Wednesday, April 30, 2014

sticky situation...

 in the studio
I've been arranging those bits of paper

and sticking them down

so with the addition of a few bits and bobs
I go from this...

to this...

I love how you can start a collage without any real intentions
and as you stumble over random images and paper bits
*something* emerges

One of my ways of working is to start with an interesting image

and see where it takes me...

add a few bits from maps and a pocket ready reckoner?

draw some lines?

(and I think it's done)

connections. ecosystems. community. economy. history.

At other times things get a lot messier and layered

with gesso and fabric

and rice paper and 'bits'

(and more gesso and more bits)

until I ask myself - is it finished yet?


looking looking looking

and while I look and think

I work on another piece...

what more does this need?

do I add things? (or take things away?)


looking looking looking

long looking is one of my main strategies in art making -
I may make rapid movements at times -
especially when the glue is drying out on my brush
but I take a looooooooong LOOOOOOONG time

looking looking looking


thinking thinking thinking

in between the sloshing of paste and paint...

 Sometimes, rather than layers and layers
of paper and paint and concept and meaning

 I just play with the original image by filling the voids with patterns...

I find it therapeutic and soothing
to systematically fill in a white space

and let go of all that thinking


Monday, April 28, 2014

lets talk collage...

 coll- age (n) :
1. a
technique of composing a work of
art by pasting on a single surface various materials not normally associated with one another, as newspaper clippings, parts of photographs, theatre tickets, and fragments of an envelope. 

I've always liked a nice bit of collage --- since high school I've been partial to a bit of cut and paste (old school style - with scissors and scalpel and a big pot of glue). Collage and assemblage have been an integral part of my arts practice for the past few decades. Hannah Höch has long been one of my favourite artists. I love the collage/ assemblages of Joseph Cornell. I love what aussie artists (and booky people) Gracia and Louise and Glen Skien have been doing with collage.

Collage is my 'go-to' creative activity. When I'm in between arty projects - there's collage. When I only have a small amount of time for creative endeavours - there's collage. When I can't quite figure out how to resolve an arty piece - there's collage. When I am feeling 'meh' about everything - there's collage. Collage has saved the day (and my sanity) more times than I can say 'pass the paste please'.

There are many things I like about collage. It's super economical - with a pile of old newspapers and a pot of home made paste you're set to go. It can be very friendly on the environment - I don't really have 'waste' in my studio, I keep the smallest teeny bits of paper scraps in a dedicated tin, because, you know, they might be useful *someday* ...

Almost ANYTHING can be used in collage (which does tend to make one hoard stuff like envelopes, tickets, receipts, cardboard boxes, fabric scraps, buttons, bottle tops, foil packets and paper of all sorts)....

yes I have an even bigger tin dedicated to used postage stamps
and you don't want to see my collections of buttons!

I love how you can start with a couple of areas of paint and add postage stamps and bits of used paper and more paint, and more paper bits until a story emerges...

mixed media collage 2001

I love how disparate 'stuff' can be brought together and all sorts of interesting things can happen...



I love the graphic and abstract possibilities. I love the fluidity and ease of making... I even love slopping paste and glue around, despite knowing that I'll get adhesives all over the place... Most of all I love how the quirky juxtapositions of collage create ambiguity, dichotomy and layers of meaning.... mostly from materials that many would consider rubbish...

mmmmmm collage is goooooooooood

And so once more my creative spirit has (re)turned to collage. Yesterday I scattered some of my collage materials on my big studio table, sorted through until I found some interesting initial images to play with and pasted these onto some backing board... (collage is, if nothing else, a marvelously playful activity - I suspect that's why I find is so durn enjoyable - and why it recharges my arty batteries)

let the play session begin!

It all may seem to go horribly wrong - but all I have to do is slop on some more paint or gesso or paper or machinery parts (yes I've been known to create collage/assemblages from anything at hand - including my grandmother's 1950s mixmaster once) so how bad can it be....

wellllll time will tell....


Saturday, April 19, 2014

carpe diem on blurb...

 remember when I said I'd made a little book?

(a little blurb book)

gosh it seems such a looooooong time ago

it was just a few days before everything turned upside down here at the creek

so after that unexpected delay

here 'tis on the blurb site for ya'll to peruse etc.

'carpe diem'

a year of book/art gestures

ps - shortly I will have another blurby offering

but more about that in the fullness of time


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

signed, sealed, delivered...


ps I'm currently making a little something-something 
to share bits of my MFA thesis with interested folk

stay tuned, please be patient


Sunday, April 6, 2014

coping mechanisms and the new normal...

Let me start out this post by confessing

I'm weary
really really really weary

 this weary is a tiredness that sinks into the bones and sits there like a heavy rock

I have very little time and even less head (or heart) space
to do anything much beyond getting through each day...

my studio remains abandoned
my garden is a weedy patch
all my friends have been neglected

When I first became a mother (almost 12 years ago - oh myyyyyy where has that time gone?????) I thought I was reasonably prepared for the forthcoming changes that parenthood may bring: lack of sleep, financial struggles, stress in the relationship, feelings of inadequacy, the shift of priorities... Ready or not I was willing. I jumped into parenthood with eyes and heart wide open....

Despite all those things coming absolutely true (and then some!!! oooo the cranky-making views of society on motherhood - it stirs my feminist ire to GRRRRRR level --- while simultaneously I am brought to my knees by pangs of mother-guilt when I've had to leave my babies to go to work or study.... ooo the bitter dichotomy) - motherhood is the biggest, baddest, kick-arse, all-consuming best thing that I have ever done (or hope to do).




I must say

the last few weeks have been quite a 'challenge'

I don't know that there is any way to really prepare for when life takes a side street
 - you just have to go down that road gripping the steering wheel tightly

(and it's been a white knuckle ride at times these past few weeks let me tell you... )

damn you darstedly diabetes

 (these are a couple of applique/quilt/banner/cloth 'things' abandoned over a decade ago...
how apt they now appear to these weary eyes)

Ahhhh gads! Enough already of my whiny tone! (I'm not usually one to complain about life... the way I see it - there are always people having a far nastier time of things - I am totally aware that we live a privileged life - and if I temporarily forget - wellllllll I only need step outside and breathe deeply the good country air and pat one of the many good country hounds...)

 look at my 'mini' hounds now!
Sigma (tiggy tiggy) and Gamma - they are growing up so fast


When our kidlets were itty-bitty I had to shift the way I worked to accommodate their itty-bitty people needs - so instead of my (then) usual fine arts/calligraphic practice (which demanded a certain amount of uninterrupted time and attention to detail) I turned to things that could be picked up and put down without the need for cleaning up or getting icky-gunk all over my person --- Yup - I picked up yarn and cloth and thread and beads (you might remember me sharing this a while ago?) and it shouldn't come as a surprise that this is where my hands and heart are heading again. Not to Big Important Artyness.... instead I'm only interested in little utilitarian projects.... 

mending/altering a pair of overalls

thinking about knitting farmer phil a warm woolly jumper

and finishing that quilt I put away about a (gulp) decade ago

(and contemplating that little book/cloth project also put away a long time ago -
but its just too much to sink my teeth into again right now...)

Next school term I head back to a few casual days teaching each fortnight


I know I need to keep my hands moving to keep my insides still

(you know what I mean?)