Friday, April 30, 2010

Buderim Craft Cottage - Exhibition

I am honoured to be invited to open the Exhibition "Lavender, Lace and Letters", a collaborative exhibition by the Needlework, Calligraphy and Lace and Tapestry Groups at the Buderim Craft Cottage tonight. I hope to get some images of the exhibition to post over the weekend.

I was also invited to have a small exhibition of my own works and have displayed a number of books - some calligraphic, some blank and some with photographs - but all within the blue-lavender colour theme.

For this book I painted with acrylics onto paper, then applied several coats of matt varnish to allow ink to write on the pages - an experiment for me, and I am very excited by the process and the result.

The quote is "Thoughts, rest your wings. Here is a hollow of silence, a nest of stillness, in which to hatch your dreams". (Joan Walsh Anglund)

This book is for my mum  and is called 'Languages of Peace'. Each page has the word 'peace' written on it in a different language, following the alphabet. So first of all we have Armenian, then Bengali, then Catalan and so on. Interestingly, no language starts with the letter 'O'.

Each page is also embossed with a small peace dove, and the cover has a large embossed peace dove. I made this sweet slip-on cover and then painted a peace dove on the binder in gouache. The work is gouache on Arches Velin paper; the style is my own heartbeat script, and the pages are single-page link bindings using crochet cotton.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Dream Boats"

I am really enjoying getting pieces ready for the June exhibition at Lucas Parklands - sculptures in the rainforest walk and on the deck.  Here is some whimsy I have underway - 6 little 'dream boats'.

I came across these seed pods in January at Maroochydore and just knew they would somehow end up as art - I loved their elegant shape.  After finishing building our house we still have lots of timber off-cuts 100mm x 100mm. And of course I love my copper wire words and then I saw them all together!

Barry trimmed the timber for me; then I sanded it and oiled it. I made the words and popped them in the pods. And that's as far was I've gotten so far... but they will become a series of small tabletop sculptures, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Charity Art Auction (2)

Well, the beautiful teapot is still the focus of the work and for some reason the ideas, concepts and execution are all coming together for it.

This is a shot of some of the other parts of the work. It is nice to work on something that you enjoy so much. Sometimes you just get into the 'flow' and each thought you add or dimension you bring works and adds and improves the piece. I am enjoying this piece at the moment!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weathering "Place"

Well the three pieces for "Place" have been outside on the macadamia nut tree for a few weeks now and have experienced plenty of moisture and rain. I wanted them to 'age' a bit or 'weather' before they were hung for the exhibition at Lucas Parklands so that they didn't look shiny new in the rainforest.

I did think however that I didn't want them totally wrecked by June either, so I retrieved them over the weekend.  It was funny - the moss on the tree had started to grow onto them and I also found a little skink (lizard) living behind one as well.

Here is how the weather is affecting the calico - interestingly the rusted fabric has toughed it out so far!  Some of the rusty bits are leaving nice stains on the back but not on the front yet. I'll ponder a bit longer about whether I'll pop them outside again for a 'top up' before June.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Letter a Week (ALaW)16

The letter 'P' was a fun little one this week.  Once again I tried a technique that Noela showed me. After I fiddled with ironing on the foil to glue, she suggested this might be easier and it was!

I wrote the letter P on some Arches Velin paper where I had bled some ink along the bottom.  I then cut several squares of double sided tape and laid them in a random pattern over the letter.  I then simply rubbed the red foil onto the tape - like transferring.

It was really easy and gave a nice effect! More fun, more learning!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Charity Art Auction

Kim Schoenberger is organising a charity art auction as part of Australia's Biggest Morning Tea - a fundraiser for cancer. It will be held at Main Street Gallery in Montville at 10am on Thursday 27th May 2010 and the theme is Tea.

Both Barry and I have been invited to donate works; and whilst Barry worked out what he would do and just did it, I have been through about four possibilities and am slowly firming up. Even once I decided what I would use as the basis for my book; I have gone down four or five different paths with what to do and how to represent it.

As ever with me, pieces either appear immediately and are expressed straightaway; or I cogitate and ponder on them for weeks and sometimes months before settling on an option. Sometimes its revolution; sometimes its evolution.

Here is what I have decided to work with. Edith-Ann discovered it a car boot sale and bought it for us. As soon as I saw it I wanted it! So here is the beginning... a teapot that has been through fire.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mackay Libris Art Awards (2)

I did enjoy attending this show and seeing where people's creativity was taking them.  It was a bit tricky to navigate your way around as there was no catalogue and nothing about the works or artists except for what was on the labels next to each book.

