the second wave of the Covid-19 virus is happening here in Australia, masks are now mandatory in Melbourne so we needed to make some as the paper surgical masks we bought back in March have been ok but I thought I would try a simple pattern
hand stitched from two 15 year old singlets that had seen better days
the black reverse of the musical note mask is cut from an offcut from an Old Man Crow t-shirt
edge detail of two different ways to bind the edge
who is that masked man?
Old Man Crow in his ever mending jacket
I won’t tell you how many days these two simple masks took to make but they were a good distraction in this sad week for our good friend Julie who is ready to leave this mortal coil“May the long time sun shine upon you,
All love surround you,
And the pure light within you
Guide you all the way on.”

Incredible String Band from a long time ago

the bush is recovering after the devastating fires last summer
Banksia serrata needs fire for the seed to germinate
the new growth is promising
but there is still a long way to go
Cathy got this photo of me taking a photo on the Fortress Ridge track
the clouds were making it a tricky day for catching the light!

a walk in the park

Posted: July 15, 2020 by Mo Crow in It's Crow Time
Tags: ,

on Monday we went for a walk in Sydney Park to the wetlands
the cygnets are nearly grown up
their parents have moved to the next pond and are building a new nest
a friendly Willie Wagtail
photos courtesy of MTC
that same Willie Wagtail showing off his fabulous white eyebrow
photo courtesy of Old Man Crow

Cosmic Seedling Mo 20
graphite, watercolour and ink
H 29.7cm x W 21.2cm
it’s finished for now, in 2 hours I am going to have cataract surgery on my left eye
it will be interesting to see how the colours look with renovated vision
the right eye will be done in a few months
seems appropriate that my name came up on the public wait list for surgery in this year of 2020 vision
and to put this in perspective Tim Minchin wrote this song

Cosmic Seedling Mo 20
graphite and watercolour
Cosmic Seedling Mo 20
graphite drawing inverted
Cosmic Seedling Mo 20
I like this version best, they all print out fine will post the printouts off to my friend Pete tomorrow for his book and see what he thinks!
PS it needs ink…
looking and seeing where the edges need to be brought forward & pushed back
this will work!

yesterday we went for a drive out to the edge of the city to Purple Noon Gallery at Freemans Reach
to see Irene & Ellen’s beautiful and inspiring exhibition
you can see more details in situ over on instagram
with a special thank you to Irene for driving down to meet us
& to Robyn for making such a beautiful gallery space!

working on this illustration for my friend & plant guru extraordinaire Peter Webb‘s forthcoming book
“How plants are Born; a story about relationships”
levels adjusted to sharpen the detail
thinking of adding some ink to emphasize the edges
and perhaps a bit of hand colouring next but it may well be best just left as is…
thank goodness for scanners!

Zhao Zhao Constellations 2017
300 x 980 cm
300 x 140 cm x 7 panels
silk, embroidery
“Having seen images of bullet holes after the June 1989 events, Zhao Zhao purchased a gun – illegal in China – and fired it into sheets of glass. Mesmerized by the beauty of the patterns, he began to paint them. Later in collaboration with his mother, Zhao made these works in the form of silk embroideries. From afar, Constellations can convince the viewers that what they see is splintered shards of glass. The puncture holes recall a moment of impact and destruction, but as radiating lines are laboriously transformed by silken threads, we are reminded that moments of rapid violence have effects that extend far beyond the core.”
detail of the embroidered silk
such powerful work
Liang Shaoji
Heavy Clouds 2014
silk, cocoons, wood
Liang Shaoji works with silkworms or, more specifically their lifecycle. By manipulating sound, light and temperature, he is able to alter the paths by which they spin, producing mysterious forms bound in silken filaments. To create the Heavy Clouds series, Liang used 20,000 silkworms to veil ancient pieces of wood from the Tang Dynasty, themselves engraved with the marks of time and history. The fine, white gauze becomes shroud-like: protecting, healing, mourning a ravaged environment.
Liang’s works accomplish two feats: ‘making wood appear as light as a cloud and a cloud appear as heavy as wood’.”
here’s the link to see more of this brilliant & confronting exhibition at the White Rabbit Gallery

the Nirin Sydney Biennale at Cockatoo Island has reopened this week!
Ibrahim Mahama’s fabulous transformation of the Turbine Room with his No friend but the mountains 2012-20
the scale of this work is astounding, that’s Old Man Crow halfway down the hall
our friend Cathy taking a video
every bag is stitched into the whole like a giant patchwork
woven into place
holding memory
these bags looked like they were encrusted with sea shells
detail not sure if they are shells or metal tags
Latai Taumoepeau The Last Resort 2020
“Surrounded by a wall of sacks filled with empty glass bottles. They are stitching up the sea. Wearing brick sandals on their feet and armed with an ‘ike (Tongan mallet) exclusively used to beat mulberry bark into large ceremonial cloth called ngatu or tapa. They smash and crush the glass into the present future. Empty torn sacks adorn their necks as a lei or sisi, usually a garland of fresh tropical flowers and leaves worn as a body adornment in formal Pacific Island presentations, also used to welcome guests and keep their necks cool. They are stitching up sea at/as the last resort.”
the sound of breaking glass
Manuel Ocampo
“The paintings of Manuel Ocampo are not stories, nor do the webs of images and symbols that he weaves together point to a specific thing. Rather, the meaning implied by the signs and visual vocabularies employed by the artist is accumulative, presented to audiences in a way that remains deliberately opaque. The artist says this method of presentation is emblematic of the way he works, from a position of uncertainty that ensures his paintings remain open to a spectrum of interpretations. Within this, Ocampo and his work are able to retain a degree of autonomy, away from any pre-conceived assumptions and desires of those who look at his work within arenas of contemporary art.”
Here’s links to lots more photos & videos on
Nirin Sydney Biennale website


dreaming of Blue Tibetan Poppies

Posted: June 17, 2020 by Mo Crow in It's Crow Time
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My friend Pete Webb plant guru extraordinaire sent this magical photo and wrote these poetic words feeding my dream of growing the beautiful but notoriously temperamental Blue Tibetan Poppies when we move to the Blue Mountains…
Meconopsis I saw in the mountains of Tibet. I asked the spirits to lead me to them in my walks in the mountains and they are not a deception and all of the enchantment you may already feel in your body. Each one a little different from the other. The same blue, yet having said that, you as an artist know that blue is never the same; some always escapes to the sky.
In Tibet it is so incredible as there are basically no trees and you feel the sky touch the earth. Where Meconopsis grow, at least the last ones I saw, you/we are actually sandwiched between sky and earth as there is less oxygen and you have to go slow or spin out with a terrible thumping headache.
But yes, find a happy lineage to get seed from and put the seed in the refrigerator. Tell them some cold weather stories when you sow them and then sneak out to see them when they are in flower. They are fugitives like blue.
Thanks for being you
Love Pete
PS. The first one I saw; the last ones I can’t find the photos at the moment but I will. Just to wet your whistle. They are more robust at times. Here with some Artemisias and a Larkspur”