Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Studio school happiness - A cross pollination

It was like taking  a  d e e p   b r e a t h   and here we go.

October and November have turned out to be the fullest months of this year, full and
blossoming with studio creativity.

We really didn't know how our workshops would pan out this year to be honest but we thought lets give it a go and see what happens. We questioned whether people would travel this far to experience our unique way of life and our studio school. We questioned what time of year would be best, what  courses would we run.

 Living in the country one has to be very diverse particularly as an artist to produce enough income to make it viable, rather than delusional. It helps if you have the ability to be able to change direction, a risk taker, be flexible and adapt very quickly or it helps enormously if you have a leaning to jump off from one direction and go the other way to give other options a go.

Which I'd rather do than be stuck and procrastinating.

 The way it usual works between us is that one of us pushes the other gently into going forward, it's usual a balance of who's energy levels are highest at that point in time and who has the idea.

Sometimes we are both stubborn or determined to see it from one point of view ( artists tend to do this a lot) but somehow we arrive at the station to board the same train or one of us drags the other onto the train and sells a convincing pitch on the journey.

Because we are out here, isolated to some extent, working together 24/7, we work hard to come to the same equation even if it takes some extra chalk and a few hiccups.

Always chanting in my anxious mind
artist Martin Creeds slogan
E v e r y t h i n g   i s   g o i n g   t o   b e   a l r i g h t .

So far The Studio School is building up to be an ongoing venture that we are both happy to keep pursuing. It brings along with it new friendships with us and between the students, stops us from going stark mad being in our own little creative part of the woods and the passing on of antiquarian processes that our students always find to be a full satisfaction and inspiration.

It's a winner one might say.

So October began with  award winning artist Australian  
J O A N N A  L O G U E  from King Street Gallery . Joanna is a dream to work with, she has this calm confidence that just flows over you and has an extensive exhibition background and her work is held in many public and private collections. Her evocative landscape paintings are inspired by her home at Oberon.

 Joanna and her partner Martin came over to Hill End for our Tin type workshop - wet plate collodian and we had a very productive 2 days together using the vintage 8 x 10 camera.  So creative were the two days that Joanna came back to work with Bill in collaboration for the Natura Morta exhibition which we are all in at the Orange Regional Gallery on till 11th Janurary 2015. For a peek go to the online catalogue that Bill and I designed of all the artists in the exhibition.

Together they created two exceptional works on a grid system where the image was divided up and printed part by part on black aluminium prepared plates to form an overall image. One image
 Y o r k e s   d r e a m was made up of jugs and teacups looking beyond into Joanna's garden at Oberon, the other was a  m o r t e  kookaburra on a window sill in the little glasshouse.

32 plates later the effort was very much worth it. Bill and Joanna worked together very well with both being inspired by each others determination to get an excellent result and that they did. Boy oh boy it's one part science one part art and one part patience.

Time was the essence, I think it was about 5 weeks away from the opening and they had only just really started developing the plates. In this time they had to be made, assessed, positioned, remade and tweaked, sprayed and framed.

They were finished with spraying a robust two pack clear lacquer rather than the old way of lavender oil and gum sandarac that we usually do, which can be too soft for handling in a gallery situation. Which meant that Bill had to master almost a crash course on spraying like you would spray a new car.

The spraying had to work as there was no time left for a turnaround and all the plates are a unique state, one offs in other words, no going back this was it.

The scary daunting thing for me was that this had to be done in the studio, it was the only clean free zone but I was like fuck what about all the presses, stationery and our artwork, I had visions of a whole studio wrapped in misted two pack art installation. I found this very stressful.

Bill dampened down the studio floors with a mop and closed off all the doors and windows, wore spray painters overalls and a mask, having dust form on these plates as one is coating them is a tricky business. Even worrying about the dust coming off ones clothes is a problem.

But as usual when Bill puts his mind to something his off and very focused and in the zone of what is needed.

Just don't interrupt him, it will put him off and divert his confidence. Hence why we have an amazing garden, that's where I flee to on occasions like this.

Each night Bill would do a few plates in our studio, he had this exhaust system on a turntable that sucked all the excess varnishs away out the window it was something he bought on Ebay but it worked very well and then he would let them dry overnight. The night went on with us both working on the online catalogue for the exhibition and then back into it the next day. Whilst I waited patiently through the day in the wings to get on our Gordon Plate press to fill all the Christmas orders.

