Thursday, July 29, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

Books are lighthouses erected in the sea of time. 


I have no idea who E.P. may be, but I like this idea.  

I often think about books as enlightening; as things that can shine a light on an issue; that can enlighten us and our understanding.  That notion of bringing light to bear upon...

I also often think of torchlights under blankets reading way past bedtime!

And so a lighthouse notion makes sense to me. Lighthouses do more than shine a light of course; that light signifies safety, and warning, and guidance, and assistance.  Perhaps books do too.

This idea seems to suggest that in amongst the tides of time, of rough seas, of smooth passage, that books remain steadfast as well. Just shining on and being there for us when we might need them.

Back in October 2018 at Dunnet Head Lighthouse on the North Coast of Scotland, a story in three parts.

And I DID let them know!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Progressing peace

 On and off over the past wee while I have been able to set up and print the weather grams.  I had managed to get 70 of the brown cutlery bags printed; but realised I was going to need some extras for a group of 15 we usually share with.

I looked about and came across these envelopes which had been put out for sale at our studio tidy up sale; and thought why not?

They are a lovely soft Japanese paper style; long and thin and seemed just the ticket.

And of course, once I had printed them, and added their string I got a bit besotted by them!

And look - sparkly string!!!


Sunday, July 25, 2021

How some days roll...

 Saturday began with a broken computer. Attempting to update my operating system overnight something went seriously awry and it would not boot up again. Sigh, and off to the computer doctor it went. 

I went to the studio and started a list for the day. The last thing I wrote down was sit in sun and read poetry - and it was the first thing I did!

I didn't notice at first; but the title of the book was meant for the day - mid winter, short days and long shadows.

After enjoying that time - so restorative - I went onto the main task of tidying my desk. Hah. I got distracted by the things I was tidying and went and had a play with some of the teabags I had been saving to use for chine colle. Clearly the prints were already made so I just tested sticking some of the papers on instead of using the papers in the printing process. I laughed at this outcome.

The sheds really didn't work; and the coo looks hilarious!

So I went back to what I think was the original idea - of printing onto a full teabag - and it was a big improvement. Here the teabag is over the print which would not happen in real printing time.

So I then went over the top of the teabag with an ink pen to see if it would look OK and I think I've landed with something that might work. The colour of the bag is very coo-ish! 

I went further in my tidying and have now got something reasonable looking as a desk.
The next task was to finalise workshop prep. All things being equal I am teaching both days next weekend and one day the weekend after. Who knows? We are all steady knowing that things can turn on a dime and we may or may not be able to gather. But onwards!

Part of my prep was getting some threads together for stitching which I did. I always mark my supplies and tools with my signature stripy washi tape so I can find them again after all the sharing..

Waxed linen threads

Londonderry linen threads.

And then just lots of gathering and filling boxes, writing of notes, and printing of handouts so that we are good to go.

And just in passing, the mornings have been lovely as I headed to exercises early on  Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week. That is not a UFO - just reflection from the car dashboard!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

“When the light around you lessens 
And your thoughts darken until 
Your body feels fear turn 
Cold as a stone inside, 

When you find yourself bereft 
Of any belief in yourself 
And all you unknowingly 
Leaned on has fallen …. 

Steady yourself and see 
That it is your own thinking 
That darkens your world, 
Search and you will find 
A diamond-thought of light.” 

Excerpt from For Courage by John O’Donohue

As my ponderings turn to life once again, so many parts of this excerpt rang true.  Not all, and not at all times, but there are some deeply beautiful thoughts and wisdom within it.

For me, John O'Donohue has a way of finding words to wrap around deeply considered thoughts and understandings, in a way which allows many of us to feel heard or understood.

So often, I find within his essays and his blessings, a sentence, a paragraph or a sequence which sounds like he has described my experience ever so perfectly. I think the man had a truly remarkable way of 'knowing'.

Within this one it is the final line that gives me hope.  Being able to find a diamond-thought of light when things are dark is a beautiful beautiful way of describing it. I shall hold onto that and go in search of those diamond-thoughts when I need to.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Weathergrams begin!

 International Day of Peace is on 21 September every year.  For several years now Barry and I have made and flown weather grams and other bits to send gentle ripples of peace through the world.  

We oftentimes pack some up and post to friends as well to share the peace.  Since Covid has impacted postal timeframes so much, we need to get ahead of ourselves a bit so that things can get posted earlier than has been the case in the past. A bit like Christmas in July, it feels like Peace in July, which isn't a bad thing at all really...

Again because of Covid, cafes have been providing cutlery in small brown paper sleeves.  My dad collects these for me and brings them over to be printed on. In a quiet moment I thought I could begin.


