Thursday, August 15, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

“What was home, anyway, and what was away? What I knew was this: I was most at home when reading, when being taken away by words”. 

Nam Le

This week my pondering for Thursday Thoughts turn towards books; and yet by virtue of this quote I am easily linking to one of my other subjects 'life'.

And also my third rotational subject 'art'.

I am considering home and away, here and there, and what it means for me as I make and create Art at the moment.  And Life is so very much about home isn't it? And well Books, they most definitely feel like home to me, so this wee one is a bit of a trifecta.

However, I took the book angle mostly and feel as if I would like to write the most beautiful of essays on how much books feel like home to me.  How they feel as if I belong. How they make me feel safe and secure. How they comfort me and nurture me.

Books do all of the things that a home does - and they are also portable; I can take them with me and always feel 'at home'.

And then as Nam Le says - the words take you away.

So is it the sense of being taking away that most feels like home?

Home and Away...

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Threads rolled and ready

I managed to dry my threads and then began to wrap and roll them onto my lovely old square pegs.

I thought I'd use some brown paper and write some tags as well - the whole production thing had me in its thrall and I was going all out!

The rosemary leaves...

The paleness of the red crucifix orchids...

The coffee!!

The rosemary flowers after dipping in iron (rust)...

On the flight to Melbourne I kept winding the threads - the violets and the comfrey.

 And by the time we got home I had them all rolled and ready to stitch! I had thrown some extra cottons into the remnants of the violets and the coffee and have since pulled them out and dried them, and the time has come for another flight on which to wrap and roll them.

When we were in Melbourne we came across this version of the Fearless Girl - a tad controversial in a few ways; but just looking at her standing there like that, I do love her, and just wanted to say "go girl!"

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Slow progress for a wee book

I have an edition due in November and I have been working towards it all year, knowing that my time  this year was going to be bit hither and thither as they say.

From the beginning, I wanted to use a variety of techniques and imagery to pull together a small but hopefully sweet book. That meant I needed lots of time to do all of the processes.

Back here in February, I was looking for imagery and preparing solar plates. A week later I had cut pages and was printing.

Then there was the setting of type and deciding of internal pages and the layout of words...

The typefaces is tiny - 8pt - which means the individual pieces are tiny and the eyes do boggle a wee bit.

Here is the colophon before proofing.  I found a mistake or two.

Loads of notes in my notebook thank goodness as there was often a rather lengthy time in between steps.

 Printing the four lines of verse.

The paper was fairly lightweight - around 130gsm, so the impression of the type pushed through a bit more than I would have liked, distracting one from the words on the page, Not to worry, I just sat quietly for a bit and gently rubbed it all back down with a teflon bone folder.

And then I de-bossed, by hammering, a few initials here and there.

I folded the covers, which had been de-bossed using a collagraph plate way back when in January!

And then prepared the book section and once again, trimmed the foredges, this time by hand as the books are small (10cm x 10cm) and there weren't too many pages.

Isn't that just the loveliest image to sit with before I stitch?

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

“We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter”. 


It is fitting to use this quote today because we are working in Melbourne and I first came across this quote as art on a laneway wall here two years ago!

It is truism and a good one at that - but written rather more eloquently than I might have done.

It is a fine thing to be aware that we may not always be accurate judges of our own beliefs; that in fact we can be easily influenced by the manner in which the information relates to us - is it a lie that flatters or is it a bitter truth?

Whichever and whatever, I think this simply reminds us to think about the validity of the information when we observe our own response...

Laneway art, Melbourne, March 2017.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Stitching and finishing a commission

I have been fortunate to be involved with a poetry commission and I posted earlier about the calligraphy for the cover of the book.

A colleague Katie did the layout and design work for the booklets, and I was asked to complete the work by hand stitching the booklets.

The first job was to fold the covers, and the pages.

There is an edition of 22, and it took me a while to work out the best thread, the best stitch and so on.

