Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Rusting away beautifully

Pottering around the garden in Spring and Summer is lovely - you wander past things and are reminded of them.  If you have time you stop and really see them.

This week I noticed the typewriter that is perched outside the studio doors.

It is so beautiful.

I got up close and then got a wee bit besotted with its deteriorating beauty.




This time it was the keys that caught me...




Might be time to pop another message in it and watch it fade and disappear as well...

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Work begins

Work in the studio has truly begun for the year. I have sorted out the many projects that I have on, established a calendar of due dates and deliverables and begun moving most of them forward. Part of the challenge for me this year is that altho a number of things aren't happening until September or October, I basically need to have them all done by the first week in August.  So I am really pushing to fit everything in.

One project involves an edition of about 15 books, and that never happens quickly!  Another involves an edition of 22; and separately I know I have to create new work for three different exhibitions which means I really must get my act together.

And so here is progress for one.  The notes in the journal, exploring paper, binding, words, colours.


And layout, and deciding not this!


Thinking and pondering about the subject matter a bit, wondering what type might work for the words, considering options for layout of the words...


Watercolour pencils to check the palette. Yes, maybe, no.


This image was worth an explore, but the answer was "too obvious".


I then began thinking about a cover and whether or not I could emboss/deboss one. So I retrieved an old collagraph plate and tested it as an embossing tool. It looked pretty good, so I went off to test some more...


Playing around with two different options - one more solid than the other.



After the first coat of shellac dried.  So odd to see how the PVA glue dried pink! A few more layers required to make it really sturdy so its a steady old process, and a good reason to start early!


As ever, I never really know if where I start is anywhere near where I will end; so I try to give myself as much time s possible to head off down those side roads, and get over those speed humps and still make it all on time. Who knows if this early work will be close to the finished piece??

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

"If I can encourage someone, make them think, or see things differently, or take a risk, then that is what books have done for me. Pass it on, I say". 

Jeanette Winterson.

Pass it on I say!  Indeed, in the previous one sentence Ms Winterson has pretty much summed up the purpose of books and the impact they have; and then says get on with sharing that around.

Books encourage you when you doubt, feel helpless, feel alone, feel misunderstood.
Books make you think differently when you learn new facts or explore different lived experiences, places and choices.
Books help you see things differently for all of the same reasons.
Books can suggest that you take a risk because you see it has worked for others, or because you now have new tools to manage the risks.

Books are great- pass it on!




Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Daily Words, cards, and layers

I have been continuing to prepare fro Fibres West.  One of our daily rituals is to select a word from a bowl and spend some time thinking about it.

In keeping with the workshop sensibility, I write the words white on white. Which of course is tricky!  So I add a wee bit of silver to get an edge.  Nonetheless, I still like the muted almost silent nature of the words...

I have prepared just over 70 words for us each to select from.





They are now packed and ready to fly west in July.

I have also completed several grief cards.  Cards that for me, somehow reach out to folk who grieve and try to send thoughts that mean something.

The pink bunch for this quote.


the purple,


  and the blue.


And to finish last night as we ate dinner we looked out over the valley and these clouds and this light and the hilltops gave us layer upon layer upon layer...


Sunday, January 13, 2019

White on white preparation

I will be teaching my week long workshop "Quietly and Gently" At Fibres West in July this year.  It looks like the most wonderful gathering of fibre artist and participants and I am so looking forward to getting over there and being inspired.

I have done a plan of my yearly commitments and must say I am already teetering on over-committed, so am trying to be very organised and plan and prepare in advance of the many things I have on.

Part of that approach has seen me working on some samplers for Quietly and Gently and also on trying to work out if I can get a crisp emboss.  You may recall last year I tried to see if a tabletop press would help me get a crisp emboss; and sadly discovered that it wouldn't.  The location of the workshop is 100km east of Perth in the Wheatbelt, in an Agricultural college, so there isn't an art room in which to find an etching press.

