Sunday, March 28, 2021


 The weather turned sunny late in the week, and the sun appeared after so many grey days.  And we enjoyed it.

Saturday morning was beautiful for gardening - planting sweet peas and removing the weeds that had gone bananas during the warm wet weather. So glad I had mended these old jeans... in my own peculiar fashion.

Saturday afternoon sitting stitching. Trying to catch up on my Covid diary - still finishing February and here we are at the end of March! Stitching is slow business, but oh so relaxing.

Part of me is astounded, as I read back over them, to see how many small moments of change, fear, backwards, and holding we have been through, and we are a fortunate country.  No wonder so many still feel on edge, and on uncertain ground.  Brisbane is facing another outbreak, so we all watch and hold our breath.

Returning from the studio on Saturday B suggested we plate up our planned salad and head to Barooon Pocket Dam for a sunset dinner. Gates close at 6.30pm so we were in and out, but enjoyed a delightful and delicious dinner, the light, and the quiet...

And the moon rose as the sun set...

Sunday I was in the studio doing this and that. Some of which worked, some of which may be re-worked!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

“We found in books the divine plop, the joy of settling down deeply into something, worlds and realities greater than our troubled minds” 

Anne Lamott

The notion of a divine plop.

And yes, I understand and relate to it so well!  With the inimitable style of a good writer, Ms Lamott manages to put two words together that would not normally be alongside one another, and they evoke the perfect sense of settling in with a good book. The divine plop indeed.

I sometimes think the definition of a book should somehow, somewhere, include the word escape.  The focus and attention we offer a book, a story, or a narrative means that we go away in our minds, that we do settle down under the doona of life and can move away from our troubled minds.

It is often with a sense of wonder or astonishment that I raise my head after a deep reading session and realise the world is there. The ordinary surrounds me.  The small tasks are still waiting.  I have been far away.

I wonder if next time I will hear that plop?

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Trying something, and laughing.

Honestly, sometimes there are days.

I have to look at myself and just laugh and wonder 'what were you thinking?'. So here goes.

I have this idea of wanting to stitch a bunch of small cards together.

I want to hang them on the wall

I want to machine stitch them.

I want there to be a gap between them.

I want the stitching in the gap to be good, not chaotic.

Here is my layout. I spent a lot of time working out balances, distances between,  how they might hang; where I could stitch and how that would impact the layout and so on.

You can see with the cards laid out like this, the stitching lines all line up. Still to work out a sewing sequence...

So I thought about how best to pass these cards through the sewing machine. How could I stabilise them so that they were connected whilst sewing, then released and held only by the sewing thread when I had finished?

I had heard tell of something called dissolvable embroidery stabiliser or something so I searched.  Tracked some down at Spotlight (under the counter) and came home thrilled and excited.

And then realised. It dissolves in water. I would have to soak my paper. My paper may disintegrate. My ink might run. Whose idea was this again?

I wondered if I cut a piece big enough, could I tape the cards to it in position (with washi tape) and then sew and then see what happened? Maybe I could sponge it off gently?

It worked pretty well I thought.

Then to the notion of dissolving.

Or simply removing.

And yay, you could tear it away.

Leaving little piles of mess, but the washi tape had held it in place, and then the sheets came away.

Ah ha.... looking like I wanted it to!

I may yet do a test with soaking the paper after sewing and seeing what happens; but for now I have a solution.  I expect the soaked paper might look different and it might be a look I like so it is worth investigating I think. But seriously, I laughed at how I had failed to pay attention to the word 'dissolve' in all of the searching I had done!

All alternative suggestions welcome!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Here there and everywhere

At the very last minute (well with less than 24 hours notice) Barry and I headed to Melbourne last week.  On return I worked out that in the previous 12 days we had been away for 7 of them which is unheard of in the past year or so.

It involved our first trip to an airport and our first flight, and our first time leaving the state in over 12 months.  All kind of interesting and odd. But it felt absolutely marvellous to do something spontaneous again!!!

