Saturday, November 03, 2012

Following Wordpress blogs

Ronnie just commented about following Wordpress blogs in Blogger and I'm hoping the following information will help - I've been following Dinahmow's blog "More Idle Thoughts" in Wordpress for a few years now, and all I did was add her to my reading list on Blogger.  The main reason I've moved off Blogger is that earlier this year Google decided not to support the version of IE that we use, which made posting to my Blogger blogs very hard indeed.  Although upgrading to Windows 8 has definitely improved the situation there are many things about the new Blogger interface that really annoy me and blogging on Blogger just isn't as much fun for me as it used to be. 

From what I can see, though, following a Wordpress blog from the new Blogger interface should be fairly easy: when I log into Blogger I see a "My Blogs" section first which lists the blogs on which I am an author.  Underneath is a section called "Reading List" which you can expand to show the blogs you follow.  If you click on "Add" (button just below "Reading List")  you are prompted to add the URL of the blog you wish to follow.

If you have problems, let me know and I'll do some more research!

The blog has moved!

Want to know about Brain Pickings?  Please change your link to this blog and follow me over to HERE...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Plus ca change

Plus c'est le meme chose, or something.  This is the last time I'll be posting on THIS blog because... I've moved house!  To see the continuing exploits of DoubleElephant please change your settings by following this link to my new address: 

See you at the new place!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sleepy tired

We got back from a few days away "up North" yesterday, and today has been slow and easy as a result.  The trip was the first in a while, but we wanted to go and visit friends who've taken over a motel in Stanthorpe, in the "granite belt" wine making district in Queensland, as well as visiting my dear stepson and his partner who have just moved house in Brisbane.  Wine became a bit of a theme!  For some reason we hadn't really anticipated the fact that darling daughter would wish to spend most of her time at the motel in the company of her bestie Belinda, despite the fact that the trip was partly to give them both a chance to catch up with each other, but the net result was that dearest husband and I had a free day.  Naturally we chose to spend it driving around the local wineries and other food-y places, but I wish to emphasise that we did NOT GO MAD and stopped sipping after only three wineries, mainly because we don't have any money and it's torture visiting these places and not being able to buy a bottle of the lovely stuff you've just tasted!  Instead we interspersed the wine tasting with cheese tasting and a visit to a cider farm, and had a lovely drive through the local national park.  I've never visited that part of the country before and it was lovely: lots of huge granite outcrops (unsurprisingly) and fields full of vines or apple trees in bloom.

After the bucolic bliss of Stanthorpe we got a small hit of city life with two nights in Brisbane.  Stepson and partner have (inexplicably) moved out into the suburbs, but we're not them and they seem very happy in their newly-rented 3-bed house.  We'd booked dinner at Ortiga as a treat and spent a small fortune on a taxi ride back into the city so that none of us would have to drive.  Stepson is now a sommelier and we made a deal that he would buy the wine and we'd pay for the food - what I hadn't anticipated was that one bottle of wine would equal the cost of food for five people!  But then, wine isn't my business, nor can I claim a tax rebate on tastings for "professional development" reasons...

Next day I had the luxury of meeting Robyn Foster, Helen Malone and Jack Oudyn from BookArtObject at the State Library of Queensland, where we spent a delightful few hours with Helen Coles in the artists' book collection... We'd advised Helen about what we wanted to see, and she brought out two hefty trolleys full of books for us to look at.  Her colleague, Ann, took a photo of us for their blog and promised me a copy: once that arrives I'll blog about the visit in more detail on the BookArtObject blog, but in the meantime I can tell you that I had a lot of fun!  It was great to meet three people in the flesh whom I'd only encountered on-line, but the excursion was saddened by the fact that our mutual friend Amanda wasn't able to come out with us that afternoon as planned.  Oh well, I guess that requires me to go up and repeat the exercise again at some point!  What a hardship!

We drove back gently yesterday, with another picnic lunch en route.  Today I've managed to see friends, do some shopping, witness the tail end of the Buskers Festival in Coffs Harbour city centre at lunch time AND get out in the garden!  A gooseberry bush, a pom-pom tree (Dais Cotonifolia) and some horse radish were duly planted, but the highlight this evening was a swarm of fireflies, spotted by dearest husband out by the car port, winking their way through the darkening sky.  We stood there transfixed, watching them float around, feeling very privileged to have seen them and enjoying the silence and the standing still for a few minutes.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

al Mutanabbi Street - it's hard to squash ideas

You'll have noticed I'm a bit grumpy at the moment.  Losing a job you enjoy does that to you, I find.  But today I was reminded by email that as ever, my troubles pale into insignificance compared to the misery many other people suffer.

