Thursday, December 30, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

"… Rather, paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation". 

Michelle Obama

Throughout the various stages of this pandemic, we have all found ourselves entertained by, saved by, enthused by, and gripped by, the arts.  From movies to online choirs; to great books and stories; to balcony operatics; to jigsaw puzzles of great photographs, time and time again the arts have supported us and helped us feel not so alone.

As we once again watch how theatre, and circus, and concerts, and movies and exhibitions are all being damagingly affected by the impacts of the virus on gathering and on people's health, we ache because we know the arts is our communal, national, global heart. Its rhythms and beats keep us going, sustain us and help define us.  

What is 'left behind' by the arts definitely does tell a story; definitely does provide guidance for future generations and insight to, and understanding, of our times. And so we keep making, keep telling stories, keep on performing and recording and filming and hope that we find our way out once more to gather and celebrate the arts in all their glory.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Ahhhh... Letraset

 I have had the chance to pull out some of the lovely old and used Letraset I have bought and been gifted.

I have a small book in mind and have been trying to work out how to say what I want to say.  It came to me that glassine paper might do what I wanted to do - it has a shiny surface and can be a bit crinkly and crackly...

It is also a bit see-through and the light plays with it in a very pleasing manner. So being me, I chose to go with the bits of white Letraset I had and to see how they might work...

Must say, I was pretty happy with it!

The Letraset is old and a bit dry; and a bit temperamental and all of that; but oh how I love it.  You can have no idea how much it makes my heart sing!

I even tested out if my emboss machine mark would work with it and I can happily report that it does.

But oh my goodness I make a mess; and have pretty much taken up a couple of tables in the studio without  any effort whatsoever.

So things are coming along with this - I am learning to appreciate it when the Letraset transfers like a dream; and to go with the flow when it is a bit tacky and broken.  

Simultaneously I am trying to work out what the attraction is; what is it that I am finding so enjoyable and pleasurable about working with it?  Am jotting down a few thoughts and will hopefully find my way to understanding what its all about.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Star completed after one of those days...

So, I was travelling along nicely with this star piece I was doing for the bloke from Dad's church.

It took me three hours to get the lettering and design onto the star (previous post).  Then I began to fill it all in. Thanks to Barry for taking the shots of me at work.

Slowly and steadily we went along.  After another three hours the pieces was complete.  All the letters coloured in and tidied up. All the pencil lines removed.

Until disaster struck.

I thought that because it might need to be protected against the weather a bit, I should seal it with some fixative.  We took it outside and applied the fixative, and I think we overdid it and before we knew where we were, the whole darn thing was running!

Some very ugly letters...

Whole words almost wiped away.

The stress and despair was awful.  I tried a million ways to see if I could cover up the gold and re-do the letters, using things in the studio - metallic pencils; gold leaf; gold gouache; gold calligraphic stuff... and a resounding "NO" was the answer.

We went and bought a can of gold spray paint to see if I could somehow apply that and then re-work the lettering. Which in the end, was what I did.  Each and every letter had to be painted around again to create a straight outline (every single line had become furry and blurred, but not all as bad as those pictured above).

I got a container and sprayed the paint into it so it became liquid, then got a paintbrush and painted it on. This is the worst E repaired.

The overall results were satisfactory. This is the THE that had virtually disappeared.

And the star was delivered on time for the Christmas Light Show and Festival. Very. Very. Stressful.  The repair took a further 4 hours, so all up a 10 hour job.

Must be time to do something more relaxing!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counsellor, a multitude of counsellors. 

Henry Ward

Book ARE so many things, in so many ways, to so many different people. At this time of year when I am giving books as gifts, receiving books as gifts and in strange twists of fortune ending up getting books I have bought for others, I wonder to myself - what might this book be to others?

Sometimes I share books because they have been so powerful or pertinent to me at the time; only to find others less impressed and definitely not as deeply moved as I was.

Sometimes folk gift me books that they are sure I will love; and I find that I can understand why but am not as excited nor passionate about it as they are.

Sometimes I buy a book for a friend and end up having to get my own copy because I know I would love it! 

