Blog Archive

Sunday, June 19, 2022



"Bits”  started life as a silk screen print “Torso” from my art student days in 1975.  The print brought back memories of my days as a young student at Art School. By incorporating some selected fragments from the original into a new series of drawings and books, around the more intimate “bits of torso”, I have been able to relive old memories from my youth.

I have been busy making quite a few smaller books, mainly of drawings during the quiet times around COVID. They are made for giving away to special friends. This little book of drawings has found its way into the collection of one of my friends who collects pillow books.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Flattening the Curve

I am delighted that "Flattening the Curve", my entry for the Libris 22 Competition was shortlisted recently. It is always exciting to be amongst so many of the wonderful book artists in this exhibition but it amazes me how the judges can select us from such a small amount of information. (3 images, an artist CV and the artist statement.) 

In this post I'll try to give you some more insight of what the book is about and how it all fits together and show how the short artist statement can't adequately convey what the book is about  ----This was the statement that was sent :

"Flattening the Curve is informed by observations about how the Covid 19 pandemic developed and influenced a specific Covid language. The book unfolds as the daily "Covid" language with its special vocabulary and meanings evolved as the pandemic progressed through its different stages.  The book shows how daily progress reports and interviews in the media from our political leaders and medical experts became the focus of every day for the last two years and how language changes itself, its meanings and importance but also reflects its use for the purpose of authority and confidence."

The materials chosen affect the physical aspect of the book, how it will be presented and viewed to convey the story or central idea. Flattening the Curve is made on very thin rice and carbon papers from China [like COVID 19]to suggest compromised breathing which affects Covid 19 patients. Pairs of both papers were stressed to produce a carbon copy from the original. I have previously explored ways of working with carbon paper in "out of breath" and was able to utilize some of those results.

The carbon paper was worked on with pigment and white ink and fixed to stop the carbon making further marks. The white rice paper with the carbon imprint was also worked on with similar words and phrases being used during the pandemic at that time. The rice paper is treated with Stand Linseed oil to make it translucent. The two pages are like breathing in and out, the darker carbon paper shiny and thin with an image like damaged lungs seen through an X-Ray inside the body, and the translucent white rice paper with the copy of lung-like tissue representing the breath outside the body.

The words, language and mood of “Flattening the Curve” change as you progress through the book and the pandemic takes its course. Everyday words assume different meanings, medical terms become normalised and special Covid words and phrases appear. The language changes with the severity of the outbreak and mood of the populace as they change differently in different parts of Australia and other parts of the world.


Saturday, January 8, 2022

"matrix +, a chance story realised"


One of my greatest pleasures is sharing my work with my grandchildren. Usually, when they stay over and we have more time, they like to spend time with me in my studio doing things they rarely get a chance to do anywhere else. I like to try to get them away from their devices some of the time and since they feel comfortable using my computer, I encourage them to use it as a creative tool as well. We have made many little books and works later transformed from ideas explored digitally.

Recently, my youngest grand-daughter (13), who is the least interested in "ART" was looking through "Matrix" and quite interested in the "weird" pages. We explored some pages as open-ended stories, orally which worked well. Since she quite likes writing, I asked her to choose her favourite page and make her own story. 

She spent the afternoon playing with my little book and I was just so impressed with her focusing for so long on this one task and then absolutely thrilled with her little teenage story that resulted. It takes off, hardly stopping for breath just like the way she speaks. I feel a little uncomfortable sharing this precious moment on my blog but I hope you will forgive my indulgence.

" "One night when she was in her office late working on a project, she saw her very first shooting star, so of course, she made the wish which had stayed the same for every birthday, Christmas and whenever she blew on a dandelion. Para Alargar had always dreamt of going to England, especially the country town Borne.

That exact night that she was talking to one of her work colleagues about Borne, this happened.

“Para Alargar please go to gate 36” the PA system announced. Believe it or not, Para was going on the next available flight to Heathrow airport and would then jump on a taxi and take the long drive to Borne.

The second that she passed the ‘Welcome to Borne’ sign it all clicked. The reason why she has always wanted to come here, was, Para’s mum grew up here and so did all the females in the whole of the McClure generations except for Para.

It was finally time for Para to leave England. She had decided to make it a new tradition, to go to Borne every autumn from now on."


Sunday, October 10, 2021



"Matrix" is a small playing-card-sized book using a variety of papers of contrasting weight and texture. It is similar in size and structure to a little book "Age Marks" I made with Trace Willans a few years ago.