I'm working on books for the Al-Mutanabi Street project, aiming to deliver a symbolic collection of ideas-as-artists'-books to the National Library of Iraq as some sort of consolation and message of hope in the face of senseless destruction, thanks to the ingenuity of American poet and book seller Beau Beausoleil.  He's just one man, who got angry at the attack on a city, a nation and a culture represented by the bombing of Al-Mutanabi's historic book sellers in 2007 and started a world-wide "civil" protest in all senses of that word.  Today he sent out an email about the Iraqi government's own acts of repression: sending in the bulldozers to Al-Mutanabi Street.

What do you do in the face of stupidity?  I just don't know, but I feel a bit weighed-down by the thought of it and I'm seeking distractions so I don't get depressed.  School has just broken up for the Spring holidays and I'm looking forward to taking a few days off and seeing friends and my stepson, and meeting some BookArtObject friends in Brisbane on Thursday.  I've taken my dahlia tubers out of their winter storage in the shed and I suppose the sight of tender pale pink shoots rising out of the sawdust is what has made me happiest so far today, although we're off to a wedding in a few hours which will also be happy and hopeful.  When I come back from Brisbane I will finish binding my friend Willis's books for the Al-Mutanabi Street project and then start on my own, and I am looking forward to making the acquaintance of a Syrian/Iraqi refugee family in Coffs Harbour who have offered to help me do some English to Arabic translations.  The wife is from Baghdad and knows the book market well.  I wonder if she's seen the news.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Vale, TAFE Visual Arts

I don't often get political on you, but honestly I'm in despair.  TAFE (Training and Further Education for those not in the know, i.e. education that fills the gap between the achievements of school and the ambitions of university) bore the brunt of some heavy New South Wales cost-cutting last week with the announcement of massive slashes in budgets and a withdrawal of governmental support for Visual Arts courses (which includes ceramics and sculpture) on the basis that such courses don't lead to employment.

On the one hand NSW TAFE Executive has been preparing TAFE institutions for the promise of such cuts for a while and we're all in the middle of strategic initiatives designed to ensure that we're all lean, mean machines delivering high quality education outcomes on minimal budgets - you know the sort of lingo - it removes the listener from the reality of a passionate and inspirational teacher making a real difference in a classroom.  On the other hand we weren't expecting the changes until 2014.  Ouch.

Visual Arts copped it hardest: Visual Arts courses will no longer attract State subsidies, putting them well beyond the reach of all but the wealthiest of students who might be able to pay "commercial rates".  But in a double-whammy, the State government also announced that under the new "entitlement funding model" where the money goes to the student who can now wave a 'voucher' that 'entitles' them to a subsidised course, students will have NO entitlement to a Visual Arts course.  Ouuchhhhh.

Working at TAFE this week has been, shall we say, difficult.  We're all in shock as the reality of the new situation sinks in.  We're all looking at each other, knowing that redundancies are on the way for the lucky few with a permanent (or temporary) employment contract, while the rest of us part-time casual teachers will simply fade out without any compensatory payments.  Meanwhile we're supposed to "remain as positive as possible" for the sake of our poor students, most of whom are now stumbling through their courses knowing that there is no possibility of attempting a higher level of learning next year.  Bang!  The door has shut, despite much trumpeting about the value of "Creative Industries"" in contributing $20 billion to Australia each year.  Bang!  Who cares?  TAFE will be reduced to providing courses in response to identified skills shortages only, with the possible optional extra of becoming a jobs brokerage.

I've written to my local State and Federal MPs, of course, together with party leaders, opposition education spokespeople and the like but I haven't received so much as an acknowledgement of receipt so far.  If you care about arts education in New South Wales you may be motivated to follow this link and print off a page to get a local petition going, since on-line petitions - whilst valuable - aren't what forces the government to raise the issue in Parliament.

