Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Printing for peace

Weathergram production is underway and I have moved in a slightly new direction. Yes folks there is colour!

I chose blue as it has links to the UN's International Day of Peace; and then decided to follow up with some layering.

Production methodology changed from the planned printing on the Lightning Jobber to the Cylinder Proofing press, because the old worn wood type didn't seem to be even enough to collect the ink.  As seen here.  A bit of a problem because I had thought doing a hundred of the weathergrams on the press would be quicker than having to hand ink and roll 100.  I was right, but in the end that's what I had to do.

Inking by hand on the proofing press. Much better coverage.

And lovely results.

Testing options for layering. None; black wrong way up; black right way up; grey.

I went for grey. The black was too distracting and made the piece feel jarring and disjointed.

So hand inking and rolling another 100 times and we had them printed.

Holes are punched, now just stringing is needed, but that too has begun.

Almost there...

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Pondering peace

I think all of us have bibs and bobs that sit, lie, or wait in our studio spaces. At some point in time we re-connect with them and start to work with them anew.

I have been thinking so much about peace these days as I watch the world crumble a little bit; and when I came across these white clay scrolls I had made years ago, I thought maybe now is the time?

So I dragged a rough lump of timber out from our stack and let it dry off a bit.

Then started playing with the scrolls.

I have no resolution yet and don't even know if the wood is the right place for them to be; but I do think I want a large gathering of them. I do what it to be sculptural. I might want them laying down; or I might want them standing up - in a spiral form perhaps? Or a circle, united, joined and never ending?

The pondering continues.

And in between times and in preparation for International Day of Peace on 21 September I began pondering my weathergrams for the year.

I do so love proofing!

The good news is that the large wood type fits and I only printed two like this.

Much better.

And pondering another step...

 Keeping on believing in peace .

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.” 

Rita Mae Brown

This one is interesting to me; and appears at an interesting time.  Two completely different reasons - one, Barry and I have been listening to a 'true crime' podcast called The Teacher's Pet and discussing how tough teenagehood can be - in particular trying not to stand out too much; trying to conform and trying to not be a target...

Secondly we are headed to a flash fundraiser in a few weeks and are faced with the question - what on earth is 'Cocktail Dress" and what does it mean for us; a pair of quiet, mountain-living artists who rarely go to the big smoke let alone the posh part of the big smoke.  I panicked about not having a proper thing to wear and then worked out - I would look like I fitted in; yet would be so uncomfortable if I tried to dress as I imagine they all do. So it will end up being something that kind of sort of fits the scene; yet makes me feel comfortable.

Ms Brown's words about being liked by everybody except yourself rang true - so easy to try and meet the expectations of others; yet be quietly dying and diminished inside.

I was amazed at my age that that flash of panic still appeared; I suppose it just doesn't last as long these days!

Airmail dress by Hussein Chalayan (199) seen in Edinburgh 2017.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Sitting in the sun

Last week I wasn't in great shape for a few days and decided that the only solution was to just go sit in the sun and soak up the warmth and healing rays.

So I popped myself down at the front of our house in a sunny nook - sat on a cushion on the deck and let the sun just wrap around me.

I was listening to a podcast, with my eyes closed and just soaked it all up.

Occasionally I opened my eyes and looked around.

It was a great spot to have chosen because in every direction I could look at some of our garden art.

Photographing into the sun isn't the best, but...

A pretty nice spot to sit and heal - didn't have to move an inch; just turned my head a bit this way, a bit that way and clicked. You get the idea...

Much better now!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Embroidering a bonnet

I recently got the loveliest request.  In a round-about-way, in lieu of payment for something I had asked my friend to buy on my behalf, she asked me if I could embroider a calico bonnet for her.  It will be part of an ongoing display at the Female Factory in Hobart, celebrating the lives of women convicts.

The bonnet had been made by another of her friends and it arrived in the post ready for me to add my bits. The job was to embroider the woman's name on one side; and the name of the boat she arrived on and the year, on the other side.  On the inside I was to embroider my friend's name.

So I sketched out a few ideas, wondered about how I would actually embroider the words - my handwriting or a fancy font?

I do love those magic new pens where you can draw on fabric, then rub it out when you don't need it any more. Also note to self, ironing will also remove the pen marks.

I trialled some fancy writing on a remnant and tested two colours of thread - cream and white. And decided on cream.

So I traced a fancy font onto the fabric.

And before committing needle to fabric on the front, I thought I would head to the inside and stitch my friend's name in my handwriting.

I pressed the bonnet a bit where I had done the hand stitching; turned it over only to discover that the ironing had happily removed some of the magic ink on the front! Laugh.

