Monday, February 28, 2011

speed dating...

For the past two days (not ALL day, both days, mind you) I've been brushing up and then letting loose in 'speed dating for artists'

(here is my portfolio - an ordinary A3 folder that I customised with a quirky felt covering)

For those not familiar - 'speed-dating' aims to bring artists and galleries together - it's supposed to be a fast, furious, fun way for both sides to meet..... and given the tyranny of distance that we non-urban arteests often experience, it's a valuable opportunity to meet and press the flesh with lots of arty folk from far far away. The outcome (so the industry gods watching over and helping with the funding of the event are hoping) is that the meet-and-greet might lead to ever-lasting loooove between artist and gallery

'Speed dating' kicked off in Australia in the Northern Rivers arts region (northern NSW) a couple of years ago - and we had the original project's co-ordinator (the delightful Merinda... gosh I hope I got that name right.... I'm DREADFUL with remembering names) and her head-honcho (Tony) down these past couple of days to oversee and assist. The South East Arts Region (SEAR) is the third region to have a 'speed-dating' event (Orange recently had a version - again this was overseen by Northern Rivers speed-dating gurus)

Now this story actually began a couple of months ago - with a call to artists on the coast and hinterland (ie - the  Eurobodalla, Bega Valley, Cooma-Monaro, Bombala and Snowy River Shires) to participate.... 24 artists from the extended region were then selected (and as you've gathered - yes I was one).

Fast forward to yesterday - when we artists came together in the Dolphin Room, Club Sapphire, Merimbula ....

(most of the arteests are in this shot... there are a few lurking in the right hand corner...
I've got to say - I didn't see any dolphins in the 'Dolphin' room)

First - We had to LEARN how to speed date. To give you an idea of the process try this - in under 2 mins introduce yourself and explain what you do.... (you can do this irrespective of whether or not you're an artist)  oh and remember to assume you are talking to a stranger

ready... set.... GO!

(tick tick tick tick TIME'S UP!)

not easy eh!

well THAT we soon learned, is the nasty reality of speed dating

(some of us found it more fast and furious than others...
here's the totally unflappable tim and tanja enjoying a nice cuppa on practice afternoon)

We also got to enjoy an illuminating chat from Randi at King Street Gallery (Sydney) who told us all about the realities of running a commercial gallery - from the percentage and pricing structures, (and how some commercial galleries ask for 50% or more commission..... or ask for a percentage of prize monies earned... corrr!)  to expenses (who pays for what - from opening night eats and drinks, to catalogues, advertising, and the very scary 'incidentals')

I've got to say, for a commercial gallery virgin (that's me!) it was a REAL eye-opener. I think what most of us found seriously illuminating was how few new artists each commercial gallery takes on (eg...... one or none..... in years and years)... hmmmmmmm I think it made more than just a few of us go 'well what are we all here for then?!' (whilst the very self- assured I suspect were thinking 'yep that's me.... I'm the ONE!')

I had no such delusions

and no expectations whatsoever for the coming day - other than hope to learn even more about the inner machinations of the commercial art beast

NOW IT'S TODAY (oooh the power of bloggy time travel)

up early - wet drive back to Merimbula (this time to the far more attractive Merimbula Aquarium.... setting for the real speedy speed dating for artists

(this is just part of the view from the verandah.... 
now how on earth did the organisers think artists or gallery folk are going to concentrate with such a stunning setting!)

artists and gallery directors and the 'art police' were gathering

At 9.10am the first round of dating began. There were 12 galleries (6 local, 6 from afar) in attendance. Each artist was set to date 6 directors (3 local, 3 away galleries) in rapid succession (we had a total 5mins face-to-face time with each one.... and that is no time at all is it?!). The 'art police' (aka SEAR director Andrew Gray and cohort) made sure that time was STRICTLY adhered to..... a soft whistle was given at the 4min mark, and we were meant to then be wrapping up.... so that by the unrelenting whistle blast at 5min we should be standing up, ready to move on!

(never mess with the boys and girls in blue...)

