11 September 2007
I have the privilege and good fortune to be working on a writing and photographic gig for submission to a design magazine. Before reading the next sentence, start humming in your mind that old famous tune…House of the Rising Sun. Ok…now go on.
There is a house in old Key West.
They call it the FolliMar.
It’s been in ruins for too many years.
But now, it’s a shining star!
The above photo was taken in the upstairs gallery of FolliMar. You are looking at the bottom of a nine foot chandelier which has been custom made from a collection of antique chandeliers salvaged from places, literally, scattered across the globe...from New Orleans to Paris to Belgium and back. This extraordinary fixture works on an automatic crank and can be lowered to the first floor living and dining room. It is not an understatement to say that this electrical creation is an amazing and ingenious design element because it works within the scale of the house…without pretense, ostentation or conceit. This magnificent chandelier is, in fact, the new heart for the 118 year old notorious Grande Dame.
What is a crystal chandelier if not an elegant, beautiful and inherently magical instrument that solidifies light and refracts into colour. Add to that deep yellow walls, a large gorgeous mirror and expanses of window; it feels as though you have stepped through an iridescent looking glass, glistening with the energy of a sunny bright morning or the candlelit glow of a golden magical evening.
When we study this palette and go a bit deeper, we realize that in addition to yellow, there are shimmers and glimpses of white, gold, orange, brown, bronze and yes, green, red and blue. So there it is again. Yellow, Red and Blue…a limited palette yet the holy trinity of all colour!
Palette: a perfectly mysterious word which represents that magic place where colours meet and alchemize into other colours and tonalities; true shape-shifters in every sense of the concept. The thought comes to mind that palette just may be the heartbeat of all artistic expressions. Colour affects our emotions, our moods, our spiritual awareness, our eating habits, our work habits, our sleep habits, our romance, our attention span, our grief and, joy of joys, our happiness and contentment. We are truly creatures of the light and the shadows and every shade in between.
Even after many years in the design biz (too many to quantify- lol), I still remain in awe of the power and energetic life force of a palette. If I’ve learned anything at all about the power of palette…like energy and light… it is alive, fickle, and can be maddeningly unpredictable or breathtakingly gorgeous.
To realize how much a palette really does affect what we do and how we live can be somewhat daunting! Artists, designers, psychologists and other professionals are really still ‘babes in the woods’; only scratching the surface of this vast artistic/scientific realm….kinda’ like quantum physics in a Crayola box!
Well…I’ve certainly wandered ‘off point’ of my assignment but that’s OK with me. Now, I’m ready to write the article! May we all live happily ever after in the palette of our dreams!
Posted by Royce Addington at 4:14 PM
03 September 2007
Think Cinderella, almost naked and air-brushed in amazing red roses; her carriage turns into a winged dolphin at midnight so she can take Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle for a ride as they return to Neverland!
This is what it feels like to participate in Fantasy Fest. Picture mature and serious ‘adults’ shedding their everyday ‘responsible’ personas (and often times their clothes). Like Superman stepping from his telephone booth; they are transformed from accountants, doctors, lawyers, business executives, parents, bankers, graphic artists, police officers, physical therapists, restaurant owners, teachers and any number of other respected occupations into…
Posted by Royce Addington at 7:53 PM
You might think that a gathering of this size would create a certain amount of chaos and problem. Remarkably, disruptions (usually due to excessive drinking) that sometimes result in arguments/fighting, crime or ugly prejudice are so minimal it’s not even worth mentioning. It’s almost as though everyone knows this place and time and experience is sacred; born from a deeper, energetic level where people of all races, religions, political views, sexual orientation and economic levels are just that… children of the universe that still believe in sharing love, laughter and joy.
"You can understand and relate to most people better if you look at them - no matter how old or impressive they may be - as if they are children. For most of us never really grow up or mature all that much - we simply grow taller. O, to be sure, we laugh less and play less and wear uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath the costume is the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life is still best described by fairy tales." From the American Educator Leo Rosten.
Posted by Royce Addington at 6:27 PM
19 August 2007
There is a relatively new beach community located on Northwest Florida's Gulf Coast named Watercolor. Acclaimed architect, Jaquelin Robertson was creator of the Master Plan which includes the brilliant marketing slogan…"What color is imagination?” I thought about writing a piece focusing on the architectural and design significance of Watercolor; but that would fall within the nicely padded boundaries of my creative comfort zone.
