Thursday, September 29, 2011

in the city...

 It's been cold and wet and windy.... but as I've had an umbrella with me today - I've had an absolute blast discovering gems around the city....

there's so much to love about Melbourne - I thought I would list Ronnies "top five things I love about mellyborne today"

nĂºmero uno...

the public transportation network

trains, trams, they're everywhere... they're almost idiot proof (heck I'm navigating my way around on them... they must be)...

I seriously love love LOVE the trains/trams of Melbourne

number two

the coffee

I don't think I've had a bad brew yet... and the cafe lattes of degraves street are worth returning for again and again (so I have!)

number three

the buildings... love the wrought iron lacework of the inner city terraces, the slightly tattered exteriors of city laneways, and the theatricality of the very grandest buildings

(this is the

number four

the funny/ quirky/ arty people and places....

(hand held gallery - Bourke street in the city....
it's tiny and squeezed inside are equally tiny book/art/objects....
I only got to see through the window.... but it was worth the walk for the gaze)

number five

Gertrude and Brunswick streets of Fitzroy!

this is Brunswick street... so many delish delights to behold....
from art galleries to clothing factory outlets to coffee spots, organic food, clothing designers - you name it...
Gertrude st was even MORE quirky!

I met the wonderful folk of Beautiful Silks whose emporium - for lack if a better term - is in Victoria St Fitzroy ... and so lovely was my visit I'll have to tell about it in another post...

tomorrow is the final day of Impact 7 ... I'll pack up our small exhibition and squeeze all my extra stuff into my already bulging bags for the long bus trip home tomorrow night...


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I don't so much love Melbourne in the raintime....

Soaked to the bones took on new meaning this afternoon after walking home (to my temporary digs) in violent thunderstorm

I'm currently perched beside a nice, (all-be-it fake gas) fire drying self and boots and clothes out ....

ps due to techno constraints (ie no access to a desktop or laptop) I can't publish the nice comments everyone has been writing.... I always appreciate each person who swings by my little bloggy corner and I will be able to give your notes the big Ronnie thumb of moderated approval when I get back to the creek.....

psss... it's still drizzly wet outside .... but at least my boots have dried out in front of the fire....

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I've registered for impact 7 and have my impact bag of goodies.... and in a few minutes time I'll be doing my thang as part of 'open portfolio' here...

I can't believe how many familiar faces I've stumbled over already this morning (I don't want to name names lest they run after me with a sharp printmaking tool)

ahhhhh well time for a quick bite before I bring out the loooooong book for a spot binding...

Monday, September 26, 2011

I love Melbourne in the springtime

long bus ride

met the gorgeous sara for brekky

met a calligraphic mate and walked around the city for a few hours in the gorgeous spring sunshine (oh melbourne when you are good you are very very good) enjoying coffee and great conversation

found my old uni mates STUNNING place where I'll be camping for the next few days

collapsed in a heap and slept soundly awakening to another beeeeutiful spring morning in the city

Saturday, September 24, 2011

zine times...

Before rushing off to Impact 7 day one and my Open Portfolio presentation I thought I'd show give you a peek at something I made to plonk on my table today (at least I won't feel lonely)

Zine preview
The Enemies of Books



lift the first image for the second inside spread


the little zine is archival inkjet
printed on Mohawk Superfine
very limited edition of just 20
it's A4 - folded to 10 x 10.5cm
and comes in a DL envelope (100% recycled paper)

This is the first in a small series of related zines
(I've got 4 in various stages of completion so far...)
each contains a blend of
photos of my ephemeral artworks
and some of my other related photographs
along with a pithy booky quote
that relates to the themes
contained in the pics/artwork/rattling around my head!

the very limited editions (eg below 25 in each edition)
are $4.50 ea plus postage
(they are a standard letter size)

Zines will be available at Impact 7
or drop me a line if you'd like me to reserve one for you

(no I don't have fancy-schmancy internet shop/bank/stuff in operation -
but I'm sure we can work something out....)


Friday, September 23, 2011

in the bag...

