Transit systems

The public transit system in Toronto is crap pretty rubbish. The city is so geared towards the use of a car, in pure North American style, that very little has been invested in public transit since the 1960s. Oddly enough, it still has a fully-functioning streetcar system… whose tracks need to be repaired every couple of years or so. The subway was clearly designed by someone with serious mental issues:

A “U”? And a “T” that crosses over it? Seriously? Traffic is horrendous downtown because of the streetcar and because EVERYBODY HAS A CAR. One would think that the current mayor would try to… I don’t know… just a suggestion… perhaps welcome cyclists? Yes, one could think that, and be a fool because the current mayor of Toronto is a gentlemen who really does not like cyclists AT ALL:

I wish he learnt from Jaime Lerner, the mayor who revolutionised transport in his hometown of Curibita (Brazil), by diverting traffic around the centre. Huge pedestrian areas and parks have replaced busy roads and congestion has been tackled with an efficient bus service. This 15 minute long video kind of sums it up… and makes me want to move to Curibita:

Not Curibita, but almost, is London, where I lived for over 4 years and embraced its excellent transit system. It works so well that having a car in the city is a hassle more than a necessity. Plus, the posters created to advertise public transit in London have been brilliant from the get-go, like this one designed by Alfred Leete in 1919:

Naturally, the classic London bus had to make it to one of my bowls 😉

Place des Vosges

Last time I was in Paris was unfortunately for a short 12 hours. Over half of which were spent in meetings. Still, between 5pm and my Eurostar back to London later in the evening, I managed to meet up with a good friend from Canada who coincidentally was in Paris for a holiday. As time was tight,  we decided we’d just go for a VERY LONG walk through the city….and ended up in the Place des Vosges!

Built in the early 17th century, la Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris. And, as you can see from my awesome sketch below, it’s gorgeous. But, in my opinion, what makes it even more special is the fact that it has had a very impressive list of residents live there, including the French writer Victor Hugo and the evil and super nasty Cardinal Richelieu from The Three Musketeers.

In what seems to be a whole series of bowls of Parisian buildings I absolutely adore, herewith my Place des Vosges bowl:

NOTE: The brilliant panoramic image of the Place des Vosges is from Wikipedia.

Cuenco

Back in February – cold, snowy February – I began to get real artistic needs. There was a part of me that wanted to CREATE, make beautiful things and have the brilliant feeling of self-fulfillment one gets when one finishes a project. I was also about to move house so I wanted to make something useful, something that would slowly make my home feel special and unique. What did I do? I painted a bowl!

This is obviously no ordinary bowl, but one with a very distinct Spanish flavour to it as it is, in fact, a bullring. The inside of the bowl shows the matadores and rejoneadores in the paseillo, the initial parade before a bullfight begins.

The outside of the bowl shows what the bullring (or plaza de toros as we call it) looks like on the outside, with its arabesque arches.

Painting this bowl opened a new love affair for me, this time with ceramics. There are other pieces in the works so watch this space for more!