Very Curious Artform – Strandbeest

Whilst being sick, I came across this very peculiar video:

The creations look eerily organic and uncanny alive and I have found the creators site very interesting, or,  as Caine would name it “a time sink”. It is a fascinating blend of art and engineering. I think that in a virtual PC simulation it could be combined with real evolutionary algorithms these beasts could really “evolve” into even more bizzare shapes.

It also reminded me of Caine, I think she would love it.

A tiny Snail

Avalus has a new project on the go and he’s sharing with us.

I am putting together a new aquarium (I love caring for/looking at fish*) and while it develops, it is habitat to a whole load of daphnia and a few small ramshorn snails (German: Posthornschnecke, lit. postal horn snail with ‘horn’ as in fanfare, the musical instrument) to monitor water conditions.

I used this to experiment with photographing small things with my phone via a cheap plastic jewelers magnifying glass. Opportunity arose, when this small snail went by the front pane.

(*and plants and snails and shrimps and algae** …)

(** This year I’ll find you, Volvox!)

The unsuspecting snail in question, minding/eating bacterial mats. The snails shell is about 8 mm in diameter. ©Avalus, all rights reserved

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Still Life?

Or, how to bring classic paintings to life. Or to stillness. Or something. Anyway, for a bit of fun:

It all started in 2006, when the Malatheatre company’s founder Ludovica Rambelli — passed away in April 2017 — gave a lecture at the University of Naples, on Caravaggio’s way of working. That’s when Ludovica realised that the best way to explain it was through a theatrical performance. “He used actors to build the scenes he painted, in fact we did not reproduce his work, but recreated what happened in his studio,” said current company director, Dora De Maio, referring to what for a few years has become a real play entitled La conversione di un cavallo. 23 Tableaux Vivants dalle opere di Caravaggio, or simply, Tableaux Vivants.

Inspired, among others, by Pier Paolo Pasolini’s short film La Ricotta, the intention of this show is to achieve “a great visual impact” with a minimalist scenography, baroque melodies — by composers such as Mozart, Bach and Vivaldi — and a focus located on one side, which emulates the suggestive light effect of the Italian master’s paintings.

Watch them at work here, too:

I think it would be fun to try at home (or with a dedicated group of amateurs), but I also think it would be incredibly difficult to pull off their wonderful level of ‘casual movements of (un)dress PERFECT POSE’. Excellent co-ordination and execution. And such perfect expressions.

Now, nobody beats the original, but k.d. lang does a pretty fine job, if you ask me.

Another must-listen version.

I got Mail: Treasures from Across the Sea

Dear voyager sent me a parcel full of wonders and I’m going to share at least the images with you.

various goodies

All the wonderful things in one place, except for the lavender, which was stolen ba my kid.


First of all, chocolate. I’m only going to eat this once my cold has gone completely.


Unicorn magnets. If the kids behave I will share. I’ll probably put some into their advent calendar.


Postcards and a roadmap from voyager’s summer residence. Now I can check where Jack walked.


A bone disk, I think. It says “fill me with resin and make me a pendant.” I think I need to work on an idea here.

beach findings

Sea urchins, snails and a sanddollar. How did voyager know I was working on an underwater landscape?


The wildlife guide is full of leaves from Jack’s walks. I have a pretty good idea as to what to do with them, but I won’t say anything yet. As I expected, #1 was very interested in the wildlife guide as such…

Seaglass and seashell fossils(?) I have an idea here, too…

Not pictured: a little matrioshka keyring that went directly to my keys…

Thanks you so much, voyager. Receiving your lovely gift was better than Christmas.