This week, due in no small measure, to the overwhelmingly positive and supportive feedback that everyone shares on this site; I decided to step WAY OUTSIDE my CZ. It was a spontaneous decision, born while I was wading through our (I have the good fortune of working with talented photographer John Ballouz) photographic scouting shots of an extraordinary historic restoration of an estate in Key West. The owners ‘got it right’ and deserve an international standing ovation. But, as usual, I digress.
One of the photos was a close-up shot of a beautiful peacock. I know this sounds absolutely Victorian-esque and ‘too-too’…but it’s not. The above photo is one of a pair that sits perched in the living room; on the edge of an incredible antique, hand-carved stone fireplace mantel found in Belgium among the ruins of an abandoned castle. The peacocks are humourous counterpoints to a room of drop-dead elegance and glamour; that irreverent spice that lets you know the owners-in-residence possess a wonderful sense of relaxed fun.
So…I’m looking at the photo and thinking, “Peacock blue ink....my very first intro to the power of water colour. Remember Mrs. Costello teaching our 6th grade class calligraphy using a real fountain pen! I should do something with the peacock photo for IMT this week…but what?” Absently, I played around with my edit buttons on 'Microsoft Picture It' and came across a tool called ‘freehand painting’. Curious, I checked it out and started playing. I didn’t even know the computer offered this capability!
I love the colours of the sky and the sea, particularly in the tropics. They are mirror images. One reflects the other, giving each a distinctive artistic quality, depending on the weather and hour. I decided to transform the background behind the peacock from drab grey 'nothingness' to the colours of a Key West sunset. I began.
This little adventure started at about 3:45 yesterday afternoon. It felt like only a few minutes, maybe a half hour, had gone by. In reality, almost two hours had passed! I haven’t been lost in so much creative fun (and frustration because of not knowing what the %#@! I was doing) on a computer (other than words/writing) in a long, long time. Thanks IMT!
Posted by Royce Addington at 5:24 PM
30 July 2007
Drift through my memory
Posted by Royce Addington at 10:04 PM
29 July 2007
Posted by Royce Addington at 9:58 AM
22 July 2007
Spirit Guide and Goddess of the Lakota
White Buffalo Calf Woman brings the gift of the Sacred Pipe to honor all creation. She then turns into a white buffalo and returns to her people.
This ‘collage’ combines the work of two artists:
White Buffalo Woman by Pam McCabe
White Bison by M. Caroselli
White Buffalo Mandala by Pam McCabe
A BIT OF BACKSTORY:
I am currently writing an action-adventure-love story that has, as a central character, a spirit guide or goddess. Her name is White Buffalo Woman. How perfectly does that fit in with Melanie’s theme this week!
The above ‘collage’ is actually a piece from my storyboard on this character. I thought you would enjoy reading the historical and factual account of White Buffalo Woman’s origins as told by members of the Lakota Nation. Later this week, I might include a small excerpt from my story…will see how it goes.
The Story of White Buffalo Woman
Richard Wronski, Chicago Tribune
Floyd Hand, Lakota
The Lakota people have a prophecy about the white buffalo calf, their sacred peace pipe and a sacred bundle that was brought to them two thousand years ago by a Spirit Guide they know as White Buffalo Woman. As the story goes, two young warriors were out hunting buffalo in the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota. This was a time of near starvation for the Lakota people. The warriors spotted something unusual in the distance. As the form moved toward them, they realized that it was a woman; an extraordinary beauty not of this world but lila waken (very sacred). Both warriors knew that Spirit Guides could not be treated with disrespect.
The two young men were astonished. One was mesmerized but the other desired her body and reached out to touch her. Lightening struck the disrespectful youth and burned him into a charred crisp instantly. Only a small heap of blackened bones was left. Some tribal elders say that it was not lightening but a cloud that covered his body and within this cloud he was eaten up by snakes that left only a skeleton, just as man can be eaten up by lust.
To the warrior who behaved rightly, White Buffalo Woman directed him to return to his camp and tell the people to prepare for her arrival. As the prophecy goes she said,
“Good things I am bringing, something holy to your nation. A message I carry for your people from the buffalo nation. Go back and tell your chief to put up a medicine lodge with twenty-four poles. Let it be made holy for my coming.”
The warrior returned to his camp and told the chief what the sacred woman had commanded. The tribe built the medicine lodge and after four days White Buffalo Woman appeared. The great chief welcomed her,
"Sister, we are glad you have come to instruct us.”
