As many of you know, I spend a fair amount of time on flickr looking at various artists’  work and following their evolution, and their favorite works.  The main reason for this is that our photography series (Meet SL Photographer) started with the mission to introduce artists that make the world look amazing – either in the pictures or in-world – and to bring to you faces to watch for in the coming years.

Recently, in one of my flickr paths, I landed on a page that held my attention.  The artist did not have a super popular page, like those where every picture has hundreds of faves and fifty-nine comments.  She looked fairly new to the field.  I continued looking at the work she displayed for another few weeks, and decided she is definitely an artist to watch.  NicBor has a fun sense of style, good sense of composition, and an acute sense of lighting.  As I kept enjoying every time she posted a new picture, I finally called her up to meet and have a chat.

I arrived at her house where cute little kitties walk about. They are the replacement for her not being able to care for them in RL due to serious allergies. We had a good laugh about that, before settling down in her living room where she spent a great amount of time not only chatting with me but patiently looking at skins and hairs I was suggesting for our photo session.  Her work turned out beautifully and she did capture the mood I was in as well.

Leda through Nic’s Eyes

Leda Carter: Nic, it is great to meet you. Thank you for your time and letting me visit you in your house.
NicBor: Pleasure.

Leda: From your profile, it doesn’t look like you have been around much. What brought you to SL?
Nic: Well, I’ve been on IMVU for few years and it was one of those days when your closest friends thought it was time to move onto another platform. So, we did and here we are.

Leda: Ah, so that’s how you have landed here.  How would you sum up your experience so far?
Nic: It has been a great start to my virtual journey.  Lots of talented people around, and tons of creativity. I appreciate it a lot.  So, I am enjoying my virtual journey enormously.

“Come Out And Play With Us” by NicBor

Leda: That’s wonderful to hear.  What are some of the things/places/people that give you the most pleasure in SL?
Nic: Sadly, I have not had the time to really explore SL just yet. I have limited time to be online due to my day job, and when I am online I am either taking photos or working on few other job assignments on SL. Having said that, I fully intend to explore places very soon.
Generally, I am almost always taking pics or thinking of different concepts for photos.  Other than that, I go around mostly shopping for interesting props for photos… or feed my cats. *laughs*

Leda: I have to tell you, you are an amazing newbie.  When i was 6 months old, I still was running around with my skirt not fitting right, and was sleeping under bridges.
Nic: *laughs* Thank you.  I think being on IMVU helped me a lot to adjust here.  It wasn’t as if I weren’t familiar with avatars.  And, I have a few friends who were here for many years. It just took a long time for me to get to their invitation.

“Serendipity” by NicBor

Leda: How did you start on your photography path? Did you do that on IMVU as well?
Nic: In IMVU I created furnitures, clothes etc.  I did take pictures there too, and did some edits as well. But, I was mostly a creator there.
I am not quite sure myself how I started taking photos on SL, but I can tell you that I am a real noob if you will. I probably have lots to learn, experience and explore in terms of photography, and just in general on Second Life.  Photography definitely evolved on its own.  I need to be productive in a virtual world or in RL.  I couldn’t just come on here and not do anything like creating or designing.  So, the first thing I did was to play around with the lightings, and then I was hooked.

Leda: I think for most people I have spoken with their SL profession was not a focused mission when they started SL, but often it has its roots in their RL and their passion.  Does this passion for art and photography have its roots in RL for you as well?
Nic: I’ve always been interested in the creative process of any art – paintings, designs, photography, performing arts and so on and so forth. Creating art in your head with an idea or a concept, and then delivering it to your audience for their interpretation is a keen interest to me. So I’d say this is my RL interest as well as SL.

“Conversation With The Gods” by NicBor

Leda: Since you had not planned this from the start, how did you develop your technical skills?
Nic: I must confess, it is pretty difficult to ‘learn’ in SL as in if you don’t have friends who are ‘senior citizens’ (that’s what I call veterans on SL for laughs) to help you.  As a beginner, you have no clue whatsoever, you just need to click around and see where it gets you by trial and error. But, I suppose I got the hang of it by reading lots of tutorials and by making mistakes.

