Wednesday, 23 April 2014

world book day 2014 and the books meet .....

World Book Day and exactly two years since Fiona and I started our collaboration.  We were celebrating that milestone today as well as celebrating the completion of our latest artists' books - birds, eggs, nests, feathers.

Not sure quite what we were thinking when we chose that title (and decided that our books would be collaborative in title only) but I do remember we thought it would challenge us.  And it did.  I have posted already on the struggles I encountered with finding a way to make a book out of the images I had etched.  Finally I found that my comfort zone was where my book took shape, revealing glimpses of the story rather than having everything divulged at once.  Bringing more of the mark making elements of suggestion, rather than using all the work I had done with the etchings.  I am pleased to have the etching plates, and to have done the work, but I am so very happy to have found a way to produce a book that felt like me, telling a story in the manner I would chose rather than having the work I did towards it dominate and dictate.  In the end our books are more collaborative than we had thought as we both worked into the others' book, I with a couple of images and Fiona with her beautiful calligraphy. Fiona - the words you found to help you express your book have given my book validation.  Thank you.

The results of our books will be shown more intimately in the next post.  As is our custom, we brought the books together today for their first meeting.  Fiona had seen my completed book as she wrote in it for me and though I had seen parts of her book and had done the work for her 'wings' and 'nests' pages, I had not seen the complete book.  What joy it was to sit down with it nestled in my hand and turn each page, marvelling at its quietness and gentleness.  You will see those details tomorrow but let me tell you, viewing these books on the internet is really nothing at all like holding them closely and sticking your nose into each little detail ....

Artists' book are incredibly difficult to photograph effectively, especially trying to photograph two together.  It is always a challenge in itself. The first few images are of our two books and the following images are of our collection of collaborative books.  We have had an amazing journey in this venture and have grown in strength as book artists.  I have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated Fiona's support, encouragement and her contributions into 'my' books and I am pretty certain she too will say that the understanding of each others' work and our respect for it, has been what has made this such an amazing collaboration. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

alaw continues ....

I have just caught up my letters for A Letter a Week - IJKLMNOP - March and Aprils' letters.  It always feels good to finish off some of those little things that tick along in the studio.

Tis a gorgeous, nurturing day here - shrouded in mist, gentle rain and a less than gentle blow.  We are experiencing the tail end of the cyclone that hit land in the north of Queensland and having had such a dry summer, the rain is more than welcome.  I love the mists that roll up here into the hills, wrapping us round and secreting us away from all else.  

Sunday, 13 April 2014

busy bits .....

It has been a crazy few weeks in the studio with nothing really exciting to post about other than the completion of my bird book - or at least my part of it and now it is with Fiona who is adding some text ready for the 'Two Books Meet' on World Book Day on April 23rd.

This doesn't mean that is all that has been done but the rest is not new work but the editioning of etchings for up coming and recent events.  We have Maleny Printmakers exhibition over Easter and I needed to have work ready for that - printed a number of etchings from the 'sand drawings' plates and finally, after many years sitting as proofs, I printed and editioned some of my door knobs.  I am happy with how they turned out and in fact have framed three of them together as part of the Easter Exhibition.

I spent days printing some of my "In Between Dreams Series' and dug out the etching plates of a series of four flower etchings I had done a few years ago ..... all for a studio visit day.  A group of women were coming up from Brisbane and further afield to visit gardens here between Flaxton and Maleny and my friend and neighbour, whose garden was the venue for morning tea, asked if they could come and see my studio.  There were going to be about 40 of them and we thought that would work if half of them were dropped here first, and then the other half came after their morning tea and wander around her garden.  As it worked out, there were 63 lovely ladies and they all arrived here simultaneously!  It was impossible to move and I ended up by talking a little about etching processes, a little about the bird book with which I was struggling as it was evident on the desk in front of me.  It was impossible to really see all the work I had on walls or displayed on cabinets as the crush was huge.  A few determined and interested women squeezed their way around looking and weaving their way to me for questions and expressing intent to re visit when there was not such a crush.

For all that, it was good exposure and it forced me to get quite an amount of work done - which is now ready for my Open Studio days in October.  Many of them left their emails and asked to be invited so that was good. A couple of sales were also sweet.

a glimpse of the completed book ready for the reveal next week

details of sand drawings

three of the Italian Door Knob series

watercoloured etchings

and some experiments for the book heading to Belgium which will never see the light of day!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

a step closer .....

A mentoring morning with Fiona and I am so much more at ease ..... I think!  I have been tense and wound up and not at all relaxed about this work and then talking it through with Fiona this morning, realised that though I am quite happy with some of these prints as etchings, the difficulty I have with the work is seeing it as a book.

I had the thought of making an irregular concertina book - various sizes in fold and in page which will make it more of an artwork than a picture book.  This also means that all of the imagery is not revealed at once.  The thought of just turning the pages and seeing what came next (which works so well with some of my books) did not solve the issues I have been having with the presentation.  As yet I haven't even done all the artwork but for me, having a sense of the piece, the way the images and the negative spaces all speak to each other and relate, gives me a way forward. So, now that I can see a way forward, I will relax and enjoy the process.  I can hear a big sigh of relief from those around me .....

And Fiona's book - well, you will just all have to wait and see.  It is oh so very gently, exquisite.

Then again, I could just cut up the work and use small parts of each image.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

magpie business .....

It feels a bit like pulling teeth but I am getting there.  I think that one of the reasons I am having such trouble with this book is that for a very long time, I have been way more interested in mark making, suggesting traces of images, a sense of narrative rather than revealing a whole story and so forth.  With this book, the story will seem more succinct - more readable and apparent.  This has been a problem for me in working within a more realistic manner and finding a balance between the 'drawn' image and the slightly more abstract.

I am happy with where this imagery is leading though each page I print seems like an enormous effort.  Truth be told, I will be glad when the book is done and I feel quite confident that I will be far more in touch with my printmaking skills at its conclusion.  At the moment it is a struggle!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

stuck in tidings of magpies .....

I have been working hard trying to work out ideas for this next collaborative book and I am resolving more of what NOT to do that what needs to be done.  Maybe in a strange way that is bringing me closer to some sort of resolution - though I can't see it yet!

Very happy with a background plate I am using for this book - not all my pages but probably about half of them with have this print base.  The marking is quite serendipitous and scrumptious.  I found these on the back of one of my early prints and have been waiting for the right moment to use it in a meaningful way.  Think it will add to this book - certainly I like the look of the eggs printed over the plate marks.

Was planning on a different day tomorrow but have decided to stay put in the studio and try and get some momentum happening with the magpies.

Friday, 7 March 2014

inspiring little leaf .....

I have spent two days working very hard in between other 'things' in the studio - printmaking.  Printing editions from plates I have made previously on door knobs and flowers - hard work and not all that inspiring.

And then I found this wee leaf and it made me smile ....

Have a vibrant and happy weekend everyone - I am off to visit my daughter in Lismore.
Can't believe I have her only three hours away this year.