Packing for tomorrow's journey

 in my suitcase I have a collection of small zines

created over the past few days

including a teeny concertina showcasing some of my favourite ephemeral book artworks



archival inkjet on goatskin parchment paper
folded 10.5 x 7 cm - open 10.5 x 42 cm

I've printed only 10 of these on the delightful goatskin parchment paper

(I WILL print more of these in the future - but on something else)

so it's going to be a case of 'first in gets the goatskin'

(now I REALLY have to go pack something other than arty/booky things.... 
like clothes maybe??)


Thursday, September 22, 2011

melbourne bound...

In a couple of days time I'll be boarding a bus as I travel down the highway through the night to Melbourne town

I'm off to attend Impact 7 - international printmakers (and etc) conference at Monash Uni....

oooo excitement

I'm staying with a fellow survivor of the Monash MVA (thanks so much A)

I'm still working out my itinerary will be - but I DO know that I'll be catching up with old friends and (ooooo excitement) meeting old bloggy friends for the very first time (and if you've visited Sara's blog today you'll notice how we are saying all the same things right now.... including THANKS RANSW for the grant to let me/us go to Impact!)

Of course right at the last minute I decided to make some new 'things' to take with me (face palm!!!! why do I do this to myself!!!)

 it's a small limited edition colour 'zine' of sorts.....

and another small limited edition 'zine'.....  I'm on a roll!
I'll share more pics and details of these in a later post...

eschewing the usual printed business cards or the like -
I've created a very rough-n-ready photocopied (and hand worked) zine-as-promo
(printed on recycled paper)

 if you turn up to Impact and smile nicely at me - I'll give you one of these...
for everyone in aussie blogland - if you send me a self-addressed stamped DL envelope - I'll post you one!

On Tuesday I'm presenting my work as part of Impact's 'open portfolio' (I'll be in Room E2.11, Building E - 12.30 - 3.30pm)

I don't know if I'll have enough energy to get through everything on my swelling 'to-do' list as the conference has many juicy offerings - and I'm hoping to check out a few things in the city as well.... ahhhhh well -  at least I can rest up after I board the bus early Friday evening for the long journey home (I'm due to arrive back in Cobargo at 4am)

oh I almost forgot - the other day I found a newish app to help post to blogger from a iOS device.....

yeeee harrr! (so keep your eyes peeled here and at the BAO blog for a melbourne pic or two next week as I blog on the go)


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

moments ago in the yard...

one is a prehistoric throw-back, a bizarre, prickly little aussie creature...

the other is an echidna - on the look out for a mate

I'll let you figure out which is which....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

writing process, process writing...

This week I've been digging my garden out of an abyss of neglect and planting some spring seeds...

and talking of neglect - I've also been back manhandling my exegesis into shape

I need to complete my chapter on 'process'

Basically I have to write about how I operate in my studio research.... how I start, maintain momentum and continuity, deal with errors, edit, seek resolution and closure in my work.... how I research and use materials... and my favourite (insert pained expression) "how process relates poetically to the concepts" (sigh)...

I find ALL writing challenging - (including blog stuff) - but in my hierarchy of 'difficult stuff to write about' - a chapter all about my inner workings is WAAAAAY up on top of the pile.

how DO I start?

(ummmmm i get up in the morning and .... welllllll.... BEGIN....)

how DO I maintain momentum?

(ummmmmmm - i just keep going.....)

deal with errors?

(ummmmm..... eat chocolate? swear? chuck a tantrum? all of the above?)

.....see what I mean.... not the stuff of Higher Degree Research writin'

For such a non-writing gal, to my utter surprise this week I actually came second in the annual Gippsland campus-wide research poster competition (oh please don't ask me to explain what it is..... but I DO know that in first and third place were HDR students from the science faculty..... shock horror - there's an arty student on the medal podium!)

(click for monster embiggen... you might even be able to read what I've written....gulp!)

This unexpected small moment of research glory gave my confidence a much needed boost.

Sooooo back to writing that exegesis chapter on process...

here are a couple of things I've scribbled down to get my writing started....

