Saturday, January 31, 2009

Last Sat of Jan

Going to go check out the SO's niece's first one-act play competition wherein she is the start! How exciting for her. We will be traveling to the St. Cloud area in our new station wagon which has trouble starting in the cold. Wish us luck. I feel like it will be fine.

February is tomorrow. That is good. We are perusing the seed catalogs and hatching garden plans. I have a feeling this year will be really full, including my business, my home garden, our vacation, and misc. I am taking a permaculture design course this year, adn hopefully that will move me toward designing permaculture gardens here in the city and out in the country. My end goal is to combine the practical and functional human centered focus of permaculture with the aesthetic and ecological nature-centered focus of habitat restoration and design gardens that restore connections to the planet. Is that a good goal? I think so. I also want to make a decent living.

Have a beautiful weekend! The sun is shining, the snow is still kind of clean. Take advantage.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009


It is snowing big chunky flat funky flakes outside right now. What a strange concept, outside. Outside and inside become a different experience when you camp, for instance, or work outside all day for your livelihood. Outside is more what is around you, and you have to adapt. When you're at home, outside is almost something to avoid, like the flu. Most people have inside jobs, and most people are narcissistic. Maybe there is an obvious corollary there?

I am confused by people. What are they doing? What are you doing?

Checking out a car today, and then skiing. Our muffler fell off yesterday after we checked out a pretty nice car I think we might buy, so I suppose that is a sign. Now the Olds is one loud puppy. Can't wait to get a new car.

Big chunky flat funky flakes. That is what is real. No need to psychoanalyze. Just fall.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Beautiful 97 Year Old Botanical Artist

97 Year Old Botanical Art Maestro

Botanical art is the name for professional drawings of plants. Originally, botanical artists used to team up with botanists to make drawings of medicinal herbs in order to create a record to help people identify different plants. Chikabo Kumada has made countless book illustrations and picture books with his botanical illustrations. He’s been drawing the insects, animals, and plants which live in his garden and neighboring woodlands for seventy-one years. He’s ninety-seven years old now! Mr. Kumada is known in Japan as a pioneer of botanical art, and he continues his busy career to this day. We spoke to him this week about his thoughts and experiences.

Interview by Takafumi Suzuki
Translation by Claire Tanaka

Mr. Kumada, when did you start drawing illustrations of plants and insects?

I started to do it for work when I was twenty-six. I quit the graphic design company I’d been working at and switched careers without talking to my wife about it first. At that time, all the books had been burned in the war, and bunches of shoddy picture books had started coming in from the Kansai area and I thought, “This won’t do! I’ve got to draw some good picture books.” I love children. That’s why I started doing it. That was where my years of impoverishment began. (laughs)

You were a graphic designer before you started your career as a professional illustrator?

Back then, we didn’t use the English word “designer;” we called what I did a “zuan-ka.” At that time (the 1930s) even the modern idea of “advertising” was new. The firm I worked at, Nihon Kobo, was a groundbreaking company in Japan’s graphic design world. Ayao Yamana, who I considered a mentor, was of course very famous, but there were a lot of other very skilled people who came from there. People like Ken Domon and Yusaku Kamekura started there after me. I was particularly good friends with Domon. We were so busy, we worked every day from morning until the last train at night. We made good money too. (laughs)

Read the whole interview Here

Monday, January 05, 2009


I question the concept of purity. What is pure in an infinitely complex organic reality? The concept of purity creates puritans. A puritan believes that the pure state is holy, and the impure states is damned. Perhaps instead of purity we should strive for balance.

I'm always thinking about food and water, because food and water is our direct link to the planet, and hence to the universe. When we eat many different foods, our bodies work hard to process all the different nutriments, but if we eat one or two simple things, our bodies have an easier time of it. It is not bad to eat many different things at the same time, it is just more difficult, and a complex situation for the body to handle. Most things seem to strive toward some sort of balance, and our bodies are no exception. Here in the developed world, we eat terribly unhealthy foods all the time and then develop diseases. And then we take drugs to alleviate the symptoms of our disease. We live in a state of complete unbalance all day long, and then we have trouble sleeping.

I think most people mistake purity for balance. For instance, when we fast, we let our bodies come into balance.

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