Friday, May 28, 2010

Charity Auction success

We attended the Cancer Council fundraising auction at Main St Gallery in Montville yesterday.  It was slightly stressful I must say...there is nothing worse than standing around whilst people decide whether or not your art work is worth bidding on...and then deciding how much it's worth in a public forum.

As most folk know there has been a general slowing down of art purchasing.  For whatever reasons, people's discretionary spending is being impacted upon, and of course art is one of those things that isn't a real necessity for many people.  This made the auction environment slightly more stressful as well I think. Even tho it was for charity, it is still a bit hard to separate the personal from the purpose.

Oh my goodness, it's sounding all about me and I am making it sound all doom and gloom and it wasn't - but it was certainly a new and different experience for me, and these were my reflections.

Both Barry and I sold our pieces for above their reserves which was great. I am happy that we therefore donated funds to the cause as well as purchasing a couple of small pieces. The best news was that by the end of the auction along with donations and raffle tickets, Kim had raised around $7000 to donate to cancer research. Well done Kim - it was an amazing effort.

Here are Barry's teapot and mine on display...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Letter a Week (ALaW) 20

Well I broke my finger a week ago...but that shouldn't mean I broke my brain. However, when it came to getting this 'T' done it seemed that way. We had a visitor all weekend which meant no studio time so no chance for making 'T'; yesterday disappeared and then tonight after dinner I finally had to go do a 'T'. Laugh out loud in my brainlessness I thought "I'll do a quick origami T". So I did. And then I realised - I can't use that, all of my other letters are Roman Capitals! What was I thinking??

So I scratched my head and went for the easy solution.  I did an overwriting of a letter - like my 'R' but with the letters in the foreground as I had said I wanted to try... at least I made it! I broke my right ring finger, so that's my excuse for poor lettering (today).

Sunday, May 23, 2010

'Renewal' for Lucas Parklands

I am down to the finishing and finalising part of the works for the ArtsConnect exhibition at Lucas Parklands.  I bent the pages of my metal books and stitched them on Friday - and Saturday was a clear sunny day so I photographed them outdoors.

I have in mind a burnt out tree stump for the setting of this trio - hence their title 'renewal'. I have engraved three Latin words that are linked to the concept of renewal - renovo, reparo and resumo into the front covers, one for each book.  I have made a copper book, a rusted iron book and a steel book.

I chose a light and free style of writing for the covers - hoping to gave a sense of life and new beginnings, rather than a staid and grounded formal hand.

I feel the three of them need to stay together as a set as strangely enough I am uncomfortable about them being separated!

Notes to self - bending steel is hard; engraving with a broken finger is tricky and I still love the look of rust.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Charity Art Auction - Teapot

Well it's time to deliver our pieces to Main Street Gallery, Montville where Kim is hosting her Australia's Biggest Morning Tea and Charity Art Auction next Thursday 27 May at 10.00am.

My piece is called "A dash of hope and courage".

This teapot has been through fire, and survived, and still looks beautiful. The idea of a cup of tea and a chat; a cup of tea with a dash of milk; or a cup of tea with a dash of hope and courage seemed appropriate for a cancer fundraiser.  The inspirational words are written on rusted paper in the form of tea bags which I stitched, and each tea bag represents the array of emotions and efforts experienced through a cancer journey.

hope, courage, wisdom, calm, reflection, balance, acceptance, grace, resilience, stillness, thankfulness, harmony, healing, care, gratitude, strength.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Just in passing...body art!

It was a grey old day yesterday so we thought we'd go for a drive to Eumundi, and check out the town when there weren't any markets on.  We were mildly confused to arrive and find the place bustling like a Saturday or Wednesday (market days) and car parks as elusive as ever.  We discovered we had arrived during the Australian Body Art Festival and lo and behold bodies were being used as canvasses every which way.

Some truly remarkable effects were being achieved and here are a few snap shots, most of which were works in progress at the time. Different!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Letter a Week (ALaW) 19

The Letter 'S' snuck up on me this week - we had so many work and community commitments I only spent time in the studio on Friday and that was preparing to teach all day at Buderim yesterday.  So it wasn't until late this afternoon that I got the chance to have a go.

I wanted to work with metal some more - I've engraved steel (C), Etched copper (M) and aluminium (N) and today I thought I would punch some copper.

I couldn't easily get a nice 'S' drawn onto the copper, so I ended up writing it on a piece of paper, taping the paper over the copper, and punching through the paper.  This worked pretty well - but unbeknownst to me the copper was curling up under the paper and as a result the bottom right part of the 'S' ended up not wide enough. When it was revealed the outline looked quite odd; so I added extra bits and filled the whole thing in with more punch holes making it a more agreeable shape.  I think there might be a few more little holes needed here and there to finish it off, but its time to get dinner so that will have to wait!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lucas Parklands 12 & 13 June 2010

We are now beginning to get the advertising and promotion machine going for the exhibition in Lucas Parklands on 12 and 13 June.  Some great artists are coming together - glass, fabric, metal, timber, paper, wood and ceramics will all feature in artworks that will be dotted through the rainforest walk.

Kirsten has done a great job with our flyers...and we are about to get them out, about and everywhere!

If you are in Brisbane or on the Sunshine Coast or nearby put the date in your diaries - it will be truly beautiful.

Here are a bunch of shots of the artwork and the place (but not the artwork IN the place yet - you'll have to come and see that for yourself; but can't you just begin to imagine it?!?!)