We were work-working and visited the wonderful OurCommunity House in North Melbourne.  It is a co- working space for not for profit groups as well as the home of OurCommunity - a social enterprise which supports not for profits and grantmakers.

And it is FULL of art.

The absolute joy I get when I wander in, look arounds a corner, visit the toilets, go to the kitchen and in each of these places see a few pieces of work I have done and/or Barry has done is revitalising.  It is so good to see them being part of so many people's daily work lives.

One of my favourite books from my collaboration with Susan Bowers (Pas de Deux) Endure is on display in the entrance and on a ledge looking out onto Victoria St.

I like to think that as folk pass by they can read the words  "the paper burns, but the words fly away..." by rabbi Akiba Ben Joseph.

We returned tired, but so pleased that we could make it back over the border safely.  Melbourne was warm and sunny; and we returned to more mist and rain and grey. However that means that everything is rather lush and green and blooming amazingly.

We went for a walk on Saturday morning and stopped in our tracks when we spied this wee beautiful thing. So gorgeously framed by those wild colours!

And yes the rain has seen an abundance of fungi growing in the mulch on the gardens too. Little transparent parasols...

Saturday afternoon, we hosted the first of our Celebrating Books Maleny events - the return of The Big Book Club! We had around 70 folk there discussing the book The Last Migration by Charlotte McConachy in small groups (Called Migrations in the US I think); and then we were honoured to have Professor Rich Fuller as our guest and expert in the plenary session. If you check back on our website in a week or so you will be able to hear his amazing conversation with Sue, about migratory birds, habitat, extinction of species, climate change and more. Some sad, but also plenty positive.

We all loved the book discussion and learned so much from Rich; it was a wonderful afternoon and everybody left feeling invigorated and excited to gather with books again.

Our next event is streaming of the Sydney Writers' Festival (30 April - 2 May) and there are 6 fantastic sessions and we look forward to hanging out together, talking books and writing again soon!

In the interim however, I am happy to just go slow for a bit and regather and renew...

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

“Journeys are the midwives of thought” 

 Alain de Botton

I have been reading the Art of Travel by M. de Botton and enjoying some chapters immensely; whilst skipping over others in a trice. 

I enjoy this notion about how travel can enable some thoughts to be born, that might otherwise not have come to light or life. He was speaking in particular of train travel and how there is something special about the landscape steadily going by; the way in which you can see ahead of you and behind you for longer than if flying high above; or if actually driving yourself.  Something about long horizons.

I think not only do new horizons encourage to think differently; I think the process of moving between places and thinking about the here and the there; and the home and all of these ideas, can encourage new ways of thinking or being.

A daily commute offers new thoughts and thinking as well - even if some of them arise from pure frustration.  But I definitely think that moving between places - long multi hour or day trips; or short half hour trips all offer a little bit of this possibility of newness and freshness.

Taken from a moving train, between Inverness and's been a while.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Marching and thank you

Well, yesterday across Australia, a lot of women (and many men) marched for justice.  Justice for women who have been raped and sexually assaulted. Justice for women living with, and dying from, domestic abuse. Justice for women who are not safe from harassment in their workplace.

We travelled to Brisbane on the train and joined a couple of thousand folk listening, learning and marching and chanting. After such a dreadful few weeks, it was truly energising to be alongside so many good people.

There were many good posters.

Here we are about to get on the train in our protest t shirts.  Mine was an RBG one - Fight for what you care about, and B's references a long ago story. One of our radio shock jocks called a bunch of women 'feminist fright bats' claiming they were 'destroying the joint' - so we went and bought the tshirts and have worn them regularly since. Both proud feminist frightbats.

And in other quiet news - a commision for a farewell.

A gentle thank you card in a hand made envelope/pouch made of Japanese paper.

It had to be printed inside and out on the same day and I wasn't sure if the front would dry to allow me to print inside without smudging, so covered my bases with a separate thank you which was attached to the outside of the card, just in case.

