Saturday, 9 June 2012

moeraki boulders - new zealand

I spent a few weeks on the South Island in New Zealand a couple of years ago and one of the things I was passionate about seeing, were the Moeraki Boulders on the Otago Coast.  They are phenomenal - at the end of this blog I have put in a few photos though I probably took a hundred and when next I go I will stay in the area so that I can view them over a couple of days, sunrise, sunset, tide in and out!  They captured not just my heart but my imagination - and my creative imagination foremost.  It has been a long time coming, but this artist's book is the first piece of art I am making in what I hope will be an ongoing exploration of work on these rare spherical boulders. (If you google Moeraki Boulders you will see a wealth of information out there on the web.)

I decided that the smaller sheets of rusting I had done a week or so ago would be perfect to work into for this project.  I used various layers of ink to change the nature of the rusted paper and then did a mock up of the cutting out of the holes for my three boulders (small black pebbles).

As you can see in the couple of photographs below, the result of this inking left gorgeous residue on the paper below.  Why I NEVER remember to use some exquisite piece of french or italian, or khozo paper - anything but butchers' paper or newspaper, I will never know.  Probably because I am more focused on the images I am trying to produce than remembering the delicious happenstance effects that happen on the 'mop up' papers underneath.

For me this is rather  small book - not nearly as tiny and intimate as my tea bag book on 'A Sense of Place', but when closed it is only 9.5 cms x 28.5 but when opened, it means I am working on images that are 9.5 cms x 57 cms.  A shape I have always loved - very much a landscape shape.

I decided to restrict myself to the use of graphite, piercing, black linen thread and a little transparent paper. The cutout pieces of paper were too tempting not to use and though I am not a collage person, I did resort to bringing some of those elements into the design.

Although I do like the effect the collaged pieces bring to the page, I find myself wishing that the visual result on each page was worked into the paper and not onto the paper as I have done here on the cover of the book.

I am still playing with ideas about how each page, double page, should work and am trying to make each open page suggest different aspects of the boulders even though they all see the three stones poking through.  It is certainly still a work in progress but a little more work should see it complete.  Most of the design decisions have been made - the work just needs to be done.

Because I will be using coptic binding with this book, I have not yet stuck the pages together which means where I have glued transparent paper in some areas prior to piercing the paper, the paper is bending and protesting.  I am trusting that the pages will sit flat and a little less twisted once there is glue on both the surface the inside of the pages.

I think the colours and the sense I remember from the boulders, with the tide washing in and around them,    are starting to come together well.  I will be using the thread on only two of the six double pages and am leaving it quite loose to play around much like the water washing in and around the boulders.

I will post some photos of the books when completed next week.  Meanwhile, here are a few photos of the boulders ..........


  1. fantastic - dinosaur eggs???

  2. Lovely shapes - one photo looks like the backbone of some sea monster.

  3. These pages are wonderful and are well on their way to their full expression. I love the way you have worked into the aper and the way the thread carries through and around the boulder holes. Stunning!

  4. Noela - yes, tempting to think so though the scale is way too large even for dinosaurs! And Jackie, they do have that sense of 'what is buried beneath'? Sea monster - loch ness monster. However, when actually next to these round unique boulders, you are just aware of how amazing their shape is in the scheme of what is normal in the natural world. Inspiring.
    Thanks Fiona - you may get more of the sense of this book having seen it in the flesh. I too like the way the thread meanders loosely through the rocks. Nice to have another book which intimately reflects some of my travels.


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