Tuesday, September 29, 2020

An inventory of sorts...

 The more time I spend in the studio space, sharing the letterpress with others and explaining how things work, the more I realise don't actually have a huge bank of knowledge about our presses.

It's not something I have ever sat down to study; nor is it something I have people on tap I can just ask a million questions of.

I belong to a couple of letterpress groups and every now and again enter the conversations by asking the dumb questions; and they are always so helpful.  From one of these groups I have learned that there are three different sorts of Adana Table Top presses.

So I decided in my spare moments I would try to assess which ones we have; and am beginning to try and develop an inventory of sorts.

Here are just some of the photos I have taken in an effort to differentiate between them.  

Comparing the clamps that hold the baseline bar (my own, not a technical, term) in place begins the process.

And the pieces/things that hold the rollers - a few variations here.

The rails on the rollers...

And quite a few other things to look for - how many parts the body was cast in; if there are bolts in the base for attaching to a workstation - and a few other things I am enjoying trying to discover. Who knew?

I think I have worked out what we own; just need to triple check.  Once I know, I am hopeful we won't go around swapping rollers from here to there and wondering why they don't work so well over there on that one!  

Sunday, September 27, 2020

All over the place

 Feeling just a bit all over the place as I review the week that was art-wise.

It seems that a bit of this and that, including a fair bit of preparation for workshops, is my main game at the moment so no real progress on anything to show; let alone anything much achieve or completed.

But life isn't always about achievement; it is also about the journey. A skitty scatty journey at that, but it is about forward momentum.

This was a random act that kind of went nowhere; yet which was a bit of a fun explore. A fellow visited the studio and although tentative at first, found his way into what we did and really enjoyed a number of cards and postcards. We stopped and talked about the grief cards in particular for quite a while.

He let me know he was a parish priest and we chatted about this and that.  He was quite taken by the individual pieces of type and wondered if one could put together some words. So we did.

When flipped you can read the meditation he oftentimes uses.  You can also read that I mistook the C for a G!  

It was a fun thing to try and who knows if, or when, it might be a thing that happens; maybe not these words; but maybe the idea itself will go along with something else...

I am writing an article and need to take the odd process photo; so here is one.

I am teaching calligraphy on pebbles in a few weeks.  I was preparing more pebbles as demonstrations (and to back fill our supply as the word peace was sold a few times this week, along with joy and love - yay!). I took them outside to put the final protection on them, and then of course fell in love with the patterns left on the cardboard...

On Friday a young fellow joined me in the studio for a bit of a play and did some amazing work.  Here's a few of the words he was working with... don't they just pop from the black background?!?!?!?! 

As I cleaned off the rollers afterwards I played around with some stamping I had done earlier for no good reason other than to find out what would happen if...?

 I am preparing some more workshops and will be printing some posters for around the studio - the beginnings of one right here.  Although I think that 's' might be upside down...sigh. Luckily, not yet set or printed!

And even more workshop prep sees me printing these words. 

A life of art is varied and full and I oftentimes do not know where it will go next; but I am more than happy to go along for the ride!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Thursday Thoughts...

“The most important tool the artist fashions through constant practice is faith in his ability to produce miracles when they are needed”. 

Mark Rothko

Change the pronoun and I can connect with this much better.

And so to ponder.  These words seem to relate to artists with particular practices.  The ability to produce miracles when needed seems to be associated with deadlines - be they commissions or exhibitions.  

I was wondering if the words applied to me; then realised that of course they have. At different points in time when things simply have to be done in time for certain things to be achieved it can feel like a miracle may well be called for.  

Perhaps it's not just about being able to pull the work out of the bag in time to deliver it; perhaps it's about being able to create work you have never attempted before for somebody who has requested it (or paid for it).  When one has possibly overpromised; or simply held the belief that even tho you haven't previously done it; that you most definitely can and will.

The part that interests me in particular is how Rothko describes this belief in your own capacity and capability as the most important tool to keep working away at over time. I'm not sure if it necessarily requires miracles, or just a deep and enduring belief in yourself and your skills.

This project had both - never done it before - plus - have a deadline in it.  Taking handwritten words, transforming them to digital; selecting the right colour, determining the size and layout and then installing in a public place. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

International Day of Peace

 International Day of Peace has come and gone (it was only yesterday) but we enjoyed seeing different friends and folk we know post their pieces of peace in different ways - on blogs, on FB, on Insta and the rest.  It just felt like there was this quiet murmuring of peace around the world; a gentle hum; a warm and positive vibration.

