Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.

Jorge Luis Borges

If I ever turned my mind to what Paradise would look like, I am pretty sure I would come up with something like this. It would have to have books.

I would probably also require something like good coffee, good wine and maybe cheese. Some of the lovely indulgent things I enjoy in my life. It would be good if it also had good friends, nice weather and endless opportunities for art.

But really, the books would almost matter most.

Books have been a constant in my life. More so than wine or coffee or art or even cheese.  I am rarely not within arms reach of something to read and always, always turn to words and book for solace and comfort. For understanding and for pure pleasure.

I regularly say I have nowhere near enough time to read all the books that I want to. Imagine Paradise, which might last forever, and finally having time to read all those books you desire!

A little piece of Paradise in a pub in Stockbridge, Edinburgh.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Persisting with purple

I have been trying to work out exactly what I want to add to the cards I printed over the weekend.

They looked so nice with the late afternoon sun drifting across them.

So I went off and played with some of the many rejects...trying a bit of this and a bit of that.  I tried out cleaning my ink roller and seeing if it made any interesting patterns.

Kind of, sort of, still not sure.

So then I went to town with an embossing plate - just to see what it looked like if I embossed quite strong marks across it. A bit too powerful for me.

I topped and tailed a page with some old silver plate embossing plates, which kind of gave the words a popped out flat panel to show themselves upon.

I rolled a thin copper sheet the length of the page. It had a gentle criss cross pattern.

As a last resort I used a circular embossing (sideways just because) on a page where I had rolled the purple which is all really a bit too much all up! But I tried to close my eyes and filter out the purple and work out if a circular embossing, oriented correctly, at the bottom of a long thing page, could work...and in my mind's eye I think it might. But I am really going to have to try it on one of the ones I printed properly.

I do think the words look lovely on their own as well. 

Sigh. I am forever challenged by my preference for not much at all; and the need to make the work interesting for others. Clearly lots of work still to do...

Sunday, November 26, 2017


Re-entering the making and creating zone after a period away is always interesting.

Spare minutes and moments this week have been spent quietly sorting out the final drawers of type I had around, and now the job of cataloguing them begins. It seemed to me that I needed a clear head and a clear space to begin again, so that was the task.

So when I finished tidying yesterday, the path was clear to go make something, or at the very least, do something.

This morning I set out to try and print a small something.

I mixed up some purple ink.

Rolled it.

And popped it onto the press and rollers.

 What a fabulous colour!

That all went so well - the type was selected, the layout worked, the chase locked up easily. No dramas.


I went to print and just could not get the pressure right. I learnt of course that I should have done my pressure testing using a chase specifically set up for that (I have one, just forgot to use it), and I fiddled and I faddled.

Barry came along and helped try this and try that, and together we kind of sorted it - his brain contributing far more than mine! Took just over an hour to work it all out.

I made quite the mess and managed to waste a lot of paper it felt.

But I persisted!

And managed to print 50 reasonably good versions of this quote. No idea why Blogger has made the photos blurry - I've tried a number of solutions to no avail, apologies.

I just wanted to print something, and have loved this quote since earlier in the year when it was spoken by Republican Senator  Mitch McConnell as he tried to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren as she spoke.

It is so representative of so much; and I have wanted to print it for a while. I have plans to add something to these mixed up pieces of paper with their words - and I really want to get some larger type and print it on some aprons, but for now, this was enough.

My thinking was that the gap between she and persisted would slow people down a bit, and maybe emphasis the words. Not sure if it worked, but it will do for now.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

I crave uncomplicated quiet, and the sky. 

Marilyn Hacker

So interesting to see the quotes that jump out at you and pretty much self-select.  This is one of them.  Whilst we travelled, we were often in cities and in amongst people.  But one of the things I liked is that folk didn't know me, so I could move quietly amongst them. Yes traffic and noise and bustle and smells and all of that goes with a city; but as you meander in your own world you can sometimes just be very quiet.

But in contrast to this quote, it is probably a complicated quiet, as you navigate in unknown streets, negotiate crossings and exchanges in languages unknown.

I think if I were asked to write or choose a sentence that meant 'home' to me - I wouldn't bother writing one because this would be it.

At home on the mountain, the quiet is uncomplicated.  We live a pretty quiet life; a bit of road noise, but no neighbours we can generally hear, no car alarms, no sirens, no horns, very few parties or loud music. Noisy birds at times I grant you - but when they stop the silence is more eloquent than before they began.

And the sky. I can honestly say having lived here for  a decade or more, that I do crave the sky. The sky matters to me here. It is a constant reference point. I check it multiple times throughout the day - to look at clouds, rain, light, or whatever. It is a constant companion and the scale of it here is enormous. We can see so much sky.

