Monday, June 30, 2008

5 Favourites

Jenn (ninox) tagged me! I haven't done a tag for a long time, but it is always a lot of fun, and when I saw it was to list 5 favourite things, well... of course!

Also it is a coincidence because last night I finished my entry into Clare's Moleskine as part of Moly_x_25, and she has set the Moly's theme as "a few of my favourite things!" In my drawing I just drew 4 favourites - my dog Roly, my coffee, my books and pattern.

For Jenn I think I might have to add another. I guess it would have to be...
this is hard...
Ok, I have it...
One of my favourite things is saying "I don't believe in favourites!"

I usually say this just before I say what my favourite for that split second is. I change my mind a lot.

Do I have to tag someone else? I don't think it's a law, so I'm going to let it slide.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Artist book emerging slowly

I've done the printing for my marquette for the artist book I'm working on. I am not sure about some aspects of the prints and will definitely do some more tests. But these ones will be good to sew into a book form, experimenting with how it might be.
I played around with ghost prints of the lino prints. I used my handpress again. I'm getting used to it. Actually, I don't need to press very hard at all, which is great, although I have actually bent one of the bars when I was thinking I needed to put some real effort into it. I didn't think it would be possible. I guess it shows just how powerful a lever can be. These prints also have some underprinting with Gocco.

And speaking of sewing it together - look what my very generous, supportive and talented man made for me! A sewing frame!
I've never used one, so this will be interesting. He used the plan of Keith Smiths in his books.
He made some slight alterations to Smiths plans and I think it will work very well... assuming I can work it that is.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Did you know I love books?

Probably you did. I love making them, reading them, hoarding them, collecting them and looking at the pretty pictures in them. For quite some time now I've been enjoying another aspect of books - bookplates. I've been hanging out in bookplate groups here and there and visiting the link you may have noted here Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie.
I've been dreaming of making bookplates for most of my life. One day I'll...
Now with my trusty Gocco available, I came face to face with the means to make them. That's when the stress began - what will I put on them?
I especially love the old bookplates on the Bookplate Junkie site, but I just don't create in that style.
Then I recently disclosed my intention to a friend and fellow book junkie. She confessed to me that she has bought some bookplates recently. "What's on them," I asked? Star Trek on one lot and Celtic designs on the other! That is so her!
Well, if she gets bookplates that scream of her taste, then that made me think I can simply put images on mine that scream me.
And here they all are. I think they would be perfect for those how-to art books we all collect, because they all have a how-to vibe. I've printed this lot on high quality bright white acid free paper. Other sets are on parchment paper. I've made them easy to use by making them self-adhesive - acid free of course. They come in packs of 12 (2 of each design)and I've designed a cute little pouch for them to be safe in until the right book comes along. Available now in my Etsy shop.

Friday, June 27, 2008

What's been happening in my shop

Well firstly, I've changed my banner. I've had such lovely feedback about my 'Suppertime' print that I've used those eyes in my banner. I've sold one of these prints to Clare who is also an artist I'm collaborating with in a Moly exchange. I wonder whose home my next puppy will go to?
I have been seduced by how-to images for years and how-to-dance charts have been something I return to again and again. And this time they come in cards. I gave Mallory one of these for her graduation, but I think I could use these cards for just about any occasion.
And for the first time I've added some ACEO's to my shop. Above is A Very Happy Unbirthday. Below is Beware of Black Balloons.
One of the things I've loved most about using my Gocco printer is the layering of prints, the test prints and the just plain old playing. With lots of unfinished prints lying around I just couldn't resist turning them into something unique.
It is the unique nature of each Gocco print that was part of the reason I originally became interested. But now that I can play with this quality, add other snips of paintings and ephemera and layer colour with both simple and complex techniques I'm having a ball! Above is Playing Games. Tiny little artworks - what a great idea whoever first thought this up had!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Handpress Update

Once I had my studio in a decent state again I was quick to try out my new handpress.

I experimented with different papers, both soaked and not.
I printed some lino cuts I've been working on. I played around with different amounts of pressure.

I discovered that it works well, even creating some embossing and that I actually don't need to exert all my force on it at all. A simple press down on the lever (thanks to the glory of physics) creates equal pressure as pressing as hard as I can and hurting my hand, arm and shoulder (or no visible difference anyway).

I think it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

EDITED 27th June
For those interested in my handpress - it has no brand on the press itself. It came with a single photocopied instruction sheet which also doesn't have a brand on it. The sheet does have an owl logo and 'ABIG' (I'm not sure, it might be 'A BIG') on the bottom but it is not clear if this is the manufacturer or the distributor. When I purchased it from Parkers I was told it was imported from Germany.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Last weekend we celebrated my youngest daughters 21st birthday. Actually we are in the early stages of her birthday season - she is having 5 parties over about 5 weeks! She doesn't live nearby, so for her back home party she wanted to revisit a favourite weekend destination - Tom's Cabin in New England National Park between Ebor and Armidale.