Leda: From these lessons and mistakes, are there any tips you would share with our readers?
Nic: Well, I am no expert.  As I said, I am considerably new to SL so I can only tell you what I’d like to see as a viewer. I appreciate photos that tell stories and provoke my emotions. Needless to say, techniques are as important, but a perfect shot with no soul would be a pity. With a great risk of sounding cliché, I’d say if you sing with your voice or dance with your body, I’ll listen with my ears or watch with my eyes, but if you sing or dance with your soul, it is my emotions that will respond. Same philosophy goes for photos.  After all, it is art.

“Transition” by NicBor

Leda: I absolutely agree with you. If an artist does not have their own voice, the emotional connection with the audience cannot happen. For you, what inspires your artistic sense?
Nic: Greatness inspire me, the grandeur of one’s intellect or one’s gracious and beautiful movement or one’s humanity, raw talent or wit. Of course in reality you don’t get to witness these qualities everyday, but when I do meet or even briefly cross their path, I feel tremendously inspired in all aspects of my life.

Leda: Since Valentine’s day is around the corner, I was wondering if you take clients in case any of our readers would be interested in offering that as a gift. Some of my friends like to gift a photo-shoot session to their loved ones. And don’t tell anyone, but I love receiving those too. hehe.
Nic: Sure, I would take clients, But I worry whether the client could trust me and let me handle the shoot and the processing in my style. Do you know what I mean?

Leda: Absolutely. You don’t want them to bring in someone else’s work with a completely different sense of style and ask for one just like it.
Nic: Exactly. I would want them to let me handle the whole thing in my style.

“Urban Kyoto” by NicBor

Leda: Speaking of style, do you have the same sense of style in RL?
Nic: My avatar is fearless! She has her hair really short in platinum blonde; she wears extremely low cuts and walks around sims with no problems.  Lacking in guts, of course I wouldn’t be able to that in RL. Although, we are both very keen on simplicity, classics and neutral tones with dash of striking color from time to time.

Leda:  As always, I am curious about about the person behind the avatar.  What can you tell us about her?
Nic: That’s a tough question.  Let’s do this, I am gonna give you ten words that would accurately or loosely describe the person behind my bold avatar. I only say accurately or loosely because we are the worst critique of ourselves.
Disciplined, conservative, confident, anal (Can I say that?), uptight, blunt, fair, generous, creative but mostly I’d like to think that I am a good soul.

“Comme Il Faut” by NicBor

Leda: Do you adhere to this philosophy of keeping RL and SL separate?
Nic: I think in virtual or in reality we are faced with the equal amounts of complexity in terms of human interactions. I treat everyone on SL exactly the way I’d treat them in RL. Friends are friends, analogue or digital.

Leda: Thank you so much for your time, Nic. It was a pleasure to know you.

 

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Collar: Zibska, La Vie En Deux
(Hair by Diva; Skin by Glam Affair; Pose by Del May; Build by William Weaver)

I have known about Zibska for a couple of years now. I have yet to see a design or an idea that would disappoint.  In fact, I have shown photos of  Zibska creations to friends in RL to simply point out “that! that is what I want.”  From the first moment I saw Zib Scaggs’ work, her vision spoke to me. However, that is not the only reason I like her work – though, it is a damm good reason one has to admit – but it is that she has her own voice and vision.  She is a trend setter and not a follower.  In addition to that, she is an amazing photographer, as you can see on her Flickr stream.  For this interview, and featured items, I am not using any of her own photography for the simple reason that I find the translation of one individual’s art by another interesting and intriguing. So, if you will indulge me, I will be the “another” today.

Zib Scaggs, Creator of Zibska

I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Zib recently.  One thing that strikes you at first glance is her unique avatar.  I have mentioned this in the past too that artists often have avatars that are something more than a pretty doll; rather, they are interesting and hold your gaze.  Zib’s avatar certainly confirms that observation.  We met at her roomy and airy store; if you are like me who does a ton of camming about when shopping, you will love the space of Zibska’s Main Store.

