hike - the view provided us with fields and terraces, transition points and interesting 'holes' and cavities in the mountain side opposite where we were standing. And it was not swifts or other birds who had dug holes in the side of the mountains. This was a burial site - 1500 Inca tombs have been found and dug out here.

Some had finer entrances than others but the overall view of things what was important was that the ancestors were honored and it was important to have them close to home, both to be able to go and check on them and also just for the daily pleasure of looking over and seeing where they were.

Along the paths though there was also lots of life to be found. Life waiting for the rainy season to begin and life which already has felt that the change over from dry to wet season is nearing. Below something dried up but till holding on, I wonder how green it will be in a little while.

And this photo is sort of my kind of 'find Waldo' - there is a shepherdess and her flock and her spindle in this frame - I don't even know how she got to that spot, never mind the sheep!

Smooth, carefully carved Inca rocks with lichens and other hanger on'ers

Burst of colour, no leaves yet, but I am sure they must be on their way, in all the gray and muted colours of the mountain suddenly - sunbursts!

The cacti are not far behind. They grow everywhere and are always worth a good close look.

For even they are inhabited by creatures - and wemare not only talking cochenille - here is someone getting ready to enjoy his/her lunch.

And the final beauty on the way down - well, there were plenty more but this is the final one for now - I stood on a lower terrace and looked up at this little hopeful cactus flower, it is about 2.5cm tall, belonging to a small little round cactus - in the great scheme of things really, really small but ... Did it ever shine :-)

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I went to the top - well, to the top from where I am standing in this photo - up to where there are minuscule human forms to be seen. It took us close to four hours to get all the way down the mountain - including a lovely picnic lunch - and I have to say ...I am grateful that we came up to the Temple of the Sun in Pisaq not by foot but by taxi and our walk was downwards all the way - after we had made it to the top of this photo.

Temples are transition points between this world (us), the upper world (higher powers) and the lower world, the world we enter after death (and please don't forget, in this case 'lower world' does not mean eternal damnation and hell, it is just where everyone goes and it is ok!)

View from one of the houses on the way to the top - down there is a minute part of the long road we drove in the taxi to get to the top.

And just to make sure that nobody doubts it, I really was there!

Another transition place - Valerio took me off the beaten track to show me a different kind of beauty. It was immense - I have never in my life been up this high, as a matter of fact I shun heights if I can, don't even like flying. In this case ....there was nowhere to go but down and I had to be aware and in control of my inner wish to run away - however since there was nowhere to run but down we proceeded at a sane and careful pace.

The view through layers and layers of windows, notice the fields over on the other mountain, these are not fields worked with machinery, these are fields worked with bend backs and hours of stubborn intent to feed the family and make a living.

And at this point I stood close to the wall behind me and took the photo.
I need to say ..... I was not forced or in any way cohersed to come up to this amazing temple or to do this track, it was suggested and I said yes, please - I was feeling my emotions very clearly through and through -
there were times on the way down where the beauty was as immense and breathtaking as some of the days when I crossed the Atlantic Ocean on Sørlandet with my husband and a whole bunch of teenagers a couple of years ago. Standing in the galley peeling potatoes, chopping carrots or putting together a bread dough for ten loaves of bread, looking up and seeing the pristine beauty of rolling swells, perhaps a flying fish -

It feels funny but my inside, head and heart at times were filled with that same sensation in the middle of the Andes Mountains, up high - how lucky, fortunate, grateful can a person be - it is a gift to be filled with such opposite emotions of awe,reluctance, inspiration and connection to mother earth (patchamama) all at the same time.
And I couldn't find the swells but is a sunup in the middle of .... The Atlantic Ocean.

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