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November 26, 2013

HANDMADE PRESSED FLOWER CARDS

Big news!! I've finally opened up my Etsy shop where I am selling Handmade Pressed Flower Cards! I have been foraging flowers from around Toronto throughout this past spring and summer and drying them in my home. Wild flowers, flowers from gardens (okay, I'm respectful and try to collect fallen flowers only), leaves and weeds are my favourite.
I've been creating cards of my own design for about a year now, my first series featuring clipped leaves and needles from coniferous trees. Then the spring and summer came and produced the most beautiful blooms, so that's when I began collecting and passively making cards for family and friends. I love making these cards (among other things) when I need a creative outlet. I have a huge collection of dried flowers and blank cards, so I figure I might as well try and sell them and see where that takes me.
These are photos of some of my favourite cards I've created. All of them (21 one of a kind cards, to be exact) are now for sale here! Finally the Shop button of my website no longer says "Coming Soon", just in time for the holidays! Check out my shop and let me know what you think! I'm also available to create any card specific to your needs or featuring your favourite flower (pending availability of course!). Thank you for your support :)

November 25, 2013

FIRST SNOW FALL

We (Toronto) experienced our first snowfall of the season this past Saturday. That evening I went to go see one of my pals DJ her first solo Motown set, which she owned, so I had about a half hour walk in the freezing cold. The best part of winter is how everyone longs to be cosy and warm inside with friends. The streets were silent, but life was buzzing indoors. In the end, I thought it was a romantic solo walk and I saw some incredible 'city' moments. Here are some photographs of my walk before and after the bar along Bloor Street West.
1. The streets are quiet but this electronic shop is alive and making its presence. 
2. Ladies were laundering clothing late into the night. The heat of the machines meet the cold weather outside on the surface of the windows. 
3. An Italian deli proudly showing off their goods, ready to unveil their meats for Sunday morning customers. 
4. A restaurant overwhelmed with red lights makes it seem as warm as it probably feels, packed with patrons.
 5. The chairs in this barber shop, draped with towels and cloaks, silent but ready for customers.

November 20, 2013

LATELY, IN MOVIES

Scenes of a Sexual Nature was a movie of interactions and relationships of varying degrees, all taking place within a park on one afternoon. It wasn't anything that blew me away. The documentary Tent City, U.S.A. explored the self-sustained homeless community in Nashville and really made me think about the rights of the homeless. It also reminded me of Toronto's own self-governed Tent City, which shut down in 2002.
The following two films are both documentaries by Michael Glawogger that deal with similar subject matter of cities, humanity, and survival. There is also a third in the 'trilogy', Workingman's Death, that I have yet to locate. Megacities blew me away, for obvious (to me) reasons. It's a beautiful portrait of four cities - New York City, Bombay, Mexico City, Moscow - and the humanity and common struggles/ beauty we all share regardless of location. This particular view of cities is expressed through twelve stories of survival. It's a MUST see. Whores' Glory is absolutely stunning. Glawogger has an incredible ability to capture the raw reality of sex work (particularly women)  in Thailand, Bangladesh, and Mexico, and the emotion and true needs and desires of the subjects. There is no escaping this truth and the resourcefulness of these women who are doing what it takes to survive. If you are interested in cities, these films are a must see as the imagery and life that is captured is so stunning.
Lately I've been watching as many films listed in the Criterion Collection as possible, well because they are magic. Hiroshima Mon Amour has one of the most beautiful starts to a movie: scenes of Hiroshima, before and after and during destruction, paired with a loving embrace. It's also a beautiful story of a magical love affair, if you're into that. You know when you see a movie and it blows you away? Well, 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her did exactly that. It's only my second Jean-Luc Godard movie I've ever seen but I'm instantly hooked. Everything from the themes (politics, language, reality vs illusion) to the colours, to the way the actors interact with the camera. It's just perfection. I'm so inspired by Godard. If you appreciate film, add this one too your list ASAP.

November 5, 2013

GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM

The Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan is another example of Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural genius. This building is definitely a favourite, right after Falling Water of course (seen here and here). Interestingly Frank Lloyd Wright did not want to build in New York, as he thought that it was overpopulated, overbuilt, and lacked architectural merit. But in the end, he chose its location on Fifth Avenue across from Central Park due to its proximity to nature which offered relief from the noise and congestion of the city. Unfortunately, Frank Lloyd Wright passed away before its completion in 1959.
The building is unlike any other. Its beautiful, clean white exterior is so pleasing to the eye. Wright understood the problems with museums in that visitors would explore artwork and artifacts in a series of connected rooms but then have to retrace their steps to exit the building. In order to avoid this problem, you enter into a beautiful rotunda atrium, take an elevator to the top floor, and walk down a winding ramp where the work is then placed. This is directly translated to the exterior of the building with its round curves that speak of such beautiful movement happening in the interior.
Because of this design, the museum can then be experienced in an entirely new way. The flow of circulation becomes the means in which the work is viewed, at a slow, leisurely pace. The ramp off of the large rotunda gives the visitor a unique way of viewing the work on different levels simultaneously. It also is an interesting way to view others viewing work, which is my favourite aspect of this design.
I was so fortunate to see the James Turrell exhibition this past summer at the Guggenheim because he completely transformed the building. Turrell enclosed the rotunda using a series of scrims which were highlighted with beautiful lighting, altering the perception and very essence of Wright's design. Here are some vines (here and here) I created inside the museum, where you can see the white scrim blocking the atrium rotunda. I highly, highly suggest you visit the Guggenheim when in New York if you haven't yet. Frank Llyod Wright is a dream.

All photos taken by Natasha Basacchi.
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