I draw the line

Art Before BreakfastIn any interaction where I mention that I try to draw every day, there is a point straight after the words leave my lips when I can hear the drawbridge being cranked up, and see the intervening moat filling up with tablets, apps, Pokemon and the sundry small, useless products of 3D printing. And, as if from a distant galaxy, I hear the person on the other side of the moat say some variation of the following: “Oh I can’t draw a thing. I can’t even draw a stick man.”

And let’s say, just for the moment, that you are stick-man challenged, still I bet you had the chance to draw and paint and play music when you were at school. What is a great concern for many educators nowadays is that the swing to a predominantly technology-based education system like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) means that many children will be deprived of the opportunity to develop their own direct, tactile creativity, and will be doomed to a life of thinking that creativity is the manipulation of someone else’s genius.

ArtlessWhich is why I am such a huge fan of The Big Draw – The world’s largest drawing festival. Most education systems nowadays focus on STEM curricula. The Big Draw is part of an initiative to change STEM to STEAM through the addition of the Arts. And we have a chance to be part of this initiative at Art Box Gallery in Christchurch until Friday 28th October. Art Box is the venue for the Christchurch Big Draw which has invited 20 New Zealand artists to show us just how important drawing is. How we simply cannot afford to let Art slip through the cracks. How the British Arts Education Trust believes  “Art can change lives”.

I went along to The Big Draw with my colleague and art-buddy, Masha. Debra McLeod was in attendance to share some arty gems with us – she is always so welcoming and knowledgeable. It was a struggle to drag Masha past Ina Johann’s Parallel Lines – mapping another life (and it was only exhibit 2 of 20), and I wanted my little drawing books to morph into the likes of Mario Luz’s Sketchbooks.

All the artists in this Big Draw exhibition are known in their field and for sure you will come away with a different slant on life. But here’s an idea – maybe the next Christchurch Big Draw could feature the sketchbooks of ordinary, everyday sketchers: the people who draw though they will never be known for it, and the children who are just starting out on drawing.

Back we meandered to Central Library Manchester – just that little bit altered. There to search out more beautiful drawing books. Paul Klee is reputed to have said that drawing  “is the act of  taking a line for a walk”. To-day Masha and I took a walk for the lines!

Roberta and Masha with Sandra Thomson's Coral Reef and Fated.
Roberta and Masha with Sandra Thomson’s Coral Reef and Fated.

Photo Hunt October: Canterbury Centennial Parade Float, 1951

Canterbury Centennial Parade Float, 1951.
Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Merle Conaghan, Kete Christchurch PH14-142 CC-BY-NZ-SA NZ3.0

Float of the Floral Procession as part of the Canterbury Centennial held in Christchurch, February 1951.

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch & Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Cup and Show Day Reading : Give a Man a Horse by Dianne Haworth

Give a Man a Horse CoverHere’s a book to whet your appetite for Christchurch Cup and Show Week!

Give a Man a Horse is the biography of celebrated Cambridge Stud bloodstock breeder Sir Patrick Hogan, owner of the famous Sir Tristram.

This is an entertaining and often poignant tale of farming, family and horse breeding in early New Zealand. Author Dianne Haworth eloquently traces the roots of this famous New Zealander from the mists of seventeenth century Ireland to the modern world of horse racing.

Beginning with an Irish family myth of a rebel Hogan horseman, the book follows Patrick’s father Tom’s emigration to New Zealand in the early 1900s to his establishment of the family’s first Clydesdale breeding stock farm in the Waikato in the early 1930s.

His father’s canny anticipation in the 1950s of the end of working draft horses on farms changed the course of Patrick’s life. Sharing his father’s natural ability in spotting and presenting a good horse, Patrick learned first to show calves at Calf and Show day, then followed his father into breeding thoroughbred horses for the high paced racing world.

Sir Patrick’s is a story of calculated risks, exciting wins and impressive bloodlines. Close associates speak of him as someone who would always give a little guy a go, while never mincing words when it came to horse business. I’ve enjoyed reading this book, for its relaxed style and history of a fixture of New Zealand life. I even found myself reading the statistics!

Give a man a horse: The remarkable story of Sir Patrick Hogan
by Diane Haworth
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN: 9781775540960

More reading:

Horses parading in the ring at Riccarton Racecourse [ca. 1960] Flickr CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0030
Horses parading in the ring at Riccarton Racecourse [ca. 1960] CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0030

Photo Hunt October: Horse-drawn Bathing Huts at New Brighton

Bathing huts, horse drawn, New Brighton.
Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Kete Christchurch PH13-090 CC-BY-NCSA NZ 3.0

There is no date on this photo, but the bathing huts might have been a good place to shelter from the easterly wind as well as preserving ones modesty.