But you know what, Bill did it and very successfully, no residue anywhere, always our equation is me anxiously worrying and wanting to take them to the nearest panel beater and Bill amazing me with another skill his focused in on as he always believes in learning the skill himself even if it takes a bit more time.

The line up for the Natura Morta exhibition curated by Gavin Wilson was very successful, all the artists have very distinct individual styles and they all tied together to create a very strong exhibition.

 You can read more about the Natura Morta exhibition and artists work with curator writer Gavin Wilsons essay on the Orange Regional Gallery website.
Then in between all of this we were designing and making samples for our new letterpress stationery inspired by our wild garden. My safety net. After 6 months hard slog with everything else going on we developed a new range of letterpress stationery where I have drawn the designs, no, never ever any clip art is to be found in our studio it's got to come from the heart and creative mind. We're pretty tickled with the result and the garden to celebrate was just incredible this year, it's like it knew this stationery event was coming and showed off with no looking back. All can be seen

We also created the new online shop ikLe gift vouchers which stocks terrific Christmas gift ideas.

A little part of our garden goes out to the world again.

Open Studio Day came upon us on the October Long weekend where all the Hill End artists open up their studio doors, all can be seen on

Next we had the vivacious J U L I E  F O X A L L  in the studio for a letterpress photopolymer workshop, she had this incredible enthusiasm for letterpress and it was a such fun working with her. Julie reacted like a kid in a toy shop and was very familiar with letterpress in the states and Canada as she had lived there for 8 years but hadn't investigated working with photopolymer plates and so over two days she confidently and industriously created a suite of  her own 3 unique designs using the Gordon Platen press and die cutting them with a happy gingerly touch.

The lovely thing here is that we taught her and she taught us, that's the magic that comes out of our Studio School. Everyone gets a terrific result.

h a p p y cross pollination.

Coming on board next were 3 more inspiring artists coming for our two day course Learn to Letterpress workshop.

S AN D R A  W I N K W O R T H , N O E L   M C K E N N A  and   P A T RI C I A  P H I L I P  A D A M S.

Sandra just before coming to Hill End had an exhibition at Art est in Leichhardt which she was awarded for from a prize that she won with her entry in the Greenway project. In her exhibition she painted in water colour hundreds of items in her home, the imagination, effort and thoughtfulness were something to behold, it was joyful and also mindful of what surplus we create in our environment. You can see more of her work on her blogspot

Patricia is an artist and a Conjoint Senior Lecturer at the School of Creative Arts at the Newcastle University and has an ongoing love of letterpress. Patricia with her talent revels in all forms of printmaking and has experienced extensive residency programs around the world.

Noel McKenna, artist with the Darren Knight Gallery in Sydney  with his artwork having been described as "the noble poetry of the everyday". His last exhibition was humorously titled The psychiatrist's Dog.

 One thing we know is that Noel  l o v e s Gill sans font and we had a case full.

As you can see the three of them were to be inspired by literature and they worked to produce their paragraphs or ditties in very creative ways using wooden and metal type.They learnt how to hand set the type, transfer it into the press and mixing colours. With this they made editions of their designs to share or to use in future artworks.
                           Patricia Wilson Adams                                                                            Noel McKenna

Mixing it all up and pushing the boundaries emotionally and physically I entered the prestigious Portia Geach Painting Prize for women artists this year for the first time and to my surprise I got in, placed on the walls of the S.H.Erwin at Observatory Hill in Sydney with my self portrait. Exhibition finishes December 12th 2014.

Hill End Primary School have set up this educational brilliant idea by the schools headmaster for an art scholarship which includes 10 surrounding schools to have two students selected and  invited to be creative at Hill End for two days. Its a grass roots endeavour and what better location than Hill End with it's historic history of artists.

We were invited to do a pinhole photography workshop teaching 30 students and Parris my daughter helped assist,  a very simple way and cheap way to make photographs that was achievable for them at home.

We set up our portable darkroom, a hydroponic tent that  shifty eyes were upon us when we bought it. Bill fixed it with sink and photography baths and there we created with the students 8 0  p i n h o l e  
p h o t o g r a p h s using small tin cans from the $2.00 shop. It was a winner with the students and inspired visiting teachers to create the same setup at their own schools. Students photographed the landscape and then 3 to 4 students at a time would go into the tent and develop their photographs, pure magic.

