Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Beachcombing

Beachcombing is a combination of the word ‘beach’, from the Proto-Germanic word ‘bakiz’ meaning ‘loose pebbles of the seashore’, and ‘comb’, from the Old English word ‘cemban’ meaning ‘examine closely’. In English, the combined word beachcombing first appeared around 1840.

Beachcombing is simply the art of hunting the coastline for things of value, interest or usefulness.

Though you can beachcomb any time of year the autumn is particularly good - as the beaches are a little quieter, while the stormier weather out in the ocean will mean a few more treasures will wash up.

Here are ten things to look out for when combing the seashore.


1.       Shells

         When you return from your trip, check the internet to identify what your shell is.

2. String and rope

·         String, rope, discarded pieces of fishing net can be used for recycled crafts.

 

3.       Fossils

·         These are the remains of tiny animals that lived in the sea from 470 million years ago, found in among the pebbles.


4.       Seaweed

·         Seaweed might look a bit slimy and smell a bit but its often home to an abundance of wildlife. See how many colours you can find - red, brown and green are the most common.

5. Heart-shaped stones

·         Smoothed by the sea, heart-shaped stones are a beautiful creation of nature and a lovely way to bring a memory of your day at the beach into your home.

6. Driftwood

·         Driftwood can be dried out to use for craft or use in your garden. The best times to look are after high tide or a large storm.

7. Sea glass

·         Sea glass is formed when man made glass items such as broken bottles are smoothed and frosted by the waves over around 20-30 years leaving them beautifully finished.

8. Sea creatures

·         Often home to crabs and small fish, rock pools are a great place to start when looking for sea creatures.

·         Look out for cuttlefish which are loved by pigeons, magpies and crows if placed in your garden and look out for shark egg cases, often known as mermaid’s purses

9. A message in a bottle

·         Did you know a message in a bottle has been reported to have been found 10,000 miles away from where it started? Keep your eye out for messages from strangers or send your own.

10. Stones

·         There are many beautiful stones on the beach.

·         Stones with holes have always been considered lucky and there are various stories about them – in some areas they are called fairy stones as if you look through the hole towards the end of your garden at dusk you will see the fairies dancing and going about their fairy business.

·         They make great wind chimes strung up in the trees in the garden.

Beachcombing is most effective just as the tide is going out. As the waters move back, a whole host of new treasures are left behind.

Our beaches and rock pools are home to a variety of interesting wildlife, so be careful not to disturb or remove any living creatures. Remember that if you turn a rock over, put it back - it’s part of an ecosystem. Rocks protect creatures from predators but also from the sun.

Only take home open shells where you can see from the outside that someone’s not at home and be sensible about the finds you keep.

Make sure you take a hat and sun cream to protect you on sunny days, along with plenty of water.

Make sure you know the tides and take a watch so you’re not forced into a hasty retreat

Sadly, the beach isn’t always clean - so watch out for obviously dangerous items - fish hooks and metal in particular. If you’re planning on exploring rocks, always err on the side of caution. Be adventurous - but take care!

Use your inspiration to write a poem. Click here to view the guide showing you How to Write a Tanka Poem.

Click here to go to the MoonInk Tanka Poetry Anthology to see the brilliant submissions we have received.


Visit us at www.moonink.co.uk to sign up for the free Poem of the Month and follow us on social media for more poems.  

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Monday, 10 August 2020

Mexican Muralism

At the end of the Mexican Revolution the government commissioned artists to create art that would educate Mexicans, who could not read, about their history. 

The muralists developed an iconography featuring atypical, non-European heroes from the nation’s illustrious past, present, and future and epic murals were created on the walls of highly visible, public buildings using techniques like fresco, encaustic, mosaic, and sculpture-painting.

Although the mural movement stretched all the way through the 1970s, the Mexican muralists produced the most significant paintings in the years between the 1920s and the 1950s. 

Undisputed by the state, it was public and free and it was made accessible to the people and not just a few wealthy collectors. These large-scale paintings graced the walls of centuries-old colonial buildings, prestigious schools and national offices, as they depicted indigenous Mexican culture, the fighting and the outcome of the Revolution.

The muralists were completely free in their choice of topic and technique, as they all believed art is the highest form of human expression, and because their murals carried a political message, Mexican muralism became a form of social realism at its finest.

After the Mexican Revolution, the country saw the creation of a new party and the land was finally in the hands of its own workers. Mexican muralism became a vital part of the country’s new industrialist identity with the full support of those in charge of it. 

This movement proved that art could be a valid communication tool outside the confines of the gallery and museum.

The artists portrayed the Aztec warriors battling the Spanish in their fight for independence, humble peasants fighting in the Revolution, and the common laborers of Mexico City. They worked in the country’s urban areas and were prominent political activists overall, dedicated to creating a modern Mexico. Their communist backgrounds and the respect for Marxism and class struggle were often visible in their murals, although always subtly and never quite radically.

