Tuesday, April 23, 2019

In conversation...

I mentioned a little while ago that I had work on show in the University of the Sunshine Coast Art Gallery's Exhibition from the Collection - Women's Work.

We had a great opening night and this Saturday, I will be in conversation with the Gallery Manager Megan Williams and two other artists Johanna DeMaine and Kym Tabulo. We will be talking about our practice, our process and our inspiration.

Saturday 27 April
11am -12pm
University of the Sunshine Coast Art  Gallery

If you are interested in coming along, you can register here.

I am thrilled with how the book is displayed - quietly and serenely.

One of my goose bump moments was when I realised I was in an exhibition with Eubena Nampitjin, an Aboriginal artist of great renown. We have been fortunate enough to collect one piece of Eubena's work and I love it so very much.

This shot shows my book and a glimpse of Eubena's work Kinyu 2008 - glee!

And then a detail of her work on show.

And the piece that hangs in our dining room area.

I also did a wee interview with the local telly. Which you can watch and listen to here 

It always makes me laugh what they film and record and what they use.  I thought I did an excellent bite about how fabulous it is to see women's art taking pride of place in a gallery; that for too long women's art was considered a leisurely pastime or hobby and they weren't taken seriously, yet here we see such fabulous professional women artists' work on display.

Nonetheless it is great to get televised coverage of local artists and exhibitions so I was thrilled.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Grief cards and another

It has been a really wet weekend here so a good chance to head to the studio and hibernate.

One of the things I have as part of a rolling possibilities list  in the back of my mind is a series of grief cards.

Life. Death. Grief.

They aren't really With Sympathy type cards; I am hoping that somehow they reach deeper and speak to the layers of grief and the aching of grief.

I also feel as if they are cards you just continue to send - not only in the days after somebody dies; but a month or so later as a follow up - and again, and again, as folk work their way through the world with grief.

So a while back I was making these cards with two quotes.

They lived and laughed and loved and left (by James Joyce on the outside) and then on the inside - and life will never be the same again.

I letterpress the words, and then hand illustrate the card with a dandelion being blown.

Cards I do for myself to sell I simply de-boss (no ink on the words) whereas ones I send to a local shop to sell are inked (mush easier for customers to understand them that way, whereas most folk who buy from me get that I like quietness, words there and not there and de-bossing so it's good that way).

The second card I did was with an unable-to be-sourced quote May flowers grow in the saddest part of you.

Somehow these words seem to hold out a wee bit of hope that down in the dark depths, beautiful flowers may establish themselves and slowly grow to bring beauty back into life.

And over the weekend I wanted to do another that has been in my mind.  I attempted something for the illustration a month or so ago and got nowhere with it, but I wanted to try to print so off I went.

The words are Grief breaks us and re-makes us. I wrote the words after listening to a friend speak about how she hadn't realised that grief would change her as much as it did.

I was fiddling about and wasn't ready to ink up, so I just de-bossed the words to proof them.  Of course that's a really hard way to check things because white on white isn't easy to spot mistakes within.

So I grabbed a stick of graphite that I had and rubbed it in an attempt to have the words show up in the negative.  This way I could see any errors and decide on the final layout.

But then I looked again and thought, I wonder if I could simply use this idea as a finished card?

I sprayed fixative over the top of it, and popped deckled edge press on the back as well, and the third int the Grief Card series was done.

The first two sets of grief cards in the series are available over at deckled edge press. The cards sell for $8 each and postage is FREE to anywhere in the world.

These most recent cards will be available there soon I hope and in the meantime feel free to email me if you are interested.

And then to lighten the mood I went to town with the birds.

I made five cards, based on the gathering of wee birds with one of a different colour and letterpress de-bossed the word Outstanding!

Which I thought was bit of fun and could be sent to anybody who has done something, achieved something or just been brilliant.

These ones just make me smile.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

“When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice”. 

Robert Frank

Oftentimes with art appreciation it is hard to capture in words either what we actually experience in the presence of magnificent art; or what we as artists hope for when we show work.

I think that this is a lovely way of describing it - that sense of having your mind and spirit captivated by something, perhaps only fleetingly, but knowing that you want to revisit it immediately to further understand or embed it.

The second-read; the re-visit; the re-watching...these moments when  you can more fully absorb something; when the initial faint echo becomes more of a primary noise. When things go deeper. When you understand more.

When you can just roll the words around on your tongue because they are so exquisitely beautiful; when you repeat the line of poetry because it so perfectly describes a moment.

I think we have probably all experienced that kind of moment, and how wonderful to imagine folk having that moment when they look at your work...


Anne Noble - Dead Bee Portrait (part of A Museum for the bee) 
Seen at APT9

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

APT Part 2

The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art is the most amazing opportunity to view major works by established and emerging artists from our region.  It showcases works that aren't made in Europe; that don't have their genesis in the US or the continents of South America or Africa ;-they are made by our neighbours and people nearby, and they tell the story of our region and show how we respond to issues in our own places and our own ways.

Here is link to the APT website and all of the artists if you want to explore further...

So amongst my favourites are works by Indigenous Australian artists, Japanese artists, Laotian artists, Thai and Vietnamese artists; artists from Kiribati Islands, Myanmar, and New Guinea - all places you would rarely get to experience art from. What an exuberant joy it was.

