Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“For me, poetry is an impish attempt to paint the colour of the wind.” 

 Maxwell Bodenheim

Today's pondering are about art - and so I made poetry art because this quote talks of painting! And of course, it is an art in and of itself.

This is a delightful way of capturing what poetry does so well. I like that it suggests poetry is being impish in the manner in which describes things - that it takes advantage of not necessarily being tethered; by not being ponderous; and by saying more with less.

To compare it to painting the wind just makes me go a'wandering and think about how you do that - is it coloured? or swirly? or moving? or is it just up to your own imagination? Is it only seen or understood by its impact? Do you only see where it is? Or can you see where it has been?

So interesting to ponder the wind and how to represent it in an artistic way.

I nonetheless like that poetry is not quite able to be pinned down and that it sort of tilts at windmills...


A windmill blade, Brugge.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

more bits and pieces...

The paperwork's humming away, things are ordered and will hopefully be delivered in time.

I came across this today - my artists talk ay he Sydney Contemporary - really looking forward to it!



And as I wander the block the big blue sky is a backdrop for some of Barry's peace doves still hanging from last year's International day of Peace (21 September). Reminders of gentle and peaceful times, amongst the scary chaos of our world right now.



And the bright sunshine makes happy shadows across the barbed wire balls alongside our front pathway...



And from a recent trip to Nimbin- more peace


And because our country just needs to find its better self and do the decent thing and let people who love each other marry if they want to - rainbows from Nimbin for marriage equality.





Sunday, August 13, 2017

Time for teaching

I am at that stage with work for the Sydney Contemporary where I have sent it off for framing; and have ordered the Perspex boxes to be made for my books.

Wouldn't it be nice to think "my work here is done"?!?!  Of course, it isn't, and with the work getting finalised, then ready for packing and sending to Sydney, I have been doing the other work which always accompanies shows and exhibitions - the paper work.

So I have photographed all the work; prepared an inventory; created documentation for each and every piece of work detailing methods, inks, nibs, typefaces, paper etc etc; ordered new stickers; designed new business cards; and searched for and found the right size cello bags for all my prints.

It's never just about the art...

So not much art to show for the week; but I did find time to teach a letterpress workshop at the University of Sunshine Coast.

As part of their Back to Basics strategy; the Design and Communications Centre (aka Irene Visser) promotes free workshops to students to get back to the hand made and hand written. I have taught one of these workshops before and this time we had a 3 hour demonstration and sample of letterpress.


There were about 30 interested students who got up close and personal with some samples of my work, and the type and the presses.





Folk were most surprised to feel how heavy this rather small box of type was! But isn't it lovely?


People printing, setting up and locking chases...



And Irene with her card that reflects the course she and Thomas teach!


The students played with a few of my locked up type formes - and created their own lovely postcards...



Thank you Irene, Thomas and USC for another great day - sharing my love for the hand made and the hand printed.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“Reading is thinking with someone else's head instead of one's own"

Arthur Schopenhauer 

This is such a good way to think about the gifts that reading brings.  Through reading a newspaper, a zine, a novel, a memoir, a history or a text book; we are given the opportunity to see how somebody else thinks.

We get a different take on the world; we see things through other people's eyes.

I wonder if there is any link between reading and empathy?  If we read are we more likely to be able to empathise; to understand another's view point?

I guess it depends on a lot of things, but I am sure that reading would be a contributor to empathy. Unless of course we only read things that supported our own opinions and biases!

You know, like the algorithms that feed us information we are interested in and send the other things in a different direction.

I am so often grateful to a writer or author who has written things I would never have known or thought of by myself.


I never knew anything about this - before the movie. Then I got the book. Always a different thing; but what an important story to tell.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

It's a big, big sky...

One of the things I love most about living where we do is the sky. The vastness of the sky we get to see and experience. So much air...

The past few weeks have seen lots of beautiful skies.

Here are a few...

A scattered sunset.


A quiet awakening.


Frangipani fingers reach out to the sunset.


Spring blossoms in cold blue.


Fire in the sky.


Farewelling the day.


Flame trees as I look up.


 And a tiny rising moon...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Ten little books...

Wow! I have reached the end of the book making for the Sydney Contemporary and it feels amazing.

A part of me never really understands why I get so involved in adding some many things to my books; even tho they don't end up looking busy, there are so many processes in there, and to me they feel necessary and important, so for whatever reason, I do them.

My final hurdle this week was to do 40 5cm x 5cm panels of tightly written calligraphy.