I'm sure that aussie arty folk are simply DYING to know what galleries attended..... on the home team we had: Bega Valley Regional Gallery, Spiral Gallery, Narek, Ivy Hill, Bilyara and The Crossing (I got to meet with Narek, BVRG and Bilyara) And on the away team (wait for this....drum roll please): King Street Gallery, Barry Keldoulis Gallery, Rex Irwin Gallery, Iain Dawson Gallery all from Sydney, Beaver Gallery from Canberra and Anita Traverso Gallery from Melbourne (I met BKG, Anita Traverso and Beaver - all lovely peeps I must say)

After the formal 'date' time, there was a less formal opportunity for artists to meet and press the flesh with some of the directors they didn't get to met via dating

OK its late here at the creek - and I should wrap up this VERY long post - I'll give you my quick verdict (and hang off on the more philosophical one - where I question the whole commercial art scene - for another day) 

The whole thing was less nerve-wracking than I expected (there's no time to get nervous really..... before you know it, you've moved to the next person). I was intrigued by the various responses to my work (isn't it always interesting to see the same pieces of work garnering all the attention....), I had some nice suggestions of things to think about (all put into the smush of my brain.... who knows what will come of the advice) and had a GREAT time meeting arty folk who I have only known as names (and here I'm mostly talking about local artists). THAT was the highlight of things for me (oh but I've got to say - it was fascinating watching how some artists worked the room in the free time session..... oh boy some people are real GO-GETTERS! me - I mostly hung waaaaaay back and soaked up the scene... I sat and chatted with Tony from Northern Rivers.... which proved to be a VERY interesting talk indeedy)

did I find looooove?

well maybe ..... I loved the look of that wharf!

so I released one of my books to feel the moment....

(ps I also made some other work - but it's too late and I'm too tired... it will have to wait)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

butterfly summer...

My buddliea bushes are all a-flutter with a bevvy of butterfly beauties....

Orchard swallowtails (one girl being chased by two boys...... ahhh it must be hard to be a popular female!)


Macleay's swallowtail - I've never seen this one here before.... oooo excitement!
my purple plantings are working their magic attracting the pretty butterfly boys and girls

gosh but they are a gorgeous sight!

 I've never seen so many butterflies in the garden before

I hope they are here to stay!


Monday, February 21, 2011

an embarassment of riches....

I've just returned from Bega (which usually causes me to grumble deeply for the rest of the day - me-no-likey going shopping in the Big Town....)

but today was a little different...

Today I drove in to meet up with Fiona and Barry who were travelling from Queensland through to Victoria (with a stop over in Canberra .... I think that's how it went) and the pair graciously (amazingly) made a HUGE detour (like a 6hr round trip in hire car..) to come down the coast to check out my small show at Spiral, and for us to meet up (we've never met - oh other than in blog- and email-land)

 ooo look it's a rare 'ronnie' pic..... looking my usual disheveled self - with ever-present boots
and the fabulishous fiona (barry held the camera so he's managed to stay incognito)
alongside are some of my bits in spiral..... I'm getting in first with this post/pictorial spread -
as I suspect barry has some damning pics of we girls doing beastly things with that 'serpent book' in the background....

Now as if it wasn't enough for these two to travel alllllll the way down the Very Big Hill (aka the Brown Mountain) - they then supported the work in words and deeds..... THEN as we skipped off to Cafe Evolve for a restorative cup of fair trade coffee barry whipped out two little handmade metal gifts (what the?! my cup runneth over already!)

please excuse the 'soft focus' shots....

look silver leaf.....

and four/fold bowl.....

(you can correct me when you resurface if I got that wrong barry!)

I just wanted everyone to know that the first thing I did when I got home was not to unpack the frozen goods.... no, it was to place these two treasures into my 'treasure cabinet' - they have good company - as everything in my cabinet is a priceless treasure - like my great-grans little ceramic doggie, my nan's crocheted milk jug cover, a scrub wren nest, a lyrebird tail feather, a glass unicorn and more.... I trust you approve barry!

today was vindication and verification of the loveliness of people and the good things that can flow from just a little blogginess.... it was sooo nice to meet and chat and sip my super-duper weak latte with what I could only describe as new old buddies....

