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Dailyart

PERPETUAL MOTION

Antonella is a naturopath.

Nature is an inexhaustible source of learning to her. Her studies first and her job then led her to study the properties of plants and the effect of climate, weather and feelings, as well as to have a keen eye for details of the world and people. With this in mind, Antonella gives me her own Recipe for Perpetual Motion:

Observe the tree.
Wait for the bud to form on its branches.
Observe its buds.
Wait for them to bloom and become flowers.
Observe the flowers.
Wait for them to wilt and drop petals.
Observe the soil.
Wait for dropped petals to mix with the soil and nourish the tree.
Observe the tree.
Life is so hectic now and we forget that nature is self-sustaining, self-regenerating, and continuously transforming itself. As part of it, we are the same.
Recycling is nothing new, just new awareness inspired by the certain cycles of Mother Nature.
A tree in winter is apparently still and lifeless but it has new life within - it just waits for the right moment to express it. Recycling means having another chance.
That is the Recipe for Perpetual Motion. I’ll show you now some of the very important 38 Bach Flower remedies, each for a different emotional state. Four of them are here, with Perpetua the pencil:
MIMULUS, OLIVE, MUSTARD, BEECH

MIMULUS (Bach flower no. 20)
It is used to counter fears. It is used for those who have fear of fear and feel that everything is so difficult to face.

OLIVE (Bach flower no. 23)
It restores strength to continue an effort and brings relief from physical and mental exhaustion.

MUSTARD (Bach flower no. 21)
It is used for those who suffer from deep feelings of melancholy and sadness and total gloom for no clear reason.

BEECH (Bach flower no. 3)
It is meant for those who are always finding faults in other people or things, and for those who only harbor resentments. It brings patience and tolerance.

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A WORD IS LIKE A SEED

Michele composes verses for music and has a passion for tattoos.

His idea of recycling and reuse is very special. To Michele, recycling is first a state of mind, a discipline that involves body and soul. Renewing the skin with tattoo painting is its most evident expression but he explains, through a metaphor, that there’s a subtler way of recycling.

Let’s imagine that a word is like a seed.
Depending on the soil, the season, the wind or lack of it, cold or heat, that seed will bear either a flower, a fruit or it will disperse.
When we use words, we sow.
And, in turn, we are like fertile or arid soil.
I love to place my words on a field that does not belong to vocabulary or the common use of a language. That generates new images, new points of view, new ideas.
Those who recycle - however they do it - open a window and let new, fresh air in.
When you recycle, you sow.
Spacecraft, Circles, To swim, Dries. They are the latest words I recycled in collaboration with Perpetua, the pencil.

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ONE MORE CHANCE

Silvia is an illustrator: she draws images for books and magazines, and she invents games.

She is responsible for the teaching unit at Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea (Center for Contemporary Arts) in Mestre, near Venice. Talking with her about pencils is a serious and technical matter, because pencil is the tool of her trade par excellence.

To me, Perpetua is like a Dadaist readymade.
Lifeless powder transformed for a new use, which - in addition to the disposal of inert graphite - works well also to put your hair up (she laughs).
I love the idea of it coming from an existing product, being recycled and, as such, eternal.
I reckon the Alisea approach seriously necessary in this very historical period. What are we going to do with all this waste? We will be submerged in it! Giving it another chance is in fact very interesting, as well as legitimate.
We would all like another chance - correct?
To know that you may be given another chance is comforting, always.
Now I’ll enjoy letting Perpetua talk with some animals of my fantastic zoo... (newly printed for GBaby, an Italian children’s magazine published by Periodici San Paolo): let’s not underestimate that Perpetua easily interacts with everyone, adults and children. Being mother and artist, I know how crucial it is to teach important issues since an early age.

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WHEN INTUITION STRIKES
MUSICAL PERPETUA and PRECIOUS PERPETUA

Paolo Valentini is a guitarist and ethnomusicologist.

We’ve been acquaintances for years and I know his excellent inventiveness, so I challenged him: Can you make Perpetua the pencil play? Not only did Paolo accept the challenge, but he also raised the bid with his brother Mauro, a goldsmith and a luthier for the love of it, and asked him to make a jewelry Perpetua. Here’s the story about a challenge that has become a reality!

Paolo, how was to imagine Perpetua becoming a musical instrument?

It was a long engineering job, with many failures. The intuition about a Jew’s harp struck one night. It’s always when you least expect it.

Why did you eventually go for the Jew’s harp?

For three reasons: first of all, it’s an instrument I really love, I’ve been playing it since I was a kid, long before I decided to become a musician. Secondly, it’s an idiophone, which means that it creates sound via vibrations through the body of the instrument itself, without the use of strings, membrane or air flow. A pencil is an idiophone too, after all. I found it an interesting, almost poetic, affinity. Lastly, a Jew’s harp allows for a dual view of the object: Perpetua looks like a nib, which was the final revelation, to tell the truth. A creative process is always a surprise: you want to go from A to B, but the route is never as straight as you’d expect. It holds surprises, disappointment, rewards. Just like this project. The Jew’s harp is known in many different cultures by many different names and shapes. It is used in shamanic rituals as a droning sound that resonates in the brain, facilitating hypnotic trances, a mental relaxation just like before sleeping. The one I’ve chosen for Perpetua is called Dan Moi and is from Vietnam.

Mauro, how was it to work Perpetua and make the Jew’s harp?

It was essential to find a Jew’s harp made of a harmonic metal, since it had to be quenched. I engraved the body of the pencil and put a part of the instrument into it, which made Perpetua a sound box, because graphite has very good sound conductivity. Then I welded it with a silver pin with the P of Perpetua.

