Planetary Collective

A short film about the work of Sanskrit and Tibetan calligrapher Tashi Mannox from the Planetary Collective. Founded in 2011, the Collective responds to the most pressing issues our civilization is currently facing as we push the planet to its brink. Its members, pulling from their Buddhist backgrounds, attribute the roots of the environmental and social crises facing humanity to the misperception that we are separate -from each other, the planet, and the cosmos as a whole. Their forthcoming feature film is titled Planetary.

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Tashi Mannox, Precious Human Existence, Chinese Ink on heavy Watercolor Paper/Limited Edition Giclée Print, 57 x 76 cm, Courtesy and © Tashi Mannox.

As a seed, the essence of life, uncoils in growth, delicate, precious and whole. This curling Bindu shape, Sanskrit, Tigli in Tibetan, holds the words ‘precious human birth’ in a Tibetan Drutsa script. Appreciate precious life, as it is difficult to obtain and easily lost -Tibetan Buddhist View.

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Tashi Mannox, Dependent Origination, Japanese Mineral Paint on heavy Watercolor Paper, Original Artwork, 57 x 76 cm, 2009, Courtesy and © Tashi Mannox.

The Blue cursive Tsugtung script translates as ‘Natural Law’, en-circling this from the bottom clockwise, in the sequence of linked words in the Petsug script style is called ‘The Twelve Links of Interdependent Origination’ 1. Ignorance, 2. Karmic Propensities, 3. Consciousness, 4. Name and Form, 5. Six Senses, 6. Contact, 7. Sensation, 8. Craving, 9. Grasping, 10. Existence, 11. Birth, 12. Old Age and Death. Several of Mannox’s designs approach the status of calligrams -the arrangement of script to form a picture, a device most often associated with strains of Islamic artistic practice, that visually articulates the verbal meaning in a picture-like manner, amplifying rather than compromising the calligraphic beauty and integrity of the script itself.

Visit the Tashi Mannox website to see more of the calligraphy artist’s beautiful contemporary & traditional work.

About

Tashi Mannox, an Englishman, and for many years an ordained Buddhist monk, has trained for decades in the arts of Tibetan calligraphy. Today he preserves this tradition as a vehicle to communicate and transmit dharma, all the while adapting and updating his approach within and for contemporary contexts. He identifies three streams in his work: Contemporary and Traditional, Contemporary Black on Black, and Illuminated Iconography.

In honoring contemporary contexts and concerns, some of his designs are presented as sacred tattoos. With certain commissioned work he offers the option of including bespoke seals that are specific to the calligraphic project and its patron. In all cases Tashi’s art is an expression of his long and devoted meditative practice and spiritual realization, such that his art energetically transmits the Tibetan Buddhist View. Grounded thoroughly in the pre-modern Tibetan tradition, incorporating modernist visual schemes, and being multi-cultural and postmodern in drawing on other calligraphic lineages such as the spatial awareness proper to Zen calligraphic practice -while preserving the Tibetan core of style, Tashi Mannox’s art is an authentic and exemplary instance of an integral calligraphy for our age.

Berluti Origami

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Berluti Origami Bag in Kraft Spring Summer 2015 Collection.

For the coming season, LVMH-owned French luxury menswear brand Berluti traveled East looking for inspiration for their Spring Summer Sport Couture 2015 Collection. The brand’s creative director Alessandro Sartori takes a cue from the traditional Japanese ‘art of origami’ to create an artful new addition to its collection of leather goods. The Origami Bag combines the bespoke craftsmanship, beautiful leather and innovative techniques Berluti is known for, and is based on origami principles using folds, which translates to minimal cutting, sewing and linings, versatility and weightlessness. West meets East in one covetable carrier.

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Berluti Origami Bag in Kraft Spring Summer 2015 Collection.

The cleverly designed Berluti bag comes with detachable straps and can also be worn in a variety of ways. Carry it like a tote or use it like a backpack, and when you’re done, just fold it up and stash it away. Perfect accessory for the style connoisseur to carry just about anywhere -from work to travel and beyond. The Origami Bag comes in Kraft, Lichen, and Dark Brown, and will be available February 2015 at the brand boutiques.

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Berluti Leather Blazer in Burnt Orange  & Origami Bag in Lichen Spring Summer 2015 Collection.