(oh and talking new old buddies - for all my BAO mates - I took my collection of our BAO edition one and anna's marvelous work for edition two - for fiona and barry to fondle.... and I got to fondle a couple of fiona's works too! mmmmmmmmmm booooks - they sure bring folks together!)


Saturday, February 19, 2011


'codex interruptum' - the interrupted book
some more pics for all of you that can't get to the show....

(if you are able to get to Sprial Gallery between now and March 9 -
avert ye eyes now lest you ruin the surprise!)

Through the door to the right.... 'codex nautilus' with the installation 'navicula' on the floor
(nicely bounded by the
strange crappy coloured cement floor insert)  

on the right hand wall - as well as photographic works that you can't see (a girlie has to keep just a little bit of mystery...) there's a skinny little shelf that seems purpose-built for 'serpens volumen' arcus pluvius (it wasn't btw)...  above is 'virtus libris' (the virtuous book) and below is a de/recontruction of its (dirty) components - 'virtus ex libris' (virtues from the book)

if we quickly rush back to the front door again....

to our left we have various photographic work along with the installation of ‘panton volvit plenus orbis’ – (everything turns full circle) that has my carved reclaimed high school 'Gardeners' text..... 'ars gratia artis' perched on a plinth

(I do hope my old high school teachers don't come and look inside the cover of this unreturned textbook..... if they spy the 'Bega High School' stamp they may try to claim the work... hee hee hee)

at the back of the space on the left is my little 'book' shop with ‘novus libri scientia’  (The New book of Knowledge) overhead.... (I'm so pleased I included this little celebration of the craft of book binding... not only will it no doubt be the only place where I may recoup some of the exhibition costs.... it is a celebration of craft and bookyness amongst scenes of book destruction!)

oh and how did the opening go did you ask? 
very very very very very 
I served huge platters of fresh fruit (mmmm yummy watermelon) and my mummy made her world infamous corn relish dip (very retro, as one arty friend pointed out) 
a small collection of mostly non-arty folk attended 
(and I thank every single one of you for braving the hid-e-ous conditions)
 my little 'book' shop was quite a hit

(mmmmm books!)

My favourite thing over the past few days of set up has been young kids coming past and spying the little paper boats in the window - they then come to the doorway to peek inside.... sometimes I see the same young ones returning (dragging reluctant parents along for the ride).... it's great to see them curious and thinking....

My least favourite thing has been the damn sticky stuff on the back of the magnarts (the magnetic hanging gizmos..... I'll show and tell more on these another time for the uninitiated).... in the durn humidity the sticky stuff hasn't been sticking! eeegads!

My favourite peeps have been (and I thanks them from the bottom of my weary little body): my spiralette curator - kimmy (heart of gold, patience of a saint, talented as all get-out); Chris and Rob (and shop girls) at Fletchers Bega (you guys are the best.... really... the best); Poppy and Emma and Tanja and old mates and new mates for making it to opening night.

and of course - de family (where would I be without my loving, caring, patient, giving, spectacular mob.....?)

now..... on to the next huge job...
(the garden looks dreadful!)


Thursday, February 17, 2011

mostly up....

After a looooong day installing - 'codex interruptum'  is (mostly) up...

here are a few sneaky peeks...

 'navicula' (the little boat)
installation of origami boats constructed from encyclopaedia pages
and encyclopaedia tower islands

 ‘panton volvit plenus orbis’ – (everything turns full circle)
installation of coptic bound circular 'book' forms
created from reclaimed atlases
dimensions variable

 this is the REAL installation - and not just a faked up one (using sticky tape and the hall wall!)

view through the space
with some booky things in the middle
leading off to a fiery back wall - featuring the photographic trio
'sic transit gloria mundi' (thus passes the glory of the world)

I still have some things to do in the space...
more things to bring to spots allocated...
the works list to complete....
 and all the opening night things to organise...
(like - what to wear.... agghhh!)

but before I get to the opening of my exhibition -
I have the district school swimming carnival to attend with our little fish-boyo sass

It's certainly not easy to do all things
at all times
for all the different parts
that make you a whole person....

but try we must!

