Sunday, December 27, 2009

last minute card and libris

Tonight we are going to a homecoming celebration for a couple who just got married, our friends daughter married a Sri Lankan and I believe this is a Sri Lankan custom. I bought a gift before Christmas but this morning decided I should make a card to go with it, so I dusted off the vat and grabbed the pulp that was left over from my Christmas cards from the fridge and made some sheets for the basis of the card. Luckily I had some cast pieces from another project so I painted them with irridescent medium this morning and am just waiting for the paper to dry before putting the card together. I have a choice of three symbols, the Maori fish hook or is it a spiral? The fish hook symbolizes prosperity and the spiral new beginnings. Both appropriate for a wedding greeting.

The Hindi prana which means life force.

And the endless knot which according to a book I have called The Secret Language of Symbols means continuity, longevity and eternity also appropriate for a wedding card although I'm not 100% happy with the original carving of this one so I think I'll go with the Maori one.

The paper I made before today's batch was for samples for the Deckle Edge (Papermakers of Victoria magazine) and I made red watermarked banana fibre paper since the next edition is going to be dedicated to banana and I had some in my freezer. Here are the removable watermark templates, blutac on fibreglass flyscreen and the stacks of samples.

The wider strips of blutack showed me where to tear the paper to get five strips per sheet, I tore the strips in half so that 15 sheets gave me the required 150 samples.
I was very disappointed that my book was not accepted into the Libris Awards and my proposal to talk about artists who use handmade paper in their work has been ignored even though I both emailed and posted a copy in good time for the deadline for proposals I haven't even had a response. I was hoping to improve the status of papermaking but I guess that is not going to happen it seems that printmakers do rule! in the Aussie artist book scene anyway.
Here are some pics of my book which is not quite finished but the impetus is gone now, I am waiting for a Japanese translation of the haiku I wrote to go in the book.

Here is the cover of the slipcase made from hemp paper with hemp string embedded inside, the catch is a bone piece with hemp string.
The slipcase is lined with a digital print of ferns on hemp paper and the book is kozo with fern bound with hemp string in a toji or stab binding.
Endpapers have ferns embedded.
Text and images are printed on hemp paper and woven into the kozo pages.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

photoshop and christmas

We had our yabbers breakup lunch yesterday and did our card swap, here they are sitting on our piano. They are all very individual and very special.

I made mine from cotton linter beaten together with offcuts of heavyweight Hoshu paper (machine made highly refined kozo). I divided my 15 x 31 cm moulds into three by sewing knitting needles onto the mesh and had precut shapes from oriental paper left over from my ornament book kits and the workshops I did for Art Education Victoria. I placed the shapes on the paper before couching and they became laminated to the paper. Here are some pictures of them drying on the fibro sheets, you can see the lines left by the knitting needles, the paper held together enough to feed through my printer so I could add the greeting then it was easy to work out where to tear the sheets apart. I used a feature I've learned this year of dropping images behind text using the opacity feature in photoshop.

Now to print and send them out!

I thought I'd share the instructions for the ornament books I designed earlier this year so here are the instructions and some pictures showing the folds.

Ornament Book
· 5 squares of heavy white paper 10 x 10 cm
· 3 squares of light card 5 x 5 cm
· 2 squares of decorative paper 5 x 5 cm
· 40 cm thread or thin ribbon
· two beads

· scissors
· gluestick
· needle for threading thread or ribbon through beads, may not be needed

· fold each white square in half diagonally

· turn each one over and fold in half both vertically and horizontally

. push the diagonals in so that you end up with a smaller square

· take one of the squares of card and draw your design, note that the design needs to be on the diagonal.
· cut out your design to use as a template
· Cut the design out in the paper squares and glue them together back to back ensuring that the folded corners are aligned
· glue the squares of decorative paper to the remaining two squares of card
· use your template to cut your design from the decorative card making sure that you turn your template upside down for one of the cards so you end up with a front and back cover.
· glue the thread or ribbon to the back cover with the halfway mark at the folded end of your design
· glue on your stack of pages
· glue the thread or ribbon to the top sheet
· glue the front cover on
· press
· thread the ends of the thread or ribbon through a bead
· tie a knot 10cm from the book
· thread the other bead through one strand and tie the thread or ribbon around the bead
· slide the first bead away from the book and turn around so that the covers meet back to back
· slide the bead back to hold the book open.
I learned some cool stuff at this week's photoshop course though I don't quite understand how it works but here are a couple of examples I worked up myself with the original photos included. By the way I was very pleased that I sold the two blueish collages at the Burnley Harbour exhibition last weekend.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bulletin and other things

Well I finally got the IAPMA Bulletins posted and they are really special, the covers by Helmut Becker took him ages to make, they are beaten hemp with snow retted and running water retted hemp embedded in the paper. There are 15 paper samples and the assembling from printer to post took about 90 person hours, thanks to my friends who came to the various working bees I didn't have to do it all myself otherwise you'd be lucky to get them before Christmas.

I have managed to put together some collages for the Contemporary Art Society exhibition at Burnley Harbour which is on next Friday to Sunday. I have used a sheet of kozo in each and decorative papers for each vessel.

