Sunday, December 10, 2023

A weekend of jewellery and joy

 We have just had a wonderful Saturday with a studio sale of Barry's new range of jewellery. The studio sale was for just one day, and we delighted in the visits from so many friends and supporters.

So many popped in and bought pieces we were truly truly taken aback. We loved chatting with as many folks we could, and it is always a joy to catch up with people we don't see that often.

And very special to be supported by those we know well. So huge thanks to all who visited and shared in the warmth of these works.

Barry made new work with pebbles from the cove in Scotland, and with pearl shell he had been gifted from Broome. Another new addition was the use of gold-plated silver nickel from vessels he had been given; and he also made use of some slate from the roof at the cottage in Scotland. He brought new life to sterling silver bracelets as earrings as well.

All in all, the works were warm and had lovely soft and supportive energy about them.

Here's how the showing looked, including a gift of beautiful agapanthus flowers.

And some of the older jewellery got a refreshing new display look as well!

We had a super successful day, some pre-sales, some more sales today, and are absolutely thrilled.  If anybody is interested, I have done a couple of short videos that walk you through what was left this morning, which are here and here.  After I shot the videos a couple more pebble pendants sold, so only these three remain:

We live in a generous community and we have many kind, caring and generous friends - and we are grateful for them all.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Thursday Thoughts...

"Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while." 

 Malorie Blackman

I have often tried to ponder the link between reading, fiction in particular, and empathy.  

In my mind it would be interesting to see how many of the big readers that I know, are also empathetic folk. Off the top of my head I think that there is a huge overlap in that Venn diagram. 

And I love the a person as clever and renowned as Malorie Blackman thinks the same! The way writing/literature/fiction can spark an imagination, and can create whole worlds and experiences far beyond our own is the key to helping us realise that there are so many worlds out there, so many lived experiences that are different to our own.

I also often wonder if avid readers are also those people in a discussion who will stop and say "well, that could be because maybe they..." which is a roundabout way of saying that the person has considered that others may be acting or behaving in certain ways because of something particular to their life. They may be the people who don't just observe behaviour and assess it from their own perspective, rather they might be the people who can imagine differing reasons or motivations for folk with different experience to their own. Empathy.

I am enjoying pondering my Venn diagram of readers and empathy; and now pondering conversationalists who offer a perspective different to their own...

Me considering books and words transformed, and different perspectives...
Density 1-6 by Liu Wei, Sydney 2023

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Work in progress

 I have been compelled to create this work based on the statue of The Emigrants in Helmsdale, Scotland.  I have been pondering what home means to us: what it would take to re-build a home; how hard it would be; what you would need; what you might try to replace; what you would seek to establish in a new country?

I had to work in amongst the blues and greys. The statue, the weather, and the water seemed to demand it and so I went along with it. Not a familiar place for me!

This is my work desk as I beavered away during the week. It has been stinking hot and steamy here, so despite my best efforts to stay cool, I had to have the air-conditioning on. And what a hoot that turned out to be as all my light as a feather Japanese papers went flying and drifting all over the place.  I had to keep checking my bins as so many fragments ended up in there... but I persisted!

The imagery coming together.

Some of the words I have been thinking about.


Beginning to now think about stitching. Does it add anything? Does it distract? 

Testing on a piece I realised after completing it, was 0.5cm shorter than the others.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Some days...

 Some days are diamonds, some days are stone goes the song I think.

I had a couple of stone sessions in amongst my making in the last wee while that's for sure!

This first one was because I wasn't thinking and went ahead and messed things up. The second was more because I didn't really trust myself, figuring I was the problem when in fact something else was the real culprit...

I did some writing - handwriting - in black on white paper and headed off to then do my overlay with white acrylic ink.

Tick! That worked well.

I then decided I'd do a half and half leaving the top half of the paper with the white ink over single lines of writing, whilst overlaying writing on the second half. Looking all good so far.

And then I completely forget myself! I forgot to let the black ink dry and went straight in over it with the white ink and got a blurry grey mess!

A very good reminder to pause and pay attention. I have managed to kind of sort of rescue it in a fashion.

I had a brilliant afternoon on Saturday soldering merrily and making great gains. Oh my, did I have plans!
The beginnings of a smaller pebble pendant. It was all going along OK until I decided once again that I would fiddle with the jump ring. This time I wanted to flatten it thru the mill and make it look different, and that all went well.

Until soldering time. I tried absolutely everything I could think of - I varied how I held the piece, I used three different types of solder approaches (sheet, wire and paste); I used three different strengths of soldering (easy, medium and hard) and no way would it work.

Poor Barry had to come and help out, give me some tips, maybe try this, or try that kind of thing. It was so frustrating.