I'm actually too tired to argue with you about the value of the arts, the role of TAFE, and just how wrong this all is.  I feel thoroughly demoralised, and I'm remembering - with a wry smile - how happy I was only a few weeks ago to think that next year we would be a two-income family again.  Anyway, I'll be 'trying to be positive' tomorrow as I teach printmaking to a Diploma group that has just found out it will have to fork out a LOT extra in order to complete their second year of study - if, that is, they feel it's worth it now - if they wish to leave TAFE with a piece of paper that says they're qualified to Diploma level in Visual Arts and Contemporary Craft.

Monday, September 03, 2012


...Me? That's right, I used to blog here!  I've been away, not because I don't love you all, but because the combination of six jobs and Blogger taking a dislike to my operating system (yes, Google, that's you I'm talking about) made blogging a bit tricky.  Now I've dropped one job and upgraded my operating system, so not only does Google like me slightly more now, but I have the odd 5 minutes of free time.

What have I been doing?  I've taken advantage of the subtropical late winter and early spring to do lots of gardening in between jobs, and I've been working with Darling Daughter on cuttings, seeds, plants, hand-made cards and lino cuts for our stall at her school's Spring Fair.

I've also been hatching plans for websites and mail-outs, teaching at TAFE, teaching at Primrose Park in Sydney, plotting a course at Sturt Summer School in January 2013 - more information coming soon! - and trying very hard to stay afloat.

For the last 12 years I've made my own employment opportunities, having left the full-time workforce when pregnancy caused everything to go horribly wrong.  I love being an artist and all the things I do associated with being an artist, and I'm not going to give them up, but there's a chance that I may have a shot at more permanent employment that could dovetail nicely with other activities.  So perhaps professionally things are about to change?  Not immediately, perhaps, but over the next year.  It seems a good time - in the Spring, on the cusp of change - to take stock, so be warned!  I'm planning an assault on my on-line presence at some point, just as soon as I've finished in the garden....

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Jewels in Winter

Aseroe Rubra emerging from the palm mulch

The fruiting body "hatches"
I love the translucent jelly with the spiralling membranes!

Apparently the brown slime smells like rotten flesh...
Flies are attracted to it and spread the spores

I like the fact that it adds colour in the winter garden

I found these lurking in the palm mulch: just the occasional one at first, but in the cooler weather they're popping up all over the place. A quick search of Australian mycology websites revealed that they are a common stinkhorn called Aseroe Rubra. These, and the delicate nests of Cyathia Novae-Zealandaes, are decorating my garden in the cold!  Since I don't put my nose up next to them I haven't noticed the alleged stink, and they don't harm the surrounding plants.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lucky number 3

I'm feeling a bit flattened having driven 800km to see Scott McCarney and Keith Smith give a seminar at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane on Sunday: I drove up on Sunday morning, stayed with my stepson Patrick and his girlfriend Laura just around the corner from SLQ on Sunday night, met up with SLQ Librarian Helen Cole this morning and drove straight home again so that I can start my teaching week tomorrow.  While it would have been lovely to attend Scott's book making workshop at SLQ this week I can't; when you only work two days a week, you don't take time off unless you have to.

I really love the SLQ building; I marvel at it every time I go.  The mint green colour scheme sounds as if it couldn't work, and yet the green and the timber combine to make a lovely, airy space.  The building was designed by two Brisbane architecture firms, Donovan Hill and Peddle Thorp, and opened in 2006 (just as we arrived in Australia - the events were closely linked as I'm sure you realise!) and won the Royal Australian Institute of Architects medal the following year.  Public buildings often disappoint, even when commissioned by enlightened planners from funky architectural firms, but SLQ works really well.

One of the features of the building is that it offers many places for engagement and display as well as study: part of the facade functions as an extraordinary display case, allowing staff to curate all sorts of objects up and down the facade in glass boxes that are covered/revealed by the timber battens that are a theme of the design.  And there are clever little spaces as well, including intimate booths that allow you to stop within the indoor/outdoor architectural setting and chat with a friend, work on a laptop or just take in the view.  Even the meeting rooms are fun, with a minimalist aesthetic that makes the most of the materials and the light.  The room I settled down in with Helen Cole this morning had sand-blasted glass doors, a theme which trails throughout the building with all sorts of things etched onto glass panels.

