London Feminist Film Festival 2013 Call for Submissions

The London Feminist Film Festival is looking for feminist films by women directors, which will be screened at the 2013 festival in November / December.

Submissions Deadline: 31 August 2013


• Women directors from any country may enter. In the case of multiple directors, all should be women.
• Films should deal with feminist issues and/or be feminist in their representation of women.
• Films can be of any length or genre, and from any year.
• Non-English language films should be presented in English-subtitled versions.

New Rifle by Mark Wheland

This rifle was inspired by the work of John Rupp. 
Buttplate and trigger guard are my own patterns. 
Barrel is a Getz 45 1/2" - 50 caliber.
Lock is a large Siler that I reshaped.
Lockplate measures 4 7/8 x 15/16"
Finish is red varnish over a light wash of ferric nitrate.

Copy and photos supplied by Mark Wheland.

Antique Hunting Pouch

Photos supplied by Steven Lalioff.

Antique Pipe Tomahawk

Pipe tomahawk 
OAL 16 1/4   inch
head 6 5/16
bit 2 1/16

The pipe tomahawk came out of England at the end of World War II where it was sharpened. The haft shows much use and patination with traces of red paint near the head.

Copy and photos supplied by friend of Contemporary Makers Blog.

Dress To Kill

There is a saying that goes like this: "The prettiest dresses are worn to be taken off"

I absolutely have to agree with this thought. It is the simplest truth. Is there a better feeling than the one when you enter a room wearing a perfect dress and feeling fabulous. Feeling that everyone is looking at you. And feeling great about it. I love that feeling. 

You don't have to wear the sexiest

Fox News has actually interested me...sort of

It is true that I don't really watch TV.  My perspective on Fox News is certainly biased.  I only find out about what they are doing through Twitter.  Amazingly enough, something that went viral actually interested me, though maybe not directly. So, if you have been living under a rock - as I am wont to do on occasion, this week a video went viral of an interview between a Fox News person and a Muslim who wrote a book about Jesus.

Well, not really about Jesus, but about the "historical Jesus" who is more imaginative and fantastical than the one that I know, but scholars who haven't read their Kierkegaard seem to still be chasing after some sort of objective myth to base their weird faith upon.

That was not the part that interested me. That there are ignorant and hateful people in the world doesn't surprise me in the slightest. That there are people that make their living from spreading ignorance and hatred is nothing very new either. I get my news by reading Der Spiegel and the BBC when I want to read in English. What actually interested me, was the reaction to the story.

My friend Ari Kohen has a very thoughtful post about Aslan's response and his own scholarly work on heroism. Ari's training was not in heroism, though I'm sure he is heroic to his wife and child - which is the most important. Ari's post did however bring something to mind that I found interesting. Doing creative work is weird, and I'm wondering if there are real and qualitative differences between scholarly and creative work.

I've read Jacques Barzun enough to avoid the fallacy of assuming that creative work takes more emotional power than lets say mathematical work. The mathematician is just as invested in his/her equations as the writer is in his/her predicate objects. It is silly and arrogant to suggest that "creative" people have some sort of monopoly on emotion and use it more than people in other lines of work. It is true that our work sometimes communicates better. Whenever a University needs to entertain a guest, they seldom call the math department and demonstrate the solving of an equation. They phone the music department. However, that's the other in. In the investment end, the chemist is just as passionate about his enzymes as I am about my F#'s.

 The thing I can't quite get around is that I certainly feel different when I am doing scholarly work than when I am doing "creative" work. When I do scholarly work, I am usually working in the area of religious aesthetics. I have had training and many years of reading on the subject. When I write on religious aesthetics in a scholarly capacity, I justify my arguments by referencing other scholars who agree with me. I also confront other scholars who disaagree with me, and make arguments based on source texts that seem to contradict other scholars' opinions.

When I am doing my creative work, it seems much more complicated. There is definitely a tradition that I am referencing, but it is much harder to explain why an F# is the right choice. Sometimes, when I am writing, I do think things like, "This is right because it is what Bach or Britten would have done."  However, the one to one semiotic correspondence between the thing is not as concrete as when I am arguing a scholarly point in a paper. I can't footnote my compositions in the same way I would footnote a paper. If I did, rest assured, I would use the Chicago style manual.

