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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sidney Nolan and the Birds

I was very good today, I went to an art exhibition. Being an artist you'd think I'd go to a few, but I'm rather lazy and often don't make the effort. This is a shame because each time I do go I really enjoy it and say to myself, 'I really should do this more often.' It gets me all inspired and I want to get home and do work, or just get out my sketchbook there and then and draw.

And this is what happened today. I'd just finished listening to the last of the information about Sidney Nolan on the audio guide, seen his last inspiring pictures in the exhibition and while I was waiting for my mum to complete her experience I sat on a slopey seat, looking out the window at the trains curving into Flinders Street Station.
The exhibition was so good it must have pre-inspired me and I did drawings before I even went in! This was in the morning while I was having a camomile tea in Flinders Station and the little sparrows and pigeons were hopping around the cafes and perching on the ornate lamps.

So, anybody know of any other good exhibitions to go to?!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Loopy, skinny, squawly, sweetpea, just a hungry cat

When we first moved into our flat last year a cat appeared at our doorstep. He was black and thin and intent on getting in through the front door. 'Hooray,' I thought, 'we have a cat!' 'Oh no!' Jeremy thought, 'we have a cat.'

I soon found out that the cat belonged to a guy who lived upstairs, but regularly visited anyone who'd give him attention. Jeremy is allergic to cats (I never thought I could ever end up with someone like this!) so the cat only comes to visit me when Jeremy is out. I feed him because he is so skinny and hide the cat food from Jeremy. Sometimes Jeremy finds it while looking for a tin of beans at the back of the cupboard and gives me a despairing sigh.

His real name is Loopy, but I have a range of names for him. Sometimes I think he's really just hungry for affection. Then when he's had his fill he sits patiently at the inside of our front door until I let him out. Off he goes
to the neighbours, to make them feel sorry for him too.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Four Legged Friend Exhibition

Tomorrow night at Bird's Gallery in Kew, Melbourne, an exhibition opens called Four-Legged Friends. The exhibition runs from 19th Feb - 15th March.

I have three works included in the exhibition. They are dry point etchings and are taken from drawings I made while at Wye River last month. It was quite a rush to get them made and framed in time. I actually had the frames made before I was even able to make the etchings! This was possible because I had already made the plates for the etchings so knew what size the pictures would turn out.

These are my sketches from Wye River

I was pleased with how they turned out because I find it far easier to draw birds with only two legs rather than dogs, cats, cows or other four legged creatures, so when these drawings actually did look like dogs I was happy.

To make the plates I dry point etched into a thin perspex sheet with a sharp pointed needle. I decided to use sepia ink for a softer image.
They are each from an edition of 5, marked E.V. for Edition Variable. The variations are caused due to my technique of rubbing back the ink. I don't rub all the ink back beacuse I want to create tone in areas where there is no line work. It is very difficult (for me) to rub the ink in the exact same way for each print, thus E.V.!

In a few weeks time I will hopefully be listing the rest of the edition of these etchings in my etsy shop. Keep a look out for them, or just visit Bird's Gallery in Kew to see them in real life!

Or come and see me at Rose Street Artist's Market where I have a stall most Saturdays.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Where is it, I'm sure I saw it just the other day?

I'm on a search for black thread, I'm sure I have some somewhere. It's one of those things you're sure you saw on the bookshelf, no, on top of the fridge, no, it was definitely on the floor in a corner by the chest of drawers. But it's not in any of these places! I'm very frustrated, I'm sure I have about six reels of black thread but can never find them so I go and buy yet another one. I'm making a little felt car for Jeremy for valentines and it's missing the wheels on the right hand side. I started making it at work where there is a plentiful supply of black thread, but now alas I am having a black thread drought.

Anyway, to take my mind off the futile search I will show you my new Gocco print.

Right then, I've found some black bookbinding thread, which is rather thick, but it'll have to do. Back to sewing...

Monday, February 11, 2008


Ok, so I've been tagged by both AnnaLaura and CurlyPops which I think means I have to tag other people and tell 7 facts about me. I don't know many other people's blogs, but I'll do my best, I've found a few lovely ones, I wonder if I can find them again?

Ok, 7 facts about me.

1. I have lived 4 years in Nottingham, 15 years in Belfast, 1 year in Liverpool, 1 year in Co. Kilkenny, 3 months in Amsterdam, 5 years in Edinburgh, 2 1/2 years in Melbourne. But for some reason that doesn't add up to my age. ?

2. I still dream about my cat Freddy. He's been dead for 5 years now.

3. I can crochet and have made two big blankets which we have in our living room. One I gave to Jeremy for christmas last year. I made it while travelling through USA on the trains, going to the strangest suburbs of various US cities to find wool shops!

4. I'm a bit ossessed with the antique. I love old things. I used to wear Victorian skirts which would trail about behind me, but they are not very good for cycling in and since cycling is my main source of transport these days I mostly wear trousers. Also my waist isn't as small as it once was and it's a bit of a tight fit into those old skirts. I still have them though!
5. I believe the best thing about Scotland and the thing I miss the most is ceilidh dancing. Ceilidh (pronounced kay-ley) dancing is scottish dancing, everyone gets together, there is a caller who shouts you through the steps, the band plays and off you go. It's the best fun ever. People have them for weddings, 21st birthday parties, Burn's Night Suppers, any excuse. They just don't have them over here in Australia and I miss it. boo hoo!

