Thursday, November 17, 2011

Part Two: An Interview with Narelle Carter-Quinlan

Jan.s:  I invited Narelle to talk about perception and in her inimitable style here is what she wrote.....

Narelle:  Lenses of Perception

My yoga teacher of many years, Alan Goode, used to say, "Yoga cleanses the lenses of perception". And indeed I experience it does; at least on the mat. My relationship with myself, my perception of what is possible, or how I might commune within or "do" an asana, continues to open out over these years of practice. My practice is an act of creation. I move myself toward asana, I enter it, I interact with it and with myself through it, and, as long as I am available to myself and to my direct experience, I Experience myself. Information comes in. If I don't filter this experience, or defend against it, it impacts me. There is space. Change happens. My active engagement with this, is an act of creation. Much of this, of course, I have also learnt from my Spiritual practice of meditation and of Transformation.

For me, "available" is the operative word here. My "perception" may be quite a different activity from my "being available". Available to myself, to my actual experienced experience. And if I am relating with another, available to the direct experience of myself in relationship with my Other, and with the All that Is; that is, myself, the Other in question, and the vibrating communion of What Is that surrounds, and permeates us in that moment. Available to What Is, in all its vibrating aliveness in the moment, becomes my action. 

Hmmmm. Much  like the experience of tasting what something is not, in order to know more of what it is, I have been experiencing (and perceiving!) much of  "Perception" in its guise of an act of separation in my life of late; not with availability to anything at all. I notice that in this space, some things close down; most notable to me at this time, communication and compassion.

Recently, two major life experiences illuminated and continue to illuminate this for me. Piercingly so.

Last September, ten weeks ago, my mother died. It was not unexpected; she had been very ill for a long time. Nor, sadly, had we been very close.  And yet we were, I discover now. In many ways we had much in common; two women, both mothers, who deeply, deeply love/d their children, even as adults. 

I am my mother's only offspring, her only child. In her passing, there is my father. And his grief, the grief of saying farewell to one's partner of 57 years of marriage. 

I was fearful to meet him that first day after Mum died. Would he be enraged with me? Would he be alive when I arrived at his house? 

My lenses of fear. Possibly guilt. Yet he welcomed me, with unrestrained openness of arms and heart. And we wept. And as we talked, as my Dad showed me her things, as I felt my mother's presence over the next days and weeks, as I type this now, I realise/d that I had not really been available or seen my mother. I found her difficult. Demanding in ways I could not meet. But her quiet dignity, the gifts of the person, I did not see. Defence clouded and limited my lenses. 

As I travelled overseas just nine days after her passing, my father discovered he needed surgery. Home I needed to come.   

My own experience was one of being in New York City (a city I love dearly), anchor less. My family in tatters. My grief rose and washed through. 

My friends away, or going away, or busy in the breathlessness that is this city. The small furry animal inside me needed as much to come hometo be in my own bed, in my own room, with my own cat, as much as my father, alone and frightened and grieving, needed his only well relative (he has an ill brother) to support him. His daughter. So home I came. Cancelling teaching commitments. Which felt awful and anxiety provoking. 

What struck me, was this lens thing. Right there and then. As I lay on my bed in Manhattan, it was clear. As I heard responses from those around me of my decision, I became aware that each individual was viewing this reality (my mother's death, my fathers' surgery, my going home), through their own lenses. The response was mixed and polarised. It was curious to behold. The lenses of perception. Not necessarily matching my felt, direct experience of myself. What surgery did my father need? Cataracts. In both eyes. Neglected apparently, for years, as he nursed my mother, putting her care above his own. His lenses. One done, the other to go....Doesnt need his specs anymore!!

What do I Experience when I step myself beside myself, aside from my perception. Ahh, now that opens it up.....I experience Love. Great Love.

...When I was  little girl, and I had been "naughty", or believed myself to have done something "wrong", I would apologise to my father, and ask forgiveness. He would look at me amused. Compassion and expansiveness filling his face and eyes. "Do you forgive me Dad", I'd ask, little, maybe 3-5 years old. "There's nothing to forgive", he'd say. It was a direct experience for me of standing in the Light. His eyes clear and blue. Lens-less.Creation. Thanks Dad!

