Thursday, August 30, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

Some people say, all gum trees look the same. But I go out and see gum trees on the landscape, in all different poses like ballet dancers, accepting whatever aspect of nature comes their way. 

Rosalie Gascoigne

It's been a while between Rosalies...

But today we talk about art, and she mentioned gumtrees and we are just back from down south where we visited some wonderful gum trees so here we are!

It's funny isn't how some folk can look at something and only see sameness. They can't see individuality, uniqueness, quirkiness or anything else that separates one from the other. They see homogeneity. It must just seem easier that way.

Perhaps artist learn to see differently. They learn to see what makes something different from something else; the shadow, the angle, the colour, the light, the texture, the beauty in the old...

I hope so.

Gum tress along the Ovens River at Bundalong, Vic.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018


And because you travel for work and don't always get to make, sometimes you just have to find the lovely beautiful art-filled moments some other way.

We turned the lights off the other night; and this wee woven basket with twinkle lights was still on. I was captivated by its beauty - its shadows and its simple woven magic.

I am grateful for moments like these...

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Deckled Edge Press

I often get a bit bamboozled about social media, promotion and who sees what and where!

Barry and I send a joint newsletter every few months and our most recent one launched our new joint printing venture - Deckled Edge Press.

Here is a link to our newsletter! You an sign up to receive it over in the sidebar; and if you'd also like to receive the DEP newsletter - subscribe not eh website.

I also started an Instagram account for Deckled Edge Press and have been doing daily posts over there.

But then of course I realised, that a) not everybody gets our newsletter and b) not everybody would know where we were on Instagram. So here I am on another social media platform letting the folk here know we've launched a new website and venture together!

Good grief!

We'd love you to link through and have look at the site and enjoy the bits and pieces we do over there.

There is a small shop space which at the moment has our set of four Staying in Touch postcards for sale (free shipping!).

And we will also be running another Introduction to Letterpress Workshop in November if folk are interested. See details here...

Whilst we both work independently as artists; it is wonderful to work together in an area we both love.  As we say on the website:

Both of us believe strongly in fairness and equality and are committed to working towards peace. Much of our work is based around these themes and letterpress printing, with its history of democratising the written word and protest posters, is a perfect companion for expression of our social justice values.
We make mostly small editions, with a love for the written word, poetry and the odd slogan.

What we do:

Deckled Edge Press is a small home-based press, where we work together and print small editions of booklets, poetry, posters, post cards and other offerings, nearly always with a social justice message.

We believe in the power of print to share these messages of support and inspiration and love working together on them.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

“A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination — any two of which, at times any one of which — can supply the lack of the others.” 

William Faulkner

When I think about writing, and my meagre attempts at it, I think that Faulkner's reflection on what is needed are pretty accurate.

Oftentimes we write from experience - to make sense of it; to share it or simply because it amused or entertained us.  We need to observe - looking closely at things and considering them. Exploring connections; random moments; noises, smells and sensations.  And then the imagination - the ability to extrapolate, expand, and move beyond the present or the known, to create people, ideas, places, experiences that simply don't exist in the realm of the real.

I also love his approach to getting by with two; and if push comes to shove one might do!

My sense is that if you read a really good book; or a beautiful passage, you can understand that the write was working with these notions.

Experience, observation, imagination...

PS - here's a link to a short video from our Celebration of Books - I get all enthusiastic!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Stitches and Covers

Slowly slowly these books progress. I am grabbing moments in between times to do a little something with them.  Recently I managed to stitch the sections together; that seemed like a major achievement!

I then began pondering the covers. Despite having thought of the hard covers, I decided I'd also try some soft covers.

I thought they looked a bit dull; and wondered what I could do with them to make them a little bit more interesting.

I selected some really large wood type and thought I might be able to deboss them using the proofing press.

This type didn't work out for some reason; but I tried another one and that worked a bit better.

So - now I have to attach the covers and am still testing out a few ideas even for that part.

I think I might still have some hard covers in me, so will attempt them at some point; altho the next few weeks are not looking like they will offer much time in the studio sadly.

