Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Strange Costumes: Still Pink?

This is not how I wanted this page to look. I envisioned it in black and white, with one larger bird in solid black that partially covers the text. But the problem I’m having when I write my own text for the background is that every word becomes too precious to me. I don’t want to cover any of them up. I have a couple ideas to work around that problem, but for now, I think I’ll leave it like this and try writing chapter 2.

In case you’re wondering, those are pink flamingos. I have a thing for them right now. Nicole thinks the next chapter should have yellow canaries. We will see.


January 19, 2009 - Posted by | Art, books, Cafe L'Arte, Cafe Literati, drawing, illustrations, Shelley's Altered Book, Shelley's Creations, writing | , ,


  1. This is lookin good, Shelley.
    Whenever I think of pink flamingos I always think of the croquet match in one of the Alice books, where the croquet mallets are live pink flamingos.

    Comment by viv66 | January 19, 2009

  2. This is really looking good, Shelley.
    I understand the problem with the words which get covered up by the background.
    I would be very interested to see the black/white version with the larger bird. Just to compare. You see, I guess you could use this place to present us diverse versions, when you are not sure. we are all creative people with ideas and taste, and we all understand what makes YOU so special. So I am quite sure that our opinions and comments could help you finding the perfect design for your aims.

    In this special design here, I love the whole as such, with the 4 birds. I am not sure about the maroon colour though, not being sure it fits to the text. But take my words please just as an opinion,a personal taste.

    In any case I am deeply impressed by this project, it seems very unusual to me, very personal and very appealing, in design and texts. i can just hope you will go on!

    Comment by Miki | January 19, 2009

  3. I like this project Shelley! Following on from Miki, I’d go for a slightly softer colour to the whole thing, and then the birds softer still, slightly ghostly behind the text, with perhaps one of the four away from the pack and looming larger in the top RH corner. Miki likes this idea too. I love the possibility of you sharing different options here with us, I think its great!

    Comment by kevmoore | January 19, 2009

  4. I managed to track down the piece of music that reminded me, or resonated with this piece.
    Its a song called Egypt Dust by a Dartmoor artist and musician Carolyn Hillyer. She and her partner produce music and art that really speaks to me;

    The first verse says:
    I knocked at the door of the Three Guardians
    and I besseched them:
    give me wings to fly O Mothers.
    There is one who sends
    and one who waits to receive.
    I am a messenger who moves between horizons
    Give me flight O Mothers.

    Its from the album House of the Weavers, which is her first album. I think you can listen to samples of most of the songs but I’m not sure about this one. It haunts me in the same way your piece did.

    Comment by viv66 | January 20, 2009

  5. The problem I sometimes have with this kind of music is that it is dressed up in this mysticism, and it gives the listeners an “Emperors new clothes” kind of syndrome. Whilst it is atmospheric and relaxing to some, I believe it to be no more than that. It reminds me of those radio ads for pan pipes of the Andes..”relaaaaaaax with your favourite hits performed by the sooooooothing and legendary pan pipes of the Andes and feel your cares slip awaaaaay”. I use the Celtic tricks myself, and the “pad keyboard’ sound to create accompanying music and soundtracks, and hope it creates a nice feel – But I admire their marketing -stick a few whales and dolphins on there and some runes and Bob’s your uncle – a whole product line! 🙂

    Comment by kevmoore | January 20, 2009

  6. Really interesting to see how different our associations and resonances can be!

    For myself I can’t at all associate this kind of music and artwork to Shelley’s piece. I even feel a big ocean between… I don’t want to embarrass Shelley with too many compliments (I know she is a very humble woman) but I must say that her words(and art) seem much deeper to me, much less commercial, much more original and personal. Much ore subtle and finer…

    But of course, I am aware that it is a question of taste here, and personal feelings. For my part I have heard too much of Guardians and Mothers, they sound used.
    Shelly, I find, does not use these current words and symbols…

    Comment by Miki | January 20, 2009

  7. I think it depends which of the cds you look at. I know these people personally and while they need to make a living, a lot of the time they are following their own path and finding a great deal of things. But it’s personal; some of the albums are commercial and have to be, but others are projects they work on knowing that there is a limit towhat will sell.
    It wasn’t exactly the pics or the music but a phrase here and there that had a fragrance almost, or a similar resonance in me.
    Each to their own. Sorry

    Comment by viv66 | January 20, 2009

  8. No apologies necessary, Viv! – I must be one of the few people in the world who find Enya irritating instead of relaxing! – and it’s certainly laudable to create what you want, knowing it has a limited appeal, I do that enough myself, and clearly, everyone has to make a living, so the specter of commercialism must always raise its head. What concerns me with this particular style is it easily becomes very generic, and I think it becomes difficult to maintain an individualism within it. Am I making any sense? Probably not! But anyway, as you so rightly say -each to his own.