Ideal for frequent travelers, the new Berluti leather jackets and foldable leather bags are stylish and practical. Made of exceptionally soft, lightweight glove leather that is coated with a natural enzyme to enhance their durability. “Fine leather can be fragile, but with this natural coating the leather is stronger and holds its shape,” says Sartori. He describes the unlined calfskin blazer as a hybrid design that blends classic tailoring with a relaxed sportswear style. The traditional craftsmanship of the House meets comfort, lightness and new technology to give birth to a Sports Couture Collection, defining a nostalgia-free classicism.

About

Founded in Paris in 1895 by an Italian bootmaker Alessandro Berluti, the prestigious company has upheld its dedication to luxury craftsmanship throughout the decades. Originating with hand-finished footwear, today it boasts accessories and ready-to-wear for astute men. In 2011, Alessandro Sartori was appointed Creative Director and entered the uncharted territory of ready-to-wear. Staying true to House heritage, the designer reinterpreted its classic expertise, adding his own personal stamp and a contemporary twist.

For more Berluti Style see previous posts Berluti Paris and Berluti Design

The Great Pen

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 Pen of the Year 2015 by Graf von Faber-Castell.

The Graf von Faber-Castell Pen of the Year 2015 is inspired by the glamorous architecture of the New Palace of Sanssouci which was built according to plans by Frederick II (1712-1786) King of Prussia. After the Seven Years’ War and victory over the powerful Habsburg monarchy, large and influential Silesia became part of Prussia. Frederick was hailed as a military genius and henceforth called “the Great”. As a sign of his victory he ordered the construction of his largest and most ambitious building the New Palace of Sanssouci with magnificent ballrooms, and handsomely furnished apartments where precious decorative natural stones played a special role, something Prussia had in abundance thanks to the conquest of Silesia -wall coverings made from multi-coloured marble, floors inlaid with Jasper, Amethyst and Serpentine. The interiors of the New Palace are unparalleled in Europe.

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Sansscouci Palace Interior of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, Potsdam.

Created with the highest standards of craftsmanship, the pen combines 24-carat Gold plating with embellished baroque engraving, a Russian Smoky Quartz, Green Serpentine and Rare Chrysoprase, Frederick the Great’s favourite natural stone -Chrysoprase has not been mined for many years and is only available on the antique stone market. Limited to 150 pieces. It includes an exclusive wooden collector’s box with a beautiful brochure and a certificate personally signed by the master craftsman of the Herbert Stephan gemstone manufactory attesting to the authenticity of the natural stones.

For another Great Pen of the Year from Graf von Faber-Castell see previous post Art From The Oak

Sacred Seed

“Whatever happens to seed affects the web of life” ~Dr. Vandana Shiva

In collaboration with Vandana Shiva and the Golden Sufi Center, the Global Peace Initiative of Women recently released SACRED SEED, a global collection of essays by preeminent spiritual and religious leaders on the importance of seed preservation and seed integrity in our times.

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Sacred Seed, Edited by Global Peace Initiative of Women, Introduction by Dr. Vandana Shiva, Published by The Golden Sufi Center, November 2014, 144 pgs.

Essential to survival, seeds have profound spiritual implications. For centuries the planting of seed in the Earth not only nourished humanity, but also symbolized the mystery of life and the journey of the soul. In our current supermarket lifestyle of pre-packaged products, far removed from the cycles of planting, we have nearly forgotten this mystery. Now as the integrity of the seed is threatened, so is its primal meaning.

Sacred Seed Book Trailer 2014, Music by Kesang Marstrand.

Inspired by physicist and environmental leader Dr. Vandana Shiva, each essay draws on the wisdom of ancient and modern traditions. Mystics, shamans, monastics and priests remind us of the profound sacredness of the seed -how in its purity, it is the source and renewal of all of life. Composed of beautiful original writings and photos, this book bears witness that the Earth is alive, and establishes that only by working together with the Earth -with its wonder and mystery, can we help in its healing and regeneration and once again bring meaning back into the world. Edited and compiled by the Global Peace Initiative of Women, the book includes contributions from His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, H.H. the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, Sister Joan Chittister, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, Swami Veda Bharati, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Chief Tamale Bwoya, Blu Greenberg & others.

