Friday, January 29, 2010

learning absences...

 Our wee girl child started her very firstest day at kindergarten this morning .... she is our baby and so whilst I was thrilled that she was up and got herself into her brand new uniform at 6.30am this morning ("ready mumma - can we go now?") fairly gagging to start school - I came home from dropping her off ("see you mumma - you can go now" as soon as we got through the gate) less thrilled by her absence...

so I spent the day working and reworking (and reworking) lettering for my booky edition as part of book*art*object project


I've long loved the meditative process of calligraphic practice - letters/ words get into your muscle memory and your body seems to absorb a piece of poetry through the repeated practice. It seemed so fitting that I spent today writing out the words of Rosemary Dobson's poem - Learning Absences....


well it's almost time for me to go collect my girlie ("can I catch the bus home mumma?") and hear about her day - I hope (know) she's had a great day... 

(** UPDATE ** I've cross posted a version of this over at B*O*A..... not something I've done before - I'm blaming mummy hormones - and the girlie returned home as enthusiastic as she left it this morning - even if she's a little weary )

Friday, January 22, 2010

the museum of forgotten art materials...

I was following one of those winding paths of blog leads when I fell over this site....

the museum of forgotten art supplies

what a hoot!

I quickly realised that out of the 230 items on display (there were some double ups when it came to rapidograph pens and french curves....) I could put my hand up to a total of 129 of these as something that I've either:

a. used in a past life  (hands up to the Agfa Repromaster and the phototypsetter!)

b. have hoarded away in the cupboard somewhere (blue repro pencil... and repro grid paper)

or (as was mostly the case)

c. still actively use in the studio (vemco drafting machine, pelikan inks, Dr Martins bleedproof white....geeez it just goes on and on)

and worse still I have a load of things not on the list!

like these.....

which all my calligraphy mates could readily identify as various nibs (and will be yelling 'snap' right now) and as many are still more or less available and in use they are not all that 'forgotten'

(ps for those who need to know these are: from top to bottom, right to left - coit pen, 5 line automatic pen, 2 'brush' nibs, 2 x speedball 'b' series nibs, 2 x speedball 'c' series nibs, 2 x brause nibs, 2 x William mitchell roundhand nibs,  witha  couple of auotomatic pens at the bottom)

but how about these...

again – many calligraphers will have something similar

they are burnishers for polishing gold work (the grey ended one is haemotite and the whitish one is a needle agate burnisher...for getting into tricky areas!) I've not been one to do a lot of raised or flat gold work in calligraphy – but I've got these darlings just in case that situation ever changes!

What about this though....

its a specialist cutting tool (and rather kaput) anyone want to guess what its used for? (hint it's a calligraphy tool again... so calligraphers get no points for correct identification! - oh ok I'll tell you - its a quill knife!)

and then there's always my favourites

like this....

its a brass parallel rolling rule – I think its original use was maritime navigation – but I use it to align objects (particularly collage and booky things) or to rule a heap of parallel guide lines (for calligraphy)

and my all time favourite, this......

This is one of my most precious and still most used tools – I can't imagine trying to go without it! I'm not sure if they are still available (I've never seen one for sale anywhere..... I purchased this in the late 1980s and keep it in a cotton pillow case) – now you might be able to gather from the markings what it is (its name is actually imprinted along an edge) but that won't give much of a clue  what I use it for or why its my one of my favourites....

its an ADGAUGE – its original use was to work out reproduction enlargements.... but as it is a very precise tool, perfectly and finely marked and made – I have always used it to square up work (using the marked lines to check that everything is absolutely parallel and square)

oh and P.S. – these are my other 'forgotten' art treasures

my stunning compass collection (I did some serious saving to afford this set – it was almost $300 back in the early 1990s) – I still love to open up the box and admire the precision tools – soooo beautiful – and I use them all the time!

And of course – all you booky people will appreciate my love for this dear...

it took me years to find this – and it's was in such wonderful condition

and whilst some booky people might be stopping by – maybe you can clear up a question about my little press – when I undertook a unit in bookbinding (as part of my Diploma in Western Calligraphy waaaaaay back) the booky teacher called these 'nipping presses'.... so I've been referring to them as such ever since - is that their correct name?

Well – others might be forgetting about my arty treasures but that's just what they'll remain to me – little treasures. Hey – if you've got some (all?) of my forgotten arty things – you simply MUST tell me! Maybe you've got a hidden gem or two of your own? I promise not to covet them.... ok truth is, I'll covet them, but I promise I won't try to raid your cupboards if you tell me all about them...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

'codex infinitum' final works from 2009

I'm posting the final couple of photos from my ongoing project 'codex infinitum'.... and these are not the easiest ones for folk to digest (indeed one darling long-time friend of mine said - 'well ronnie, remember how I said I'd love to have any of your work on my wall - ummmmm - lets just clarify - NOT these please!"..... )

well there's just no getting around it... here are the works from the 'momento mori' series as part of the larger project... (I'll tell you a bit more about them if you survive the viewing)

'consumo cognitio'
(consumed knowledge)

'comesum cognitio'
(consumed knowledge)
interaction/ photography

'devoro cognitio'
(devoured knowledge)

Last year this dear old girl, part of my family's angus/limousin beef herd, died whilst trying to calve. This is a fact of life on a farm. Her dead body lay a few hundred metres from my house and each day I saw her in the distance - unmoving. Even though I would tell myself each day 'this is a fact of life' I still found her death difficult to digest. Knowing that it is a fact of life did not assauge my sadness or indeed guilt. Eventually, a couple of weeks after her death (and after the bloating, corpse explosion and initial stripping by maggots) I decided to take one of my encyclopaedia volumes to her stinking remains.