'choice of materials is driven by concept'.... 'I do my best thinking with my fingers'....  'process often IS the work; the end product serves as merely artifact'... 'process extends beyond the studio'....

(my supervisor was rather amused when I told him I wanted to explain how working in the garden is an integral part of my art-making.... and how permaculture connects to my process... 'planting seeds is part of your process? are you SURE about that? the exegesis is meant to be a discussion about your ART don't forget....' )

Despite the healthy scepticism of my supervisor, I have to believe that I'll find a way to express how interconnected the myriad, seemingly discrete aspects of my life/art practice actually are: I regard the whole of my life/practice operating just like a diverse and complex ecosystem - where each element plays a vital role in making whole system work... take one bit away and you risk systemic failure....

ahhhh well - I'll just keep slugging away at it.

(that's my process for writing about process)


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

hey poncho...

In a break from my booky, arty, studio, farm, and study duties
over the past couple of days I made this...

a free-wheeling crocheted poncho 
made from woolly bits from the yarn scraps collection
(some of the yarn dates back to my own little-girlie-poncho-wearing days)
EJ thinks she looks very spesh in her new poncho of many colours
and I feel very spesh for making a little something for my best girl


Sunday, September 11, 2011

wrestling process...

Often when we look at the end result of any endeavour it's hard to see the process or thinking that went into the work (and maybe that's a good thing!) but for the curious I thought I'd share just a little bit of the evolution of my 'paper wrestling' BAO edition two 'book' and some of my thinking...

The small circular book forms I'd started playing with last year provided the inspiration for me tackling this project ....

this is one of those times where I had a form and realised that with a bit of play it would fit the content quite nicely thank you very much! 

So I off I went to play - exploring ideas about form, construction and materials....

hmmm unwieldy - it would take forever to make each 'book' in the edition... how would I post it? and how would the poor thing get along in its new home when it's all dangly like this?

time to reel in this beastie a bit me thinks!

As I refined the form I also turned my attention to colours and materials. I decided I wanted this new BAO piece to have a dialogue of sorts with my first BAO edition... I've intentionally chosen to include some snippets of hand marbled paper in common to both editions, and to base the colours of this new book on my hand marbled paper....

a final mock up
(minus most of the 'handmade' elements - the calligraphy, letterpress, typed text)

I made some changes to the colour, text style, size and materials
but basically I figured this form would work...

then it was on to some of the time consuming hand tasks

 informal calligraphy - gold gouache on canson mi-tientes

letterpress forme in the C&P
(all to create the almost hidden impressed 'RA 2011'
- have you BAO peeps found the letterpress impression yet?)

typing typing typing
on my lovely old brother typewriter
(a preteen birthday gift..... yes I learned to touch type as an 11yr old!)

 the trusty epson

gathering components ready for binding

(I already had a small stockpile of handmade papers
from my first paper making attempts last year...) 

 and in case you were wondering - the printed image
(sliced and diced beyond recognition in the final work)
is of a book installation in the new dairy
(undertaken just days before the place became operational)

The installation was meant to record the largest personal struggle I've had over this past short while - reconciling myself to the mammoth change on the farm as my partner returned his family farm to dairy.... let me tell you it has NOT been an easy transition for me... so when thinking about things wrestled, I wanted to include my personal wrestling match, even if the photo/installation is unrecognisable in the final book form.....

et voila!

'Wrestling paper'
by Rhonda Ayliffe
coptic-bound circular (or 'flower') booklet – edition of 25

I hope all the BAO folk who received a copy enjoy the piece - 
I certainly enjoyed making all the books
(this is actually the largest edition I've ever attempted)

Very soon I'll be releasing for sale 12 books from this edition
so stay tuned for details

** ps the huge delay in getting these out to all the BAO peeps involves a long and boring tale of trying and eventually failing to get a simple clear box of appropriate size and price to keep these small books in..... aggggghhh - you guys have no idea of the pain and suffering endured and all for nothing!


Friday, September 9, 2011

paper wrestling, wrestling paper ...