White Buffalo Woman told him to build a sacred altar made of red earth in the center of the medicine lodge tipi. The altar was to have a three-stick rack and a buffalo skull for a holy thing she was bringing to the people. After this was completed, she traced a design with her finger in the smooth earth and circled the lodge sun-wise. White Buffalo Woman then opened the bundle she had brought with her. Inside was the chanunpa, the sacred pipe. She held it out for the people to see; holding the stem with her right hand and the bowl with her left. To this day, that is how the sacred pipe is held by all who touch it.
The chief spoke,
“Sister, we are glad. We have had no meat for some time. All we can give you is water.”
He dipped some sweet grass into a skin bag of water and gave it to her. Even today, the Lakota people dip sweet grass or an eagle feather into water and sprinkle it on a person to be purified.
White Buffalo Woman showed the people how to use the pipe. She filled it with red willow bark tobacco and walked around the Medicine Lodge four times to honor the great sun which represents…the sacred hoop, the circle without end, and the road of life.
Then she placed a dry buffalo chip onto the fire and lit the pipe with it. This fire became known as ‘the fire without end’…a flame to be passed on from generation to generation. The smoke rising from the bowl of the pipe was the living breath of the great Grandfather Mystery.
White Buffalo Woman taught the people the right way to pray; the right words and gestures. She sang the pipe-filling song, lifting it towards the sky, toward Grandfather Mystery, then down toward Grandmother Earth and finally to the four directions of the universe. This is the origin of the six directions we call: East, South, West, North, Earth and Sky.
White Buffalo Woman prayed with the people,
“With this pipe you will walk like a living prayer. With your feet resting upon the Earth and the pipe stem reaching into the Sky. Your body forms a living bridge between the Sacred Beneath and the Sacred Above. Wakan Tanka (Sacred Spirit) smiles upon us because now we are as one…earth, sky, all living things, the two legged, the four legged, the winged ones, the trees, the grasses. Together with the people, they are all related, one family. The pipe holds them all together.
Look at this bowl. Its stone represents the buffalo, but also the flesh and blood of the red man. The buffalo represents the universe and the four directions because he stands on four legs…for the four ages of man. The buffalo was put in the west by Wakan Tanka at the making of the world to hold back the waters. Every year he looses one hair, and in every one of the four ages he loses a leg. The Sacred Hoop will end when all the air and legs of the great Buffalo are gone and the water comes back to cover the Earth.
The wooden stem stands for all that grows on the earth. Twelve feathers hanging from where the stem (the backbone) joins the bowl are from the spotted eagle, the very sacred who is the Great Spirit’s messenger and the wisest of all. Look at the bowl. Engraved in it are seven circles of various sizes. They stand for the seven ceremonies you will practice with this pipe, and for the seven sacred campfires of our Lakota nation.”
Then White Buffalo Woman spoke to the women. She told them that the work of their hands and the fruit of their bodies is what kept the people alive,
“You are from the Mother Earth. What you are doing is as great as what warriors do.”
White Buffalo Woman also talked to the children,
“You are the coming generation, that’s why you are the most important and precious ones. Some day you will hold this pipe and smoke it. Some day you will pray with it.”
She spoke one last time to Chief Standing Hollow Horn,
“Remember, this pipe is very sacred. Respect it and it will take you to the end of the road. The four ages of creation are in me. I am the four ages. I will come to see you in every generation cycle. I shall come back to you. I shall see you again.”
Before White Buffalo Woman walked off in the same direction from which she had come, outlined against the glow of the setting sun, she spoke of a prophesy that told of the birth of a white buffalo calf.
White buffalo calves would be a sign signifying that the time was near when she would return again to purify the world; a time when she would bring back spiritual harmony and balance. As she walked into the sunset, White Buffalo Woman stopped and rolled over four times. The first time, she turned into a black buffalo. The second into a brown one. The third time into a red one. Finally, the fourth time, she rolled over and turned into a white female buffalo calf. Then…she disappeared over the Horizon.
As soon as she had vanished, great herds of buffalo appeared. The great bison allowed themselves to be killed so that the Lakota people might survive. From that day, the sacred buffalo furnished them with everything they needed…meat for their food, bones for tools and skins for clothes and tipis.
Today, if you ask a Lakota what White Buffalo Woman means to them; they will tell you that her return will mark the arrival of a sacred new era for reconciliation among all races and respect for the Earth.
Posted by Royce Addington at 1:05 PM
15 July 2007
Whenever I hear the word “BOLD”; I think of Marianne Williamson’s moving excerpt from her book A RETURN TO LOVE. Nelson Mandela borrowed this for his inaugural speech.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of the Universe
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people will not feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of
the Universe that is within us.
It is not just in some of us,
It is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
Posted by Royce Addington at 3:29 PM