Thursday, July 31, 2008

winter garden

Winter in the garden is supposed to be the quiet time.... the deciduous orchard limbs are bare after a very solid pruning this year....

... our main deciduous plot has about 30 trees - apples, peaches, nectarines, a quince, a medlar, cherry, apricot, plums, mulberry... this plot is about 8 years old now and is really producing some fabulous fruit - much of which I preserve as jams, chutney, and sauces... but for now its just pruning and preparing... the whole plot needs a good burgundy spray (an organic fungal control)...

our 'citrus grove' (I like to refer to as 'the orangery') contains about 10 trees - the oldest is a 15 year old eureka lemon (and a wonderful tree it is too!)

these are our newer additions - everything from dwarf japanese mandarin to lemonade with minor diversions to ruby grapefruit and blood oranges.... still many more citrus to plant - but I need to find an area with less frost! against the sheds perhaps.. or (wish wish) in a greenhouse... or fernhouse...or poly tunnel (dream on!)......

the thing I love about the citrus is NOW is the main harvest time for so many of them - the old eureka lemon is laden with fruit - yummmmmo

I give so many of these away - If you're visiting sams creek right now you're bound to leave with an armful of lemons.... I'm also preserving them in quarters - its so simple... just lemons and salt - how hard is that? and the results in about a month of shelf time are truly AMAZING!!!!

and when you think that the deciduous orchard is all asleep - before you know it there are blossoms appearing!

here is the first to break out - the apricot... so although the frost are still huge there's a sure sign that spring is a-coming....

and anyway all around the garden are the most wonderful winter flowers - this is a native hibiscus (this one's latin name I struggle with.... but it's lovely don't you think?)

wandering around the garden - imagining the possibilities for the season to come, weeding, wondering... is my great meditation.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

the press (kinda) in action

seeeeee - I DO have a go at the press - I'm very much a beginner and will remain an enthusiastic amateur... I don't see me churning out letterpress art publications! but you never know - I might make another round of christmas cards for family and friends... or some labels for my chutneys, pickles and preserves...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

chandler & price letterpress

The lovely story attached to this letterpress is...

I received a phone call spring last year -

Jim W: 'hey Rhonda - do you want a letterpress?'

me: 'um - ok'

Jim: 'ahh good - can you come up and grab it now - the bloke who wanted it in queensland just figured out he can't get it in his shed.... and now it's blocking my driveway.... save us!

me: 'um.... PHILLLL!!!! (enter long suffering husband with the flatbed 1 tonne ute)

(cue rain and broken crane... swearing long-suffering husband and very very steep and slippery driveway)

but we got the beast home

The thing weighs a tonne (I mean seriously - it weighs a tonne - we had to man-handle it into the studio using rolling steel tubes... it's not going anywhere - ever again!

and just before Jim left the district he raced down to Sams Creek to give me a quick run down on how to operate the machine..... I remain a rank amateur - but in the spirit of the term - I love the beastie and the process - and look forward to getting to grips with the whole deal

just in case you were wondering.... its a chandler & price clamshell letterpress - gorgeous isn't it?! and you can't see how messy the studio is from this angle!

see - here's the side of the lovely creature (is it ok to love a machine?....) you still can't see the mess of the studio...

did I mention that along with the press Jim gave me (seriously - GAVE ME - as in FREE!) not only the press - but a glorious chest of type, boxes of bits and bobs and basically everything needed to get the creature going... here's some of the delicious type..... mmmmmmmm - yummy!

and now for a very artistic shot of type...

all pics in the studio today taken by Brian Ayliffe.... yes he's my dad...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

'500 handmade books' (and 2 of them are mine!)

Look what turned up in my mailbox today..... after an extraordinarily looooong lead time '500 handmade books' has FINALLY been published by Lark Books. I had 2 pieces selected -

'cells' - a simple concertina booklet I created for my solo exhibition of 2006 (there's a pic on my website) and 'when' - a double pamphlet binding/ concertina hybrid with a hand-beaded cover!

I was quietly chuffed to be included in the publication - amongst a gob-load of american book artists and a couple of internationals... and very pleased to receive a complimentary copy...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

'Into the Fold' artist's books exhibition

'Chaos theory' fortune teller
by Rhonda Ayliffe
mixed media collage 'book'

My whimsy of a 'book' has been chosen for 'Into the Fold' - artist's books exhibition at Artisan Books, Fitzroy 2nd - 30th August (if you're in Melbourne - go see it and play with it in the flesh! )

This is the 3rd year in succession that I'm exhibiting at the annual artist's books show at Artisan... This year's piece is based on the folded paper child's game 'fortune teller' (also known as 'heaven or hell' as well as a few alternatives).