Vessel 1 wax stamp and paper dyes on recycled paper

Vessel 2 indigo and walnut on Belgian flax

Vessel 3 walnut on Belgian flax

Vessel 4 indigo, walnut and rust on Belgian flax
I made some paper the other day for the first time for ages, it was hemp fabric that I finally finished beating when Yabbers went to the Bundoora stables earlier this month, I still don't trust my beater to do hemp, in fact I haven't used it for ages, it did handle recycled paper OK last time I used it. I'm using the hemp paper to print on for a book I'm making at the moment, I'll post some picks once it's made.
I have just started a photoshop course 3 hours a week for four weeks, it looks like we are going to do some fun things, the first session was just getting to know the system and a basic look at layers and shapes. I was going to put up my first project but it's not really worth it, just a couple of shapes. I'm hoping I'll learn how to better adjust the colour in photos that I'm sent for the Bulletin, some are still printing up too dark.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Women's Studio Workshop and Apollo Bay

I have just been watching a couple of videos of the Women's Studio Workshop, the first is a documentary about the workshop and the second show the process of making an edition of 35 copies of an artist book.
Great viewing, I wish I lived closer and could apply for one of their residencies.

Last weekend we ventured down to Apollo Bay for an extended weekend because of Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday. We had a great time and started the holiday at the opening of Anne Marie & Jo's exhibition at Aireys Inlet, we arrived at the YHA in Apollo Bay too late to cook dinner!! Well that's my theory anyway. We ate at the bottom pub the first night and even though the hostel is well equipped with two kitchens and even a herb garden we only breakfasted there, it was a real holiday. Sunday we went for a drive and a hike up in the Otways, they are amazingly green at the moment, all very lush and the waterfalls were wonderful, lots of water. Monday we went back into Lorne for their sculpture festival and walked from one end of Lorne to the other then back again, saw some terrific sculptures and of course we couln't visit Lorne without a visit to Qdos gallery where there was a show of Marny Fenton's found object sculptures and Mary Cooke's photographs. On Tuesday before we came home we visited the Cape Otway Lighthouse and just about got blown off, gale force winds are anything over 35 knots apparently and these were 50 knots, just amazing and the sea was so wild. I haven't even looked at my photos yet but I am hoping to put together an artwork for a friends apartment near Apollo Bay. The other project I have on the go at the moment is to make some paper from Mulberry bast, I'll start cooking that tomorrow.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I have a very busy couple of weeks ahead, next Friday and Saturday I'm teaching papermaking and bookbinding at Art Education Victoria's conference, the theme is Asia so I'm putting together a powerpoint presentation on making paper nagashizuki style but we'll be making western style paper. The second day is oriental binding and I'm planning to show these three bindings.

I am putting together kits so I bought some papers from Zart Art for the covers and Melbourne Etching supplies and Eckersleys for the rice paper for inside the books. I picked up a few useful things from Reverse Art Truck and some threads and needles from Spotlight. I've made up hanks of the different coloured threads and like the way they look all together.

The other class I'm doing is a Christmas class for Lumina Gallery in Malvern, it is to be an ornament class making firstly eco ornaments which can be planted after Christmas. These ones have spinach, carrot, spring onion and candytuft seeds.

The second part of the class will cover ornament books, here they are closed.

And here open.

This class will be held on Saturday 7 November from 1pm, contact Lumina if you are interested in participating. I'll also be putting together some kits that will be for sale at and at the Alcove Artshop.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

poetry swap, show and new books

Haiku for today

water gurgles by
as the fern
shines in the sun

All this poetry started when Valda challenged us to write a quatrain for the newsletter so I wrote one to describe Amanda Degener's workshop, then I submitted several copies for a yahoo papermaking group poetry swap, printed on flax paper of course. I was looking for a poem to go in a book and I discovered the allpoetry website and started taking some online classes, so here I am inflicting my Haiku on my readers. Anyway I finally bound the poems from the swap, I made it difficult for myself by sewing the pages into two concertina strips then coptic binding the concertinas.
Here is a new book featuring a Melbourne landmark the skipping girl vinegar sign in Richmond, I've sewn the text block onto tapes and extended the tapes as a closure.
This is one in progress that I'm making to donate to Curves for the Girls Night In which is fundraising for breast cancer research.
Here are my books from the show with their ribbons.

Nest Book mixed plant fibres, coptic bound.

Oriental Fern Book kozo with fern laminated in cover and endpages, bound with toji binding using hemp string.

Oriental Indigo Book kozo dyed with indigo toji binding with indigo dyed cotton thread.

Byron Bush Book mixed plant fibres with digital images and haiku bound with hemp string and a stick found on the walk in the rainforest near Byron Bay.

And finally a photo of one of the sports teams from my high school years showing off our wonderful sports uniform of Swedish bloomers, I think they were meant to be worn down nearly to our knees but noone did. I was reminded of these when I read a friend's blog where she is researching the history of women's cycling. By the way I'm not in the photo, I was never good enough to get in any of the school sports teams.