Sunday, June 30, 2013

Open Studio distractions...

I have been busy doing lots of things getting ready for next weekend's Open Studio, but along the way one does get distracted...

I was mucking about with rust during the week and left some pieces on the outside table.  Life is full and busy and I didn't get back to them for a few days, and this is what I found...

Aren't they just the most sublime marks? "Etched" onto our plastic table, I think they are in fact a reward for bad behaviour!  I really should have cleaned up and tidied up well before I did; and yet, I feel as if this is a gift for not being very tidy!  See how easy it is for me to convince myself it's OK to be untidy at times? Laugh - but they are truly gorgeous.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...

“Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides.” 

Junichiro Tanizaki

I like the way this quote asks us to consider not only the thing, but its expression in other forms.  That the solidity of something is wonderful in it own right; but it's temporary and ethereal other self or selves is/are also worthy of time spent and contemplation.

I think a lot of artists are distracted by the shadows, by the way the light plays, by how things create these other projections of themselves that can intrigue and fascinate.

Sometimes the  projected image is an enlargement, a gross over-representtion of the thing; other times it is diminutive and as if the thing had been subtracted from itself somehow.

And sometimes just because a shadow is the single colour - grey-black, a silhouette without texture, colour or detail, it produces anther representation, a truer or simpler form.

I do love shadows and I'm sure I'm not alone!

©2013 Fiona Dempster - Feather Dance, Canberra

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cornucopia time

Life is so very busy and full of distractions at the moment; and it shows in my art!

I can't seem to settle to sit with one notion, idea or project and follow it though. I think I'm anxious about the multiplicity of things I have to deliver on - from work, to art, to family and I am trying to move them all forward a wee bit at a time. Sometimes this approach works to relieve my anxiety; sometimes it just adds to it!

I think I probably just need some quiet sitting time to think and reflect, to organise and prioritise and feel settled again.

Tomorrow maybe...

But for today I have a cornucopia of things, a few bibs and bobs from here and there and absolutely nothing close to being finished! Still, there's much to enjoy and get on with.

Here are those lovely inky circles and whirls all dry. And flat.

With room to play with...

And more preparations for our Open Studio on 6 & 7 July..some swing tags for the scarves.

And some more pebble scrabble - it's always very popular! Here I am replacing the letters that have been used up.

And just because I wanted to get into the game as well...the moon. Barry has taken some amazing shots over the past few days, and this morning when we got up for our walk I couldn't help myself and just had to duck onto the deck and photograph it as it set.

And I even managed to stay steady enough in the brisk cold to get a close up. Yay!

So I am reminded not to worry or to stress; the sun and the moon will rise and set, and the days will happen in their own wonderful way. Just breathe.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Lucky numbers

So today we got to select the winner in the give-away.  Barry and I were sitting down watching some netball on television and I asked him to choose a number between 1 and 13 (the number of comments I had received about the give-away). He randomly said "6" so I went back and counted in order who was the sixth person to comment, and the winner is...


Congratulations Valerianna, and please email me a postal address so I can pack and pop the print in the post to you!

Other news at this end is that I entered three books into the East Gippsland Gallery's Books...beyond words - revolution exhibition. It involves a selection process and I am thrilled that all three were selected!

The notion  behind this exhibition is that they were "looking for entries which revolutionise the form of the book beyond conventional physical and conceptual boundaries".  At first I really wasn't sure that I had made too many books which met that criteria, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought these books might be suited:

Dark is hard...

Here is what I wrote about it:

Sometimes we face darkness, sometimes life is hard. This book contains such darkness, and to preserve it, honour it, and yet contain it somehow it has been wrapped tightly and shut.  The thin thread of white offers hope…

You may recall earlier blog posts about its creation here and here.

Peace is every step...

Metal books speak of strength and perseverance.  They act as sculptural reminders to the power of the book and the messages contained within. The message of peace is steadfastly sustained by this book.

The Unbearable whiteness...