I decided to leave the jump ring unsoldered, and popped it in the pickle to clean up all the residue of heating.

And this is what happened! I had magically turned silver into copper! Which is not generally the direction with metals you would ever want to head - silver being worth that bit more than copper...

So I worked out that the jump ring I had tried to solder was probably silver plated copper or brass, not sterling silver. A very good lesson to learn.  

Which meant I was quicker on the uptake when these three rings wouldn't solder, just deformed on their surface instead. Ahhh now I know, it's not sterling silver.

I had been using a little bag of bits I had been gifted and have now worked out I should really only make work with things that I know for sure are sterling silver.

I am cleaning the pendant up, polishing and buffing it to remove the coat of copper and am hopeful that it will look gorgeous and silvery soon.

Days of diamond and stones. Days of silver and copper!

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Thursday Thoughts...

"Attention is the doorway to gratitude, the doorway to wonder, the doorway to reciprocity". 

Robin Wall Kimmerer 

I have seen many folk celebrate the book Braiding Sweetgrass by Ms Wall Kimmerer, but am yet to read it myself, but with these words I recognise a kindred spirit of sorts. 

I love the way she uses attention as the bedrock to experiences; and the notion of a doorway, an opening, which enables or encourages us to go further.

Attention as a doorway to gratitude seems to be about how paying attention allows us to acknowledge the small and good things - the sun on our face in winter; the taste of a divine chocolate brownie; being present with a giggling child. Gratitude for being alive, and being able to experience these things.

Attention as a doorway to wonder is so real for me. The stopping and pausing and noticing beauty, soft light, colours, the perfect formation of a flower wonder at how much beauty there is if we pause and notice.

Attention as a doorway to reciprocity makes me think harder. Perhaps it is paying attention to small acts of kindness, noting them, being reminded and trying to remember to do the same?


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Slowly slowly with pegs

 I have been saving the threads I have solar dyed from the gardens and kitchen both here and in Scotland for several years now.  They have been randomly wrapped on old pegs, labeled with hasty calligraphy and left in bags and boxes. Waiting.

I suddenly realised that for one of my exhibitions next year, that they might come into their own; so I brought them out of their cupboard and began to play around with ideas and notions.

I must admit, just spending time with them, selecting complementary ones from Scotland and Australia and gathering them together has been a delight.

The original pegs - a mix of square and round heads, messy labels and quite random wrapping of threads. Some pegs look like they have trousers on!

As mentioned, I really do enjoy their company and how they look - I think they are forever photogenic.

But those labels were bugging me, so I created new ones, and made them tidier. Much happier.

I also re-wound them so that they are more uniform in the wrapping, and unwound them from round headed pegs all onto square headed pegs.

And because I haven't yet worked out how their labels will be attached, I wrapped teeny weeny rubber bands around them to hold label, peg and thread together in the interim.

And then I lined them up and thought they were looking rather rigid and less lively than before. Less lively was OK because they were too wild for me before, but now they just looked a bit too tight.

And so I started unwinding a few threads and thought now we are beginning to play and breathe again.

And then because I thought the warm white background might be a bit bland, I tried out some grey paper, which I think has potential.

Of course, this all happened over hours and over days as I meditatively wound and unwound threads, played with positioning and responded to how they looked by trying some new things. The piece is well underway, but there are still quite a few issues to resolve and decisions to be made.

Slowly, but I hope, surely, we will get there.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

A week of this and that

 It was an art-filled kind of week, but mostly made up of bits of this and that.  For me, living an art-life is never simply about making art; it involves so many other aspects - reading about art, visiting galleries and shows, teaching, doing small creative acts for folk, fixing up the websites and so on.

This week I did a couple of small jobs for folk, and together Barry and I ran a Letterpress workshop for nearby printmakers (from up Noosa way). I also fiddled and faddled a lot and spent many happy hours pottering in the studio.

It is clearly heading towards the end of the year, Christmas celebrations, holiday excitement and all the rest of it. So I hand wrote some Christmas tags for gifts for a group of people.

I added some words to this piece of work a friend had been gifted, just letting folk know the name of the flower and bud.

The Thursday workshop 'before' shot - all prepped and ready to go.

The workshop 'during' shot - showing lots of enthusiastic efforts and preparations.

We proofed with carbon paper, and I always love the look of the used paper.

And this. The simplest of words - Pop!

Whilst we waited for another press to be free, here it is by itself on simple, plain cards.

And here it is on some industrial looking prints. What a great addition it makes to the work, and how beautiful do the prints make the word look?!?

A little sampler of different typefaces.

And a sampler of wood type too.

As ever, I missed shots of the other lovely work that went on, but everybody tested and tried ideas and went away enthused by the possibilities...