Archive for August, 2011

Spinning Yarn: Majacraft MajaSponsor! #101

Monday, August 15th, 2011

The plan to take my spinning wheel to Antarctica, (fuelled by a dare from my brother), required a bit of research into the most convenient wheel to take. I had been looking at taking a wheel that was compact and very portable, but also one with endurance which was friendly to use, and my research led me to Majacraft, a New Zealand based company in the North Island – at Tauranga. When Glenis and Owen Poad of Majacraft heard about my trip to Antarctica, they wanted to be part of it, and so offered me the Little Gem.

 Made of New Zealand “Rimu” wood, each piece matched for colour and growth ring pattern, it is also modern is size and shape. It is an elegant wheel, by any standards. The polymer drivebands are guaranteed to a temperature of minus 30 for 20 minutes, which was ideal for me at my destination. Add to that the functional and compact carry bag, and it is a wheel for the most discerning Antarctic traveller!

Spinning Yarn: More Heart of the Great Alone #100

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

 Herbert Ponting was Scott’s photographer, equally skilled with an artistic eye and plenty of film! The shots he took are stunning and evoked the same surprising emotional response– Amazement! Incredulity! Recognition!  I was stunned at how much the ice had changed, yet not changed.

 So many penguin photos – gosh, I took a few of those, myself!! – and so many seal shots, but also the artistic angles. There were the obligatory “happy snaps” and the documentary shots too. Would anyone know or believe that men even went down to Antarctica, had these pictures not been taken? And would anyone have understood the immensity, or the scale, or the proportions of the ice, or seen the beauty of Nature at her most extreme?

 We owe these men, Hurley and Ponting, the utmost respect and admiration, and we owe the expeditioners more of the same.

Spinning Yarn: The Heart of the Great Alone. #99

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

It amazed me how much this exhibition meant to me. As I devoured each of the displays of fabulous black and white photographs of Antarctica taken 100 years ago by the famous Frank Hurley, I was transported not only back in time, but also back to the Frozen Continent, to see it through the eyes and heart of this skillful and daring man.

 Frank Hurley shared the huts with Mawson and his team, not only in his specialty as  photographer but also as a sledger. He man-hauled his fair share sleds and did his share of depot-laying, same as the rest of them. His company was valued on several scientific missions.

 His famous prints are the product of his labours in the tiniest of darkrooms in the most trying conditions of cold and cramped workspace. Some of his chemicals are still in his darkroom at the Huts, the labels still readable and corks still in the bottles.