We were able to take photos without a flash; so my only way of recording things I liked and their makers was to photograph the label as well!

Reflecting afterwards I was surprised in a way to find that the books I liked the most were not all made of paper. Although given my recent diversions into metal and fabric I probably shouldn't have been. I was probably more surprised to see that a number that I really responded to were concertina books; which is very weird because I hardly ever make them!

I really loved this work on glass by Kristin McFarlane of Victoria, called Picture book. The way that glass allows for the layering of images; her use of text and the manner in which the pages were linked by a unifying design that flowed across them made it very appealing.

This piece on etched copper by Antonietta Covino-Beehre, also of Victoria called Dedication - dedi'KaSHen was also wonderful - the colours and images worked beautifully together.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Letter a Week (ALaW)15

It was back to rusted fabric this week and trying to see if I could use freezer paper to create a stencil and then apply fabric paint to the fabric effectively.

I have never used freezer paper before - so another experiment was underway.  From what I could work out, you design your stencil, cut it out then iron it onto your fabric. By the way - this paper is nothing like waxed paper or baking paper it's something different and I bought it thru a craft  shop not at the local IGA supermarket.

I cut out an "O" which of course leaves you with a central hole to navigate your way around.  I first of all ironed on the paper, leaving the "O" blank for paint.  I applied fabric paint with a roller and discovered that I was a bit heavy handed and it bled under the edges. My guess is that you should 'dab' the paint on - like  a stencil rather than a screen print.

I had to use another pen to make the letter look OK, and the first stencil gets wrecked when you try and pull it off; so I thought I might as well try and use the cut out of the "O", meaning it appears as the negative space.  I was a bit easier on it this time and it worked quite nicely - not as much bleeding.
The final effect is quite subtle however because I only had gold fabric paint and against the rust it blends a bit. More learning!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Calligraphy in Longreach (2)

We have made it back home after a fabulous trip out west - such great places, empty spaces, intriguing place-making art and wonderful people.

We had a good couple of sessions in Longreach where I taught foundational hand; folk played with some layering and texture; and went on to learn uncial as well.  The group had lots of enthusiasm and talent and did really well. We used parallel pens; felt tip markers and gel pens to decorate the work.

Here's the group hard at work and some of the results.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mackay Libris Artists Book Awards

We travelled to Mackay (on the way to Townsville, Hughenden and Longreach) so that we could attend the Libris Awards - where one of my copper books was a finalist.  I went nowhere near winning, but was terribly impressed by the body of work produced by the last winner (in 2008) Deanna Hitti.

After you win, Artspace Mackay  gallery gives you the opportunity for a solo exhibition in the foyer, during the next Awards exhibition.

Here are her works, called assimilated Rhythm No 4 Bint Trembuckey.  I love the hints of story and the blend of cultures you can decipher from the English words - yet am totally enamoured by the arabic calligraphic script that dances and sings its way across the pages. These pages are big - they would be maybe 2.5 - 3.0 metres tall. They are also strangely challenging and calming.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Calligraphy in Longreach

I am holding two night workshops teaching calligraphy in Longreach.  We don't have long and most folk are new to the world of calligraphy; so I am planning to do some basic pen manipulation, Foundational letter forms, Penned Roman Capitlas and then a light tough of uncial for fun.

A lot to get through but when you are only there for a short time; it's good to fit in as much as you can.

Longreach is in western Queensland - "the outback" for many. It has a proud history of exploration and of stockmen and I am really looking forward to visiting.

Here are a couple of shots of the exemplars I have created.  Not perfect, but a guide.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Letter a Week (ALaW)14

Another week another challenge.  About the same time I was etching the copper with acid to make my letter 'M' I tried to etch the letter 'N' onto some anodised aluminium. I put them in the acid bath together and whilst the copper got going, the aluminium just sat there.

I took the copper out, then bumped the acid mix up to 1:1 (acid to water) and thought that might have an impact. Not really. So I covered it and left it in the acid overnight - probably about 14 hours. When I opened it up I thought it might have totally dissolved - but no, not really, not even a dint was visible.

I put it aside - as evidence of what doesn't work and started again; this time stopping out the background on copper and leaving the 'N' to be etched.  All good. And then a few days later I decided to take the stop out off the aluminium and lo and behold; there was the faintest difference between the background and the letter, so I decided to keep this for the project.