From the outset I knew that these would never be pretty pictures - but not everything in life is pretty....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

more works from 'codex infinitum' project...

 'ego sum via, verum quod vita'
(I am the way the truth and the life)

ephemeral sculpture/ photo triptych

Over the past week I've been posting some pics from last years work - my ongoing project 'codex infinitum' (the infinite book) on both my facebook profile and 'fan page ' (I'm still not comfortable with that damn name/ classification.... oh well) ... I've had a few of these on my flickr site or NAVA profile previously but I've mostly not posted or talked much about what I've been making/doing here on the blog....

It's something I've been both meaning to, and reluctant to do.... (I'd love to hear everyone's opinion on the sharing of work via blogs and the internet... I'm still very unsure about it) anyway... here are a few more pics - these are some more of my 'codex incendium' pieces - the burning books - and I've already shared 'fahrenheit 451' (one of the artists proofs is currently on tour with the meroogal award).... along with 'scientia inflammatus' (which was reproduced in the current issue of 'artlink')... here are some other burning towers....

'lumenae vitae'
(light of life)

 ephemeral sculpture/ photography


 'secundum libri'
(after the book)

ephemeral sculpture/ photography

This (and the top triptych) emerged from my second burning book towers - the tower was approx 1.8m tall and consisted of unwanted funk and wagnall encyclopaedias.

Just visible in the background of the above 2 shots is the outline of Gulaga (the mother) mountain - it is a hugely significant peak in Australian colonial history - most people are not aware that Gulaga (renamed 'Mt Dromedary' by Cook... reclaimed as 'Gulaga' in the 1980/90s) is the first place in Australia that is mentioned (in its colonial name) in both Cook's and Banks' journals... a week or so before the Endeavour came ashore at Botany Bay (there's another of those renamed sites....). This hidden local history is something that has influenced much of my work in recent years...


'sic transit gloria mundi'
(thus passes the glory of the world)

ephemeral sculpture/ photo triptych

This last triptych is from the third and final burning book tower of last winter - which was set up beside one of the fast shrinking dams here at Sams Creek - (as much for safety's sake as an artistic decision!)

Most of these works have been reproduced at a fairly solid size (about 50cm x 80cm approx for each.... and that's the individual pic size for each of the 3 works in the above triptych) and are being released in limited editions (no more than 5 of each individual work)

PS ... Given that 2 days ago we had temps over 44C (111F) I'm not sure that this is the best time of year to post pics of anything burning.... but heck its taken me so long to get around to posting these...if I didn't do it now goodness only knows when I'd do it....

Friday, January 8, 2010

this year is going to the....

Goodness is it the second week of the new year already..... wow every year seems to get faster than the previous one.

This year I'm preparing myself up for a rather frantic time of things

After 3 years of hard graft and part time study (which didn't feel part time to me or the family...) I completed my Master of Visual Arts. Now any sensible person would breathe a sigh of relief, maybe give themselves a small pat on the back and get on with the task of LIVING. I've never been accused of being sensible. Sooooo of course I applied for and have been accepted into full-time study – still with Monash University this year I'll commence a Master of Fine Arts which hopefully I'll convert at the end of this year to the first year of a PhD (or Piled High and Deep as most seem to refer to it... I think it refers to the fact that your time, brain and finances are now totally PhuckeD)

hmmmmmm not such a bright move I suspect – given that our youngest is just starting kindy – and given the drought in this part of the world, our financial situation is.... now what was that word I used to describe the condition of my time, brain and student debt......

we'll see if I survive the coming year... I do have a few ideas to keep us afloat over the coming year:

* sell excess farm produce (but given the lack of water it appears our only excess is dust)

* offer artworks for sale  (what a novel idea.... I've been making artworks to collect dust under the lounge)

* open the studio (for tours of dust and cobwebs)

* throw myself on the mercy of family and friends (most of whom are just as dusty as us)


well, this seems a good time to share with you a couple of those works from last year (presently collecting dust under the lounge) that I've been promising and promising (and failing) to post!

This is actually one of the earliest pieces from the ongoing series 'Codex Infinitum'

ephemeral sculpture/ photography 
origami boat constructed from discarded encyclopaedia page -
launched on a (now dry) spring bordering the Kooraban National Park 

edition of 10 with 2 artist proofs

I have this piece and info on my NAVA profile, but I thought it was quite the right moment given the extended drought to share it here.

Happy 2010 ya'll (here's hoping for an end to this bastard of a drought)