Sunday, March 28, 2010


Having been ill for a week and recovered for a week I find myself panicking about my up-coming show. I have 7 pieces of work complete, one in progress, one in the planning stage - and that doesn't seem like very many and I've only got 6 weeks to go! I am a shockingly slow worker...

Things haven't been helped by the delays with building our house, lots of Board stuff to do at school and all the usual end of term activities. We had a lovely evening at school on Friday, actually, celebrating the Japanese Autumn Moon festival (not quite on the full moon but close enough!) with Japanese singing, music and a play followed by miso soup and rice dumplings. We took along our big telescope and dearest husband spent a happy hour guiding a hundred children through tracking the moon across the sky and finding the rabbit: the Japanese equivalent of the European 'man in the moon'.

Anyway, I recently showed you pictures of that box full of blocks I received in the post (I've had lots of interesting post recently, including the latest BookArtObject book from Ida Musidora, which is fab) and I've spent a while mullling over what I want to do with it. The upshot is that it's going to be another book about family and I've been putting together the images on paper: inkjet prints of old letters, old text, hand written family trees and drawings... Each book will be slightly different; I'm only making 4 but I think that will be enough. (For me, that is, putting it all together!)

Actually none of the above made it to the final cut of images but were an important part of the process. I'm not sure what it will look like when I've finished, but that's part of the fun.

I found out yesterday that I've had a piece accepted into the annual Creative Arts Workshop show in Connecticut, USA, that was juried by none other than Hedi Kyle (she of the fabulous book art structures - I think she formalised the structure of the flag book and invented the blizzard book, among others). She seems to be an incredibly modest person but she has undoubtedly had a huge influence on artists' books in the last 30 years and her role in the exhibition is the main reason I wanted to enter. I'm so pleased she selected my work! In fact it is Learned Absence, which I made for BookArtObject, that has been selected so my last remaining book will soon be winging its way across the sea to New Haven with my hopes and prayers that it doesn't get lost en route and a hefty price tag so that if anyone does buy it, I won't grieve too much about selling it! I'm regretting now that I didn't make a larger edition, because every number will have been used up together with an 'artists' proof' and I can't - of course - make any more...

What else? Well I've had my Nature Detective hat on too this week, working out which bird it is that we've seen running across the dirt track in front of our car. It's a large-ish bird and if I was in Europe I'd describe it as being like a pheasant with stripey feathers and that looooooong tail. In fact it's called a Pheasant Coucal and you can find some great pictures of it (albeit in a totally different landscape) on Australian bird life photographer Graeme Chapman's website. I looked it up in my 'Handbook of Australian Birds' which had thus far been no help at all, and found out lots of interesting things. For example, it's actually a member of the cuckoo family and is found all up the East coast of Australia from Sydney north and thence into Indonesia and Malaysia. What's more, it's the only member of the cuckoo family not to parasitise other birds' nests: it actually builds its own, lined with eucalyptus leaves, in the bottom of big clumps of tall grasses. But what made my day was to discover that the Pheasant Coucal is the originator of the most peculiar bird call that I've been listening to at dawn and dusk for the last couple of months! The Handbook described it perfectly: a series of 'whoop, whoop' sounds, starting with two, then a pause, then an ascending series of whoops until.... silence... and then it starts again. It's such a fun sound to listen to, and now I know where it comes from.

Last but not least, I have to leave you with a giant squid!


ronnie said...

congrats on your selection in the US! and I'm winging some calming vibes your way for the up coming show.... I can well imagine the rising panic with the date looming large!

oh and I love the story of the pheasant coucal (it's not native to our area - so I'll have to go look it up in the bird book)

good luck - and don't forget to take it easy on yourself

Ida said...

how fantastic - congrats Sarah.
How many books are you planning for your show?

dinahmow said...

Well done, Sara.
The coucal intrigued me, too, the first time I heard it. Sounds like someone emptying a bottle, doesn't it?
And that squid-woo-hoo!


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