Robert L. Peters

31 March 2011

RIP… Kurt Weidemann (1922-2011)

Sélestat, France

I’m reminiscing and mourning the loss tonight of the renowned German typographer and graphic designer Kurt Weidemann, who passed on yesterday. I was looking forward to visiting him in his Stuttgart studio ‘Stellwerk Atelier’ with my colleague Adrian Letzner in early May… looks like we’ll need to wait to ‘bend an elbow’ with the great man until we cross paths in the next dimension. Fond memories of an evening spent with Kurt in Essen, 2004…

Learn more about Kurt, who spent a decade breaking rocks as a Russian prisoner of war (from 1940-1950) before beginning his apprenticeship as a typographer, (in German) here; a brief bio (in English) here.

30 March 2011

Diaper backward spells repaid. Think about it.

—Marshall McLuhan

29 March 2011

Through the eye of the beholder…

28 March 2011

Crossing crevassed terrain…

(even as they recede…)

When traveling across glaciers, it’s obviously best to avoid crevassed areas if at all possible. While skis lessen the possibility of punching through the snow layer in winter (a ski distributes your body weight more broadly than a boot), negotiating snow-bridges and moving safely above the snow- or firn-line* where underlying crevasses can lurk can be harrowing as well.

Photos (from the top): crossing The President Glacier, BC (photo by friend David Cormie); the sphincter-tightening process of negotiating melting snow bridges; belaying my partner Peter Aitchison as he jumps icy streams atop the firn (the water disappeared into bottomless sink-holes here and there with a terrifyingly-deep flushing sound); happily roped-up with colleagues on a Bugaboos ascent; crossing a tricky bit of steep glare-ice using French technique (pied à plat) for good crampon purchase, trying not to think about the long run-out below.

* the firn-line is the highest level to which the fresh snow on a glacier’s surface retreats during the melting season, or the line separating the accumulation area from the ablation area

27 March 2011

Screw-art portraits…

Laguna Beach, California

Meet German-born Andrew Myers, one of the most patient modern-day sculptors around. He goes through a multi-step process to create incredible works of art you almost have to see (or touch) to believe. He starts with a base plywood panel, and then places pages of a phone book on top (he prefers to use pages from his subjects’ local area). He then draws out a face and pre-drills 8,000 to 10,000 holes, by hand.

As he drills in the screws, Myers doesn’t rely on any computer software to guide him—he figures it out as he goes along. “For me, I consider this a traditional sculpture and all my screws are at different depths,” he says. One of the most challenging parts is getting rid of the flat drawing underneath because he then has to paint over each of the screw heads, individually, so that in the end, the sculpture looks like an actual portrait. See more works on Myers’s website here.

“Most people are drawn to the portraits because they have something different about them (from a distance especially). Seeing them in person is a whole different feel than seeing the photograph. They have a sense of depth that the photo can’t capture.”—Andrew Myers

Thanks to my Circle colleague Adrian Shum for the link…

25 March 2011

Global Threat Levels Raised!

Worldwide Alerts

With the intent of sharing a bit of bile humour, yet with the attendant and inevitable risk of offending some (I apologize in advance), here’s a piece attributed to John Cleese, sent to me by designer friend Lorna Williams:

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbor” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Americans, as usual, are carrying out preemptive strikes on all of their allies “just in case.”

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be alright, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is canceled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

And finally… Canada is at the “That’s not nice and please stop” threat level, and has passed a bill in the House of Commons to never raise the level any higher so not to offend the terrorists.


24 March 2011

On the surface, all seemed normal…

Gimli, Manitoba

This is an invitation for anyone in the Manitoba Interlake region to attend the vernisage of ‘the Lake’ art show at the New Iceland Heritage Museum in Gimli tomorrow (19:00-21:00 Friday, 25 March 2011). This exhibit (open until 6 May) is a precursor to the 10th WAVE Artists Studio Tour.

Image: my girlfriend Evelin Richter’s piece in the show, a ceramic sculpture entitled “On the surface, all seemed normal…”.

23 March 2011

Good taste is the first refuge of the non-creative. It is the last-ditch stand of the artist.

—Marshall McLuhan

22 March 2011

Rumi Tuesday…

Tuesday once again… and yet more inspired lines from the great Rumi
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī, جلالالدین محمد بلخى


Cease looking for flowers,
there blooms a garden in your own home.


O Sun, fill our house once more with light!
Make happy all your friends and blind your foes!
Rise from behind the hill, transform the stones
To rubies and the sour grapes to wine!
O Sun, make our vineyard fresh again,
And fill the steppes with houris and green cloaks!
Physician of the lovers, heaven’s lamp!
Rescue the lovers! Help the suffering!
Show but your face—the world is filled with light!
But if you cover it, it’s the darkest night!


Thirst drove me down to the water
where I drank the moon’s reflection.


Come to the orchid in Spring.
There is light and wine, and sweethearts
in the pomegranate flowers.
If you do not come, these do not matter.
If you do come, these do not matter.


I was a tiny bug. Now a mountain.
I was left behind. Now honored at the head.
You healed my wounded hunger and anger,
and made me a poet who sings about joy.


I have a thirsty fish in me
that can never find enough
of what it’s thirsty for!


We are the night ocean filled
With glints of light. We are the space
Between the fish and the moon,
While we sit here together.


O heart, what a wonderful bird you are.
Seeking divine heights,
Flapping your wings,
you smashed the pointed spears of your enemy.


I will soothe you and heal you.
I will bring you roses.
I too have been covered with thorns.


Here is a letter to everyone.
You open it. It says, “Live!”

21 March 2011

Art at its most significant is a Distant Early Warning System that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it.

—Marshall McLuhan

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