I'm with Ms Hacker.

From eleven years ago, before we built out house and landscaped the block. I have always loved this sky...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Round and around...

We have gone around the world and back, and the sense of circling and encompassing and wrapping around sits with me on return.

I have been trying to loosely organise my photos - very loosely - and once again am intrigued by the circles I see as we wander the world...

I don't think I use circles that much in my work, yet I am drawn to them in the world around me. They offer a sense of wholeness, or of a void; they seem to be complete, and rather calming.  No doubt there is a world of writing on "The Meaning of The Circle" but sometimes I just like to look at them.

In Scotland, this beautiful work at Dovecot (Caroline Dear, Moss circle/square)

At Cullen Bay, a wreath of guinea fowl feathers

In Stockholm, a rusted ring

A gold record by ABBA! at the ABBA Museum in Stockholm

And colourful balls of braid in Stockholm as well.

To Krakow, candles at a cemetery on All Saints Day.

Outside Krakow, a salt chandelier in the salt mine.

Part of an assemblage artwork in Krakow, outside the National Museum.

Remnant of horror, Auschwitz.  So sinister in its barbed electricity.

We saw a lot, enjoyed a lot and were forced to think, consider, probe and try to understand a lot.  For whatever reason I am a person affected by place, by being, sitting, standing, walking in a place. I get a different experience from it, a different understanding. By no means the same understanding of being in a place for a long time, following the seasons and the years; but I think differently when I am in a place rather than just reading about it or looking at it thru a book or a screen.  I am grateful for the opportunities to travel.

I am more grateful to be able to circle home.

To the coaster where I rest my mug...

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Apologies for the lengthy absence.  We were away for a few weeks and despite my best intentions, what was needed in the end was an almost total silence.  For the first time since I began blogging I didn't keep it up as we travelled; I apologise too for not commenting much on others blogs.

But here we are back home, safe and well and a little bit more relaxed.

One of our first stops was Edinburgh - a city that constantly delights and where we love to wander and explore and re-visit fabulous places.  One of these is the Dovecot Tapestry Workshop. It produces beautiful work, puts on stunning exhibitions and for the first time we got to see behind the scenes from the viewing balcony.

It was so impressive.

The scale is astonishing. You can see the humans in amongst the frames and the number of large scale projects least five I think.

So much work goes into one of these - the design, the matching of colours, the hundreds of threads for weft and warps, then the weaving of the threads.

The front of one underway


The back...

 Details of another including the words to be woven.

Hard at work.

We were both in awe of the amount of work and time these massive projects take - the patience required!  Apologies too because none of the projects were named so can't be attributed - works in progress still.

Fragments from the exhibition that was on at the time.

Detail - Caroline Dear Moss circle/square

Detail - Joanne Soroka For Irene Sendler

Detail - Aino Kajaniemi Shadow Series 1-18

Life is definitely a tapestry, a gathering of threads, designs emerging...woven into layers and creating order and beauty out of simple things.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

Some days it storms 
Some days it shines
This is how flowers grow. 


Occasionally my Thursday Thoughts are erudite. Sometimes they are complex and deep and extremely thought-provoking; at others, they suggest a truism I simply need reminding of.

This is one of those.

When things get heavy and tough and you feel overloaded, it can be easy to lose sight of the knowledge that life has, and needs, cycles.  That both sides of the coin hold value and many things in this world need a little bit of this; and a little bit of that.

We have had a hard and heavy year and I need to remind myself that the up side of some of this is the benefits that are flowing to others; that a lot of the hard work will be making someone else's life better and easier and happier.

I also know that we will come out the the other side and that over there, the sun will be shining.

Sun and storms, above the clouds...

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” 

Henry David Thoreau

This captures so perfectly what happens when we slow down and pay attention to the small wonders in the world.  To those moments and places and objects that may appear unattractive and worn, or those which are generally overlooked.

I know I am not alone in thinking of the many photographs I and others take - where I have noticed something small and insignificant, yet beautiful and encouraging or full of wonder.

It's what you can see within it; or what you can see of its story, its history, its value and meaning.

Remnants of string from peace flags past..they are so beautiful to me; so full of reminders of sharing peace.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

"Words are Life" 

 Marcus Zusak, The Book Thief

Oh my, this book remains one of my favourites. So beautifully written, such details about the power and beauty of books and writing and recording and memory...

I know that as humans we need food and shelter and air and so many things to keep a life going; but I can hardly imagine my life without words; without books.

Books and words carry and contain such meaning: they guide; steer; educate; celebrate; many elements of life are contained within them and by them and made available for us to share and explore.

What more can I say? Words definitely help make a life.

A quote from a woman who was helped by McAuley Community Services in Melbourne - words I traced and hand-stitched. Words.