Thursday, April 19, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

"A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it". 

Samuel Johnson

This seems to me to be a bit like a work of art - where the conversation begins with the artist; and the viewer responds.

From what Samuel Johnson suggests, it as if there is a book, and then it branches out each time a reader reads it, because they bring themselves and their experiences to it. And so, in a way the book has a slightly different ending, or a slightly different middle or few chapters for each person as they will read it slightly differently.

Perhaps, in doing so, they enable a more fulsome telling of the book.

I quite like the notion of the writer beginning, and the reader completing.


A huge tree in NZ's North Island, branching to the sky...

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The proof is...

A little moment through the week proved to me just why we proof.

I have been preparing sets of four postcards with the idea of selling them.  The postcards are based on the little idea I had back here - postcards with a quick message to touch base with folk; the handwritten note.

In parallel to the postcard idea, a friend gave me a huge stash of carbon paper - such a nice blue - but it just sat in the studio waiting for me to work out what I could use it for.

And then I saw where somebody was using carbon paper to proof their texts.  Amazing.

I love it because it saves time, it saves ink, it saves cleaning up and it saves mistakes.  It is so quick and easy to do. So simple, I have metaphorically kick myself a few times that I didn't make the connection between my pile of carbon paper and proofing opportunities myself!

I am nonetheless grateful that I have now.


I quickly pull together my wooden type in the phrase I am after, then I place the carbon paper on top of the type - but with the carbon facing upwards (not touching the type).  Then I put a scrap piece of paper over the top and rub the paper with my hand or a baren, or roll over it with a brayer.  But mostly I just rub my thumb over it vigorously.

Here I was working out if/how to use the three dots (ellipsis) I often use when I write.  Because my type collection is a bit random and you take what you can when you can with wooden type, I don't actually have three full stops the same size.  So I was working from small to large or large to small.



Barry and I decided in the end that I should leave the dots out as they were too distracting, so I rearranged the type into a simpler presentation. Proofing really helped the decision.

I really like the marks left on the carbon paper and the tale they tell.



A lot of folk who have received emails from me will know that I often title it "just checking" or "just checkin' ", so I decided that would be one of my postcards.

And this my friends, is the real reason why you proof!


Cute huh?

The lovely carbon paper remainder.


 And the fix.


Hopefully I will get to print the sets later this week and all things being equal will manage to get them onto the shop sometime soon.

Just playing with these simple cards has also given me ideas about bigger and deeper works I could do along these lines. It is always nice when one thing opens the door to another thing...

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Rusted reworking in progress

Sometimes things don't end up working like they should.

I had made some all panel works a few years ago for our Pas de Deux exhibition at Noosa Regional gallery.  The works worked well; but on return home and after few years, I discovered that all tapes are not created equal and some of the pages simply detached from the perspex.  Not all of them, but enough for me to think about re-working the single pages.

I wanted to return the pages to the book form; however it is quite difficult to delicately bind single pages - a number of single page bindings are clunky and take up a fair bit of the paper, so I needed to play around and experiment.

Which I did and thoroughly enjoyed myself creating a binding that looked like it could do the trick.

So I started revising the pages and thinking through how the books would be compiled; and how I would attach things. In lots of ways I can enjoy the problem solving process, yet sometimes it drives me bonkers when I can't actually sort out a solution. So far so good this time round.

Here are some shots of the piles of pages on my desk and the lovely colours and marks I am working with.




Inserting a page of goyu paper near the beginning - with its beautiful deckled edge








Now to see if I can hold the spines together somehow, and get the cover working as well. Five small books could be a lovely thing!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” 

Dalai Lama

Oh my goodness I love this one.  I actually quote it (or more accurately, paraphrase it) every now and again because it is so apt and so true.

Worry is really not at all helpful. If you can do something about a situation, problem or issue, there is no need to worry. If you can't do something about the situation, problem or issue then there is no point worrying!

No need or no point. Simple.

I need to remind myself of this regularly, and I am getting better at actually putting it into practice.

Not worrying doesn't mean I don't care; it means that I now try not to waste anxious and stomach churning time on something I can't fix.

I could instead do something about a part of it or a bit of it and that helps.


Sometimes, the small thing I can do is make art and share it...

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

White work wedding trip

My studio work is fairly scattered at the moment - progressing lots of things things in small steps. I seem to have mostly white things on my work tables at the moment.

The edges, the fragments, the fraying, the fringes...



I am working on Mo's pennant and the words "i dream of a world where love is the answer"; hand stitching my heartbeat script onto a segment of the old wedding dress...


And also editioning the posters for the conference. Here I am embossing our decklededge press mark onto the bottom of each piece.



And here I am writing the edition number and title on each piece. One down, 29 to go (plus some APs). Thanks to Barry for the photographs.


We have also just spent a long weekend in Townsville in far north Queensland for a family wedding. We were lucky enough to also see some lovely art out about and around the place and I really liked these ceramics - part of the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery collection.

Cecily Willis, Flame, 2015
Mollie Bosworth, Tracing Time, 2005
Gwynn Hanssen Pigott, Still life with flared bowls, 1995
I think that final composition is sublime - so restful, peaceful and overflowing with contentment...

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Libris Awards and mist...