The summer of 2012 brought much rain to our home in Maleny and many mornings we awoke to a white-out, where the mist and cloud covered us and the valley below and we could not see the back fence. As a way of finding something to enjoy in this relentless weather, on these mornings I would choose a paint chart colour that matched the whiteness. I discovered so many whites, and recorded the first six months of the year in a book.

This book is a form of weather chart and recording and allows interaction and selection of the various shades of white. 

Some of its developmental story can be found here and here and here.

Maybe three will be my lucky number!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...

"A library is thought in cold storage". 

Herbert Samuel 

The notion of thoughts being frozen is difficult for me.

If I stop to think of thoughts, then I tend to think of activity, flightiness, movement, darting, fleeting, meanderings...all action and active words.  I don't tend to think of them frozen, immobile, solid, non-responsive.  So this one is tricky for me.

I guess the library idea is that the thoughts have been captured in books which are solid entities, and then within them are the written down thoughts.  I get that libraries hold masses of thoughts that have been recorded, viewpoints, ideas and opinions, and in a way they are in cold storage. Perhaps cold storage just indicates that they are in a form of suspended reality - and that they will be re-energised as soon as someone starts to read?

Now that's a thought I can begin to deal with!

Anyhow, the photo below acts not only to illustrate the cold storage idea, but also to join in with Jennifer and Julie's search for Roy G. Biv - finding the rainbow each month, and this month the colour to search for is blue...

©2010 Fiona Dempster - ice hole Columbia icefields.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Opening our studio and a magazine feature

Barry and I are unable to participate in the broader Open Studio program later in the year - we have too many commitments around that time - so instead we are trying to open our studios ourselves for one or two weekends through the year.

Our first 'solo' opening is soon - Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 July 2013. We will be open from 10am - 4pm each day, the fire will be going, the kettle boiled and we hope to meet and greet some old friends and meet some new folk as well.

We are both busy getting some new work ready and will once again both be making and showing what we do and how we do it. So...if you're in the area or thinking a drive up to Maleny might be a nice way to spend a day, please drop in and say "hi"!

Here are some tea-rust dyed scarves underway...

And some tea-rust dyed and calligraphic handmade boxes with peace scrolls sitting on rusted paper.

We are also very fortunate to be featured in the Winter edition of the beautiful Sunshine Coast lifestyle magazine "Salt". This is a wonderful magazine that promotes locals and all the wonderful places, food and artists that abound around here.

We appear in the "Meet the Designers" section and had a lovely time with the journalist and the photographer when they came to visit.

If you are in or around the Sunshine Coast area, this is what the cover looks like - otherwise, you can link to the full magazine online here, and read the article about us on p 104. You can also link here to see some more and different pictures.

I hope if you read thru the mag, you'll want to come and visit the area even more!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A day of play...and a giveaway!

On Friday Susan and I managed to get together. Neither of us can believe that it is June and we have really only managed to catch up in person once or twice since February!  Still, we were both happy to just sit and spend time, thinking and talking arty things and doing show and tell of this and that.

Our primary purpose in getting together was to try and complete a couple of our unbound books.  We spent the biggest chunk of time making a perspex case for our latest book - the 16 squares with images on either side that we felt we couldn't bind and fix into position. See here for the earlier ramblings!

Susan is a real technical expert with Perspex, so I was lucky to sit and follow the ways she suggested, even tho I have made boxes before I had forgotten a lot!  They look simple, but the exactness of cutting needed as well as the control required over the slippery solvent glue can test you.

In typical fashion I like the two completed boxes photographed against a white background...

Besotted as ever by the edges...

We turned the boxes over as well...

Susan liked them against the darker background...

And the other thing we did was talk bout how to package up our 'envelope book'.  We decided on a pouch and these papers and are now back at home, each making a pouch in whatever way we choose.

It feels good to have these books almost completed, rather than just finished, if that makes sense.
The next book is in our minds and our thoughts...waiting to emerge over the next wee while. Fingers crossed.

And now to a giveaway.  As is often the case with me, I missed my 600th post (this post is actually 655) BUT today is actually my blog anniversary day so I'm going to do a giveaway to celebrate and mark it.

Yes, 4 years ago on 16 June 2009 I started to blog.  What a great adventure it has been, so much fun, so many connections, so much sharing.

