Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“So build yourself as beautiful as you want your world to be. Wrap yourself in light then give yourself away with your heart, your brush, your march, your art, your poetry, your play. And for every day you paint the war, take a week and paint the beauty, the color, the shape of the landscape you’re marching towards. Everyone knows what you’re against; show them what you’re for.” 

Andrea Gibson, Evolution

As I ponder art this week, this quote seems to capture poignantly and beautifully how art is a response to the world; our statement; our voice and our message.  And sometimes that may be political.

But always to remember that when we give ourselves to the darkness, when we portray it, draw attention to it and ask that people pay attention to it; that we should also follow this with the lightness.  The lightness that reminds us of goodness and beauty; of care and of kindness.

I feel a bit this way at the moment - having focussed on the difficult issue of family violence for most of the year; it has been important to return to peace. To sharing peace, to making work of peace and to celebrating the kindness and care of others promoting peace.

In doing so I think I have been showing people what I am for; not just what I am against.

I sent a few weathergrams south to friends, and this one was hung in a tree in Sydney in a busy pedestrian place by my dear friend Karen. I love this shot because it is one of the first times I have ever seen one of my weathergrams in an urban setting - and one where loads of folk will walk by it, and hopefully wonder a bit about it. Thank you Karen!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Some Sydney Contemporary favourites

It seems that it took all year to get there, and on return, the Sydney Contemporary is still reverberating around in my head!

Promised to share some of my favourites from the show and here are a few.

This installation piece by Maio Motoko called  Moment by Moment Heartbeat by Heartbeat was magnificent.  Using folding screens to explore light, time and space she created many sculptures.  There were I think 4 or 5 transformations and it was wonderful to re-visit and realise how different the experience was after the re-arranging and re-creation of the work.

I was mesmerised and intrigued by the layers of detail...

Another favourite I re-visited several times was another installation piece  called 1024 full stops, by Shoofly Derz.  Two panels of copper leaned against wall, pierced with 1024 holes "full stops"; occasionally a feather...

On first viewing of this work by Tony Albert, I read it quickly from a distance and delighted in it - it seemed to reflect my preferences so well.  A second visit where I could linger and go into the detail more made me take a breath in.  Clearly my nice middle class white introverted female response was one; but the reality of the story was so much more coming form an Indigenous artist who utilises ephemera which highlights the portrayal of Aboriginal people in Australian memorabilia.  I spent a long time looking at his other works.  Stunning. Brilliant. Insightful and incisory.

 A final favourite for today - simple, quiet and remarkably familiar was this piece on handmade paper. Of Itself (More Envelopes) by Marita Hewitt. Watercolour painting of envelopes, on paper which I assume had been made by the envelopes represented on it. I may be wrong, but that made most sense to me!

I love its quiet beauty; its domestic nature and its obvious tactile appeal. Ahhhhh. Paper.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

One more teaching gig

The end of the year is rapidly approaching, and I have one last teaching gig.  I will be teaching what was a 5 day workshop - Quietly and Gently - in a single day!

Sounds like fun  doesn't it?

There will be lots of modifications made, but the theme will be the same - exploring the beauty and subtlety of working white on white.

In the 5 day workshop I teach a coptic binding sample book; and then another book and slip case.  With this one I still want lots of samples, but am looking for solution that is quicker than a coptic binding.

Over the weekend I spent time making samples of various techniques and using various papers.

Every time I needed to include words, the only one I could think of was peace. And words about peace.
Metals stamped words. These are de-bossed into the paper; but look embossed in the photos.

 Tracing paper, piercing, tracing wheels and gel pens.

Typewriter without ribbons

The last word...

Embossing. It is a shame we won't have access to a press; but you can still do some good embossing by hand.

Cut out letters attached above the paper.

And so to the 'book' which will hold all the samples. I had made a concertina book with pouches into which the samples could be placed.  It worked pretty well - you could pop several samples into each pouch, but I just wondered if there was another solution.

I picked up apiece of paper that had been given to me recently. and folded it into one envelope type pouch. Then I slipped all the samples inside.

I think it looks inviting. It is also elegant and simple which I like. the aper is the softest baby blue, which while it isn't white still looks lovely.

So I think we might have two options at least, and a third could still present itself to me in the meantime I guess!

We had gusty winds and driving rain (yay for the rain) over the weekend so I have a few repairs to make to the weather grams...but they shall return to fly and flutter another day.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

"Books are a better investment in our future than bullets. Books, not bullets, will pave the path towards peace and prosperity".

Malala Yousafzai

On International Day of Peace, I love that Malala says what she says. Books and education are key to peace; to helping us understand each other; to helping us see our place in the world as part of a bigger picture; by enabling us to empathise with others; and allowing us to know that war brings many terrors and many victims for generations.

We need to find our own path towards peace, as we struggle to make peace with those close to us; with folk at work; or with our own attitudes to politicians and those who govern us.  Reading books, getting educated, learning more about the world and others is surely a fabulous way to pave the path towards peace on global scale as well. I really believe that funding education and exchange; learning and knowledge sharing must be a key part of all our diplomatic efforts towards peace.