Books land in our lives at different times and receive different welcomes depending on how things are with us.  No rhyme, no reason and no judgement.

Sometimes they fill whole a small hole in your hear that you hadn't even realised was there!

I think however that I have found one book that most everybody would enjoy.  

You can read about the story behind it here... but it is truly beautiful, an antidote to so much of the worry and concern and difficulty in this world as people answer respond to the question "Would you tell me a love story?"

An absolute keeper and one to dip into time and again to be lifted up by love.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Of birds and bits

 We are roaring towards the end of the year and there is still plenty going on.  We have however, taken some time to wander and ponder, and play and prepare...

We were buying some sandstone at a landscape suppliers the other day and found these two precious wee metal birds on a windowsill - they came home with us.

We popped them onto a garden wall; and here they are peeking around the corner at each other.

Tidying up our vegetables and herbs, the lemon thyme needed a serious haircut. It had been overrun by tomatoes and sage and gone all leggy and dry.  I had such a handful of it I couldn't help but build myself a nest (with none of the skill or sophistication of a bird - just thrown together!)

And then I nestled one of our cement hearts in it..

And popped it on top the same wall.

And then to play - the agapanthus are in stunning form at the moment and we have a big bunch inside.  As the petals dropped I wondered if they might solar-dye some thread.  

So here they are before going into the bottle and into the sun.

And to prepare...there is now a seventh Angel in the group!  A young man has joined the team and folk would like me to make a seventh angel work for them.  We decided we could pretty much do as we did before - I will need another set of wings to work with and we needed another colour to differentiate things a bit so we have added orange to the mix.

I have done the thinking and ordered more easels and I think once I get a moment I will be able to get down and make number 7!

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Hear Me Roar

 The title of my latest book; hinted at back here...

Having made my set of feminist mini posters or postcards; I thought it might be nice to somehow bring the A4 posters into a book of sorts.  To see them all together with their powerful messages in bold and bright colours felt like a good thing to try.

I fiddled and faddled in my head for a bit; and then despite my preference for not using an accordion fold in an artists' book, I chose that format.  My reticence is that with an accordion book you oftentimes see the whole book at once.  I like to build my way through the reading of an artists' book; building narrative if you like.  I like the book form to lead you somewhere; to tell a story; to build on what has been; to encourage you to anticipate what comes next.  Sometimes an accordion feels like a bit of a blunt instrument to me! ta da! Here it all is!

But I figured that the posters aren't necessarily leading you anywhere - to a final conclusion so to speak - they are statements on their own and could afford to be read as a whole.

I also thought that being seen all at once would make for the kind of big statement I think they can make; so on balance there I went.

Given they are each A4 size, and there are 7 of them plus two covers they do take up a rather lot of space; and do not make for easy photographing.

Outside on Friday. Lovely how the sunlight lets the embossing on the title page be seen.

Back inside and lying down flat...

It is also true that the book can be displayed like a star...

And it can also just have the pages turned like a book...

Here is a short video of the cover and the title page as I opened the book.

I am very happy to have the 7 posters all together now and in their own book.  I am sure the book will have an impact somewhere, sometime,  when it is displayed open wide - lots of food for thought I hope.

And by way of is the story behind each poster - Enjoy! 

FEMINISM back by popular demand – we need it more than ever and this was one of the many fabulous posters at the women’s marches. 

Abuse of Power – Australian of the Year Grace Tame has named it – the common thread through so many sexual offences, from harassment, to grooming children and rape. 

Enough is Enough! – the spirit of the women’s marches; Australian women have had enough. 

NOT just a daughter – When the Prime Minister of Australia has no understanding of, or empathy for, victims of an alleged rape in Parliament House and can only begin to comprehend when his wife suggests he think about it as if it had happened to one of his daughters. Understanding should be for all women; not just the PM’s daughters. 

I’m Speaking – During the Vice Presidential Debate in 2020; Kamala Harris had a very difficult path to tread. As a highly intelligent woman of colour, she had to be firm, friendly and fair; and could not afford to ever look angry or too smart. She used these words whenever the VP began to speak over her and they were pitch perfect. 

