Michiko Suzuki: Hope Chests

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Above image from the Burnaby Art Gallery website

A few days ago we visited an exciting exhibition of mixed media work at the Burnaby Art Gallery, by artist and friend Michiko Suzuki. I really recommend art critic Robin Laurence’s excellent review in The Straight, much better said than I could. We enjoyed the tent-like displays which invited one to step inside to look at the “hope chests”, the framed prints of the girls, and the video. I could not resist purchasing the attractive little catalogue printed by the BAG. Below is one of the better installation shots that I was able to capture with my modest little pocket camera.

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We were very sad to have been unable to attend the opening because we had rarely seen old friends from Ontario visiting just on that day! I’m sure many of our mutual artist friends were there, whom I have missed and would have loved to meet. Michiko and I were part of the long-running Art Institute, Printmaking group at Capilano University, which some readers may recall was shut down along with all art programs in 2013. I recall she was working on some of the first pieces in this series back then and told me recently the whole series took her five years. She is one of the hardest working artists I have ever known personally, and one who has exhibited widely. If interested, you may find some of my postings about them here. (Please ignore the other famous Suzuki that comes up in that search.)

hand with Easter eggs

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Hauskaa Pääsiäistä, Joyeuses Pâques, Frohes Ostern, Happy Easter and Happy Spring!

This year I’ve decided to repost one of my favourite images of hand coloured eggs as held in my hand, from my series of scans of hands with objects. Should you be interested, you may view other Easter posts via this search.

We will be having a quiet weekend with our youngest daughter. We are looking forward to a FaceTime visit with the other daughters and our granddaughters on Sunday! How about you?

for Women’s Day

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a fallen phal flower (phalaenopsis orchid)
captured in a scan of course, as I love to do
timely as a gift to all my women friends
and to the women of the world
on this International Women’s Day
thanking those women of the past who forged ahead
and those still fighting for a better world

Related posts: 2007 and 2009

Added later, this excellent article:
Trudeau On Gender Parity: There’s A Lot Of Work Still To Do

Hand with Rose

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inspired by the birthday roses
an addition to my photo series of hands with objects
some others may be viewed here

this February

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Oh my, we are already entering the last week of February. This is a month of anniversaries and birthdays at Chez Rathje. First of the month saw the 12th anniversary of this blog, now limping along in its old age. Then there was one of those Big 0 birthdays for yours truly (also limping along, heh), alongside Valentine’s/Friendship Day, for which I received a big beautiful bouquet of deep red roses from my sweetheart. His birthday by the way is coming up soon as well. Here are the first of the roses to wither, still too gorgeous to discard and thus captured into memory.

In the garden, the snowdrops finished a while ago, the crocuses came out early, one pot of hellebores is in bloom and the mini daffodils and pale pink camellia are opening up. We have had a mild winter with no snow at sea level though lots on the mountains. Having grown up in Winnipeg, I still marvel at this early spring on the westcoast!

Related: see some photos from February 2013

last week’s trip

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Husband and I took a lovely little trip to Vancouver Island this past week to see our family. Our middle daughter with husband and our dear granddaughters had moved in November from their lake cottage to a farm in the idyllic gentle rolling valleys of Saanich, north of Victoria. Though husband had been there to help with their move, especially with their chickens and coop, this was my first visit.

Being January it did rain on and off but on our first afternoon we were lucky to have a dry spell so we could have a bit of a walk around the farm (owned by their landlords) with its extensive herb plantings, vegetables, trees and most delightful goats, one producing delicious milk, a couple of astoundingly handsome guard dogs and egg laying chickens. I wish my photos of the animals were better but they just did not stay still.

The valley below is beautiful though I was able to only capture a wee bit of it to show here as the sun was lowering in the sky. The camera did not see much action, but there will be another time! We also had short visits with two sets of friends who used to live in our neighbourhood on this side of the Salish Sea. It was a happy week away and just what we needed after that most awful and long cold over the holidays.

Added later: you may be interested in visiting Elisa’s beautiful blog: appleturnover

New Year 2016

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Very belated Happy New Year’s wishes to my dear readers! I hope you have all had a wonderful holiday season and that this new year will be a good one. So many in the world do need hope for safer and better lives. Will that ever change?

One of the New Year traditions, at least in our neighbourhood, is the receipt of new calendars from some of the local realtors. Some feature gorgeous local scenery while others feature exciting spots around the world to attract tourism. I fell in love with one of those latter images, of some standing stones called the megaliths of Callanish. Here is the text:

Its remote location on the Isle of Lewis, in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, means that the megalith of Callanish attracts fewer tourists than its counterpart Stonehenge; however, these standing stones are just as impressive and equally puzzling. Erected around 5,000 years ago, the stones form the shape of a Celtic cross. Some archaeologists suggest the site was used as a lunar observatory while others, of a less scientific bent, prefer the local folklore, which tells of giants petrified for their refusal to convert to Christianity. Perhaps because its origins are undetermined, the Callanish Stones have a mystical quality.

Of course there is much more information online, which I will be studying for as many of you know, I find it a fascinating subject and have only seen Stonehenge and Avebury.

Though I no longer put up wall calendars I do save certain images… this one is a keeper! I could not find the photographer’s name to give due credit.

Winter Story 2015

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Our granddaughters’ Lael and Niamh and their parents have once again created another wonderful Winter Story to share with all their friends and family – an annual tradition since 2003. Please visit it here then perhaps visit/revisit past Stories! They now live on a farm hence the many delightful farm creatures. Enjoy! Happy Holidays everyone!

Solstice and Jule wishes

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time to nod to Midwinter and the pagan traditions of Yule, Yulefest, Jul, Joulu….
time to rejoice that the North’s longest night (tomorrow in Vancouver) will soon be over
the days will lengthen as light returns

a good time to wish all of you, my dear friends and readers,
a happy Solstice, 
Joyful Christmas, Hauskaa Joulua,
Frohe Weihnachten, Joyeux Noël, Happy Holidays, or whatever you celebrate.

Love and light, peace and joy,
and a big thank you to all of you for your friendship.

(a note of apology that I have not sent out Christmas cards or letters this year as I have been unwell, but hope to be recovered by Christmas)

frost flowers

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This rare sunny morning, while I was sleeping in, my husband took several photos of the rare gorgeous frost fractals on the sloping skylights in our solarium. What a lovely gift to ring in the holiday season after weeks of extreme rain and windstorms. Even the mountain tops are capped with white icing. We are to expect more of these storms in this El Niño year.

Fortunately so far our neighbourhood has not had the severe flooding nor power outages that are sadly happening in many areas of the Pacific Northwest, despite a warning flicker now and then. The storms are of course stronger over open coastal regions often forcing cancellations of ferries and small plane flights. This happened to dear friends from Victoria visiting us last weekend which meant they had to spend the night with us, and a pleasure it was.

I wish all friends and readers a happy and safe pre-holiday period! We hope that no storms affect your holiday plans. More later….