Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The joy of flat proof presses, gardening and staying on top of things

Today I have been going through my images of flowers that I have taken around my garden in between emailing accounts.

 I just love to do this so I can go back and look at them in the colder winter months. The images date back to last year when we had abundance of rain that overides with all its qualities to  that of the kinked garden hose. We have lashed out and bought a super duper non kinking one this time and it was worth every penny.

This summer the heat has been so intense that the garden hose really didn't achieve a lot at all, the grass loved it, with its shallow root system, but it still persisted with a crunchy brown feel under the toes.

 I have made the garden so it could survive a summer without watering and in the past I have achieved this goal courtesy of barrow loads of grit pushed around from the back lane and dug into the red clay, it was such an arduous task at the time. Where at the time I tore the lining on my rib cage twice from all the determined digging, boy oh boy it was painful and took many months to heal, but  passion and all gardeners know that if the soil is not prepared properly, your time is wasted and it can cause stress on the fledgling new growth.  So it was the worth the ordeal and maybe I need to swing a maddock a different way!

You have this vision that can't be held back by just looking at the gardening books, you just have to get out there and procede at all costs.

Now the garden has cast shadows that protect new growth and its become its only little micro climate even flowering at different times to other plants in the town. It's a very happy garden. It's quite robust to do its own thing now to the point of self seeding every where.

It's got legs so to speak.

But this year with the heatwaves, plants that were in the shade were knocked back with the radiant heat, plants that were doing very well, suddenly became fatigued and succumbed to the compost heap. To my surprise even the cunning blackberries that have never ever thought about turning up their toes were sunburnt and jaundiced.

The crop this year will be skinny and meagre.

 Something I love to do is walk around the garden in the morning, picking blackberries popping them into breakfast bowl as I move around the fence line in the front paddock, where I have allowed it to become a natural corridor of native grasses and berries for the bird life.

This in itself has been probably my best accomplishment with the garden, allowing these natural corridors to spring forth, I have this very healthy balance in the tribes of insects that all keep each other at bay. There's enough food for everyone and the right food.

So cutting a long story short, my garden is my inspiration for our stationery and wedding stationery, which is almost there. I know I keep promising but it is moving along, samples are being made up. Between a balancing act ourselves of building the studio where we are onto our verticals, very soon we will have a roof and walls which will make us feel very clever.

For the new year we have also made all the proof sheets of Maggy Todds story, where I now have great admiration for proof readers and publishing houses, making sure all those words sit beautiful and ordered on the page, now for the negatives then the plates. It's been a very slow process and Maggy has shown great patience waiting for her book while we wear far too many hats sometimes trying to get ahead. but just the same an extended promise is very annoying. It's coming Maggie.

Also I have this gorgeous inspiring video of printmaking on a flat proof press, Bill makes our posters on a similar one. I can honestly say I just love letterpress printmaking, the whole process and the  community of letterpress enthusiasts which in Australia is growing at a fast pace are really very special to be a part of. It was also Virginia Woolfs birthday last week and she was such an inspiration to us with Hogarth Press.

Just go to its very endearing and the world we love. We have the other model a flat proof Farley 25 that came up from Wilcannia newspaper and she prints like a dream. Here are some edition posters Bill made with linocuts and wooden type.

We are also stocking our cards in the Gleebooks 49 Glebe Point Road Glebe
 and Orange Regional Art Gallery.

Next week I will bring another Hill End home to you in pictures.
Prousts' Garden
Boat of Words
Starry starry night
Mirra Whale - artist in residence through Bathurst Regional Art Gallery

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tin Types

Well.... the weather outside has the strangest light, quite eerie and the winds are very strong. It's to be the hottest day for the week. So that leaves us at Hill End on tender hooks, you have to experience it to fully understand what it's like to live in the Australian bush in the summertime with the threat of bushfires.

There's really no distraction from it.

Every time those three fire trucks go out, you know the men in them, our town is very small, 120 people at last count. Or you hear the chopper flying around in the back of the hills. So it always brings a precarious weight to ones mind.

I'm side tracking I know, I can't help it, the light outside is a crazy hue.

For the first time I want to be planted right back into winter, I thought I would never say that, in fact Bill is up the backyard repairing a wood stove for our loungeroom to replace the one that is there. I had visions of painting it an old gold, like those vintage french dining chairs.

Back on track.

I'm here to show you Bill's tin type tests that he did last week, with good results. It was a bit of trial and error just to manage the pour on the plate, not to fast and not to slow, but he got it.
So we are off to gangbusters world now with this skill, mean while we are still going with the wedding invitations and the plans for the studio to be approved by the engineer.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


It's not what we expected, s o a r i n g temperatures to kick us off for the new year.

And I have a summer cold. Which always feels more uphill than a winter one.

While working on the new letterpress wedding invitations yesterday, Bill and I noticed out the window three very young kangaroos drinking from our bird bath in the late afternoon. I have never witnessed this before, they were desperately drinking with very little intervals of lifting their heads.

The dams are empty you see and the animals are coming in closer to the houses where they can smell the water from sprinklers on dusk. It made me heartfelt to these vunerable creatures, so I put out a big bucket of water in the middle of the paddock for the older roos.

We also came out to find two deer in our courtyard the next morning near the well.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Well last night saw us at a glorious dinner at our friends 1870's cottage, about 30 of us gathered there with large paper umbrellas blocking the last of the years sun.

Large rustic makeshift timber tables were decorated with bowls and platters of sumptuous food and a huge tin bucket of very generous flowers that I had brought from my garden, which I wish now I had photographed, how annoying is that.

Very annoying.

 Will have to go back and do a re- enactment.

Everyone was in such good spirits and it really was I think one on the list of my more memorable nights for New Year celebrations. I usually don't like the the idea of New Years eve, there always seems such an expectation to be fun and merry and I'm not really into expectations.

I like it to be more organic and this is how it was, it just evolved into a very sincere night with all our close friendships nestled into the night with lots of happiness for everyone.

The food was just perfect, abundance of it all with dishes dedicated to unique flavours, lots of cakes and Bill's chocolate macaroons that were gone in a flash.

It was so good!

And I came away thinking that all the hard work that Bill and I have done over the past 6 years is going to pay off this year, I feel strongly that its all coming finally together.

It's a very good feeling, there's still hard work ahead, but we have established our printing press and art and we are strongly on our way.

In a nutshell, I feel very happy and content.

Our studio is on its way to being built, the slab is done and being watered everyday,  January will be about the vertical of the studio and February will be the lining of it. Hopefully all finished just in time for winter.

I have just completed the 8 designs for our wedding range and I'm really satisfied with the themes and overall look of them. It's been a full on couple of months of working late into the night, learning a new computer program, but I feel really chuffed with the progress that I have made, so instead of bleating to Bill that the pressure of learning a new computer program would be difficult and could he possibly do it for me, became a conquered more responsible can do adult in me.

Growing, growing.

So now just to make them into plates, print and photograph then up on the website, still quite a bit more to do, but the process is really enjoyable and now I realize how important is to be in process, in the moment, to really appreciate the distance rather than rushing to the end result.

 Happy New Year

This is Bill drawing a line with a sparkler constantly around our friend Kate while her boyfriend Mark held the camera on a long exposure. Very effective