Sunday, April 29, 2018

The process can be pretty

I have all but finished my five book-ets where I have upcycled/re-used single pages from a previous work.

It has been slow and steady, but deeply satisfying as I resolved issues and created solutions that work, are clean and elegant, and support the words.

But... along the way, there was so much loveliness that I took quite a few 'pretty' photos and here are some of them.

Working out where to poke the holes, and in which direction!

Just because...

Five also look lovely together.


Tying off a knot on the inside.

Coming together...

It has been a delight spending time with this work. I shall post the finish items soon!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

“An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.” 

 Charles Dickens

This felt quirkily accurate to me. While tit may appear tangential to the notion of art which I am pondering today, I think it is really at the heart of art and art making.

I find it absolutely joyous to spend time creatively, and am forever grateful that I get to spend time this way.  One of the things I enjoy most is the ongoing observation, and gradual understanding, of how we make and create. The process we undertake and how the magic happens.

Not just the technical aspects (which also fascinate and possess at times) but more that obscure, ephemeral, fleeting notion of the creative process.

The idea of an artistic idea as a ghost-like apparition works for me. Sometimes the idea or thought is just out of reach; or it has been and gone so quickly I couldn't grab it but the sense of it remains. There is something lurking that I can 't recall without having the chance to focus and find it.

The second part where the idea sometimes needs a little bit of a conversation before it fully revels itself I find also accurate and true.  I often find myself having jotted a notion down, then writing in response; asking questions of it; wondering aloud what I really mean...and then it can begin to make sense.

Quite the ramble in response to a few words.

What am I really trying say, I wonder???

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Trying this and that

I am still working away re-working some pages form a while ago...trying to design a binding and a cover to give them new life, and which looks elegant.

It is quite a mental challenge and I get highly amused by the ah-ha moments I get and where and when they arrive; at the oddest times and in the oddest places.

Still, each one nudges me closer to completion.

I have covered the spine.

And glued the pages.

Placed a nice little pause page in; such a lovely lovely edge.

The first opening.

More of those nice holes!

And the beginnings of a cover; folding and yet more holes.

And a bit of debossed letterpress as a test.

Loving the architectural folds as I play.

As I said, edging closer to a resolution.  I will try a prototype soon and then hopefully five small
book-ets will emerge!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Testing printing

I have spent the odd hour here and there working on a new idea for a book.

I have this idea of a grey background with stark black imagery, and words - on each page.

I was bringing an idea, written on a scrap of paper on my studio desk - "ink and print aluminium plates".  That was all - the idea of simply inking up different shaped plates and making the background from that.

I lined up a bunch of leftover aluminium on the bed of the etching press, and inked them up using my Vanson rubber inks (which I use mostly for letterpress).

Some nice marks transferred to the paper, but it was a pretty messy and time consuming process, rolling on lots of ink and cleaning up each time.

So I headed for a quicker idea and simply used two different sized brayers to roll grey ink onto the pages. Layering them and allowing the occasional wonkiness to appear.

And then left the pages to dry - it seemed to take days given the amount of moisture we still have about here.

My plans for the imagery had originally involved etching into aluminium - leaving the image raised and the background etched away.  As I thought about that, I realised I was after a relief print image rather than an intaglio one, and that I really didn't want to see much of the plate background at all.  But I wondered if I simply rolled over the top of the etched plate, if that would print the image and leave the background pretty blank.

I could pretty much tell after a light roll that this was not going to be the solution!  The soft brayer had transferred ink onto the base plate (sure, it wasn't a very deep etch, and sure the brayer was soft not hard, but I wasn't convinced it would be the answer)

And for someone going for a stark image and no background or plate texture showing it really wasn't the answer.

 My thoughts then turned to collagraphh or lino. Again I used existing plates for testing, rather than creating new ones. My inked up collagraph plate, and an old lino plate inked.

 Both gave good results, (you can see I was proofing onto any old paper I had lying about) but I was really not too interested in preparing about two collagraph plates that would take forever to dry (again the moisture was messing with me), so I opted for lino.

So now I have backgrounds sorted and printing style sorted.  The imagery is ready for transferring to lino and some cutting has begun...

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

"A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it". 

Samuel Johnson

This seems to me to be a bit like a work of art - where the conversation begins with the artist; and the viewer responds.

From what Samuel Johnson suggests, it as if there is a book, and then it branches out each time a reader reads it, because they bring themselves and their experiences to it. And so, in a way the book has a slightly different ending, or a slightly different middle or few chapters for each person as they will read it slightly differently.

Perhaps, in doing so, they enable a more fulsome telling of the book.

I quite like the notion of the writer beginning, and the reader completing.

