Saturday, 21 November 2015

a peep at 'branching out' ......

Tracemarks began as a way of keeping a record of what was happening in my studio - in a sense it replaced my 'drawing a day' books which were becoming harder and harder to maintain.  As such I am able to look back through my blog and see what I have been working on over the last few years and it can be such fun.  I also like the fact that because one includes photos in the posts, it has made me mindful to photograph my work.

Over the years I have been remiss and work has sold and I have no record of it at all.  Now I take oodles of photographs from all angles (I guess because books are like that) and have a memory track of the work I make.  This book below, 'Branching Out' is one that sold at the exhibition.  I have chosen a few of the many photos I took.  The book is smaller than my 'Standing on Fishes' book but still quite large as far as artist's books go.  Once again I have used film for the drawings, pen and ink and graphite, and layers of soft tengujo papers in between layers.

The sense I hoped to capture here was that of wandering through the forest and being entranced by the debris of the forest floor - the broken branches and their beautiful markings as they decay.  In fact I often spend my time in the forest/bush looking down rather than upwards!

These last few images are again of my 'Standing on Fishes' - still my favourite - which I finished in time for the exhibition.  I have used graphite and graphite pencils to draw some very simple lines and markings which seemed to tie the pen and ink drawings together.

When I posted on this book I had not in fact sewn it.  I chose a simple Japanese stab binding as it suited the aesthetic of these books and the front cover simply has a few lines embossed into it.  The book has a slip case of perspex and I also made covers for the books under which they sit for display.

Friday, 20 November 2015

'pas de deux' at the noosa regional gallery .....

Having dropped our work off at the Noosa Regional Gallery Fiona and I headed off for coffee in an absolute daze.  Three years of our artists'  book collection and all the work we had been making individually just left there on tables.  A very scary moment indeed.  Until I arrived first thing on Friday morning before the Opening with a friend of mine (who is such a supporter of me and my work) and saw how Nina and Nicole and their NRG team had curated this exhibition.  Fiona and I could never have imagined it looking so wonderful!

I was really delighted to see my larger works up with plenty of breathing space around them.  There is just no room in my studio for this kind of work to be seen.

There were nooks and plinths where work was beautifully displayed - a lovely mix of Fiona's and my work.  By and large I am photographing my work here (Fiona has already posted on the Exhibition) - with difficulty as the lighting is geared to showing the work and not really for photography!  On the  wall are four of my 'Australian Textures' pieces and opposite them, which you can't see in this photograph, is the 16 piece work 'Textures of Australia'.

Our collaborative works were beautifully showcased in the vitrines or on the wall.  This body of work has been sold to a private collector in Melbourne and Fiona and I are so pleased that the collection will stay together.

The ceilings in this main gallery were really high, with huge wall spaces which really suited the spread of my work.  Because of the nature of the work it is difficult to show the work well but the details below will give you a feel for the largest of my works which was called 'Meandering'.  These twenty one pieces were framed outside the perspex boxes I made, seven in all, and what you don't see here with the work on a white wall but would see more clearly on a darker one, I have sanded the front surface of all the boxes save for a 'river' which meanders behind all the images, linking them together.

Again my 'Australian Textures' and below it my book 'Hunting and Gathering'.  Below a clearer picture of 'Textures of Australia'.

 I haven't included any photos of my two completed books 'Standing on Fishes' and 'Branching Out' which I will do in the next couple of days.  The books and the 3D drawings which make up 'Wandering' seem to have been everyone's favourites.  

It has been an overwhelming few weeks with so much wonderful feedback from friends and strangers alike.  I am having a bit of a break from the studio but that may mean I get back to posting on this blog a little more regularly.

Monday, 5 October 2015

standing on fishes .....

One of my most favourite pieces of prose/poetry ever.  I think I first came upon this on Leslie's blog though it is so locked in my heart I can't be quite sure.

Every now and then you make a piece of work that becomes 'the favourite piece you have ever made' and I think this is it for me.  It could be that I love the poem so much and hence love the book, but there is also magic that happened here.  I worked with pen and ink of some of my father's old architectural paper and magic happened.  At that point I did not know that this was to be the book I had longed to make for 'standing on fishes'.  The last image happened and as I looked at it once finished, I actually felt that sinking feeling as though standing on fishes.  I knew this book had been made, almost, dare I say it, made itself.

