Archive for April, 2010


Got to look into this. ART:21

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The group Stonecircle reminds me why I love the celtic genre. Still thoroughly acoustic, with flute and violin instrumental flourishes, the sound is authentic, tight, yet not overly polished. It has none of the New Age synthesized background, and the drum rythm is held back to something pre-rock, and not a recorded track.

Stonecircle reminds me of early Jethro Tull–“The Minstrel in the Gallery”, “Heavy Horses”, etc…before Ian Anderson got fused into heavy metal. Stonecircle falls under the Celtic genre, but it does not fall into the traditional trap of jigs and reels, accordians and bagpipes, nor the cloyingly peaceful harping that modern audiences fear when they hear the label.

Stonecircle is upbeat, polished, varies its pace and types of songs, infusing old melodies with new life—not “new age”. Worth a listen.

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Traditional Celtic music has become popular once again. Ancient instruments and jaunty melodies, like those performed by the southern Oregon group Silverhand.

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Not many Americans may have heard of it, but Kaubajama is one of the largest department stores in Talinn, Estonia. It could be compared to our own Macy’s. Or Nordstrom. Or Meir and Frank. Or Barney’s… The list goes on and on, because in America, we have a variety to choose from. To me, it’s fascinating to think that capitalism is still a relatively new idea in some European countries. And that for them, the concept of capitalism is still a vague notion compared to what they have experienced.

Having just learned about the existence of Kaubamaja, I myself was intrigued at how their department store promotes itself as modelled by western standards. Their progressive philosophy is described on their website, in terms that I thought were slightly ironic, coming from a country in the former communist block.

“Kaubamaja Values”

We value Creativity
There is always somebody with better ideas than we have. We help people give birth to ideas and realise them.
Every new solution that helps us better serve our customers is worth being considered.
Every member of our staff who is willing to seek and find new solutions deserves to be met with appreciation.
Every business partner who is willing to seek and find new solutions along with us is of interest to us.

We value Will
Only those who strive to be the best are truly good.
The willingness to serve our customers and help them fulfill their wishes is characteristic to every staff member of Kaubamaja.
The willingness to set and achive higher objectives is the issue that denotes our contribution to the development of Kaubamaja and society.
Being the best does not necessarily mean being number 1 in a competition, but may also mean being among the best.

We value Cooperation
Cooperation in customer relations is not merely an empty phase – it means a relationship in which customers will get the best offers and service and will keep coming back to us.
Cooperation is also the key word in work relations.
We do not want to win on the account of our people, but with them.
Cooperation in business relations means acting together for sake of common long-term goals that will benefit both parties.

We value Honesty
We communicate in an honest and open way. Honesty creates the basis for long-term relationships, saves emotions and time.
We act honestly towards our customers and partners by saying what we can offer them and what we expect of them in return.

Wow. “We value Creativity, Will, Cooperation, and Honesty”. What American company would list these as its core values? It’s unusual, if you break it down.

“Only those who strive to be the best are truly good.” Kind of strange actually, that you might label individuals ‘good’ or ‘bad’ like this.

“The willingness to set and achive higher objectives is the issue that denotes our contribution to the development of Kaubamaja and society.”

Interesting to extend a store’s values into it’s contributions to ‘society’…I wonder if Nordstroms thinks about this factor in its sales of mini-skirts and high heel shoes (although perhaps Nike does demonstrate such an ethic).

But I really like this one. “Honesty creates the basis for long-term relationships, saves emotions and time.”

If only more American companies valued a long-term relationship with their customers and less of the desire to make a quick buck by short-changing them. If only Enron had valued its employees and treated them with respect and honesty instead of kyping their retirement savings. If only capitalism behaved more ethically, citizens such as Michael Moore wouldn’t have such widespread popular support and the economy might be more robust. If only capitalism realized you don’t get ahead by short term profiting by cheating; selling inferior items, providing inferior service at least cost. I think people would be prouder to be Americans.

Instead, we can look to the idealism of a budding post-communist type capitalism to contrast with our jaded realism.

Kaubamaja has locations in Talinn and Tartu, Estonia.

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Sandias Twilight by Kimberly Borchardt

Sandias Twilight by Kim Borchardt

The American Southwest landscape has always appealed to me. The play of light as sun and shadows pass over the contrasting textures provides new inspiration every time. This is an 18″ X 24″ piece.

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Gene Matras pen and ink illustration work

Aphelion Art scratchboard works by Cathy Sheeter

3Kicks Fine Art Studios by Matt Marchant

“morning drawings” by Gabriela Vainsencher

“One hundred awesome paintings in one year” by Anna Judd

Julia Sverchuk’s line drawings

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