Leda: Zib, thank you so much for your time.  Before we get to the important stuff, I have to tell you I love the top you have on today.
Zib Scaggs: Thank you, it is part of the new Fran outfit that comes with overalls. But, I think I will release just the petals attachments too. They dress up the otherwise plain items one tends to have in the closet somewhere.

Leda: Yes, great idea!  (In fact, I later used the petals in the picture below, to dress up my plainly not wearing anything! I used to them to evoke a sense of relief and release, along with the birds.)

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Blindfold & Birds: Zibska, Xiang; Petals: Zibska, Fran
(Hair by Vita; Pose by 1 s2 Posey; Build by Scarlet Creative)

Leda: Your designs are always imaginative, with a unique voice that is so clearly your own – an essential part of being a valuable designer, in my mind.  Does this aspect of your life only exist in SL, or does it manifest itself in your RL as well?
Zib: I do create in RL as well, though it is a much slower process in RL, as the undo function is a bit trickier. The pieces are unique in their own way, yet similar to my SL designs in terms of that initial “I wonder…”, before I delve in to the project.

Leda: Do you design apparel in RL?
Zib: Apparel, no.  More accessories, bags and wraps. Though I am taking a bit of a hiatus. I do not like it when things that I enjoy doing start to feel like work, even if they do help pay the bills.  While the designs in RL are unique, and quite recognizable as mine by others in the fiber arts, there really isn’t any crossover. Though I do things in RL that won’t work in SL and visa versa. One will always spark an idea for the other.

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 Necklace: Zibska, Sorren
(Feathers by Miamai; Hair by Dura; Skin by Glam Affair; Pose by Del May)

Leda: Does your look in RL have anything in common with your designs in SL?
Zib: No, not at all. But if I can figure out how to defy the laws of gravity, I will be the first to don orbiting rings of birds, flowers and spikes =)
I design in both lives. Other than that, there is not much crossover between the two worlds. I don’t ask others about their lives outside of ‘where in the world are you’, so I don’t really get asked about mine. Granted, I don’t get out of my SL-house much :)

Leda: What brought you to SL?  Did you know you wanted to build/create when you joined SL community?
Zib: A friend told me about their adventures in SL, and it sounded like a really neat chat room with music, so I thought I would take a look. I was hooked the moment I found the edit appearance sliders and spent way too much time making (horrible) hair dos and makeups. Then, I discovered shopping and was completely hooked. I never had a Barbie doll as a child and I was making up for lost time.

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 Dress: Zibware, Solange; Necklace & Earrings: Zibska, Pavla silver
(Ring by Rozoregalia; Bracelet by MANDALA; Hair by iruco Skin by Essences; Pose by Del May; Build by PATRON)

So, when I joined SL, it was simply to have a look. After a few months of shopping, clubbing, and more shopping, I decided to give designing a go. Early 2007, I started Zibware which was predominantly swimwear and club-wear. At the start of 2010, three years into it, and after a wildly successful ride involving nearly 100 locations during SL’s economic heydays, I found that what I was creating for clients and what I was creating for myself were starting to diverge. A spur of the moment decision led to the closing of all ZIBWARE in-world locations, as I was off to see where this new direction in design was taking me. Two months later, I opened Zibska, which of course, continues to this day.

Leda: Is it fair to say that Zibska is the convergence of your own taste with what you were offering clients?
Zib: Zibware was my own taste too.  I just found I was going to clubs and places one would wear sexy little dresses a lot less, and was at the point where what I was making to wear was not what my customers would ever wear. And creating solely to sell, sell, sell, and not what *I* wanted, was not anything I could see myself doing.

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 Hat: Zibska, Oriel; Chest: Zibska, Oriel
(Skirt by Fellini; Skin by Belleza;  Pose by AMS) 

Rather than cause a whiplash to a well established name, I thought it called for a new line altogether – progression in name and style.  I was and remain surprised as to how many Zibware customers made a style transition too; it was really cool :)

Leda: Since your designs have evolved so much, could you tell us a bit about some of the things that inspire you and your designs?
Zib: Nature predominates, followed by formations, colours, patterns, scents and sensations. That, and my kiddo’s weird little drawings.