Although the early Mexican murals were inclined toward the favouring of Socialism - as did its most important artists including Diego Rivera - they would evolve over time to also favourably portray the industrial revolution, the progress of technology, and capitalism and today the mural's role as a key gauge of current events cannot be denied.

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Wednesday, 3 June 2020

WRITE where we are NOW


Carol Ann Duffy and the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University have brought together poets to write poems about the pandemic or about the personal situation they find themselves in right now.

The poems are presented in date order and each includes a note about where it was written. The WRITE where we are NOW website will be updated frequently throughout the pandemic with new contributions.

Readers are welcome and encouraged to share any of the poems, or their own creative responses, using #WWWAN or tagging @McrWritingSchl on social media.

Carol Ann Duffy , the former poet laureate hopes the project called ‘Write Where We Are Now’, “will provide an opportunity for reflection and inspiration in these challenging times, as well as creating a living record of what is happening as seen through our poets’ eyes and ears, in their gardens or garrets”.
I hope that these poems will provide an opportunity for reflection and inspiration in these challenging times, as well as creating a living record of what is happening as seen through our poets’ eyes and ears.

'We need the voice of poetry in times of change and world-grief. A poem only seeks to add to the world and now seems the time to give.'

Each work reflects on the writer’s own personal experiences of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak from all over the world, supporting readers in reflecting on and articulating their own feelings through the power of poetry. The poems are available to read and share on the WRITE where we are NOW website.

Hands, Carol’s own poem, reflects on how every Thursday, “we clap at the darkness”, and on how she can see the hands of her absent daughter “when I put my head in my own”.

Duffy is spearheading the project with the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University.

“We need the voice of poetry in times of change and world-grief. A poem only seeks to add to the world and now seems the time to give,” said Duffy, who is creative director of the writing school.

Professor Malcolm Press, Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “I am delighted to support this inspiring initiative by Carol Ann Duffy, one of the world’s greatest and most admired poets.

WRITE where we are NOW brings together some of the most creative minds of our generation in a growing online anthology of poetry that reflects our journey through these challenging and troubling times. I am sure that these outstanding poems will voice the sentiments and feelings that many of us around the world will share. At the same time, I am confident that these innovative and imaginative works will inspire creativity and hope.”

Hands by Carol Ann Duffy:

We clap at the darkness.
I hearken for the sound
of my daughter’s small hands,
but she is miles away...
though I can see her hands
when I put my head in my own.

Andrew McMillan, winner of the 2015 Guardian First Book Award and inaugural 2019 Polari Prize, who is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, has contributed.

Garden by Andrew McMillan:

in the beginning
the dead   like the first flowers
for Adam   were few

enough to name them
but soon   they grew too many
the vast fields of them

WRITE where we are NOW brings together some of the most creative minds of our generation in a growing online anthology of poetry that reflects our journey through these challenging and troubling times.

MoonInk are creating their own Tanka Poetry Anthology 2020

Click here to learn how to write a Tanka poem and submit your work for publication in the online Anthology. Send your entries to submissions@moonink.co.uk

Visit us a 
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Thursday, 7 May 2020

Art Abandonment


There is a movement of people across the world creating art and placing it for strangers to find. 

The Art Abandonment Group can be found on social media and you can scroll through the pieces of art that people had lovingly created to pass on to strangers.

The artist makes a decision to leave one an artwork in a public place, for someone to find and keep or pass it on.

The group was founded by artist Michael deMeng, artist and owner of Michael deMeng Art.  He says the inspiration for the group came from a sketch on a napkin. He decided to leave it on the table for the next person to find wondering what would become of the artwork. Would it be liked? Would it be thrown away?

The response to the posting of his first abandonment was so popular that they started the Facebook group to inspire others. Within a week there were more than 800 members and today they have nearly 30,000 members worldwide.

Traditional pieces of art like painting and drawings are made and left outside, but members also abandon jewellery, pottery, garden and home d├ęcor, books and zines, and even rocks! Whole families are getting involved and people are abandoning their art in shops, on the beach, in parks and anywhere there might be a flow of pedestrian traffic.

Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sad and tragic news of the world, visit the Art Abandonment Facebook page and if you want to join in, you’ll find all the details there as well.

This is a clever way to make people think about art and anyone from adult to child can participate while the pieces vary in theme and size.

Here at MoonInk it is our mission to take the poetry out of the page and into the world and we have started a project where we are writing Tanka and Haiku poems onto stone. We are leaving them on the seafront and in town for people to read and take home if they like a particular poem.

Visit us a www.moonink.co.uk for more information, sign up for the free Poem of the Month and follow us on social media for more poems.  


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Monday, 6 April 2020

What is Mail Art?


Mail art began in the 1960s when artists sent postcards inscribed with poems or drawings through the post rather than exhibiting or selling them through conventional commercial channels.

Media commonly used in mail art include postcards, paper, a collage of found or recycled images and objects, rubber stamps, and paint, but can also include music, sound art, poetry, or anything that can be put in an envelope and sent via post. Mail art is considered art once it has been sent.

