Sunday, October 25, 2015

making paper

For the past two weekends my studio time has been spent experimenting with a new skill - making paper. I have admired the work of papermaking artists such as Velma Bolyard for ages but had never thought papermaking was something I could do. But, partly inspired by the prospect of a long, very hot summer splashing about with water and pulp seemed like an excellent plan.  I liked the idea of making my own cotton rag paper and it was a chance to do something different with some of the miles of fabric I have in my stash.

Following a mix of instructions drawn variously from Nick Neddo's excellent book The Organic Artist, May Babcock's excellent blog Paperslurry  and a lot of trial and error I turned an old cotton sheet from this
 into this
 In between these stages the sheet became strips 

cooked squares
a sort of cotton milkshake
and finally pulp
Then it was into the studio to turn pulp into slurry and eventually, via my home made mould (viz an old picture frame and some insect netting) and book press,

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

possum tails

A little ringtail possum lives in the rolled up blind on our front veranda. As the afternoons get warmer and the air is full of rose and jasmine scents, s/he gets more careless about how much tail hangs out of the back door of the nest.
It's just low enough for me to have a gentle pat of the tail and feel the soft strength of fur and the underside of bare skin for gripping.
On Saturday the possum was so drugged with warm sleep that its furry little bottom was hanging out too - and that is how I got to pat a possum's bottom :)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

making ink

Using the straightforward instructions in this fabulous book 
 the smallest sprog and I turned this
 and this
into this

Also this weekend I made cotton rag paper and patted a possum's bottom - but that is another blog post... Or possibly two.

Monday, October 12, 2015

a post about the weather

Melbourne has a reputation for capricious weather. In the past week we have had 30+ degrees with howling, desiccating hot north winds and bushfires
Slightly less hot but humid days
 Sizzling, crashing thunderstorms
 And back to 11 degrees and raining.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

coral stitch and cola pens

There has been quiet but steady progress in the studio this weekend.
I'm really enjoying the stitching on my current project - pseudo-darning, coral stitch, sorbello clusters and bones were added.
And (huge fun) the smallest sprog and I made cola pens this afternoon. Inspired by Denise Lach's book on calligraphy I went looking on the internet for the right recipe and found it here.  Very straightforward and easy we ended up with ten pens of varying sizes and they work beautifully!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Poetry Thursday - Rilke

From Notes on the Melody of Things

I. We are right at the start, do you see.
As though before everything. With
a thousand and one dreams behind us and
no act.

II I can imagine no knowledge holier
than this:
that you must become a beginner.
Someone who writes the first word after a 
Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, October 04, 2015

the weekend studio

Summer came in with a bang this weekend - suddenly a string of 30+ days. I like the warm, softer air and being able to walk around barefoot again but I am not good at Australia's intense heat and prefer to skulk inside until the sun has gone down to a less oppressive angle.

Perfect for quietly working in the studio where there has been a great leap forward with the strips project (which really needs a better name but that will come - this project is evolving in a very determined and clandestine way).
I started this about 6 weeks ago using the dropcloth from the Cas Holmes workshop I did in August. Wanting some simple stitching to use as a warm-up project, I tore 2 inch strips of the linen cloth and just started doing lines of running stitch with the occasional group of sorbello stitch, french knots, bullions and anything else I fancied.
The more I did on the strips, the most interesting it became and it has turned into its own project.  Buttons, shells and feathers and other collected detritus are being added. Stitching the transparent sequins has been rather a challenge but they look amazing in situ - rather like fish scales.
But the big discovery has been coral stitch - I have not tried this before and it is an extremely useful stitch especially effective in metallic thread
Although there's a fair amount of stitching and tizzying to go, I have been puzzling over the next stage - but I think I solved that yesterday. Details to come but this is a rather opaque clue.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Poetry Thursday: Rumi

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundred of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

from The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks