Sunday, December 30, 2018

Looking back over 2018

As we close the door on the year that has been and we sneak peek into the year that will be, it is good to stop and ponder the year and its work, and what has been good about it.

Each year here on the blog, I have listed my favourite or top 10 pieces of the year.  Each year, they are simply a list of pieces that have meant something to me; have made me smile; or made me proud. 

This year's list is no exception - it touches on small things with big heart; some commissions and some work that is simply for me.  An interesting blend.

On reflection I found I haven't completed the one big work I had set out to do (Ode to Stones) but I know it is there, still trying to be hopefully it might appear in next year's list!

The works appear in alphabetical order simply because it is the work of impossibility to decide which is best, given I respond to them so differently.

So for 2018 we have:

1. The bag

This wee piece of stitching gave me such satisfaction.  I embellished a bag I made a year ago with simple running stitches and it was soothing and calming at a time when sadness came and sat beside me.

2. The bonnet

This piece of stitching was a request from a friend and an exchange of goodness.  I so enjoyed connecting with the story and doing the small hand lettered stitching. It now resides in a exhibition in Tasmania and is a special piece of heartfelt work.

3. Deckled Edge Press

We launched Deckled Edge Press through the year, and it was such a good feeling to have this representation of Barry and I working together out there in the world.  This is the part of the art venn diagram where we overlap and work together.  We love our website (thank you Katie) and we love that we are working together to maintain this age old traditions and save type and equipment. yay.

4. Go Girl!

Each year I make a print using random wood type titled Go Girl!  It gives me such a buzz to print these words and share them with folk over the course of a year.  So simple yet so happy-making.

5. Imagine Equality

This work was special because it was the first big commission Deckled Edge Press did, and we worked together to produce it.  Simplicity again, yet a powerful message which was shared with hundreds of people at a conference in Melbourne.

6. Letter Cutting

So much fun!  I enjoyed myself at this course so much and my sample stone is a thing of wonder to me; and a great reminder of how far I came in a week (remember the Q isn't mine!).  This work brought me excitement, inspiration, enthusiasm and a real desire to learn and do more.

7. Love

As part of Mo's work "I Dream of a World Where Love is the Answer" I contributed this white on white, hand stitched pennant, with simply the word love centred and stitched in my own heartbeat script.  The simplicity of it still resonates for me, and I am thrilled and honoured to be part of this magic circle of women (and a man or two) across the world.

8. Peace Emerging

In a year where not a huge amount of large new work emerged, I re-worked these pieces and create d something anew.  Peace emerges are now book-ets; wee books that share the fragility of peace.  I loved how beautifully they were resolved.  The process was lovely and one of those where I discovered and learnt, and things presented themselves to me and let me know what I needed to do next. Special.

9. The proof of Love is deed.

Another lovely commission as a farewell gift for a nun.  It was so nice to bring the calligraphy and cut words into play and make a piece that will have a special home.

10. The Sample Book

Despite not being a piece of art in itself, this work brought me some of the greatest pleasure of the year!  Hard, at times dull and boring even, it was a labour of love which has been working in my favour ever since I completed it.  I love knowing how I can find the typefaces I want and need; and I love knowing that I can add to the 'book' whenever we gain a new one.

 And so it is here, the end of another year.

As ever, thanks for coming along on the ride, for dropping in and leaving a note every now and again, and  for letting me know your thoughts.

With hope for more of all good things in the new year ahead...

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

"Sometimes I only remember a single sentence of a book – but that sentence is a lucky charm or a talisman". 

Jeanette Winterson.

This one is sooooo me.  Some people read books and remember every detail, every character's name, every location, every date, every little thing the author thought of and sought to include.  Me, I tend to remember how the book made me feel.

I oftentimes don't remember details, and I definitely can't readily recall the names of characters and how they all fitted together in complex genealogies, but I do recall how the author moved me.

I also recall exquisite lines or sentences, which I stop and read, and re-read.  When my breath is taken away by something so beautifully written, or so evocative, or so powerful or so elucidatory than I am gob smacked.

I often grab these words and write them down, and just like Ms Winterson they can become guides or charms or talisfolk for the way....

Tuesday, December 25, 2018


As Christmas arrives and we turn towards family, friends, community, rituals, and gentle remembering, I wish for peace.

 Peace within, peace between us and peace between nations.

To all my blogging friends who share so much and support each other so much, thank you for another year of magic.

Wherever you may be, and however you may spend the time, may your Christmas be bright and beautiful, may you be safe, and may you find and celebrate moments of peace.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Decorating quietly

Christmas can be such a lovely time of family gathering, or such a tough time for many.  I am more ambivalent about it than ever, but I managed to get our tree up and decorate it with just a little bit of love and hope...

 And then, just the lovely curls and whirls...

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

“Most people think happiness is about gaining something, but it’s not. It’s all about getting rid of the darkness you accumulate.” 

Carolyn Crane

This seems to be an interesting way of looking at things.  It seems to almost turn you around and encourage you to see the thing backwards, or sidewards, or at the very least from an angle or perspective that is new to you.

If I follow this train of thought I begin to think that it acknowledges that we all gather a little bit of darkness, sadness, dustiness along our way.  That the addition of such stuff to our lives is the natural way of things, and that it isn't as if we are seeking or overwhelmed by darkness.

It just gathers (like dust in the corners of my rooms), and our work in seeking happiness is to simply do the dusting.  To stir the dust up, lift it up, move it on.  In doing so we lighten and renew.

Perhaps happiness can be found in the lifting of darkness and dust...

Part of the work Passages and Bridges by Mark Justinian, National Gallery of Singapore 2018

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

poetry printing and stitching

As the year draws to a close, there are lots of small moments.  I have been filling my small moments fiddling, playing around and stitching - psyching myself up or a big push of activity next year.

I have finished the stitching on my scrap bag.  I enjoyed it so much and feel that there is more to the bag now than there was before.  I think it is officially 'finished'.

Altho, you never do know.

I added a lovely button I bought on Orkney.

And never fear, another one is underway! Muted purples this time.

And then I played around with some spine poetry.  I like the notion of spine poetry because it takes the pressure off thinking of and making up your own words.  The angst is somehow removed, and you can fiddle about and play.  Which is always a fine thing.

I went thru our bookshelves and could have come up with some pretty gruesome poems, but landed on this one. All you need to do is put a series of your books on top of each other, in some sort of order, which creates and reads as a poem.

Using up some leftover ink on Sunday, I played around with a few layouts

And then landed here.  This I like.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Printing in different ways

For some reason unknown to even myself, I decided I wanted to do some feather mono prints through the week. And so I did.

I got out my gelli plate and the Golden Open Acrylics that work so well and wash out so well and had  myself a little play.

It had been ages since I had done mono prints and I really enjoyed the ghost print results from the gelli  plate - it does hold the impression so well.

I mean look at this detail...

So there are a bunch more cards to be made and some fun coasters to dot around the studio!

And continuing with the coaster theme, A friend came over on Saturday and I introduced her to the joys of letterpress.  She made some beautiful work and at the end of the day we quickly de-bossed some coasters - and I just love them.

So many ways to print...

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???