In between all of the above we had the artist/photographer N I C O L E  W E L C H join us for a quickie Tin type wet collodian workshop, we managed to schedule her in between acts. A very talented photographer Nicole  investigates the landscape using projections upon the natural environment with historical reference and with this she creates stirring evocative atmospheres in her photography. 

Over two days Nicole under the guidance of Bill created 3 tintypes shown below for the Christmas exhibition at in Sydney where she is exhibits.

Her image bottom right Titled: 'Apparition #6,  
2014 - P r o j e c t i o n s 'l e  k a n g a r o o  m e   c h a r g e' 1869, pigment ink, face mounted 80 x 80cm edition of 6 available. You can see more of Nicole and her photographs at the Brenda May Gallery, Sydney.

F i n a l l y,  

we have both cross pollinated enormously these last two months in more ways than one, it's been humorous, fun, exhausting, fruitful, fretful but overall very rewarding to meet such inspiring people, we packed in a lot and we'll be lining up to do it again next year.

One last  b r e a t h,  our letterpress Christmas stationery is ready! All printed on linen 390gsm board and they come with a kraft envelope, a pretty sticker for sealing and cellophane bag so they arrive happy and sparky to you.

I  t h i n k   w e 'l l   h a v e   a  l i e   d o w n   n o w  i n  o u r  w i l d   g a r d e n.


G E N E V I E V E  &  B I L L

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

We just want to throw flowers at the world.

Our new range of gift letterpress stationery called Out of the Garden has all been inspired by our wild garden here at Hill End. It's all about our garden and what grows, runs and flys through it with us just wanting to throw flowers at the world.

 At the moment it's a picture, lilacs, grandmas bonnets, May bush, irises, lavender are all coming through in abundance. Next will be the roses and that's when my bestie Albertine wafts through our front door.

It's just this grand moment of once a year but it's sublime.

I run round watering by hand from our well all  my seedlings as I'm getting a hedgerow growing in one large circle that also has the Snake Bark Maples. In five years time it will be a sanctuary that we can escape too and no one will know I'm in there, a hedge of ones own.

The new letterpress range is gorgeous we are over the moon with our hard work at creating it. Which was done through winter and just the thought of my Spring garden kept me going in drawings.

All our illustrations are done by me, no clip art here. At times it's  so very very tempting I can't deny that but Bill just says "There is no way an ounce of clip art is coming into the studio. We're artists, just share with the world this sanctuary we have here" he says. So I keep drawing and at the end I'm so glad I did. It means so much more to me and has the same result as when I put my hands into the earth to plant.

So we have new to our letterpress stationery lovely little postcards, printed on coaster board 390gsm and they come with a delightful kraft envelope and sticker on the back. Some are printed twice with our Gordon Platen foot pedal Press and all are die cut in ovals and rounded rectangles and sell for a happy little price of $5.00 retail. You can see the full range on our website

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#winter #artists

 I'm seriously done with winter, not to mention writing #hashtags on our instagram iphone. The two combined are relentless. Trying to feel like I'm in touch with the world in my thawing state and water bottle between my legs at night I switch between watching another tedious repeat documentary on the tv or I swing to the side of lounge and go through instagram. I really want and need it to swing to comedy for a while, I'm finding it really difficult watching another animal in its habitat coping with six feet of snow.

Living in our little cottages here in the back woods, is in my mind always contradicting itself, I move emotionally from loving my life here to dreaming about a different existence. If the cold was less drafty and the sun shone each day it would be easier. Our homes are picturesque, evocative and very romantic but very drafty. You see they are old old old buildings and stopping all the drafts is a major mission with new ones revealing themselves each year. About this time of the year in Hill End we are running towards Spring and we can't wait.

29th August: Meditating three more days to go.

The August winds brought a bit of icing on the cake in our studio.

We felt like Spring moving forward in leaps and bounds. We had Australian artists Luke Sciberras and Parris Dewhurst here printing their etchings for upcoming exhibitions. It got our winter mojo up, as we generally are cranking up our vintage presses with letterpress orders so it's nice to swing to your fine art gene switch in the two of us with the etching press, gets our juices fired up and having other artists in their with us makes for a really productive happy place.

