Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...

“In fact, everything we encounter in this world with our six senses is an inkblot test. You see what you are thinking and feeling, seldom what you are looking at.” 


Up front I have to say I haven't actually been able to pin down which Shiqin this quote is supposed to be by - maybe a Buddhist monk; maybe a deity, maybe...

I often think our moods and experiences colour what we see and how we see it.

My simplest example is of people with stop/go signs for traffic work. On difficult stressed and filled up days as I drive past, I would love to have a job that appears less taxing.

On days when I am creating and bursting with happiness, I am so grateful that I don't have the repetition of that job.

On beautiful Spring days when I am rushing to another meeting in another building somewhere I envy them their time in the warmth and the outdoors; on days when the sleet comes down and the wind howls I am thankful for the cocoon of my car and its warmth.

So my experiences and expectations of the job are in many ways dependent on my own.

The inkblot notions suggests that we project our own experiences and thoughts, desires and wishes onto things that we observe; and in many ways I expect this is so. I think we all experience the world so differently and uniquely; yet there is so much that holds us together.  We each have prisms through which we see things and whilst we may be looking at one thing, we may be seeing another.

Not so much an inkblot as a mark; but still... I see language or dancing!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Orange orange everywhere...

I'm back on track with my blogging schedule - got a bit out of whack over the weekend when we were having too much fun to sit at the computer!

Today I have been stitching and I just couldn't stop looking at and photographing these orange threads in all their guises...

My needles threaded and sitting in my lap - orange looks great against black!

I haven't yet cut all the threads - I am such a fan of long threads - but I am pretty sure they aren't right for this project. I enjoyed sitting upstairs at the dining table doing this today.

And then there's the first threads I cut, and I think that little book will be re-stitched! I didn't do a double knot at the end and was too scared to cut it flush - but it looks hopeless in it's halfway to nothing state.

Remnants of a different stuff up sitting on the table...

And after the day was done, Barry came home and said "take a shot of that"! And I did - my sewing glasses, the spool of thread and some needles...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Working, working,

We seem to barely pause to take breath at the moment, there is so much on and our days and lives are filled.  We have just spent a full weekend with old friends with much chatting, eating, drinking and making.

Before the weekend Barry and I were busy with our commission and with setting up the exhibition.

Commission-wise, it is a real collaboration - we co-designed the look and feel and we each contribute individual bits; but we also work together on some bits.

Here is Barry drilling holes in Perspex that I have marked and bound together.

Together we set the sheets together, hold them in place with copper nails so that the holes line up, and prepare the rivets.

Then I hold the sheets together tightly and Barry forms the rivets with the hammer strokes. It is very labour intensive that's for sure.

And then sometimes I let go and take photos!

Its always interesting to see an exhibition space transformed from an empty shell to a place of interest. We didn't get to take shots of the whole gallery in its finished state but here is a glimpse of us working and making it happen.

Quite a few of these pieces have moved around since we took the photos - its always such an iterative process of seeing how things look; moving, re-checking, adding, subtracting...  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...

“One day, a long time from now, you’ll cease to care any more whom you please or what anybody has to say about you. That’s when you’ll finally produce the work you’re capable of.”

 J.D. Salinger

The spirit of this quote I like.  It makes sense to me and I know that it is true.  In order to just make your best work, you need to keep what anybody else thinks out of the equation.  There is really very little point worrying too much about what people think of your work; what you need to do is to be true to yourself.

That's not to say I don't value the opinions of people I care about and respect; and I also enjoy it when other people really like my work - its a great feeling!  The hard thing I think is to know how to hold those bits of information, advice, and support in the right place. How to filter them, to take what matters, what adds to what you are doing (not subtracts), and which holds true for you - as much as it does for them.

I found this challenging this week when we set up our exhibition. Whilst I have enjoyed my time with these pieces, working away quietly and making things I wanted to make; there is always a sense of fear and doubt the moment you take them away from the safety of your studio and put them in front of people in a public place.  I looked around me and felt inadequate, an impostor and all sorts of other weird things; and then I talked to myself a bit. These pieces were mine, they spoke to me, I liked them and that was all that mattered.

I think J D Salinger had it right when he said "one day, a long time from now, ...".

He got that it can take us a long time to be OK with doing what we do and not needing or fearing the response of others.

©2013 Fiona Dempster Ways of Peace
One of my books for this exhibition. The Exhibition is open now at Rosebed St Gallery in Eudlo for those who live nearby - the official opening is next Friday 30 August at 7pm!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A commission underway

Barry and I are fortunate to have been asked to do an interesting and large commission. Comprising eleven individual pieces, the works combine elements of both of our art and styles.

And we have been busy. It feels like a case of extreme scheduling and logistics; things need to be done in a sequence and there is no way to go faster or cut corners; everything just needs to take the time it takes and so we do a little bit each day when we can. My mind boggles a bit at all the processes and the fear each time that something could go wrong and we have to re-do things and re-jig our schedules to adjust to the new timeframes...Strangely enough, the deadline is about the exact same time our exhibition opens!

