Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Stationery heaven

I think I have caught up with the posts I wanted to share from Japan - here is one for the stationery lovers.

Whilst I w a keen to look for paper when we visited; we didn't really have the time or schedule to explore paper factories and the like; so I satisfied myself with a day or two in Tokyo checking out stationery stores as best we could.

I think Tokyo is heaven for stationery-lovers.  There is so much beautiful paper, ink and styling going on.

We made our way through back streets as darkness fell to Kakimori - not far from Ginza - where I had read you could make your own notebook.

Which is kind of funny seeing as how I can make my own anyway, but it was fun to wander around the shop selecting paper, covers and clasps.

Here are our two notebooks on completion - they look pretty staid but are much nicer in the hand! We agreed it was as much about the experience and the theatre as it was about the outcome; altho I do like my notebook.

 Next door was probably the most amazing find of the trip - a shop called Inkstand where you could mix your own ink colours. That level purple is made from 3 drop son plum mixed with one drop of blue suede.

And you get the idea...

It was almost closing time by the time we dropped in (which was probably fortunate for the bank account) but I loved the precision with which these women were testing and trialling their signature colours.

I was in fact besotted by the whole thing and could have spent hours there.  I think it will be first up on any future visit to Tokyo.

The next day we visited It-Oya, 8 stories of stationery in Ginza. Huge sigh.

The entrance display of wash tape!

Some samples I bought home.

Walls and walls of samples to choose from.

 And then across the road was the 5 or 6 story shop of art supplies. Throughout the shop the displays of individual coloured pencils were so beautiful.

I am sure there are many more we didn't get to, and they will  make for more fun next time!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Art and beauty from Japan

After a week that has been filled with friendship and exchanges with our Japanese Sister City colleagues, I realised that I had barely had time to share any of the images from our trip to Japan. So much has happened since our return!

So I think there is one more Japan post before I am finished - stationery - but for today these are some of the images of art and beauty that I carry with me after our visit.

Some temple images...incense sticks smouldering in fine white sand, and Buddha's hands.

Some more images from the exhibition by Shohei Fujita. Simply divine work.

We came across a graphic design exhibition; here they were trying to link paper texture to butterfly wings.

And a detail from a wall inside a shopping centre.

A beautiful hand-hammered vase by one of Haryu-sensai's students.

Assemblage art at the Gunma gallery.

And as a complete contrast to such elegance and beauty here is how I spent part of Saturday - helping Barry and my dad build a wall for a  cob oven at the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre; before helping Christine and Merv take down the exhibition we hung earlier in the week! Quite the contrast... and of course we had the first major thunderstorm in ages just as we were working.

Never a dull moment here.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thursday Thoughts...

“In difficult times you should always carry something beautiful in your mind” 

Blaise Pascal

As one looks around the world, and most often at our political classes behaving in the worst possible ways, we can feel discouraged, dejected and a bit overwhelmed.

We had another instance of nasty, unnecessary political commentary this week here, and I fear for our integrity, our kindness, our decency and our humanity.  It worries me, it frustrates me and at times make me feel ill. But holding those thoughts in my head does me no good - they can be a catalyst for action; they can be the reminder for me not just accept things the way they are; but I cannot let them fester.

To help me right myself, restore my equilibrium, I think Blaise Pascal has it just right - in troubling times we need to carry something beautiful with us - and in our minds we can create beauty.

So many friends are making and creating beautiful things, doing fabulous things, speaking truths of beauty - that it is not as hard as I thought to carry beauty with me.

Barry's post yesterday gave me such encouragement - the power of beauty in nature to heal and restore.

Imagine beauty and carry it with you...

A piece from a beautiful exhibition we saw in Tokyo recently - my heart slowed when I walked in and I carry that sense of peace and of beauty with me..

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

More fun than a roller coaster!

Well Monday (was it only two days ago?) was full on and full of fun!

The title of the post is the quote of the day from one of the children at the River School, so that feels like a pretty good report card.

Christine, Barry and I were almost sleepwalking zombies by the end of the day; but we had a great time and made some great work with the children of the River School; and also shared messages of care for our waterways and protection of our wildlife.

We worked with the whole school from children in Prep (age 5) up to Year 6 (age 12) and it was amazing to see the skills and talent in all years.

The only quiet moment of the day - setting up my work station.

Some of the Prep weather grams.

Some from Year 4

Christine had them printing up a storm on gelli-plates...

Deliciously inked plate.

Some of the prints.

And Barry had a wow of a time filling small cups with plastic and resin; and creating small plastic bags of resin as well.

We installed the work at Tanawha on Tuesday afternoon - so many prints and weathergrams to hang, and resin objects to place and install - after we had hosted our Japanese guests in the morning.

At home, the Japanese temple bell with "peace' on it was gonged... and much delight was shared.

And then we hung all the children's art work - another few hours work, but worth it.

Weather gram installation time.


A turtle made from rubbish from the waterways and more prints.

 The resin bags and cups installed on blue...

And some Shimokawa san's work - melted plastic bottle caps found in the waterways.

Finally, a couple of panorama shots - of Shimokawa-san's work in the gallery; and the River School's work...

 Phew, time for a lie down I reckon!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Environmental art activities

Some weeks are so full and so busy and yet at the end of them you still have very little to show for it!

This week was kind of one of those as we are preparing to host our Sister City friends from Tatebayashi in Japan - about 20 delegates are coming tot the Sunshine Coast and on Tuesday they will visit us at home of for a light lunch - you can imagine we have been cleaning and tidying!

In conjunction with their visit we are also showing some of Shimokawa san's work at the Arts and Ecology Centre at Maroochy Botanical Bushland Gardens until 1pm on Saturday 26 October.

Back in 2013 we visited Shimokawa- san's house for a very special art display, and discussion. For the past decade or so he has wandered the banks of the two rivers near where he lives and collected the waste and rubbish that people leave. He then makes art from it and some of it is challenging; some of it is beautiful.

We spent most of Friday hanging his exhibition - and we were so tired and tuckered out I didn't take a single photo! Says a lot. But here are some images from our visit in 2013.

He also collects natural things along the waterways as well.

As well, we are running a full day workshop with the River School students here in Maleny on Monday.  The whole school is taking part, so Barry, Christine and I will be busy!

In preparation the children collected lots of plastic and rubbish as they walked along the creeks and waterways here.  Barry has cut it all up and the plastic parts will be suspended in resin - in cups (drinking water) and plastic bags.  Check out his blog post about it here.

Christine will be doing gelli-plate printing with the students and I will be doing 'weathergrams' on cut up paper bags to hang in a peace tree. Messages of care for the animal life the lives in our waterways will be drawn and written.

So lots of the week has also involved printing brochures (partially successful) and preparing 150 weathergrams...

We also fixed up the peace tree so we can transport it - ah the chaos of our shed!

I cut lots and lots of string...

Which made me happy.

I packed textas, pencils, calligraphy markers...

And prepared a few demonstration weather grams - cutting the paper basin half, folding the tops over twice, punching holes and threading - 150 times (except for the threading that was only 10 times).

I also managed two transfer the words onto my sheer fabric for the Melbourne commission - there are four panels and it took nearly an hour to transfer each panel. My arm was aching!

Hopefully the week is wonderful and everything works out well.