Last but not least I commend to you the cafe and bookshop!  By far the best cafe in the arts precinct - for goodness sake DON'T GO to art gallery cafe which is possibly the worst food outlet I have ever been to in my life.  Instead, go and sit under the cantilevered edge of the SLQ building on a comfortable banquette with puffy leather cushions, have a decent coffee and watch people walking past up and down the South Bank riverside.  Much, much nicer, AND you can pretend to the wider world that you're engaged in erudite and important research before disappearing into said bookshop and coming out with fancy cards as well as beautiful books.

But never mind all that, I drove all that way partly to see Helen and partly to see Scott and Keith talking about their artists' book practices, and very interesting it was too. They were both very gracious speakers, especially so considering they'd only got off the plane from New York on Friday and were feeling rather jet-lagged, and it was interesting to see so many pictures of their work.  I get the feeling that they share a slightly obsessive nature that manifests itself in their work in different ways. 

Keith's books are carefully considered and beautifully made, numbered all the way back to when he started making books forty years ago.  Having bought most of his series of books on book binding I don't think I realised how much his recent book arts practice revolves around photography, and he shared a great slideshow of recent work that consists of lots of photographs, digitally altered and printed.  I particularly enjoyed his "Sebastians": altered images of St Sebastian, taken from a multitude of old paintings and re-worked, sometimes with comic effect.  His presentation style was very deadpan, with a quiet humour underneath... I think some of the audience was a bit shocked by the homoerotic tone of some of the images; the lady next to me couldn't cope with the penises and left... I really enjoyed it, while at the same time realising how far removed my own creative interests are from his practice.

I found more commonality with Scott's work and again there was a great slideshow of his work, going right back to early stuff from the 1980s.  He interested in form as well as content and I really liked an early book in the shape of folded equilateral triangles.  His "Autobiographies" series made everyone laugh: lots of collected lists, and a sort of head-shaking "woe is me" about his inability to throw anything out, which clearly rang a bell with the audience. 

I feel very honoured indeed that Scott has joined BookArtObject this time around to contribute to Edition Four, so it was great I had a chance to meet him.  I was lucky enough to say hello to both of them before the seminar started.  They've got a couple of weeks in Australia so hopefully they'll get enough time to adjust to the time change before flying back home!  Maybe one day I'll get to go over to the States and see them on their own turf.  In the meantime I came away with a lot to think about and a desperate need to go to bed.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Typographic City

I saw this link on the BookArts listserve and love the idea of Korean artist Hong Seon Jang's Typographic City, constructed from defunct lead type.

Tomorrow I'm off to Brisbane to the State Library of Queensland to see Keith Smith and Scott McCarney's seminar on artists' books. 800km round trip and sleeping on Patrick's floor in West End, but I think it will be worth it, not least because Scott McCarney joined BookArtObject for Edition Four.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The socks have landed *

Oh I have happy feet now!  Both socks finished, and very comfortable they are too.  Now I can turn my attention to other things, including fingerless gloves for darling daughter.  Socks: it's been an adventure but I am going to leave the knitting of you to others who are faster than I.

* other suggested titles included "The Joy of Socks", but even I thought that was a bit much.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Suitably covered

You may remember that I came upon a 1727 bible at a local auction centre and bought it for the costly sum of $30. I would love to have the skill to restore it but until I acquire such skills I need to preserve it 'as is' and my blogger friend Carol from Barnacle Goose Paperworks advised me to create a clamshell box to protect it while I save up the money for extra training. So here it is:

The book cloth is an open weave in a soft shade of turquoise that beautifully picks up a colour in some hand-marbled paper I brought back from Venice a few years ago. The book cloth was a gift from my friend Willis, who apparently found it at a tip shop! How appropriate to have discarded book cloth for a discarded book.

You can see from the photos that I made the outer case of the clamshell box comes very close to the edge of the cover - this is intentional! The bible is heavy and I don't want the box to warp if it is ever stored upright; as it is, the book will rest against the bottom edge of the clam shell which will rest against the shelf.

I've also made a tab and a tray: I realised that as the bible currently has no back cover I didn't want to be putting my fingers against the fragile back page every time I wanted to lift it out of the box, so instead there is a loose tray that rests inside the clam shell, on top of a ribbon tab. When you open the box you can gently pull up the tab, which in turn pulls up the book on the tray and makes it easier to handle.