I went out and bought a wee die cutter and embossing tool with my fingers crossed and I must say that so far results have been very encouraging!

I trialled several different templates to see if the wee machine could handle them. First up, I used a milk carton template with hearts, on Arches Velin paper.


The press worked so well that you can even see the tiniest of grooves in the plastic.


And a first for me on the reverse side.  The pressure generated is so strong that it flattened the surface of the surrounding paper, producing this rather intriguing flat heart with rough texture of the paper.

Definitely something to explore further...


 I tried it with a photopolymer plate. Tick.


I put a piece of lino through and tick.


I had a piece of lightweight textured copper and ran it through as well. Tick.


I retrieved an old piece of work, using thin plastic desk mat and it worked as well.


So tick, tick, tick, tick!


I may have found my solution for portable embossing.

And then I moved onto some samplers of a different white on white technique. This time I was playing around with layering.

1cm border between each square.


1/2cm border between squares


And then 1 cm border, turned slightly...


All good fun and also all good preparations underway.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

"Each memory traces a line too subtle to erase".

Peter Barnfather

The subtlety and quiet disappearningness of this captured me this morning. I sat with it and tried to imagine it.  I tired to visualise a memory trace. And I tried to understand how something can be so subtle it can't be erased.

It is still hard work for me to fully grasp what it suggests, but perhaps it is simply trying to say that memories are somehow eternal. That they leave a mark, and whilst it may be too subtle to erase, it may also took subtle to recall.

And yet somehow, is embedded in the story of our lives...

I honesty don't think I've captured the thought well enough - it feels fleeting, out of reach, and likely to disappear if I do manage to touch it. But like a memory, the words will stay with me...


Umbakumba lagoon.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Making and moving along

January is always a big month in our household. For whatever the reason, the stars align and both Barry and I are ready to sort, chop, throw and remove things.  Like a Spring clean in the middle of Summer, both inside and out.

The yard has been a real focus this year and we have both worked really hard chopping down trees and lugging them up to a skip; and also moving I think 16 tonnes of gravel - this morning!

But we are also both motivated to make and have been heading to the studio and getting things done.

This is the plate off the Adana press after I worked out that to print large wood type well, I would get a better result using the proofing press.


The green numbers were overprinted with purple words. Isn't this the most magnificent purple?


And embossed with the deckled edge press logo. Happy 2019!!! Suffragettes and feminists rejoice, this could be our year!



I am working on editioning a series of what I call grief cards.  Cards to send to folk who are grieving.

The de-bossed version on Arches Velin paper.


Illustrations to be added... from my wonderful studio eyrie in the sky.


And a tough one for me - actually finishing a maintenance task!  I had worried about finding the right sort of fasteners for my type sample books and just couldn't find binder rings large enough to hold them all, so decided to split them in two.  Sometimes you just have to adapt and get on with it, rather than wait for the perfect solution to arrive.

So here they are, Set Number 1, parts A and B.


And yay, the pages turn and you can flick through the samples.


And yay, you can open th binders and add in new type samples when you get them!


And I even added binders to my photocopied sets - the one by size and the one by style. But on the side. And we're only a week in!





Sunday, January 6, 2019

E is for...

We recently joined celebrations for a new bub and I pondered what sort of gift to give...and ended up going with a letterpress print of their first name letter.

I made so many attempts to use my Orphan Annie Es to form a square.  It took me half a day to make  and reject each of them.  I gave it one last shot when I decided to be slightly more methodical than random.

I chose to use the E out of as many typefaces as I could - systematically selecting each one.  Working from 72point to 48 point to 36 point to 24 point and to 12 point to create the square.



The magical mathematical system that is letterpress - why oh why do I try to do random????



There were still a few layout issues and I proofed three versions I think, but ended up here.



And of course, whilst there was still ink to use, I went and did some overprints, creating...I'm not sure what but I do know I'll use it sometime!


 And then it was time to clean the type and put it away...