Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Journals galore

I have been artistically quiet lately - lots of community, family, work and gardening commitments have filled my days.

I have tho, been steadily compiling this stack of 8 journals to stitch.  I am hoping they might be ready to go out into the world in the next month or so and have been covering boards and organising paper and timber and generally just getting them ready for a marathon stitch-fest!

It's nice to see how the paste papers I made recently and the 'itajime' papers I made in Calgary have been able to be used.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday Thoughts...

What art offers is space - a certain breathing room for the spirit.
John Updike

This quote reminds me of how I feel when I look at beautiful art and fabulously designed or crafted works that speak to my soul.  The interaction seems to almost occur in a time and space of its own; the world stops ever so briefly as I am absorbed by what I see.

Perhaps it is to do with the right sided-brain bit where when viewing art we let go of analysis and sequencing and order, and allow experience and sensation and response to take over.  Visually beautiful things feed my spirit, and allow the spirit to breathe.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Community Placemaking Art

We survived a full and busy community placemaking art-filled weekend!

Barry and I are both involved in a group called art4place which focuses on creating community by working with artists and developers and governments to create placemaking art.  Art can do so much to create a sense of place, to tell the story of a place and to engage people within that place.

On Saturday we launched a map of our town's placemaking art. We are only  small town but we have 10 pieces of public and placemaking art that tell the story of Maleny.  The map encourages people to take a stroll through our town, see the art that they may otherwise not notice and learn a bit about the story and the artists who made it.

On Sunday, with Kim Schoenberger who is also committed to art4place, we spent the day at Mary Cairncross Park, making art about the Richmond Birdwing butterfly - an endangered local species.
Families and children had a great day and we made some beautiful art - a 'sea' of butterflies; stencils of butterflies throughout the walk; a butterfly made with hundreds of cut out butterflies; butterflies made form leaves and fronds; and a fabulous butterfly form coloured by gluing on small bits of paper.
Noela hung a fantasy butterfly 'sail' in the trees.

I love that people had a special art experience on a day out or a family picnic.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

First alphabet - Final Piece

I finally got around to finishing the sampler book this week. With Barry's help I worked out how to attach and stabilise it and am really happy with the result.

I wanted to honour the nature of the work - to make the final product appropriate to the work. The idea of a sample book that has information about techniques and methodologies handwritten on it appealed to me, and made sense. The letters themselves weren't perfectly or exquisitely executed and demanding of a fine finish - they were 'journeyman' like, experimental and in the end, honourable teachers.

Here is the final book in a variety of expressions. I do love the twirls and the swirls. And purple.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday Thoughts...

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face.  
Edward P. Morgan.

I loved the imagery of examining a fragile thought without breaking it.  Some thoughts and ideas are so newly formed and vulnerable. By reading we aren't handling them or clumsily squeezing them too tight or accidentally dropping them. We are letting them flow over us, to be absorbed in the gentlest of transitions.

And how wonderful that destructive or explosive thoughts can be battled with in private, without physically injuring anybody.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

ALaW - progress with the first final piece

I think I may have mentioned that it took me ages to work out how to present my experimental alphabet letters from my first alphabet.  I lined them up and they looked OK, but didn't really make an impact or tell their own story.

I talked with Barry about how I was thinking they should be like an embroidery sampler - the different techniques shown and understood as a sampler not a finished type product. I love our art talks as they take me round the world and back and together we hit on the idea of a sampler book.

So I got the matboard cut and punched 85 holes.

I attached each of the letters.

I wrote what I did as a reminder like in a journal or sampler.

I started putting them together!

The actual finalisation involves some engineering and again I tossed ideas around with Barry who is very clever at these sort of things and we have devised a couple of options.  Hopefully the final product will emerge this week.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Letter a Week 32

Alphabet 2 continues apace and so far I am keeping up with the demands of making a letter a week.  Here is the letter 'F'. In keeping with the alternating outlined letters with filled in letters, this letter is simply outlined.

I then applied some silver leaf to the background to add some interest.  I like the way the shapes mirror the rusted shapes in the paper a bit.

The new book is coming along nicely and I am pleased that I have decided to make it as I go so to speak.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Paste Paper play

There has been a recent 'thread' on the cyberscribes discussions about paste paper, which made me think - just go make some!  So I did and the papers are now under weights straightening out.

It was a lot of fun and once you get started you just want to keep going - so many experiments to have.

I liked the drama of the black and white and think the pastel ones are gentle in their own way. I expect I will use the papers as coverings for books and boxes.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday Thoughts...

There is no must in art because art is free.
Wassily Kandinsky

One of the words I think it would be good to have removed from the English language is 'should'. Over the years I have found that too often we clutter our heads and/or berate ourselves with we "should have" done this, said that, tried harder, thought about it more, not said that, not done that, not gone there, etc. And that's just in life in general; let alone in our arts practice!

