Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

"Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words". 

 Robert Frost

Today's thoughts are about books and I think that poetry can connect to books quite well - plus I am still enjoying the experience of Poetry on the Precinct and poetry is filling me up a little bit these days.

I think that this description of poetry, the idea of emotions linking to thoughts and to words, captures the essence of poetry so well. Poetry can evoke emotion, yet it is a thoughtful and considered process; where every word has a purpose, every position is delicately calibrated, the rhythms and the placement are everything.

I think poetry is perfect for dipping into and for reading something that speaks precisely to you, at that time and in that place.

My emotions found their home in some words, and then my thoughts found some words...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Poetry on the Precinct

I was way too tired to blog on Sunday - we had just had the most successful and fabulous Celebration of Books weekend and I fell in  a heap.

In fact I think I was so busy I barely got a moment to take a photograph so I am relying on others to show you a few bits of the day. Barry took all of these photos I think...

The main event I was responsible for was Poetry on the Precinct.  We chose a gorgeous spot, under a huge old tree that looked out over the community precinct land.

The sun shone, the wind blew but we had a great time.

We were welcomed by the group Joy of Singing Maleny who sang about community and welcome.

The work of six local poets was read by 4 local poets.

Each was different and each was perfect. It was an amazing collection of superb poetry and we were all so lucky to listen.  The wind made it hard for some of the voices to carry; but we learnt a lot and there will be changes if we do it again next year.

Angela Gardner of lighttrappress opened,

and was followed by Robyn Nugent who read her own work, and the work of her daughter Sophie.

I MC'd my way along with the wind in my hair...

Elsie Brimblecombe is a local artist and poet.

Vivi Mohan is an up and coming local poet, who read her own work and that of her mother MTC Cronin - an internationally renowned poet - who was ill on the day.

The final panorama shot - such a gorgeous day filled with beautiful words. I think I said at the end that poetry is the perfect form. No matter where you are in your life or what you are experiencing, poetry has a way of being able to describe it, help you with it, and offer solace or celebration.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“May I recommend serenity to you? A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment. Learn to be one with the joy of the moment.” 

 Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

I loved this opening sentence - of course you may! It sounds delightful!

I think even the word serenity sounds serene and capable of producing the essence of the word.

At first I wasn't sure if serenity was always linked to the notion of being one with the joy of the moment; but as I thought some more about it; it seemed to me that serenity really is just all about being at peace in that one moment; of being still and calm and tranquil and happy right then.

As I read and write this, it feels like a quest I should embark upon - to feel that oneness with the joy of the moment. Joy is a word we don't use all that much, yet it is perfect in its simplicity and you know when you feel it!

Recent beachside serenity...

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


There's  a song line "the beat goes on..." and for sure in the studio here  it's "the printing goes on...".

I have broken up the mammoth task of printing all of these prints and making a couple of books into small, manageable steps, and I seem to be making progress.

I rarely get a full day in the studio where I can go straight through and achieve great things; my time is usually more fragmented than that, and I need to have achievable goals.  Plus with printmaking and printing - the ink has to dry...

I managed to do the letterpress around the etching on Sunday which is great - so that is now two prints ready to stack and store until I add the red highlights.

This is the print the asks the question "what does gender equality have to do with it?".

There are the 12 prints, from which I can select  five for the edition. Plus a few spare text pieces, where I made add a different element in at some point.

The etching that talks about equality and inequality - and where I need to practice the location of the red circle!

I have printed the etching for three of the prints that will go together for the book. Hopefully I will get time in the next day or so to have the fourth etching printed for the book.  The books will also have calligraphy in them and a letterpress title page, and possibly a colophon if I can manage it.  Time will tell.

I have managed to do the etchings for a couple of the calligraphic pages as well - so two down and two two go.  At times it feels like a massive project management job - keeping track of where I am up to and where I need to be by certain times; and hoping that I am maximising my time in the studio and the ink on my presses.

Each and every experience like this just teaches you so much - solidifies your understanding of techniques and ways in which you do things.  I would love to be able to sit back and observe as a third party sometimes.

And at the end of the day - sunset.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Type change over and printing

I am preparing four prints for the Sydney Contemporary - each requiring an etching and some letterpress type.  To help make them all look and feel as if they are related, I am placing the etchings into the same place amongst the type each time, keeping the same shape.

Each print has a different etched image, and uses a diffenret typeface, so I am printing the etchings first, and then setting up the type in the  letterpress.

Having completed the first print, it was time to change the type in preparation for the second. Because I really want to keep it simple and try to make it easier for me to register the two prints (avoiding overlaps or gaps or skew-iffedenss) I left the chase pretty much locked up and tried to simply replace the type line by line.

It was slow and steady, but little by little I got there.

I quite enjoyed the changeover process.