Mail artists appreciate interconnection with other artists and rely on their network as the primary way of sharing their work, rather than being dependent on securing exhibition space.

Radical Pop and conceptual artist Ray Johnson kicked things off. He began to ship packages from his home in New York including collages, drawings, annotated newspaper clippings, as well as found images and objects from snake skins to plastic forks. These were sent to art-world celebrities, friends, and strangers alike.

Artists have continued to keep pace with evolving communication technologies, even as snail mail has been replaced by swifter electronic messaging. Mail art these days tends to be a hybrid of the analog and the digital.

When Frank Warren launched Post Secret in 2005, it became an almost immediate sensation. Part crowd-sourcing phenomenon, part psychological experiment, the website encouraged visitors to write or illustrate their secrets on a postcard, then send them to a single address. Today, Warren publishes 10 anonymous secrets to the blog each week, still attracting confessions from every corner of the globe.

Similarly, art galleries and exhibition spaces have also used a blend of old-fashioned mail and social media to grow their networks and bring creatives together.

See below for some examples of Mail Art received by Lee Jackson who posts little books of Tanka poems to his network. If you would like to be included in the mailing list send your postal address to Lee at info@moonink.co.uk

Please contact MoonInk at info@moonink.co.uk if you have any questions.

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Tuesday, 3 March 2020

What are Haiga?


Haiga is a traditional Japanese form of poetry and art which unites a poem with a brush and ink Sumi painting although the evolution of Haiga has grown to include digital images.

The poems used in Haiga include Haiku, Senryu and Tanka. 
  •     Haiku is a form of poetry that focuses on a brief moment in time, and a sense of sudden illumination or enlightenment
  •      Senryu is usually written in the present tense and references some aspect of human nature or emotions
  •       Tanka poems are written about nature, seasons, love, sadness and other strong emotions
Susumi Takiguchi, founder of the World Haiku Club, tells us that simplicity and irony are typical traits of the traditional Haiga. He writes, "Haiga is unromantic, down to earth, unpretentious and humorous, dealing with unremarkable, day-to-day subjects and objects." "Hai" means comic and "Ga" means painting.

While the haiku and the painting in a Haiga share the same space, they are meant to complement one another.

The third element of Haiga is the calligraphy which determines the look of the poem on the page and communicates its essence.

Haiga was traditionally produced in a variety of formats, including hanging scrolls, hand scrolls, folding screens, and fans. Today it is produced on handmade paper and modern Haiga allows the use of photography, as well as digital images.

Stylistically, Haiga vary widely based on the preferences and training of the individual painter. Some were reproduced as woodblock prints. The subjects painted likewise vary widely, but are generally elements mentioned in the calligraphy, or poetic images which add meaning or depth to that expressed by the poem.

The moon is a common subject in these poems and paintings while other subjects, ranging from depictions of Mount Fuji to rooftops, are frequently represented with a minimum of brushstrokes, thus evoking elegance and beauty in simplicity.


See below for some MoonInk Haiga and visit www.moonink.co.uk to see some more examples of Western Tanka poetry, the 5 line version of a Haiku. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the free Poem of the Month.

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Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Jack Kerouac - Master of Haiku


Did you know that Jack Kerouac, the American author and poet was a master of Haiku, the Japanese short form poem and was highly influential in popularising Haiku in America and the West?

Jack Kerouac is best known as one of the Beat Poets of the 50’s and most people tend to think of him as the author of ''On the Road”.

Kerouac was a drifter who along with his friends Allan Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Neal Cassady and others, founded the Beat literary movement, a group of writers and artists who burst on the American scene in San Francisco in 1955.

They were rebels who rejected the materialism of the post-World War II era in the West, and favoured dropping out of society to experience authentic life through road trips, jazz clubs and altered consciousness.

Kerouac discovered Haiku when he began studying Buddhism and he reformed the way that Haiku was thought about. He rejected the strict, traditional 17 syllable Japanese form, but kept the three short line form. He liked the idea that something so short could say so much.

"I propose that the 'Western Haiku' simply say a lot in three short lines in any Western language. Above all, a Haiku must be very simple and free of all poetic trickery and make a little picture . . ."

It was his opinion that a Western Haiku need not concern itself with the seventeen syllables since Western languages cannot adapt themselves to the fluid syllabic Japanese.

In 1956, he spent sixty-three days on Desolation Peak, meditating, reading, and thinking about Buddhism. In his collected Haiku, 72 were found from that experience.

Here are some examples of Kerouac’s work:

Crossing the football field,
coming home from work
The lonely businessman

In my medicine cabinet
the winter fly
Has died of old age

Wash hung out
by moonlight
Friday night in May

Empty baseball field
A robin,
Hops along the bench

Visit www.moonink.co.uk to see some examples of Western Tanka poetry, the 5 line version of a Haiku. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the free Poem of the Month.

Please contact MoonInk on info@moonink.co.uk if you have any questions.

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