Thursday, December 13, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

“Art is intimacy, lover’s talk, and yet it is a public declaration.” 

 Jeanette Winterson.

Even tho these words seem so intimate or personal or private; I think they capture that oddest of sensations of showing art.

We make our art. It comes from within. It comes on the wings of whispers.  It tells a story.  It goes deep and then surfaces.  Our art is so very very personal.  We know, only we can make the art we do. And we know, we can only make the art we do.

So then, the showing. The baring. The very public presentation. Asking, hoping.

The intimacy of lover's talk becomes a public declaration.

I can still remember the anxiety going to visit Pas de Deux for the first time before it opened; and hoping that it looked OK; that my work held up all right.  And then I wept a little bit, quietly when I saw it. It was beyond belief beautiful and more than I could ever have hoped for...

And the last time my beautiful mum saw my work on show...more tears today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Still stitching

Well, my main arty activity has been the ongoing embellishment of this bag.

I made it from scraps from my clothes sewing a year and half a ago and have really enjoyed it.  But I did often think it  might benefit from a little something decorative and so the stitching began.

The bag always wears one of Liz Ackert's peace pins..

I loved some of the patterns that emerged from the perpendicular stitching.

Then I did some different stitching on another panel

And some starry cross stitches along the base.

 Then changed the thread colour and began thin creamy white running stitches on the black...

Lots of fun awaits and it is great to just pick it up and stitch when you have a moment or two.
Who know when it will be done???

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A little bit of this...

Studio time has been a bit tricky to grab this week - lots of different things needing attention elsewhere; but fortunately the time I have managed I have been able to use to do a range of things. Small things, but things that settle my mind a bit.

As we printed the sample book, I discovered a number of fonts of type that needed to be put in cabinets rather than boxes, and I did that as well as printing labels to identify where they are.  That of course also meant that I needed to update the type inventory with locations and whilst I was at it I updated the paper inventory as well.

I initially forgot to do a label for Annonce Grotesque, but that has been rectified now.

This lovely pile of type awaits identification and sorting and cataloguing - a job for when I really have nothing better to do!

This box was quite muddled...

But is now beautifully sorted and the box is even labeled properly rather than with this taped on piece of tracing paper.

Saturday was a day of unsettledness and so I simply sat in the moments and stitched when I could.  Working on 'decorating' a bag I made a while back with meditative running stitches.

So soothing.

And Barry has been collecting more of his peace doves that have fallen from the tree in the wind and the weather.  We now have eight welcoming us at the front door in this mini installation...

Life is made up of moments with a little bit of this, and a little bit of that...

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

"Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers". 

Harry S Truman

With a book-based Thursday Thoughts to ponder, this one feels really important.  If we think about what books can do, and how they affect us, then surely we should hope that our leaders are readers.

If one reads non-fiction, one understands history, strategy, war, loss, revolution, systems breakdown, how to manage people and the rest of it.  Of course one could also read about lizards, plumbing and tree growth which may or may not help one lead.

If one reads fiction, one learns about imagination, dreaming big, empathy, narrative, and diverse characters.

I think Harry Truman is well placed, having himself been a leader, to suggest how important reading is to being a leader.

Once in position, it becomes even more important I imagine - reading briefings, getting across detailed policies, understanding the subtle nuances of language in diplomatic communiques and so on.

Even though I often try to remove the word 'should' from my vocabulary; this feels like a slight tweak to the quote that would enhance it for me - "...all leaders SHOULD be readers".

I truly would like to think that the folk in charge have read broadly and seen multiple viewpoints and learned from history and others.

And visited a library or two!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Playing with colour

It has been a long time coming - letterpress sample book intervening - but I was back in the studio today simply playing.

I have been sending all sorts of cards out recently, but realised that there was a bit of an absence of simple old handmade happy birthday cards in my stash. So I thought I'd get some colour and a paintbrush and create a few.

I rummaged around and found a few envelopes and cut up some scraps of paper for cards and sat and played around for bit.

I chose the Caran D'Ache NeocolorII water soluble crayons as the colours are quite vibrant.

 I started by simply drawing a few circles.

And then added water for a few kind-of-almost-squares.

And some stripes.

I added a few Happy Birthdays here and there.

And the odd meandering dotty line. And more dots.

So here we go, a few more cards for the stash, ready to send when we have a birthday on.

As an aside my Dad was telling me a story about a 90 year old woman he visits, who at the beginning of each month, writes all the birthday cards for the month and has them in their envelopes with stamps on all set to go, and they get posted as needed.

I was so impressed by the forward thinking, I wondered if I should adopt the practice in the new year!  I am always a bit sad when I get caught out and can only text, email or call...I like to get a card there on time if I can.

And a further aside are these lovely hydrangeas that came inside yesterday morning.  The colours are just so gorgeous.