6. My sister in law is Siberian, last year we all went out to Surgut in Central Siberia for the wedding. It was -36!

The first photo is my family in Surgut, (I'm on the far right), the second is the bride and groom, the third is Jeremy and I jumping for joy (and warmth)

7. I have now procrastinated for over an hour and I need to have a shower, wash my hair and get on with all the things I should be doing!

I am tagging The Curious Rabbit and Hollabee and JewelRee
I know thats not 7 but I'm only new and don't know 7! and I really really have to have that shower.

And the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Now go forth and tag!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

bike, stall ,the market and distractions

I'm being distracted at the moment by an episode of Black Books I haven't seen before, so blame all spelling mistakes and incomprehensivness on that.

I set off this morning to Rose Street Artist's Market, a bit wobbly, bike packed up, I found the more knots the better in reguards to keeping all the stuff firmly inplace.
Here's a picture.
Here's my stall

Here's the outside of Rose Street

Here's the inside of Rose Street

A thorough blog today eh!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Back in the APW. Hooray!

Yesterday was my first day back at the Australian Print Workshop. Last year I was at Uni so I used the facilities there, but I'm glad to be back at APW, I missed it.

So I spent a long hard day in the workshop trying to get etchings made for markets and galleries, in 8 hours I managed 16 etchings, it's such a slow labour intensive process, but well worth while. I'm working on editioning two prints at the moment, hopefully I'll have them ready for next weekend.

I always choose to use the little old wooden press, instead of the big spring assisted presses. Apart from it always being free because no one else wants to use it, I like the feeling of really putting all of my effort into turning the wheel and pulling the print through. I am often seen with my feet off the ground putting all my weight onto the arms of the wheel to get it turning. It's good exercise!

For each picture you have to ink up the copper plate, it's a messy process and the ink is very thick. You scrape the ink on with an applicator, then with tarlatan (a mesh like material) you rub the ink into the etched lines. Then with another piece of tarlatan you rub the ink back so the rest of the plate's surface is clean. See how the ink is black in the etched lines but the rest of the plate is clean and coppery. I give the plates a final polish with a page from a phone book and then they are ready to print.

Line up the plates using a template under an acetate sheet, get the soaking paper from the water bath, dry it off a bit, line it up over the plates, fold down the etching blankets, then, with all your might, turn the wheel to pull the print bed through the roller and voila! Your etching has been made. Phew!

Now, start all over again for the next one.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The First Illustration

My mum, back in Northern Ireland, owns a successful coffee shop. It's called The Bay Tree. She has owned it for about 10 years now, and she worked in it for about ten years before that. She has built it up to what it is today, which is a very well known, very well regarded eating establishment! My brother and his wife also work there so it has become quite a family business. I feel a bit left out over here in Australia!

My part to play in the Bay Tree story is connected to The Bay Tree Books that my mum has written, well, she wrote one a few years ago, and is currently in the process of writing the second. They are cookbooks and are full of delicious recipes that she regularly uses in the coffee shop. My job is to illustrate the cookbooks and I've just completed my first of many illustrations for the new book. Here it is below.

It was made on my trusty print gocco machine, which I am still in love with!

So, if you are ever in Northern Ireland and feeling a bit peckish, I highly recommend The Bay Tree Coffee House and definitely try the famous cinnamon scones. These scones are so delicious people come from far and wide for a taste. Seriously.

Just thought that I should add that once the new Bay Tree Book is out I'll post the fact on here, it may not be until next christmas though. But my mum is thinking of going onto etsy to sell it to a wider audience. Maybe she should do that for the first one too? I'll mention it to her! Keep an eye out on my blog for it!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Market Stall Logistical Solutions

Since starting doing markets back in November I have been relying on other people to get me and my stuff to the market places. Big thankyous to Hayley who has driven me around, big thankyous to Barry for lending me his car on occasions and a big thankyou to Jeremy for early morning drives to Camberwell.
From now on though I'm going to be self-sufficient and eco-friendly! It's going to be just me and my bike going to Rose Street Artist's Market. The fact that Rose Street supply the tables/boxes makes life so much easier.

Now I just need to buy a length of rope and learn a few good knotting techniques. I'll show you the results on Saturday! But for the time being marvel upon my great carrying machine.

On my way to the bike shop to get the rack fixed I stopped off for lunch. There is a lovely little place on Smith Street called Wood Spoon that cooks lovely Japanese food and at a very good price. Yum! Here is a picture I drew while eating my delicious lunch.

Interview time

While on etsy a few weeks ago I found a thread on the forums page asking sellers if they wanted to be included in a new blog which interviews etsy sellers. I added my name and battlemaiden (the author of the blog) sent me a questionaire. She is posting new interviews every few days and it makes good reading. Click here for the main page, and click here for my interview.