Several years ago, I reminded him of this incident, this experience. He smiles again, "Oh. Good. I'm glad you got that one." His eyes catch mine and twinkle. I can see right through them.

All Photos: Narelle Carter-Quinlan: (c) Courtesy of and copyright 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

An Interview with Frank Hill

Jan.s: Frank, when did your interest in the indigenous arts of the Americas begin?

Frank: My parents, JD and Grace came to Arizona in the 1930's and worked for the Santa Fe railroad along the mainline of the Santa Fe in Winslow and Holbrook, Arizona bordering the Navajo and Hopi reservations. So I grew up with Navajo weavings and jewelry in our house.  


They had moved to Glendale, Arizona by the time my brother Fred and I were born, but we had a pass to ride the Santa Fe and would visit Winslow, the Grand Canyon, and on to see my aunt Inez in Albuquerque.  

They knew old cowboys and Navajos and  western characters.  From the time I was a kid, I've always loved the romance and history of the southwestern part of this country.  

Starting in my early 20's, influenced by the environmentalists and the writer Ed Abbey, I began hiking, backpacking and mountain climbing as a hobby and have rarely left Arizona and New Mexico in my time.  

In my youth I would rather go on a week's backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon and ended up never getting much of anywhere else. I just don't feel right without canyons, mesas and mountains and that big horizon and light that you get in this area. 

 Frank & Amy Hill...Grand Canyon 2011

In the late 1970's I was doing a reggae radio show in Phoenix on the NPR affiliate, KJZZ, which, because it was heard throughout the state of Arizona, meant I had a lot of Native American listeners, who related to the message and philosophy of that music.  

A group of Hopi invited me to Hopiland to help with having reggae concerts there.  On one of my first visits they invited me to the Kachina dance ceremonies.  Watching that happen in the plaza, watching those dancers in the plazas of the ancient Hopi villages was the most powerful spiritual experience I had ever had.  

My Hopi friend took me to see her father, who was a village elder, and I started buying Kachina dolls from him.  Remembering the Navajo weavings and objects I had grown up with, I realized I preferred old things.
For me, there is just a charm and soul in these antique pieces that speaks to me. 

Jan.s: Is there a particular piece or a collection that is of interest?

Pin Photo‏

Frank: For the last few years I have specialized in early Navajo and Pueblo jewelry, made before 1930. Jewelry, to the Navajos, was more than personal adornment, but part of their philosophy of  "Walking in Beauty" and being in harmony with the cosmos. 

Navajo Bracelets, 1900-1920

I like to think about when these pieces were made, horseback was the main form of transportation on the Navajo reservation, and silversmiths would make these incredible pieces of jewelry with a few simple tools, and primitive methods. 

Jan.s: You are based in New Mexico...I'd love you to share with us something about the other work  in your collection.

Photo from "Rugan, Hopi Katsina, circa 1910‏

Frank: I specialize in  Hopi (who are in Arizona), Navajo (who are in both AZ and NM) and Zuni and art of the Rio Grande pueblos, which are in New Mexico. Also photographs and paintings by Native and Western artists.   

I also deal in Mexican and Guatemalan folk art.  I collect and deal in masks from Mexico, Guatemala, Africa and Asia. 

Guadalupe, Retablo, Mexico, circa 1890

All photos copyright & courtesy of: Frank Hill 2011

Here is my website:

 Tigre Mask, Guatemala, circa 1880

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

An Interview with Miroslav Bukovsky

Jan.s  Miro, as both a player and composer you've remained a seminal figure in Australian Jazz now for several decades. Would you share with us is your ethos & inspiration behind your playing and writing....

Miro: I never think of myself as a composer really.True composers are a rare breed. They have an original musical imagination, developed sense of form, architecture, drama, texture and great skills of orchestration.

I think I am more of a faciltator of musical expression where my written ideas can be just a skeleton which invites the players to create their own version of the parts.That way the pieces will never sound the same and each performance is unique and no one really knows what is going to happen through the piece. I find that sense of adventure very satisfying. That varies to some degree depending on the band I’m writing for. I’d have to orchestrate much more accurately when I write for TPI.