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Dress: Zibska, Corvo; Hair: Zibska, Epoque
(Pose by Del May; Location: World’s End Garden)

Leda: After this evolution & design experience, are there any valuable lessons that you would share with those who want – or just starting – to enter the SL design industry?
Zib: Do know how to use your tools and keep experimenting.   ”Realistic” is boring.  Even if you think you know what you are doing, there is always room for improvement and innovation. Don’t ever put out a gift that is not the same as your full release quality.

Leda: Interesting you mention “gifts.”  I do notice that some designers put out something as a gift that looks like a build in which something that went wrong. And, instead of fixing it, they give it out for free.  Those never feel like a gift to me. Could you elaborate on your comment about “realistic”?
Zib: When I was a shopper and came across a new-to-me designer, I would always pick up the gift. I simply want to be able to check out the work, to see if the posters accurately represent what is inside, and examine the overall quality of a designer before spending money in the shop. If you put out mistakes or sub-par work, one can only assume that is what the rest of your work is like.

Leda: My sense, so far in our conversation, is that your designs mostly are an expression of your sensibilities, and not the customer demand?
Zib: <laughing> I have no idea what my customers want or demand and have never thought to ask. I design for my pixel doll.  More often than not, I design for a photo I want to shoot with my doll. Taking requests, trying to emulate RL/SL fashion trends, asking opinions of others, to me, all that would hinder rather than help the creative process.

Leda: I assume that you do not spend every minute working, and still take time to play! How do you spend your time in SL, when you are not working?
Zib: Taking photos of the designs I work on. At some point, or even before I start working on a new design, I already have an editorial shot in mind. My play time is creating the scene, messing about with the lighting and camera settings, building whatever else is needed for the look, and shooting. A couple of times a month I will catch a bit of a music set or check out a gallery opening, but for the most part I am a recluse.


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Necklace: Zibska, Shig
(Skirt by Fellini; Hair by Dura; Pose by Del May; Location: Black Kite)

Leda:  Tell us a little something about the person behind the avatar. Who is Zib’s typist? Does she have views on how style might influence our lives?
Zib: The typist, well, I find it difficult to just sit still and I’ve always been that way. From a very young age, there has always been a project at hand, sketching, collage, paint, pen and ink, fiber arts, digital arts. Second life is another medium for me and I do enjoy it immensely. Granted, I am easily amused.
I do not  look for deeper meanings nor attempt to interpret style, form, function or choice. Quite frankly, I have more important things to ponder, like the half life of DNA and the fact that we will not be able to grow petri dish dinosaurs that can take over the earth once again, in my lifetime.

Leda: Thank you so much for sharing your time and thoughts with us. It has been truly a pleasure.

You could see more of my photos of Zibska pieces on the Zibska set on my Flickr stream.

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Necklace: Zibska, Valdis
(Hair by Vita; Pose by Del May; Location: Annwn Willows)

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2012 releases- outfit: Gizza, Passion and Glory; skin: [PXL], Kate Damned; hair: Vita, Irene; ring: P.C., Polished Stones; @Black Kite

If you are about to tell me that you don’t have any skeletons in your closet, I will tell you that you probably have not lived a full life.  I don’t care how conservative you lead your life. We all make mistakes – mistakes that we would like to forget and never have to face again. It can be as simple as having been fired from a job, or as dramatic as having trusted your inexperienced heart to someone whose coarse hands had no idea how to hold something precious.  In other words, skeletons in our closet come in all sizes and colors.  It seems to me that they are often signs of your having lived your life, and having taken risks.  For some of us, taking risks or making mistakes does not come naturally.  Making mistakes is not something that is encouraged in most cultures I know.  Nevertheless, how does anyone learn anything without making mistakes?  Everything we accomplish in life – from simples tasks of talking and walking to more complicated tasks of becoming a concert pianist or a first class coder – starts by one’s willingness to explore and make mistakes.  It is quite puzzling that most cultures don’t embrace mistakes more.  Something I used to tell my students to encourage them to take a chance and speak in class was “if you are never willing to risk being wrong, you will never be right!”  Yes, I taught at a University briefly after graduation, before I realized I have no interest in putting up with the big egos at academia whose whole life revolved around being Professor something.  In fact, I felt too young to be called “Professor” and felt it created distance between me and the student (yes, the ego guys relish this distance).  So, I asked my students to just use my first name.  And, of course what I got was Professor+my-first-name.  I know, too cute.  But, there I go on a tangent again.  Back to the skeletons.