There are currently small huts on display at New Brighton but they’re not for bathing purposes – Tiny Huts at New Brighton.

View other images of New Brighton Beach on Kete Christchurch.

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch & Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Get thee to a bookshop for NZ Bookshop Day – Saturday 29 October

NZ Bookshop DayThis Saturday 29 October your mission is to visit your local bookshop. Choose to accept it!

It is the second official NZ Bookshop Day – a celebration to get booklovers pulses racing. Booksellers New Zealand are doing some cool competitions to get you into the NZ Bookshop Day spirit. Win $500 worth of NZ book tokens by sharing the bookshop love: Get a postcard from a participating bookshop, fill it out and hand it back, tell the bookshop just why you love it. And win book prizes on the NZ Bookshop Day Facebook page, and Booksellers NZ Twitter #nzbookshopday in the lead up to NZ Bookshop Day.

Here’s my NZ Bookshop Day to-do list (it’s a trifle ambitious but that’s a tribute to how much excellent stuff is on!):

  • Buy copies of Annual by Gecko Press for Christmas presents for the kids in my life.
  • Take part in Scorpio Books Lit Quiz (fingers crossed for a respectable showing).
  • Get the kid along to a Children’s illustration workshop to hone her My Little Pony and Powerpuff Girls drawing skills.
  • Hear Mr Yipadee in action at South City Paper Plus.
  • And of course enter all the comps with the goal of winning books and/or book tokens.

Christchurch events and competitions for NZ Bookshop Day

nzbookshop

Here are some of the competitions and Christchurch events as listed on the Booksellers NZ website:

Scorpio Books

Favourite book photo competition
Take a photo of your favourite book in an inspired location, post it on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtags #scorpiobooks and #nzbookshopday to win a $200 Scorpio Books voucher. Entries close on 31 October, winner announced 5 November.

12 favourite books for only $12 each on NZ Bookshop Day
Scorpio staff have gathered together 12 of their favourite books and for a special deal on NZ Bookshop Day, they will be $12 each. In store only. While stocks last.

Books in Schools
Make a purchase at Scorpio Books on NZ Bookshop Day and choose a Christchurch school to receive 15% of your purchase to spend on books of their choice!

Children’s Illustration Workshop – Scorpio Books, 120 Hereford Street
A free workshop on Children’s Illustration with Lynne McAra, the illustrator of Toby Goes To Grandma’s and Toby Goes Cycling. 2:30pm – 4pm. Suitable for ages 6 – 12. Limited spaces available, to book a space email: rachel@scorpiobooks.co.nz

Scorpio Lit Quiz – Scorpio Books, 120 Hereford Street
Hosted by Joe Bennett. Bring a team of up to 5 people to test your literary knowledge. $60 per table. 7pm. Spot prizes, drinks and nibbles provided. Limited spaces available. Purchase your table from Hereford St or phone 377 8462.

Readings from our Favourite Books – Scorpio Books, 113 Riccarton Road
Local authors share and read from their favourite books, in conversation with Chris Moore.
Browse and listen to all time favourite stories. 10am-4pm

The Original Children’s Bookshop Christchurch

Join illustrators Jenny Cooper and Helen Taylor instore between 11.00 and 1.00. Storytelling with Zac McCallum at 2.30pm. Spot prizes for the best costumes, download colouring competitions from the website.

Piccadilly Books

10am. Book signing and information session with Amanda Tiffen and Leigh Brown with their books A Life less Sugar and A Life Less Sugar Recipes.

Paper Plus

Mr Yipadee, a best-selling Kiwi children’s musician and author, making it big in the UK. His songs have messages of positivity and FUN and children LOVE him. He is coming home to help promote his new book Jingle Bells, Rudolph Smells, and will be singing a few songs and signing books. He will appear at the following Paper Plus stores:

All about NZ Bookshop Day

The lazy crafter’s guide to Christmas

Sound the klaxons! It is officially two months until Christmas day. Ah-oooh-gah! Panic! Panic stations! PANIC!

But actually, don’t…because unless you’re in charge of the annual Santa parade, two months is plenty of time to get organised for Christmas. Having said that, if you’re on a limited budget and want to bulk out your gifty offerings with some homemade fare, then now is actually a pretty good time to start getting organised in a non-panicky, totally on top of it way. At least that’s the theory.

And that’s how I ended up pulling a bunch of Christmas books off the shelf before Halloween. Because homemade may be cheaper but it also takes longer… What I’m looking for is stylish inspiration, but stuff that’s not too fiddly or requires a lot of expensive ingredients/materials.