There's enough room in the box to fit the re-bound bible (if I ever get that far!), and to wrap it in acid-free tissue and include a sachet of dessicant, so I think I've done all I can for now apart from choosing a special place for it on my crowded shelves.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Not the sock addict

Ever the masochist I decided to knit myself a pair of socks. Why? You may well ask, but it boils down to two reasons: firstly I'm buggered if I'm going to be defeated by a knitting pattern and second, because I thought it would be interesting.

I have now completed one sock and I am pleased to report that my Swiss friends (are all Swiss people avid sock knitters? I don't know) tell me that I got the pattern right, AND it fits. And since both my feet are more or less the same size I entertain great hopes that the other one will too (if I ever get it finished).

If these were to be sold on the open market I think they could be the most expensive socks ever, this side of Himalayan hand-sheared baby-goat stomach-fleece with added spider gauze... I'm not the world's fastest knitter and what with that fact, general blindness (if I have to look closely at the pattern I have to take my glasses off - it all adds time), and the requirement to consult more than one pattern for the tricky bits I think we're talking 10 hours hard labour per sock. If we go with a general (un)skilled pay rate of $20 per hour we're already talking $200 per sock plus materials. If any of you covet my socks I will be VERY HAPPY to part with them for the heavily discounted sum of $300 plus postage...

At the bottom of one of the patterns I consulted there was the highly optimistic sentence: "welcome to the new addiction of sock knitting". I think not.

Sunday, April 08, 2012


Now that my Nexus gallery show is behind me and the school holidays have started I can get back to the garden which is suffering slightly from weeks of neglect. Oh well. All you can do is put on your wellies and gloves, grab a fork and get stuck in, which is what I have been doing. Before I take you off down the garden you might like a look at the gorgeous exotic Tacca Chantrieri flowers ("Black Bat Flower" or more colloquially "Cat's Whiskers") that have popped up in our shady palm/bromeliad planter next to the veranda. You may remember us planting it up in November last year: now the small plants we put in are big plants and they seem to be enjoying themselves!

Down in the veggie garden things are a little out of control. We had a big mouse problem (they ate all but four of our pumpkins * sniff *), but they were eaten in turn by some large pythons which moved in. Unfortunately for the pythons I had carefully netted everything to keep out the wallabies... When I went down to the garden last week it was rather whiffy as a two-metre long python had met an untimely end caught in the mesh around the watermelons... I've learned my lesson and will start using metal mesh which is less likely to result in death for snakes. It's not that I'm a snake lover but I do appreciate the drop in rodent numbers that accompanies the arrival of a friendly python! In fact I know we have a few around now as I came upon a little hatchling - about 50 centimeters long - blinking at me from its perch wrapped around the sprayer handle a week or two ago.

I hope it grows up to be a very successful rodent-hunter and stays around our garden. On the other hand, I will be quite happy if the red-bellied black snake Toby decided to 'play' with on our back steps at 10pm the other night disappears. We don't have many snakes around the house and the more we get on top of the paddocks and the long grass, the fewer we'll see (I hope).

One of the big challenges about living on our block is that we have a LOT of land to maintain, but this year we seem to have worked out what we need to do - and we have the right tools and equipment to do it. Dearest husband is getting a lot of exercise almost every day, hauling the walk-behind-slasher we were given by friends down to the orchard and adjacent areas and keeping the grass down. Thanks to his Herculean efforts our orchard now looks like an orchard with short grass and thriving trees. Our mandarin even has once tiny baby fruit on it! Mind you, we got a bit too enthusiastic recently: after watching garden TV and studiously noting down the ingredients for various DIY insecticides we failed to shake up the white oil ingredients sufficiently and nearly suffocated our citrus trees because we didn't realise we were spraying them with almost pure oil... Dearest husband realised next day and managed to wash some of it off, but I'm not sure if one tree will survive. I doubt if it has scale insect now, though.

I've spent a few hours over the last couple of days digging over what was the potato patch, gathering up the last tiny spuds and replenishing the soil. I've also ripped out the tomato plants and cut back the rampant sweet potatoes. The aubergines, peppers and chillis are still doing really well, and we have some more fruit ripening on the watermelon vines as well as spring onions, leeks, the last of the carrots, parsnips, chicory and some Tuscan kale, but I'm about to plant broccoli, more tomatoes, spinach and I've already put in some lettuce which are enjoying the autumn sunshine. We've also got a few raspberries and longberries which is amazing considering how little attention they've been given, and the dahlias are still flowering their little tubers off after 6 months in bloom! Probably time to cut them back and feed them... they must be exhausted.

