The last two days I have been working on some 2″ x 2″ white line wood blocks. This one is the tiny koi in his square pond. I am not sure that I could carve any details if the images became smaller. Two inches is about it because of the size of the cutting blade.
These will fit into my suitcase to demonstrate the technique while teaching a two day class at Baldessin Press about an hours drive north of Melbourne, VIC.
To complete a series of three I carved a robin and a fox. Now I just need to print several of each, sign them and maybe take some along with me. Here are the other two.
I am rather wrapped up in returning to Australia and find myself looking at images that have captured the feeling of down under. This is a small egg tempera painting I did when returning home from there a few years ago. I had spent time doing a workshop with Nalda Searles at a sheep shearers quarters out in mid Victoria, Allendale I think was the name of the town. This was from a photo I took of the kitchen stove. It was massive and when I stood in front of it and no one else was around I could feel the presence of those who gathered here before going out to work with the sheep.
I would have sketched the stove as well but every bit of my time there with Nalda I was intent on doing her assignments. For some it was a social gathering as well as workshop and I would find places to be alone and think about my work, this place, its history and how far I travel to have experiences like these. I still have the straw bits I pieced together with threads and cloth. But they seem out of place here in North Carolina. I might dig them out and do something with them or maybe just throw them out and be content with this painting, this memory.
I am also revisiting sketchbooks from other times in Australia. This is a favorite page about Jude’s place near Hobart, Tasmania. I always loved how she told me where the airport was…..”just past the moon.” She has taken me in so many times that I know just where to find the lovely tea bowl to use for rinsing my watercolor brush.
And this old sketchbook where I was trying to capture all the strange little things on the ground at a place near Katherine in the Northern Territory. The most beautiful green ant nest made of carefully placed dead leaves, all the same leaf too. I could not see how they held them in place. Beautiful sculptures. The view from inside must have been magic.
And just a couple more watercolors from sketchbooks and memories.
Here are some other small journals I am taking to Australia next month. I will be gone for five weeks doing a series of workshops over there. The covers are made from a quality card stock that has been printed on both sides using photographs I have taken in Australia over the years. Images must be lined up perfectly to get the two windows that are cut and aligned in just the right place to see a chosen framed image. The front cover is actually three concertina sections, then the spine for sewing on the text block and the back cover. It eats up the copier ink but I love the effect of peering into the cover. We could call it a “tunnel cover” book.
These are some of the books I have made for the market place at the teaching venues next month in Australia. The cloth ones are made using yardage I bought there several years ago from a fabric store in Alice Springs. The designer was at Mittigong NSW and told me about her shop. Her color schemes and lovely little animals unique to Australia were irresistible. Each in his own framed space made them perfect for small book covers.
The green leather ones are made from kangaroo hide I bought there a long time ago at a leather goods place in Brisbane when Adele Outeridge took me off to some her favorite places. I even found the brown kangaroo hide lashes there.
And this is one of the twelve altered white line relief prints with stitches and materials also collected in Australia. Each one has an envelope with part of a relief print made here in my studio.