In between times I did manage to make a lovely frock!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Workshop in Gympie

I have just returned from  a really delightful a weekend, teaching book making to the art group in Gympie. It is about an hour and half hour drive from us to them and Barry drove me up yesterday and came to collect me today - and I am very appreciative of that drive.

I do always love walking into an art room/workshop room and seeing the fabulous colours, and the mess on the floor and the tables.  You know you are in a good place when there are paint spatters here and there.

My table...sigh.

And then this lovely collage of one group's previous work.

On Saturday I taught Black Beauty - a sampler book using one sheet of paper with a variation on the Japanese stab binding.  The idea is that folk get to test and try their various media and see how they work on black paper.

We often don't think that black has that much to offer; or that perhaps it is a bit sombre or funeral, but in reality it is great to work with - full of mystery when you work dark onto it; and giving other colours a real chance to shine or pop when you put them onto black.

So everybody made a heap of samples, we stitched the book and then we all went home; exhausted after a full day and with no photos of the finished items being taken - sorry!

On Sunday we moved house to another lovely art workshop space and learned about single sheet binding.  It is always a tricky business yet these folk had great staying power and problem solving and made their way thru the complexity of the stitching and each and every one finished two books!

The first book was a pre-cut sample book, made of mat board.  It is good to work small and learn the sequence and rhythms of the stitching on something not too precious.

Their second books were their own - with covers either cover in paper; or left beautifully grey with a window cut out.

I did manage to grab a a few shots of finished books - Freda's sampler; Cate's book and Marjorie's book.

I loved Marjorie's approach to it - she wanted to do a covered cover, and a cut-out cover so she combined them. Brilliant.

All up a very full two days, lots of learning and lots of fun.

Thank you again Thursday Afternoon Art Group for the invitation and for a fabulous visit!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

“today … may i be me …. being & becoming.”

E.E. Cummings

It is funny how some quotes sit in amongst the pages of Thursday Thoughts quotes for quite literally years. I scan them as I scroll on by trying to find the one that speaks to me today.  Each week is different of course, and as I twirl through pondering Art, Life and Books, this week I think about Life.

And today this wee quote says - think about me please...

It seems to me that this would be beautiful morning mantra. To start each day with this thought - that my hope for the day it to acknowledge the me that I am - to be open to that, to be honest with that and be accepting of that.

And then to be open to the me of the becoming - the me as I grow, change and learn.

A lovely balance between acceptance and hope.

A gift.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Glimpses of pages...

I have been working steadily on these books - perhaps intermittently - but definitely intermittently steadily!

I have a variable edition of 5. They are different sizes and different papers; yet have the same words and images.

Initially the plan was to do 5 x book cloth, hard covers; but I have begun planning some variations on the covers as well. I wonder if its because I get bored easily?

Nonetheless I am in love with the title typeface and think it offers the gravitas of stones that I was hoping to portray.

It so funny the many little decisions you make along the way - like using a serif typeface because it feels stronger than a sans-serif one.

Five title pages...

A colophon. That beautiful typeface is Caslon Old Face Open Bold!

A few peeks inside - the words and the stones...

It is edging closer.

And in preparation for the weekend - bookmarks for participants!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Quiet preparations

An art life can take you from dreaming and experimenting to making  to pricing to establishing shops and websites, to buying supplies to tidying up and to teaching.  And a whole bunch more I am sure.

This past week has seen me getting ready to teach for two days in Gympie.

Next Saturday I am teaching Black Beauty; and on Sunday I am teaching Single Sheet binding.

I think it alway helps to refresh and renew your teaching kit, your handouts, and your exercises.

Sure, some things work and you know they will; but its also good to test and try new ideas and of course, each group is different and needs its own tweaks anyhow.

So several hours have been spent in my new aerie revising and re-writing; cutting and preparing and testing and stitching. Making notes and tips and generally collecting all the things I will take with me as well.

I love having books around for people to go through, to look at, to learn from and to be inspired by.

I also spent quite a while cutting mat board down to size for their trial books. And of course got carried away with the grids!

Preparing packs of black paper for Black Beauty to allow folk to test how different papers react.

And checking and double checking my teaching notes!

And my timetables.

Finding the odd little things to play with if folk are racing through their books.

Always heaps to do in advance, but so satisfying knowing I am going in well prepared. Fingers crossed.