I'll leave you with pictures of the delicious aquatic ginger flower that's in the pond next to our bedroom window (I can smell it from bed! Mmmmm), and some unidentified seeds that came in a pod in a truckload of wood. I wonder if they're from the Black Bean tree (Castanospermum Australe) which is a BIG tree of 40+m and grows in this part of the world, but the photos I've seen of the seedpods show a much darker brown pod and rounder seeds. Do you know what they are? I'd like to try germinating the seeds but I'm not sure if/where I should plant the resulting saplings. I'm doing well with germination at the moment: I have 8 Pandanus sp. growing from seed and have recently taken cuttings of lavenders and gardenias which have all survived.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Slow Saturday

We're all a bit quiet this weekend, which is actually quite nice. Darling daughter came down with a vomiting bug on Thursday evening and obviously hasn't been very well since then, and now I'm not feeling too good either. I doubt if I'll go down with bug but I'm definitely fighting it off. Despite the attendant lethargy I have managed to do the washing, clean the bathrooms, and spend three hours in the studio... Now I'm going to spend the rest of the day quietly relaxing! I hope you manage to have an relaxed weekend, too.

Hah! Scrub that bit: I've well and truly got the lurgy. In fact, I have got it worse than darling daughter and much worse than dearest husband. Still haven't managed to eat anything since Saturday morning although I am now trying a small bowl of plain white rice... As a weight loss plan it has its merits, but it's vile in every other way.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Lux in Arcana

If you, like me, have a bit of a thing about paper then you may also share my wonderment at old documents: scrolls and letters, books, maps, scraps, notes, lists and journals, the records of History and all our histories. I'm feeling less than poetic this evening so I can't muster a eulogy about the website Lux in Arcana, which accompanies an exhibition from the Vatican's secret archives. It is fascinating and for once the English language version is accessible and lyrical. I found the link - again! - through the Book Arts Listserve, and I could get absolutely lost in there. I just wish that our finances would permit a trip to the Capitoline Museum in Rome for a look-see before it closes in September. * Sigh *

60 linear metres of scroll in which over 200 Knights Templar confessed their sins as the French King wound up the order in 1311

The Dictatus Papae of Gregory VII: an assertion of his papal prerogatives, 27 of which were written down in 1075.

A letter from supporters of Henry VIII to Pope Clement VII, urging him to agree to the annulment of Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. Well, we all know where that ended up don't we? "Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived"... like most of the signatories too, as it happened.

A letter from Empress Helena-Wang (Ming Dynasty) to Pope Innocent X in 1650, written on silk, notifying the Pope of her conversion to Christianity, and that of her son. The letter was wrapped up and stored inside an inscribed bamboo stick and carried to Italy by the priest who converted her - taking 5 years to arrive!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

New work

I owe Andy at the Nexus Gallery in Bellingen a bit of an apology - well actually I've already apologised but clearly still feeling guilty! Despite the fact that I got my reminder about the show several months in advance, as always, this one has really crept up on me and I have been horribly disorganised. Then we had a "misunderstanding" about the subject of flyers for the show which means I missed out on a big mailshot and... you can see that things haven't been plain sailing. I've been looking at lots of cosmological equations as part of my preparations for this show, but at the moment the one that stares out at me is work + children + money worries + fatigue = recipe for HUGE last minute panic. YOU know what I mean!

Luckily I was able to call in a favour with my mate Willis who kindly spent last Saturday with me, screen printing the backgrounds on to five slates. We used a mid-grey with aluminium dust mixed into the medium so that it has a faint shimmer when dry, and printed a series of graphs and equations to do with particle physics and cosmology.

I love the flaky surface of the slates! It rubs off, but for me that is part of the fun of them and anyway, different parts of each slate are different so it doesn't flake off everywhere.

You can just about see the sheen of the metal particles in the silk screen ink.

Back in the studio I laid them all out and started engraving, scraping and gilding them - 23 3/4 carat gold leaf, in case you're interested.