A huge tree in NZ's North Island, branching to the sky...

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The proof is...

A little moment through the week proved to me just why we proof.

I have been preparing sets of four postcards with the idea of selling them.  The postcards are based on the little idea I had back here - postcards with a quick message to touch base with folk; the handwritten note.

In parallel to the postcard idea, a friend gave me a huge stash of carbon paper - such a nice blue - but it just sat in the studio waiting for me to work out what I could use it for.

And then I saw where somebody was using carbon paper to proof their texts.  Amazing.

I love it because it saves time, it saves ink, it saves cleaning up and it saves mistakes.  It is so quick and easy to do. So simple, I have metaphorically kick myself a few times that I didn't make the connection between my pile of carbon paper and proofing opportunities myself!

I am nonetheless grateful that I have now.

I quickly pull together my wooden type in the phrase I am after, then I place the carbon paper on top of the type - but with the carbon facing upwards (not touching the type).  Then I put a scrap piece of paper over the top and rub the paper with my hand or a baren, or roll over it with a brayer.  But mostly I just rub my thumb over it vigorously.

Here I was working out if/how to use the three dots (ellipsis) I often use when I write.  Because my type collection is a bit random and you take what you can when you can with wooden type, I don't actually have three full stops the same size.  So I was working from small to large or large to small.

Barry and I decided in the end that I should leave the dots out as they were too distracting, so I rearranged the type into a simpler presentation. Proofing really helped the decision.

I really like the marks left on the carbon paper and the tale they tell.

A lot of folk who have received emails from me will know that I often title it "just checking" or "just checkin' ", so I decided that would be one of my postcards.

And this my friends, is the real reason why you proof!

Cute huh?

The lovely carbon paper remainder.

 And the fix.

Hopefully I will get to print the sets later this week and all things being equal will manage to get them onto the shop sometime soon.

Just playing with these simple cards has also given me ideas about bigger and deeper works I could do along these lines. It is always nice when one thing opens the door to another thing...

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Rusted reworking in progress

Sometimes things don't end up working like they should.

I had made some all panel works a few years ago for our Pas de Deux exhibition at Noosa Regional gallery.  The works worked well; but on return home and after few years, I discovered that all tapes are not created equal and some of the pages simply detached from the perspex.  Not all of them, but enough for me to think about re-working the single pages.

I wanted to return the pages to the book form; however it is quite difficult to delicately bind single pages - a number of single page bindings are clunky and take up a fair bit of the paper, so I needed to play around and experiment.

Which I did and thoroughly enjoyed myself creating a binding that looked like it could do the trick.

So I started revising the pages and thinking through how the books would be compiled; and how I would attach things. In lots of ways I can enjoy the problem solving process, yet sometimes it drives me bonkers when I can't actually sort out a solution. So far so good this time round.

Here are some shots of the piles of pages on my desk and the lovely colours and marks I am working with.

Inserting a page of goyu paper near the beginning - with its beautiful deckled edge

Now to see if I can hold the spines together somehow, and get the cover working as well. Five small books could be a lovely thing!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” 

Dalai Lama

Oh my goodness I love this one.  I actually quote it (or more accurately, paraphrase it) every now and again because it is so apt and so true.

Worry is really not at all helpful. If you can do something about a situation, problem or issue, there is no need to worry. If you can't do something about the situation, problem or issue then there is no point worrying!

No need or no point. Simple.

I need to remind myself of this regularly, and I am getting better at actually putting it into practice.

Not worrying doesn't mean I don't care; it means that I now try not to waste anxious and stomach churning time on something I can't fix.

I could instead do something about a part of it or a bit of it and that helps.

Sometimes, the small thing I can do is make art and share it...

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

White work wedding trip

My studio work is fairly scattered at the moment - progressing lots of things things in small steps. I seem to have mostly white things on my work tables at the moment.

The edges, the fragments, the fraying, the fringes...

I am working on Mo's pennant and the words "i dream of a world where love is the answer"; hand stitching my heartbeat script onto a segment of the old wedding dress...

And also editioning the posters for the conference. Here I am embossing our decklededge press mark onto the bottom of each piece.

And here I am writing the edition number and title on each piece. One down, 29 to go (plus some APs). Thanks to Barry for the photographs.

We have also just spent a long weekend in Townsville in far north Queensland for a family wedding. We were lucky enough to also see some lovely art out about and around the place and I really liked these ceramics - part of the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery collection.

Cecily Willis, Flame, 2015
Mollie Bosworth, Tracing Time, 2005
Gwynn Hanssen Pigott, Still life with flared bowls, 1995
I think that final composition is sublime - so restful, peaceful and overflowing with contentment...