Wednesday, March 29, 2006

How I spent my day

Hey Bingoragers!

I just spent all day going back over the postings for the last year; cleaning up some useless ones, amalgamating some small ones into larger ones and adding Technorati "tags" to all going back to last march.

Why? Am I adding "tags" to the postings? To bring new viewers into the Bingorage fold. It's supposed to help people and search engines find the postings by searching the tags. You may have noticed the little list of words at the end of each posting for the last four months or so. You can click on these word-links and they will take you to the Technorati website, where you can see if anyone else has tagged their postings with the same or similar tag; supposedly helping you find other postings on similar topics from other blogs/sites using tags.

I hope that this will be of some use for yous and I. One problem that I can already see, though, is that other people don't spell their tags correctly and so may not get linked with my posts. Oh well; I think I'll stick to the Queen's engrish, for now.



papier mache figure by Eric Keast; Broken Vulture Art.

I've been doing some papier-mache workshops at a drop-in centre, here in town; this boxy guy is one of the pieces that I've collaborated on.

We've been working on masks, mostly, but I hope to put together a float, of sorts for the Canada Day parade. You can see some of the work we've been doing over at this site. Check it out.
Later.

:Eric



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Monday, March 27, 2006

Random stuff

Click for larger, correct aspect-ratio pics.



shy girl, on paper
shy girl, on paper



saw
saw



big saw
big saw



red painting 1
red painting 1



red painting 2
red painting 2



seagulls on the rainy river
seagulls on the rainy river



turtle drummer, remix
turtle drummer, remix



hand rattle, remix
hand rattle, remix



Pither's Point Park
Pither's Point Park





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Home Pages/Blogs for Individual Native Americans

Blogs 4 Individual Native Americans


Just starting to check these out. Got myself listed, here, somehow.


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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Seven Fires Prophesy of the Anishinabe

Seven Fires Prophesy of the Anishinabe


You may have heard the phrase "Seven Fires", a google search yields "about 28 800" returns. Here, you can read the prophecies; their interpretation is still being resolved/lived-out.



On a lighter note... I was going through some old stuff, in a box today... and found this clipping of a young Broken Vulture gamely trying to keep up with the play. I thought that you might find this amusing (I recommend clicking for larger pic).

small town newspaper clipping, probably fall of 1996
small town newspaper clipping, probably fall of 1996 (OOps. That would be 1986. Thanks for pointing that out, Will).


I wasn't really a big fan of the game. I didn't have a firm grasp of the plays, "holes", "defensive reads" or the proper way to hit someone. I played one year of high school, with people who'd been playing for several years and much smaller than me. . .
And they hurt me. Very effectively.


I was always better at badminton.





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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bingorage retrofit.

I have been up all night, finishing the little roadtrip posting, below, and trying to revamp the Bingorage site. I considered moving the whole shebang over to a couple different templates; but after trying them on, I figured on saving a whole lotta grief... just by tweaking this one. So...

Changes:

-less clutter; the sidebar spacing has been changed and old links have been reevaluated &/or moved.

-less bloat; the background and the banner have been trimmed

-an attempt to make the photo sizing smaller and more consistent recently (which you may or may not have noticed), so that slow connections load faster

-fewer posts on the main page


Okay... laterz.


PS

A current Miss Loontrout detail.
A current Miss Loontrout detail.





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Take a little trip with me.


I was surfing around the net,the other day. I googled "Ojibway Art" and out popped a link for the Whetung Ojibway crafts and art gallery, on the Curve Lake First Nation; Southern Ontario, just north of Peterborough. That (and a small container of mementos I'd found the week before) inspired me to write about a little backpacking trip that I took, at university. Just to get the hell out of the dorm for a weekend.


I was going to university in Peterborough, Ontario; Ottonabee College ("Ought-Not-To-Be-a College", as we affectionately referred to it) at Trent University.
I guess that it had been a long week,long semester, long winter. I had a tent with me and decided to go visit a couple of cool sites that I had heard about, in the Archaeology department and/or other anthro. classes.


So; I took a bus to the edge of town (Trent U. is already pretty close to the edge of town) and started hitchhiking northeasty.