There is a point of existential courage that is more clear in writing an opera than in a scholarly paper. For me, the F# is correct because I think it is the most honest solution. It's not that I don't think that in a certain sense that writing a paper takes courage. It does. It's just that the point of justification feels very different. In the paper, I justify myself by referencing someone else. In the creative work, the justification is more personal and amorphous in some ways. The F# is the right choice because...I don't know. It is just right for me.

The weird thing is that the scholarly resort to "objectivity" results in a series of scholars that either agree or disagree with you. The F# results in people saying things like, "That choice was just engenious!  How did you come up with it?" or "What a banal, trite bit of pastiche you've assembled there!"

2013 CLA Live Auction: A Hunter’s Shot Pouch Set from a Frontier on the Eve of War by Calvin Tanner and Jim Hayes

Cal Tanner is a maker of hunting pouches, haversacks, powderhorns and other items who is well known for his exceptional leather craftsmanship and quality.  He has won numerous awards for his work, which, in Cal’s own words, he approaches with the mindset of a professionally-trained eastern craftsman working with locally available materials after moving to the Ohio frontier at the end of the 18th century.  Jim Hays and his wife Peggy are multi-talented artists with unique ability to capture the feel of well-made, authentic looking and aged accoutrements - including forge work, knives, pouches, horns and textiles.  Cal and Jim are neighbors working in the beautiful and historic Paint Creek Valley region of southern Ohio.  They have teamed up for this year’s auction to replicate a rare surviving early 19th century pouch with a history that is intertwined with the events leading up to the warfare that erupted on the Indiana frontier in 1811. 

The “Thomas Simpson Pouch” and its accompanying horn, was carried and used by Simpson – a professional hunter working the present-day Ohio-Indiana border area in the first decade of the 19th century. Born in Maryland in 1773 Simpson moved with the frontier – to North Carolina, the Clinch River area of Tennessee, and by the early 1800s on to the western edge of the settlements along the 1795 Greenville Treaty Line.  In the winter of 1809-1810 he moved west beyond the old Treaty line when he hired out as a hunter for the survey crew that ran the western boundary of the famous “12-Mile Purchase.”  The 12-Mile Purchase had been negotiated with pro-American chiefs at the Treaty of Fort Wayne in 1809, against the wishes of Tecumseh and other opposed Native leaders – and thus was one of the first in a string of treaties and sales that led to the hostility that erupted on the Indian frontier in 1811.  Simpson remained  - first settling in the surveyors’ cabin – located in present day Fayette County, Indiana, and spent the rest of his life in the area, eventually being joined by his family and many friends from North Carolina. 

The original pouch set is a fitting project for Cal’s and Jim’s artistry – beyond the regional connection it exhibits a combination of professional and home-spun craft – extremely well made and simple yet beautifully designed with a long pointed tail flap and an inner divider.  True to the original, Cal has reproduced the pouch in oak-tanned calfskin while having the original on his bench to study.  Cal also demonstrates his talent as a horner, faithfully reproducing the original horn accompanying the bag with its single raised ring and a reinforcing iron band on the spout and a domed plug held by hand-cut wooden pegs.  The worn out and replaced strap, the glassy translucence and flattening on the horn’s inboard side and the presence of a powder measure made from a late 19th century center-fire shell casing -  discovered hidden deep in the bottom of the pouch – all suggest countless miles of carry and generations of use. 

Jim has added a beautiful bone handled knife with a hand-forged blade to complete the set.  The knife is perfectly in keeping with the strong but simple and elegant features of the bag and horn.

“I have been a lover of history and believe in the preservation of our heritage. I’ve liked muzzleloading for many years and made my first trip to Friendship (the national matches at the home range of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association) in 1965.

I served in the military in Germany.

I am a hobby blacksmith and am self-taught – I usually blacksmith and whitesmith my work.  I am into knives, colonial hardware and anything else that may strike my “fancy”.  I consider myself a professional piddler.

I also like reenacting and going to rendezvous and love to collect early antiques, primitives, guns and accoutrements.”
Jim Hays

To see more of Cal’s and Jim’s work, you can visit these links:
Calvin Tanner:
218 Hwy 50
Bainbridge, OH 45612
(740) 634-3579

Jim and Peggy Hays:
1832 California Hollow Road
Bainbridge, OH 45612
(740) 626-2381

Copy by Cal Tanner and Jim Hayes. Photos supplied by the Contemporary Longrifle Foundation.

