Friday, June 8, 2018

"Bush -Fire Rubbings"

While bushwalking in Tewantin National Park recently, I was impressed with the rich black trunks of the trees after a bush-fire. Each tree was burnt in a different way and their bark had its own individual surface texture like its own fingerprint.

We shared the track with mountain bike riders who would give you a fright as they came around the corners so quickly. Some had time to ring their bell but being a bit deaf, I was still caught unawares. I decided to return on my own with blank paper to capture some of the carbon from the trunks to take home and process somehow.

The soft cloud-like marks from a burnt string bark were so different from the marks left by the knobbly cabbage tree palms. I was able to get off the track to take my rubbings in relative privacy but did get a few stares from cyclists wondering what I was up to.

I used A4 sheets of 210 gsm white, smooth rag watercolour paper as well as larger sheets of brown 90gsm Kraft paper. The silky blacks worked better on the white paper but the larger drawings also had a special presence which doesn't photograph very well. I made quite a few drawings but will probably need to return for more after I finish exploring how I can develop them further by making some artist books.

I was interested in presenting the surface texture of the burnt trees but also refer to the speeding cyclists and the view they may have experienced from their bike. The fold I used for this first exploratory book is a simple flower fold done to three drawings which are glued together. The cover is hand-made grass paper to keep with the natural feel of the book. It can be unfolded in a few different ways in the hand but can also stand in several positions.


susan bowers said...

I love this little book of burnt marks Jack and the format suits it well. I love the way when it is open you can see a variety of the different rubbings.

Jack Oudyn said...

Thanks Susan, sometimes the format takes over and smothers the content. A difficult path to determine and I'm not quite there yet. I think the "tree rubbings/prints" idea is worth exploring more fully.