Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

In a way I imagine this is an introduction of sorts to the idea of mindfulness. To be focussed more on the here and now than on the times that were; or the times that will be.

The honest understanding that blunders creep into our days; that we say and do things which we wish we hadn't is good I think.  The way he suggests they are just part of normal, average days helps reduce their imposing memory. Somehow it sets expectations that these things will happen and in many ways, they are not big things.

Which is helpful to those amongst us likely to catastrophise or overblow errors into disasters.

There is always so much hope in a new day, a new dawn.  The chance to begin again is deeply ingrained in our psyches and associated with the early morning I think. And I like the idea of beginning a day serenely.  Serenity seems to be such a lovely way to be (not suggesting for a moment that I manage it!).
However, when I do feel serene, I know it is beautiful and special.


A' Mhoine (The Moss) 2019. The long stretch of bog between the Kyle of Tongue and Loch Hope. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Ongoing Friendship

 As I prepared work for The Red Thread exhibition, I muddled around a lot until I landed on my theme.  It fascinates me how I can have a million ideas of what I could do - try this, do that, make these...and they explode out of my brain and onto the page of my journal and I play with them and explore.

And then I realise I need an anchor.  They are too chaotic. Too disparate. I need a thread if you will, that will link things. I need a jumping off point that brings coherence to the body of work - rather than a random collection of ideas.

And so it was with the poem about Women Friends by Pauline Prior-Pitt.  Once I was able to use her words, I could think about how to present them in different ways.

The next step was the returned rusty tin and "Old Friends" emerged serendipitously.

Which led to a run of ideas about small, old tins. Sturdy and strong, intimate enough to hold in the hand. Protective. And the ideas of adding more work to tins grew.

Which led me once again to unbound artists' books.

I think the first unbound artists' book I made was back in 2008 called Quest - and it was a hanging book with pages that could be re-arranged within their fabric holders. Using  a script I designed myself.


My first really thoughtful and purposeful unbound artists' book appeared in 2009 when a friend sent me some words he had written about key moments in his life, to celebrate his 50th birthday. He asked me to make him a book.  So I illustrated the pages and wrote the words out in calligraphy and then came the time to bind it. 

And I simply couldn't. I couldn't bind his life. I couldn't decide and fix the order in which his memories would be read. I couldn't say this was it - when there were so many year to go. My dilemma was solved by an unbound book. I made a box and placed the pages in it in such a way that he could move the story around; change what he saw first, tuck the saddest things away at the bottom and so on. I also included several 'blank' pages Because his story wasn't finished; and we could add to it later on if he wanted to.


And all I can say is my photography has improved in the intervening 12 years!

So with that lengthy blether behind me I turn back to making unbound artists' book about friendship. With a similar theory to my friend's book; friendships change; they alter, they move around and aren't fixed, again the notion of an unbound book was perfect.

I used fabric sent me to years ago by a woman friend (similar to how I used Liz's fabric for Unfurling Friendship). Jennifer wrapped some old sheets around rusty cogs and left them out in the snow for winter (in Connecticut, USA) and I was the lucky recipient of some.

I stitched short lines, long meandering lines, little loopy lines across the pages - friendships can be of all shapes and sizes.

I popped crosses to mark the spot - two friends.

I added two spare pages, a needle and some thread - so the recipient could continue and add to their story.

The poem was printed onto goyu paper and dipped in wax, and stitched into the lid.


 And I made two of them in these lovely larger tins. 




And two in smaller tins.


And they were really popular and I am encouraged to keep making along these lines.

Stories of friendship, ever-changing and growing. Women Friends.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Studio Sale has been...

 I don't thinkI even got around to mentioning on the blog we were having a Studio Sale. Says a lot about the busy-factor here at the moment and for being remiss, I apologise.

We had an all weekend 20% off everything sale and had a really good time.  We had flurries and frenzies at some points; whilst at others had quiet times where we could sit and have a cuppa, chat to friends and do small tasks like stitch pages here and there.

