Thursday, May 30, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

“Sculptures are paintings that stand on their own”. 

Frank Stella

I love how my Thursdays give me the chance to see something that is familiar, through new and different eyes.  As I have gotten older, I have come to really enjoy and appreciate sculpture.  I like its presence and  its physicality; the chance to move around it; to see different perspectives, angles and shadows.  To see how well something fits into the landscape.

And yet I had never stopped to think go it as being linked to art like this.

A painting that stands on its own!

Perhaps this has its origins in the sense that painting is the ultimate visual art; that it is the beginning and the end of fine art, and so in order to give sculpture some kudos or credit, it gets related to painting.

I think sculpture stands on its own any which way, and I wonder if this is somehow describing the action of taking a drawing in 2D and creating something 3D with it? Or whether it is really saying that sculpture is as good as painting, just independent of walls?

I definitely think sculpture is as good as a painting!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Our art in Melbourne

Barry and I recently attended the Communities in Control Conference - held in Melbourne and run by our favourite social enterprise OurCommunity.

It was a feast of positive thinking and talking, an apology to refugees and calls to action, interspersed by music making and celebration of the arts.

After the first day at the Conference we were able to visit the new office building. We have work-worked alongside this amazing bunch of people for well over a decade, and have strong heart-ties to them and the work they do, so it was wonderful to see the new space.

We knew it would be full of art and it was.  But I caught my breath and had a little tear when I arrived and found one of my collaborative pieces "Endure" (the paper burns but the words fly away...) in pride of place as you enter.

There are some absolute favourites amongst the multitude of pieces and here are a few, sadly I don't know the artists' names, but wouldn't it be great to work in amongst it all?

But it was also precious to see our two recent Conference posters in one of the rooms. On reflection, I think it was a stationery store room - but isn't it lovely to think that everywhere deserves art?  That no matter where we are working, we can raise our eyes and be uplifted?

We happened upon other works of art by Barry as we wended our way through. This one is in the women's loo I think - art is everywhere!

The piece on the left not the bunny!

Seeing my four family violence pieces on the wall, silent sentinels and reminders, was special.

But one of the things I loved most was that each of the meeting rooms was named in honour of a great woman, and on the door is a rallying and empowering quote by them.

This was the theme for the Conference.

Don't be surprised if you find me pondering upon a few of these over time on a Thursday.

It was a heartening few days after feeling heart sick for our country. To see social justice in the hands of good, passionate and caring folk was so good.  And to see organisations that value the arts and understand how invaluable they are to society and put it into action was grand.

Download the CiC app to listen to some thought provoking and inspiring folk.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

kindness, care and hope

Barry and I completed the large standing aluminium books for the Compassion exhibition over the weekend.

They are a lovely team effort: with joint design; Barry's skills at managing metal; and my calligraphy.  They come together in a beautifully resolved fashion, showing the wear and tear of the salvaged aluminium as well. You can see more about the process (and our hi-tech approach to it grin) over here at Barry's blog.

Each cover has this image on it - referencing for us the threeness of the books, and based on an African concept of Ubuntu. It has many meanings and definitions, yet Archbishop Desmond Tutu described it thus:

"A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed".

And for us, the notion encompassed how we felt about these books; the spirit we hope is imbued in them.

This image taken of a cover with the rivets to the left, and before being bent/opened.

I love how elements of the cover design have etched...

And the calligraphy on the inside page is quiet, yet somehow beautiful. Again with three dots repeated as a motif.

 Peeking inside the book of care...

And sitting on our car turning circle deck...

Where they clearly can't stay because of cars needing to turn and all!

They are made to be outdoor sculptures and we hope they stand the test of time wherever they finish up.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

“Books are like people. Some look deceptively attractive from a distance, some deceptively unappealing; some are easy company, some demand hard work that isn’t guaranteed to pay off. Some become friends and stay friends for life. Some change in our absence – or perhaps its we who change in theirs – and we meet up again only to find that we don’t get along any more”. 

Mark Haddon

I'm not one who likes anthropomorphisising much - and I probably shouldn't get too much into trying to consider books like people either; but given that Mark Haddon does just that, perhaps there is a word for it.