I had some good news the other week - two of my books have been shortlisted for the 2018 Libris Awards: Australian Artists' Book Prize.

The exhibition takes place at Artspace Mackay and will open at 6pm Saturday 26 May 2018.

I find myself in excellent company with some of the best book artists in Australia represented on the list. I can only imagine that it will be a stunning exhibition, so will just have to see if it is possible in any which way to get there.

This little book Lost for Words is going places (currently on show in the US; in the journal Bound and Lettered and now headed to Mackay...).


And this book What? Why? What? What? too in a way - currently on show in the US and also headed to Mackay.


Happy Dance.

But back to the mountain...where we have been having what seems to be the longest wettest summer ever.  I know folks in the northern hemisphere feel like it is a looooonnnnnngggg cold winter, but we are just warm and wet.

Here are some shots form out of the window last week - sigh.







Thursday, April 5, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” 

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver is such  great thinker, writer, chronicler, observer and translator of emotions.  I do love her work and dip in and out of her poems on a regular basis.

This feels like a really tough set of words.  They question and challenge and make me squirm a little bit. Perhaps that is why I chose them.

Over the past little while I have been really pondering and exploring what my art-life is about. What it looks like; what am I trying to achieve? what do I really want to do? how would I measure 'success'? what is calling me? what do I really need to be doing?

It feels a bit as if I am coming up for air after a long while and re-imagining my life.  I really really don't want to be one of Mary's regretful people - I really want to make sure that I listened to my creative power and gave it both time and possible power.

And so, the exploration and examination of an art life continues...


Graffiti on a wall inStockholm.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

A lovely commission

The Easter weekend was a good time for getting things done. In Sunday's post I wrote about getting the letterpress commission almost done; and today I can report that the second commission got finished as well.

Here are the leftovers - almost more beautiful than the finished piece for my mind.


Not sure why, but I imagined the calligraphy in silver. So I tried the FineTecs and I tried gouache and for whatever reason, they just wouldn't work. Maybe it was the paper; maybe it was the nib; maybe it was the weather, but some days it just doesn't flow and you think - oh oh...now what?

I wondered about straight black sumi ink, but then I mixed up some pale green gouache and felt like I was edging closer to a resolution. Ignore the wobbles in the letters!



I conferred with Barry who asked if I had any green ink. I did, and had basically not even considered it so I did a test or two and thought...well maybe!


I had to do a logo as well and tested out my watercolour pencils to see if I could get close enough to the logo colours. This was quite tough given it was Easter, shops were closed and it had to go the framers on Tuesday morning. It was a real quick commission let me say, and I was working within constraints!



I actually ended up mixing a bunch of gouache to create the colours matches as best I could, after a few trials with the pencils.



Strangely enough I nearly always try to work on two pieces at a time, in case I fall apart and ruin something on one of them.  So I prepared two 'finals' and then had to decide between a dark grey backing for LOVE or a metallic silver backing for LOVE.

Choices, choices, do they ever end?





I took the final to the framer this morning and fingers crossed all shall be well and the work will be winging its way to Melbourne next week for its important date!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Working together

Folk who have followed along for a while will know that Barry and I work together occasionally, and always help out with each other's work when asked.  Barry will often solve technical problems around my work with me; I will often times help him out with design thoughts and solutions.

However of more recent times, we have officially banded together to create Deckled Edge Press - the home of our letterpress hopes, dreams and designs.

Together we will design and print a range of things; and over the weekend we did one of our first efforts together - a series of posters for a Conference.


The Conference theme is Equality - and we were asked for something like my 'imagine peace' weathergrams that I hang on International Day of Peace - but larger!

We spent a few hours trialling paper and placement and here are a few of the reject papers. Arches Velin is a favourite calligraphic paper - but letterpress, not so much.


Mohawk Superfine also didn't make the cut..


We chose Fabriano Tiepolo - even the name is gorgeous!

As we proofed, we realised that the length of the paper would sometimes rest on the edge of the press or the chase or the quoins and impressions and marks were occurring where we didn't want or need them, so we taped everything up to create clean surfaces.

We worked well as team - here I am inking the small letters (Barry inked the larger letters), and then Barry rolled the press whilst I managed the paper; then he held the paper whilst I lifted it off.

The length of the paper (about 76cm) meant that it would have moved and jiggled a fair bit without two pairs of hands, leaving smudges and overprints which would have been somewhat undesirable.



But oh, the magic of the reveal... I never ever tire of it.


We need an edition of 30, so printed about 36 just in case. We will go through and select the edition and the artist's proofs tomorrow - they are still drying today. I just love them.


With extra big thanks to Caren (Ampersand Duck) for the loan of the large type.  I had purchased some large type sight unseen with the promise that it was the kind of height I needed; and it all appeared much shorter than I needed, and Caren came to the rescue. Letterpress folk are lovely.


And just because we couldn't help ourselves, and there was still ink on the inking plate, we did a few on brown paper - I almost loved them even more!


And I just loved the look of this. Before we began I popped the type onto the bed of the press in preparation, and it just looked so lovely...


Barry is also blogging about this today - so it might be worth popping over to his blog rustnstuff to see his take on it all. It was a great weekend of joint-jobbing!