Now, skeletons in your closet aside, let’s talk about skeletons in your inventory. Halloween is here again and it is time to let you know some of the favorite items I have in my inventory that might make a great Halloween costume for that special party. Regardless of what party you go to, I have some ideas on pieces to make your costume as fabulous as your true self.  One of the integral ingredients to any Halloween costume is a mask, and I have a couple of favorites this year.  After all, some people aim at having a costume that makes them unrecognizable.

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 bodysuit: Vita, Post-It; Mask: Scrub, Another Drink (@Body Manipulation Fair); boots: Bax, Regency; skin: Belleza, Leila; pose: oOo, Cube Four; @Hazardous

I found the mask above at Body Manipulation Fair, and it is made by Scrub.  In case you have trouble seeing it clearly, I have posted an unedited picture of it.  I am telling ya, it makes for an awesome sauce.  I am also wearing Vita’s Post-It outfit, and Bax boots.  I took this photograph at the playgrounds at Hazardous, on a slide.  It took me a while to situate myself on the slide, but I just love that sim. One of the nicest places to play.  Now, the concept of masking yourself is inherently in conflict with exposing the skeletons in your closet.  And, truth be told, Halloween is not about exposing but masking.  Nevertheless, in masking ourselves we reveal ourselves too.

Speaking of masking ourselves, I had some photography fun with the mask below by a truly creative designer, Faust Steamer who owns ContraptioN.  I stumbled upon his work, and then found this mask (called Cannibal)  at Horrorfest.  The fact that I could simultaneously play with items from one of my favorite designers, Zibska, was such a great pleasure.  I won’t talk to much about Zib here, as I am planning on talking about her an awful lot in a very near future (you can see unedited picture of the mask and the accessories here). Just know that putting together the outfit below and using one of Peter’s poses was a real play time for me.  I took the picture in a build made by William Weaver, and if you don’t know who he is, you need to remedy that as soon as you get a chance.  This finding creative and kind people with a vision must be the truest reward I get from Second Life.  It allows us to make ourselves, unmask ourselves, and be in the company of the like-minded people – people who often turn out to be miles away where one might not have had a chance to have ever met in Real Life.

Hween2013_dancer_in_the dark outfit: Chrysalis, Romantic; shoes: Etoile, Ballet; mask: ContraptioN, Cannibal (@ Horrorfest); head-piece: Zibska, Bellona; necklace: Rozoregalia, Hydra; Bangles: Zibska, Eilian; pose: Peter’s Poses, Ballerina 6

Another true pleasure I get from SL is being able to wear fantastical outfits that would be next to impossible in RL.  One of the places that never disappoints me in that regard is Vita’s Boudoir.  I remember a few years back when my sweet friend, Claudie, told me “Leda, I was at this store today that I think is right up your alley” and gave me the landmark to this tiny store that had the awesomest outfits.  Of course, Vita’s Boudoir has grown to an impressive scale since then.  One thing that has not changed is the fact that I can never let any holiday go by – let alone Halloween! - without peeking at Vita’s Boudoir to see what these creative sisters have for us.  There is always more than one thing, of course, that will catch my attention. However, I have to choose and, this time, I chose Shaman Queen.

I wore Shaman with makeup from LpD, and Maitreya’s Hera head skull and stilts that was bought at Designers United.   As I had put the costume together, I was trying to think how I can photograph the whole thing.  After trying a few times, I gave up trying to show you everything.  Instead, I asked Peter to make a pose, which he did impromptu (man, aren’t we lucky to have friends who just say “oh, is that what you want? hop on this stand and I will make it right now”).  Peter is wearing MB2 Chess by Cherry Manga.  We had a good time shooting this one; I hope you like it.  For a better idea of what the outfit looks like, take a look at the unedited version that I took in bright sunlight as opposed to the costum-made WL below.