So, to make up for my remissiveness; I want to offer any blog readers 20% off our online shop items for Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 November (Brisbane time). All you need to do is go to either

fionadempster.com

barrysmithart.com or 

decklededgepress.com

and search the shops and see if there is something you might like there.  Not everything we have for sale is online given the nature of packing and posting and other considerations, but there are still some gorgeous things there for unique and personal handmade gifts (for others or yourself).

Use the Coupon Code BLOGSALE at checkout to get your 20% off.

There may be a tad delay in getting things posted next week, but we will stay in touch and let you know.

Some images from the weekend... tired now.








Thursday, November 18, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” 

Carl Gustav Jung

I am pondering art again this week and I liked the way this quote linked a few ideas together.

In a right brain and left brain differentiation thing it suggests that intellect is not the driving force for creativity which I think makes sense. I can rarely think something into being by pure logical or rational steps. There are leaps and diversions and rewinds all the way through it seems.

I had never before pondered the existence of a play instinct and probably should go explore that more, but right now time is short and I can simply feel a little bit excited by the notion of an instinct to play.

This instinct to play arising from inner necessity also seems to me to show a pretty good understanding of many artists, creators and makers.  We actually have to be making or creating. It is the way we make our way through the world and yes I agree it can definitely be described as an inner necessity.

The use of the word object in the last bit is the part where I am not quite sure. I guess it all falls to the definition of an object and can an object be an idea or a drive to resolve something? This part seems a little bet reductive and directive to me. I think the creative mind plays with ideas and resolutions, rather than simply objects that it loves...


I had trouble finding a photo of an object that I love... so here is an idea my creative mind has yet to resolve. I have enjoyed heaps of time wondering about cloud puddles and reflections; the idea of upside down/inversion; how water does magic framing things, at the right angles...

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Feminist postcards

 A few folk have asked if I might make my feminist posters into postcards - so they could send them to friends or just have them on their desk or fridge or...

So I took the seven in my poster series; and redesigned them using only metal type (many of the larger A4 posters use wood type).

Printed on heavy Gmund 300gsm cotton rag paper they look great!

I wrap the seven together of them with three threads - suffragette colours of purple, green and white - and include a brief explanation of the words and the impetus for using them.








The seven of them.


They are available over at my online shop; or at the Deckled Edge Press online shop
And will also be available at the studio sale this weekend!

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Farewell the Red Thread...

 The beautiful showing that was The Red Thread closed this afternoon. All four of us were able to be there for most of the day - to share with friends and fellow travellers and to enjoy time together.

Beautiful red flowers/berries to celebrate!


Friends arrived and chatted having not seen each other for ever so long.  They enjoyed the art and hearing the stories...



It's always great to have the artists there to talk about the work.


A lull at lunchtime, and Barry brought us a heart each - the hearts that connect; the red threads that hold...



Now to tidy up the paperwork and the payments and tie a big red bow on the show!


And that's a wrap.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

"A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint…What I begin by reading, I must finish by acting". 

David Henry Thoreau

So true I think of a really good book.  One that stays with you. That you keep on your shelf. Or by your bed. That you write notes from. That you return to. One that has its corners turned over as reminders. Where pink sticky notes stick out along the edges.

It is these sorts of books that I think are the ones that that get under my skin, that make me want to try to understand something better, so that I might incorporate it into my way of being.  These are the books with life lessons that mean something to me. They may be aspirational; they may be simple and direct. They may be the same as three other books I have marked in exactly the same way but which I keep failing to actually implement the lessons from.

I like the phrasing "living on its hint..."  I guess that would be another reason for keeping them around - the hint of something, perhaps out of focus or out of reach for now, which may become clearer the more we return to it or try to respond to it with actions.


This. Baking bread. 

