Thursday, February 28, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark". 

Victor Hugo

I do have a fondness for words which describe the joy of reading as spark-like.  It seems so very apt to me - as if our intelligences are sitting there waiting to combust when we discover how to decipher and makes sense of the writings of the world!

I guess it can also be seen as a difficult thing - fire can be destructive; but I think the aim is to suggest the transformative nature of ignition, of fire.  How something moves from one state to another in that instant. And then often, it just takes off.

Sometimes it can be contained and guided and coerced along; at others it simply follows its own path and interests.

I truly believe that learning to read and having the opportunity and ability to do so is just like creating a spark - it transforms and illuminates.

A photo from a power outage at the cottage - - still enough light to read by!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Moving along slowly

Quiet days, slow days, lots of sitting days.  I am interested in observing how I go doing less; moving less and simply being.  Interesting times.

And every now and again you take photograph that just makes you smile - and for some reason I really love this wee one.

So I have been putting together and stitching twelve small books in preparation for the exhibition Compassion: Artists Books to beheld in Nambour in July.

So many lovely images of process; you almost get a feel for how much I like these wee ones.  They may be small, but their message is powerful (to be shared later).

What is it with string???

And then hand stitched to hold them together.

I had fun lining them up

The lines and the circles and the string.

And just in case you are local and didn't get to the Library to see our display - it has been extended until the end of March which is very gratifying!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Finishing, slowing, and preparing...

A lot can happen in a week, and for sure this week it did.

I was able to add the finishing touches to the poster commission we printed last weekend - embossing our mark, numbering and titling the edition.

They are now all stacked and dry, ready to package and post.

I then had the moment of slowing down, when a timber I was painting to help with the walkway Barry was building fell directly and perfectly on its edge onto the bed of my big toenail.

Sadly a slightly displaced, crush fracture (like a mosaic) resulted and I have been hobbling around since Wednesday.  I have to sit a lot and rest with my foot up which has proven never do realise how much you hop up and get out and about until you can't.

Still, it is recovering, but will make 6-8 weeks before it can be trusted with weight on it again so that is bit of a bummer as they say. Of course it could have been a whole lot worse.

And so the making is limited, and pretty confined to things I can do when sitting down and surrounded by stuff.

I have started work on couple of books that will form part of an artists' book exhibition with the theme COMPASSION.  It is a theme I could work towards forever, and have lots of ideas for, so that is a start.

Here are some of the papers I have been selecting for a couple of books.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

"Silence is something that comes from your heart, not from outside. Silence doesn’t mean not talking and not doing things; it means that you are not disturbed inside. If you’re truly silent, then no matter what situation you find yourself in you can enjoy the silence". 

Thich Nhat Hanh

Every now and again I get besotted with the notion of silence. I read loads about it; I buy books where people explore their experiences of it; I imagine a silent life; I contemplate how my life would be should I choose to be silent...I wonder how being silent differs from living in silence and so on.

This quote offers me a slightly different take on silence.  I think he is suggesting that silence isn't necessarily environmental; nor is it a deliberate action or lack of action (speech).

I think where this is headed is into the realm mindfulness, awareness and calmness.  It seems to be possible for silence to be an attitude; a culmination of internal experiences which enable you to have a quiet stillness about you, and about your mind and your spirit.

I think that Thich Nhat Than is suggesting that a sense of internal quiet, stillness and calm is what we seek when we are seeking silence...

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

More small steps

Onwards and upwards is my motto de jour as we power through so many things - art and landscape and life and work.

So the thing was, it was hot. I wanted to leave the  drawbridge door at the studio open. But here was a breeze. And the door would blow shut. Cue memory of Barry cleaning up his garage workshop area and suggest sign I might need to find a home fo sth beautiful typewrite we had bought but couldn't get to work.

Originally I planned to pop it out in the garden somewhere, but then I thought - perfect!

Over to the studio shed it trundled and out on the drawbridge it headed and ta-da! I have the perfect door stop.

 Yay, just yay so much!

And then I had mentioned I needed to test if you could overlock-paper.  Happy to report that yes oh yes you can.

Ideas for wee concertina books for an exhibition are emerging...

I gathered some cards I had printed a while back - I do so love choosing delight in my life - and tested them.

I think we are headed somewhere.

It will be somewhere short and  sweet, but a bit of fun!

And last but not least, its back to the garden.  Barry and I have been doing a huge amount of landscaping this summer.  We have lived on the block for 12 years and in the house for 11, but are just now ready to revitalise the yard and create more and more beauty.  Every morning we are up early and out working; and most evenings as well.  One of the sweet things we did on Saturday was to tumble these blocks down the rocks that run alongside our driveway.

You have no idea how much they make me smile as we walk or drive on by.

