Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Prep, prep and more prep

 I have a few teaching engagements lined up in the next wee while; and as ever, the preparation take time.

I so often think making an art life is never just about the art - in fact so much time is taken up cataloguing, tracking down supplies, and in this case preparing heaps of pages!

This is a day long workshop making heaps of books, and because the group are enthusiastic newcomers, rather than do a difficult stitching or binding we have opted for a bunch of small books that they could safely venture into and make for themselves afterwards.

I like folk to get as much out of a workshop as they can and to this end, rather than spend a long time cutting pages and covers from large sheets of paper on the day; I have done all the cutting for them. Cutting takes time!

Here I have set out 20 paper bags and placed 5 covers on each bags (100 covers).

Each bag will have a few different colours.

A sample bag of sorts.

And then I added in the 20 pages each (20 x 20 = 400)

And because I do love a stack of edges...

And in this case a stack of openings too!

For another set of books I have cut Bristol Board. Each person needs 24 pages; so 20 x 24 = 480 pages.

Some better cut than others...but these are sample books for them to keep and refer to so I hope they can cope!

I have a couple of other book page preparations to go, along with instructions and handouts, but we are on track!

And yesterday morning early, there was this tiny morning moon...

Sunday, May 9, 2021

A quarter of the year...

 As you know I decided back in January to try and do a project through the course of this year, that would somehow help me mark the time of Covid.  I had realised that I was in no way prepared for recording last year; but felt that perhaps I could do something to record this year.

My hankie project was begun and I am regularly astonished that quite so many events are noteworthy! I really thought things would quieten down and I would make the occasional foray into the fabric with needle and thread and have some nice highlights or headlines as memories.

Instead, I can barely keep up. So many of the markers are small, yet impactful. The speed with which things can still change - things turn on a dime as they same - means that plans are on, off, stopped, started and each time these things have an impact. Very interesting and surprisingly it keeps you on the edge of your seat just a wee bit.

I am thrilled to say I have finished March!  I have transferred April onto a rather large handkerchief as it seemed so much happened, and have begun to stitch it. I have also begun the recording of May.

A selection of the sorts of things I am recording:


8 Bigger weddings and funerals in Queensland

9 Traces in Adelaide waste water from festivals

12 Brisbane Dr tests positive

13 Hospitals and Aged Care in Brisbane locked down

17 Our first flights - entry declarations and masks

23 No access to vaccine appointments

29 Greater Brisbane 3 day lockdown. Masks mandatory in QLD

April began with the Brisbane lockdown ending and finished with the terrible terrible news from India - 100 deaths/hour. In between times we have the absolute hopeless nature of our vaccine rollout "a dog's breakfast", Scotland beginning to ease lockdown, and Perth entering a 3 day lockdown.  One could say never a dull moment.

The three months so far are all different styles and different sizes. 

I learnt a lot from January's very pale stitching! I now have a suite of greys that are slightly darker than the original.

I am pleased I began this as so much happens that I actually forget all the little moments of worry. As I type this, Sydney has re-entered restrictions and folk from their hotspots now have to quarantine in Brisbane on return. 

Things may be improving in some places, but it  seems the globe has a long long way to go before things are settled. 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

 " Tell me what you read and I'll tell you who you are is true enough, but I'd know you better if you told me what you re-read".

Francois Mauriac

An interesting take on the old adage.  Barry and I regularly cull our book case.  We have whittled them down to the singular, and work hard to keep good books moving around, sharing with others and keeping them circulating.  We do however hang onto the special ones.

As part of our recent move it was interesting to see which ones came with us.  We really were quite ruthless this time, hence the single bookcase. Amongst them are many that we probably plan to dip into and re-read; others that have been read and re-read.

Re-reading can be a bit of a mixed bag though. Sometimes the book offers more; delights you as if for the first time or provides the comfort or solace that you seek.  At other times the re-reading results in nothing more than disappointment. I have been left wondering what on earth I thought I saw in it; why did I think it so wonderful or worthy? How did I deceive myself so comprehensively?

Another adage of course is that books don't change, we do.

Happy to say I have not read, let alone re-read most of the books in the rainbow stack! I often glance at the titles and think, if I am ever really really desperate I might open a couple; but given they were gathered only for their colour that's not so bad.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Urban Grit

When  we moved from our beautiful bush block with gardens and views that went forever, we were fortunate to land with another view; lots of green with gorgeous silhouettes.  