 I think everyone (except perhaps guylaine in quebec and the author)
has received my 'paper wrestling' contribution for BAO project two

are you ready for the big reveal?

(drum roll please)

'Wrestling Paper' was short-listed for the EGAG National Book Arts Award 'Books Beyond Words... evolution' and a detail piccie was uploaded to their website - all this happened before I could get a copy of the book to all the BAO peeps.... sorry about this but I DO have an excuse (not a terribly good one, but it's an excuse.... which I'll share when I blog about the making of this piece)

I didn't send anything other than the book and the separate colophon when I posted this out to all the BAO peeps.... so I'll share with you all the the statement I submitted with the work for inclusion in EGAG book arts award...

'Wrestling Paper'
coptic-bound circular (or 'flower') booklet – edition of 25

Featuring handmade paper, hand-marbled paper, photography, archival inkjet print, calligraphy, letterpress printing and coptic binding - all by the artist, 'Paper Wrestling' provides a snapshot of the evolution of bookcrafts – from traditional to contemporary processes – in a unique bookform. This piece was created as part of BookArtObject ( – which is a blog gathering point, mode of communication and book art exchange between distanced book artists. All the book works created as part of the ongoing BAO project lead a double life – physical and digital. This duality is indicative of the current evolution of the book.

With my small book form I'm keen to hint that in life everything turns full circle...

'Paper Wrestling' poem by Claire Beynon (used with permission).

I'll share more about my work process in the evolution of this small 'book' in another post - and I WILL (eventually) be offering some of the edition for sale (approx 12 books) but I'll tell you about that soon.... right now I think it's important for me to remember to......


Thursday, September 8, 2011


My Sarah survived her encounter with the tick

 and is home again

 winter is making way

  for spring

 I posted my BAO project this morning...
(it will take a while for the small parcels to wing it over the waters... )

soon I'll share pics of my other BAO books

right now my garden calls

** PS. thank you for all the kind words and cyber hugs for Rocky
it is much appreciated


Wednesday, September 7, 2011


baby Rocky boy
pic from the archive

the all together cat snuggle ....
Boots (grey moggy), Dante-the-dreadful (chocolate Burmese), Rocky (blue point Burmese)

We are sad to say farewell to our Rocky-boy
I've spent most of the day looking high and low - calling his name

Phil found his little cat body beside the highway

needless to say he was not known for his road sense
(and we tried all sorts of tricks to keep our animals from wandering near the road...
but obviously we didn't try hard enough)

 We are all sad ....
gosh but our furry coat friends seem to leave big furry holes in our hearts 
when they leave us 


I tell you no lies....

I have completed my very small edition 
(just 12 little books)
for my second BAO project...

and I will be posting out 8 of them to the 'Art and Lies' BAO peeps in the coming days

Right now I'm worrying myself bald...
My sarah-doggie spent last night at the vets
after a paralysis tick tried to suck the life-force out of my beautiful baby
(she has responded well to the serum and hopefully will come home later today)

BUT in the meantime our Rocky-boy
(our eeejit Burmese kitty.... all beauty, no brains)
has gone missing.... 
we have searched and searched and called his name

and nothing....

Sass headed off to school this morning with a heavy heart
and I'm finding it hard to think about anything else...


Monday, September 5, 2011


This morn I attended the launch of the newly invigorated SouthEastArts

and discovered I'm the 'feature artist' of the launch
(corrrrr... if I'd know this was going to happen I'd have dressed up!)

I love what I'm seeing and reading of SouthEastArts vision and mission and core values

"All of South East Arts activities will reflect our commitment to values of:
•    Interconnectedness
•    Sustainability and growth
•    Relevance and impact
•    Community
•    High aspirations in contemporary practice
These values underpin and sustain all aspects of South East Arts activity. We aim to support artists, groups, organisations and projects that share and reflect these values...."


p.s. - I loved watching a teeny-tiny snippet preview of
Fling Physical Theatre's forthcoming production 'I wanna be'
(corrr - jealous! I wanna be young again and be able to bend over backwards...
and not have things go SNAP!)

ahhh well - back to reality


Sunday, September 4, 2011

for my father...

Fathers Day 2011

 itty-bitty me - with my daddy, my far (grandfather) and my far-far (great grandfather)

I am lucky I have pretty much the very best father imaginable 
(except maybe for my kidlets....) 

there is no denying our sassy-boy is a chip off the block!
Happy Father's Day to my farmer Phil - you're a wonderful dad

I'm also pretty lucky that my father is still very much a part of all our everyday lives... 

When I was seven years old my father had an unimaginable accident (the sort that usually features on programs like 'I shouldn't be alive') - he was dragged under a tractor and slasher (do you all know what a slasher is? for the uninitiated, it's a like giant mower that's pulled behind a tractor..). The tractor back wheel rolled over my daddy's back (crushed daddy), his skull was fractured (smashed daddy), his leg was hit by the blade (slashed daddy) and his right arm was cut to smithereens (chop chop daddy)... He wasn't expected to survive. I remember the day and the time that followed vividly, even though I only learned the details in following years. Thanks to a series of miraculous events (he managed to stumble up onto the highway to flag down passing traffic... the local ambulance team broke the land-speed record getting to the scene, they were followed by the local doctor... events unheard of nowdays), the brilliance of a local surgeon (pulled of the golf course and rushed to the hospital), the dedication of nursing staff (called in on their day off - the accident occurred on a Sunday), the commitment of a local community (word went out that the blood bank didn't have enough blood... dozens of Bega folk turned up at the hospital to make donations).... well - long story short - after a marathon surgery, months of hospital care, a year in a body cast, years and years of rehabilitation and surgeries to cobble together a working right arm.... my daddy was returned almost to his full self (he has something of an 'unusual' right arm!). Most importantly for me and my little brother - our daddy survived.

 mini-me and my daddy.... on the tractor...

And boy-oh-boy what a father we have! (I'm going to do some bragging now). My father has been awarded the AFSM (Australian Fire Service Medal), National Service Medal and Centenary Medal for his 50+ years as a volunteer with the Rural Fire Service (efforts I honoured in a dedicated page in the National Book of Heroes and Champions)

But that is only the tip of the voluntary community service iceberg - My father has been president or secretary or treasurer of basically every single community group (expect the CWA!) in our small town and has been made life member of many of these (Apex, RFS, swimming club...) oh and he's patron of the local branch of the RSL (this year marked the 60th year in succession that he provided the music for the ANZAC day service.... how incredible is that?).

Dad is also a fabulous musician - he initially played piano accordian, then switched to drums in local dance bands from the 1950s to 1990s (yep - he went back one-arm drumming after 'the accident'... until his right arm was kinda 'fixed') and has played the organ for Cobargo Uniting Church for something like 45 years. Some of my best childhood memories with and of my dad are steeped in dance band music (the first things I learned to play on the piano were dance hall classics from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s... like 'In the mood' and 'April showers' and 'I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts'... ) Throughout my teens and into my twenties I regularly played music with my dad - with him on keyboard, me on guitar.... ahhhh I REALLY should get my marvelous Maton out of its case again!

  mini me and my daddy with ukelele

My daddy has had a diverse 'career path' (despite school and parent protests, he didn't go off to university..... he's a totally self made man).... I don't think there was ever a time where he (a) worked for someone else or (b) had just one job at at time.... he always did lots of very different things seemingly simultaneously (hmmmm I think I spy a family resemblance eh?) musician, school bus driver, motor cycle sales and repair, farmer.... they aren't jobs that would usually inspire awe, wellllll not unless you met my daddy - he's one super smart cookie! But the bulk of his time was (and still is) spent in serving the community... 

Damn but it was hard growing up in a small community with two well-known ridiculously wonderful parents!

I've not met a person that matches my father in the mix of intelligence, honour, courage, compassion, humility, integrity, and honesty...

EJ with her poppy.... on the tractor

It's totally impossible for me to sum up in a words just how amazing my father is... or to express how grateful I am to have had him around all these extra years.

I'll simply say - I love you dad

Happy Fathers Day