**p.s. if you are in the area tomorrow evening 

please feel welcome to come along - It's going to be a very low-key opening night celebration

47 Church St
Bega NSW 2550

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Only two days until I have to install 'codex interruptum' 


I have other deadlines and pressing things all vying for my immediate attention

like my entry for Sculpture on the Edge

which is why today I found myself doing a fake (mini) install of work on my hall wall....

‘panton volvit plenus orbis’ – (everything turns full circle)
installation of coptic bound circular 'book' forms
created from reclaimed atlases
dimensions variable

I'm going to be one of the speakers at the SotE sculpture symposium - March 6
the topic for the day is: 
'Monumental vs Ephemeral :
The Changing Face of Sculpture'

no prizes for guessing what side I'm representing!


Sunday, February 13, 2011


 In the garden today...
butterflies butterflies everywhere...

 I think this is a common grass-blue... on an african daisy
(there are HUNDREDS of these tiny beauties flitting around the flowers)

 cabbage white on the buddliea leaf
(doesn't it look so sweet here.... yet it's so naughty in the vege garden -
thankfully I don't have any brassicas planted right now - or they'd be dinner!)

 unidentified beauty resting on the house
(I think it's a skipper... I'm just not sure which - if you know please tell!)

 Meadow Argus on the dahlia
(common though it may be I think the meadow argus is adorable)

 Monarch on the buddliea
(it's not a native - but lovely eh?)

I also spied an orchard swallowtail and another very pretty (unidentified) flutterby flitting around the blue and purple flowers (especially planted to attract the butterflies). Every time I spy a butterfly I'm reminded of the words of Rabindranath Tagore: 'The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough'


Saturday, February 12, 2011

paranoia and perplexment...

This morning I awoke to find that this little space had received an awful lot of visitors overnight from lands far, far away (russia to be exact) .... and my first thought was: 'uh-oh... here comes spamalot and the invasion of the zombie computers'.... I readied myself for the onslaught (and the inevitable security hassles)

first I thought I'd follow one link to see where it lead.... and here's a snippet of what I discovered...

 yep I've been picked up by a russian booky blogger...

(do you think the text up there says 'hey check out this krazy ozzie womans - see if you can spot the nasal hair in this old profile pic I have snaffled'...)

a quick pass of the text through google translator (who needs to learn the language when you can just feed whole swathes of the stuff into google...) allowed me to see that this blogger ('happy book year') was mostly keen to just show what I get up to with books....

but it did stop me in my tracks for more than a minute..... I know this happens to everyone all the time  but it does make me feel just a little weirded out (do you feel the same way when this happens to you?)....

I don't have a drama with folk wanting to share things - especially when they are essentially being very nice about what I get up to, and they link in all the appropriate places (always appreciated) - but do you think I'm being old-fashioned to expect a courtesy request beforehand? Maybe it's just too difficult (what with language and time differences?).... maybe I'm just being paranoid about those zombie computers trying to take over my little space....

And let's not get started on the subject of copyright (that's a whole other ball of wax that I'm currently giving quite a bit of thought to.... some eagle-eyed folk may have noticed that I have registered my sams creek bookworks blog with creative commons - allowing for conditional sharing of content ... I am currently considering implications of creative commons licences for a great deal of my other webby work also - including making my HDR project freely available after it is complete.... but that's another tale for another day... )

If you are randomly dropping by and reading this (*cheerio wave*) I'm always more than happy to share - you can copy words etc as long as you attribute and link please - you don't need to ask first (although I do like to meet new and interesting peeps... and I don't bite) - if you'd like to share images of my artywork - I would appreciate a quick note beforehand  - and a link etc afterwards.... do you think that sounds reasonable?

