Thursday, March 4, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

"A book is a gift you can open again and again."  

Garrison Keillor

Do other folk re-read books? 

I have always kept a bunch of books with me that I want to read again. Perhaps because they are beautiful and elevating; perhaps because they told me a truth I had not previously known or understood and I want to keep the reminder there.  Sometimes I keep them so that I can lend them to somebody else when the time is right.  

But re-reading can do two things. It can either make you wonder what on earth you saw in a book, and make you wonder who were you that you thought this was special?; or it can reinforce the message or the feeling and the delight and can be helpful and calming.

I have been reading some gentle, light, mindless books of late as I have found the external world far too daunting to challenge myself with difficult books. They have done their job... the familiarity of them; the comfort in knowing how it will end; and the escapism they have offered me has been just what I needed.

These books have indeed been, the gift that keeps giving.

Ahh, the love and comfort of books...

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Pocket Book

First up, apologies to the kind folk who comment - it has taken me too long to respond, but I think I have now caught up again. I really do love hearing your thoughts and undertake to do better...

The wee pocket book is now complete. In the end an edition of 15 which was unexpected, but a good outcome.

Even lying flat on the floor, I like the look of them.

And as ever, I love the edges, and am pleased with the regularity of this stack - stitching and paper edges.

They were stacked in an alternating pattern when under weights, which also looks nice.

The title page in the green of the thread of the poster...

And a couple of spreads.

All up there are 9 pages with related paragraphs on them; a title page and a colophon, as well as a few blanks.

It is a grand little book and one of the first in the newly hatched deckled edge press editions!

The books will be for sale but I am just working out how and where and how much! Let me know if yo u are interested and I shall email you details.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Feminist printing

 Its been a terrible few weeks for women in Australia - especially women who have been victims of rape and sexual assault.  One story has seized our attention - the allegation of rape in Parliament House; after hours in a Minister's office. Allegations of repeat assault by the alleged perpetrator.  Allegations of assault in other offices.  Allegations of historical rape by a Cabinet Minister.

The layering of shame, victim-blaming, cover up, diminishing of the seriousness has left many of us enraged. Like the Women's Marches in 2016 and onwards, we are so sick of this sh**. 

One particular moment infuriated me, when after a very lame and dismissive response on day 1, our PM suggested he had checked overnight with his wife who suggested he think about this firstly as a father - what if this had happened to his daughters?

The fury that a male leader cannot imagine the horror of sexual assault unless he is related to the victim. Could not think to take any action in response to an alleged serious crime unless he was related. Was not concerned that the alleged assault had occurred in our home of democracy, on his watch, unless he was related. Could not imagine the fear of a workplace that allowed this to pass, except if he was related to the victim.

So I printed this small poster.

and eventually ran out of ink.

Whilst my anger urged me into the print; I showed it to my Dad, who took it in quite a different way.  He thought it was beautiful, and that folk would like it because it recognises that their daughters are far more than just daughters.

So, my blazing anger was turned around and I could see that it might be interpreted in a positive way as well. The personal is political; the political is personal.

And so to domestic posters. 

I love teatowels and think they are a subtle, subversive way to protest.  They hang over dishwasher handles, on oven doors and other places in kitchens, bearing silent witness with their messages.

I printed a few of one of my favourite phrases  Go Girl!!! - different letters, different layouts, different colours.

I really wanted to use the beautiful Italian typeface we have Amelia; however it doesn't have any exclamation marks.  It is higher than regular type so I taped together a bunch of !!!s and then attached them to a piece of card to lift them up enough to be able to print. 

Leftover teatowel texture.

A more positive note to finish on!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

 "Only two words lead to success. Yes and no. You've mastered saying yes. So start practicing saying no"

Jack Canfield

A funny little one to choose, but I was speaking of this with a friend the other day so when it popped up I guessed it was meant to be pondered.

Apparently Mr Canfield is an author /motivational speaker which is why, I imagine, he chose the word success.  I had thought to myself it always depends upon how you define success - and in my case if success is defined as living a clam, steady, kind life, then I'll take it.  If it means climbing over the top of somebody and self-promoting along the way, not so much.

But back to me and my friend. We were chatting about how it can be hard to say no to requests, for our time, for our skills, for our knowledge.  I think as I grow older I realise the value of weighing up how much saying yes can impact on my capacity to do the things I want to do and to live in the way I wish to.  

My willingness to say yes is fuelled by enthusiasm, curiosity, a commitment to help, a sense of duty or responsibility and a bunch of other things; but it truly doesn't work in my favour if I find myself stretched, strained, tired and tight having run out of time to do things that need doing; or finding no time whatsoever for the things that nurture me.

I guess I found a grain of truth in what he says, even tho we work with it in different contexts...

like making time to go gathering sweet peas...

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

More pocket progress

 More progress on the pocket book.

In the end, the bottom line is that a handprinted a book takes time.  There is a lot of time spent planning the size and the layout; choosing the words to write and the order in which they will proceed. Then comes the typeface; and the size.  And then the question - do I have enough of that typeface in that size? My mind turns to paper and how that will work out, and so on.