I had planned a chain of pearls stitch with little baubles on the spine; however because the cover had imagery that wrapped around; and was soft and quiet, it felt quite wrong to distract from the quiet beauty of it with lots of little stitches.

I never cease to be amazed when my plan for something is quite clear in my head until it has to happen and then it just can't possibly be!

So it was back to testing and trialling threads and stitches.

Until I landed on the soft grey embroidery thread - two strands of DMC 234.

 And began to stitch.

The pile grew slowly.

Until it was finished.  I had asked for extras to be printed in case of stuff ups, so there was more than 22 to stitch.

Once stitched, I had to trim the pages.  You know the thing when you nestle pages within pages and the inside ones stick out more?  So Barry came and helped the guillotining - by holding the book firm whilst I pulled the lever. Excellent team work.

A stack of books.

I went back and trimmed all the inside stitching thread ends.

And loved the thin foredge trims as well.

And then we were done.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Solar botanical dyeing update

It is Sunday afternoon and time is about to run away from me, so I thought I should grab the moment and release my threads from their solar dye pots.

The week began with my Dad delivering more violets for my pot.  These violets came from his house here, from a plant he brought with him from Tathra in far south New South Wales, when he moved, which in turn had been grown from the plant he had in Canberra at the house where I grew up.  So they are specially connected to place and home for me. Special.

We added them to the pot and let the weather continue its job. The sun wasn't too strong or too bright this week; but we did manage intermittent sunshine.

I think the coffee grounds did really well - a nice warm brown appeared (centre).  The rosemary leaves went a pale yellow (right); and as I thought, the pale rosemary flowers did very little at all (left).

So I dunked the rosemary flowers in the iron and they took on a rusty tinted hue...(bottom)

You learn so much when you just have a go and try something; and of course you would learn a bit more if you actually worked with somebody who knew what they were doing. Nonetheless I have gleaned a few learnings and I expect they might stick.

Such as, more time doesn't necessarily mean deeper or brighter colour.

Here is the red crucifix orchid pot halfway through the week. When I played with it, the threads looked pinkish-reddish.

By the end of the time, the red flowers had browned off in the pot, and I think, so too had my threads.

My sense is that had I taken the threads out earlier, they may have been brighter. I realise I am never going to get bold and bright colours, but I really do think they have lost a fair bit!

Of course, it could just be a case of imaginitis .

But they are still pretty gorgeous.

Here they are drying outside after rinsing... along with comfrey (top) and violets (right).

I love the blue from the violets! And the softness of the creamy comfrey.

In fact I love the violets so much I added more thread and topped up the pot with more flowers, and alum and boiling water!

Off we go again.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

"One eye sees, the other feels".  

Paul Klee

I got a small smile upon my face when I read these words.  I thought to myself - yeah, that's kinda right isn't it?

Perhaps its simply another way of considering our duality - our logical and our motional; our analytical and our intuitive; our left brain and our right brain; our yin and our yang...

It felt right for a painter to use the eyes to describe it tho; and to turn things upside down with the senses by having one of our eyes feeling, not seeing.

I like how it suggests that when we view art we are both seeing and feeling; and that by virtue of viewing, it is our eyes that are also feeling. Fun!

In its upside way it made perfect sense to me and made me feel balanced.

Detail of Andy Goldsworthy work, National Museum of Scotland 2016.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Finishing, beginning and in between...

I am trying to get through a bunch of small-medium tasks in the next wee while.

I managed to finish my peace weather grams - popped holes in the top and threaded the string for hanging.


In between times we had visitors and the weather was grand.

And we all had fun working/playing with Barry - I made a bowl!

And of course, popped some rust in it too.

I began thinking of what I might wrap my threads on when they are finished being solar-dyed. The answer was these square pegs.

 I also began to plan the stitching for this edition of books - a sample of the printed cover.

Some options to choose from..

Lots of things going this way and that - finishing, beginning and in between times...