I like that this quote frees us from the 'shoulds' in our minds and reminds us that art is art. It is.

It doesn't have to be anything in particular, it doesn't have to be anybody else's interpretation of good or bad or ugly. It is enough just to be. I sometimes need reminding not to listen to that little bird who sits on my shoulder and says "not good enough, who do you think you are, why bother, you'll never be a real artist". Art is free and we are free to explore it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mountain Magic

And some days you just get up from your desk and walk outside and realise that there is wonder in the world around you and it deserves your attention.

After a rain-filled day,  sunset from our deck this afternoon.

Bliss. Beauty. Blessings.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Letter a Week 31

I'm still merrily stitching away - having fun and making my letters.  Here is 'e' - with just a few pencil scrolls in the top right hand corner to add a bit of a twist.

Unlike my first alphabet I am trying to begin with the end in mind and am kind of preparing the final piece as I go - a shot of progress so far. The accordion fold theme continues but it won't end here. A few other bits will be added along the way.

On the matter of the final piece for the first alphabet - well it's edging closer. The matboards have all been cut (85 of them!) and I now have to start drilling holes. Could take a while.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The VW book

I have been playing with a book style that Carol Du Bosch showed in the most recent edition of Bound & Lettered.

She suggested it was a 'star' book or a 'VW' book and I like the VW thing - it helps me remember how to make it! It is a simple but gorgeous form with so many variations and possibilities.  Here is what I have been playing with.

It starts with single pages/cards and folds one into a 'V' and one into a 'W', then basically sticks them together.  I am still playing around with covers and tying and wrapping it, and I think it will continue to entertain me for quite a while.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday coffee day

Now this doesn't have a lot to do with art, in fact nothing really, but it does just show how some of my Friday got spent instead of making art.

A couple of weeks ago we picked our first coffee cherries and began the lengthy process towards a cup of our own home grown coffee.  Today we picked some more and here are some shots of the progress to date.

Today I 'pulped' the new cherries (my own term) which means popping the slimy beans out of the bright cherry skin - here is the pulp. Honestly they skitter and skate and slip and pop all over the place if you don't control them! This took an hour or two watching a dvd.

Then you soak them for a while so that the enzyme action can remove the slimy skin factor. They can do this by themselves.

Then you dry them for quite a while. These have been drying for about two weeks. Again, pretty much leave them alone and just check them occasionally.

Then you 'husk' them and you can see there is one more 'rub' of the skins to do yet. This took another couple of hours listening to the radio.

The roasting comes next, then the grinding. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thursday Thoughts...

Books are delightful society.  If you go into a room and find it full of books - even without taking them from the shelves they seem to speak to you, to bid you welcome.
William Gladstone

This resonates so much for me!  I feel the loveliest sense of being home wash over me when I am in a room or shop filled with books.  They whisper invitingly, like old friends in fact, 'come discover - follow your heart to some strange place you never dreamed of until right now'. And I listen, and am carried away for hours on adventures, ideas and to places I knew nought about before entering that space.

I often marvel how so many people have so many thoughts and ideas and visions that they wish to share. I love that there are so many people in the world willing to spend the time to write it down or drawn it or photograph it and show us. So many delights, so little time.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

ALaW (30)

It seems to be working again - this little project gets me down to the studio and playing a bit. I outlined the letter 'd' this week and then used lead pencil to highlight a darker part of the rusted braille paper.

I also began the concertina for the final project.  I have learnt this time around to start with the end in mind and have been playing around with design options and colours.  I have also decided to try and construct as I go this time - so that I am not left with a mile of work to do with pulling together the final piece at the end.

You may have noticed that I haven't done my final piece for the first alphabet yet; even tho many others on the project have. This is in part because I couldn't find a way to present the sampler pieces I had done that 'felt' right.

I have hit upon an approach now and have started the process towards resolving the piece...more on that later.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Inks ain't inks...

There used to be an ad here in Australia "Oils ain't oils..." which tried to say that not all motor oils are created equal.  I had the 'pleasure' of confirming this theory as it applies to ink yesterday when I was working on a small piece of calligraphy.

In some earlier travels my bottle of bottled ink had leaked and so I was left to consider some long lost bottles that had been sitting in my cupboard. Oh dear. Bad bad bad.

I thought at first I had diluted too much, so kept adding more ink; then I ran out of bond paper for practise and thought maybe its the new paper, then I tried a different bottle and wow they were all dreadful, even on my favourite Arches Velin paper.

A good lesson is keeping your supplies up to date and to not ever accidentally buy the wrong bottle of inks because the label was the same colour and you couldn't read the Japanese characters!

In the end I went for the beautiful ink stick being rubbed on the ink stone and got beautiful beautiful ink!

Altho I must admit I had fun making the marks with the messy ink - at least I can use it to play with.