 But onwards. The hand stitching over the purple pen.

And then once, it has been pressed, the purple pen has disappeared. As mentioned - magic!

I thought about how to add a little bit of something. Originally I planned to do three rows of running stitch along the bottom edge, but once I had begun, I thought a single row of running stitch down both sides and along the bottom was just enough.

And just in passing, all I can say is that photographing a bonnet is almost impossible!

I look forward to it being on display in Hobart and am so thrilled I was able to help my friend's family history investigation take a tangible form...

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

What veteran artists know about each other is that they have engaged the issues that matter to them. What veteran artists share in common is that they have learned how to get on with their work. Simply put, artists learn how to proceed, or they don't. The individual recipe any artist finds for proceeding belongs to that artist alone - it's non-transferable and of little use to others." 

David Bayles and Ted Orland

In no way do I think of myself as a veteran artist, yet I really appreciate the notion of making art where you know what you stand for. Where you know you have done the work you need to do.  Where you know how to get on with your work and to make it happen.

For me I feel like I have been making the work I need to make - most certainly it isn't commercial; but I am expressing, through my artwork, things I need to say.

On the other hand, this quote is rather timely for me as I am at that perennial point in my cycle of art where I struggle to find the recipe for proceeding.

I have not been particularly productive this year and can't quite put my finger on why not.  I have been in and out of the studio - doing lots of shifting, moving, cleaning, building up - yet not actually doing much.

My studio work and time has always been peripatetic - it is what it is when it is.

Never a truer word was spoken than that the recipe for proceeding - for moving forward, for making, for busting open any block is purely individualistic.  No one can tell you how to do it - its a path you must forge on your own.

Sometimes the way to proceed is messy; sometimes a path becomes clear...

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Peace in the brilliant blue...

That beautiful big blue sky is with us again...

I was standing on the deck at the house and looked up the drive to the peace tree at the top. The tree is bare and beautiful; and the peace doves and remnants of the peace weathergrams were silhouetted against blue.

From about 25m away I photographed them.

Also just a little in love with the remnant seed pods or some such that point elegantly skyward.

The string remnants are gentle reminders as well - marking history in a way.

 Almost a tangle of them near the trunk.

A zoom-less view from the deck.

I hope you find these as peaceful as I do -I look up often to check them, seeing them sometimes swaying, loving that they remain years on; and that they really shine in the winter with the leaves gone.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Celebrating Books

My goodness. It is late Sunday afternoon and I am wondering how soon I can head to bed!

We have just completed our 7th Celebration of Books Maleny and boy was it a winner!

It was the most fabulous time with workshops, poetry readings, conversations with authors and our Big Book Club.

We baked and catered for 100s of people, enjoyed the most brilliant weather and caught up with friends new and old. Wow.

On Friday night Kate Evans (Radio National The Bookshelf) was in conversations with Bri Lee about her challenging book Eggshell Skull. It was the most sensitive investigation of the issues and a generous and open conversation.  The room was wowed. Kate has become a true friend of the Festival - this is her third visit to us; sadly I was so engrossed I failed to take any photos.

On Saturday Poetry on the Precinct had its second outing and we were fortunate to have huge blue skies and little wind. About 80 people wandered up to the precinct to sit and enjoy readings by five local poets (MTC Cronin, Robyn Nugent and Sophie Nugent-Siegal, Brett Dyonissius, Viv Mohan and Angela Gardner).  It was a special place and a special day. Poetry is such an amazing form of writing - it can say so much with so little. On Saturday it most certainly made us feel.

Kate amongst the glorious green and blue.



A panorama of the crowd, the poet Angela, the space...

We returned to town for the Big Book Club where we discussed Sarah Krasnostein's book The Trauma Cleaner. This is an amazing book, touching on memory, empathy, trauma and re-building.  Every table has brilliant discussions and the plenary with Sue Collaro and Dr Clare Archer-Lean helped us all see things anew and differently.

Sue and Clare.

Sunday morning dawns on the mountain...

On Sunday morning Kate Evans once again hosted discussions with three authors about their books - Trent Dalton (Boy Swallows Universe); Sally Piper (The Geography of Friendship) and Mirandi Riwoe (Fish Girl). Every person I spoke to afterwards pretty much described it as brilliant. Our numbers were up at every event and it was all just so rewarding.

The four musketeers - Kate, Sally, Trent, Mirandi.

I could honestly recommend every book that was discussed over the weekend - but we only realised on Sunday morning that all of them deal with childhood, and all of them deal with trauma - so don't try them all at once.

What an astonishing gift this event is - we work hard, but we get so much out of it.