The deep parts of my life pour onward,
as if the river shores were opening out.
It seems that things are more like me now,
That I can see farther into paintings.
I feel closer to what language can't reach.
With my senses, as with birds, I climb
into the windy heaven, out of the oak,
in the ponds broken off from the sky
my falling sinks, as if standing on fishes. 

This book is rather like Fiona's and my collaborative book 'Silence' in that it is quiet and meditative. Because I had made the images on film, I used layers of soft Japanese papers in between the pages.  The book is large as far as artists's book go - 52 cms wide by 36 cms.  It is covered in warm white Fabriano Tiepolo, gently embossed and stitched with Japanese stab binding.

The Exhibition is drawing closer every day and I am still finishing off a couple of 'bits'.  I am editioning a couple of my etching books and so will still set aside time to finish the editions.  Other than that I am feeling more in control which is a good feeling.

We are still waiting for the invitations to send out by PDF but the details for the exhibition can be found here on the Noosa Regional Gallery website.

The Opening is on Friday 23th October 2015 at 6pm and it runs through until December 6th.

Fiona and I are also doing an Artists' talk in the morning of October 31st and a workshop in the afternoon where we teach a coptic binding technique of making a book but spend most of our time in the workshop working on collaborative page.  We have a maximum of 12 participants six of whom will work with Fiona and six with me.

studio news .....

susan bowers .....


studio news - october 2015

It has been a year since my last newsletter and I had thought I would have sent out at least two more during the year!  It has been a busy one.

I have handwork showing in Belgium, Cairns, Caloundra Regional Gallery and Redland Art Gallery and more recently in the Brisbane City Library. Many more exciting ventures on the horizon as well which is exciting.

Most exciting of all is that in a few weeks time Fiona Dempster and I will be exhibiting at Noosa Regional Gallery.  The central focus of the exhibition will be 'Pas de Deux' which is a collection of collaborative artists' books we have created over the last three years.  Some of you may have seen parts of those books in my studio.

In addition to the collaborative work Fiona and I have both produced our own bodies of work which will support this exhibition - a chance to see how we work individually as well as how we come together in our collaborative work. My work celebrates the relationship I have with the landscape.  I have been working in a number of different directions of late and much of this work will be seen at the exhibition - 3D drawings, ink drawings and paintings.

The Opening for the exhibition at Noosa is on Friday 23rd October, 2015 at 6pm an it continues until December 6th. Having the exhibition open for so many weeks will provide much more opportunity for friends to find their way there.

The invitations will be out shortly with more information regarding our workshop and artist's talk and I will forward them through mail chimp as well.  You are all invited ... please don't feel as though you should try and be there for the Opening as there will be many weeks for you to head to Noosa!

The Print Council of Australia has shown great initiative in making 2016 'The Year of Print' to celebrate its 50th anniversary.  Many plans are afoot in the area to showcase printmaking in all its forms next year.  This will be an opportunity for printmakers to showcase their talents and raise public awareness.

Exciting times not only at the moment, but looking ahead.  


See more of my work here.


detail of 'Wandering'

'Tidings of Magpies'

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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

hunting and gathering .....

I have been busy in the studio trying to get everything ready for the exhibition .... time seems to be racing. Though much of the work I am presenting is not printmaking, I could not let this opportunity pass without some representation of my favourite medium.

As well as my 'tidings of magpies' which I am now editioning, there will be an edition of this book titled 'hunting and gathering'.  This book consists of four etchings (and embossings of course) bound together with perspex hinges in concertina form.  This is the first time I have used this method and was quite excited by the results.  Being one of those very difficult to photograph books, the photos below give an impression rather than the experience of reading the book.

These plates were rather complex - been bitten in acid four or five times to give different degrees of aquatint texture and also different layers of fine line etching.  Had I been more focussed I  could probably have reduced this 'biting' but I just didn't seem to be able to work everything out simultaneously!

The etchings are printed on Fabriano Tiepolo 290 gsm which is a favourite of mine.  The plates were inked using three colours and by warming the plates the colours were blended and a small amount of plate tone was left.  I had thought to add chine cole but felt it would detract from the line work and obscure some of the detail. My first proofs were made on rusted and inked papers and though the bolder lines were visible, the fine details were completely lost.

In this photograph you can see the reflection of the first etching through the cover.  Both front and back covers are perspex which I have sanded, leaving a couple of windows or peep holes through which to view the from image more clearly.  I used this technique in one of the collaborative books I made with Fiona, 'epitaph'.  I will use it more in the future I am sure.