And as for outright stealing - well that's never on is it! (I've had MANY experiences of this! mostly I can't stand folk passing of my work as their own..... YECH! get a life!)

How about everyone else? I'd love to hear your experiences/thoughts on internet content sharing.... the good, the bad, and the down right ugly ....

**ps - it's now less than a week until my solo show opens - eeeeeeeek - no wonder I've gone all paranoid!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

look to the skies...


(a verandah resident -  a friend tells me it's an orb weaver spider ....
I'm not sure about spiders - but I certainly can empathise with the bug right now!)

Right now I feel I have so much to do, no time to do it in and that everything -  EVERYTHING - I do is WRONG..... agghhhh! What fool willingly puts their hand up to do a solo exhibition?! It's hard at the best of times - and THIS is NOT the Best Of Times.... I'm starting to feel that I'm something like a clockwork mouse - who has been wound up too tight (any second now I suspect something is going to go PING and it will all turn pear-shaped!).

I can't speak for all mums, but I can tell it how I find it - and I find it almost IMPOSSIBLE to get the balance right with kids and work and creative stuff..... this last week I've had swimming carnivals (we have stupidly sporty kidlins) and multiple committee meetings and dairy diversions and EJ's Big Birthday Pool Party and printing deadlines and garden disasters and arty deadlines (missed! agghh!) and FP heading off interstate alongside all the usual dramas....

I try not to dwell on the difficulties... but I rarely have time out (note to self - remember to breathe!)

Yesterday, when I was over on the other farm, checking out the progress on the new dairy I noticed my favourite trio had dropped in for a visit....


I love wedge-tail eagles... they are so HUGE yet so agile and elegant. Up close (and I've only had the opportunity to get really close a couple of times) they are breath-taking. I love how they catch an updraft and UP, UP, UP they go high into the sky.... It's not hard to imagine why raptors are the subject of myths and legends around the globe.

Yesterday there were three big birds circling the paddocks together - looking for a meal (the wedgies like to come out on days with cloud and great updrafts). I'm not sure what the relationship between the three birds is - especially after watching a bit of mid-air action....

(ps the birds are a fair distance away - and I only have a max of 105mm lens on the Nikon - so these pics are a bit grainy)

... but they are welcome regulars to the farm -  and the sight of them yesterday really lifted my spirits. I always take it as a good omen when the wedgies visit....

here's hoping so!


Sunday, February 6, 2011


oh.... my..... golly-gosh-goodness 

has it been HUMID or what?!!!


I've been trying to make things.... with paper... in the insane heat and humidity.... Earlier in the week I made a start on wrestling paper ... but EVERYTHING is sweating.... (three questions for friends living in the tropics: WHY????? .... HOW???!!!! ... WHY!!!!!)

Yesterday it was just ridiculous... I had a towel wrapped around my neck trying to catch sweat forming at my hairline from rolling down onto the paper and book projects I had stoopidly thought that I might be able to manage.  I think it was rather fitting (even though it proved completely impossible in the humidity) to attempt to make my very first limp-bound leather journal....


I finished the limpy ones today - after the icky heat has FINALLY dissipated
(it's positively arctic here today - mmmmmmmm much better!)

(on these journals I tried out something a little different -
the closure is a wrap-around leather tie with a sewn leather 'whatsit')

 this one is my favourite - and it was the simplest 
the pages are canson mi-teintes
the closure is simply an organza ribbon threaded through a slot.... too easy!

I really enjoyed this structure and I can't believe I've never tried it before. It was much easier than I expected and the outcome was much nicer than anticipated (I think it was the idea of using leather that previously had me all a-quiver.... but as I acquired a small stash of leathers along with all that yummy bookbinding gear last year - well, I felt less pressured about making 'mistakes')

I'm going to revisit this structure again very soon - right now I'm recharging in the cool temperatures (I can enjoy a nice hot cuppa again) - it's only 12 sleeps until the opening of 'codex interruptum'