(Google map)



My first destination was the Warsaw caves; a series of glacial runoff-cut riverbanks that collapsed, or were dug down as "kettles";Trike
one "cave" is deep enough to retain year-round ice. (AnotherLink)

When my ride dropped me off, I was a little disappointed to find that the park was not yet open, but I was able to walk in and check out the caves. They weren't very apparent, on the surface, but they did open up, quickly. I was also disgusted to realize that I hadn't brought a flashlight, so I was navigating by 'Zippo' lighter. A great lighter, but not the tool of choice for cave exploration. Luckily, it was too early for the bats to have returned and the day was bright enough that I at least could track back to the surface by following the light. But; as a consequence, I didn't penetrate too far into the caves and didn't get to see the permanent ice.

After I surfaced, warmed up and ate some lunch, I started hitchhiking towards the Curve Lake (Mississauga Ojibway) First Nation.


I hitched partway and walked the last bit, into The Rez. The first place that I stopped at was the Whetung Gallery (link above). I was impressed with the wide variety of Native craftwork and fine arts from all over North America. I was especially impressed with some large, original Norval Morrisseau paintings hanging in there.

Although I was unaware of his deteriorating health, at the time (Parkinson's); there were clues in his paintings. Perhaps his ability to use and control a paintbrush had already been compromised; the colours were laid on in thick, bold layers with little or no blending. Indeed; much of the paint had been squeezed onto the canvas, straight from the tube, with some 'smooshing around'. The effect did not detract from the works. They were all the more powerful for their simplicity, and the paintings had a tactile quality that made me want to run my fingers over them and feel the paints' knobs, swirls and terraces.

TEXTURE, baby.


It was getting late. I asked a few people where I could set up my tent and someone suggested the park, by the lake, which was not being used much, that time of year. I started walking, following the easy directions I had been given. Along the way, I stopped at a store to get some water. I had neglected to bring something to put water in, so I asked the clerks if there was a bottle or something I could use. They produced an empty 1.75L plastic vodka bottle.{I didn't spend much time wondering why there was a large, empty vodka bottle in the store, then, so I won't waste any time speculating about it , now.}


It did the job and I walked the short distance to the park, quickly. Albeit with a large, conspicuous vodka bottle dangling from my hand.

There was no lid for the bottle, so it didn't go in the duffel.

I could imagine what it looked like: large, long-haired Indian in a tan trench coat, lugging a huge duffel bag and equally large, open bottle of vodka. Nobody seemed to notice, but there weren't many people around. The discomfort was a small price to pay, anyway, for dinner and breakfast cooking-water.


I found a place in the park, under some trees, and set up my tent, quickly. The sky was beginning to threaten, as I collected wood and made a small fire. I made tea and noodles for dinner and did some writing, before a light rain and darkness chased me into the tent. Because I had no lid for the water/vodka bottle, I left it by the tent door so that I wouldn't wake up in a 0.892L puddle in my sleeping bag. I could also reach out to grab a drink, if needed, in the middle of the night.

The rain remained light, while distant flashes lit the tent, and the soft thrum of thunder sung me to sleep.


I was awakened in the middle of the night.

At first, I thought it was the storm... but the sound was wrong. Whiny.

Motors?!

Several ATV's crested the big hill behind my tent and zoomed towards my camp.

It sounded like three or four machines. Probably the 'Trike' ATV's that were so Trikepopular with the youngsters before everyone realized they were deathtraps. {When was the last time you saw one?}

They circled my tent, once, revving their engines and shouting some unintelligible challenges, then took off down the park.


I certainly wasn't opposed to recreational violence, back then, but the thought of facing three or four ATV *ssh*les, in the middle of the night, on foreign Rez territory did not amuse me. At all.


I took the strongest, most baseball bat-like piece of firewood into my tent and tried to go back to sleep. Of course, it wasn't long before the riders came back. They circled my tent a couple times, revving and whooping while I put some pants on and prepared to face them.

One rider suddenly roared up to my door, then sped off, spraying my tent with grass and dirt. When I came out of the tent, all of the riders were tearing off over the hill, that they had first come from, shouting and revving.
Then they were gone.


I was so pissed off, scared and revved-up, myself, that I was practically vibrating. I began stomping around the tent to see how close they'd been to snapping my guy lines. Then I noticed it... or, rather, the lack of it.

My 1.75L plastic vodka bottle, containing (approximately) 0.892L of water... was gone.


I had myself one great old laugh, then. I swear, it was one of the best laughs I ever had.

In my mind, I saw it all: The stoic retrievers of the vodka would go to their rallying point to celebrate their ingenuity and bravery (maybe the closest party-house, or some fire-pit in the woods). The honcho of the group would pause dramatically, before throwing his head back and downing a huge shot of...

h2o .