And today I printed the type around the etching.

As ever, when I finished (it was only a run of 15) there was still plenty of ink on the plate and rather than waste it, I decided to test the letterpress on a range of papers.

I tired tracing paper, goyu paper, brown or kraft paper, and really lightweight Japanese tissue; as well as onto some scraps of braille paper and others where I had cleaned my rollers off a while ago.

Fascinating results, and definitely positive reinforcement about keeping those bits of paper where I clean my rollers and do other crazy tests; the letterpress can look great on them.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

"A picture produced from the images within the mind can be a more accurate portrayal of human perceptions than one based entirely on observations". 

Tariq Shishani

It is surely one of the most beautiful things about art, that we draw it from within ourselves.

We draw upon our experiences, our senses, our emotions and our responses and form a idea of what that is and how to represent it.  Sometimes we do try to do a direct observation and replication in a way; but oftentimes even when observing, there is transformation.

I don't think this is about abstract versus realism; I think it suggests that what we find within ourselves can accurately portray our experiences and worlds, and the worlds of others, more effectively than a simple direct piece of work.

Mythos by Mar Goman, tells so many stories...

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

At the end of a run...

After Barry and I finished printing the first of the letterpress and etching pieces for the Sydney Contemporary in September; we still had ink on the plate, and the type was still locked up; there were sheets of paper cut and ready to go, so we did a little bit of extra printing... mostly overprinting.

We started with a single print, then turned it 90 degrees and printed.

And kept turning it 90 degrees, and then also just doing one at 180 degrees...

We were having fun! Four prints, three turns...

And lots of interesting details.

There is a story to be told in there somewhere... just not sure which direction it reads.
This way.

Or that way.

It's nice when one job leads to another idea; and now this work will wait for me to tell its story properly. I know it's in there somewhere...

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Celebration of Books - First Editions

It's that time of the year again, when our band of fabulous women present our boutique, book-lovers festival Celebration of Books Maleny.

It is on from Friday 14 July - Sunday 16 July and has loads of exciting events and famous and entertaining people.

To start the event, we have set up the display of First Edition Australian books at the Maleny Library. The display will run for a month (1 July 2017 - 29 July 2017) and is as interesting and fascinating as ever.

One  of my favourite shelves - James Cook's maps...

Followed by another favourite - the Queensland Pictorial magazine from 5 June 1930 with Amy Johnson landing in Brisbane after a 21,000km solo flight in an open-cockpit! What a woman.

This edition of Poor Fellow My Country is no 93 in an edition of 250, and is signed inside. Alongside is My Wicked Wicked Ways by none other than Errol Flynn. A man of chance and fortune...

The loose theme for the event is Adventure and Misadventure, so we selected books from the private collection along those lines.

 Here's another favourite on the top left - The Great Franquin.  A hypnotist who was hugely successful in Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii - and made enough money in 3 years to set his family up for life! He played to packed houses of 6,000 people and was from all accounts truly remarkable. I spoke to some folk yesterday as we set up who remembered seeing him on stage.

A full cabinet shot...

And another with yours truly...not sure what my right eye is doing.

It's going to be great weekend and I hope some folk might be able to make the trip to Maleny and enjoy some fabulous authors (including Michael Robotham of international crime-writing fame), a great book group discussion on La Rose by Louise Erdrich, and listen to some local poets read their poems...

See here for bookings and events!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.” 

Louisa May Alcott

Oh my goodness this made me laugh! I had never come across it until today and how lucky was I that Thursday Thoughts was pondering books?

If I am to be charged with anything; I would be happy to be charged with being too fond of books and having had my brain turned.

Nevertheless, they remain a lifeline, a world of wonder and intrigue, places to get lost in, lands of discovery and places to turn to for solace and recovery.  My head has been turned often by a book and my world has been made clearer; my compassion levels raised, and my heart and mood lifted.

Guilty as charged.

My tattered version of Little Women. Who didn't love Jo when she cut off her hair?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Beauty on the block and bits of art

Sometimes the art you do is not your art. The other week I spent a full day with Barry as he installed a fabulous piece of public art sculpture he had designed. It is a beautiful piece and looks stunning. Installation day was a big day so it was all hands on deck including mine.

I stayed out of the way of the heavy lifting but was called on to help place the river stones in the cement around the sculpture.

I was lucky to find a couple of heart stones which I had to include in the work.

This one needed a bit of a clean up after it was splashed with concrete. But oh so lovely.

Some of the stones I positioned.


And Barry hard at work tidying things.

Back on the block it was a week to discover beauty.  Mid-winter, some of the first buds of Spring...

Peace doves seen so clearly against the blue sky with no leaves to cover them.

And one that had fallen, Barry placed in this block...

 Coming back to the house from the studio - a gentle sunset with a bird in flight...

Life is good.