Yes we’ve been quiet but the past few months – quiet but busy. We’ve had a baby girl and packed up to shift ourselves (again) from Australia back to the west coast of Ireland. Oh, and we’re releasing a new collection of work…
Crikey, it’s like this is becoming a habit – stoked! This Sunday from 10 ’till 3 I’ll have a stall setup at The Hive Market in Bellerive, Hobart.
Great fun popping up the Organic Devolution market stall for Bulk Mart 3 over the weekend in Hobart.
This Saturday from 1-7pm I’ll be throwing down some good things on a table at Bulk Mart 3 in Hobart city. It’s been a while since I’ve done markets and I miss it. Lots of colour and the wonderful wares of weird and wiley makers, good tunes and good story-talkin’ with all sorts of heads.
Thanks to Dylan Heyden from the Inertia for scooping Fionn’s new edit. Stoked to see surf matting blips on mainstream radars… great exposure for two legends – my custom surf mat maker, Matt Fedden.
The suggestion that surf mats were a “bi-product of the shortboard revolution” is a little left-field.
There’s little point hanging on when you’re going this fast.
Hibernia, 2015. Custom surf mat build (Mc-21) by Matt Fedden.
Well folks, it’s finally happened – the Organic Devolution Online Shop is now live! A hard graft over the past few months, hyper compressed in the last two weeks to get things revamped here in the OD blog and integrated with the new Shop. Huge thanks to my sibling web-guru, Heidipj, for her stellar work on getting it all together and giving this salty bearded doodler the motivation needed to finally getting this thing together.
What’s in store? Read More
Now only a week away Sligo Design Week (kudos to Denise Rushe, the darling from Starling, et al. for the hard yards put in behind it) has come to fruit with an exciting mix of exhibitions, talks, happenings and workshops. I was approached a little while back to see if I’d be keen to host a linocut printing workshop.
Was I keen? I was frothing!
I’m surprised I’ve neglected the blog for so long. The blog but also the site in general. To all those folks I’ve spoken to over the past two (crikey, and a half? Three?) months, enthusiastically directing them there to keep an eye on the new work that has been coming along, studio action… I offer some apologies and a brief round-up.
It seems almost overwhelming trying to get things organised for the next month. We’re relocating out west to Sligo for another year. There, bombshell (for some) dropped. The shift is happening next weekend – from rolling tarmac to rolling fields. A cottage out on the raggedy peninsula in north County Sligo where, from the backyard, the magnificence of Dartry mountains loom up in the east and to the west the wild Atlantic yawns away in it’s glorious topaz vastness.
Fair enough, I don’t know that much about surf mats. I’ve only been riding them since last September which is bugger-all really. After riding various stand-up boards (ones without paddles mind you) for a few decades this shift to riding mats almost exclusively has had me rattled.
I was most happy to acquiesce to her request. It sounded good, it made my insides thrum low. A five-hour haul down and across to that gnarled paw of Ireland’s southwest where the twisted, arthritic fingers of counties Cork and Kerry claw out from the coastline into the Atlantic… I put the fins in just in case.
“Seaweed you say? I’d love to help!”
This year the British Phycological Society’s 62nd Annual Meeting is being held where I spend my time when I’m not illustrating, the Ryan Institute at the National University of Ireland, Galway (Ireland). Me, well I’ll be getting three shades of nerdy with the best of them for the two and a half days of talks on ecology, applied phycology and harmful algal blooms. Oh… and the fight is on for front row seats to Dr. Chuck Amsler’s plenary lecture, “Chemical mediation of Antarctic macroalgal-herbivore interactions.”
I jumped at the opportunity to get something fresh and salty out that would advertise the event – hopefully something a little different from the clip-art and word-processor promotional stuff that comes out at the last-minute, usually accompanied by, “Ahh sure, it’s really not that important, just whip something up.”