I could do 3 panels an hour; so the whole effort took me about 14 hours of writing and drawing up.  My hands and arm ached that's for sure.

That came on top of four etchings, two other small pages of calligraphy, two typeset pages and one stamped page per book (x 10). Enough.

A stash of 10. Yay!


They are small (only 10cm x 10cm) and feel good in the hand.  It's quite an intimate time spent with them, slowly turning and reading and wondering...


They are very much the siblings of he walls works - incorporating the words and images, but in different ways.  The books contain all four etchings and all four sets of words - but only in calligraphy. And there are a couple of additional elements that appear only in the books.


You can see the text squares appearing, and the etchings.



One of the single line of calligraphy pages, with stamping in the bottom right.



Another single line calligraphy page and a text block too.


The colophon.


A little book doing a handstand kind of. Stitched with red waxed linen thread in a coptic binding. stitch.


Feels good to be done!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“Watch out for intellect, because it knows so much it knows nothing and leaves you hanging upside down, mouthing knowledge as your heart falls out of your mouth.” 

Anne Sexton

I've always loved this quote. I think it's a great little reminder of how we need to listen to both our head and our heart.

Too often people try to convince us that the head is all that matters - that intellect, that logic, that thinking and analysis and deductions and conclusions are the only way to make sense of the world and make effective and wise decisions.

So not true.

Our knowledge and intelligence appears in so many ways, and we have to be oh so careful not to cede all power and authority to intellect and the head.

I often 'feel' the right way to go; I often 'listen' to the work tell me what to do; I often 'know' swiftly and deeply that something is or isn't right - without rationalising or processing it.

I really do listen for my instinctive and intuitive response to things and that knowledge guides me. I also think my way through things and problem-solve but I honour both processes equally.


I come to quiet knowings...

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Calligraphic siblings

After a few trials here and there I came up with the way I wanted the pieces for Sydney to have calligraphic siblings.  I chose my own heartbeat font - it makes sense to use your own style - and I like the way the densely written lines make you work for it.

Lots of tracing and transferring are needed in the early stages. For those who like process - there is plenty in this!

I start by lining up my page with the master layout underneath, then taping the page in place. All very high tech.

Then its down to line up the master-lines and draw them onto the page. Tools of the trade.




And then the writing.  Once again, I want the reading of these words to be disjointed, difficult and to make you feel a bit twitchy about the lack of ease. I stop where I stop. Words are broken. Hard to read. Things left unsaid.




 My desk is a mess at the moment - I keep clearing tiny spaces to work in as I have to just to keep on pushing through. The joy of tidying shall come later.


So here we have three versions of each - aiming for a calligraphic edition of 2. I will add the red highlights, then select and choose in a wee while, title and sign, photograph and then its off to get framed and wrapped and packed! Only a dozen mores steps and we're done! Time to get on with the books I think.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Epic fails...

You can't take on a project as big as this one is for me, without the odd mistake, error or utter fail appearing.

Last week saw a flurry of them really, and you just have to stay calm, breathe deeply, attempt to problem solve and hope that it all works out in the end.

The first one happened as Barry and I were printing the third letterpress print for the series.

Despite all my best efforts to keep the furniture in chase in position; it must have moved a bit. I think it happened in the proofing as I had to change a few pieces of type over, unlock it and then re-tighten and I inadvertently unlocked one side that I had avoided unlocking before.  In the re-tightening, there were only millimetres in it; but that's all you need.


Some of the guilty type that started it all. Nobody's fault really - the type was damaged and  it only becomes clear once you proof.



That one resolved, I thought I would just go print a page for the book. On the Adana tabletop press which is my best mate, and has never failed me nor not played nicely with me. Until it didn't.

How's this for a bunch of failed prints? On and on and on it went.



We got up early the next morning and Barry came over to help see if we could sort it out together. A bit of engineering and we think we've got it - the good news is the book page printed well.


And then the final of the letterpress prints. This one shows us moving the paper up and down to try to get it to fit around the etching.  Each and every one of these prints caused us grief.


Bad huh?


We finally worked out why it was so hard. The line above the etching had a descender (the y). The line below the etching was full of ascenders (the k, the i, the ls). With the top descending and the bottom ascending - we were squished in the middle! This hadn't happened on any of the other etchings, and in future I will choose my words more wisely.


Here's the print run.  Two epic fails on the the top step, an edition of 5 (just!). 3 possible A/Ps and two other fails, less epic. And then some blanks and some fun.


Onwards!