My daughter Parris has an exhibition coming up and it was just terrific to have her back into her art again. She did her fine arts degree at Sydney College  of the Arts and then went onto to masters in Arts Management. This meant that it opened up her experiences and made her feel secure as an artist having a back up plan. After this  she went to Alice Springs NT to work for a year in marketing with Desart. This really set her up for some amazing times and growth all in that incredible landscape which she found very hard to leave. But we have her back here now and  printing for her exhibition subject matter: feral goats. They are here and in Alice Springs  in abundance.

Parris printed like a dream and seemed like an old hand at it making 8 drypoint etchings in two days. When that girls on a mission she just goes for it. Having that lovely young energy is so good for me to absorb, I love it. Then the following two days, the two of us made this large soft sculpture which for me as a mum was so nice to spend this time with her and something we both love to do. Parris directing and constructing, me maxing it on the sewing machine.

The result was so rewarding, with spending a concentrated mum and daughter week together making art. It was a luxury in our crazy busy lives, something we haven't done for a long time, well overdue and  I felt really satisfied by this as a mum and watching her leave Hill End to Sydney with her car loaded up with prints and this large sculpture in the back. #parrisdewhurst #feral goats

Then our studio doors opened to another collaboration with Hill End artist Luke Sciberras whom exhibits with the gallery OlsenIrwin gallery in Sydney.
The knowledge that illuminates what one is seeing enlivens the entire experience and offers a rich layer of implied information added for the months on end in the studio when one is painting it out. - See more at: recently returned from Istanbul where he created the Turkey - Gallipoli Suite.
The knowledge that illuminates what one is seeing enlivens the entire experience and offers a rich layer of implied information added for the months on end in the studio when one is painting it out. - See more at:

So on his travels Luke had done this delightful etching on a copper plate looking out of his hotel room over Istanbul and its numerous satellite dishes and asked Bill if he would print up an edition of the image. So while Marilyn M posed behind them and put on her Chanel perfume, Bill inked up and Luke watched on overseeing the plate tone and editions, which means how much ink one wants on the finished image. The overall feel of the image.
The knowledge that illuminates what one is seeing enlivens the entire experience and offers a rich layer of implied information added for the months on end in the studio when one is painting it out. - See more at: recently returned from Istanbul where he created the Turkey - Gallipoli Suite.
The knowledge that illuminates what one is seeing enlivens the entire experience and offers a rich layer of implied information added for the months on end in the studio when one is painting it out. - See more at:

 So master printer Bill meditatively like a zen master has made editions this week working on them each afternoon and finishing just before dinner. They are all done 30 of them printed up roughly doing 6 - 8 each time he has a spare moment or so. Lukes called the image Istanbul - (the satellite dishes of Istanbul). Now they are being pressed under large boards and then they will be ready to be signed by Luke and out to the world for sale.

Hill End Open Studio Day Sunday 5th October 2014

HILL END PRESS  will be opening their studio doors for one special day on the long weekend, Sunday 5th October 2014. Please come and see our unique environment where we enjoy our creative endeavours. We'd love to have a chat and explain the beauty of letterpress, tin type photography and photogravure.
Feel free to contact us or go to the Hill End Arts Council blogspot for further details. We look forward to meeting you.



Thursday, July 31, 2014

I'm over chopping firewood

Every year we say we are going to get organize on the subject of firewood. But as soon as the cold comes in all plans go to the chilly wind and it becomes a day to day effort. The romance of splitting timber and making sure the corduroy snakes are up against the door wears off in your first year very quickly.

Let me tell you it's a mission that is relentless and we are up and down constantly keeping a vigilance on the fire. Decisions of will we light one fire or two in the front cottage. To gee that fire works well tonight or we need to pump up that fire to I'm fucking freezing and a waterbottle between my legs.

From understanding what is  good wood to burn to what will take 10 packets of firelighters to kick off. Which let me tell you is no fun when the kindling and firewood is saturated from a weeks worth of rain. We end up cooking them up on top of the combustion fire to dry them out before we put them into the fire. But understanding the right type of  firewood doesn't help split the timber in preparation for the season of fire.

Instead of cicadas in the air we hear chainsaws going around the surrounding properties.

Once in our 10 year time here I have split a whole load of firewood, it was really hard work and took me all afternoon to do it, I felt organized and satisfied, to just go to our wood box at night and have a selection of dry timber. But because it was all split it felt like a lolly shop and I think we went through more timber that time. Oh to be this disciplined with each timber load, but I'd rather do other things to be honest. I really really want a magic elf to come and do it for us and totally understand why they had so many kids in the past to keep the fires going. The cottages we live in they had 9 children and four fires to keep going.