But more broadly, today I have been heartened by the networks of folk around the world doing their small bit for peace - committing to peace and peaceful ways; encouraging each other; and quietly making sure that peace is heard, across the world...

And let it begin with me...

Thich Nhat Hanh's calligraphy.

The peace bell being gonged across the valley this morning...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

International Day of Peace

This Thursday, 21 September, is International Day of Peace.

Each year, Barry and I create flags for peace and hang them in the tree at the top of our driveway.  We use the term 'flag' loosely and I create weather grams, and Barry hangs his copper peace doves.

We have hung all sorts of flags on the the trees and around the house over the years; but seem to have settled on these two forms for now.

This year, I decided to do letterpress on my brown paper bags. I had pretty much run out of time; but I also thought the uniform look of a single message and the bold wooden type would look good.

And I think I was right.

I love the rawness of the strings as well.

And on Sunday they flew.

There was quite the breeze for a bit, but they flutter and jingle and jangle. Living where we do, we had a bit of traffic go by on Sunday and I liked that the movement catches people's eyes and makes them wonder what its about.

Hopefully a few walkers and cyclists will also slow down to look and receive the messages.

So perfect...

On Thursday we will put our sandwich board reminding folk it is International Day of Peace. We will gong our peace bell for peace throughout the world; in big far away places; and in small, nearby places...

For peace.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Carriage works - the space

In so many ways the Sydney Contemporary at Carriageworks was HUGE. It was bustling, buzzing and so full of people.  But we were fortunate in the quiet moments before setting up and before opening each day, to wander through this magnificent space and enjoy its history and its vastness; its age and its beauty.

The tracks where the railway carriages used to pass are an ongoing reminder of its past.

Little half doors and shafts of light.

Walls of beauty.

More tracks and lines.

Industrial strength beams and posts.

A quiet moment, coffee with Barry before the day began...

After packing up, and as we walked out for the last time;  I let this forklift go by. It shows the scale of the place well I think.

A magnificent building, a fabulous showing space; a wonderful retention of our past, used for our present and our future.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“The words you speak become the house you live in.” 


I sat and thought about this one for a bit - and it got me thinking about folk who are right here and right now speaking words of peace throughout the world. People who are reaching out, connecting and speaking peace to others. Barry has sent his peace leaves out int to he world; Liz has continued to make and create peace through her peace pins and sharing.

What a delight to think the more we speak of peace, the more we speak for peace, the more we speak peacefully - the more we build a house and a home that is peaceful.

The power of words to influence in so many ways; to affect us all and to create calm and serene places.

As we head towards next Thursday 21 September, International Day of Peace, I hope to head to the studio and make some weather grams to hang in the tree at the top of our driveway - to remind others and ourselves of the constant need to imagine, believe and seek peace.

Especially when the sky is dark...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Back from the Sydney Contemporary

It is so odd, so strange in a way that after focussing for almost 6 months on preparing for this show, that here I am, home again and it has been and gone!

It was a full week - busy and buzzy. Loads of people and lots of connections made. Quite challenging in its own way dealing with the hoards of folk who visit - trying to work out who might be interested in printmaking; who  is simply meandering; and then who might actually be interested in your own work.

It was a great week as well - the four us who travelled and presented under Good to Print Studio all sold work which was great validation.  My work is never the kind of work that folk necessarily want to have hanging on their dining room wall given its tough social messages, but a few folk worked their way through that and took it home which is very much appreciated.

Our set up after we set up - looking quite minimal and professional.

Slightly less minimal on the way through!  Love that we had to wear hi vis.

The further we went through the Show - the more we added to the table.  Observing the hesitancy of some folk to walk around and look at the wall; we brought some works closer to them.

One of the real highlights for me was catching up with friends and family and meeting friends for the first time in real life!

Here I am meeting Mo Orkiswewski from Its Crow Time for the first time. Another one of those lovely blogging connections - where you know you are kindred spirits before you actually meet because you have shared and understood and learned from each other in the world of blog for quite some time beforehand. 

And with my dear friend Karen who took some great photos for me and we talked about feminisism and women and art...

We were fortunate to have Kate Evans from Radio National come along and interview all four of us as well as Akky, the Curator of the Sydney Paper Contemporary.  Once again, talking with my hands, even for radio!

I will let folk know when the story goes to air...

 My book What?Why?What?What? on display.

My four letterpress works and my four calligraphic works on the wall. They worked well in their grouping I thought.

I sold a full suite of letterpress works and one calligraphic work. I do love a red dot - not just for me but for everyone. Always makes me smile when I see a red dot. People are buying art they love; and artists are having their work bought and recognised.

 And Tory caught this moment when I first met Mo, and got to show her I was wearing the dress I had recently made!

All in all an amazing week - surrounded by fabulous art which I shall share in the next couple of posts - and in the company of wonderful artists and printmakers and friends.