Another favourite work was by a Vietnamese artist Ly Hoang Ly 0395A.DC concerning the effect of travel and immigration and feelings of dislocation.

boat home boat references the artists' book (see below) of the same name, with the stainless steel concertina taking the form of a home at one end and a boat at the other. Stories of ocean travel and migration appear on the pages.

the boat

The home.

The artists' book in a wooden container and pages spilling out.

 Apart from these two stunners, I was taken by some very brightly coloured pieces as well.

Details from Jakkai Siributr's 18/28: The Singhaseni Tapestries including this embroidered frock.

And these large hanging panels.

And details from Hassan Sharif's Cloth and Paper and Cutting and Tying

 It was a visit that filled me up and nourished me. So glad we made it!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

APT 9 Part 1

The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) has been on show at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane since late last year.  Despite thinking of it often, we hadn't managed a trip to the city to view it, until today. I realised a wee while ago that it was closing soon so we had to get organised and Sunday was a free-ish day, so we had a family lunch and delivery of kitchen items, but first of all we went to GOMA to see APT9.

There was only one piece I knew I really wanted to see. Jonathon Jones' untitled (giran) 2018.

We arrived as soon as the gallery opened and I asked a security person where we would find it and headed straight there.  I knew that if I saw nothing else I needed to see this.  And we did. And it was everything.

 "Understanding wind is an important part of understanding country. Winds bring change, knowledge and new ideas to those prepared to listen". Jones writes.

In collaboration with Dr Uncle Stan Grant Snr AM, the work suggests a map of wind currents, of birds circling above, almost like the murmurations of starlings seen in the UK. A coordinated dance in the skies.

The key elements are traditional tools, and bound to each tool with hand made string is a small bundle of feathers. Many people answered Jones' call for feather to incorporate in the work, and they were delivered to him from all over the country.

Emu egg spoons, mussel shell scrapers, weaving start, bone awls, wooden spear points and stone knives make up the work, incorporating almost two thousand individually, hand crafted pieces.

And here it is in a panoramic shot which give you a sense of it, yet still not full ness of it.

It was accompanied by a sound scape - the whistle of the wind and of wings beating; the language of the Wiradjuri people, the air moving, bird song, breath...

It was exquisite.

ADDENDUM: Here is a link to a video (17 minutes) of Jonathon Jones speaking about this work.

The rest of the gallery had many moments of magic, but nothing moved me quite as much as this work. Here are some others.

Detail of work by Pannaphan Yodmanee.

Astonishing weaving and a bank of shells used for currency. Gunantuna (Tolai People) led by Gideon Kakabin.

A bomb which held hundreds of bombs and has been recovered in Laos, now being used for functional beauty - a garden bed from land mines. Lie of the Land by Bounpaul Photyzan.

Detail from Shinro Ohtake's Time Memory/Nairobi constructed from packing materials that arrived in his mail.

The beauty of dyed pandanus weavings of dilly bags. Mindirr by Margaret Rarru Garrawurra and Helen Ganalmirriwuy Garrawurra.

And a shadow from one of Louisa Humphry's headdress works.

On Tuesday I will share another favourite work and the colourful pieces that I enjoyed - this one was all about the muted, soft and soulful colourings.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

“When you are deep into a book, it’s for yourself alone. But once you’ve finished, if it’s any good, you want to share it with others – rehearse the story, assess the characters, discuss what makes the book special…first engage, in private; then exchange in public”. 

Blake Morrison

This quote really struck a note today after I had asked a fellow book group member had she finished this month's book.

The book is challenging and difficult and confronting - the memoir Educated by Tara Westover.  Anybody who has read it probably knows that it  is a book that almost demands that you talk about it afterwards.

I was a bit sad that she hadn't finished it yet, so I couldn't fully share it with her, but I know that next week's gathering will be a powerhouse of a meeting.

I love both parts of the quote - the first bit where it is reminiscent of being so deep in a book, engulfed almost and completely immersed as you dive in and read it. And the second part of it where you rise up, pop your head above the water, look around and want to share it with others.

At times you almost actually need to share it with others, to process it, to exclaim in joy or wonder; to celebrate the magnificence of the writing; the magic of the words put together just so, to marvel at the resilience of individuals...or to condemn the brutality or the unforgivable behaviour or the awfulness of the characters...

Blake Morrison gets it so right - firstly engaging in private and then exchanging in public - these feel like the hallmarks of a good book.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Playing with pockets

I have mentioned my current obsession with pockets in women's clothing, and spent some time on the weekend playing around with printing and stitching.  Sometimes studio time can just be fun, and that's how Sunday was.

It was a beautiful sunny day and we had no other commitments so I could potter and play to my heart's content.

So I did.

Here are some fleeting images of the fun.

Playing around with gift tags...

Some sewing with the sewing machine on 300gsm paper...

Luckily just a trial given those inky finger marks all over!

Mucking about trying to work out the size of the pockets to sew - took me three goes to get it down.  The size of the paper changed as we went along as well, but it was definitely worth doing.  Now I have pockets templates for future use I think.

And as I said on Instagram - it's always a good day when you're printing purple!

Even cleaning up makes me happy!