Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.” 

Man Ray

The conundrum of art and explaining it!  I have to own up to being part of the spectrum of people who ask how? and what? I love process; I love understanding how people do things and put together different materials and techniques.  I get onto that journey and wander down that path and really enjoy the enquiry.

On the other hand I am always interested in the story - I want to know the motivation, the notions, the ideas, the expression; why this piece? in this way?  So I think I fall pretty much along the length of the spectrum - fascinated by both the why? and the how?


Showing some of the 'how.'..but oh, the 'why' is so precious here as well...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

More Daily Words

Part of my busy studio weekend time was making a couple mores sets of Daily Words cards.  I include 70 words and they are written in the colours of the rainbow - Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo Purple.

I do love the look of my faithful old watercolour palette.



I have typed out the 70 words, but have to colour code them so that I don't just do all the 'A' words in Red for example; the alphabet and the colours need to be mixed!


An upside down rainbow kind of look...


Barry and I are holding an Open Studio over the Easter weekend 10am - 4pm on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 April and these cards are part of my preparation for the two days.

They come in their own pouch and the idea is that you pop them bowl, and select a word each day - we do a similar ritual at our place and its always interesting to reflect or ponder on the word as we work out how it will guide our day; or how we will incorporate it into our day.


Ten words in each colour, hand-written in watercolours on 300gsm watercolour paper. Each card is trimmed to 5cm x 1.5cm.




Sunday, March 19, 2017

A working weekend

I managed to corral a bunch of time in the studio over the weekend; and had set aside a number of tasks to get through. It felt good to get a commission completed, and almost out the door; as well as play catch up on a few things.

A number of those small things that had been hanging over my head, have now been sorted and can be ticked off the list.  One of my absolute favourite things - ticking off my list!

Nothing really major, just lots of satisfactory completion.

In amongst it all was some more printing of kindness, hope and care cards, so that everybody who has let me know their address can now receive a pack.

I just love the edges...





I added a few more "Thinking of You..." cards to my pile; they are honestly my go-to card for so many things these days; I always have a stash on hand.


Even if some of them seem to be missing their middles a bit; I kind of like the variegated look!



And to finish, a beautiful bunch of "thank-you" from a studio visitor on Saturday - such happiness in this bunch!


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate”. 

Henry Miller

I am finding myself in one of those peak times - where I seem to have a myriad of projects on the go: activities, teaching, festivals, commissions, renovations, garage sales, open studios and work-work; all of which need me to focus on them!  None of them get a really good focus I must say and as result my head is full and feels a little bit like spinning.

These words leapt out at me today in the sense of how absolutely gorgeously they described that state of luxury - of having time to read, to soak in a book, and to just be entranced, bewitched and taken away by one.

Reading does indeed give our souls a chance to luxuriate and I can feel the tug towards a book...


Who wouldn't want to sit on the deck and read a good book here?
Last January, Bay of Islands, NZ. My soul was luxuriating...

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Inside flowers

We have had one of the driest summer on record here - 97% of our State is drought-declared and we are all missing our usual sub-tropical downpours.

Today we got some respite from the dry as the mist and drizzle and gentle rain returned.

It made it quite dark in the house even in the early afternoon, and I couldn't help taking these photos of our dining table looking out to the valley (which is hiding in the mist a bit).



It certainly wasn't the day for wandering outside and looking at things; and we have had workmen over in the studio for a day or two replacing doors and the like so I have been somewhat housebound.

Nonetheless I discovered there were plenty of flowers inside the house...

My dad sometimes lends us his orchids - this beautiful one has the subtlest of vanilla fragrances and is lovely to have around.



A small print of Christmas bush by local printmaker Julie Hanrahan, sits on top of a Ken Munsie and below a Ronnie Tjampinjimpa at our entrance. I have always loved the reflection of the red lines between the two artworks; and the flowers sit happily amongst the lines.


In a niche nearby are local ceramicist Shannon Garson's wee magnolia vases.


And in the office is this framed print,a gain by Julie Hanrahan.
I commissioned her to create a print to celebrate my mum's life. At the time her death we all planted gardenias and I was able to give this print to my family and friends...mum dad and the three kids.


So, lots of flowers everywhere really! They make you smile on a grey old day. Friday is booked for getting to the studio, fingers crossed.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The best laid plans...

As they say, the best laid plans...

 I had a full on week and kept pushing it Saturday doing heaps so that I could have Sunday free for a day of printing. More cards, and some extra things I could do while inked up.

Woke early Saturday with a minor migraine - worked my way through it; woke again on Sunday with a crunching one. Thought about it and decided I really wanted to print, so yep I'd take some medication. 

Which then walloped me some more but differently, and sent me to my bed, where I pretty much stayed for the day.

 I managed to do nothing but address some envelopes and pop some cards into them.









 At least that felt like a little bit of progress…

 Printing to be continued.

And then I managed to pop stamps on them all -- heading this way and that.


And the stamps reminded me so much of a bunch of flowers we gathered on Saturday morning from down the back..


Australian native flowers are such wonderful and weird things!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“Please hear me, Girl: The world has enough women who know how to do their hair. It needs women who know how to do hard and holy things.” 

Ann Voskamp

The day after International Women's Day seemed like the right time for these words.

They are a bit cheeky, but I like them because they try to get us to focus on the things that matter; not the thing that distract.

Women who do hard and holy things...