I asked Dave from the Regional Gallery how he'd come up with a hanging system for the slates I had in there last year and he told me the secret: windscreen washer tubing and 9.5mm brake vacuum pipe on 65mm self-tapping timber screws. You twist a longer piece of the narrower tubing onto the screw, then push a short piece and then a longer piece on top. You screw two of these assemblies into the wall along the bottom edge of the slates, and the slates themselves fit into the gap between the two shorter pieces of tube, held in place by the inner pipe. Then you hold the slates on top of the two bottom screw assemblies and screw in the top two screws. Finally you put an end cap on the screw and, in my case, colour it black with a marker pen!

The gallery is a quirky little annexe to the main space which I had to myself a couple of years ago. It was literally built onto the side of the main building so the timber cladding of the old external wall forms the inner surface of the side gallery - perfect for screwing slates onto!

Fingers crossed I sell some work. The Nexus Gallery charges a very reasonable 25% commission and although I have bowed to pressure from all over the place to increase my prices, the work is still priced to sell. If you're in or near Bellingen, drop in and have a look! The Old Butter Factory houses a number of artisans as well as the gallery, and they do a nice coffee and lunch.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

test post to see if I've been click-jacked!

I'm posting a link to my other blog, BookArtObject, in an effort to see how/where the sites have been click-jacked...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Go away, I'm reading

I was reading a back-log of emails from the BookArts Listserve and came across this, courtesy of Margaret Fenney, and it's fun! I am going to print some out for myself...

Monday, February 13, 2012

A weekend first

This weekend we finally went camping, to Boorkoom campsite just south of Minniewater, about an hour and a half north of Coffs Harbour. I know that thousands of families do this regularly and it isn't a big deal, but for us it was new territory, not least because we didn't have a tent until one of my brothers-in-law very kindly donated his old tent to us at Christmas. Thanks, Pete! He hasn't used it in a few years but it's a fairly modern design with light-weight poles. Darling daughter and I put it up on Monday afternoon, thinking it would be a good idea to have conquered the basics before setting up camp on Friday evening! We were right: the tent is very big and the instructions are very brief, so it was great to have worked out what goes where before we all fell apart on the night...

We went with very good friends of ours, Taja and Robin and the two girls and one of their friends so we had a total of 4 adults and 4 children which worked well. The campsite has a gas barbeque and a composting toilet; we brought small gas stoves and our own water.

This is our Tent Mahal: it is ENORMOUS! The main tent would easily sleep four people, if not five or six, and then there is a separate room at the front with a net insert that darling daughter had all to herself as her bedroom.

The whole experience was great - apart from the numerous insect species who bypassed Robin and Taja in order to feast on dearest husband and me. This is despite large quantities of insect repellent, so I don't have any idea what works! I am one large itch with dozens of bites, some big, some small and most in undesirable areas. Dearest husband is in a much WORSE way: his back is a large mass of lumps and bites including one very impressive wound the size of my little fingernail: I don't want to think too hard about what caused it! I hope we all stop itching soon, but meantime I will keep applying the haemorrhoid cream (the largest % of Lignocaine in an over-the-counter remedy, in case you're interested, and thus excellent for insect bites!).

Just in case you thought we had it easy I want to tell you that on Saturday morning the skies darkened, the wind howled, and the rain came down, just as Taja and I were out walking with the girls. Robin and my husband had stayed behind and luckily thought to put up a large tarpaulin for a shelter, but we bore the brunt of it on the beach and came home uniformly dripping, as was our tent. Sadly a few years in a bag has loosened all that lovely tape that keeps the seams waterproof, and much of it peeled off as the tent was being put up and taken down. We had thought ahead and taken a roll of plastic builders' film which we were able to place in between the tent and the fly, but only after we discovered how wet everything was! Luckily the weather after the storm was hot and by the time we packed up to come home everything was dry again; I didn't want to try drying off a huge tent in the car port in our current humid weather...

What was the bad weather doing while we began to dry off ? Why, the storm went south, of course, arriving in Coffs Harbour some time that afternoon:

When we got back we found trees down everywhere (you can imagine what our 1.5km dirt track looked like, wending its way through the woodland!), and a falling branch cracked one of our solar panels - although it is 1 out of 30 panels so we're still OK.

Hooray for camping! We need to buy our own big tarpaulin to put over the tent in case of rain, but otherwise we're older, wiser, more tanned and definitely bitten to pieces, but happy!


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin