Thursday, July 30, 2020

Thursday Thoughts...

'The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice' 

Martin Luther King

Somehow these words seem so apt right now - they offer some long term view of what we are observing and experiencing.  As we watch places where truth has been replaced by lies; where democracy has been eaten away by greed and has been set aside like an unwanted plaything; where force has become the only response; where human rights are trampled and mocked.

So much of this time is awful.

And yet Martin Luther King manages to remind us that the arc of the moral universe is long yet bends towards justice.  How I hope in so many ways it does.  That it not only bends towards justice but that it reaches it.  That is grabs hold of it and works with justice until a sense of decency, fairness and rightness prevails.

Please, may it bend towards justice for all of those disempowered and disenfranchised by our current settings.

Maybe that's what we need - double bending towards justice!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

OPEN finally, and beauty

Over the weekend the ink dried on the covers for my poem Open and I was able to work out the edition as well as put the Press' chop on both the poem and the cover.  Nice finishing off work.

Here is the finished product, photographed in dappled light in the studio.

Dappled - such a lovely word...

The covers of the first five.

The cover of Number 1.

Cover opened.

Poem turned, inside back cover.

The bits together.

I ended up with an Edition of 20 - which I find rather remarkable.

For the trials and tribulations of this piece see here; and for the options I played with for the cover, see here.

And as I went to exercises early yesterday morning - sombre beauty dawning.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Small steps along the way

I have been continuing to explore the layering and translucency of this funny little experimental book.

Working with the imagery of shattering, I found another beautiful, but different Japanese paper, and traced the image onto it, and then cut the work into 16 squares, each 4cm x 4cm

I do spend a fair bit of time waffling around when I have delightful and delicious paper to play with!
Many a moment is spent staring at it, lifting it, watching it move, sensing its lightness and driftiness. 

But I then had to consider how it might sew.  I need to hold the lightest papers together and I really wasn't sure if the sewing machine would simply shred it; so I layered up a few scraps and headed home to the trusty machine.

And we did well!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Thursday Thoughts...

I paint my own reality.  The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any consideration. 

Frida Kahlo

Frida's work is so wild and free and full of vibrant colours - what a marvellous reality she must have experienced as things passed through her head!

I like the nature of this quote in terms of her honesty and her pursuit of being true to herself.  She couldn't paint for others; nor what others may have sought from her. Instead she painted because she needed to and she didn't question herself.

I think that confidence is shining your own light; in deciding that you simply must make your own work without second-guessing yourself; without self-censorship; and by caring little for what others may think must have been such a great feeling.

Maybe she was born with that sense of certainty; maybe she developed it through hard knocks and rejections; or maybe she had a quiet voice inside her head quietly encouraging her along the way.

Whichever way she got there - I just keep thinking you Go Girl!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Grief cards

It is interesting to me how people respond to the grief cards I make.  When I explain why I do it, how I use them myself, and what each of them says, people really seem to get it.

One person came in the other day and bought the last of my "grief breaks us and re-makes us" cards. They told me why, and who it is was for, and  how after a year or more, it felt as if it said the right thing for where their person was at.

And so I went about making another version.

First up I did the letterpress printing on the bottom right of a soft Grey Magnani Pescia paper DL card. And after all that practise and attempting to select an appropriate looking hand for the words, I added some calligraphy.

Even with my love of the spare and of sparseness they did look a bit grim!

And so I pondered how to gently elevate them.  I thought about an entwined vine and was thinking of doing it in black pen. And even to me that seemed a little bit too grim again.  Barry suggested trying maybe white or silver to see if that lightened things up a touch.

So I did, and we both agreed it didn't work. So my trial card got added to with black and bits of colour.  We thought gold and metallics maybe to add highlights?

But I wasn't too fussed with that.  So it was back to the coloured pencils to test and to check.

 And then the pattern, drawn in black ink.

But because each piece of calligraphy is slightly diffenret - it might start 5mm to the right; it may be bit higher; the gaps might be slightly smaller... I chose to transfer the design through the tracing paper with an embossing tool. This allowed me to see through to the letters and move the design around as needed.

