Monday, June 8, 2020

old made new

"Distances" is a  little concertina book, a little smaller than  A5,  made during the early stages of Covid 19. It refers to changes  to our personal space applied specially for the pandemic. "Social distancing" [physical distancing] has become the new space around our bodies. No more handshakes or hugs, heaven forbid a peck on the cheek to help limiting the spread of the virus and "flattening the curve". 
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By zooming in closer into the abstract image you can see some of the codes or signs used to help convey my thoughts during our "iso{lation}". The paper used is from old pianola rolls (you can see the little holes and stencilled text) - used to make music in the 40's when families would gather around a pianola to listen or sing. You didn't need to be able to play the piano or read music. The keys were activated by air.

Other materials used in this book include black gesso (matt black for white drawing),red and white gouache ink, antique map, carbon texture print.

Monday, May 11, 2020

"creme - memory is a mirage"

I just love drawing and often let the marks take me on a trip into different spaces. I usually use little A5 visual diaries throughout the year. I have blogged about some of these 'visual diaries" ages ago eg "yellow line" and "japanese rain" . Lately, in addition to these books of cartridge paper, I have been making my own using different papers and combinations of paper. 
Most of these doodles don't go anywhere but recently I've started using little folded pieces of paper that could end up being bound together. Here's a few pages that became one of these little books , to give you an idea of where I go (sometimes).

Covid 19 has given me even more time to finish unfinished business and revisit older work. My desk gets covered in lots of "beginnings" and unbound notes and  random doodles as well as more "serious" projects and collaborations. Covid 19 has helped me untangle and organise my desk and it actually works better.
This little book "Creme - memory is a mirage" is on rice paper with a handmade paper cover and matt black gesso and inks.

This one made a  surprise gift for a like-minded artist.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

"in a flap"

"in a flap" is not about my condition due to the current state of the "virussed" world. Even the dark brooding cover would be appropriate but that may be the subject of a future book. You may have noticed that a lot of my books last year were interactive and used little windows or flaps to provide surprise and playfulness for the viewer. 
When making a book I usually try out a lot of new areas on single sheets first. These experiments are usually done to find the best paper or media for the book. Consequently, I end up with a lot of interesting bits of paper that I can't bear to throw away. 
So, "in a flap" is a collection of these papers bound into a book, an artist's proof. You will see where some of the ideas used in many of last year's books came from.

Thursday, February 6, 2020


"edge" is an artist proof for a larger book I hope to complete later in the year about "Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre which had historically high levels of water in it during 2019. I have been trying all sorts of work to try and come even a little close to this wonderful experience. This is my first attempt that gives just a small feeling of awe but I will keep trying for better results. 

You can't really get to the actual edge of the lake, it is too shallow and boggy as the water just keeps oozing out over very flat expanses of desert. It starts to evaporate almost immediately so that its edge is not "fixed" but is very elusive and varied.

The cover is handmade paper using grass and plant fibre as the surrounding desert country near Kati Thanda - Lake Eyre is transformed into beautiful grasslands after the rains. The paper is dry but dry and fibrous with little shiny, silk-like fibres from native grasses.

Our flights over the inland sea also went into the Channel-Country and the Diamentina and Warburton rivers. The water spreads and meanders snake-like through the sand hills bringing new pastures and fish in the streams and billabongs. It is a truly wondrous sight which images can only approximate the overwhelming beautiful experience of being surrounded by it.

The book has little flaps that can be lifted to reveal surprises like small maps of descriptions of land and features. This is meant to pay tribute to the experiences of early explorers in these areas - searching for an inland sea. These can be lifted with a little lifter (DIG) provided inside the front cover.

The  thin rice-paper pages are folded to make a double sided page to allow the pockets and tabs to be lifted to reveal the inside surprises - like a turkey nest.

Mixed- media used included mangrove and pomegranate inks, acrylic paint, coloured pencils, china graph pencil, maps and pastels.

The stab-bound pages roll over like the north-south sand-hills of the desert in the Simpson Desert and around Birdsville. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

"Post cutaneous"

Before I share my very latest and first for 2020, I must finish an old post from 2019. I eventually got back to more exploration and finishing my little artist's proof  "cutaneous"Another black book but there are so many more possibilities. I just love the delicacy of this paper! I have made a little folder for the book to keep it in a safe place.

The folder is made from an old X-Ray of mine, the medical nature of which seems to fit . Pity the shiny surface doesn't photograph very well.  

As the paper is so thin and fragile it is difficult to grab to turn over, so I included a little card "lifter" which lives on the back cover.
I'm thrilled that this little book has already found a happy home with someone who also has very interesting skin with just a few wrinkles. 

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Festive Greetings

This "animated" version of this year's card doesn't really do the physical card any justice. The red bow needs to be undone so the card can open and reveal the message inside. Sometimes the old traditional way works better than the digital version doesn't it?

Looking forward to sharing a few more books in 2020, there are already some at various stages in the pipeline although they may never see the light of day. 
Hoping your creative work helps to keep you in a positive space in an sometimes hostile world.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

"Lake Life" on Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre

Although I have been home from Kati Thanda - Lake Eyre for several months, I'm still struggling to translate that amazing experience and memory into my visual work. These small scratchy drawings make a series that form a little concertina book ,"Lake Life" which is my first response. 

After the long wait for "Uluru - Ayres Rock  , [the first dual named place in the Northern Territory in 1993) to be recognised and widely used, I wonder how long it will take for us to start using dual name for Lake Eyre,  Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre which became the new name in 2013.
The lake was the fullest it has been for 40 years and the flocks of pelicans out there is truly amazing. How do they know to get themselves there when the water is boiling with fish. Only the pelicans were visible from the low flying plane but there are apparently many smaller birds out there enjoying the abundance of insects coming down with the water. The aerial view of the green channel country is indescribable. What an incredible change from the desert surroundings, so dry and lifeless!

My initial responses have been try to capture the changing nature and energy of the environment as a result of the rain. Other sources of inspiration include the incredible aerial views from the little aircraft and the patterns, colours and textures of the landscapes. The slow, shallow meandering water courses draining into the lake, is another area to explore, as is the dry, remote hostile environment. No shortage of material, just how to organise and process some of these sensations in a new, fresh way, is always the big challenge.