My uncle growing up on his farm at the back of Canberra was given an axe at the age of five, this was normal (no soften playgrounds here) and it was a great pride to him and his brother to be given this responsibility with never hurting themselves either. They both constantly chopped firewood for the home as kids, that was part of their chores. One day they saw this object in the sky and didn't know what it was and they hid their axes under the wood pile in fear they would be taken by this strange object, it was the very first time they saw a plane fly over and their priority was the axes. They knew at a very young age how important that wood pile was to their family.

So with all this explained I can't tell you how we are so so very pleased we put underfloor heating in our printmaking studio, you can imagine how much we love this. After googling up what they do in Canada for insulation, Bill did the same, friends thought it was over doing it, but we wrapped the studio in a big warm cardigan under the slab, sides and over the roof. 

Oh my goodness it's bliss on our mental psyche and productivity and down the future we will put in a  better combustion stove in our lounge room something with a force fan I think.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hill End Open Studio Day!

An event not to be missed.

It's Sunday 5th October long weekend 2014,  we're giving you plenty of time to organize your friends and family, pack the suitcase and come along.

The artists of Hill End will open their studio doors and that includes us at HILL END PRESS
where you can see how we print on our vintage presses all our beautiful letterpress stationery, twirl our paint brushes and antiquarian photography.

 Contact us at for more details

just thought I'd get your wanderlust juices going.


                                                       National Parks and Wildlife Service
                                                      Office of Environment and Heritage

 Bathurst Regional Art Gallery

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tea eggs for easter

I ' m (we're)  p o o p   d e   d o o p e d ! 

Basically because we have been so very busy of late, our tin type, photogravure and letterpress workshops are taking off  and in between all of this came Easter, so this is a late entry but that's ok.

I'm a wee bit tired but fully content.

New routines are to be had with the workshops and a tiny re tuning.

A nice place to be.

(Yes I do recall at the beginning of the year I stated that we are going to work extra harder this year, I'm eating my words already)

Today I'm just going to re centre in my garden, plant the new hedge for the large circle in the middle of the paddock. The plan that one day we can spend our frolicking lunches in the middle of the circle of snake bark maples and hedging plants, it will be our own little private space inside a larger private space.

Does this make sense?

Probably not because there I go working again, planting Versailles in the front paddock. Actually I'm having another go at it, the last effort we had huge amounts of rain and the maples little feet were waterlogged and drowned, so a change of design for a more robust hedge.

I want it like a hedgerow, all messy and lots of different varieties of plants, rambling romantic.

Today I don't mind if it doesn't make sense because its our first day off in 4 weeks and my mind is feeling like a circle within a circle.

Here's what we ate for Easter and it was the best best Easter this year, friends and family came to stay and the tea eggs that was my specialty for the Easter table was a a crowd pleaser and topped it off with Pukara Estate truffle olive oil. 

D i v i n e   d i v i n e   d  i v i n e .

Tea eggs from the beautiful blog and totally relate to this goddess moving to the country side site‎ 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cumquats and aluminium office sliding doors

I made this cumquat jam from 30 year old trees that were planted when my twins sons were born.

It's still warm, no sign of any Autumn chill at all, the hedging roses are even showing a puff of  pink bloom and the cumquat trees are fruiting.

The paddocks are so green for this time of the year. 

V e r y   s t r a n g e   i n d e e d y .

what can I write about?

In bed with Bill and Gen maybe.

 We have been sitting up in bed for years having our cups of tea first thing in the morning in the same mugs and toast with jam. This is how we have always started the morning, you know how we all have rituals, well this is ours, especially here in Hill End when the winter frosts come in. 

B u t   a l a s   w e   a r e   c h a n g i n g   a l l   t h i s !

Why are we changing this?

Well it's called vanity and things are speeding up around Hill End Press.

The workshops are booking up.

We've got lots to do.

Our tummies are becoming a little too big for our liking as well, so now we have just tea, black tea and still in bed, up at seven with Bill jogging and me walking with Tango the wonder dog.

We've become so crazily virtuous.

Working in the countryside is very different to city life. You have a very expanded timetable that doesn't really have any demarcation of when to stop, so we tend to just keep working from the morning to late at night, but that goes with the territory of having your own business anyway right.