Powder Horn from The Chiefswood Collection

Powder horn
Hand carved; cow horn, hide, brass, wood
Length 26.5 x width 8 x height 9 cm
18th century
Area of Origin: Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario, Canada
Area of Use: 2.6.3 John Smoke Johnson
Owned by George H.M. Johnson, Mohawk from Six Nations of the Grand River
Daphne Cockwell Gallery of Canada: First Peoples
Gift of Miss Evelyn H.C. Johnson; The Chiefswood Collection

Some of the earliest objects in the collection – a ball-headed club, a powder horn and a collection of silver brooches – belonged to her great grandparents, and date to the period of the American Revolution (1776 – 1783) and the War of 1812. In the early 20th century Evelyn H.C. Johnson, a member of a prominent Six Nations Mohawk family, donated to the Royal Ontario Museum a large number of objects named the Chiefswood Collection after the name of the Johnson family home. In this collection, Evelyn Johnson created a remarkable record of her family over four generations, and of events that involved the Iroquoian people at Six Nations from the end of the American Revolution to the Six Nations Agricultural Fair of 1922.

Copy and images from Royal Ontario Museum.

Thirlwell's Multiples

I spent last week sharing the joy of literary translation at the BCLT Literary Translation Summer School in Norwich. I worked with the German writer Daniela Dröscher and a group of talented aspiring/emerging/butterfly-stage translators, who produced some excellent pieces of writing in English. Dröscher's work is extremely difficult to translate - her tone can be subtle or trowelled on and she uses historical research that the translator has to replicate, only in another language. So there was plenty to be done. The texts will be online soon and there will also be video evidence.

Aside from the translation workshops themselves, the BCLT lays on various plenary sessions during the week. This year the keynote lecture was a keynote Q&A involving Adam Thirlwell, Tash Aw and Daniel Hahn. Thirlwell and Aw were there to talk about the Multiples project. Originally published as issue 42 of McSweeney's magazine, put together by Thirlwell, it's now out in the UK as a thick hardback.

To get this out of the way: I admire Adam Thirlwell. Adam Thirlwell is a clever writer with a burning interest in translation. The word "fanboy" was used to describe his admiration for translators, although not in his presence. What Thirlwell did, he told us, was an experiment to do with literary style. I'm currently reading his book Miss Herbert, which looks at dead writers' international relations and how translation plays a role and perhaps what translation is and what it can be and what it ought to be. Maybe whether it's possible, although that's not something that interests me personally. It seems to be a book about writing and translation and style. Style, however, is a slippery word, almost a non-word. I'm not yet quite sure what it means, but I'm still thinking about it.

I don't know whether Adam Thirlwell is absolutely certain what style is either. I mean that in a good way. As I understand it, Multiples was conceived as a project to put literary style to the test. Encouraged by the McSweeney's people, Thirlwell found twelve stories and sixty novelists from various languages and countries. Each story was relayed through translation into and out of and back into English several times by those writers, so that Anglophone readers don't get too upset. What I think he wanted to do was to ascertain whether the stories' respective styles would withstand translation by writers who have their own personal styles, or whether their own ways of writing would impinge upon the originals.

Tash Aw translated a story by Italian writer Giuseppe Pontiggia - but not until it had been rendered into English by Zadie Smith and then Chinese by Ma Jian. Aw was given only Ma Jian's version and no further information or detailed instructions. He was rather puzzled by it all, he told us, because it was set in China but had some very Italian aspects to it. And delightfully, his opening quote is not only mauled in its meaning but also attributed to a non-existent writer, thanks to the perils of transliteration. Aw felt obliged to be fairly loyal to his text and yet not deliver a "prim", dull translation; that involved adapting it to English literary convention by changing tenses, for instance. But it's clear that each writer did whatever the hell they felt like. Zadie Smith provided something that reads like Italian in English, to my ears, consciously not intervening in the slightest, whereas Ma Jian felt the story's coordinates predestined it to be re-set in China, and wrote accordingly.

There were a few cases where writers "lied" to Thirlwell about their language skills, which have provided some odd results. Google Translate, partners, children, guesswork and pure fancy were used, and all of them make for quirky reading, especially for readers who can follow more than just the English versions. To be honest, though, the appeal wanes after eight or nine series and I switched to reading only the translators' notes. These were fascinating throughout. One thing that struck me was that those writers translating into German were very precise and strait-laced, perhaps reflecting Germanic cultures' admiration for that kind of translation. Whereas many of the translations into English were significantly freer, for whatever reason. Of the German-language writers involved (Julia Franck, Daniel Kehlmann and Peter Stamm), only the last wrote a note, in which he seems almost penitent for adding a paragraph break.

