Thursday, September 30, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

“We’re fascinated by the words but where we meet is in the silence behind them.” 

Ram Dass

This week I am pondering books with another quote that has sat with me a while (on page 32/106).

When I think about what these words of Ram Dass might mean, I like how they give value to words as things: to their beauty, their imagination, their capacity for joy or thrill or excitement, their cleverness and their importance.  He suggests we are fascinated by words.

I imagine that perhaps as a guru of sorts, that words were a thing of fascination for his followers. Perhaps they hung on his every word and found wisdom, insight and knowledge within them. Perchance they dissected them and investigated them and delved deeply into their meaning.

And then I like that he suggests that yes, that can be fascinating, but the real place for connection is away from the words; in the quiet places of contemplation and of sharing.

Or so I imagine.  I think it might also suggest that whilst we love reading a great book; that it is in the quiet of our minds and in our moments of reflection that we make the truest sense of what the words have to offer.

Words, words, and more words...

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Books and More Books

Last Sunday was Day 2 at Buderim Craft Cottage and I taught Books and More Books...a variety of different bindings for pamphlet stitches and Japanese Stab Bindings.

It was a full on day with a full class and I barely managed to get a photograph of anything.  But we managed a few courtesy of the class. Thank you!

Here I am, talking with my hands as ever...

Four of our pamphlet stitched books (we made 5) and one of our Japanese Stab Bindings (we made 4).

Lovely chain stitch; lovely contrasting dot and dash and lovely laced dash at the bottom.

Two things come together here.  One is that I encourage folk to think of these as sample books.  To jot down notes; notes to self; little reminders of what worked or what didn't; traps for young players; and so on.  So often we do something, come back to it weeks later to try again and get frustrated by the repetition of errors or the things we forget.  This way you get little reminders before you start again.  

Secondly one of my Rules of Engagement - is make something of yor mistakes. Deliberate mis-spelling. 
We use templates to mark out our holes and to pierce them before stitching. As I demonstrated, I inadvertently left mine in place for the first two stitches - which just goes to show we all make mistakes- and unpicked and began again.  After all the effort of stitching dot and dash for this book; this person found they had left the template in the whole time.  They could have ripped it out; but thought no - it's a really good reminder and I won't forget next time. I totally agree and think that it's brilliant!

And then because I forgot to take photos of the workshop here are a few randoms from through the week.

Beautiful light on a package of type.

Stunning colours within this ranunculus

Pegs shadow dancing...

It felt like a huge weekend teaching, and it was so satisfying to see the results and know that people felt confident to head home and have a go at stitching.  Yay to making books!

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Teaching Modern Versals

 I say Modern Versals as if its a thing well understood - but perhaps for non calligraphers it is an odd thing to say.  Simply put Versals are drawn letters; built up by several strokes and kind of coloured in. That is a very basic take on the versal; but they are different to letters calligraphers form when using a nib and ink which creates both thick and thin lines.

I taught my workshop on modern versals at Buderim last weekend and it was, as ever, fun to see where folk take it and the joy they get from pushing boundaries and stretching the rules.

Apologies for not capturing and recalling everyone's work and the names to attribute to the images... but here are some examples of them at work, and at play...

Once again, fully masked all day and we managed!

With thanks to the enthusiastic crew at Buderim Craft Cottage for their warm welcome and their great participation. 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

"Life is easier than you'd think; all that is necessary is to accept the impossible, do without the indispensable, and bear the intolerable." 

Kathleen Norris

This quote has sat in my quote file for years.  I began Thursday Thoughts back in 2010 and this quote appears on page 18 of my file document - I am now up to page 106.

And for some reason as I ponder life this week - this quote seems apt.

The pandemic has changed us and changed our lives. Many of the changes are unwelcome; and yet many may well persist far into the future.  In Australia we are facing terrible third waves with Delta, and in our southern mainland states things are grim.  

Yesterday, for Victoria. As if months of lockdown weren't enough to face; as if protests which will no doubt delay the return to normal life as infections spread further weren't enough. Yesterday - a magnitude 5.8 earthquake with severe aftershocks!  Buildings damaged, building swaying, artworks dropping off walls...

Enough already.

And so, accepting the impossible, and being able to do without the indispensable, and bearing the intolerable seems to be pretty much the only way to go about life right now.

Christchurch 2012, re-building with shipping containers following their earthquake

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

International Day of Peace

 21 September - International Day of Peace.

I think Barry and I discovered that International Day of Peace existed back in 2004.  I recall us getting peace badges made and then sending them to all the politicians in Canberra in our federal parliament, and asking them to wear theirs on the day.  I don't think they did.

After that we did a few things intermittently - I recall folding origami peace cranes on planes and talking to my seating companions one year as I travelled for work-work.