I said to Bill the other day that I'm going to build an office in the middle of the paddock, aluminum sliding doors, nylon curtains and swivel chairs, so people will really believe we are working.

Country life always has the appearance that we are frolicking, oh how I wish.

Having a home office has its pluses and minuses.
The plus is we have no peak hour traffic and our own pace and timetable and this incredible landscape, the minus is that it can get lonely sometimes you can miss the different personalities and distractions filtering in and out of say a city office environment.

W h y   d i d   w e   c h o o s e   H i l l   E n d   t o   l i v e ?

 All the artists that make the arts residency pilgrimage flow through each year always makes for very inspiring company, the landscape and the expanded nature.

Do I miss the city? Not really, although I must say except my children and theatre, I miss them at times. I find now when I go to the city that I miss that sense of distance that I have in Hill End, the views. The difference in me is that I would have lived on the town clock if possible when I was younger but now.

Hill End always delivers some moment that can be timeless or fleeting, challenging or difficult but either way it always alters ones way of thinking in a good way  and approach to the world, I think its that it makes one think in ways that you would never have thought.

To be honest I've learnt so much since moving here.
Which was nine years ago.
I think it's really about being diverse and open to what is presented each day, not to worry about the what ifs. 

I've learnt this very big time.

Country driving and what if I break down, dusk driving with roos, which timber is best on the fire, chilly drafts and lengths of masking tape along the windows, isolation, having a kitchen in a separate building, the distinct seasons, living and working together, making a business work in a remote place.

They've all been challenges that at times have been big hurdles and I'm glad that we are out the other side, we get it now and understand how it works.

The funny thing is that it did always work ok it was just how I viewed and prepared for it.

It's brought a strength out in us both that we never knew was there.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Workhshops at Hill End Press

(s o m e d a y s   I  w o u l d   l i k e   t o   f e e l   l i k e   o a k   l e a v e s....)
 taking the slow road to growing 

but in reality I  feel more like the late bloomer it could be described as, I have this niggling underlying need to grow into something grand but urgently.

I'm pretty sure I'm competitive, it's true, there you go, I've declared it. Why does describing oneself or someone else as competitive always have that note of tallying up unreliable judgements? Even declaring it I'd rather regard myself as highly energetic or maybe I have acquired the new worldly symptom of individualism anxiety.  

Maybe to describe me as a wattle tree would be better suited to my nature, problem though is they only live for a short time with their job of putting the nitrogen back into the earth, this equation sucks as I am putting in big time, and I'm more keen to want to live nearer to one hundred,
 plus I'd rather be green than yellow. 

That's not going to work.

Maybe a blossom tree would be a better metaphor, like our 120 year old pear in the front garden, still fruiting and blossoming.

That's more inspiring.

I know for sure Bill is definitely an oak tree, he takes things slow and considered and is resourceful, I'm just like fuck I want to get on with it and tend to think a weeks project can be done in a day.

 Bill rests and thinks in between projects.
I think and garden in between projects.

It's the right balance between us. 
Bill makes me slow down and consider and I make him a bit faster!

So moving right along from the human arboretum, this brings me to March, where we have come out of our hot muggy summer and we're are thinking again, thinking towards Hill End Press housekeeping.

How we can improve, turn things, new projects and new aligning.

T a k e   n o t e ...

Our new project for the year is to bring the creatives to Hill End Press to learn letterpress printmaking and antiquarian photography.

We are ready.

We are  really really well practiced now and have taught our workshops further a field at uni's and guilds. We love what we do and feel after all this experience why not share it with others so we have set the courses up and you can see them at our site.

All those who are in design school, obsessives about font, those whom just want to do something outside their norm, a girlies weekend or those who are just a wee bit curious of 
how artistic people live.
(because it is very different)

So if you are keen to hear us rabbit on to you about printing and photography till the cows come home have a look at our courses.

(Oak & Pear)
a fruiting co-operative

Saturday, February 15, 2014

For Bill

"I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. 