The BPS committee had only a short timeframe in which a main promotional poster, and another directing the conference attendees around campus to the venue, was to be organised. They were delighted with what I turned out in the nick of time. Budget? Forget it – seaweed research is my delight and so was this opportunity.
Shore Shots Irish Surf Film Festival
The Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield, Dublin, Ireland
On the road to Dublin this weekend for the 2014 Shore Shots Irish Surf Film Festival. So much goodness to get in front of. For the short film competition, which should be breath-taking on the big-screen, I’ve thrown in a framed limited edition, lino-cut print for one of the winners. Given the heaving that the Atlantic coasts have had over the past year the footage captured and put together in these film will be epic.
Frothing to see the still frames from the eight hardy photogs in their exhibts too. Staring into these eerily still, silent fragments from amidst such maelstroms of chaos can be unsettling. My brain fizzes with the thought of the rider immortalised in the moment, the others out there watching the spectacle unfurl in front of them, the others whose innards liquefy as they watch the rider disappear out of view… but the folks behind the lens? I’m looking forward to catching up with all of these headers. McLeod has been getting some good traction this year. Talented and proper gentleman – stoked to have had a few sliders of my own snapped by him.
Pity the folks putting the fest together couldn’t afford the beans to get Wayne Lynch over to give Uncharted Waters his thumb. Nonetheless, this is one doco that I’d walk across the country to watch it huge. Unquestionably a pivotal figure in Australia’s surfing heritage. Properly plugged in, still is. Take a breath, watch the trailer and book yer tickets. Get a brief heads-up at EOS then go do some homework. A lot to absorb on different levels and help re-evaluate our contemporary connections to surfing and the marine environment.
See you amongst the heads.
It was my sister that affirmed my presence would be necessary at this year’s Offset conference, Dublin’s premiere annual creative event for print and design. Some insight she has. With the last year being wholly immersed in purely marine science focused conferences and workshops, this event has been a welcome salmon swung hard into the back of the head.
I’m home fidgety, most uncomfortable, my arse and back aches and I’m baffled as to what the hell I’ve been doing in the evenings and weekends that has kept me from pumping out contorted reimaginings of the weirdness that is my current full-time work as print-ready artwork…
Personally, the cage-rattling inspiration has flocculated from the likes of:
Some of the stand-outs for this head, for sure, but additionally the threads of many others up-front and about the venue have been big ticklers. Unnaturally so but most welcome. Perhaps foolishly a commitment has been made to take on a commission for the production three works for print to be served up with a month. The brief is to draw the work into play using a three spot colour restriction for the work, the challenge as a nod to the fabulous work from Nobrow Press; find their books in all their deliciously fresh flesh and smell them, stroke them.
The challenge is thrown down. I know where I have to go to pull it up from and it’s going to get muddy…
A working week like pulled taffy… focus and functionality progressively drawn out, twisted and distorted. The colours and shapes, though still there, now some filamentous vagueness. Only there at that Friday evening terminus can one attempt to gather the unspooled self and make a pile from which, possibilities for the following days can be considered. Outside the atmosphere is seething… the wind inciting unrest.
At this point, some of us smile knowingly at the simplicity of what would seem the most appropriate, even rational, response. Rebirth yourself into the weekend at full speed to meet a berzerking sea, itself thrashing with disconsolate fury into the faces of some sullen West-coast headlands.
The car’s thermometer bottomed out finally at -0.5 degrees. Amidst another squall, walloping gusts makes us shudder sideways again over the median strip. No need to start so early but there’s little solace; the dour weather has brooded the gloom of the past dark hours onward into the mid-morning. On first inspection, the tide seems to be shirking its responsibilities and the swell plays coy, reclusive ’till tickled deep down where it wants before stirring.
But eventually it comes and we disrobe.