Here’s how my festive five lined up:

Cover of Christmas craftsChristmas crafts: 35 projects for the home and for giving – This scores high in the “stylish photography/inspiration” category. If you are the kind of person who likes large paper pom-poms and chandelier drops as tree ornaments you’ll do well with this book. There’s a whole section on place-setting related crafts that I would never do in a million years… however the edible gifts and kids crafts are all cute and achievable. Cookies that can also be tree decorations? I can whip those up in an afternoon, no worries.

Cover of Christmas crafting in no timeChristmas crafting in no time – I picked this book due to the title because I have no time to do anything. Most of the projects within (50 in total) do seem simple to moderately fiddly, but a lot of them feature felt and needlework so if that’s not your aesthetic/strength you might prefer something else. That said, there are some bright, cheery decoration options and pretty idiot proof gift ideas (e.g. flavoured vinegars, vanilla sugar), though typically very northern-hemisphere appropriate (cosy baby boots, hot water bottle covers and so on).

Cover of Christmas joys: Decorating, crafts & recipesChristmas joys: Decorating, crafts and recipes – This book wins in the “who has the best photos of effortless-looking rustic holiday cabins” competition by a Country Living mile. Everything in this book looks beautiful… however most of us cannot pull off hanging beribboned pine branches from our living room doorknobs, or sprigs of artfully placed pine in old jars without it looking mildly ridiculous. The recipes though are mouthwatering, and the gift ideas, very chic – sugar cookies shaped like buttons! Espresso sugar cubes! Bespoke embroidered gloves! Gourmet marshmallows! Rosemary honey! Gifts I’d be happy to receive and only slightly less happy to make.

Cover of Kirstie's Christmas craftsKirstie’s Christmas crafts – I have always enjoyed Kirstie Allsop’s sense of style both in her fashion choices and in her crafty television outings like Kirstie’s vintage home so had high hopes that she would solve all my Christmas gift problems in one fell swoop. Alas, no. This book rates the highest in fussy/fiddly factor. One project involved screenprinting. Making my own silkscreen is several steps too far for this lazy crafter. Saving graces come in the form of a dead easy recipe for summer favourite, limoncello, a rather good looking chutney, and a mulled cider, and a spiced pear martini that I can’t stop thinking about. So mainly the booze and food section.

Cover of Washi tape ChristmasWashi tape Christmas: Easy holiday craft ideas with washi tape – I went washi tape mad a couple of Christmases ago so I am not immune to its easy, removable adhesive charms. Unfortunately the crafts in this book do rather depend on you having acquired vast quantities of washi tape in a variety of Christmas-themed patterns, which I cannot be bothered with, frankly. And the appeal for me is how easy washi tape is to use but somehow they’ve managed to make it all fiddly. I reckon you could make most of the projects with patterned paper and some spray adhesive so if you’ve the time and skill and a fully stocked crafting toolkit, this could be your Christmas crafting inspiration.

Any sure-fire Christmas crafts you want to share or favourite Christmas inspiration type books?

Photo Hunt October: The Union Methodist business Girls Sports Team, Lancaster Park

The Union Methodist business Girls Sports Team, Lancaster Park..
Entry in the Christchurch City Libraries 2008 Photo Hunt. This photo was Highly Commended in the 1940s Decade entries. Kete Christchurch HWC08-SU-127 CC-BY-NC-SA NZ 3.0

“Uniforms were made by Ray Milliners in New Regent Street. 15 teams in the competition.  Peggy is 2nd left in photo. Teams would perform a folk dance, drill, potato race, relay. Would practise in Latimer Square at lunch times. Won the event 5 years in a row.”

Date: 1949-1950.

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch & Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Te Rerenga Kōrero – Tō hoariri, kei muri i a koe!

Kia ora. To encourage the use of Te Reo Māori Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori – The Māori Language Commission publish weekly Māori phrases that can be used to support or cheer someone on.

Tō hoariri, kei muri i a koe!
Your opponent, behind you!

akina te reo rugby

Tokelau Language Week – Te Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau 2016

Mālō ni. It’s Te Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau -Tokelau Language Week from 23-29 October.

Tokelau is a group of three coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean. The population of Tokelau is about 1,000. The language of the Tokelau is related to Samoan. More than 7,100 people of Tokelauan heritage who live in New Zealand. There are approximately 80 people of Tokelauan heritage living in Christchurch.

This year NZ Post are issuing a special set of stamps for Te Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau.

If you would like to know more about Tokelau and it’s language, we can help you.

And, don’t forget to say “Mālō ni”.

Photo Hunt October: Southbridge Labour Day Agricultural Fair 1949

At the Southbridge Labour Day Agricultural Fair
Entry in the 2015 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. PH15-035.jpg CC-BY-NC-ND-3.0 NZ

“Country and city folk get together at the Southbridge Labour Day agricultural fair in 1949.”

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch & Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.