I love you simply

without problems or pride: I love you in this way

because I do not know any other way of loving but this

in which there is no I or you,

so intimate that your hand

upon my chest is my hand,

so intimate that when I fall asleep

your eyes close"

Pablo Neruda

Friday, February 14, 2014

A beautiful purposeful anarchy

I recently wrote a short story or a little essay which ever way you would like to look at it 
for a beautiful site

I hadn't done this before and my understanding of ( p r o p e r ) grammar, the technical side to our English language is rather very askew. I can go as far as a verb, adjective or noun, full stop, comma but that's it, as it never really got kickstarted in the beginning for me.
( I've noticed this hiccup glares at you when trying to learn a new language)

It all sprouted from my anxiety as a little totter in the classroom situation, of not fitting in and that, maybe it was repeating kindergarten. Maybe it was coming last in the class each year, or maybe it was when I decided to put my head through the bars on the kindergarten patio which was the first port of call into the school, only to get my head stuck. The bell rang and in desperation of not being found out the front of the school, I almost lost both ears pulling my head back out!

I don't know but what ever it was, school and me were not like a glove 

more like a lost sock worrying about being in the 3rd drawer down.

(You see, I preferred to do watercolours in my English books, all over the top of my writing while occasionally viewing the blackboard repetition, I was really in a world of my own, I just thought if I read a lot in my own time I would eventually catch up and grasp it. I've read a lot but I don't think I ever properly grasped grammar in its technical form.)

but that's ok.
I'm fine with that.
I' m   a  r i s k   t a k e r .

How to spot differences now, well I don't 
I just write.

I was as usual throwing myself fully to the task of writing this little story, but after 3 days of shamelessly believing that I had similar creative articulation as Tolstoy 
 sheer panic came over me, 

( f u c k

this is where being naive is really really helpful, 

sometimes it can keep fear away from the door. 

So I opted for the road of naivety and grandeur of oneself.
.........and kept going


Going straight to safety zone of what was
 very personal to me,
 growing up in wilderness gardens, as this is what really has taught me some great life skills and a deeper understanding of myself and how 
I look at the world to what it is and what it may become for me.

I guess I really wanted to express a different class room environment 
that really has stood by me all my life.

I guess I just keep trying new things.

I'm still such a strong believer in your environment that you grow up in, education yes it is very important but I think there's so much more to it, 
than just relying on a school education to
 tick all the boxes, 
because  sometimes
it doesn't.

Not everyone fits in.

Often the inspiration at school is the externals of life not the internals that really make up who we are.

A n y w a y

You can have a peak 
at this very inspiring site called The Planthunter, a must for all the green thumbs
and more of  a m u s t 
 for all the pink thumbs that really do need to feel the soil.
you can find my little story 

Hill End Press wilderness garden

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The sweet sigh of a collaborative wedding...

Pinterest window image -

This is for brides that find themselves
lying awake in the wee hours of the morning
t h i n k i n g   t h i n k i n g   t h i n k i n g

So I would like to share with you how we set about our own wedding festivities,
 seeing that we are in the bespoke wedding business it only
seems fair to explain how we went about our unique special day,
made just for us.

Bill and I were married in February 2005.

A daytime wedding.

It was our second time for both of us and I guess our whole approach to our wedding day
was going to be different,

A. because we both had adult children now, our relationship brought an extended family
and friendships

B. We had just both come out of art school and finances were slim with renovating 
and setting up our studio Hill End Press.
(as most of us can relate to)

So here is how we got the inspiration juices fine tuned and moving along

Our theme


(and how to learn about art via your wedding and abundance of beauty )

Dutch Still Life paintings

One of the best ways to be inspired is to get yourself down to the city art gallery or museum,
here you will find answers to your choice of colour combos, being brave, and honest clarity.

You will find many an artist whom trust themselves and their unique vision.
Yes they have doubts for sure, but they keep moving right a long once their idea has

The idea is it will transport your mind.
( A r t   i s   h o n e s t   a n d   I  g u e s s   t h a t ' s   t h e   
f o u n d a t i o n   o f   y o u r   r e l a t i o n s h i p  t o o. )

As an artist it's hard for me to go pass American painter Mark Rothko,
who's placement of layered colour, composition and an understanding of
 how colour can effect the emotions. There is one in the Tate Modern, London that
when standing in front of made me cry, cry in neither sadness or joy
 but it touched a beautiful fulfilling chord with me,
that I couldn't quite explain,
but it rang true.

This is what you want your wedding to be, something that says something about
the essence of you as a couple and transports your guests mentally to thoughts that are
 uniquely beautiful.

This is what great art can do.

So Rothko became the palette for us.

Pinterest images - Rothko painting and chocolate cake

For us it was going to be naturally a wedding bountiful in creativity.