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outfit: Vita, Shaman Queen; head-skull & stilts: Maitreya, Hera (@Designers United); skin & makeup: LpD, Annalise; pose: Peter’s Poses, Your Move

When I was at Body Manipulation Fair, I saw lots of wonderfully unique things.  That’s one thing about the fairs – they are lagtastic and no one is willing to come less made-up (I have no idea why!), but if you brave the crowd and lag, you will be pleased with what you find.  I found these amazingly detailed horns in the picture below.  They are well-made, and have a unique look that is all their own.  Below, I have put it together with a PM Halloween outfit from last year, though don’t forget Poulet has a pretty cute one this year too.  But, the Demonia outfit was just the perfect outfit to use the horns with.  And, I asked the sweet Peter Jackson (yes, again) to make a pouncing pose for me. The outfit is just fantastic.  Maybe Poulet would be willing to bring it back? :)  Again, I have posted an unedited version of the picture for you, so you know what everything looks like in-world.

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outfit: PM, Demonia (older group gift); horns: RO, Baphomet (@Body Manipulation Fair); lashes: Discovery, Zero Mile lashes; earrings: Finesmith, Folieolie; skin: Glam Affair, Linn Snow White; shaved head: Inkies, tribal; pose: Peter’s Poses, Pounce; @Hazardous

Before I end my rambling, I have to tell you where I found one of my favorites of this season – Halloween or not.  This other “bony” outfit is designed by no other than the very lovely Giz Seorn.  You can find this one at the “If you Got it, Haunt it!” event, which runs from Oct 19th to the 31st.  Like all her other stuff, it is well-made and well-thought-out.  In fact, I don’t even need to post an unedited version for you, as the picture below is hardly edited, besides some hue manipulation and cropping.  It is feminine and sexy, and it even has trees on it.  And, if you have ever read my ramblings in the past, you know of my love affair with trees.  So, I get to claim that I wore trees and exposed skeletons too! Could life get any better?

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outfit: GizzA, Deathly Silence; hair: Vita, Anthrazit; skin: Belleza, Leila; pose: Kali Mead, D1; @Humanoid

 

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Snapshot_4939_editedDress: Zibska, Corvo; Hair: Zibska, Epoque; Pose: Del May, Exquisite; Location: World’s End Garden

My nephew of two and a half years old stands in front of the mirror admiring all of his own 2.5ft covered in a white button-down shirt and jeans. “I am a boy!” he half-screams. “Yes, you are!” I smile back.  ”Is daddy a boy?” “Yes, he is.” “We are boys!” he raises his arms and hoots at the mirror. Then, he looks at me in the mirror, “but, you are not a boy.” “That’s right.” “Do you want to be a boy?”, at which point the inner half-sleep drunken feminist in me wakes up and starts discussing the fact that yes, I am a girl, and your mommy is a girl, and JJ your friend is a girl, and girls are wonderful, and they can do anything, and they are strong, and they can become mommies, and they can become mechanics, and they can become Olympic winners, and, and, and. Then, he turns around, looks at me, and says “Ok, then, I will be a girl!”  And, that’s when it hits me. He doesn’t care. He has no agenda.  He just wants to be with me and be happy.  And, if I don’t ruin him with my own assumptions and presumptions and misconceptions, he will probably grow up to be whatever he wants to be too.

To save the day, I grab his hand, “come with me!”  We walkout to the backyard, and stand under the big old oak tree. “Do you know what I want to be?” I ask. “What??” he asks with his eyes like saucers with a dollop of chocolate in the middle. “I want to be a tree; to let you swing off my branches; to let you read a book in my shade; to let you take pictures of me in the fall; to have you hug me anytime you want.” And, then he wants to be a cloud to rain on me, and we keep going on and on, about the things we love to be in the world.  That day put me in a tree loving mode for days to come. Nature-loving mode is more like it, but trees in particular.  And, as a friend said to me when I was shooting the photograph below and rambling about this mood, what’s there not to love!

