Monday, July 20, 2009

Peace is every step

I have mentioned before how I enjoy working with some particular quotes. This is another one which I like to use and can play over and over again in different formats. It is a quote by the Buddhist monk, scholar and poet Thich Nhat Hanh, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 by Dr Martin Luther King. He lives a philosophy of mindfulness and walking meditation, encouraging us to consider a peaceful way of being in the world with each step that we take.

I have used the quote recently in a book I made for a collaborative exhibition in Japan. It was part of a sculptural piece that provided spaces for both Japanese and Australian artists to display their works.

I also used the quote in small 'book-ets' I made for an exhibition here. I called them "peace in your pocket". They were small pages, cut and folded so that you could always carry peace with you. The good news is that all of them sold, so a few folk now carry peace in their pockets..

Melbourne graffiti

Now I know I'm not the only person who is impressed by the artistic graffiti in Melbourne's laneways and elsewhere; books are written on it, seminars held and so on, but I did love this piece we came across on Brunswick St Fitzroy. The colours are brilliant, and the lines full of movement and life. It works so well as a feature piece and yet there are many beautiful moments in the details as well. I don't know who the artist is, but it's a piece of wall art that makes you smile and wonder.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Barry and I are preparing for our joint exhibition in November. It's interesting to work together on a theme and see how we each approach it differently. Also always fascinating to observe the very different working approaches themselves; I seem to spend more time in my head and less time in the doing in the early stages. Hopefully it will all come together. Here is the beginnings of something. I'm not yet sure where it's going or what it will become, but I have a couple of pieces like this that I plan to put together. It involves cut outs, embossing and there's no other word for it but "pricking". The shadows play beautifully and I am surprised by the difference a rich background makes - the words seem quite bold against the red. A little bit of tidying up needed here and there, but it is beginning.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rusty stuff

Last week I spent a day in the studio with my niece Emily. We had a fun and busy time. We started by making paper from some pulp that had been lurking about for ages and it was good to experiment with different thicknesses and effects. We then rusted a heap of paper as well. This is always something like alchemy to me - wondering what will happen and what marks will be left behind; and how things will change as they dry. Emily made heaps that she can use in her art work and I took the opportunity to get some more stock done as well - here are a couple of shots of some fabulous rusted paper that might appear in later art works.

For me there is something wonderful with the remnant rust that is left behind and the texture that it creates. The different papers also rust so differently - great fun!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


It's less than 6 months to Christmas, yet I am still in love with this book I received last Christmas! It's a fabulous alphabet book which uses intricate and clever paper engineering to form the letters of the alphabet as you turn pages. The author is Marion Bataille, a graphic designer and illustrator who lives in Paris, and it is published by Bloomsbury.

I took photos of some of my favourite letters, but came across this clip of the book being opened which gives a much better sense of how cleverly the letters unfold and work together. She turns the C into a D with a turn of a page and a little tab being pulled, V becomes W when you hold the mirrored page up to it and there are lots of other ingenious elements. The thing that really impressed me was how she managed to design the letters and the pages so that they were robust enough to be mass-produced. U is truly beautiful. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Phrases of the moon

Often as a calligrapher you are working with other people's words, and most times they are quotes or lyrics or poems that are well known. I have had the good fortune of late to be asked to work with a local poet's words as part of our "Water from the Moon" exhibition -to give a visual expression to the poems. Robyn's "Phrases of the Moon" poems touch on 5 phases of the moon (new, crescent, quarter, gibbous and full).

I chose to make poem books, rather than a book of poems, so each poem has it's own book. Each page has a single line of the poem which encourages the reader to take their time with the poetry - pausing for reflection. I embossed the phases of the moon on the title page and then gilded the phase that related to that poem. I also used translucent covers to capture the idea of the moon being seen through scudding clouds. Fortunately both Robyn and I like the essence of things, and the elegant simplicity of these pieces worked for both of us. They are currently on show at the Maleny Library.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A stitch in time...

I have been turning my mind and my hand to some practical creations rather than purely artistic creations this week. I am pulling together a suite or portfolio of handmade and hand stitched journals which I am looking at selling as an ongoing line. I have also stitched a journal as a farewell gift for a friend/colleague who is taking up a job down the coast. I have worked every second page in the books shown below, each slightly differently. I used water colour pencils on heavy printmaking paper to make a running line at the bottom of the page in one; and did my own "scribbly bark" impersonation along the bottom of the other book's page. They are each stitched with waxed linen thread. Let me know what you think...