Symbolic of all the books I read and keep about simplifying, having less, buying less. Of making more and creating more. Of a simpler life....

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Full circles and getting things done

 Some things take time, a lot of time.  Last year I began the conversation with Robyn about the most recent poems that would be printed to celebrate and honour her daughter Sophie's life. Over a number of years Robyn has selected a poet to honour Sophie.  We have worked together to then bring the poems into being, in a beautiful manner - beauty really mattered to Sophie (a highly accomplished young poet, who died aged 22).

Each edition is a numbered edition of 22 only, to reflect Sophie's age when she died, and I have been involved in different ways - sometimes large, sometimes small, but always with a sense of how special it is to be involved in such a beautiful honouring.

In 2019 the work was called Sometimes the Soul - see here.

In 2017 the work was a piece Sophie herself had written, Self Portrait as a Reflection see here.

In 2021 the work is called lips over a waterfall, by Nathan Shepherdson, a series of small, connected poems.

Once again I did the calligraphy for the title - simple, flowing, connecting lettering...

Along the way Robyn and I spoke of our delight in unbound books, allowing the reader to move through the book in their own way.  And this was the approach chosen for Nathan's poems.

Whilst Nathan does suggest a reading sequence, (starting with 22!), you are free to wander through the words as you wish.

For the second time, Robyn has also chosen to create a small poster with all of the poems within it - a chance for more than 22 people to enjoy the words.




Some pixelation is occurring in the photos; but the work is crisp and clear, and soft and beautifully velvety in the hand.

Robyn dropped them in on Sunday - a true delight!

Along the way, another glimpse of the most recent commission, from behind.

And the mundane continues - with lots of cards being printed and illustrated - here is a birthday bouquet!


The Red Thread finishes on Sunday - hard to believe.  The show has sold really well and it has been just wonderful to show the work of the four of us together; and to have so many people delight in it and enjoy the works. And purchase many of them.

I love seeing red dots, knowing artists are selling and people are getting to have beautiful art in their lives and their homes.

Here is a link to a video walk through I did the night before we opened - the show was hung, but nothing was yet sold.  Apologies for my rather bad voice over, but that's life! Enjoy!

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Everything's a work in progress

 Life is full and pretty busy at the moment. We are enjoying promoting The Red Thread and having visitors and folk through.  I have a commission to complete by Wednesday and we have our Studio Sale in two weeks time which means lots of making and re-stocking must be done  In between times a shop owner friend has been away and I have been backfilling for a couple of rather full and busy days.

So nothing is complete, and everything is a work in progress...

The first batch of red threads arrived. The trick was that in the end, the small spools at the bottom were actually the same 'catalogue' colour as two the large spools despite coming from different companies and having different names, meaning I didn't have the requisite six different colours for each piece.  


So the hunt was back on. I  called the guys they said yep, but we are away and can't post until Monday. Not going to work. Hunted down some new folk; they said yep we can have some to you by Friday. Tick. They arrived, but boy howdy the online samples looked different!


I think I can scrounge enough from the collection now to make the six figures, six times, in differing combinations.

Working on the dining table means I can stop and start at the oddest of hours, which is kind of how things are rolling at the moment.


Storing things on the kitchen bench is also the go. A quick snap has caught some Christmas bush flower, the tape measure, a yearly planner, a recipe  and the ubiquitous masks well. Life!


Part of some work involves angel's wings...testing out options.


And in the studio I have printed heaps of cards that have been neglected (another way to say that would be that they have been popular!).

Now they have dried its time illustrate them and inventory them. These are the beginnings of "Outstanding!!!". One bird in the line gets coloured in...


Hand drawn and coloured bunting for the babies. I think I have a wedding one, a birthday one, and a grief one to go.


And then glimmers of the garden  - also a work in progress as the magnolias bud, burst and change shape alongside weathering weather grams and peace doves.


And as Barry was preparing dinner last night the backyard just looked lovely in the fading light.