 I worked out we had gathered 70 so far, so 7 piles of 10, all with their hole punched.

And then the brown string threaded through for hanging...

And pile upon one another.

And then those delightful threads swirling together, but in an ordered sort of way.

Setting, proofing and printing is next.

Through the week we had interesting clouds and skies and fogs and winds. One morning the water tower looked like an upright torch I thought, with the misty sunrise.

And flowers, always flowers.  I bought this bunch of white peonies and eucalyptus leaves and am just enjoying their gentle and slow unfurling; what a gift to my days...

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Studio Sale and flowers

 After a year in our new studio space, Barry and I did a stocktake and check in late June and decided that there were things we no longer used, needed or wanted and that we would have the equivalent of a stocktake sake AFTER doing a stocktake rather than BEFORE! Typical us.

We held it over the weekend - both days - and managed to achieve success by moving a lot of things on!

People were thrilled to get hold of some lovely paper; good books; bookcloth and lots of other bits and pieces.

We actually managed some before shots for once!

Original artwork, altho heavily discounted, didn't really move so we are pondering our options there.

Rather than having ink about with lots of folk, I chose to have some embossing on the go.  It doesn't dry out if you can't get back to it during a busy day; people can take it home with them without worrying about ink transferring etc; plus I just wanted to do some! 

One 4 year old had the best time turning the big wheel on the etching press - so proud of herself.

I had been wanting to re-do this lino plate emboss from a few years back - a magnolia coming into bud. I have always liked its gentleness and hope.

I folded some soft Japanese papers and tore them into card shapes and made some little bits.

To celebrate the anniversary of our arrival in Maleny (15 years - the longest either of us have ever lived anywhere!) we went out for a beautiful dinner on Saturday night (luckily because we were too tired to cook).  As we walked into the restaurant, what was on show but a magnolia coming into bud!  

An uncanny resemblance.

And at home as the sun was setting on Friday - this vase of hovea was delighting and basking in it.

A joyful weekend.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

"My paintings are not about what is seen. They are about what is known forever in the mind." 

Agnes Martin

I filled in the final word of this quote in my head before I read it. Interesting.  I thought she was going to say heart.

So I then had to ponder - I wonder why she chose mind; and how mind and heart differ...

Mind seems far more cerebral; heart far more intangible. Logical v Intuitive. Rational v Emotional.

And yet somehow that doesn't seem to hold.  Agnes' work is structured, grid-like; ethereal and calm. Perhaps her paintings are deliberate in their form and whilst my heart and soul feel calmed by them she may be painting memories and things and times she remembers.

Perhaps she is also just sensible and realistic; recognising that things are actually held in the mind - moments, recollections, experiences and the like; we rely upon our minds to recall and evoke them.

Serene and calm memories - Japanese Garden, Portland OR, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Paper letter cutting

 I am teaching paper letter cutting in a few weeks' time and have been once again getting down and doing lots of preparation.

Much paper cutting is decorative in terms of the imagery; but we will be cutting letters. Which might not sound any harder; but it does take a particular type of planning.

I have done a variety of cut letters in my artwork and each them requires you to concentrate and work out what is needed to keep the lettering together.  There are simple things; and there are some complicated things.

And it's not all in the planning of the lettering. There is planning of the cutting as well; and then there is the tidying up.

The initial cuts oftentimes don't connect...especially at corners. So we focus on going back in to really make contact. Not tugging away to try and rip it out!

Sometimes the going back in to connect is less perfect than desired, so then there is the tidying up.

And as in many fields - curves can be tricky.

Nevertheless cut lettering looks gorgeous and is worth the effort I think.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Faffing about with fabric

 On Saturday I went to the studio with jobs in mind - I had to write up our mid year art review; I had to draft some words for a newsletter; I had to list all my work to do; and I then had to prioritise it so I could focus and get on with it all.

Laugh, laugh, laugh.  I actually did quite well up to a point, and then I wrote the words tatty old scrim (something I needed to check) and I was off.

I couldn't believe how quickly I jumped up, got the scrim (which I don't think is scrim at all), tore a few pieces up and started playing with.

As I said to some friends "Distractability is one of my superpowers!!!"

Such lovely soft colours and edges.

And the curling of it...

Like their own little nests or something...

So delicate, and such an open weave.

and a line of red thread running thru...

And then I dipped it in some divine golden bee's wax.  The smell is honey-heavenly; but I'm not sure it added to the beauty of the piece.

It changed it into a landscape of sorts; a map, some cartography of land and deserts, and dried up waterways...

Who knows what stories it might tell.

And then there were teabags to empty and get ready to play with!

After lots of brain work and computer work it was fun to follow a flight of fancy.