So at least I have played with little bit of something.  My mind has been going in all sorts directions nonetheless and the place is strewn with notes i have written down here and there about ideas I want to capture; new classes I want to teach...hopefully I will get some time to really get down and make some stuff soon.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Preparing and teaching

I had another full day of exploring coptic binding with the folk at Buderim Craft Cottage Calligraphy and Paper Arts group on Saturday.  It was hot and we worked hard, but got some great results.

Part of what I taught was around paper grain - especially important when making books.  When taking paper into contact with glue; or when folding it to make pages to turn, grain matters and we spent time looking at different ways to test and discover the grain.

For one of the examples, I was able to use our new paper guillotine to take the spine off a small book; and then set the book up in a press and re-bind it in the opposite direction.

May I say the guillotine was amazingly effective - simple and so smooth to use and wow it just chopped it off no worries at all!

I had bought two copies of this tech girls are superheroes at an opp shop and also enjoyed flicking thru it and reading some very good stories about smart women, but that aside... here I am rebinding one copy.

And this is a comparison - how the book is bound (to save money on sheet sizes of paper)

And how I rebound it...see how much more easily the book opens and the pages lie flat? Grain matters in books.

and some samples of hand made paper where there isn't a grain so much because the fibres aren't jiggle into lines; they are just jiggled.

My test book - just checking that sizes and stitching will work.

 And some of the results from Saturday. We also made a paper slipcase to protect the book.

Some folk finished everything; some folk didn't finish their slip case but most folk finished their book and left with a sense of accomplishment.

Janine stencilled her cover; Greg wrote on his and Irene V covered heres with hand-coloured paper.  I was very much taken with how these three played so beautifully together colour-wise!

Irene got the idea and stitched beautiful.

I encouraged folk to maybe do a cut out on their cover - to remind themselves they can do the on their next book... This one will be completed at home.

Here Janine knotted two colours of thread together to see how the plait worked - how elegant is that?

And Greg put his book's title in the cut out, and managed to save all his deckles to use on the foredge.

I bombarded them with information and they did well to retain it!  We got some great results and folk left with a book in a box in their hands!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

“I have noticed that when all the lights are on, people tend to talk about what they are doing—their outer lives. Sitting round in candlelight or firelight, people start to talk about how they are feeling—their inner lives. They speak subjectively, they argue less, there are longer pauses. To sit alone without any electric light is curiously creative. I have my best ideas at dawn or at nightfall, but not if I switch on the lights—then I start thinking about projects, deadlines, demands, and the shadows and shapes of the house become objects, not suggestions, things that need to done, not a background to thought.”  

Jeanette Winterson, from “Why I adore the night” 

I simply love this reflection on the difference between darkness and light and the impact they each have upon us.

With the lights on, we tend to talk about externalities; within the darkness we turn inwards.

The words made me stop and think about do people argue less when it is dark, and I honestly think they do. Sitting around a fire it is quieter, the pauses are longer and I don't really recall heated discussions at all.  Interesting. Oftentimes, people just sit in silence and stare.

Even the way Ms Winterson suggests that turning on a light, is like flicking a switch to action - to focus, to activity, to deadlines, projects and doings...that we lose the suggestion and the background when things are fully illuminated, is so insightful.

I wonder how easy it would be to increase those moments of quiet darkness, shadow and reflection in one's days?

What a way with words she has, and what an observer of the oft unnoticed moments she is.

More things can be spoken of in the dimness...

Cromarty 2018.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Ta da!

It is done.  The goal I set myself of printing samples of every typeface we have has been completed.  In reality, I have printed every typeface that we have that was we went along I discovered typefaces that were still inboxes and some that were in trays and several that were in complete and utter the job is done but there will be a few additions down the track once others are tidied and identified.

T was full of Times - mostly in smallish sizes too which are particularly fiddly.

This one is 10pt, and like Gill of the same size, there were no spacers.  In this case their wasn't even a zero - hence the big O in 10pt.  I also had to tuck upside down letters in to make the block square so it really is an odd bod of a thing.

Enough of Times (and there were several more) and onto the final typeface Univers.  A very simple sans serif we have 12pt and 18pt.  And 18pt was the end of printing.

I was running out of time over the weekend, and Barry offered up his services to come and help me out - he cut card, cleaned type, printed type and put type away which really sped things up for me and we managed to do the last 5 in record time. Altho in my rush I may have spelled Univers wrong?

The final day's printing results...

Here are some of the random proofs I was doing along the way on all sorts of papers. A lovely composition of its own.

New jobs emerged as we went along - like transferring some type from the boxes they were in to containers that separate them letter by letter to make it easier to select and diss the type.  

We discovered a few different arrangements for having the type in its own little compartments, so there are a few rainy day jobs ahead yet.

 And Sunday afternoon we watched a storm front go by...

Now the samples need to dry, we need to create the 5 sets, sort out just how they will be bound to enable the insertion of new typefaces the come along or are discovered, and then the scanning/copying of them onto cards to have spares as well. Yee ha - feels great!

Now to prepare for teaching this weekend.