Thursday, January 31, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

"I’m waiting for the pain 
to set like a sun". 

Nate Pritts

This one is about life.
This one is for everybody who is feeling the heaviness, who is feeling the pain.

Somehow it captures so eloquently how we often just want the pain to go away. To simply end.  Whether it be from depression; from the hard work of grief; or whatever form of sadness, despair or chronic pain has become a constant.

Often, it seems really hard to see an end, and I think these words describe how we would like to think there is an end point to the pain. That there is a cycle and that the pain will be gone in a regular way, just as the sun sets and rises. The words lighten things a bit I think. I'd like to think that waiting for that moment,  understanding that things will be part of a rhythm, is a form of hope.

Perhaps it also indicates, that yes, the pain may rise again as does the sun, but there will be respite in between times.

And so we wait, wanting it to set like the sun.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

laying foundations for a creative life

Saturday saw an unexpected delivery.

Back in December we had arranged the purchase of this type cabinet and drawers, with what we thought was maybe three or four drawers of type.

We had understood it would be delivered in February so hadn't done much planning for it. I was surprised to have a phone conversion with the deliverer guy on Saturday afternoon and learn that it would be delivered in the next hour or so!

Nonetheless we were prepared in the studio and took delivery of the cabinet, drawers and much more type than anticipated.

And so Sunday saw me trying to sort and identify the type in the drawers and began to catalogue it, ready for the printing of samplers...

The bottom of these drawers was labelled correctly - so now we have Mistral in 48pt and 72pt and also in 14pt!

It was lovely to discover 36pt Colonna - we already had 18pt Colonna, so a family is forming...

Some of the drawers had heaps of type in them.  There were three drawers of 8pt (it is tiny); three drawers of 10pt; two of 12 pt; two of 14pt and seven of 18pt - all of which are good for printing chap books and zines so that was exciting.  Also some drawers of 24pt, 30pt, 36pt, 48pt and 72pt.

I use a stamp pad to print a variety of letters that I hope will help me identify the specific typeface.  It is particularly hard with small type as my eyes aren't able to differentiate some of the very fine differences between typefaces.  So this one is tentatively called Californian, but is up for debate any time!

And then there were a few fun are some 36pt ornaments.  I'm not sure of the correct name, but they are about printing one block in one colour, then going back through and printing the second colour on the second block,

Holly wreaths!

All drawers in place - one was damaged so has a replacement on the bottom shelf.  There are five empty drawers, so out of 24 there was type in 19! Much more than three or four so it really did feel like a win.

 Now the job of printing more sample pages will begin; I am so glad I made those books able to be opened and re-organised.

I think of all of this background work as simply laying the foundations so that I can be creative...

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

“Never be so focused on what you’re looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.” 

Ann Patchett

Today I am pondering art, and whilst this could be about life, it feels so very accurate with regard to an art life.

It seems to me that art work comes about in a couple of different ways. It can come from within, emerging at will in the form it will take and where one simply seems to be a conduit or a bystander and stare in wonder at the end of it going wow - where did that come from?  Or it can come from significant planning, research, experimenting, testing and trialling and then be complete and hopefully beautiful resolved.

There are no doubt variations on a theme for each of these, but it seems to me that it is the latter that comes into play in Ms Patchett's words.

I think her guidance suggests that we can get too wrapped up in the thing we think we are going to make or produce, too focussed on following the steps we laid out that we might lose track of those moments when a new path emerges and we are shown possibilities beyond our original thinking and plans.

A good reminder to be present. To pay attention to what is here, what we have found, rather can always thinking ahead and waiting for the future.

Take the occasional detour...

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!