I live in a great country, in the 21st century; I am a white, educated woman; I am pretty much supposedly equal under the law with my male counterparts; but the number of times I notice inconsistencies in attitudes and behaviours to how we treat women and how we treat men goes beyond counting.

I can happily think about doing hard and holy things without religious overtones, and am happy to call myself a feminist and to bring attention to those moments and attitudes and responses where women are treated differently, even tho I may be called harping, or going on about things. The more we raise the issues; the better chance we have of changing things...



And I am still not real good at doing makeup or hair!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Giveaway update...

For those of you who have left me words and would like me to send a set of cards to you - please contact me at my email address (see below) with your postal details.

I have been happily oversubscribed so will have to go print some more; so please understand if yours don't get to you straightaway...

With kindness, care and hope...


fiona.dempster1(@)bigpond.com

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Experiments and circles

Thank you for all the lovely words that have been shared as part of my giveaway.  It is filling my heart with happiness to read them  and to think about all the positive energy that is circling throughout the world, as we pause and ponder what to bring to our days and what to share with others.

Just so beautiful.

We were work-working in Melbourne last week and it was a mixed bag of activity on return but I grabbed a couple of hours in the studio to test ideas.

You know when you have ideas floating in your head, jotted onto scraps of paper, pencilled into notebooks and keep thinking - I must try that, I need to check that? Well I have been jotting and scribbling like mad and have just managed to try a few things out.

First of all I wanted to see how it would go to ink up some wood type and use the proofing press to print. I wanted to try inking in two colours and also test the pressure of the press with wood type.

I have learned that wood type prints quite differently to lead type; it retains more features of the grain, the sense of roughness (altho the type itself is usually so smooth).

I was so excited to get in and do it I didn't even lock it up in the chase; just tucked as much wood type in as I could and hoped. And it shows!

So yes, an absolute test print, but interesting and lovely in parts.



 And then I got to cutting circles. Years and years go I took part in one of those scrapbooking crazes and turned all my photo albums into artworks.  Some of the best tools from that time were these great circle cutters.  There are three plastic templates with two different 'tracks' or 'rails'; and three different cutters, each blade set at a slightly different distance. Which means that you can fundamentally create 18 differently size circles, perfectly cut.

I have used them in recent times to create openings in books; and have fallen in love with them all over again. And here, they even cut out plastic circles.



 Perfect circles didn't stop me doing another stutter print tho!


And the finish to a big day of work in Melbourne - more circles on the table; accompanied by a glass of wine...


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Celebrating and a giveaway

Just this week, I reached 1200 blog posts.

Wow; who'd have thunk it?  I started blogging in 2009 and have been pretty committed and consistent since then, trying to post three times a week.

I still love the conversational nature of blogging compared to other forms of social media; for me, the blog allows me time to ponder and reflect, and to chat with others about what is going on.  I often feel that a blog is more like a sit down meal; whereas both FB and Instagram feel like takeaway or drive through food - the feed disappears so fast!

So call me old fashioned but here I still am.

I think it is a rather nice milestone and as a result I have decided to give away 20 packs of little cards that I made through the week.

The words are about kindness, care and hope and I am very happy to share them with the world.


In order to enter, simply be one of the first 20 folk to leave a comment about your own touchstone words for the year; or your hopes for the year ahead. I will then get in touch re address details and pop a small pack in the mail to you.




Each card is business card-sized, and each pack contains three cards: one of each word; each in a different typeface.  You may get a grey card or a handmade paper card or a watercolour paper card or...

I just use up my scraps in a beautiful way.


This year, more than ever, seems to be the year we need to share kindness; to care about others and to keep our hope alive. My wish to you all, as I send the words out into the world; ripple of kindness, care and hope.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

"I look for eternal truths in nature, the rhythms, cycles, seasons, shapes, regeneration, restorative powers, spirit. I’m showing what I believe to be interesting and beautiful".

Rosalie Gascoigne

My first Rosalie quote of the year.

She worked so wonderfully with nature; with moments; with open spaces and with ideas about how those places made you feel.  She could evoke the emptiness of the Monaro plains; the pure delight of a fence disappearing into the horizon line; and the simple beauty of birds gathering.

For all of us, we turn to different elements to soothe, to calm, to excite and to inspire.  Whichever port we choose; nature and its rhythms and cycles are precious; they restore the spirit and as we go up and down in the swell of political dramas; nature reminds us of seasons that come and go; of tides that go in and out; and of moons that wax and wane..

The moon, two years ago...

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Preparing to print

I was able to grab the morning in the studio and just wanted to do something small - pretty much anything - to feel like I had inky fingers and words were happening.

Back in January I mentioned that my touchstones for the year were to be kindness, care and hope.

They remain so, and thus I chose to work with those words as I fiddled and faddled with some type.

I love this typeface - Empire 72 pt. So elegant and reminiscent of Art Deco glamour.

How I prepare it,


And how it should look - flipping the photo - this is how it should print.


This is Falstaff 48pt. It is much squatter, but I love the thicks; they gather so much luscious ink and look sumptuous when printed.


The right way around again.


Followed by the still-to-be-classified elegant gothic/blackletter typeface. Such a contrast; but so lovely - 36pt.


I love how it has two different lower case e s.  (Always hard to write the plural of a letter).
I chose the drop down one when finishing a word and the neutral baseline one for the middle of a word.


Kindness



 Care



and Hope


They printed up OK on this scrap of paper and I shall put them to good use!