Sunday, December 14, 2008

More Christmas

What was that I said about it being hot at Christmas time, it has hardly stopped raining since then but here are some of my cards drying on the fibro sheets. I was planning to get the cards written today but somehow the day has disappeared.

The other day I made a slip case for my sample Aussie fibre book, now I need to make up some notes for both the book and the slipcase and work out if there will be time to do both in a one day workshop.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Cards

Last night my neighbour came in to see if I had any Christmas cards, of course I said yes and I did have a few but I promptly turned around and made some collages using some of my papers plus a collage pack I bought from Papermakers of Victoria. Here are a few of the cards I made last night.

I've also started making my paper ones, this year I've decided to go with an Aussie theme, not very Christmassy but then snow and ice and woolly furlined suits aren't very Christmassy when Christmas is in the middle of summer. I'm pulp painting with a stencil of gum leaves and flowers. I started by using double sided tape to stick some leaves to the mould but after a couple of sheets the leaves started to fall off so I copied them onto some gaffer tape which sticks to the mould really well. It was too hard to cut the flowers from the tape so I've used Blutac for them rolled really fine and pressed into the wire. I made a few sheets today but they are not dry yet so will post pictures of the best next time I post. I can make two cards with one sheet, I started with light brown on the back then red then brown again but about half way through decided to go with just two pulls brown as the base and red with the image, I'm much happier with these but will see how they look once they are dry. Here are a couple of pictures of my mould.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Self portrait, nest and workshop book

Mike found this abandoned nest in the ivy growing along our side fence, what a great find since Zoe and I are working towards our nesting exhibition for March next year. I clipped it out of the ivy and luckily it stayed pretty well intact. We are having working days today and tomorrow, planning to make some more banners using the long sheets of paper I brought back from Korea. There are all sorts of problems managing the coating, exposing and washing but last time we worked on it we got 2/3 of a banner made and we plan to finish it off today as long as the sky clears.
I have finally made a mock up of the book for the workshop that I'm happy with. After really struggling with getting the needle through the book cloth and the timber I decided to dispense with the hard covers and go for a soft cover book. Thge next thing to work on will be a design for a slip case.

I am still working on making my papers for the book but that can happen in February, I've made gumleaf and have cooked up tree fern and have stripped some blackwood bark. I think I need a week with doing nothing but preparing fibre to get it all done. I need to get my beater back in action too, I don't know how I'm going to get enough fibre out of the tree fern to hold together but I'll find out.
This is my self portrait that I did for the T'arts group which I joined this year after being invited to exhibit with them last year. Since I'm doing a lot of cyanotypes lately I decided my portrait should be done in cyanotype. Recently I visited my mother when she had someone come to cut her hair, my sister and Mike were there and they both got there's done too and I collected all the hair and have added it to the pulp for this paper. I made a lot of long strips with the view to making some concertina books and towards the end of the vat I sandwiched two sheets together with some strips of cooked banana leaf fibre caught in between. I'll be using some of them for the nesting exhibition and I used some for this.

Some of the cyanotypes worked better than others, I've been learning how to increase the contrast using photoshop levels and some of those images have worked really well but the others have ended up quite blue but since I didn't have time to start again I have included all in this book which was really just for show and tell. It was meant to be a challenge for the year but most who did it finished it in the last week.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Workshops December and March

Christmas Cards and Gifts workshop 3 December
I'm holding a workshop at my home on Wednesday 3rd December and it will cover making paper with a Christmas theme and making gift boxes and a couple of simple books. The pictures here are of cards I've made over the years, I need to come up with a theme for this year but inspiration hasn't struck as yet.
Last year's cards:-

The year before:- I didn't make a lot of this one, just some for very special people.

Another year

Another year

Christmas 1999

Some early cards

The papermaking techniques we will cover will include embossing, pulp painting and paper with inclusions.

Here are some examples of the packages we'll make.

The books:-

Share the Journey - Plant fibre book workshop 21 March 2009
I spent a bit of time yesterday working on the sample book for the workshop I’m running in March next year. I had made a mock up using some cedar blind but it was time to make one close to how the workshop book will be, it has taken me a while to find the time but yesterday everyone was out and I could make a good start.

The mock up.
Marianne’s husband Rex has made a range of timber pieces from different Australian plants.

For the mock up two I chose a cedar pine, there were two pieces of that and it was one of the less interesting timbers. When drilling the holes I also discovered it was quite a hard timber and I slipped when drilling the first couple of holes, I worked out it was a good idea to use an awl to make a starting hole for the drill. I’ll be pre-drilling all the holes for the workshop so participants won’t need to be concerned.

While I was doing the preparation I was also preparing the notes for the workshop and keeping a bit of a note about the time it takes for each step. I haven’t started sewing yet, that will have to wait for another day soon, I’m still deciding on what thread to use. For the outside I’d quite like to use sky blue to tone in with the blue sky and to contrast with the timber but I feel that it would look wrong on the inside, so I might settle for off white.

The the picture on the cover is of one of the lights on Princes bridge and it has Victoria University in the background. The workshop will be held on the 16th floor of that building and the the exhibition Shared Journeys will be in the gallery on the 17th from 3rd - 21 st March 2009, there is more information at once you click on workshops.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cyanotypes and Canberra

I have just returned from attending a workshop at the National Library which was held as part of the Community Heritage Grants Scheme. Women's Art Register of which I am coordinator has been awarded a grant for significance assesment. The workshop was great and I learned lots of things about preserving and documenting. I spent a day on digitisation and the picture below shows a simple set up for photographing pictures.