My inspiration comes from all kinds of music I’ve played over the years. From European classical, folk, Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, Jazz, Funk, Pop, Rock, Arabic…Miles was always a big inspiration with his exploration as well as Ornette Coleman,Jon Hassel and a bunch of Hassell inspired players from Norway. Arve Henriksen, Niels Petter Molvaer, Jon Balke and others.

But I don’t like imitation. Only inspiration and then hopefully I can come up something that I feel is a part of my imagination.

Sometimes I just dream a sound and I wake up and write it down. Insomnia. If I like it in the morning I might keep it.

Jan.s:  In 1980 I had the great good fortune of doing some study with the much revered trumpet teacher Carmine Caruoso in NY.  I'd been attending workshops with Jamie Aebersold in Sydney and US trumpet player John McNeil suggested I do some work with Carmine to help me with my breathing! Naturally I was somewhat daunted at the idea ...but John assured me that working with Carmine would be of great benefit. It was! Carmine showed the greatest respect for the individuality of the student whilst at the same time guiding one to  direct that 'wayward breath' (my quote)...with the utmost focus....! Miro, you're a teacher...can you share some aspects of your approach...

Miro: I had about 7 lessons with Carmine back in 1981 in his studio in west 46th st. Very inspiring teacher who understood the coordination, breath flow and steadiness and timing in developing something reliable on such an unreliable instrument as trumpet.

Another fantastic teacher I spent 8 months with was William Adam at Indiana University. (Randy Brecker’s old teacher)  He’s still playing in his 90’s now!

He had the most beautiful sound and he played with you in every lesson and you couldn’t avoid absorbing THAT sound.Playing became much easier,more relaxed through resonant sound with less effort and steady accelerated breath
He would make you sing and hear everything you played.So I use this in my teaching all the time. Bill Adam also had a great respect for the individual in each musician, the unique talent, and helped you to recognise it foster it.Total focus.

Miro & student Alex Rapauch

Miroslav Bukovsky, and students Alex Raupach,Pina Luzzi and Stephanie Badman

 All photos copyright (C) & courtesy of Mirsolav Bukovsky unless otherwise stated.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Part Two of an interview with Chisayo Lewis

Jan.s:   Chisayo, in our last interview you mentioned the influence both your grandmother and mother had on you with your sewing...can you tell us more...

Chisayo: Janice, I don't know where to start...Let's try to remember my grand mother first ....My grand mother was born in 1912 in a wealthy Bushi (Samurai) family. My grand mother talked a lots of stories about her childhood but I thought they were all made up stories because many of them were so unreal in many ways such as Monsters,Ghost and trick animals... .  

Her family adopted a few  Sumo wrestlers. It was a big mistake of their family... They lost all their money at the end.    

My grand mother  and grand father were arranged married. They both married before and had a child each. My grand father was born in a rich Shoya (Village headman) family in Nara. He was well educated  and good at various sports. Especially He lover the horse ridding.

After the WW2 my grandfather had a job as a calligrapher at one of famous Japanese "Ryo-tei (restaurant)" in Kyoto but pay wasn't enough to feed the family. My grand mother started sewing kimonos for support her family.

Many people started to wear Western style dress in 1950's  but still a lot of kimonos need to be made so my grand mother was working 365days a year but it wasn't a good money job.

She was a very hard working woman.  Every time I went to see my grand mother I sat next her and watched how she makes kimono. It was amazing to see. My grand mother often gave me a tiny  scraps and taught me how to make bean bags, different kind of pouches and little kimono for my doll. She taught me Origami as well. I  loved to make things with her.

My grand mother was very happy about I started learning kimono dress making.She made a beautiful special kimono for my Coming of age celebrations. She was pretty sick then but she said she wanted to make and she enjoyed to make it. This is the last photo with my grand mother.

Now I'm joining a Japan Tsunami & earthquake reconstruction sporting  project called "Project Namonai Kizuna"

( ). It's  my  friend's project. 

All photos courtesy of and copyright (c) 2011 Chisayo Lewis