A New Year Message from Dr. Vandana Shiva Founder of Navdanya for 2015.

About

Vandana Shiva was born in 1952 to a Brahmin family in the foothills of the Himalayas. In the 1970s, she attended university in Canada and wrote a thesis on ‘Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory’ and earned her PhD in the philosophy of science. She later shifted to inter-disciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy, which she carried out in India. As an activist focused on biodiversity and biotechnology, Shiva has been called the Gandhi of grain.

As Shiva sees it, seeds are sacred. We have a duty to share and save them. Inspired to prevent private control of genetic material and encourage sustainable, nonindustrial agriculture, she founded a network of seed keepers and organic producers across 17 states in India called NavdanyaNavdanya means “nine seeds” -symbolizing protection of biological and cultural diversity, and also the “new gift” -for seed as commons, based on the right to save and share seeds. In today’s context of biological and ecological destruction, seed savers are the true givers of seed. This gift or “dana” of Navadhanyas (nine seeds) is the ultimate gift -it is a gift of life, of heritage and continuity. Conserving seed is conserving biodiversity, conserving knowledge of the seed and its utilization, conserving culture, conserving sustainability.

Ralph Lauren Style

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Ralph Lauren opened his first restaurant in New York City this week. Lauren, an ever-enduring emblem of and a catalyst for the New World’s longings for an Old World aristocracy. The Polo Bar is located close to the brand’s Fifth Avenue flagship store just south of Central Park and features unique design elements that offer “tradition with flair.” The opening of this New York restaurant follows successful ventures in Chicago and Paris, with the RL Grill and Ralph’s. The menu, like the brand, is American, inspired by the designer’s personal favorites.

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The traditional New England-style interior features a hefty oak bar with a hammered-brass top, parquet flooring and an elegant wooden staircase that leads guests downstairs into the main dining room, where aged leather banquettes accented with tartan pillows create intimate dining alcoves, and deep hunter green walls are adorned with carefully curated paintings and photographs. The designer’s all-encompassing aesthetic extends to the barware and table settings, with etched-crystal glassware and silver cocktail shakers from the Ralph Lauren Home collection, dinnerware made in England exclusively for the Polo Bar, and waitstaff looking smart dressed in bespoke Ralph Lauren gray flannel trousers, Oxford button-downs, silk ties, and wing tips.

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Warm and luxurious, the interiors are as extravagant and distinctly Ralph Lauren as you would expect. Inspired by classic New York establishments and channeling the iconic American designer’s love of gathering around the table with family and friends, The Polo Bar offers a casual yet refined setting for food and drink in the heart of NYC. With a Henry Koehler match-inspired mural on the exterior, interior honey-hued saddle leather, equestrian artwork and trophies, and custom-made brass lamps cast amber lighting to evoke old world charm reminiscent of traditional country clubs, the restaurant pays homage to the distinguished sporting lifestyle long synonymous with the Ralph Lauren brand.

For more on Ralph Lauren Style see previous post Ralph Lauren Design

Bee Loving

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Maggie Taylor, The Nest, 36 x 36 in, Archival Pigment Ink Print, 2012, Courtesy and © Maggie Taylor.

Two-day intensives on the ‘Art of Beekeeping’ that will introduce students to Natural/Organic Beekeeping with a Biodynamic influence, taught by Chris Harp from HoneybeeLives are available on three Winter weekends in the Hudson Valley at the Sustainable Living Resource Center and The Commons in Brooklyn, beginning January 24 & 25, 2015.

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Maggie Taylor, Girl in a Bee Dress, 42 x 42 in, Archival Pigment Ink Print, 2004, Courtesy and © Maggie Taylor.

Learn about the basic requirements and responsibilities for organic beekeeping. Understand the community of a hive, the tools involved, elements of site selection, where you can obtain honeybees and equipment, and an understanding of a naturalist approach to their needs. You will come away with a broad understanding of the responsibilities and challenges entailed in this undertaking, as well as the inspiration to nurture your own honeybees and care for these hardworking, gentle creatures who live in complex and beautiful communities.

About

Honeybees are amazing, gentle creatures. They live in colonies which function as a single organism, each honeybee working for the good of the whole. They nurture the beauty and fecundity of the earth with their gift of pollination, and through that pollination mankind gains strength, and nature diversity. Honeybees are also in dangerous decline, and we all need to take notice.