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They are magnificent. They give life. They give shade. They give off the strong scent of living.  In a way, they are like a good man – except they are not that hard to find! (If you don’t know what that’s hinting at, you probably don’t know who Flannery O’Connor is, in which case I highly recommend that you start now)

Now, before I go on a tangent as is my habit, let me get back to trees.  As I was saying, they are such givers. All they take is dirt, water, and a little piece of the sky. And yet they give back so much.  If you have never tried hugging a tree, I suggest you try that at least once. I know tree-huggers have a reputation for being crazy hippies, and perhaps they are.  But, a couple of years ago, I had gotten this fabulous Christmas tree.  She was green…and fat…..and tall…..and thick….and had the best smell in town.  When I finally gave up on keeping her in the second week of January, I gave her a real tight hug and felt an incredible peace. That’s when it hit me: aha! that’s why tree-huggers do it! So, then I did it again with that oak tree in the backyard. And then again with a maple tree.  There is just something about hugging a tree; it puts you in close contact with nature – it is almost like being able to touch the sky.

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Hair: Zibska, Epoque; Earring: Kunglers Extra, Perola; Lashes: Tableau Vivant, Diamond Tears; Skin: Glam Affair, Cleo; Pose: Del May; Location: Black Kite

Now, you might think that I wrote this post because I have been loving trees, and because Zib made this tree-dress, and it felt like it was all coming together.  Well, that’s partially true.  But, the reason I started writing here again – after a few weeks of summer vacation hiatus – was that one of my poems was nominated for an award in a peer-nominated competition.  I know people say this often, and I – myself – am one of those who occasionally rolls eyes upon hearing “only being nominated is honor enough.” But, in this case, it really is true, because I had nothing to do with entering this competition. This is a competition where you cannot submit your own work.  So, all I got was an email of hey you, your work has been nominated.  You can imagine how pleasing that could be.

So, what’s the connection? A dress made of tree.  Leda in a tree-loving mood (well, in a loving mood to tell the truth, but let’s leave that for another post).  A poem getting nominated.  The thing is that the poem has a very strong tree presence.  I will post the poem here – or somewhere – as soon as I can.  At the moment, it has been submitted as an “unpublished” work via a workshop I participate in.  What this means is that if I post it here, it will be considered as published and no longer will qualify.  But, take my word for it that the moment you read it, you will see how the (wannabe) poet loves trees.  In RL, as well as SL, it turns out.

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Dress: Gizza, Thorn dress; Hair: Vita, Tres Jolie; Hair-Piece: Zibska, Ulani; Earring: Kunglers Extra, Perola; Pose: Del May; Location: Black Kite

Just in case, I have not brought in enough tangents into this post, one more thing: the hold that trees have had over me, reminded me of this song that found me some time ago and has never let me go.  You  know how a song finds you and grabs you tight.  Well, perhaps I find them.  I have two main sources of exploration: Flickr and YouTube.  It starts from a small little bud, and then grows into full-blown hours of one link leading to another.  That’s how I have found most of my favorite photographers, as well as musicians.  One of the songs that got a hold of me and never let go was Green Grass by Tom Waits.  This hold that I am talking about is different than songs that one temporarily becomes addicted to – for days or maybe weeks, when you can put the song on repeat and repeat and repeat.  The songs that get a hold of me are permanent, I can always listen to them, even as years go by, even when a new arrangement comes to town. Green Grass is one of those, and it talks about trees too –  imagine that!  That’s the reason I think this song of Tom Waits has gotten such a strong hold of me and is not letting go.  Take a listen.  I hope you agree.  Though, I am posting not the version by Waits, but this heartbreaking version by Cibelle because the video is mesmerizing as well.

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Guest Contributor: Finn Aries Amarilum at Annwn Willows, Photo: Leda Carter This week, Finn and I bring to your attention a sim that is exceptional on more than one account.  Some of you might know this sim as Just Visiting, but it recently went through some renovation and is called Annwn Willows.  This sim is [...]

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*SoliDea FoliEs*: A Star Was Born

Dress: *SoliDea FoliEs*, Faces (in white) Fashion and design in SL have a life cycle that is somewhat different than RL. You do need creativity in both worlds, in order to succeed. It is also true of both worlds that you have to present your art to an audience and seek their approval – no matter [...]

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