Believe Her – Given that only 2% of sexual assault claims are found to be fallacious or mischievous; our starting point should be to believe victims. 

Nevertheless, she persisted – When Senator Elizabeth Warren was being shut down by Leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell; she continued to speak. McConnell later said “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted” and it became a cry for women everywhere to persist.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

“When you are in doubt, be still, and wait; 
when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage. 
So long as mists envelop you, be still; 
be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists as it surely will. 
Then act with courage.” 

Ponca Chief White Eagle

Once more my ponderings circle to life and this one felt so needed. Be still, and wait.

If anxiety plays a small or large part in your life; this is tough advice. So often the preference is for the anxious mind to do so many miles; to rush ahead; to project or plan or anticipate.  When really, one should just attempt to be still, and to wait.

I love the idea of stillness and waiting and letting things be; and once things are clearer then going forward with courage.  Being strong and confident and heading off. Moving forward.  Having faith in those moments coming to you and allowing you to act.

As the mist rises...

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Website update and WIP

I still haven't managed to photograph my Hear Me Roar book - it is an awkward size and shape and I need the right weather to get it outside. Instead, here are a couple of other things that have been happening in amongst So Much Food...

I have recently updated the Gallery page on my website.  On this page I am trying to give folk a look at some of my favourite pieces (new and old) and then link back here to the blog, so people can get a feel for the process and my thoughts; what I was hoping to achieve; what I did and how I did it.  It seems to me to add richness to the whole image thing that way.

So I have just added in A Subversive Stitch, Peace Mends the World and Silence Helps No-one.  Three quite different books; with different subjects, different materials and different forms. Hope you enjoy visiting.

I got a call the other day from a bloke at Dad's church - something about lettering on a rotating star - so I said come on over and let me have look at what you want...

The star is about 2m wide and they want the words Rejoice and Joy on alternating points of the star; with a square of extra writing in the middle. There is some sort of mechanism involving pulleys and cogs and drivers on the back, so the star will also turn slowly...

Clearly this is a "needs to be done pretty much now" kind of job, given the season.

So I tested which pens might work on the spray painted star. As ever, not all markers are created equal and there was a clear winner.

I chose simplicity for speed; so I printed the words out using a computer font and then had to work out how to position them on the points.

I drew lines through the midpoint of the star's points; and thru the lettering. Then I lined them up. Carbon paper beneath and I transferred the lettering by tracing.

Dead centre.

 The writing around the square had to be smaller in size by a long shot and it took a few goes for it to fit.

It was also taped into positions and transferred with the carbon paper.

All the lettering has been transferred; but of course I discovered I didn't have enough of the high quality markers in different widths to start the job, so have had to wait until I could get my hands on them.  But at least I am ready to roll when next I can.

Life is never dull in the studio that's for sure. There is such a variety things that fill my days - from websites to rotating stars; to photographing finished work; and playing with the next idea...

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Of food and flowers and friends and family

 It seems to me that this December is fuller than I remember a December being for quite some time.  Last year we were all so tentative about gathering and travelling and moving around was not so easy.  As I think about this year, for us here in Queensland, I think it is almost like the social calm (= frenzy fun) before the storm.

We have been fortunate to have lived with very little circulating virus for a long time.  Our border opens again tomorrow and what follows of course will be our first real attempt at 'living with the virus'.  I imagine things will be and feel, quite different when we experience first hand what so many other places have been living with for ages.

Interesting times, and for that reason alone I think I am being a bit livelier and more social than I usually am, as I expect things will get trickier down the track.

So this post is really about food and flowers and friends and family and gathering...

Out for Tapas on a school night!

Flowers and herbs prepped for a visit to Brisbane with friends.

A gathering of the four of us who held The Red Thread - birthdays and Christmas to celebrate.

The magnificent colour of hydrangea and a gift of heart urchins from friend Susan.

The drifting of magnolia centres to be gathered and held in a petal vessel.

And light on the remains of a magnolia flower.

Lots of moments of friends and family and food this week; and flowers, always flowers...