 It was going to be relatively stress free and it was going to be about everyone pitching in to bring it together with their talents and skills.

It was very personal and very successful.

We booked romantic Rodd Island in Sydney Harbour just off Rozelle, it has a historic house with verandahs, beautiful grounds and a lovely gazebo. 
An island destination wedding at reasonable rates, available for the whole day and central for everyone to come too, it was February and there was shelter for any afternoon Sydney summer storm.

(It's claim to fame is that Sarah Bernhardt left her dogs here for quarantine at the turn of the last century)

Now the idea behind it being A GRAND PICNIC is that it had a comfortable vibe from the word go
yet the Sydney island was something that a lot of our guests hadn't experienced and there were no airfares to worry about.

Here's where the pitching in and trust comes.

It became one big beautiful collaboration where  e v e r y o n e  contributed something special.

We had our working ferry called Reliance a beautiful old 1919 boat that use to ship mail and goods down the Hawkesbury River and this was to ferry our guests to the island. As a present to us our friend Anthony presented his Sydney tug boat to help as well, which meant we could transport the 100 or so guests quicker.

This was a moment of nervousness for Bill and I as our ferry needed a new engine and the concern that she would not perform on the day was at our forefront of our minds, but she was a solid part of our lives so she just had to be a part of the gig, fingers crossed we forged on and if there happen to be hiccups there was the tug boat.

The little ones standing on the wharf welcoming party were looked after by my sister in law Gela and she organized them with blowing bubbles as we walked up through the middle of our guests to the historic house.

Once inside we stood in front of all our family and friends, a song was performed that had been written about us by the band Myriad and sung to us by them.

It was such a unique bridal waltz
of course
'Bill the boatman fell in love'.

Being picnic style all our guests were asked on their invitations to bring a plate of food, no pressies.  so naturally everyone made something festive and very decadent.
Tables, glasses, napkins were set up and food organized on the day by our 
enthusiastic friends.
Guests mingled and ate in the grounds.
The food was in abundance and amazing
and our guests were like an army full of love 
with their organizing and thoughtful details.

The wedding chocolate cake that was covered in gorgeous flowers was specially made for us by our art school friend Chris that works at the best cake shop in Sydney called in Paddington.

Reliance our ferry and Anthony Browells tug boat.

To our surprise Bill's brother Richard had hired a wonderful Elvis impersonator and he entertained the guests on the wharf and boat journeys.

This was his unexpected and special wedding present.

Our sons and daughters with my little nephew Jay as pageboy were the bridal party 
with two close long time friends, that had seen our children grow up.

Bill wore his fabulous American vintage white tuxedo, I made the wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses and was inspired by my love of all things
Japanese and the painter Rothko's palette, 
simple, eclectic and strong statements of colour was what I loved.
Our sons wore black pants and smart black T-shirts.
Best man looked very best.

I really wanted it to have a joyfulness and playfulness about it, which is why I used strong colours.

It had to sing and convey happiness.

For the flowers, one very early early morning, the day before, my sister in law Marilyn and myself
went to the flower markets for the bouquets and this was her present to us.
It was a gorgeous experience where we gathered bundles and bundles of colourful flowers,
 early morning coffee and catch up,
and watched all the growers  setting up and selling there blooms before dawn.

My other sister in law Gela put together all the bouquets for me on the morning of the ceremony tied with varying french colourful ribbons.

We bought enough flowers to have surplus that were put in a box and given to both our Mums before we arrived on the island,
Ann and Rita both made a ceremonial circle from the flowers on the ground for us to take our vows in under a sweeping old Morton Bay Fig tree.

Our children threw rose petals on us as we stepped off our boat.

Our marriage celebrant came in his official sea captain uniform which was fitting for Bill having worked on the harbour for many years.

All our photography was done by the very talented Graham Monroe of

After lunch we danced to Chilean music, wonderful drums that friends contributed.

Images from Pinterest - and

I think what was so endearing about our wedding day is that we involved 
our family and friends, they all contributed as they so importantly do in our lives.

Whatever their talents were, and there were many talents, we matched the job to it.

We made it very personal
(and except for our ferry, would she make the run, it was 
relatively stress free).

It was an exclusive festival.

and because it was our wedding day we had full trust in them all to
bring it all together for us,
there was a beautiful thread that linked everyone up,
which for us 
 was the best wedding present.