Monday, September 22, 2014

Gonging for peace...

It's funny how a few folk mentioned they would love to have heard the peace bell gong for peace last night.

For the first time ever, I chose to video and sound record the gonging, then we gonged again when I could be more mindful.

Both Barry and I use the hanging wooden beam (I think the official term is shu-moku) and together we gong the bell.

Whilst the sound echoes and reverberates across the valley, we send thoughts of peace into the world.

As you can see, it was right on dusk...


Sunday, September 21, 2014

International Day of Peace

Today is International Day or Peace, and so this morning we headed up our driveway to hang different flags for peace in the garden; some down a the entrance to the house and another one over at the shed/studio.

We bought his flag in Italy years and years ago - I think of it now as peace with sweet peas. Sweet peace.

One of my small pebbles for peace hanging at the front door,

Along with Mary-Janes, and Luthien's flags.

And my book pages...

Up at the top of the driveway, Barry's peace prayer wheel turns quietly.

There was a  bit of a breeze at times today.

Detail of Barry's metal flags from last year 

We also spent time out the back with our peace bell and the weathering peace flags from previous years.

Barry's old umbrella flags.

Some of my printmaking cloth flags and Jennifer's discharged fabric flags. Both sets are weathering so beautifully. Peace persists.

I don't really know what to do or say about peace when there is so much destruction at play in the world.  All I can think to do is to mark these special days; to show others that we care about peace; make time in our own days to stop, reflect and dream of peace.  We will be gonging our peace bell at dusk, sending peaceful vibrations across the valley, and hopefully further afield.

I sat today and pondered what it might mean if people just stopped fighting and hating for this one day. Just today.  How wonderful that would be. And then I thought, if we could do it for one day, then maybe we could do it for two... and then...

I wish you peace... and kookaburras amongst the peace flags.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I just came back from a few days work-working in Melbourne, to be greeted by the latest edition of Colophon, the Australian Calligraphers Society journal.

How chuffed was I to see my artwork on the front and back covers? Very!!!

Our fabulous editor Liz Firth approached me to write an article on my experience at Summer School in Winter - where I took two classes with Laurent Pflughaupt from France (see here, here and here).

I happily wrote my words and sent through some accompanying images, and Liz chose to use two of them for the journal.

The cover is a piece called Urban Grit - begun in class, and completed at home in the studio; and the back cover image is Graffiti - again, begun in class, but completed at home.

The issue is chock a block with interesting articles, reflections and investigations.

It was a very happy homecoming as I also opened a package from my parents who have been tripping around Tasmania, and they had collected some extra wooden type for me... just what I needed.

I do just love letters...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A fine weekend

We had a good day Friday in the studio, but the rest of the weekend was pretty busy.

On Saturday we put together a small display at the Maleny Library for International Day of Peace. It will be there for two weeks showing people gentle artworks about peace.

I also managed to do the first draft a of major calligraphic commission - always feels good to have actually gotten all the words out and onto paper for the first time! Plenty of re-drafts to come and the thoughts of the client to include, so it's good to have begun.

It was also fun in a few spare moments to play with a new alphabet. I don't know how or why these things happen, but I was chuffed when I just sat down to do this and it worked!  Very happy indeed. There seem to be a couple of options still with v and w.

Happy too with these inky-lined backgrounds that also worked - for just what I'm not sure yet!

Today we had the important job of delivering one of Barry's sculptural installations for a wedding.  It is one of my favourite pieces "Bending II" and if it isn't to be gracing our block, I'm pleased it's at the wedding in northern NSW.  What a lovely backdrop to the ceremony.

As it was on our block...

And thank you to those folk who have passed on messages of peace for the tree - I managed to do the four weather-grams and hang them late this afternoon.

All in all an art-filled few days with lots of variety.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Peace Flags flying...

This morning, and again this afternoon, we walked up the driveway and tied some peace weather grams to the tree at the top.  Barry went up the ladder, I stayed on the ground.

Next Sunday, 21 September, is International Day of Peace. For the last couple of years we have made and hung flags on the day; and in the weeks before and for months afterwards, the peace weather grams hang in the tree, moving gently in the breeze and sharing their message with passers-by.