Some Really Fun Guys

Last weekend (or was it two weekends ago already?) the family and I had the opportunity to catch one of the last shining golden days of autumn, and we went out to the local nature reserve / park / artificial lake / walking trail. Thingy. It was well worth the effort, and along the way, I saw many fun guys having a great time in the damp moss beneath the pines. First, let me set the mood:

Gold everywhere.
©rq, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

And then the party started…

This fun guy was having fuzzy feelings all over.
©rq, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This fun guy was just trying to blend in.
©rq, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This fun guy was lolling about in the needles.
©rq, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This fun guy was taking a break.
©rq, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This fun guy was moving up the social ladder.
©rq, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This fun guy was kind of alien, and I’m pretty sure – no fun guy at all!
©rq, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

And a final lot of fun guys:

The Sun Rode Into the Sky

Saule Brauca Debesīs (see title for translation) is a neat little Latvian animation film coming out soon (November 15). It’s part of the ‘100 Films for 100 Years’ cycle going on this year, what with the centenary and all. I think it quite lovelily demonstrates the oddity that is Latvian animation and art – it’s got its own style that is distinctively, traditionally Latvian, and the story is taken from folklore: folk songs and folk story motifs are a heavy influence. I think it’s adorable. Here’s the trailer:

I don’t think you need too much of the language to get an idea of the plot.

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Yes, I’ve been having fun

This resin stuff is great for messing around. What follows are a few things that went well, some that didn’t go that wll and some that are still work in progress.

First of all, the globes


Resin globes

©Giliell, all rights reserved

On the left you have a light globe with a small string of embedded fairy lights. Although the blue resin all rose to the top, I quite like it. This one’s so big that it released a lot of heat while curing. On the right there is the next attempt at a snowglobe. I like the results a lot. Glueing the ornaments to the wood and then inserting them was a good idea. I still hate the moulds. They are way too thin and easily separate. More on that later.

That was the rest of the resin Marcus sent, btw.

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It’s Still Beautiful

Remember this?

It is now about four weeks later, and five shades darker:

I’ll take another photo in another couple of weeks, same time, same place.
©rq, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Also I have a small confession to make: since I received my Acceptance Ring from Lofty via Caine, I haven’t removed it for any significant amount of time. Lately, though, it was getting loose on my thumb, to the point where it would slip off (into my purse, a pocket, the floor of the car), but I have always been able to find it again. Soon after taking this photo, however, it slipped from my thumb and fell onto the tracks. I can see it, every time I wait for the train, and I’m trying to get up the guts to retrieve it (believe me, train traffic is not nearly so busy for this to be a truly life-endangering activity) – my thumb feels naked, and I’ve lost a fidget toy.

On the other hand, there’s a strange appeal to knowing the ring is just down there, a little piece of the world of Affinity, a little part of my everyday morning. So I think that, eventually, I will go after it – when the evenings get dark enough for people not to see me rooting around underneath the platform. In the meantime, a small gift from friends has melded with something larger.

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This Is Just to Say…


First of all, I am honoured to become a co-author together with voyager, Giliell and Charly, and most especially honoured to be doing it from this platform, Affinity. I know Caine asked me a couple of times to join the team and I dithered, and I am sad that I didn’t take the opportunity then. In any case, I hope to continue a fine tradition of diversity and random interesting stuff.

Most of you are familiar with my comments and probably have some idea of where I’m coming from, but just to recap: I am an ex-patriated Canadian re-patriated to Latvia (long story which will come out in bits and pieces), I work in the forensics field (nothing particularly gross), I have three kids, two cats, one dog and a husband, and all the assorted issues that come with co-ordinating life with several people. I am a martial arts practitioner – which sounds fancy until I tell you that I’ve only been doing tae kwon do for a year and a half or so, and also an amateur musician (classically trained in piano and violin, but a returning chorister as well). Most of these things, in some combination or another, will be my chosen topics. I hope to focus on the culture that I know (so expect a lot of Latvian music and arts), music (suggestions welcome) and, if I feel brave enough, bad poetry.

I’m glad to be here, and as much as I miss Caine and her distinctive voice, I’m happy we’re all here to carry on, because what else is there?

So, to start things off on a suitably impressive note, here’s a shortened video of a grand event that occurs once every five years – the final concert of the Latvian Song and Dance Festival, specifically the folk dancing concert. In July 2018, more than 18 000 (not a typo, so about 1% of the Latvian population) got together and performed in the soccer arena, making shapes and dancing their hearts out. If anyone wants to watch the extended version, I’m sure you can find a link, but the camera work was atrocious – the whole point is to view things from above. Seeing it in under a minute – wonderful. Here’s the high note to kick things off: