Saturday, September 24, 2016

Fire Monkeys, Olbrich Gardens

One of the most popular artist installations within the GLEAM exhibition at the Olbrich Gardens, "The Fire Monkeys" is the creation by local artists Laurie Rossbach & Jennika Bastian. According to the Chinese (and Korean) zodiac, it is the year of the Monkey. 
The installation hearkened me back to the beautiful lanterns I saw while in Korea, in the Lotus Lantern Parade, at the Jogyesa Buddhist Temple, and at Seoul's annual fall Lantern exhibit.  The Fire Monkeys were also created out of paper (in Korea it was called hanji paper), wire, and paint. 

While walking around the gardens at night, I heard the yelping monkey sounds well before I arrived at the willow tree. Each of the monkey sculptures glowed as if on fire, which is one of the four purified elements within Buddhism.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Olbrich Gardens GLEAM Installation

Last night I took advantage of the pleasant evening to attend the photographer's session for the GLEAM exhibit. This exhibition features illuminated installations in Madison's excellent Olbrich Gardens. The exhibit is a collaboration between local artists and regional lighting designers.

Some of the installations incorporated existing structures such as this one at the Rose Garden Pool, entitled "Yahara Waters: Yahara Clouds." 
Entitled "Ignis Fatuus," this sculpture incorporates glowing orbs, some of which were embellished with crocheted patterns made from recycled plastic shopping bags.

A star casts its illuminated colors on a small pond.
The sculpture "Portal" by the Sunken Gardens echos the sapphire blue twilight sky.

This was my venture into doing some night photography using manual exposure.



Thursday, September 15, 2016

Elephant Ears and Gold Foil

It's comforting to know that when I have a need to feel transported back to Asia, I can go for a walk from my Madison condo and visit the Thai pavilion at Olbrich Gardens. Between the ornate details such as the pavilion's gold foil columns and the broad elephant ear leaves nearby, I get a temporary whiff of Thailand. 

Hard to believe this is Madison, eh? I'll be returning once the autumn leaves start to appear, and again when it is snowing. Now THAT will be a scene unique to tundraland...

Monday, September 12, 2016

After the Rain

In Wisconsin, we've been getting quite a bit of rain these past few weeks. Although the Madison area did not have the flooding that occurred last week in other areas of the state, it still affected things. With the skies temporarily absent of precipitation, I decided to walk over to the nearby Olbrich Gardens. I loved the way the night's weather transformed the petals, leaves, and spiderwebs.

The petals here reminded me of the scales on a dragon's wing.

Raindrops beaded up along the veins of the elephant ear plant.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Pastel Artwork by Melissa Enderle - Meditation: Ramayana Dancer


Meditation: Ramayana Dancer
My newest artwork
A pastel painting of a Ramayana Ballet dancer in Prambanan, Indonesia
44x46 cm

See more of my artwork on my website or on Flickr

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Burnay Pots and the 50 m long kiln

The town of Vigan is well known for its burnay pottery, which is characterized by its dense, watertight and unglazed earthenware. Burnay pottery was established by Chinese immigrants who made the typically small-mouth jars to store food and water and ferment food such as brown sugar, sugarcane vinegar, sugarcane wine, and fish sauce. Even prior to the Spanish colonial period, there were many burnay pottery workshops in the region; now there are only a few, mostly located within Vigan. We visited the pottery place known as Vigan Burnayan. right off of the main Calle Crisologo street. 
The clay is gathered locally and is combined with fine sand and then is kneaded by two water buffalo trampling over it. After that, impure particles are picked through and removed. The pieces are formed on a large kick wheel; some pieces are so large that two people are needed to form them. Due to the materials, process, and thickness, the pieces are typically very sturdy and quite heavy. Dried pieces are placed inside the large kiln, known as a dragon. Kindling wood is used to generate heat in this 50 meter long brick kiln. Gradually these massive brick kilns are being replaced by electric kilns. Imagine how long it must take to load such a kiln! The process and structure of the kiln reminded me a lot of the one I saw in Icheon, South Korea.

While burnay pots are still being used for domestic use, the pottery places also depend on purchase of smaller souvenir pieces.
Read more about the Burnay pots of Vigan on this website.