I even learned a lot about my camera that I didn't know and it has prompted me to plan to go back and read the manual again instead of just pointing and shooting with the camera on automatic. Mind you when I took the photos today for this blog and the postcard one I did it the old way with me climbing up a ladder and shooting onto the kitchen bench.
I stayed with my cousin in Fadden and here is a picture from their front balcony, great views across the valley to the Brindabellas.

On Monday before I left for Canberra, Zoe and I got together to do some more cyanotypes, this is one I did last time we got together, the paper is kozo and the image was made with a positive and a negative of the pardelote photo we took at Mt Hotham.

I then had a play around with toning the cyanotypes, I had done it before by soaking the cyan in dilute washing soda but when I googled it I discovered that if you then dip in tea you get a much browner result.

These are the backs of some pulp paintings dipped in washing soda and tea for a short time, the cyanotypes are of very loose nests.

These are on some Korean paper that I was testing to see if it would hold together for some larger pieces, the darker one was left in the tea for at least 20 minutes and the lighter one for about 5 mins.

This is a photo of one of the nests I made, it would have worked better if I'd inverted the colours and used the negative instead of positive image however I do like the effect of just some of the blue being toned.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shared Journeys exhibition

I really should be working away from the computer now but it has been so long since I posted I'm feeling guilty. I caught up with my Shared Journeys and My Paper, My Land blogs yesterday but the deadline for entries is fast approaching so I need to bind the book and finish off one more piece. I'm working on a nesty piece which I'll either use for Shared Journeys or Nesting. I've made watermarks using blutac on fly screen with some text about nests and nesting and am making a series of nesting bowls. I have the kapok pod pulp and some corn husk pulp, I did a test run yesterday and the kapok seemed to work better than the corn husk which was nowhere near as strong.
Here are some I made a week or two ago without the text, I'll probably use those for the nesting exhibition.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Casting Workshop

The casting workshop I was meant to be holding this weekend has been postponed and moved to my home. It will now be a one day workshop on Monday 27th October 10am - 4pm, please contact me if you are interested in participating. We will be making some jewellery pieces using plaster, clay and paper.

Here is the blurb

Using Plaster to Make Cast Papers

Learn how to design clay pieces for casting in plaster and how to carve plaster to make low relief artworks. Then learn several ways to bring out the best in your pieces with paint and dye. Day one will be spent making a clay maquette and casting it in plaster. Then a slab of plaster will be carved to produce a low relief design which could be used for a book cover or a brooch. Paper will be cast into both pieces and left to dry overnight.

On day two the casts will be dried off completely and either painted or sprayed with paper dyes to pick up the design. More paper casts will be taken and there will be the opportunity to make changes to the casts if needed.

Materials fee $5 per student.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Shared Journeys workshop


Papermakers of Victoria Inc is mentoring a very special workshop in conjunction with the ‘Shared Journeys’ exhibition.

The workshop will enable you to make a one-off book using Australian plant fibres incorporating at least twelve different plant fibre papers. The book will include information about the plants and how the paper was made, printed onto handmade Australian eucalyptus paper. The white text paper has been hand made using an Australian plantation grown eucalyptus blend pulp. These papers were created using the
historic equipment employed by Kayes and Sonja van Bodegraven (Mould
and Deckle Paper mill) during a major commission of 15,000 hand made
sheets for the Crafts Council of Australia’s publication “Crafts of
Australia” - first World Crafts Exhibition - 1974 Toronto, Canada. It
was thought appropriate that the still attached watermarks of a
kangaroo designed by award winning graphic designer, Douglas Annand,
be retained to commemorate the ongoing commitment to and growth of the
art and craft of hand paper making in Australia since that time.

Each book will feature a spine of Australian timber and a unique binding that has been specially devised for this book by the tutor Gail Stiffe. Cover paper will include images of Melbourne. All materials will be provided.

Where: Victoria University

Time and Date: March 21 2009 10am – 4pm

Application forms available from:

Deadline for applications: March 1 2009

Cost: $100 plus a materials fee of $25

A ballot will be held for places, which are limited. Don’t miss this opportunity to make a uniquely Australian book – a stunning reference work. See some preliminary images at

Friday, September 26, 2008

Coming soon

I apologise to anyone looking here for the sample page for the shared journeys book as announced in the Deckle Edge, I will get it up here next week.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nesting and Hand Held

At the moment I am working towards a joint show with Zoe which will also be shown in March next year, well we have put a proposal into 69 Smith Street Gallery for a three week show from early March. The theme is nesting and it will be cyanotypes on handmade paper and a few other things. We have been getting together once a month for quite some time now and met up on Monday to coat some papers. It was a rotten day so we didn't expose any then but made some fibre paper and turned them into nests by wrapping them over rice bags.

We used a mix of fibres but some we made from pods off the kapok vine, here is a picture when it was in flower and the pods and below a couple of open pods. I made one batch with whole pods but that ended up full of seeds so for the second batch I removed the seeds and just cooked up the pods. It makes a fairly high shrinkage pulp which is a very neutral colour. The other fibres we used were asparagus stems (the tough bit you throw away when you cook asparagus) cooked with carb soda, fishbone fern stems , barley straw and banana all cooked in caustic soda. There are also a couple of gum leaves cooked in carb soda.

The weather picked up since Monday and yesterday I coated some Korean Hanji and tried that out. I wasn't at all sure it would hold together in the washing but I used a couple of large black garbage bins with lids and washed in there since I've found that cyanotypes are better washed in the dark because they keep exposing in the light and you end up with no contrast. Here is one I did yesterday on a large piece of hanji drying on the trampoline. The image of the bird is A3 size and the feathers are actual feathers, the picture looks a bit distorted because I took it from the side then tried to correct for perspective in photoshop.

I have recently taken some of my books into a new gallery in Melbourne called Hand Held, it is focussing on objects and artist books and zines. It is a nice space up towards the top of Bourke street.