We've had some very strong winds and the occasional shower in the past few months, and the last of last year's weather grams had drifted away; and all that remained was dangling bits of string.

Today, the tree began to fill again...

After the morning session, I looked up to the tree from the kitchen...

The afternoon sun on the weather grams.

I said to Barry I was very happy that in some spots, there were now three generations of weather grams. In the photos you can see the new string, last year's string and the string from the year before. I like that.

I hadn't realised until today how much I had missed them.  I love looking out as I type and seeing them waving in the breeze; that I stand in the kitchen and watch them. If the window is open I can hear them moving; and I look toward them as I walk to and from the studio.

Today I have seen so many people look at them as they drive by, and couples walking along, stopping to look and read them.

'Tis good to share more peace, and I am so happy to have them back.  I will keep adding to them up until next Sunday, then will sit and watch them as they drift and disappear over the course of the year.
It's a nice cycle in my life.

I would be happy to share your thoughts for peace, and have you join me in this small peace-filled installation.

If you would like me to add a flag for you - please send me a few words on peace to write (maximum 5 or 6!).

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

More peace, more peace.

International Day of Peace is not far away - celebrated on 21 September every year.

This year I will fly some paper peace flags at the front of our house, some small indoor ones and, now almost a tradition, my paper weathergrams will fly in the tree at the top of our driveway.

I have made a batch and will start hanging them soon. I will also just keep making them from now until 21 September and hanging a few more each day.

In the hope that the more I repeat messages of peace the more chance we have of creating it, I photographed some of the weathergrams and then used the paper camera app on my phone to create variety.

More peace! More peace!

I will also be having  peace-based exhibition of works at Maleny Library from Monday 15 September - Saturday 27 September.  Lots of beautiful reminders of peace I hope.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

So many ways to burn...

This is one of those slightly odd posts, where you get to see some of the strange things that go on in the studio.

I have been experimenting with burning. I can almost hear one or two bloggy friends sighing in ecstasy or squealing with delight!

I have been trying to work out how to burn some very fine paper. As you can imagine very fine paper (about 18gsm) has a habit of taking off very quickly once one lights it!  From previous experience, I have learned to do it near a sink of water so I can dunk the flaming paper straight away if it starts to get away from me.

Here are some shots of the different outcomes.

I started out with one of those wood-burning tools which people use to burn lines and marks into timber-ware. I got mighty bored with this - it took forever to have an impact on the paper, and still only gave this warm brown mark - no real burning. I made a hole in the paper and tried to scorch the edges and thought really, life is too short.

So back to flames. I lit a match and touched the edges. It ran and carved out quite nice curves before needing to be dunked.

This is the 18gsm tengucho/tengujo paper.

This is the 50 gsm goyu paper.

And then I went back to my old favourite - incense sticks.  I expected they would also burn quite quickly so set up near an open door and some water; but to my delight I discovered it was the most gentle of burns, and easily controlled.

I think I have found my preferred style, for now.

I had no intention of burning patterns of small holes; but just wanted to see if it was possible!

Here'a shot with the three approaches in one - left hand side wood tool, top edge incense, bottom edge flame.

 Oh and some random walnut ink blobs in between.

Having worked out how to burn, I then wanted to test another type of paper - the 9 gsm Tengucho paper, and then to see how my preferred papers took dye - tea and walnut ink.

The 9 gsm is on the left and the 18 gsm on the right. I was experimenting with holding the incense stick on for different lengths of times and moving it in different directions as well.

Here they are after I dyed them with tea - a bit pale and anaemic for me. The other thing about the 9 gsm is that it doesn't actually look burnt. It looks more moth-eaten instead - in my view anyway!

So then I dyed another piece of the 18gsm with different strengths of walnut ink. It looked so pale on the paper I kept strengthening it, but clearly the lightest one would have done all I needed.

A bit of a weird and random experimental couple of days, but well worth it I think. I often amazes me how many hours I spend in advance of actually doing anything for some pieces of work.  Sometimes I dive in and make it straightaway; other times it takes days for me to get to work on the real thing.
I'm sure I'm not alone...