Here I am after setting a couple of pages - trying to work out which paper works best.

I decided on the lower as I felt there would be too much bleed through on the top paper - even tho I loved its tactile nature.

Yep, too distracting to see through to the other side as much as this.

And so of course to setting - working out where to position the type on the pages so that they are consistent throughout the book. How to work out which lines are the longest; and how many lines are needed. These pages reflect a 5 line verse and a 7 line verse. Tricky spacing to manage.

But I printed 15 of each hoping for an edition of 10 by the time I could have stuffed things up along the way.

The final page is set.  

And so the covers are covered and the inside cover papers 'stitched' and glued.

The Title page is printed in green and the other pages are printed, all ready for collation.

And stitching.

And then just because I love the shadow play of these flowers and leaves. You would almost think somebody had painstakingly snipped each of those leaves to make the serrated look so brilliant, but no, just nature!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

January done!

 I know it's mid-late February but I was happy to finally finish my Covid diary's hand-stitched, January handkerchief earlier in the week.

I love the process of sitting and stitching but do find that it is very slow. Or I am very slow. Whichever it is, I certainly don't get to stitch each day; yet I thoroughly enjoy the stitching as I sit, accompanied by Series 5 & 6, so far, of the West Wing.  

Here I am beginning the final diary entry for the month.

A close up of the last entry - NZ travel bubble re-opens.

The finished, unironed hanky.

Some more of the entries.

After ironing away the purple pen I use for writing. The very pale grey thread almost disappeared. Especially when set against  dark grey rug; but when I put it against a white background it is legible so that was a relief after all that work!

This hankie was so very, very fine.

It looks lovely with crinkles and shadows, and makes a great start to the year of stitching and recording. So many small things happen, so many big things happen, so much happens that I know I would have struggled to recall if I hadn't stopped to mark the moments somehow.

And now February begins.

Already I am finding this weave firmer and I think the stitching is looking much better as a result. Onwards!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

“It is illuminating to note, here, how the daily rituals and working routines of prolific authors and artists – people who really do get a lot done – very rarely include techniques for ‘getting motivated’ or ‘feeling inspired’. Quite the opposite: they tend to emphasise the mechanics of the working process, focusing not on generating the right mood, but on accomplishing certain physical actions, regardless of mood.” 

Oliver Burkeman, The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking

I must admit I quite liked the title of his book, so I kept it in!

It seems to me that authors and writers would most definitely relate to these words - given my understanding of how they make themselves sit and write 5000 words, or two pages, or the like each day.  The discipline that applies to the art of writing is significant.

In earlier times, when work-work was the 80 part of my 80:20 balance with art; I used to set aside Fridays to make and to do.  A work colleague said to me; but how can you do that?  What if you're not inspired on Friday? What if Tuesday is full of inspiration? What happens?

And you know, I had never thought about it.  I just knew, that on Friday I had the opportunity to make/do/create and that I would use that precious time to do so.

Sometimes it was the chance to just get in and do what I had been thinking about during the week; finishing off something I had started the week before; whilst at other times it might have been reading about art or playing with materials or testing and trialling something. 

I didn't need inspiration to be on-call on a Friday- I just needed to know that I had Friday to sit down and do something.

Some of my Letter Arts Reviews - always fabulous inspiration!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Pocket progress

 One of the feature of my work I have discovered when speaking about it, is this notion siblings.  I oftentimes will make wall works; which have accompanying books.  I may make a book and then create wall works that are related.  I think of them as siblings in the sense that they are related; yet not identical kind of thing.

And so to my pocket book.  Several years in the making (or not making really isn't it).  I thought the poster Pockets are Political deserved a book as well, and on and off have thought about what to do and how to do it.

It finally became the project I needed to make and I have set about writing words, setting them and printing them.

This bit of the progression story is about the covers - inside and out.

With a nod once more to the suffragette and feminist colours - the covers are a beautiful rich purple buckram, over Arches Velin 280gsm paper. I wanted the covers to be firm but flexible and I think this combination achieves that.

And then to the inside covers.  I worked out what weight paper would be good; and then wondered if I should embellish it at all; go for marbled paper, or stitch it maybe?

Stitching felt a little bit too distracting, and then I landed on the sewing machine without thread idea.

I retrieved the pattern I had used for machine sewing in green, the pockets at the bottom of the poster and worked it onto a page.

I did not think I had the care nor attention to trace and stitch it 15 times, so I experimented with layering the paper together and tracing onto only the top sheet.  

This worked for 5 or 6 sheets so I was set.

I traced and taped together a few bundles then sat down at the machine to stitch.

With very satisfying results!

I rubbed out the tracing lines on the top sheets, then glued them in position on the inside of the covers.
I love their subtlety and I love how the imagery reflects the exact same image on the poster, yet is different.  They are linked yet individual. Like siblings.

And to keep the sibling theme going, I printed the title in the same green that I stitched the pockets in on the poster! 

The books are still under weights and should be ready to be stitched this week.