I imagined a great swearing and gnashing of teeth ensuing; followed by the jeers and derision of his peers.

That made me feel much better. I went back to sleep.


Ten minutes later, two riders roared back to my camp and threw the bottle at my tent while making angry noises. They left straight away and I knew there would be no more trouble.



In the morning, I made tea and noodles for breakfast (yum), before packing up and heading down the road to find "The Teaching Rocks" (also known as the Peterborough Petroglyphs and Petroglyphs Provincial Park).

The petroglyph site wasn't that far off, but it took me a couple hours to hitch there. Once there, I was kinda hesitant to go in, because of the gate and fairly official looking closed signs discouraging entry. While I was making up my mind, a Native man in a pickup pulled over, got out and asked me what I was doing there. I explained my walkabout and desire to see the petroglyphs. He locked his door and offered to show me around. {There is a certain luck to be had, walking around in Indian Country. Remind me to tell you about the South Dakota sweatlodge, sometime.}

It is my loss, that I have forgotten this man's name and cannot find it in any of my journals from that time. He was quite generous with his time and had a good laugh when I told him about the previous night's adventure. I'll call him Joe.

Joe pointed out smaller, harder-to-find outcrops of weathered marble (also with some ancient carvings) that had been left out in the open and unprotected. He was of the opinion that this was how the authors of the carvings wished them to be; part of the earth, allowed to disappear in their time. It is a sentiment that I have heard echoed in the words of elders from all over Turtle Island, concerning: totem poles, cliff paintings, drums, pipes and bones. I think that the remains of ancestors should be allowed to rest in peace, myself. These other things will turn to dust, eventually; despite the best efforts of the curators.

As we approached the main site and the new building, Joe explained that the site was only open to the public at certain times and during part of the year, but the local traditionals were given access to use the site at any time they needed. I do not know if the situation is the same today, but it was a cool understanding. I hope that it's still in effect.


As we entered, Joe explained that the building was little more than a roof and walls, designed to circulate air to help stabilise the humidity inside.

The petroglyphs are amazing.

The panels were much bigger than I anticipated, and crowded. Many had been filled in with black sand or charcoal to highllight the figures.


[This website has some impressive diagrams of the petroglyphs, but I would take the astronomical interpretation with a grain of salt. There may be some cosmic representation on the panels, but it's hard to accept the star map idea, wholesale. I offer this link, only because of the detailed illustration of the carvings.
Update, March 24 - The Illustration on this website comes from the following source: Joan M. Vastokas and Romas K. Vastokas
Sacred Art of the Algonkians: A Study of the Peterborough Petroglyphs,
1973, Mansard Press]


I don't remember how long I was there. Not long, I'm sure; I wouldn't have wanted to impose on Joe's time for very long.

I left that place with a sense of awe that returns to me, clear and soothing, when I want it. I will have to go back there, sometime.


Joe gave me a lift to the main highway and I hitched a quick ride, back to the college.


Just the other day, my dad and I were going through boxes of old junk and I found a plastic margarine container, full of fossil shells and corals, from the banks of the Ottonabee River and I began to think about this posting.

:Eric



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Saturday, March 18, 2006

urban ink productions

urban ink productions


From the "About us" page:
"urban ink production society(urban ink productions) is a First Nations theatre company founded in 2001 by Marie Clements. The company creates, develops and produces aboriginal and multicultural works of theatre, writing and film, utilizing an approach which embraces and strives for the combination and integration of artistic disciplines, including different forms of theatre, story-telling, dance, music, video and multi-media. urban ink productions seeks to create new works which celebrate and bring together different cultural and artistic perspectives and inter-racial experiences.

The objectives of the company are:
#
to encourage and support the pursuit of artistic excellence in the development of new aboriginal and multicultural works.
#
to encourage and collaborate with emerging aboriginal and multicultural artists to develop work that speaks for cultural integrity and a form that is self-reliant in its vision.
#
to encourage and support collaboration between aboriginal and multicultural individuals, companies and organizations demonstrating these similar interests."



Current project is Copper Thunderbird "a two-act play on canvas, based on the life of Norval Morrisseau. Inside the power-lines in which Norval Morrisseau boldly defined were the colours he experienced between his Objibway cosmology, his life on the street, and his spiritual and philosophical transformations to become The Father of contemporary Native art and a Grand Shaman."


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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Bingorage "Art Giveaway" rattle.

