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.


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