Sunday, August 30, 2009

Practice and Preparation

I managed to spend Friday in the studio! It was a very Fiona type day - a bit of this and a bit of that but I felt by the end of it I had done some practice and some preparation for the exhibition, and made progress. I have learned that I spend a lot of time in my head planning and preparing, then I practice then finally I do - and the doing usually happens quite quickly.
I also know I like to work on several projects at once - that way I don't get bored.
So I painted a background for a joint piece I am doing with Barry; did some trial runs for a piece I am doing for a Japanese friend; worked my way through some difficult folds for books and sat quietly bending wire into flowers as you do.

Here are a couple of the trial run books I made

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An eye in the sky

We have been doing a lot of travelling lately, mostly for work but sometimes for pleasure and I seem to have spent more time in the sky than on the ground (or so it seems). I don't think I will ever tire of looking at this country from high in the sky and seeing the fabulous patterns it forms. I am often still like a little kid on their first flight - leaning over and marvelling at how the world looks when you get to step back .
All that travel means I haven't had much time to do hands on art work - but the patterns and textures I see from the air still inspire me.
Whilst this isn't the world so much as the window, it still had great patterns.

And this is from the trip across to Perth - the red earth and desert.

Heading to Singapore we flew across these fabulous paddocks making patchwork in western Queensland. All in all a great opportunity to stop and see the world anew, which helps keep me fresh.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Logs and Life Part 1

I have decided that life is one big roller coaster and basically, you just get on and ride! In amongst what has been a most hectic month or so with work-work; I have been pursuing this weird and wonderful request. It started when I was asked to write on some timber 'pebbles'. David Linton is a master wood craftsman who has both a workshop and a shopfront in our town. He made our dining table and chairs and is a true artisan. Anyhow, he asked me to write some inspirational words on some of his timber pebbles - as reminders and gifts for some people. I did this and he really enjoyed them.

Afterwards he asked if I could write out a longer quote on a big piece of timber he had set aside, to act as an entrance post to his shop. What do you do? You say - I don't know, but I'll give it a try. After a trial run with different inks and the like, we agreed to have a go. On Monday this week I spent the day at his workshop - in amongst so much timber - and wrote. It was the most challenging piece of writing I have ever done - the log is so heavy it had to be put in place mechanically and just rested down and backwards (interesting, when most calligraphers write up and sloped slightly forwards).

Here is the project before it interesting set up, but oh what a marvellous piece of timber. It's pretty much done now; but I'll wait until it's in situ and all OK before posting the final pics. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I mentioned we had been travelling in Western Australia recently and that we came across this remarkable bushwalk/sculpture trail at Northcliff called Understory. It took us about an hour or so to wander through and to be honest, if you really wanted to understand the whole story and the interactions of the artists, the musicians and the writers it would probably take a good half day. The audio tour we followed had a number of the artists speaking about the inspiration for their work, the process of developing and creating and their response to the location. There were other audio tours with commentary by the musicians and the writers as well as one for children.

It is a collective response by a group of artists following the closure of the mill in Northcliff and many of the artworks tell stories of the tall timbers, the forests and the people who have worked there.
I really liked the pieces that were ephemeral...disappearing into and becoming part of the forest.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

From little things...

These two pieces have been on the road and away for a while, and I'm happy to have them home. They have been on display in Japan, then in Brisbane and finally at the Library here in Maleny. They are books I made using black bean pods and banana paper and they rest on cedar plinths. The black bean pod grows only on one tree in our town that I know of, but when it falls, and the seeds come out, it begins to dry and twist into this beautiful, elegant shape.

The books get their name from the the Australian song "From little things, big things grow" by Paul Kelly. They symbolise for me that yes, big trees can grow from tiny seeds (although these aren't small), but also that knowledge and understanding of the world often grows through books and reading. Indeed, from little things...

If you would like to listen to a contemporary version of Paul Kelly's song, created following our Government's Apology to the Stolen Generation there is a great video here.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Rainbow days

We live in an area with high rainfall for which we are grateful. One of the added gifts this brings is that we often get to see fabulous rainbows across the valley below. Even if we didn't see lots of rainbows I would still love them; and they feature in quite few of my books. Quirky but fun!
Rainbow Days - a set of 7 hand-made journals
Write me a rainbow - 7 small concertina books looking like a paintbox. Each book has its own colour written in different languages running across the bottom
A rainbow brooch - handmade little book-brooches; one a happy rainbow.
Rainbows make me smile.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Once again I have had the good fortune of working with a local poet's words. There is something very special about meeting and/or knowing the person who has written the words and who has given you the opportunity to work with them and create a thing of beauty. I made this book for a recent exhibition and was thrilled to use Gary's poem Silences.
We had a cup of tea in a local cafe and he explained a bit of what lay behind the poem, and I explained what I do and together we believed that this was a good thing to do.
Our lives are filled with silences; if we can stop long enough to simply be and recognise them. I think these silences often contain powerful and important moments, even if they seem to be insignificant.
Once again I made a long, thin book - I love that shape. I also made the box that contains it, and used my own "heartbeat" script to write a single line on a page. It hasn't sold yet, but I think we
are both OK with that - I like having it in my studio.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pens in Perth

A recent trip to Western Australia was filled with galleries and public art. We really enjoyed the many sculptures that were scattered through the streets of Perth as well as two sculpture-specific "galleries".

We found this piece on our first morning in Perth and it was a lovely welcome for a calligrapher and their fellow traveller who loves pens. It can be found at the corner of The Esplanade and Barrack St, and is called Memory Markers. It was inspired by the process of recording and documenting history and the written memories of Stirling Gardens, Western Australia's first botanical gardens. It reminds me of the importance of writing down stories and capturing the fleeting moments so that our history can be held.

We also visited Gomboc Gallery in the Swan Valley - 4.5 hectares of sculpture garden, ever-changing; as well as Understory in Northcliffe - a 1.2km forest trail with permanent and ephemeral sculptures located at varying points along the way.

Both are definitely worth a visit and I'll write more about Understory I am sure.