In keeping with the spirit of sharing that is for me, the blogging world, I am giving away one of my recent "Imagine Peace" prints...

All you have to do to take part is leave me a comment that tells me how you imagine peace...and you'll go into the draw.

Leave me a comment by 6pm Australia Eastern Standard time on Saturday 22 June and I'll let you know the winner next Sunday. Thanks for joining me along the way...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.’” 

Mary Anne Radmacher

Oh so true.

Courage isn't always standing up to the big guys, or defying something that really scares you - although that is definitely courage as well - it can also be this.  It can be when you feel defeated and exhausted, like you have taken one blow too many, when all you want to do is retreat and disappear and not face it again, that you turn and give it another go, another try.

It can take courage just to hold your position, to stand and say this is me, this is what I'm doing and why. It can take courage to face another day without the person you love most in the world. It can take courage to watch a person you love slowly slipping away or in great pain. It can take courage to make big life decisions for yourself and keep going even tho people you love want you to stop and change back. It can take courage to face yet another surgery or intervention just when you hoped you were turning the corner.

Courage can simply be that quiet inner voice that speaks and says "I'll try again tomorrow".

For all those who are getting bounced around and knocked down and dealt more things than one should reasonably be asked to handle... I wish you quiet, gentle courage.

©2011 Fiona Dempster - Early morning at Umbakumba lagoon

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I've been playing with ink...

Mmmmmmm yum!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Moments of beauty and delight

And so, after detailing our wonderful workshops and visits in Japan earlier in the week, here are some images of things that were simply beautiful and delightful...

Cloths hanging in Kameyama Tomohide-san's studio


Bottles with fairies in Shimokawa-san's studio...

Spools of threads at Ashikaga.

Garden solitude at Banna temple, Ashikaga.

Temple peace.

Wheat growing and blowing...

Fragments of sculpture at Mashiko.

Copper fragment at Banna temple, Ashikaga.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...

"Artists are like the bards of old, they sing a song of their district". 

Rosalie Gascoigne

I thought about this one a bit as I flicked through the possible quotes to choose from for today. At first I thought to myself, I'm not sure that applies to me. Not in the literal sense.

I don't paint the Glasshouse Mountains, I don't photograph or draw dairy cows, I don't feature hills and valleys in my work very how can I sing a song of my district?

But then I thought, I do actually, for our home is a sanctuary of sorts with the peacefulness of the valley below, the gentle quiet of the dawn, the softness of those misty days... These are all ways that I work.

My work is based in, and on, this place and what it offers - not so much the physical geography of it, but the sense of place, of calm and quiet and peace. I'm not sure of I lived in a city or a war-zone that my work would reflect as much peace and quiet - perhaps as an antidote to the rush and busyness; perhaps as a response to, an effort to manage or deal with things.

Instead here, the peacefulness and quiet energy is the well-spring for my work. The words for my own song perhaps.

This photo was taken by our friend Steve on his first visit here - he loved the misty moods and the cloud-lake in the valley...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A print exchange...

Lesley sent out the call for a Spring print exchange recently, and I thought to myself, I'd like to try that.  I was fine with the fact that it was an Autumn upside down seasonal print exchange thing for me, and felt that this would be a great chance to get inking again.

There were seven of us and I was the only one south of the equator, and that meant I had to get a wee bit more organised in order to meet the timelines, given it takes a while for mail to make it up and over the world.

I was lucky I found some time here and there to get making and cutting and inking and colouring.

My lino cut is an edition of 15, printed and hand-coloured, called "Imagine peace".

The original prints...

One of the prints.

The edition after hand colouring.

One of the final hand-coloured prints.

Bundled all together...

Peace is beautiful, yet hard to achieve. With this print I wanted to capture that idea, making the words somewhat difficult to decipher, yet having the overall sense of something beautiful nonetheless.

I am pleased that I managed to get these into the post before we headed off to Japan, giving them time to reach their new owners. I am also quite excited by the thought of six other prints arriving in the mailbox...will keep you posted! I have received three splendid ones to date, and will share the full set with you once I have them in my happy hands.