I also printed on the outside of one so the presenter could have a choice.

Lovely quiet stitching time.


Sunday, March 14, 2021

Days away...

 A year has passed since we went into lockdown here; a milder version than other places; yet very real just the same.

We have not ventured far in that year and nor have we ventured forth often. But we have tried to do some short circuit breaker trips to one of our favourite places - Cotton Tree.  It is a 45 minute drive away but feels a million miles from home in a way, so you get the feeling of holiday when you go for a few days. 

Here are some time away images...

Early morning sun across the water.

That big blue sky - and a palm tree that reminds me of tv's Los Angeles!

A fabulous tree shadow in Kin Kin.

Storms around sunrise

Stormy weather as we left.

And the moods of the water.

All very relaxing...

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

“What in your life is calling you, when all the noise is silenced, the meetings adjourned, the lists laid aside, and the wild Iris blooms by itself in the dark forest, what still pulls on your soul?” 


Oh what a beautiful set of words.  

The words still me; they calm me and they make me want to explore that dark forest.

I guess in many ways this one could speak to life, but for now I have chosen to think about it in terms of art. What in my art life is calling me?

So often we (I) can get caught up in the multiplicity of things that seem to need to be done; or that seem to be really interesting to do.  Curiosity, inquisitiveness and all of that can see me get distracted by a bunch of options to try, experiment and play with.

But in the end they pull me away from what is quietly calling.

I regularly feel that I have raced away from what is important or what matters; and regularly feel as if I need to stop and listen to the quiet voice; the quiet tug and follow it along.

When I have removed all the clutter and all of the buzz, what is it that I need, deep in my heart, to do?

Such lovely marks and stories...

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Armadale Horizons - testing and trialling

 I have had an idea for some work for a while (a long time!) and even blogged about it way back here.

These images of the sky and the sea and the in between from the cove near our wee cottage in Scotland...

In between times, in the year of times away from normal, I have played with them intermittently but haven't pushed through on any of it.

I am edging closer to doing something with them.

I have 42 images and I have spent time looking at each one and writing some words that link to it.

I have been exploring the notion of blessings.  As I think and write about what a blessing means for me; some of these thoughts emerge...

For me, blessings issue from one person to another, An act of kindness, they offer hope and company on a journey; in a moment; through our lives.  A generous encouragement, seeking the best for another, they  take us from being to becoming, with the most positive of intentions.

Blessings as benediction mine are not . Overtones of religiosity, invocation or annointing should melt away. We circle back to the beginning, to simply the space between two people and a gifting of hopes for another.

I have approached a person in town who can print digitally onto high quality paper and have asked him to print the imagery at 10cm x 10cm size; and positioned in a particular place on an A3 page.

Because I want to combine traditional letterpress printing with contemporary digital printing I was checking through our drawers for type that might wok with the imagery and be legible in a single line.

These were my four choices - Gloucester Bold Condensed, Granby Bold, Colonna and Univers. All 18pt.

Slightly fancy and with serifs, this is Colonna 18pt.

This is Univers 18pt

Heavier this time with Granby Bold 18pt (with a random y in may!)

And for whatever reason I must have dismissed Gloucester Bold Condensed as I didn't bother photographing it for comparison! 
Another combination - does the darker imagery suit the darker typeface?

Does the lighter typeface suit the brighter images?

So yes, lots of testing, checking, trialling, pondering, combining and wondering.

In the end I have come down on the side of the lightest typeface Univers 18pt.

It felt  like it would be legible, yet not attempt to confuse or dominate.

And whilst that seems like a lot of time spent, it  is nothing in comparison to the time I am spending fiddling this way and that trying to position the type in the right position below the image, and somehow fit the A3 paper through the Lightning Jobber; and keep the whole thing straight!

Still not solved or resolved so watch this space. About now I begin to wonder if I shouldn't have checked the likelihood of being able to print before I committed to all the other steps - laugh!