Wednesday, 25 April 2018

17/52 'fallen poppies' - lest we forget .....


They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We shall remember them.
LEST WE FORGET.


Today is ANZAC day here in Australia - a day when we come out in force to remember and be thankful for those men and women from Australia and New Zealand who 'served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations'.  Originally Anzac Day was a day to honour the soldiers who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during WW1.  The attack lasted eight months and over 56,000 Allies died.





This book is rather soft and poignant - quite a contrast to my book last week.  Once again I have used and re worked a page from my 'Pieces for Peace 14-18' book which was exhibited in Brussels.  These covers were made from poppies I cut out from another print and they are encased in transparent film to protect the 'fallen poppies'.



Saturday, 21 April 2018

16/52 'war package' .....


This little book is made from one of the pages I made for the 'Pieces for Peace' exhibition in Brussels in 2014 though it is completely reworked into a small folded format.  I  made a little box for the book and realised that although it housed a rather dramatic little book, the cover itself looked quite 'pretty'. This led me to start thinking about how war is often packaged in different ways, presented to us in different guises, concealed, ignored even tolerated.  Expected.



I rarely visit this arena in my artwork as it makes me so irate and then I become artistically crippled.  I do so admire people who can tackle weighty issues in their artwork, and in their writing .... my comfort is back in the landscape where I find nature heals all wounds and restores us.


Anzac Day is next week and at this time of year I find myself thinking about all our men and women who have lost lives through war.  Then I begin to think about all those who have lost lives in their own homes as part of domestic violence.  How can we hope for peace in the world when there is so much violence close to home.  Dismal thoughts ..... and this is why I usually avoid making this sort of book.



The imagery really speaks for itself.  Death and crosses.  Row upon row.  More on this next week!




Saturday, 14 April 2018

15/52 'deep connections' .....



When thinking about the making of this book about connections I was thinking about threads and the Chinese thought that those who are destined to meet are connected by a red thread.  For me though, I feel like deep connections are more like bundles - concepts with more substance and weight.  

I think those bundles are filled with stories or our lives, those things that are most important to us or impact on us, a bundle full of emotions that are revealed over time, often just fragments of tales rather than the whole.  A complex weighty mix that connects two people.

I am sure I could work with greater depth on this subject but once again, time has been short this week and so though a book is made  an idea is created for exploration at a later date.  Maybe.



This book reads in both directions - I drew it in one way, and then when I stuck the ends down into the fold back covers from the accordion below, I embossed my mark on the end page before realising that I had the work upside down.  I actually like it both ways so have embossed my mark on both ends.  Simple solution.


Some books are just fun to play with and to photograph.  This is one of those where shadows and light play powerfully with the negative space.  I decided against sewing the two concertina layers together which means when the book is upright, you can 'read' the back of the page as well.  The background is an engraving print which I often use in this manner - as a layer upon which to build.  The artwork as such was done with French Conte crayon which is deliciously creamy and can be worked from rich darks to translucent.

The soft creamy yellow is from the lighting and not part of my work but it reminds me very much of Rosemary Gascoyne's pallet and is inspiring me to intentionally introduce some of this soft yellow to my work.







Friday, 6 April 2018

14/52 'elanda point' .....

'the peephole'

'most of the pages - always so hard to photograph the whole'

This book was made in response to the few days we were camping at Elanda Point recently - the fringe of swamp gum and root twist on the water's edge.

I actually started with more realistic drawings around the insets but it didn't work and so I resorted to my 'mark making' which gives more a sense of things than the reality of what was in view.  I do love to draw but my years of using mark making in my printmaking work has definitely had an impact on the way I like to work.


This book is made with Fabriano Tiepolo - a firm favourite of mine.  The cover is greyboard with a cutout to reveal part of the front page.  Five pages in all.  The book was sewn before I stuck down the folios so the stitching is hidden inside the folds.   A simple coptic binding completed the book.





Although I am pleased with the pages as a whole, I really love some of the printed details contrasted with the hand drawn marks.  And the over printing in white ink is something I have not explored very much though will certainly try some more.  It brings a wonderful subtlety to the work.




I do realise that my preferred palette must seem repetitive and boring but I can't seem to move away from this 'love' zone whether I work with dark shades or the lights.




Where I am trying to head with my work is starting to take shape with this return to the studio which the book a week project has precipitated.  There is rarely time to give each book much thought or time but now and then I have glimpses of return points ..... points for further investigation.  These details show me that I would would love to take such a snippet and make it much larger without getting too detailed and overworking.  

As I am needing to reinvent myself in the studio and work with less toxic medium,  I am thinking more and more of drawings and maybe combinations of the realistic with the mark making.  All quite exciting I think but I have not arrived there yet ..... and I do keep wondering if I will ever be able to let go of printmaking.  Certainly it is something I would only be able to do here outside and not inside the studio.  Still it is possible when the weather is gracious.  Glad I didn't dispose of all my printmaking material.


Friday, 30 March 2018

13/52 'stone stories' .....


This wee book started as a 'book of small drawings' but before I knew it, I had  done six or seven little conte drawings and a similar number with pen and ink rounded down as stones and as they all seemed to hang well together I adapted a few of the drawings and turned this into a book titled 'stone stories'.   For many years I worked towards a body of imagery to do with 'the art of language' so it is not surprising to me that my doodles ended this way.  Do stones speak ..... they do to me.  As do trees.  Of course not in any linguistic reality but I often think there is more than just a connection which can pass between us and the natural world,  that somehow there is conversation of a sort.




There are eight pages in this book and I drew on both sides.  As such there is no cover which is something I quite like about artists' books.  I find that my books often lack a formal binding or cover but just start straight into the story.  Most often these were then housed in a perspex box and though I no longer make my perspex boxes, I am pretty certain this book will be made some protective cover or envelope.  I have sprayed with fixative but it is thickly layered with charcoal/french conte and it keeps shedding!



 As these pages were individual and not folded I sewed the book with a single page coptic binding wit black linen thread.





The year is marching by - thirteen weeks already and now Easter is upon us ..... so soon after New Year.  Or so it seems when we have such an early Easter.  I hope you all enjoy your break and keep safe if travelling or camping.


Monday, 26 March 2018

12/52 'dark landscape' .....

How wonderful to return to 'the dark side'!  My books of late seem to have taken me much further into the light than I am used to with my work and it felt really good to take hold of some of my darker, more obscure work and turn it into my twelfth book for the year.


There is something very simple and wonderful in making a book with no sewing - a folded book.  I remember learning this simple technique many many years ago in a workshop with Keith Smith and although I use it sparingly, I do like it.  This method is a fun and easy one to make with children.




 The book is 'readable' by turning the pages and looking at each section solely or by opening it out flat and seeing the whole story.  By sheer nature of the intimacy of artists' books, I prefer seeing the small steps, part of the story, the slow reveal - the larger image broken down into small intriguing moments.


Hopefully when you open this particular style of book into its two dimensional version, the fragments coalesce to form a satisfying whole.