In the days before Christmas, life took on a slightly manic quality. Locating sellotape and wrapping paper became a quest of epic proportions, and even the smallest errand seemed to involve a cast of thousands; all of us sitting in our cars waiting for a parking space.
I had very little time to spend outdoors, alone with my thoughts; so I valued an early-morning walk even more than usual.
It seems appropriate that these images for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge, should reference the unexpected, and rather ethereal sense of peace I felt during that walk.
The native New Zealand Kowhai tree is known and loved for its healing properties and beauty. Our logo features its delicate, vibrant flower in the universal symbol of women — the perfect portrayal of Women’s Refuge and our values. — Women’s Refuge NZ
Symbol: noun. something used for or regarded as representing something else; a material object representing something, often something immaterial; emblem, token, or sign. Source: Dictionary.com
Logos are a particular subset of symbols; a visual representation of a brand, rather than a concept. In the case of Women’s Refuge, it’s a social, not a commercial brand; a symbol of hope and healing for the thousands of (mainly) women and children in this country who are affected by domestic violence.
I have a strong connection with Women’s Refuge through my involvement with NZ Sculpture OnShore which raises funds for, and awareness of, the work Refuge does.
It is in part because of these fundraising efforts that Women’s Refuge has been able to develop a source of sustainable income. Yellow Belle (a very apt description of the kowhai flower), is a chain of upmarket recycled women’s clothing boutiques. The stores accept donations of designer clothing and on-sell it — generating valuable income and helping to increase awareness of domestic violence and Refuge’s work. A second brand, Kowhai Tree, is currently being developed to focus on sourcing, warehousing and distributing household goods and clothing to women and children leaving Refuge — many of whom arrive with no more than the clothes they are wearing.
So for me, seeing Kowhai trees in bloom — as they are at the moment — is especially meaningful.
PS: this is the actual Women’s Refuge logo.
Kowhai: symbol of Women’s Refuge NZ
With only a month to go until NZ Scupture OnShore opens, I’m crazy busy. FaceBook posts, email newsletters, invitations, reminders … my head’s exploding with all the stuff I need to do. But when the gates open and people come to enjoy the art and the scenery (and best of all, buy work) it will all be worthwhile. New Zealand artists will sell their work, and both they and Women’s Refuge will benefit.
And in the meantime, I can go outside and watch the tui in the kowhai when it all gets too much.