The embossing tool also just pressed into the paper and provided a guide for drawing on with the pen afterwards; no pencil as transferred, so less cleaning up.

So there they are all drawn in and fitting with their slightly varied calligraphic bits.

And then some details highlighted and coloured in.

And doesn't the grey change depending on the light?!?!

Here they are packaged and ready to go.

And then as I started to print another set of cards which have been 'bestsellers' - I laughed.  Mind your ps and qs is a tenant of letterpress and here is the perfect example of why!

I feel it could be read as a birthday blooper...

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Thursday Thoughts...

“Write what should not be forgotten.” 

Isabel Allende

With these words it seems that Ms Allende captures one of the most important truths of storytelling and books. That we need to make sure that what must not be forgotten gets recorded, written down and retained.

I guess one could argue that video does this, sound recordings do this, and that saving something to the cloud does this...and yet.

For me each of those methodologies requires and depends on technology of sorts.  As I type these words, clearly so does this form of writing.  I worry about technology and its capacity to help us retain our memories that should not be forgotten; because it becomes obsolete so relatively swiftly.

In my lifetime I have seen big floppy disks, small floppy disks, CD ROMs, flash drives and more. If I had saved important memories onto a floppy disk - how on earth could anybody have found and read them?

And yes writing immediately privileges those with education and a grasp of language, but even tho our language continually evolves, it fundamentally can be read over the centuries it seems.

Apart from all the technological issues of recording, what I probably most needed to say about this one is that we must all be witnesses to history; we must all record the things that should not be forgotten...

Detail of John Brack's work "Out".

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

After the rain...

We popped down the back the other morning because we thought there might be a wee flower open that we wanted to see.

And there was.

Just the one for now, and it was a shy young thing and hard to photograph.

So with some time out I looked left and right.

And wandered off to the right...

And thought about this lovely home and wondered if a furry friend had ever spent time there.

And marvelled at the lichen on a tree trunk - a sign of such clean air.

And returned to the top and was in awe of the setting moon in amongst the  mackerel sky.

And turned myself upside down and inside out to get an over head overview...

A marvellous morning.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Works in progress

I seem to have gotten a bit of a zing along on a number of fronts.  I hardly have time to jot down the next idea or things that needs doing before I have to remind myself of another one, and capture the thoughts for yet another.

Which is kind of nice.

I am pushing a few things forward at a time; and in between, occasionally completing something as well!

This work is underway... using a beautiful composing stick that Adele Outteridge (from West End Studio) had found and popped in the post to us.  We don't have the before shot; but Barry did a great job of cleaning it and making it shine and making it slide again.  It is a delight to work with and we are thrilled Adele thought of us and generously sent it along.

Now this is something that is not yet fully formed.  Even in my head. I have the sense that this exploration is going to get a long way down the track before I know if it will work.  There is something about layers, about revealing, about fragments.

The very fine overlay you can see is Tengucho paper and it is 4gsm - the lightest I have ever worked with. It's like feathers, but lighter.

Layering and layering.

Who knows?

And now trying to finish another piece by getting the title done.  Playing around with old wood type options. Still no decision made, but I am enjoying raiding our stash and seeing if this goes with that.

And finally something done. Simple, but fun - for anybody you know who is Outstanding!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Thursday Thoughts...

With beauty before me, may I walk. 
With beauty behind me, may I walk. 
With beauty above me, may I walk. 
With beauty below me, may I walk. 
With beauty all around me, may I walk. 

 Navajo Prayer (extract and modified)

I  love these words.
A mantra.
An approach or attitude to take with me through my days.

I have annotated them as extract and modified, because I found all over the interweb there were variations, adaptations, modifications, extractions and extensions, and I just thought it was best to note and acknowledge my uncertainty around the pure original.

As I sit, quietly, breathe gently and read them slowly, I envision a cloak of beauty wrapping around me. Reminding me that beauty holds; it remains.  Reminding me that beauty is there to be found if I pay attention. Reminding me that  beauty enlivens my spirit and refreshes me.  Reminding me that beauty is a tonic.

For yes, there is beauty to be found. May I find it.