His descriptions are spot on and I can recall books that meet nearly all of his personality types and descriptions. A couple that spring to mind:

Deceptively Attractive - Less
Deceptively Unappealing - The Rules of Backyard Cricket
Easy Company - An Uncommon Reader
Hard work with no guarantee - A Little Life (but it delivered)
Friends for Life - Pollyanna and Anne of Green Gables
Changed in our absence - World Enough and Time

I certainly find books companionable and good companions, so perhaps I really am into personifying or humanising them.  Food for further thought!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Go Girl

Each year I do a print of Go Girl!.

I gather together a selection of random wood type and print the words so they fit on an A5 piece of grey card.  Each edition is an open edition so I can add to it should I need; but I usually print 10 for starters.

I have done three previous prints . The first was GG, the second GGI, the third GGII and this one is GGIII.

A practice lay out of the type.

A couple of trials on cream card.  I like to then turn the page a bit and print again without re-inking - the effects are always interesting.

And then off we go.

I love how wood type shows the marks of its history and life - the rough edges, the splits, the chunks nicked out at different times...

And my highly professional display of all four in my studio!

Go Girl indeed!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sewing creativity

With a variety of studio projects on the go, and some progress being made but not huge amounts, it is nice to have my sewing trundling along quietly in the background.

I had made a dress very early on in my sewing life and whilst the top half fitted beautifully, I thought the bottom half was a bit too voluminous and wasn't particularly flattering.

Nevertheless I still  liked the top half so thought I'd unpick and create a new top and see if I could salvage a skirt out of the bottom.

The top looks lovely - I debated a few times about what to add to lengthen it - simple, straight, diagonal, patterned, flimsy and in the end went for the plain jane version which suits me best.  I like the top and I wear it! The black panel is also crushed linen.

I fiddled with the skirt notion for bit, and came up with the idea of pleats at the top (front and back) and pleats at the bottom (front and back) as well as splits up the side so I could still stride out when I walked. Again, I think it worked and I enjoy wearing it - it has pockets in the sides still - yay.

And then I had help drafting this skirt off one I already owned. It fits really well and I love the added interest of the diagonal and the asymmetry (and the invisible zip). No pockets on this one tho. Might have to work out how to include them in my next one.

My project this week has been to make another apron like this one. I LOVE this pattern and wear it over a slim fitting black dress. In public. Never at home or the studio. So this is an off white beige linen one.

It has the BEST pockets.

And here is the latest one underway. Hard to photograph but a lovely grey linen with a white scribble.

I came across these tags and bought a pack and am now sewing them into all the clothes I make with pockets!

I finished the apron.

And a remnant became a scarf.  I must say the hour or so it took to fray the edges was beautifully therapeutic.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

“How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.” 

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf write so eloquently about the need for a place away from the hustle and bustle and demands of a life.  A place to to simply be.

Myself being myself.

That's the essence of it I think - so often we are ourselves, being for others. Whether that is work or family or friends or neighbours or community or... it is often hard to find the time and space to simply be for yourself.

It interests me how she refers to bare things.  Things that are simply things. Things that do not need to be admired or dealt with in any way. They are simple and bare and simply there.

Quiet time alone can be delicious, when it is what you are craving. Quiet time alone settles me, centres me, fills me up and lets me get up and out and doing all those other things afterwards. Without it I get frazzled.

Here's to solitary time and spaces.

Armadale cove, Scotland.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Studio time

It seems some weeks see me dreaming of the studio; other weeks find me there every day doing something different.  It's a bit of a mystery to me how it all works, but I have found some days of late to get down and make things which has been grand.

It's also not always the making; but the magic moments along the way.

Like when I tore this carbon paper...

I spent a day and a half helping a friend add letterpress to their prints. It was an intense couple of days - on our feet for all the hours setting, proofing, cleaning and dissing type - there were about 10 prints which need to be set and printed.

As is often the case, as we had finished the prints, we decided that we'd use some spare up and make covers with a title. And into the dusk we printed...

This is the print I was gifted - love the ghostliness of it.

I have also been setting samplers of the 20 odd trays of the type we received in January. It all takes time! But I am really glad I came up with the sampler books here we could simply add the cards in without having to create a whole new book.

And then I got around to thinking about printing my Go Girl print for the year - here I am sampling all my random wood type letters for the print.

And unrelated to art at all, but a photo that  I loved.  My Dad is at the cottage in Scotland at the moment and in a frenzy of spring cleaning he popped all the cushions out on the front patio to get some sunshine into and onto them.  I thought they looked rather lovely!