It will be a really good reminder to me of what happens and that is kind of what I want from ALaW - the chance to try something without worrying that I need to have mastered it for the perfect finished piece.

Here are the two 'N's after etching; and the aluminium 'N' after removing the stop out (bitumen). It worked quite well in a weird kind of way.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Blogs and Blogging

There have been several occasions recently when I've paused and pondered how good blogs are! I've been thinking why I enjoy them as a medium or form of expression and ended up with heaps of little ideas, most of which ended up grouping into the three that follow. I am mostly talking about artistic and craftistic blogs (the type I tend to read or follow) here.
  1. Blogs are personal -  they operate in the first person, not the third person. In French, it would also be like they are more the familiar 'tu'  form than the more formal 'vous' form. In my mind websites are both more formal and more third person presentations. It seems to me that blogs allow expression of works in progress not just the finished piece (like websites do), again allowing insights into the personal rather than only the professional presentation of an artist's work. You can hear the voice of the artist.
  2. Blogs connect - I love the way so many artists' and craftists' blogs have heaps of links and try to connect people to other people and promote other people's work. I can't recall going to too many websites and being sent onto other fabulous people's places. Many artist and craftist bloggers also post about about other people's exhibitions; including links and/or show photos of other people's work which introduces it to whole new audiences.  I have discovered so many new people whose work I admire by linking on from other people's blogs. Most artist/craftist bloggers also seem to give credit to others, get permission first and/or link or reference to the original artist which is good.
  3. Blogs are interactive -  they are not static like a website is. They get updated more regularly it seems to me, and they allow for a conversation rather than a presentation. The artist/craftist gets to ask questions or invite comments. The reader gets to ask questions or leave comments. Little conversations begin that often end up continuing in private, behind the scenes. 
And so, what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Are there other good things about blogs I've missed?

To soften all that text, here are some bird's nests we have found (on the ground, not in trees) that sit in my studio.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

And the winner...

Thanks to everybody who joined in and wrote some words on rain and rainbows.  I had thought that given we had been covered in rain of late that there might have been more rain ones; but it was wonderful to read so many beautiful rainbow thoughts.

Here are the names in a Tibetan singing bowl.  You run the wooden handle around the rim and it creates the most beautiful tone.  You can modulate it by going faster or harder, and it resonates for a long time.

The almost-rainbow journal will soon be winging its way to..............Kym in Biloela!

Kym wrote:

Rainbows paint the sky with uniqueness

Congratulations and thanks again!

Monday, April 5, 2010

"Place" at our place

I have hung the three 'pages' outside, wrapped around our macadamia nut tree.  They contrast beautifully with the lush greenness that surrounds us after all the recent rain.

I have no idea what will happen to them as they 'weather' outside but will take a few progress shots along the way. Here they are on Easter Saturday - from a distance and a nice close up of the shadows playing on a piece.

A nice surprise has been that I get to glance at them out a window I pass several times a day so that makes me smile.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Letter a Week (ALaW)13

Halfway- the  letter 'M' means we are at the halfway point through the first alphabet for A Letter a Week 2010!

I had been reading some jewellery making books and been fascinated by the etching onto metal they use for decorative purposes; rather than for printmaking purposes.  So I pulled out  a ratty old piece of copper we had - totally patina-ed green on top, and thought I'll pop it in the acid bath and see what happens.  I first wrote the letter onto the metal with Hiro's fabulous 'writing on metal wax pencils'; then I wrote over it with stop out bitumen. I also 'stopped out' the back of the plate a bit, and then let it dry over night.

Today I made an acid bath and popped the letter in. At 1:3 (acid:water) it was very slow going; so I pumped it up to 2:3 and it started moving.  It was hard work for the acid to get thru all the patina sitting on top of the plate but after about 20 minutes I liked the result.

I am learning so much through these little challenges!

Here it is in the different phases...and a little bit of textured surface from the side.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I am fortunate to be involved in a sculptural exhibition to be held at Lucas Parklands in Montville in June.  We have been given the opportunity to place sculptures within the rainforest walk of the Parklands during their open garden.

I have first of all been working on a piece titled "Place" that has three components called ''connecting', 'belonging', and 'meaning'. They are three rusted fabric 'pages' that will be wrapped around three trees at different points along the walk. They involve calligraphy, lots of hand stitching, fabric (and leather) I rusted, plain calico and rusty bits and pieces we have around the place.

I plan to hang them outside at our place for a while to let them weather a bit before displaying them. Here they are hanging in my studio and a bit of detail from each of them, before their time outside.