Sunday, December 21, 2014


I think I have come to the view that if I have a year to do something, I will either do it straight up, or leave it until right at the end.

Guess which one I'm writing about today?

Yep - the last minute all stops effort to get my book for the Sketchbook Project done in time!

Around this time last year, Barry and I visited the Brooklyn Art Library to visit the Sketchbooks there, and 'borrowed' two of Jennifer's to have a look at and to hold. Always amazing to view and to hold something which you have only ever seen on-line.

We were fired up and enthused of course and committed to doing our own for this year and I can't speak for Barry, but I promptly put it on the list that could be put off until I really had to do it. And so it turned out to be.

On top of this sense of last-minutedness, I executed my plan very poorly and found I had ruined a couple of pages and couldn't actually do this wonderful fold out looooooonnnnngggg ladder that I thought I would do in line with the theme 'ladders'.

Instead I made many ladders, because sometimes you need more than one ladder to get you out of the pickle you are in...


Friday, December 19, 2014

ALAW finished!

I am finished my second alphabet for the year over at A Letter a Week.  The theme for this one was "Place" and my letters were all about our trip to New York around Christmas last year.

From this pile of embossed pages, each one 7cm x 7cm, representing sections of a map of Manhattan that I had embossed on a larger sheet of paper and then cut up, I wrote my letters and made a book.

The finished wee book.

For each letter I wrote a word that reminded me of our trip there.

A - the Apple Store; in all of its gorgeous glass cube-ness and full of funky young things. And then us.

F - the Flatiron building; such a stunning building and an icon of NYC architecture. And the park across the road had boulders in the branches of trees!

J - for Jennifer, who despite having so much going on, made the time to come down to NYC and catch up with us - it was brilliant.

N - New York itself, in all its madness, haste and beauty.

U - Upper West side where we stay in our semi-sub street level apartment.

X - for Xmas, we spent a beautiful day there feasting and then wandering Central Park.

The book is soft and white as my favourite memory of our visit was the seeing the city covered in snow; how gentle and quiet and muffled it makes it. Central Park a white and beautiful wonderland. hard to imagine as we sit here and swelter in a summer heatwave with evening storms.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Still thinking of burning...

Susan and I have given ourselves until the end of January to finish these books - we have both been travelling and then of course its Christmas and New Year and summer time here in Oz.

Even tho its a while away, I have been thinking about it and doing little bits here and there.  I think I have nailed the design, and the covers and how the pages will incorporate both of our work.

I think have the scale right and I think I have solved my 'floating' words problem.

Of course, all of this is yet to be tested, but at least some of the thinking is done.

I much prefer this look to the stitched look I was trying out earlier. I was playing with a leftover perplex page.

Floating rather than tethered?

And this is what the back looks like.

Working on cover ideas...

Looking at the possibilities for the pages...

Hopefully it wall all come together with a rush and a roar in the new year!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

QLA 2014

One of the commissions we had to finish before we went away was the trophies for the 2014 Queensland Literary Awards. We were honoured to be asked to create them again, along the same lines as last year, but with a bit of variation.

We kept the covers the same - with an updated logo on the front and the words of author/poet David Malouf on the back. The inside of the covers was different - various swirly florentine patterns from recycled EPNS trays.

Barry cut and polished the metal and gave me some spares to acts as embossing plates.  We had the words and logo etched into the metal, but my, you learn a lot working with recycled materials as you are never sure what is in them and how they will react.  There were several 'sick to your stomach' moments when the etching just rubbed right off! We learnt which metal we could use and why, but not after multiple trips up and down to the shop where it was done.

As a result Barry has lots of pieces he can use for books and earrings!

I embossed the inside pages with the florentine designs and wrote the names of the winners. It was such a joy to see so many fabulous books and people rewarded!

Together we riveted the perspex covers surround over the covers and the pages.

Then I stitched them up with my own weird and wonderful binding which I have to remind myself how to do each year!

They were packaged up in their signature orange pouches and popped in the post. We weren't able to be at the ceremony this year, but from all accounts the recipients were thrilled.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Travel Treasures

Barry and I often laugh at the sort of tourists we are.  When we travel, many of our favourite moments come from trawling through flea markets, junk stores and hardware stores.  We love a good hardware store!

Yes, we visit galleries and museums and walk for miles across cobbled streets, but we exclaim "oh happy day" when we pick up a flea market or hardware bargain. The only fun thing about unpacking when you get home is unwrapping all these little parcels and re-discovering them.

Here are some of the treasures we collected along the way...

Some beautiful old postcards and nibs found in Prague.

The most amazing gathering of documents pertaining to the will of an English woman, found in Brugge.

A couple more wooden type lower vowels and numbers from a fabulous shop in Paris - the name of which translates to "fell off the back of a truck".

A bundles of bibs and bobs - some slate pencils from Brugge, some bone folders from Prague and a tracing wheel from Prague. The bone folders were unexpectedly discovered in a hardware store.

One of my calligraphic friends once told me - buy old ruling pens whenever you find them. So I did!  I love that these five are all different and am looking forward to cleaning them and getting to work with them.  The beautiful one in the cylindrical case came from a flea market in Paris; the rest were all Prague finds.

A happy all packed up and ready to head to the studio.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Arras, Paris and Prague

We are continuing our whirl through parts of Europe and having a fine time. We farewelled Brugge and headed back into the north of France, to the Somme area to follow my gr-grandfather's brother who died there in WW1 and also the place and battle where my gr-grandfather won his Military Medal.

We stayed in Arras, and found the grave amongst the many at Serre Rd Cemetery no. 2, Beaumont Hamel.

On to Paris and some images of our few days there. Some gorgeous artwork, one of the many cemetery cats we saw in Montmartre, and The River, of words at the Musee Quai Branly.

We are now in Prague and lucky for us the first snow appeared overnight! Snow always makes a city feel more special, for folk who live where it never snows. 

Snow dusting on a rusty sculpture outside our apartment.

I got a little bit besotted with the ice-drips. It rained last night before freezing...

Even the trees and berries had frozen ice drips...

And the snow-capped roofs of Prague...

For a girl from the sub-tropics it all feels very fairy-tale-ish!