I always keep some of the handmade and unusual paper scraps from other projects but they often sit in yet another forgotten folder in my studio. I was having a cleanout during the pandemic and came across one of these folders and made the little book. I don't often make a book without research or preliminary artist proofs, but this is one that started without any pre-conceived idea of what was to follow. The cover is an old hand-made piece of paper from recycled mount board from 20 years ago. 

Although nostalgia and memory are important to my way of making art, this is not just a fondness of old things. I have cigar boxes (from my father) full of materials: stamps, cigar bands, diary snippets, maps, and tickets from travels during my life, to trawl through for suitable combinations.

Each page is a separate image unrelated to the others directly but using various different objects and materials to reflect the disorderly, random, incongruous pattern of normal daily experience, not to recreate chaos but to create a process of finding our own logic in the complexities surrounding us. 

I have shown each double spread page as the book opens and different pages overlap or show their edges, the way you would see it, instead of cropping each page and presenting it as a separate image.

The different elements are explored until it seems right and the underlying ideas and memories come to the surface by chance.

"Matrix" is informed by my daily experiences and thoughts, which are born at home and expanded and contextualized from seeing life lived all over the world- my experiences, past works, and issues in contemporary art. Special areas of interest which surface include travel, memory, mapping, migration and location, chance and imagination.

Sunday, September 5, 2021



This year has been a great year for our winter crops in the veggie garden. Milder conditions and winter rain has resulted in bumper crops. Although I have often incorporated plant material in my books and drawings by using turmeric or other stains and finishes or making paper from plants such as banana leaves, grass clippings, or sugarcane mulch, this initial little book "veg", is the first about my veggie garden. It is like a small diary recording the daily changes in my garden using simplified images for the veggies. 

The cover is from handmade grass-clippings, waxed to give it strength and make it look earthy and damp. I continued the wet look on the pages by using stand oil (refined Linseed oil) to make them translucent. I was inspired by a lecture given here in Brisbane a few years ago by two German artists Uta Schneider and Ulrike Stoltz who used oil in some of their drawings and artist books.  I also used this technique in the little books  "Sleeping with a Princess". and "back to books"
This gives hints at what lies ahead and what has just recently passed, a bit like a diary. I used double-sided blue carbon paper for most images of fruit or veggies to make multiple images that change very slowly as they mature. 
The stamped text is code for the processes of growth and nutrition of the plants.

It was a good year for both Sugar Snap Peas and Snow Peas as well as "Tommy Toes" and chillies.

Friday, August 6, 2021

"Opening Dark Windows"

“Opening Dark Windows”
is an artist book that explores ways of seeing and interacting with books that don’t tell a story. It deliberately avoids the conventional, sequential narrative structures that most books have and is full of random contradictions and conceptual gaps that create opportunities and spaces for chance and doubt. 

“Opening Dark Windows” is an interactive book that invites you to lift and turn sections of each page to reveal hidden, underlying papers, images, and codes that suggest rather than prescribe imaginative engagement. It follows on from an earlier interactive book "Tactile Dialogues" but with a much lighter mood.

The thin carbon tissue pages are torn and cut to make flaps or windows for the “reader” to open. These “windows of opportunity” reveal surprise coded messages and found text/poetry that evoke a sense of discovery, new beginnings, and a playful interaction with materials.

Although every window is quite specific and defined, it can be seen and interpreted in many non-linear ways, resulting in a more poetic and metaphoric experience. It evokes a sense of a new beginning - the surprise of the unexpected- a playful, intuitive, investigative experience.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

"Stopping all Stations - Quiet Carriage"


I often travel into the city by train and have almost an hour to fill in. When the trains are busy during peak hour I usually read a book but when it is quieter I sometimes make a book.

 This is my most recent. I had already made the small blank concertina book at home, knowing I wanted to use the loudspeaker messages that are part of the train experience. I used some pianola paper to join the pages together as they too had a stake in making sound. 

The concertina book gives the feeling of a continuous journey and was written and drawn on during the trip. The blue bumpy lines are the result of the movement of the train and the text deals with the "train voices". Being a quiet time in the quiet carriage I had a seat to myself and not many curious on-lookers.

Most of the messages are pre-recorded and mechanical safety reminders but some involve the driver himself. These are usually boring, mumbled monotones but occasionally  a driver puts a bit of expression and change of tone into his delivery - a bit of a showman.

This little book is a light-hearted look at some of these interruptions we have to listen to, in the quiet carriage. 

Still, it's  much better than many simultaneous mobile phone conversations you are likely to hear in a regular carriage. Bring on the DJ train driver!