Despite the low-digit degrees making the sleety rain prick like pins, the appropriate accoutrements are wrestled on with fetishistic zeal of the masochist. The wind whips savagely at our boards, shrieking its threats to tear them from our clawed fingers and obliterate them down the long boulder-strewn point. Falling finally, bodily exhausted into the sea, the foam presses hard at the chest and the ordeal of paddling out into the gale begins for the first of many, many repetitions.
Sixty-something kilometer-an-hour, and then some, winds lift sheets of foam spray on any shift of chop foolish enough to rear too tall from the sea’s surface. Another squall shrieks in and with it, bitter beads of hail blast at the only skin exposed – full facial dermal abrasion. Little respite is possible for without the incessant stroking back into the wraith-like lee of the headland, one would be lost out into the bay and beyond.
And yet we were the wealthiest creatures alive for our wages were paid in diamonds…
The wind drops and there may be just enough, from the right direction, at the right tide for… going hunting. Choosing to pass on the en-mass patronage of those days of thunder in favour of a search for silence and small sliders. The incredible diversity of the coastline out here is highly conducive to such pursuits.
While Herculean monsters heave-ho on the outer banks, the deep pulses probe further in vibrating headlands as they swing inward, bending and distorting as they shuck out scything embayments, warping about a myriad of little islets before laughing out loud over bewildered bombies and quiet sand or pebbled strands of the inner reaches whose experience is oft limited to burbling tidal chuckles or wind-blown sniggers.
A single fin and that way-back swing that only a big log provides is the only sensible way to slide these things. Strange occasions are these to find waves pushing in this deep but here is true solace. With a tiny window for opportunism, the search is frantic and furtive but it’s hard to appear discreet tipping along with racks stacked with nine-plus planks and foreign car reg.
We’re scrambling about the tatty roads out there ‘somewhere’ (I’m often lost and gleeful of it) with, at best, scraps of doodles on maps for guidance but mostly tickling hunches. The car swerves again back onto the pot-holed and frosty black top after drifting from the distractions of the wildly gesticulating passenger to yet another spurt of foam from behind a crumbling stone wall or salt-buckled hedge of blackberry and furze.
Sure it cold, sure we drove two hours and more to get there and then some and sure it’s dark soon after 4pm. It sure was empty though and You can be sure I’m heading for the boonies again just as soon as I get the chance.
“Annual leave doesn’t roll-over so you’d better take it.”
Yes boss. This the inevitable mid-winter gluttony – get what you can, when you can. Fun size with a good period and no wind. Leave at dark and get back at dark. Now, at this stage of the evening I’m in bits; involuntarily twitching from the bends and buckles composited after several hours of attrition in the Atlantic.
One lone ranger had this to themselves. Waist-high and ruler-edged the whole way through; 100m? So much serenity…
Shallow, square and empty. Despite this however, 15 or so others were happy enough to hustle and thrash about for shifty peaks only 50-or-so metres away without giving it a sideways glance.
The inevitable. Any suggestions as to the nearest rhinoplasty specialist on the West coast?
The choicest of chunks saved for last. Sums up the above really. Visions of the molars on this beast will devour me in my nightmares for weeks to come. I am always more than happy to volunteer my meat whenever it awakes hungry and disgruntled.
Working full-time has brought odd changes in lifestyle. Endless hours seep away as eyeballs turn to jelly and adhere to microscope eyepieces searching for specific shapes on the tips of hairs sprouting from the eyebrows of tiny worms; passing time in transit trying to force down the food-like substances sold at exorbitant prices whilst en-route to week-long conferences or workshops in weird and wonderful locations. Weekends are now approached like annual holidays – most of them ‘the best xmas ever’.
One of the joys of my life is the little car. Pack it well and hit the roads in darkness. It’s not thirsty and loves the miles.
It has never said a word about sitting on headlands, at the ends of mucky farmer’s tracks or in sea-side car-parks in frigid temperatures getting blasted by salt spray.
It is the benign, smiling Yoda of surf exploration, “heavy you are not, shoulder your burden I will.” The West coast is full of treasures.