Barry has documented a fair bit of the hard yards over on his blog, so if you are interested in the garden feel free to pop on over. Lots of landscaping posts!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

A printing weekend

Well I certainly got down and dirty with some ink this weekend!  Friday and Saturday, I spent printing the solar plates I made last weekend.  I printed front and back of pages for my book that I am makign in an a edition of 15.

So that was quite a lot of pages and printing.

I was really happy with the way they worked out. The solar plate images are just enough of a hint and the paper took the ink well and generally speaking, so far so good.

My photographs never really do the work justice, but I was trying to hint at the colour of sand here.  The sand I had in my mind versus the sand of the environment I am working with were two different things, so no really bright golden sands.  I tried to come up with a vague colour match and had to head to my trusty palette of etching inks.

I ended up matching it best by using a base of white, a hint of Payne's Grey and a bit more burnt umber. Yay.

And then on Sunday Barry and I printed the letterpress poster commission we have to do.  The pages are quite long and thin (76cm x 28cm) which means you really do need two people to get the paper into position, and to keep it there.

Also we were using Italian type which is that bit higher than US, Australian or UK type. A completely different type high!  which means that it took a lot more effort on the manual proofing press to get the roller over the type.  Always learning.

Large wood type really soaks up the ink, so there was lots of renewals of ink. Simply black this time.

We made a good team and even though it took several hours, we delayed lunch that bit longer so that we could do a few fun things with the type before we cleaned up and dissed it.

Here are some of the lovely images from the leftover ink as we printed it off the type, rather than waste it by taking it off with oil.

The studio now has paper and pages drying everywhere - on every flat surface, as well as hanging by magnet to steel posts!

A huge weekend of printing, but a lot of progress made.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

“It’s not hard to paint a design,” Hopper told me dolefully. “Nor to paint a representation of something you can see. But to express a thought in painting–that is hard. Why? Because thought is fluid. What you put on canvas is concrete, and this tends to direct thought. The more you put on canvas, the less of your original thought remains.” 

Alexander Eliot, author, critic, and historian

I am no connosieur of art - I have no training, no study of art history nor much following of key or important artists, but I have heard of Hopper and know some of of his work.

I love what he says here - about how hard it is to maintain the essence of a thought once you commit it to reality in a two or three dimensional form. Thought is indeed fluid and mercurial and almost untetherable.

Sometimes you can capture thought in words - but even then I sometimes miss my own point, or can't quite keep up with myself.  It is hard to translate thought into anything really - actions often limp behind in their simplicity or crudeness; painting needs to be so perfectly executed to capture and express thought; sculpture and books take so so long to make that the thought can be stultified and severely moderated and changed by the point of completion. So much of the success of thought translation comes down to skill and expertise.

These words give an insight into the trouble we can have translating thought, executing an idea and feeling as if we have captured it or resolved it well.  Perhaps that trickiness is why we keep at it?

What was I thinking???

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Doing lots of little things

Here I am, still nudging and cajoling a whole bunch of things along, feeling a bit like my own personal television station, so bear with me as I follow along that analogy.

Here's what I've been up to:

Over on Channel Teaching I am getting samples and books and stitching ready for teaching. Also finding works that could be for sale at the marketplace and also finding, and packing work to donate as a fundraiser.


Maybe for sale?

On Channel Commissions I am working out words, layouts and calligraphy; as well as cutting paper and proofing posters for a letterpress commission.

Proofing upper case versus lower case.

Back on Channel Exhibitions you can find me researching loads, playing with different folds, writing words in preparation for printing and testing out new papers. Later in the week, you'll find me planning three more books, wondering how overlocking pages together goes and a whole bunch of weird experiments. As well as preparing for a massive aluminium etching day.

Previous aluminium etching

Pondering cloud books again

Click the remote and head to Channel Projects and I am setting type for a wee book; testing out the solar plates; pondering colours of ink to use on the warm paper; and making more cards for deckled edge press.

Flick to Channel Writing and there I am researching and exploring, making connections and creating a structure and an outline for an article.

Turning to Channel Promotion and I have updated my blog and website with details of exhibitions this year and created and sent two newsletters.

So no one big thing is getting done, but lots of small steps are being taken.

For anyone who knows me, they know my head is so disorganised that I love, and need, to have structure and order in my work.  So I have a folder for every major task/commission/commitment where I update the front cover to-do list regularly.

For whatever reason, it gives me comfort to be be able to grab a folder and find all the details I need about something.

Here's the current bunch of folders.

And for those who may have missed our most recent newsletter, (Barry Smith and Fiona Dempster Art News) you can click here to read it; or subscribe over on the right hand panel.

I'd also like to let you know that as part of our joint initiative deckled edge press, I have produced a series of what I am calling 'grief cards' - for reaching out to people who are grieving.  If you'd like to purchase some, you can find them here, and I am so pleased that they have been well received!

If you'd like to see our latest deckled edge press newsletter you can find it here. You can also subscribe at the contact page of deckled edge press website - here. 

Time for a cup of tea and a lie down! Go well.