But I think the big break came about in 2012 when our friend Mary Jane Dodd in NJ, USA started to make flags for peace. We joined a group of like-minded artists around the world and made and hung peace flags.  In our town, a bunch of local artists joined in, and we even published a book about the project!

If you pop 'flags for peace' in the search button on the side bar here, you will see the many and varied iterations over the years.

Every year since then, we have hung our peace flags - me oftentimes weather grams; and Barry has made and sent out peace offerings - metal birds, leaves, tokens.  This year we also made peace buttons based on some of our artwork; and images of it.

We send them out into the world: across the globe and within Australia, to encourage folk to share peace, to talk about peace, to dream of peace and to work in small ways for peace. It is such a joy to know they are out there quietly doing their thing.

This year we hung ours in the magnolia tree near our front door - it feels so right, and we think we have found our new 'peace tree'.

I took some others to the studio and hung them there...

A selection of peace badges are also available to purchase over on our decklededgepress website. A few of them look like this:

We wish for peace; we seek peace; and we try to move through the world with peace. Go gently.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Workshop Time!

 Here I am on Sunday afternoon; having taught for two days, teaching two different workshops, but life has me catching up on last weekend's workshop!  Because of all things Covid; both sets of workshops have been postponed and they ended up one weekend after the other.  

So Buderim calligraphers - hopefully your workshops will get a run next weekend! Then I will be all caught up.

But back to last weekend with Calligraphers of South East Queensland.  Their focus for the year has been - tools we don't usually use; and I had suggested I could teach a workshop on pipettes/syringes; or one on on letter cutting, figuring knives were not really nibs.

With masks on all day, we all did really well.

We began getting familiar with cutting using a template that I had printed from the computer and a printer with lightweight paper.  Its always good to learn how your knife works and how it interacts with different papers; how much pressure you need to apply and the like.

I can't recall everybody's connection to the work shown; and I didn't get time to photograph everything, so this is really a snap shot. If you want to see a heap of pictures from the day, head to the FB post of CSEQ 

Maria lining things up.

Mike is underway.
Midway through the workshop my desk looked like this.

One of the show and tell moments - cut letters from a long time ago (2004). I love scattering them...

One of our next trials - cutting letters to connect to bars and the sides a circle. Barb.

Jennie - using the cross bars to connect tall thin letters. Some lovely crossovers here!

Donnie - using crossbars and letters to connect to an outside frame.

Susan - elegant curves and lovely letters connecting to the outside frame.

Christine stacked her letters, joined them with horizontal lines and mixed in upper case and lower case letters.

This work has a companion piece Dusk - I like that this has no frame. It just is. Helen.

Wendy's template for what will be a beautiful and intricate piece.

Apologies to those whose work I didn't capture - Jane and Kay I think. Their work can be seen on the FB page however.

Everybody learnt about their different knives and how they work; blades got changed as the cutting dulled them; and everybody experienced how different papers behave - some cut well; and others don't.

Once again, with thanks to CSEQ for inviting me and for being flexible around timing and for masking up and keeping our distance!

Until next time.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” 

Henry David Thoreau

These words hold true for so many things in life; but in particular for me with art and artworks.

From some of the oddest looking materials to some incredibly put together pieces; from classics through to modern marvels, I think each and every person brings their own personal perceptions to seeing.

One person sees a pile of junk; one person sees a  achingly beautiful commentary on time and ageing.  One person sees a collection of plastic; another person sees non-violent protest about our polluted waterways.
One person sees a woman in a frock; another person sees a feminist icon.
One person sees some slogans. Another person sees victims taking control of the narrative with brave and painful personal disclosures.

And so on and so on it goes.  

I like contesting a viewing in a friendly way. I see what I see. It says to me what it says to me.  There is no real right or wrong. I like to hear what other people see; what it says to others; and then I like to re-imagine the work in my mind having heard their thoughts.

I think Thoreau makes the satisfying distinction between an object and its meaning.

And its meaning is personal.

The Kelpies, near Falkirk in Scotland.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Abuse of Power

Australian of the Year Grace Tame often uses this phrase.  She reminds us all that child sexual abuse; sexual harassment; sexual violence; rape; coercive control and domestic abuse are all examples of abuse of power.

She nails it with this simple phrase and reminds the powers that be regularly that they too, indulge themselves in this abuse.

So as part of my feminist poster series, which now stands at 7, I printed this one up using a powerful deep green and vintage wood type.

Along with "Not Just a  Daughter", "I'm Speaking", "Believe Her", "Feminism back by popular demand", "Nevertheless she persisted", and "Enough is Enough", "Abuse of Power" is now in my online shop; and the Deckled Edge Press online shop (and all are of course available at the studio).

We just have to keep on saying it, even tho we are all so weary of it, we just have to keep on.