Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Instead of working...

Despite the fact I have a couple of commissions lined up that will be paying me money to do them; and the other fact that I'm preparing for more work-work in Melbourne, which also helps pay the bills, I got distracted.

In fact it doesn't take much to distract me I must say.

There I was planning to draw up all these lines for calligraphy and work on a couple of layouts when the siren song of incense burning called me. And who am I to resist?

Its an interesting reflection for me how some works take over your life your mind, your thoughts, your dreams.  This most recent book with Susan, which isn't actually due until the end of January, has done that to me in the past week or so. I close my eyes and think of options, I try things out, I scribble notes, I dream of more ideas.  And yet, I have months to do it in!

The commissions on the other hand are due in the next few weeks and I should really be head down bum up and working on them.  But I will.

So I started trying cut out some letters from the scraps of pages I had left over.

And then I tried to burn the edges.  I like the life in these words, despite the fact they have been burnt.

This jumble of them all together was particularly nice I thought.

Book, before and after.

I still find burning with incense the best way for me to control the burn. I sit quietly in the studio, with my candle burning and dip my incense stick in to get a flame and that hot-red look, then burn a bit, then re-light the incense. All so slow and meditative.

You can see by the number of holes in my backing paper how often the incense tip breaks - I end up putting out little scorches here and there as I go along.

I was checking here to see if you can burn the top edge of a page effectively.  So much fun.

As ever, I don't know where this will lead or even if I'll use it in the final piece. But half the joy of making is the exploring and testing I think, those lovely unanticipated meanders, following an idea or two down a path...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Complementing each other...

Barry and I have begun work on another project together. Once again it's fun to observe how we each bring our own ways of seeing and thinking and doing to a project and yet how complementary the work ends up being.

Barry began with some metal.  I then tried to work out how reflect some of the detail and patterns in the metal.

I tried tracing it. Which was pretty good, even tho it meant I only chose a few highlights and not the whole design.

And then I began to do rubbings...

I was most excited! This way I could get a really good sense of the design without too much trouble.

I had forgotten how much fun rubbings were.

I was hoping to use these images to cut some embossing plates and be able to emboss a modified version of the design - to hint at it, and give a sense of it without trying to replicate it perfectly as I knew that would take me forever and be beyond me.

And then.

I looked at the metal.

I looked at the paper.

I looked at the press.

And I thought, why not?

Oh me oh my, I used the metal as an embossing plate and transferred the whole design into the paper.

I. was. over. the. moon. happy.

My mind has a thousand ideas now and Barry's metal stash will never be safe again!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Finding ways

Susan and I have begun another collaborative book.  We set some parameters, had wild-round-the -world discussions about options and we each went home to play and explore.

Today we were getting together to swap pages - we each prepared around 14 pages so that we could give each other 7 and keep 7 and build a book around the two sets of pages.

We had added another dimension into the work this time - burning.  This is where it gets funny; over the past few days we have let each other know where we were up to and what we had done; and in the texts and emails it become clear that we had left our last meeting with quite different ideas about what we would do!

I thought we would prepare pages and do a bit of burning, then hand them over for more burning and destruction.

Susan thought we were burning pages and handing them over.

So with trepidation we go together today thinking it might be very very ugly and that we would need to modify, reverse, and possibly start again on some parts.

In the end we decided to work with what we each delivered. They are so very very different, but there is immense potential in what we have in our hands.  In fact I am quite excited by the possibilities now and am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

They actually sit together well - hiding, revealing, covering, protecting...

Here are my piles of trials, so funny that I left all my delicate burnt pages behind and just burnt into my Arches Velin pages!

And played with wax and water...

I remain hopeful that something beautiful may emerge from this intriguing mix!

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!).