How did the intuition about a jewelry Perpetua strike you?

Generally speaking, my best ideas come to me while I’m walking along the river or I’m in the shower. I’m an observant and a good listener, I take my time and focus. I observed the shape of Perpetua for a long time. I thought that the pencil’s mark could let a flow of words and drawings out. I imagined describing that flow through water. This explains the initial silver squirt from the top of the object, which means that an idea per se comes from nothing and then flows. Likewise, silver flows onto the body of Perpetua. I decided to make it more precious with an opal, a stone that contains water. It’s a stone that should be soaked in water regularly to keep it sparkling. Australian miners would put opals in their mouth to keep them moist when they crossed the desert with their goods. The opal on Perpetua is my tribute to water, an essential and very precious resource. It marries perfectly with environmentally friendly Perpetua. Perpetua is precious because it is made of graphite, a material that is noble – let’s not forget it was used to make the first vinyl records – and precious, because it has no impact on the environment. Just like Perpetua.

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THE ART OF HOLDING A PENCIL

Luc is Flemish , he is an English teacher.

He can work easily with chalk, blackboards, pens, papers and computers. But do not talk to him about pencils.
Sitting in the University café, because of the typical curiosity of good teachers, he looks interested at Perpetua, which he vaguely heard about, and then before the class he said why he does not get along with the category..

My brother is good at drawing, my father too.
I don't remember an envelope without a one of my father's drawings, just to make it more personal!
On the contrary, I have no skills of drawing, I feel quite embarrassed because it doesn't come easily, or natural for me.
A pencil is rather something functional for me. In fact there is always a pencil on my desk.
If you use a pen, it can stop working, because of humidity or because you don't use it a lot, or something... A pencil always works.
Because of that there is always a pencil nearby, also in my car.
A pencil is definitely a good invention, but, but...I don't particularly like the feeling of a pencil because I am not good at holding it.
Nobody teaches us how to do it!
The flat side of Perpetua, which is quite unusual, makes it comfortable to use.
I can even try...ok, I try.

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PARITY

Alessandra is Italian. She chairs a tourism international organization.

She is sitting beside me on a train to Ypres, browsing the presentation about leadership she will give at a conference. She wants to underline some text, so she searches for a pen or a pencil in her handbag. I hand her a Perpetua. She silently looks at it. And then she spontaneously starts telling a story, while playing with Perpetua.

I remember certain thrillers, especially those scenes where the detective finds a slip and a clue on it, a phone number or a note. Apparently you cannot read anything, but as you scribble with a pencil a mark on the paper comes out. The pencil becomes a magic tool that reveals to your eyes, your memory, and your touch information that was believed to be lost.
We sometimes meet people we feel we already know, even if we rationally know they are strangers to us. Maybe we shake hands or accidentally touch, like gently on the arm... a sort of caress.
I wish I could move a pencil on that piece of skin and bring that imprint back to light.
And I wonder: What is the shape of a caress?

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MAKING MARKS

Darcy is an American visual artist.

She draws and paints detailed, figurative paintings in pastel and other media.
When I gave her a Perpetua pencil after a dinner, she readily took it in her hand, and with playful enthusiasm, turned the paper placemat upside down, started writing, drawing, doodling, and said, “I feel like a child!”
Then she stopped and said:  ‘A pencil is power, the power of words, the power of visuals, the power of creativity, and now, thanks to our conversation, even the power of talking’.

To ``leave a mark`` may mean: to make a mark on a sheet of paper, or to leave a personal trace, as in having an impact on the environment where we work or live. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's not.
For instance, take a small, meaningless mark on a sheet of paper. Make one more nearby, then another, and another again. It becomes a sketch.
The same happens in our lives. Small actions, even the ones that are seemingly unimportant to us, will end up making a path. We make the drawing, and if we want, we can change it, just as we can change other paths in our life and the lives of others.
I love it very much when I think that I can have an impact and leave my mark.

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THE OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE

making something possible, what was not there before

Annemartine is of Dutch origin, she grew up in Luxembourg and she works for a bank.

She is passionate about photography and loves travelling. One afternoon we met for a tea and she started doodling with Perpetua. She looked at it as if it was an unknown, new thing – to throw it without breaking it was in fact really astonishing to her. Then she said she needed some time to re-establish a relationship to a pencil because she did not use it anymore. At one point she said that it was like her – AnneMartine is a tall girl. After some minutes’ silence, she added: ‘No, I am not like her, I think I am not so hard inside…’ And she smiled.

Pencil is a nice item, you can use it for a long time. And, meanwhile, you can really find yourself in this personal relationship. With a pencil you can create something new, a tale, a poem, a drawing, just the two of you. In fact, the two of us, like a team, can create something new. But this is always true. I have never thought about it!

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Paradox

Enzo is an Italian doctor.

We met on a cold Sunday afternoon, and we walked a lot in search of an open cafe. Meanwhile, I was talking about Perpetua. He did not say a word, but I had the feeling he was politely listening to me, because while his facial expression was sceptical.
When we finally found a warm place where to sit down, he asked me out of the blue what was so special with this pencil.
I took a cluster of Perpetua pencils out of my handbag and I placed them on the table. He took one, he observed it, then looked back to me and burst out: ‘Nice to see that there are stll people around who work this way. It is encouraging.’ His scepticism faded away.

I have never liked pencils because what you write will disappear.
Why then call a pencil Perpetua? It does not write permanent things, it cannot.

I am puzzled because the object per se has nothing to do with it. What I see is the innovative drive to make it, which goes beyond simple profits.
Well, I am impressed. The flat side and its resilience are functional characteristics. What strikes me is the ethical reason behind a paradoxical pencil, to say the least!

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