Queen's night

Tonight is Queen's Night- the eve of Koninginnedag (Queen's Day). Tonight is for partying and singing and dancing in the street. Tomorrow is the vrijmarkt (free market) and I think we will head to Vondelpark which is taken over by the children. It's super fun watching all the kids perform- some are so weird! 
This photo was taken last year while Katie and I stood in line for the bathroom in some guy's house near Overtoom. Having spare change is crucial!

No bicycles!


There's something about this specific combo of lace curtains and Venetian blinds which equally delights and disgusts me. It makes me feel all dusty and mildewy on the inside when I look at it. Talcum powder and 4711 Eau de Cologne. No bicycles!

Bonfires

Now that the nights are warmer, late at night there are groups of people starting small bonfires in Vondelpark. It seems kind of punk and a little sinister, fires in the middle of the city. It also feels a little old school and magical, a throwback to the park's hippie past.

Alledaags



Toby just published his first book! Alledags- a year in Amsterdam is now available for order.
Tobs drew a picture a day all of last year of his (and my) life here in Amsterdam. There's highs and lows, sun and snow, and lots of great observations of daily Dutch life. It really is an incredible achievement and I am so proud of him!
On Friday he had a launch party where he exhibited all the drawings, along with champagne and a BBQ in the sun. It was a great night...even if I didn't make it right to the very end. The champagne got the better of me!

Black Dancers




We
Who have nothing to lose
Must sing and dance
Before the riches
Of the world
Overcome
Us.
We
Who have nothing to lose
Must laugh and dance
Lest our laughter
Goes from
Us.

Black dancers by Langston Hughes

Venezia



I've been hunting through my files for something I lost and came across these shots I took last year in Venice. It was July, crazy tourist season... but once you turn off the main streets, Venice feels deserted. A little rotten around the edges, damp, dirty and full of secrets. 

Peek-a-boo




I spent yesterday evening photographing people's curtains. This opens up some uncomfortable situations. I felt very suspicious-looking as I snapped people's lacy whites. 
I'm really liking how people are putting up these curtains to shield themselves from prying eyes, then I come along and photograph the curtains, but others (people on the street or who are inside) think that I am trying to see past the curtains to what is inside. 
These curtains only hang in certain houses, where it is obviously an older person living there. Moving between neighbourhoods, you can tell where there are younger, hippier people living by the absence of the lace curtains.  
You can spot my reflection in some of the shots if you look closely. I like this added dimension, peering back out of the photo.

Sprucing Bruce

I own one fourth of this beautiful boat who's name is Bruce. She's a great boat but we'd left her tied up to the side of Herengracht all winter and she was looking a little weather beaten. So Kurt, Rebecca, Toby and I got together to sand and re-varnish her woodwork. Kurt is going to repaint the bow as well. We thought about renaming her, as it's traditional to give a boat a feminine name, but then it's bad luck to rename a boat. I'm thinking we stick with Bruce, but maybe she's a Mrs B?
While we were working on her, lots of other boaties boated past, harassing us and telling us to stop working and just get out onto the water- it was such a gorgeous day. The above contraption was my favourite boat that passed. As Rebecca said "in America, a white couch on a barge just equals white trash, but in Amsterdam it's cool."

Poker face

A premature summer BBQ turned into a long game of poker on Friday night. We played with our stockpile of foreign coins and a souvenir set of cards from New Zealand. Things got messy when people started trying to share stories about the places on the cards... ooh Cathedral Cove! Which meant you wanted to show the picture- but then poker doesn't lend itself to sharing cards. 
Barrie was so patient as he explained the rules over and over. Lucy fell asleep on the couch. Gareth won. 

Everything is poetry



Nacho drawing over the roof of a bar in Barcelona. This is directly after we left the absinthe bar. Need I say more?

Blackening silver

Last night I brought four silver chains to my class with Susie that were either broken or too short to wear. I wanted to combine them and maybe experiment with combining the chain with a length of ribbon or material. I also really wanted to try blackening the silver. 

To blacken silver you use Liver of Sulphur which is the alchemists' name for a chemical mixture that is produced by heating potassium carbonate with sulphur. When you expose metal to Liver of Sulphur it to oxidises it. This is like tarnishing, only you are doing it on purpose and controlling which parts turn black and which do not. You can also dilute the mixture with water to create different colours. 
In this case I just wanted everything to turn black so we dumped the chains (after soldering the broken parts to one another) into a glass of Liver of Sulphur. It works instantly. I really like the effect, how it hides the preciousness of the silver. I think this would look so cool with a tiny bit of gold somewhere. 

Tenants of dreams


A Remedy for Insomnia

Not sheep coming down the hills,
not cracks on the ceiling—
count the ones you loved,
the former tenants of dreams
who would keep you awake,
once meant the world to you,
rocked you in their arms,
those who loved you . . .
You will fall asleep, by dawn, in tears.

Light leaks


Barcelona on film... what could be nicer? I shot hundreds of digital photos, but the film shots are so much more evocative. I love film. I love my clunky, heavy, weird, old cameras. I love light captured on emulsion. I am rambling. I will probably drip feed a few more favourites via the blog- but you can see more here and here.

Peep show

I remember speaking to my friend's mother who was visiting last summer from the States. She said that when she first came to Amsterdam 20 years ago that lace curtains hung in every window, but these days it seemed like it was a dying tradition. My Oma has always had lace curtains hanging in all windows of the house. I love the old fashioned lace that you sometimes see here, although I'm not sure if I'm quite Oma-y enough to hang them in my own window. I'm a little bit in love with these shots....you might see some more soon. That is, if I don't get told off for peeping through windows.

Oma's cake


I heard this caked referred to around the office as both "Oma's cake" and as "Funeral Cake". Apparently it's a very old fashioned butter cake that your Oma would make, especially for a funeral. Sanne told me that if it was not served at a funeral, most Dutchies would be disappointed.
Also outside the office were these chalk markings. My initial thought was that someone loves Vincent very much, but then I realized it was someone marking their spot for their Queen's Day stall. Super keen- it's not for nearly three weeks! Koninginnedag is the best public holiday I know of- everyone parties the night before (Queen's Eve) and then the next day the city turns into a giant flea market. It's typical dutch and super cool man!

Mariko

Mariko Oya inspired this painitng. She's one of the best friends I made during my time in Melbourne and she's just moved to London. We booked tickets to go visit and without knowing, booked them on her boyfriend Marty's birthday. Awesome. He's pretty damn rad too. Can't believe it's been over 2 years since I've seen them. Mariko and I used to have Widow's Night on Tuesdays when our boyfriends were at band practise. She is a grandma at heart, just like me!

Paradiso

I spent 5 nights in Barcelona over Easter with Toby, Ignasi, Nacho, Barrie and Kako. Ignasi's friends Girard and Arnau are opening a record shop and invited him to come and paint a mural. The rest of us were there with our 16 cameras to document every moment of it. Expect to see a few more pics when I get the films developed!
Here's a quote from Kako which sums it all up:
Perfect weekend ey!
Made me feel like a teenager again.
Thanks for every day that we enjoyed together.
For every bread with tomato that we tasted.
For every laugh between beer and beer that we drunk.
For every extra mojito that we drunk.
And for every metre of Barcelona that we walked.
It was just... a pleasure.
Bravo.

Paengaroa

Christmas day 2009. Sunset over Paengaroa, NZ. Taken at Rodger and Mary Anne's place. My heart is there now.