Me, I have been cutting up lots of paper and making lots of embossing plates and pieces, and embossing...

Most of these marks reference marks Barry has beaten into metal - all 11 pieces will be unique and individual, yet also have the continuity of a similar look and feel. This is only the beginning, we have so many more steps yet to do!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Quiet book blues

I prepared these pages ages ago it seems; wondering what they might become. So many options drifted through my brain and for quite a while I was very hooked on the notion of them becoming hanging scrolls with tumbling words.

But they kept sitting there waiting.  Early last week I realised I wanted to make them into a book and that I wanted it to go in the exhibition - note that all works are due this Tuesday!

I like it when, if you get those nights with interrupted sleep, you can actually use them. I am no fan of interrupted or sleepless nights; but if they come I like being able to use the time in a positive way.

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind during an episode of wakefulness and driftiness, I realised I wanted to write on them, and how.

I then started playing with other pages, tissue paper and embossing, sourcing book cloth for the covers and just enjoying time spent with them.  Some pieces are generous like that - they let you enjoy yourself, they help you along, each thing you try actually works and feels like a reward.

And you get to have fun along the way and gaze in awe at the lovely papers!

I think the blues are lovely...

And yes, the exhibition begins at Rosebed St Gallery this week, and runs from Friday 23 August 2013 to Sunday 6 October 2013. The official opening is 7pm on Friday 30 August, with a jazz latin duo playing and official speeches starting at 7.30pm (RSVP to the Gallery by  Wednesday 28 August).

It would be great if you could drop in or drop by sometime!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...

With my eyes closed, I would touch a familiar book and draw its fragrance deep inside me. This was enough to make me happy. 

 Haruki Murakami 

 I think one of the things I love about books is how they involve so many senses...there is the sense of vision if you are seeing words and reading; there is the sense of touch as you hold the book, feel the paper move and unfurl, turn in you hands, sometimes even the weightiness or not of the book adds to the pleasure and experience of reading. There is sometimes the sense of hearing when you listen to the pages as they land softly after turning. Then of course there is the smell of paper, new and old; fresh and worn; no matter where the book lies on the spectrum of age, there is a unique smell that says book. 

I think smell is such an evocative sense – it often reminds me of places and people; feelings and experiences. Just a whiff of a perfume reminds me of a friend; the smell of coffee roasting or bread baking has me feeling happy; and yet the smell of smoke has me out the door in a flash checking where the fire is and if anybody is keeping an eye on it.

As companions, books do offer up their own experiences, including their smell and their touch, which adds just another dimension to their delightfulness.

It's that time again when Jennifer and Julie go looking for the rainbow - this month's colour is purple.  I saw this bowl of petals in Shimokawa-san's studio in Tatebayshi earlier this year.

I can almost smell them from here...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

An exhibition piece finished

We are edging closer to the deadline for our exhibition and I think we're petty much on track so far.  I have one piece sitting around waiting to be made but no others that seem to need to be made just yet, so I hope that I am on the home straight now.

I finished this piece on Saturday and am happy with how it ended up. It is simple, elegant and filled with quiet strength.

Peace within Chaos is its name and it stands testament to that possibility.

The covers are very soft leather - with some circles embedded underneath. Tied with a simple bow.

The chaotic swirling is interrupted by a narrow band of quietness...

Encouraging us to find peace within the chaos, to know that in amongst the hurly burly of it all, we can be still and quiet and know peace.

Within the knot of chaos lies a perfectly woven peace - Fiona Dempster 2013.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

More printmakers' play

Barry has already posted on our play day with Maleny Printmakers, but I have so many colourful photos I just have to share as well!

We are a small group (13) who are kind of independent, loosely connected and yet all get on well and do good things together. One of my favourite parts of being a member is that you have to sign up to one rule - The "No Divas" rule.  We just don't want to deal with divas or divos for the blokes, and as a result everybody just plays nicely together, and works nicely together when we put on exhibitions.

We hosted  a play day here a few weeks ago, today it was Kim, Sonja and Nancy's turn to share and teach and we had great fun with geli-plate printing.

Basically a monotype process, working with Nancy's beautiful Golden inks, we explored the layering and textures, mask prints and ghost prints.  I love that we all just settle in and explore in our own way; ask questions, investigate what others are doing and share our inklings, without any divas demanding attention or having hissy fits..

I did heaps of different things in quite bright colours

And a few in more subdues tones as well...calligraphic marks

Habu thread...

Book pages and words...

Overprinting kozo paper...

 And the others did amazing are Barry's mountains...

One of Steph's beauties...

 One of my favourites of Kim's stunning pieces...

Sonja's combination piece...

Nancy's silhouettes and life drawings...

And one of Di's leaves...

All very delicious, immediate and fun. Not sure how I will use the gelli-plate printing, but it's great to have it here as an option. We need to do quite a few new prints for our November exhibition so it may get a run there.