I'm having trouble locating words (titles) near the photos so...1, 2 & 3 are Lucas Parklands, 4 & 5 are Barry Smith, 6 is Kim Schoenberger, 7 is Mark Kalifa, 8 is me and 9 is Joanne Burnett.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Paper folding - Japanese Temples

I was thinking recently that my love of paper has been taking a back seat on the blog to all the other forms I am exploring at the moment - fabric, metal, perspex and timber. I thought it was about time to re-connect with paper and recalled that about this time last year we had just returned from our artistic exchange to Japan.

When we visited temples we often saw these folded paper offerings. Sacred places are typically marked with a shimenawa (special plaited rope) and shime (strips of white paper). The ropes are placed at the entrances of holy places to ward off evil spirits, or placed around trees/objects to indicate the presence of kami (spirits, natural forces or the essence of Shintō Buddhism). The pieces of white paper that are cut into strips and hung from these ropes (often hung from ropes on Torii gates as well) are called shime 注連 or gohei; they symbolize purity in the Shintō faith. These photos were taken at Miyajima near Hiroshima.

I liked the way they were simply cuts in folded paper and then fell so gracefully into the form which fluttered in the breeze.  Sublime elegance and simplicity with a spiritual purpose.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Letter a Week (ALaW) 18

Well, here's where we got to and what happened.

The good news is that it worked and I am now a real fan of the tape - Scotch-Blue Painter's Tape for Delicate Surfaces. Apparently you can leave it on for 60 days before removing...not sure I want to test it that far.

I really like how the background worked and I worked hard to make sure the edges of the 'R' weren't too fuzzy by having quite a few pen strokes along the sides of the letter.  I think I really want to do an overwriting one next, where the letter disappears underneath the background (which of course if I was being accurate would in fact be the foreground right?).

A real example to me how the simplest things can make you happy!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

ALaW (18) - Progress

This post shows the progress towards my letter "R". I have been re-reading Denise Lach's book and continue to be inspired by her abstract calligraphic marks.  I decided I wanted to try and use slightly abstract calligraphic marks in the background; but more importantly I wanted to see if I could write a letter using this special masking off tape.  I bought it at the hardware store and it promised to peel off really easily!

Here is how I began... and how I went about it - I'll show the finished letter tomorrow!

I stuck four strips of the tape over my 7cm a 7cm square of paper. I then drew an 'R' onto the tape and cut around the edges with a stanley knife. Then I carefully began to pull the excess tape off.

The letter 'R' then emerged from the tape

I then started to write multiple 'R's all over the page in the hope of creating enough of a background for the white to shine though at the end.

Did it work? Stay tuned!!!!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

"Dream Boats" in our garden

I have pretty much finished the 6 dream boats for Lucas Parklands.  It might seem as if I am well ahead of myself for a June exhibition; but our work-work is building up again and we won't see too many opportunities for creative free-time in the next few weeks, so I figure make art while the sun shines!

Here they are in different parts of our garden. Clearly this is not a rainforest garden; but I plan to have these pieces on the veranda and not in rainforest. Although I like the idea of them out there amongst the trees, whispering quietly to us all to be creative and believe, I am not sure they would survive that well.

Hmmm more pondering to do.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Birthday dinner celebrations

It was our friend Noela's birthday yesterday so we had dinner at our place.  None of my close friends will be at all surprised to discover that I photographed the table and some of the food!

I have discovered a new book, which taught me how to make these beautiful Kusudama paper flowers. Jason Thompson is the original designer and the book is called "Playing with Books - the art of upcycling, deconstructing, and reimagining the book".

Here are the flowers I made and dessert - a chocolate ring cake, filled with home-made rocky road and served with chocolate sauce - death by chocolate really!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


The work for Lucas Parklands in June is continuing steadily.  Here are some early shots of a piece that will be settled into the rainforest walk there. Apologies for the less than glamourous setting it is in at the moment!

It is a piece of mild steel 1200mm x 600mm with the word 'returning' laser cut into it. I wanted to express the sense of things returning to nature; returning to the forest floor.  It is outside waiting to rust and weather a bit.  I wanted to keep the letters and they will be scattered in front or behind it as a way of expressing this return.

It will be held on some sort of timber and I will wait and see where the next steps take me...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Letter a Week (ALaW)17

I didn't have a lot of time to spend with my letters this week so went for a quick technique; but nonetheless working with material I have never worked with before.

A bit like doing a lino cut and printing, I wanted to use some Speedy-Cut carving block (by Speedball) that I had bought with experimenting in mind. Unlike lino it doesn't have a smell and is therefore easier for some noses to deal with.  I found it much softer than lino so had to be pretty careful as I sliced it out.

I decided to carve out the letter, leaving it in relief when printed, and went for a black letter coming out of white ink.  You can see a few slips of the tools here and there, but that's OK by me - more reminders of the slipperiness of the material.  All in all, swift and easy and not messy or smelly, so it's good to have some of this in the kit bag of options.

Not the most elegant of Qs either - the tail is a bit stumpy!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Buderim Craft Cottage - Exhibition Opening

We travelled to Buderim last night where I opened the show "Lavender, Lace and Letters". The choice of lavender as a theme produced a truly unified exhibition. To me, it was the thread that held the pieces together as a whole and allowed you to move with ease between the different formats, and different settings yet remain connected.

When I saw all the pieces gathered together yesterday morning I thought – what an enormous undertaking. But out of the chaos emerged a fully-fledged exhibition with pieces hung, swung, pinned and settled onto plinths.

Each group produced a fine body of work – exploring and demonstrating different skills and techniques; refining familiar ones and testing out new approaches. The show is open Saturday and Sunday.