From our front door however,  if we look up and across the way, we see a water tower.  It is brutal in its mere existence.  It towers, literally, and is quite imposing.  Most certainly not like our back view; nor the view from 601. As we walk into town from our new place, we walk past it and its gritty asphalt forecourt and storage areas. 

I am intrigued by how much I enjoy this functional juggernaut that imposes itself upon a rather composed and sedate neighbourhood.  At first I thought I would find it horrid; but I am kind of in awe of its sombre, stoic majesty and enjoy watching it tell its own stories.

Here it is in some of its many moods...

Walking by, through the barbed wire fence, against a thrumming sky, October 2020.

An impending threat of a sky, November 2020.

A cloudy moon night, December 2020.

Bouncy clouds against the blue blue sky, January 2020.

Glowing at night, January 2020.

Eerie storm light, March 2021.

Patchwork cloud fragments, April 2021.

It feels a bit like a sentinel, standing and guarding; watching over.  I feel quite friendly towards it now and often look to see what is saying agains the sky. The sky changes its language.

Sunday, May 2, 2021


There is plenty going on - still a bit all over the shop, but nevertheless here we go...

For the time being, I think I have finished with my feminist posters. We shall see!

I completed the final fourth one - a revision of nevertheless, she persisted and am happy with the series.

I have been stitching - March is almost done... 

The full moon was behind cloud for much of the night but dazzled nonetheless.

And then I started to follow a what if...

I went to get some PVA glue to seal a collagraph plate.

It had clearly been a while...

Nevertheless I persisted, and went with another idea; how about if the thick sticky glue could create the texture on a collagraph plate instead?

So I pushed it and pulled it and moved it around, and left it to dry.

And the next day it had dried and seemed to have some texture.  I ran out of time to play with it but that's another what if...?

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

“Ultimately, we’re all just walking each other home” 

 Ram Dass

I came across this quote in a book by Anne Lamott, and it grabbed me as one of the most perfect explanations of our roles and our purpose.

So often we strive for high achievement or ticking off boxes and getting somewhere and yet, what a turn around it is to think in this way.

I immediately see images of parents, children, lovers, partners, walking alongside each other.  Being alongside somebody speaks to me of care and companionship.  Of quiet time together, of chatting and laughing and reminiscing.

The sense of walking each other home suggests care and protection, for and of, another - the creation of safety for another, and the space and time to enjoy togetherness.

"Let us go forth and walk each other home" feels like a useful guide for how to go about things...

Illustrated Pooh and Piglet by E.H. Shepard

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Back by popular demand!

It was back to printing feminist posters again recently; they seem to have hit a mark with a few folk I know.

This is the wood type flipped for checking.

And a couple of letters that ended up needing to be replaced - a bit to worn and wrecked.  useful for another project no doubt, but not quite right here.

I must admit I am very fond of this one!  This is the first pull - not enough ink and not enough pressure.

Here it is working out better now - inking and pressure in synch.


And these two went for another run as well.

Feeling pretty feminist all over at the moment - we sure still need it.  For Australians who haven't yet seen it Brazen Hussies on ABC iView is a great look back at Australian feminists in the 70s and what they faced - brilliant, brazen women each and every one of them.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Today and yesterday...

Today in Australia is ANZAC Day - when we stop to remember and reflect on war and also peace. Last year was the year we remembered by ourselves; we couldn't gather or march or stand together, so instead we stood at the top of our driveway at 6am and listened to the last post.  This year we could gather again, but I didn't feel like participating publicly too much, so instead we attended the small gathering in the village at 6am which was personal and peaceful.

The rosemary entwined around a candlestick in the early dawn light.

ANZAC biscuits were baked and eaten with a cuppa after the small gathering.

As I walked to the studio things were different... 4 biplanes above me.

There was a kind of traffic jam - the Light Horse Brigade about to form and lead the march down Maple St.

I watched them pass by from down at the studio.

Where I fiddled with this remnant print.

And last night we attended the opening of Editions - the printmaking exhibition at the Old Ambo in Nambour. It was a great night and a beautiful exhibition has been gathered together by our friend Ken and his associate Sandy. Well worth a visit!

5 of my pieces together on a wall.

And returning home from the studio this afternoon - the prunus is flowering - before it has gone into hibernation for winter, so I hope the poor wee thing can hold it together until Spring, but it just seemed to say 'peace'...