Modern society, with its suburban sprawl, genetically modified vegetation, and insecticides, threatens the health of the honeybee, and in turn our own survival on this planet. Backyard beekeepers, with a conscience towards respecting the needs of the honeybee, can effect positive change in this balance. And the general public can also have a positive impact through simple choices about when to spray or mow, as well as planting trees and flowers that provide valuable food for both domestic and feral bees.

HoneybeeLives is an organization, based in the Hudson Valley, practicing Natural/Organic Beekeeping offering beekeeping workshops and providing a wide-range of apiary services to farms and private estates in New York & Connecticut. The focus of HoneybeeLives’ work is to encourage and support the health of the honeybee by nurturing knowledgeable, loving and confident beekeepers and property owners. And broadening the general public’s understanding and appreciation of the honeybee.

Mint Milk Bath

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Spearmint Milk Bath, This simple recipe requires just standard ingredients you have on hand, and makes a beautiful, silky, scented bath. I like to use Spearmint essential oil, suits the season. Soothes the soul. Takes just five minutes and a few ingredients to create an old world recipe with modern-day appeal to transform your bath into a relaxing and invigorating experience for a New Year treat! Easy to create in batches for yourself and for sharing, stored in classic Weck jars with simple labeling, makes for ideal vintage inspired gifting. Bathing Rituals = Necessary Indulgences. #gettingbacktobasics

Ingredients

  • 1 cup powdered milk (vegan or dairy depending on preference)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 10 drops essential oil of Spearmint (or oil of your choice)
  • 2 5.6 ounce Weck Jars (for canning)

Directions

  1. Mix dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl and add essential oil to your taste, keeping in mind that it will be diluted in the bathtub, and stir well.
  2. Add the mixture to your jar and allow to sit for at least 24 hours. Add a signature label to personalize. Makes 2 5.6 ounce jars, one for you and one for gifting! Shelf life is 2-3 months. Relax! Enjoy!

Tips

Kraft paper is a must-have on the art supply list. Comes in handy to create labels with a classic, timeless look and feel for your handmades. I also like Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery Brown Kraft Labels, which are made from recycled materials & easy to customize.

Art Of Visualization

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Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, The Art of Visualization, Wednesday Talks, 14 January, 2015 at 7:00 pm, Rubin Museum of Art, New York. ‘Visualization’, a common practice in Tibetan Buddhism, is using the imagination to transform the perception of reality. The power of this practice is at the heart of the new exhibition at the Rubin titled “The All-Knowing Buddha: A Secret Guide” on view now through 13 April, 2015. Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, one of the first Westerners to be ordained as a Buddhist nun, and one of the world’s leading senior female Dharma teachers, will sit down with art historian Kathryn Selig Brown to discuss how she was inspired by the visualization of the feminine in Buddhism to travel to the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery Temple in northern India. A book signing by Jetsunma will follow the talk.

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From the exhibition “All Knowing Buddha: A Secret Guide” which focuses on an exceptional set of paintings in the intimate format of album leaves from eighteenth-century China. The 54 richly detailed paintings provide step-by-step guidance to visualization of the Buddha Sarvavid Vairochana -also referred to as the All-knowing Buddha, and offer unique insight into the meditation and rituals of Tibetan Buddhism. These practices are normally not meant to be depicted and are usually restricted to oral transmission by a teacher to his initiated disciple. The album is displayed at the Rubin alongside an array of sculptures and paintings that brings together Tibetan, Mongolian and Chinese works collected by a European missionary in Inner Mongolia during the turn of the 20th century, that provide an artistic, religious, and historical context for Buddhist practices related to Vairochana.

Jetsunma_BookInto The Heart of Life by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Paperback, 200 pgs, 2011. The real test of our Buddhist practice happens not on the cushion or in the protected space of retreat, but moment-to-moment in daily life, particularly when we find ourselves in uncomfortable situations. How do we respond? In this book, one of the most respected Western figures of contemporary Buddhism, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, offers insights gleaned from more than forty years of engagement with Buddhist practice. Her perspective is vast, with a well-grounded understanding of how the timeless Buddhist teachings apply to the demands and challenges of modern life.

