Sunday, August 30, 2020

A fond farewell..

Our last sleep at our house on the block is tonight.  We went for a wander through the block on Thursday - saying goodbye to different parts of the place we have called home for 14 years.  

This walk marked the farewell for me - having said my goodbyes to the block I was ready to leave.

We wandered and remembered and took lots of photo memories - and here are some of them.

The beginning of the terraces.  We did huge amounts of work (mostly Barry) to create these terraces and then to plant, and then to place art amongst them. They were a building requirement to help assist the flow of water and they proved to be good at that, but also beautiful spaces.

We built so many stairs and steps!  I love the little heads of soldering irons that accompany this set.

Barry heads off down some curving stepping blocks to a lower terrace.

As we crossed the rock river we looked up to see the back of these three large peace book sculptures.  Funny how you see different perspectives at different times.

Looking up from below to yet more steps and stairs, and sculptures...

The aspect that always blew our minds - we never knew we were building such a large home when we built it! 

Sculptures along the edges of the rock river from the back fence.

A forever memory - rocks and gravel. The block has so much rock and gravel; nearly all of which Barry moved by hand (I helped out sometimes, but he was the workhorse).

And then it was down across the heavily planted (no gravel) slope where the native flowers are all beginning to come into play for Spring.


Unsure...but pretty!

The beginnings of a waratah. They are late this year so we won't have many to play with it but they will welcome the new owners in style.

Up to the original water tank and the rocking chair sculpture we brought with us from Canberra.  

To the shed which we built on our first visit to the block together in 2003.

Up the driveway to look down on the main house.

And across to the visitors' and through to the mountains.

So many remnants of peace flags that have flown on this tree...

And so lovely to see some peace doves still flying - they will stay, sharing message of hope and peace for as long as they can. 

What a joy it has been to be custodians of this beautiful place. 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Thursday Thoughts...

"He never went out without a book under his arm, and he often came back with two." 

Victor Hugo

This one made me smile - how true I thought!

Both parts of it ring true to me. These days I am guaranteed to leave the house with a book stored on my phone; although I still often leave the house with a real book, just in case...

Knowing that wherever I land; whatever spare or waiting time appears before me; I will have a book to read is a great source of comfort.  I think I like the way in which reading a book in public probably gives off a sense of 'don't interrupt me please'. I am quite a solitary person and not great at social interaction with strangers (of course I can do it, but often times would rather not).

A book lets me disappear in a public spot. I like that.

And the second part of the quote - often coming back with more than I set out with is absolutely true!!!

Who can resist a book shop? Second hand books, new books, window displays, quirky titles, fabulous illustrations - I am there for them all.

It is not uncommon for me to go into town for groceries and come back with books. 

The joy of having a new book to read deserves a word of its own!

Two books bought online recently - the story of Nancy Cunard and her Press in Paris - can't wait to read about an intriguing woman and her letterpress printing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Showings and sale

 We are mid a bit of moving madness here at the moment.

After enjoying our block and our home for 14 years, Barry and have sold our house.  The time is right and we say goodbye knowing this place has nurtured us and given us much happiness.  For sure we will miss the magic of the mountains and the valleys below, but it is time for someone else to enjoy it.

As a result, there has not been much making at all.

A couple of pieces of good news however...

My poster Pockets Are Political has been shown in the fabulous printmaker's magazine Pressing Matters Vol 12.

This is such a great magazine based in the UK - full of interesting and amazing articles - incredible talent and lots of wonderful things to see, read and ponder. I am thrilled to have a wee mention.

On the other side of the globe (New Zealand) both Barry and have pieces on show at the Pumanawah Gallery at he Christchurch Arts Centre in the Love Letters: the Letterpress Poster exhibition.  The show is all about the love of letterpress and would be great see (if one could travel). It has 71 works from New Zealand, Australia and the USA.

After Christchurch it heads to Auckland and to Wellington, so at least a lot of folk in NZ get the chance to see it.  See their FB page for details.

Coincidentally, I sent Pockets Are Political there as well  (world domination is clearly on the agenda - more pockets for women!!!).

And here is the sign that made it all real on the house front.

And a few recent cameos by the mountains before we leave...

This one is smoke haze this morning from the first bushfire of the season...

Sunday, August 23, 2020

An earlier commission

 A while ago now we were asked if we could provide a small sign to recognise a lovely man.  Following his death, friends had planted a tree in line of sight of one of his favourite and precious views and they thought it would be nice to have a marker which would simply say "For James".

We decided it would work well etched on aluminium and in a calligraphic hand.

So I did a few trials to fit the size of the marker

And then after the style has been selected, I offered two possibilities and the final one was selected from them.

And then it was on to transferring the lettering to the aluminium.  And that proved harder than one imagined.  After several trials it got there.

I thought how easy would it be to trace and transfer through the carbon paper?

Possibly really easy if you had fresh carbon paper; however, mine is rather secondhand and sadly it attached itself in several places.

Trying to get it off was pretty hard.  

And the risk was that the carbon paper left on the plate would act as a stop out or block out and prevent the etch from working in the right places. All of the blue muck would have ended up forming part of the design! 

So we cleaned it off (lots of elbow grease by Barry) and then used a stylus to try and trace the lettering back on.

And then to use the block out paint.  It was impossible to get a really fine tip working, so we did the best we could, with the odd wobble.

And then into the etching bath where it really built up a head of steam!

Barry added in the brass legs and now it rests proudly in front of the tree. 

A gentle, handcrafted and heart-felt statement.

Thank you to our friends for enabling us to be part of this precious wee memorial.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Thursday Thoughts...

“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” 

Robert F. Kennedy

I think this is it.

Some people get the opportunity to do it in big ways; on a large scale.

Others get to do it in small ways; on a local and domestic stage.

But this is it - contributing in some way to make things better.

Peace Flags flying 2013

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Another lovely commission, and visits

One never knows the timings of things and just after having been asked to do the commission in my previous post; I was approached to prepare some more thank you cards following the death of a dearly loved mother aged 92.

The person requested 50 cards along the lines of my grief cards that say "may flowers grow in the saddest parts of you".

So we determined a colour scheme (the blues), and a quote by Lord Byron for the front.  Inside was a personalised poem and his mother's name and dates of her birth and death.

So two print runs and hand illustration.

In the end, I think they turned out well.

Arches Velin is a lovely creamy paper which is soft in the hand.  The subdued blues of the flowers and the personal and meaningful quotes worked together well.

Such a poignant quote.

I was able to do a few different colour ways and individualise the flowers here and there.

And then 50 cards and 50 envelopes were packed and ready to head out across the world.

In between commissions and moving house, the studio hosted two groups.  Last week the Maleny Visitor Information Centre volunteers visited so that they could get a really good idea of who we were and what we did.  A fun time was had by all, and folk left having printed a wee thank you postcard.

Then on the weekend The PaperMakers and Artists of Queensland stopped by (they came from all over South East Queensland) and we had a good few hours trawling through my artists books, listening to my story about letterpress and printing and playing with the presses.  They got to print a postcard about their love of paper, and one about the title of a paper quilt project they are doing .  And of course because they
 are artists they experimented and tried this and that!


It is always a joy to spend time sharing my passion for letterpress and its history and of course, paper and artists' books, so I also say big thanks to the folk who visited!