    Comment by kevmoore | January 20, 2009

  9. I kind of have the feeling that it is very difficult, nowadays, to understand and know what is commercial. In the meanwhile quite everybody in this world is a writer, an artist, a musician. This is why I believe that only extreme originality and personality has a chance “to win” (to get commercial).
    I might be wrong, but I have the feeling that Shelley’s Altered Book could be commercial, although it is certainly very different from what we would call “commercial”, in fact quite the contrary of it.
    I believe that “commercial” nowadays is deeply associated to being “different”, to create a strong surprising effect. Shelley’s Altered Book has this quality.
    And I have the feeling that people nowadays are not after relaxation any more… they have relaxed enough with all the techniques, musics, etc. which have been on the market. I think they want things to happen.
    As always, it is only my opinion, and certainly not meant as critic to any work. As I wrote about seventhwavemusic, I just meant that for me they seem to be from another world as Shelley’s one, although I am quite sure that there are resonances between both.

    Oh God, I am not sure how Shelley will feel when she reads all this going on on her thread!!!

    Comment by Miki | January 20, 2009

  10. Ah I am feeling over sensitive this morning. I should explain that the people at seventh wave are friends, and I am privy in some ways to their creative thread. Some of the stuff on the site is generic, but for a good reason: they were first produced more than twenty years ago and have been copied and imitated and so on in that time until just about everypanpipe stuff seems the same. All the new work is seeking a new freshness, to try and break away from the generic straitjacket. Carolyn told me once about an exhibition she had held where the reaction was shock (none of this is on the website) and horror at the areas her art had gone into.
    It is a matter of personal taste and background; I just felt rather odd just now, rather the way I did whenever my brother had a go at me for my tastes and choices.
    I’ve also been wrestling with a cross word, the fiendish final assignment for my course and feeling wrung out over it. Had to complete the cross word, and then take certain letters and produce a sentence that had to conform to certain strictures. Awful. i hate crosswords at the best of times. Now going to submit my coursework and ge some lunch

    Comment by viv66 | January 20, 2009

  11. You should have told us before that they are your friends, I surely would have been more cautious with the choice of my word!
    And don’t worry, I hadn’t any go at your tastes!!! I really wouldn’t dare to judge any taste. One should not forget that it is “Shelley’s thread” here, and everything I wrote was much more about her work than anybody else. I apologise to you and your friends if my words might have sound unpleasant.
    And of course, if they started 20 years ago, and have been copied a lot, I can imagine the frustration.
    Concerning Caroline and the exhibition you mention, this is certainly very hard to be confronted to such reactions. I don’t believe I could stand it myself. I hope though that people haven’t injured her “artist’s soul “too deeply”…
    Is there any place on the net where one can see her work?

    I am curious now: which kind of course is it?
    I loved crosswords as I was a young girl!

    Comment by Miki | January 20, 2009

  12. I didn’t take it the wrong way and I do apologise to Shelley for sidetracking this thread. I thought I had mentioned they are friends but maybe it didn’t get beyond my head… I’ve known them for about ten years, but only by phone and email…I have often thought about going on one of the workshops; they do various for making drums and flutes as well as explorative spirituality ones. The drums and flutes used in the music are ones they have made themselves, from local materials.
    You can see some thumbnail reps of her pictures, which don’t do them justice as they are made using textiles as well as being massive, beyond lifesize. She’s pretty tough, I think but it did hurt.
    The course was very very boring. It was a specialist grammar course for TEFL teachers, the last module of a course I mostly did last year. I put this one aside because it was so boring and intended to do it when this month I have no work. I did 20 hours of study in two mornings, but the cross word took up the whole time today!
    I loathe crosswords!

    Comment by viv66 | January 20, 2009

  13. Oh la la, Viv! I think we should reset both our machines! I didn’t mean at all that you were sidetracking the thread!!! It is totally ok to sidetrack anyway, no rule here! I just meant that I has her work in my head all the time while I was writing.
    Very interesting what you say about the self-made instruments and this surely gives another dimension to the whole.

    Comment by Miki | January 20, 2009

  14. I’m a bit off-kilter today anyway. I got very cross yesterday with the company I was doing the course with, because the deadline had expired months ago but the date at the top of my log-in page was for the course to expire by the 12th of March. I explained that I had been too busy and had seen the date and assumed that was when I had till; this seemed to get through and they gave me a fortnight’s free extension. I had actually freaked out over the whole thing and had been in shock- icy cold and shaking and really unwell. It wasn’t even conscious; I didn’t care especially if I did the course or not(even though I had paid for it) but somehow it bypassed by conscious mind and went straight to my knees and turned them to jelly!
    So all yesterday and then today I have been feeling crappy and anxious and with even less of a defensive skin than usual. It’s like being naked in a public space but everyone thinks you’ve got clothes on.
    I’m avoiding the outside world today now; had lunch and may take the dog out. But it’s about 2/3 degrees above freezing and the dog is choosy when she goes out these days.

    Comment by viv66 | January 20, 2009

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