All of which raises the question - which was of course raised at the summer school - of why Thirlwell didn't just use professional translators. Certainly, they would have been more efficient. In fact, though, that's been done before. The Swiss writer Urs Widmer sent a story of his own through six languages and then back to German, and published the outcome with comments by the translators and himself. To tell the truth I'm not entirely sure whether he worked with professionals or not, but they weren't writers in the traditional sense. He called his experiment "Stille Post" - just as the McSweeney's cover features a telephone to denote what we call "Chinese whispers" in British English. I haven't read the piece, which is in Widmer's 2011 collection of the same title, but I gather he didn't recognise the end result as his own writing. So the distorting effect is not the new thing here. We know that translation changes things in subtle ways, which can be amplified in series.

What's new - and what I very much admire about the project - is the involvement of published novelists. I found the book was more about writing than translation. It was about whether a writer's ego would kick in and transform the material more than the mere act of translation does anyway. The answer is probably yes, I'd say. Especially where the writers "didn't like" their texts, we learned, they tended to re-write rather than re-render. And that's where the style issue comes in. I'm not sufficiently familiar with any of the English-language writers involved (aside from Smith, perhaps, who was proverbially invisible) to judge whether their versions could be read simply as, say, John Banville writing within stricter parameters than usual. I'm not sure what markers we could use to make that judgement. I'm not sure whether cultural issues were at play or personality clashes, or to what extent style equates with ego.

As Thirlwell wrote in his introduction, a distinction emerged between four categories of translation:
(...) of the celebrated dead, of the uncelebrated dead, of the celebrated living, and of the uncelebrated living. Each one can constrain or free the novelist-translator to various degrees of stylistic chutzpah.
I personally most enjoy translating the celebrated living, or at least living writers celebrated in my own head. There is an aspect of admiration involved, but not the level of reverence that becomes frightening and constricting. I hope I - and perhaps other translators - can follow some of the examples in Multiples to free our work from some of its constraints. A series of perfect translations - which can of course only exist in theory, in a Che Guevara world in which we not only demand but also realistically achieve the impossible - would make very dull reading. A book that makes novelists try their hands at translation just might make novelists appreciate translators' work more. Very few of the texts included here would be described as "good translations" by most definitions. Yet many of them are good texts in their own way and the project as a whole makes fascinating reading. I'm still considering style and whether translators can grant ourselves a style of our own.

To round off that particular day at summer school, then, I fangirled over translator-fanboy Thirlwell. This took place under the twin constraints of extreme exhaustion and rapid alcohol consumption. Among the thoughts swirling around my head, the most prominent were probably "Oh God, I just tripped over in front of Adam Thirlwell" and "Oh God, I just smashed a glass in front of Adam Thirlwell." He was, however, perfectly civil and friendly and refrained from laughing at my clumsiness and attempts at conversation. I can't quite bring myself to destroy the mystique by reading his own translations though. 

Jaeger Rifles at Castle of Karlsruhe: Part III

Copy and photos supplied by Contemporary Makers' European Correspondent, Manfred Schmitz.

David Rase Powder Measures

Photo supplied by David Rase.

Ball-Headed Mohawk Club

Ball-headed club
Hand carved wood
Length 38 x width 11 cm
mid-19th century
Area of Origin: Six Nations of the Grand River, Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Owned by George H.M. Johnson, Mohawk from Six Nations of the Grand River

Description: Some of the earliest objects in the collection – a ball-headed club, a powder horn and a collection of silver brooches – belonged to her great grandparents, and date to the period of the American Revolution (1776 – 1783) and the War of 1812. In the early 20th century Evelyn H.C. Johnson, a member of a prominent Six Nations Mohawk family, donated to the Royal Ontario Museum a large number of objects named the Chiefswood Collection after the name of the Johnson family home. In this collection, Evelyn Johnson created a remarkable record of her family over four generations, and of events that involved the Iroquoian people at Six Nations from the end of the American Revolution to the Six Nations Agricultural Fair of 1922.

Copy and images from Royal Ontario Museum.

Blue Weekend

New weekend. New getaway. I have to recommend Veli Lošinj to all of you interested in coming for a vacation in Croatia. Especially Artatore. Small place near Veli Lošinj. Beautiful.

How did you spend yours?