My winners of the Second Bingorage Art Giveaway were drawn in November, 2005. It was at this time that my mother became ill and the prizes were put on the back-burner. Here is a pic series on the making of the Giveaway Rattle. I may add some beadwork to the rattle; if I do, there will be an update.

The materials used are deer rawhide (Presumably Whitetailed - deer), Whitetail deer antler, nylon thread, #10 glover's needle, sand to 'inflate' the rattle-head as it dries and glass beads for the rattle-noise.


Click pics for larger and more detailed photos.



Rawhide rattle - making



Rawhide rattle - making



Rawhide rattle - making



Rawhide rattle - making



Rawhide rattle - making



Rawhide rattle - making
When stititching is nearly complete -with a portion of the neck left unfinished, in order to attach it later- it is turned inside out, using a blunt and rounded stick/brush handle (to avoid ripping thread or distorting seams).



Rawhide rattle - making
A makeshift funnel of paper is used to fill the rattle-head with sifted sand. It is then 'tamped' with the handle of a large brush.



Rawhide rattle - making



Rawhide rattle - making
Before the rawhide could be stretched over the rattle handle, the antler had to be filed to a narrower size.




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Sunday, March 12, 2006

The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities

The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities


A great link collection/review of free utilities and tweaks for your computing and interwebbing pleasure. Need anti-spyware software? photo-editor? something to help search your desktop? a firewall? Find it here.


Cheers.

:Eric


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Saturday, March 11, 2006

The long-promised Studio Tour

Okay folks. Just remember that this is a private studio, and not a place where I meet with clients.


I love my clutter, but realise that other people may not. If you can't stand clutter
please skip this posting. we'll all feel better for it.


I start out by standing in the middle of my main studio space, taking a snap at the entryway and turning clockwise, taking pics. I posted a couple pics from the studio office/can. Incidentally; the blurry red banner at the top of the current blog template is from the bingorage home office.



Bingorage studio tour.



Bingorage studio tour.



Bingorage studio tour.



Bingorage studio tour.



Bingorage studio tour.



Bingorage studio tour.



Bingorage studio tour.



Bingorage studio tour.



Bingorage studio tour.



Bingorage studio tour.
The silver guy painted on the door is my knife-throwing practice target. Gotta keep sharp for when the 'murricans invade.



Bingorage studio tour.



Bingorage studio tour.



Bingorage studio tour.
Bright spring day in Fort Frances. Things are beginning to melt and look cheerful, although soggy and slushy.



Bingorage studio tour.
Oh, look; a broken fingernail lying on the ground outside a downtown bar. How cheerful (Upper left corner of this pic).



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Sunday, March 05, 2006

(Updated March 7) Recent changes to Miss Loontrout etcetera

warning label

Hey Bingoragers.

It's good to be back in the studio, again; slinging paint and smoking cigarettes inside, like a real human being. There's no more indoor smoking in Winnipeg and -shortly- there will be no indoor smoking in Ontario bars; supposed to go into effect this spring.

Yeah, yeah; I know it's bad for you and me, but there's nothing to focus your attention on a detail and make a perfect line change like a smoke.

Anyways, here's some new changes to the Miss loontrout... piece. Click pics for larger, detailed pics.




Miss Loontrout, etcetera.

Miss Loontrout, etcetera.




Miss Loontrout, etcetera.

Miss Loontrout, etcetera; most recent.




Miss Loontrout detail

Miss Loontrout detail.



Update, March7:

Miss Loontrout canvas and papier-mache.

Miss Loontrout original canvas and papier-mache.


Miss Loontrout- Original sketch

Miss Loontrout - Original sketch.


Miss Loontrout; early paint

Miss Loontrout; early paint.



Mister CrackPenguin recent pistol 1.

Mister CrackPenguin recent pistol 1.



Mister CrackPenguin recent pistol 2.

Mister CrackPenguin recent pistol 2.



Mister CrackPenguin recent pistol 3.

Mister CrackPenguin recent pistol 3.



Mister CrackPenguin recent pistol 4.

Mister CrackPenguin recent pistol 4.



Mister CrackPenguin recent pistol 5.

Mister CrackPenguin recent pistol 5.



PS: My mom collected alotta stuff: Here's a pic of an exquisite little beaded bag that she had squirreled away in her stuff. The beads are tiny, at least 13's. And it is heavy. The beads may actually be metal.



Beaded Bag

Beaded bag.



Update (March 7; My Photo-hoster uploader appears to be functioning, again):

Beaded Bag

Beaded bag; flipside (against lighter background).





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