About

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo left her native England for India in 1964, and at the age of twenty was one of the first Westerners to be ordained as a Buddhist nun. Vicki Mackenzie’s international bestseller Cave in the Snow chronicles her twelve years of seclusion and meditation practice in a remote cave in the Himalayas. During more than forty years of Buddhist practice, she has witnessed how women are neglected in spiritual communities and often forbidden to receive the highest teachings. Deeply concerned with the plight of Buddhist nuns, she established the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery in 2000 in northern India. A residential and academic center, the Dongyu Gatsal Ling is a visionary new model for the spiritual training of young women. Jetsunma is the author of Reflections on a Mountain Lake and Into the Heart of Life. She was last on stage at the Rubin in the company of Gloria Steinem in 2011.

Pomegranate Jewels

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Pomegranate, This jewel-toned fruit of Fall bursts with sweet-tart flavor and can enliven a classic mixed greens salad recipe or beautifully adorn a decadent dessert for a special celebration. Pomegranates are chock full of phytochemicals acting as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, and are also a good source of vitamins A and E. A single pomegranate contains more antioxidants than a cup of green tea and 40 percent of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C!

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This is an easy Chocolate Pomegranate Cookie Recipe that is gluten-free and perfect for dark chocolate lovers for the holidays! These cookies are garnished with a lot of pomegranate seeds, they are not very sweet and have a strong chocolate flavor. Serve them warm with drizzled honey on top so all the flavors and different textures really come together nicely. For a low-sugar recipe don’t add the honey on top, just follow the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup organic rice flour
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 7 Tbsp vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)
  • 2 Tbsp organic & fair trade cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces organic & fair trade dark chocolate 70% cocoa
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • the seeds of a pomegranate
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 3 Tbsp organic maple syrup
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • a pinch of cinnamon

Directions

  1. Bake the almonds at 320 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Let cool then grind with a food processor.
  2. Melt the chocolate using a bain-marie.
  3. In a bowl, work the butter with the maple syrup, the honey and the ground almonds.
  4. Add the melted chocolate to the almond mixture and stir well. In another bowl, combine the rice flour, the cornstarch, the cocoa, a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of salt, then mix everything together with the almonds. Knead for a few minutes then put in the refrigerator to cool for about 30 minutes.
  5. Line the base of two baking trays with some baking paper, then shape the cookies and garnish with the pomegranate seeds. Makes about 16 cookies.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
  7. Serve the cookies hot with a bit of honey on top. Enjoy!

Tips

When you’re removing the seeds from the pomegranate flesh, do this over a cup to catch all the juice that falls. Stir the nutritious juice into the mixture for an extra little kick of flavor.

In Season: Pomegranates begin to ripen in September and are available through January.

What to Look For: Choose deeply colored purplish-red pomegranates that feel heavy for their size. Avoid any fruit that is cracked or has soft spots.

How to Store: When kept in an airtight bag in the refrigerator, whole pomegranates will keep for a month or more. Pomegranate seeds should be refrigerated and used within a few days.

Enchanted Forest

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Woodland Perfume, This homemade blend truly smells like you just walked into the Forest. Uplifting, grounding, meditative, and comforting. Woodland Perfume is for you if you love the fresh Forest aroma and the great outdoors. Perfume you make yourself is free from synthetic chemicals and is fully customized to your personal taste. The possibilities and combinations are endless. Creating your own essential oils signature seasonal scent is a powerful way to express your individuality. Beautiful & Beneficial.

Ingredients

4 drops wildharvasted Spruce essential oil
2 drops organic Fir Needle essential oil
2 drops organic Cedarwood essential oil
1 drop organic Vetiver essential oil
1 drop organic Bergamot essential oil
1 tsp (100 drops) organic Jojoba Oil

Directions

  1. Drip all essential oils into a glass bottle of your choice & snap on the roller -I prefer a clear roller ball bottle for practical & aesthetic purposes.
  2. Roll between palms to evenly mix the oils. Add Jojoba oil, and roll again.
  3. Create an artful label to further personalize the perfume for yourself and or for seasonal gifting. Share it! Enjoy!

Notes

Use essential oils that are 100% pure aromatic distillates, certified organic, sourced from reputable distillers.

As with all essential oils, never use them undiluted. If you have sensitive skin or any serious medical condition, do not use essential oils unless advised by a physician or medical professional that it is safe.