Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Getting ready for new work

As ever, I remain a somewhat fascinated observer of process- how things come about, how ideas spark one thing and then another - which can lead to a different approach; but nearly always things need to be tested and trialled along the way.

After my middle of the night moment back here, I have been testing what might be possible with the bits and pieces I found and wanted to use.

Barry helped me and drilled holes into the perspex bits I found.

Then we tested if you could drill through he plastic protective sheet and we could so that is good - the perspex can be protected right until the end.

My templates may not have been perfect, but if I move things around a bit, I am pretty sure the holes will line up.

So then to see if the stitched paper could be held within a perspex 'page'.

A few more holes were drilled to allow for X X to hold the paper in.

So then it was down to piercing the stitching holes on paper. But first up I had to draw up a template. The rectangle is 5cm x 1cm and there are 8 lines of stitching in that 1cm. Tiny!

I realised that if I were to pierce the template and then do lots and lots of piercing on a bunch of paper, that the holes might well and truly widen as I repeatedly pierced. 

Then I had to check which of my awls had the finest tip; and was the narrowest along the shaft for  the longest length. That way if I was over zealous in my piercing I wouldn't create a massive hole. The lines are so close together, a large hole would probably join in to the hole above or below and make messy rip.

Not all awls are created equal.

My chosen tool and my first page pierced.

Let the stitching begin.

A lovely soft green.

From my botanically dyed thread - this one is from Scotland.

And I learnt from that rather wobbly first attempt that rather than pierce along the horizontal lines, I was better off piercing the vertical lines against a ruler. Always learning!

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Beautiful string

 We are headed towards International Day of Peace in September, but all things being equal (and heaven knows they may not be), we will be away. So we tried to get ahead of ourselves and get our weather grams and other peace pieces out into the world in time. Fingers crossed, that seems to have worked!

I must admit that each year as I make my weather grams, one of the parts I love best is the string.

Which is not to say I don't value thoughts and hopes and dreams for peace because I truly do. But the gathering of string nearly always makes me so very happy.

I wonder what the collective noun for all this string might be????

Apart from string I also love cake and flowers! We celebrated a niece's birthday last week and I managed this raspberry chocolate cake and lots of small vases of flowers from the garden. All very happy.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Thursday Thoughts...

“Lovely days don’t come to you. You should walk to them.”  


There is always complexity for me between being open to things happening to you; and not waiting for things to happen to you.

Something that oscillates between control and release. 

And I guess really it probably all comes down to "all things in moderation" or "maintaining a balance".

The quote here appears to me to be aimed a bit more at those times when we moan, or bemoan, that things aren't great. That everything is miserable. That we deserve better.

In this manner it makes me think that we should be active participants in the seeking of joy, happiness or loveliness.  We should walk towards these moments. We should get ourselves up and make it possible for these moments to happen.

Of course, beautiful, magical and precious moments do appear out of the blue and in unexpected ways and they should be celebrated, but I feel as if this quote is kind of saying: 

Just don't sit there waiting, assuming and expecting they will come to you, without you doing anything.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Unknown title

 The third piece of work for Vessel - as yet unnamed. It has two working titles: Carried or Borne.

I can't decide if that is what I am really on about or not; and if either of those describes it well enough.

Envelopes are containers for thoughts and emotions. They carry and transport our feelings, our connections and our attachments to people and to places. Letters home. Letters to loved ones. All wing their way around the world in this humble vessel, the envelope. Envelopes are also places to store the thoughts and feelings of others. Their wishes, their hopes and their dreams. 

The handmade envelopes are presented in this vintage French cashbox. Precious items, protected.

Bundled together are four envelopes, each with a card with a verse from some poetic prose on it. There are three of these bundles, each with a different style of writing, different shapes, different papers, different string.

Displayed alongside them are more beautiful bundles of delicate envelopes, and the first verse of the poetic prose is found on a letter alongside.

Hopefully, it's name will work itself out soon.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Validation - complete

 The second work completed for Vessel is this group of three works collectively titled 'Validation'.

Acknowledging our feelings is one thing. Knowing what to do with them and where to put them is another. Validation I-III are vessels which offer a safe place to put our lingering concerns about the pandemic, the invasion of Ukraine, the overturning of Roe v Wade, housing instability, surging food prices, electricity threats, climate breakdown and facing an uncertain future.

The first in the trio is Isolated.  So many of us felt that way during lockdowns  and even as we emerged from these, it still wasn't/isn't necessarily easy for us to return back fully connected. Some folk still work from home and miss the regular engagementsome folk remain at risk if they were get to ill and have to remain at home and inside for months.  Borders might open and we might be allowed to get out and about, but some of that feeling can remain. 

The second piece is Tentative. It seems me that many of us are still tentative about a bunch of things. We might be hesitant to travel on public transport; to go to large events; to gather with a number of people; to travel overseas again. We might be tentative about making plans and commitments and arrangements.

The final piece in the trio is Weary.  So weary. Trying to keep your head above water is exhausting. Worrying is tiring. Scanning scanning and scanning,  trying to keep safe and well and anticipate everything is also weary-making. We are weary.

Part of me thinks that a lot  of us are still a little bit overawed, overwhelmed by it all. There is so much going on out there; so much for us be concerned about.  This work simply attempts to say - these feelings are valid.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Thursday Thoughts...

"I can become obsessed with every mark and brushstroke on the canvas. As if every mark is a note of music and they all have to come together to be coherent, like a symphonic composition – and then it will sing the song I want to sing" 

Suzy Murphy

I am no painter but this quote feels as if it expresses everything I am trying to achieve each and every time I make a piece.

It expresses so beautifully the sense of harmony and coherence I am seeking. Every step I take in the making is considered, weighed up, tested. Each time I look at a piece as it is evolving I stop and check if it is looking as best it can; if it is suggesting the things I want it to say; if it is sharing the story I am trying to tell; is it making you feel the way I hope it will.

I simply love the idea of a piece of work being a symphonic composition, singing the song I want to sing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The making of the third piece

 I am not sure if I have blogged about this piece at all!  It started out with the poetic prose I mentioned here; but has moved so far away from the image of hand set letterpress that I can barely recall that I was even ever thinking of that! Amazing transition.

But yes, this piece is about envelopes and how they hold our thoughts and feelings. How they move between places and how they are precious and treasured.

It began way back when I thought I would take some paper to Scotland and try to do some rubbings of the cottage. Which I did. On return, I also did some rubbings of the chair made by our dear friend Ken Munsie, which has greeted people at our front door for over a decade. Markings from our two homes.

So I had loads of lovely paper to play with and went about making envelopes.

Cottage papers.

Maleny papers.


Seriously, the fun I had sewing papers together to make patchwork envelopes should be illegal.

I won't bore with you the multiplicity of trials I did to try and work out how to get writing onto the cards inside: colours, styles, legibility - so many trials! This is where I landed.

And then I started making even more beautiful bundles. Sigh.

Pulling this piece of work together has been a true labour of love - so many attempts to get the look and the feel just right. These photos show how much I have enjoyed it and it makes me smile to think this is where I got to - after many trips around the bold, the bright and the beautiful, I have landed here in my quiet, softly spoken palette.