Barry and I have found ourselves without our 'peace tree' for the first time.  We wandered about trying to find a happy new home for the doves and weather grams and came upon this tree at my Dad's place.  It is nearby our new place and we drive past it most days so we thought we would get added enjoyment if we could hang them there - and he was a very willing participant.

My letterpress weathergrams work with the idea that peace in so many ways, begins with us. It can begin on a small scale; it's not for the likes of me to negotiate and achieve world peace; rather it feels like my job is to be peaceful in my soul and in my interactions; and encourage peace wherever I can.

Barry's copper peace doves are almost camouflaged in the leaves here...

But keep company with one of Dad's many orchids...

And our pieces hang together in places...

And the tree itself...

Having rescued several of last year's weather grams from around the block at 601, we have distributed them around our new place, on some familiar pieces!

Thank you to all of those across the globe who joined the murmur of peace; who think and speak for peace and who hold fast to hope for peace in our world...

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Taking things further...

A wee while back I wrote about the 'project' book I had made as part of a challenge to get ourselves out of comfort zones and production zones, called 'on joy'. I delighted in that book and one of the serendipitous moments came as I proofed the words, and found the by moving things slightly and not re-inking I got a lovely repeat and fade effect which I ended up using in the final book.

On the way through I had printed and proofed this on the tengucho 18gsm paper just to be sure, and after the book was completed I had three spare prints so to speak.

And so it was that I decided to make small reminder books with the words; without the imagery.

I used a very dilute sumi ink to make the circle on the front cover.

And this is how you move through the book.

The paper is so lightweight and soft, that you really do move slowly.

I ended up with 2 in the edition and one AP, which is a rather nice result.

And of course, the softness and shadows playing...

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Thursday Thoughts...

It's not magic that takes us to another world - it's storytelling. 

Val McDermid

Oh I do like this.  To ponder upon magic and the feeling of magic and to connect it to storytelling - fun!

I hadn't stopped to think about it, but really it is quite a magical thing that stories, told or read, have the capacity to create other worlds and almost shift-shape you into them. They can somehow transport you there even though at no point do you leave your seat or this plane at all.  Almost the definition of magic in a way.

It has started me thinking about the science of reading and the analysis of what happens as one reads; or as one listens to stories being told.  As I ponder that, I realise what an unbelievably fascinating field that would be, trying to understand how letters, sounds, words on a page or words in your ears, form some sort of meaning or imagery in our brains. How do our brains then create those pictures from words? Or those sensations? or trigger those memories? those connections?

Oh my, I need to know more I think.

Magic, imaginations, connections...

Tuesday, September 15, 2020


 International Day of Peace (21 September) is not far away.

We are still working out where we can best hang our peace weathergrams and doves in and around our new place; but over at the studio we have put together a small showing of peace.

The two works called rainbow peace were done a while ago - yet they still hold their own I think. One is in watercolour and one is in coloured pencil.

I got a little bit besotted with photographing this book (Ways of Peace) and Barry's daily word leaves - different focal points abound.

I found these small porcelain scrolls for peace as well.

These four wall works involve embossing and letter cutting.

There are other pieces I didn't photograph; but its nice to have a range of peace work featured and explaining to folk what IDoP is about when they visit.

And finishing with some Australian flowers - Spring is in swing here and I really enjoy their boldness.

In the studio a couple of different grevilleas from our new place.

Some pink leptospernum at our new place.

And the last of our waratahs from our old place, bearing witness in the new office.

I really do find flowers a comfort and a joy.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Unpacking and re-stacking

It makes me smile a wee bit to realise that the first work of art we unpacked and set out inside our new place is the rainbow stack of books.

We have a few bits of sculpture dotted outside; but inside remains in a state of flux as we await tables, chairs and beds! It seems wise to hold off putting art up until we can see how it will work with the rest of the gear.

The stack was in three boxes we unpacked.

Uncertain of the height it could go to here, we laid it all out on the floor; colour by colour. And found it was almost exactly the same height as in our previous place. Amazing.

We were doing it on Saturday night and hit a bit of a snag with the hooks we had planned to align it to, so with the wisdom of the ages we held off to try again in the morning.

And off we went.  This photo shows us having built, it secured it and then, realising we needed to do it another way,  mid un-stacking it.

 All back on the floor ready to go again.

On review, we left one book out - the green just didn't blend in well.

And having secured it with a bit of pressure, we realised we actually needed to add books! Eek. We had been through the library before moving and decided to take only those books we really enjoyed with us, so I wasn't feeling confident that we would find any hard backs, in rainbow colours,  that we could offer up.

But we did. We added in Japanese patinas and Marienthal, the sociology of an unemployed community.

And then the stack was done!

All I need to do now is add some twinkle lights and all shall be well!