The national park is now a World Heritage area and is absolutely beautiful with several different ecosystems including an arctic beech forest, heath and of course eucalyptus forests which are all the more beautiful for growing over the granite cliffs and down into the deep valleys. This drawing is of the area just a few minutes walk from the cabin which we have very affectionately always called Fairyland. It is truly magical with a creek, waterfall, and lichens and mosses everywhere, hanging like beards from the trees and forming cushions of vivid green on the ground, rocks and trees.
It was very cold and windy when we arrived. The cabin itself is VERY basic, but we soon had it warming with a fire that we lit (we all think we are fire experts and there was a bit of discussion as to the best method). I have to finish this drawing - it was too cold to sit still drawing for very long.
I am going to add a key for the plan of the cabin. I have actually numbered EVERYTHING in the place and around it. It doesn't have a lot going for it, but the shower is generally agreed to be the best shower of your life. There is plenty of hot water and the window is in the shower, so you look out on the bush as you enjoy the warmth.
Gas hot water, solar electricity, wood fire inside and bbq outside. We cook in a camp oven at night and on the bbq for lunch.
Not only are we all fire experts, but we also have a touch of pyromania. How mesmerising are fires!! Yes, that's the birthday girl poking the fire. We had a fabulous time.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Finishing, clearing, starting

Last week I completed a project that I've been working on for 6 years.

It was finished when the second book of the two I was making was given as a gift. After I gave the first one as a gift 4 years ago and hadn't kept a scan or a photo, I intended to document the latest one. I forgot again.

It has been a process I have loved but was huge and involved countless hours of work. In spite of loving it passionately, I found it also haunted me... "I probably should be working on [that] book"...

After so long working on a project it takes a little time to fully realise that it is finished. I have so many current projects that are no where near finished. I need SPACE! The space of time as well as the space in my brain.

I'm reorganising my studio. [Those that know me are used to hearing that sentance!!!] I have a very small studio space in my home. I feel lucky to have the space. But I still find it in me to complain about the lack of SPACE in my space. I reorganise perpetually. Juggling furniture, items, stock, etc etc etc etc to try to create a little more space.

And I'm messy.
Which doesn't help.

I'll be uploading these photos to Flickr sometime today [I've also got to finish tidying the studio!!!] so I can annotate them. There are a couple more images too. I love looking into others studio spaces, so if you are at all like me, embrace your inner voyeure and click on over to check it out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Printsy Treasury

I just got my first Etsy Treasury! I names it 'indelibly stamped'. It was actually easy to do and I must say quite a lot of fun to fill. What is a Treasury? Etsy members can make up a page of items they love, and theming them is pretty standard. There are few rules with the only real one being that you cannot self-promote. I have always thought it was a nice and friendly idea to have in a shop environment and it is one of the things that originally started me thinking "...actually Etsy is pretty cool".

And who are these talented Printsy team members? Printsy is one of the Etsy 'Street Teams', another Etsy idea that brings its shopkeepers together in a communal and beneficial way. Printsy team is for artists who create original fine art prints using linocut, woodcut, silkscreen etc techniques and who have an Etsy shop to sell them in. I feel privileged to be included in the team. See more of them here on Etsy, on Flickr and the blog.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Best Friend (I hope!)

I don't have the room (or the money) for a 'proper' printing press. That, however, did not stop me from wanting wanting wanting. I found this little beauty in Parkers art shop in The Rocks, Sydney a few months ago. It took me a few months to convince myself to actually go ahead and get it. No amount of Googling could reveal anyone else who has used a press like this. (I guess that is pretty obvious when you look at the low-tech beauty of it!)

So, last Friday I was having a particularly good day - my eldest daughters graduation from Sydney Uni (the mother in me means I must mention 'with 1st class honours'!) followed by a champagne and oyster celebration on the harbour next to the Opera House, then the lovely little walk up into The Rocks to find Parkers (always a sense of satisfaction when you get there, because sometimes I just plain don't find it and miss out on the experience!) OK, I was just a little merry, and I was planning to buy my little press, so I was happy. I guess it showed. I think the guys in Parkers quite enjoyed selling it to me. I know they are certainly looking forward to my other daughter's graduation next year with hope (and dollar signs) in their eyes!

I haven't had the chance to use it yet, but I will report how it goes. It uses the good old fashioned lever action to create the press suitable for relief printing. I plan to use it for linoprints, but will probably try a few collagraphs too. It prints up to A4 and with no moving parts etc. I plan to have it for a long time. And it fits perfectly in my little studio!