Something With Pictures

I saw one of these on someone else’s blog. They are made from Lake Michigan rocks and encased in vellum. How could I not want to buy the last two available from Shanna Leino. She is an extraordinary book artist and tool maker. Now my responsibility is to keep them clean. Do not sit them onto painted, smeary, muddy, gluey surfaces. They are between 3.5 and 4.5 inches and quite heavy. Perfect for holding things in place….clean things.

This week in the studio I painted 192 small 2″ x 4″ sheets of kozo paper with 153 watercolors made from the soils of Australia.

When they were dry I sealed the color in on both sides. Sorting them according to colors so that they move through the country by color was a bit of a challenge. I am fairly satisfied now.

Even the very pale sheets have some color clinging to their edges. Here you can see that they go from the greys to creams to light terre vertes to pale yellows and then on to more intense colors. Deeper yellow ochres through the browns to reds and finishing with a nice caput mortuum…deep brownish red….old blood.

My intention with these is to stitch on each sheet before it is folded into a folio and then coptic stitched to the next one in line. I want the long book to flow like the endless landscape of Australia. I want to roll it back and forth between my hands. At least that is the plan.

The thread will be something I bought over there. A cream or beige or Eucalyptus leaf green. Not sure about that yet. Maybe all three?

I have been dipping into these watercolors for several projects.

This one now housed in the South Australia Museum.

This one now in Australia’s National Library.

The Lake Mungo book housed in Queensland State Library.

There were many, many hand pulled prints colored with these same watercolors.

Another thing I did this week was take all of my pop up book collection to Western Carolina University where I received my BFA in 1997. There were over ninety titles. So many were gifts and so many more I just found irresistible. Many came from museum gift shops and were extremely complex in their movements.  They were very happy to receive this collection and told me that the artist book collection I gave them late last year is now housed in their museum. I like that students can have access to these books. Much better than having them in boxes here.

Here is the only pop up book I kept, the one I made myself….Art History Pops Up.

This one was so much fun to make. Ten iconic art images throughout history. We do not have access to the shiny slick papers that make pop ups work so well. It is tedious and very wearing on the movable parts to make one. At least that was my experience so far. I have been asked to work on another with someone knowledgeable on the history of the book. I hope I can live up to his expectations. More on that project later in the year.

Meanwhile that is it for now. But one more thing, the novella, Kind Gestures, is now on my website, offered in spaced out chapters.

Til next week.

I Am Back With More Randomness and Clarifications

But first! I was just notified that one of my entries to the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize was accepted. This is very exciting because there were four jurors involved in making selections. I have not had work accepted since 2011 in this extraordinary exhibition and the theme of integrating natural sciences with art fits so much of the work I do using pigments of Australia for commentary.

But otherwise, back to the original blog that I had a hold on until I talked with my web adviser.

The girls are back doing the weeding, putting down mulch, placing pine straw, resetting loose stepping stones, etc. I dug out my snake who sunk rather low this winter and put him in a new spot. Just looking at the yard work makes me tired so it is wonderful to have some enthusiastic help.

Now if I could just find someone to do the inside things like replace faucet washers, patch water damaged ceilings, tighten things down, etc, that would be really nice. It is the maintenance that is beyond us here, but “here” is what we know and it seems that here is where we will be.

I took this picture and the next one just sitting and watching the morning sun come through the window and fall on my New Zealand flax baskets. Each year when I went to Australia I would weave one of these. This last trip I did not. No NZ flax and even less time. So this wall full of them is likely to be all there will be.

 

Barbara Rowe, an Australian basket maker, inspired me to make these baskets. Hers were simple perfection in structure, technique and shapes. She would place them in her house, then apartment where the light created shadows and the slightest air movement shifted their positions and made them seem alive. I saw her this last visit and she has not changed one bit. Over eighty years of age, still weaving and still an inspiration.

Speaking of perfection, I visited Kerr Grabowski’s class this week at the Folk School. She and her students came over to see my studio. A very talented bunch doing what I think they call “de-constructed silk screen”. I could not resist buying this very long and beautifully patterned scarf from Kerr.

I liked this end detail of her cat supposedly dreaming of a fish.

Kerr’s work is so distinct and if you ever get a chance to take her workshop or buy her work, just do it. The next time she is in town we are hoping to work together here in my studio if at all possible. I like sharing space with others that are so passionately involved in their work. It creates a good atmosphere in the room where we both can just get on with it in our own spaces and then break for sustenance later in the day.

I was going to tell you about changes in the website.

Soon you will see a “https” in front of the sandywebster.com. That means that the website is safe. Without having this done, and paying the extra cost, there could be warnings saying something to the effect of “website not safe”. This would be a total off-putting message to see. So to understand more about that little change go to:

https://security.googleblog.com/2018/02/a-secure-web-is-here-to-stay.html

And next, very soon, due to new regulations and warnings, there will be a notification at the bottom of my website that there will be “cookies”. These are not as invasive as we used to think. Everyone who has a website will have to have this information posted in the next two to three months. To learn more about just what that means please go to this sight and read.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/about-cookies

These are new compliances that are necessary if you have a website followed internationally. For me personally, I do not mind the “cookies”. They help me get to what I am looking for much quicker when using the internet.

I can not think if there is anything else to post this week. So just in case, I will put this post on hold for a day or so.

And while I was on hold, I started new work using even more of those watercolors from Australian soils. These small pages will be made into individual folios and then sorted by colors to be stitched together one after the other to shape into the contours of Australia.

So here is only 24 of the near to 300 watercolors to date.

A Valentine’s Day Meander

These tangled threads with reference to what “once” was is pretty apt at this stage.

We don’t do Valentine’s Day anymore. One of us can’t remember that it is, and the other does not want to remind him that he doesn’t remember. We will go out to dinner tomorrow with friends and enjoy ourselves.

We also pick who we want to spend time with and who not. Friends who make us laugh and remember good times are what we need more than those with whom we share limited  interests. Good friends are just there when needed and we, especially me, appreciate their being there.

But it is all good. The physical therapy is over. I need only keep up with the exercises and realize that some things are just not that important. And keep looking to take care of the things that matter.

Try not to muddy the waters so to speak.

And even if I do, find some clarity and move on.

Back to Australia in less than two weeks. Friends and family I can count on will be here for Lee. Using Skype and phoning will keep us keep in touch over such a long distance for the month I will be in that magical place.

And when I return home I am going to tackle all those closets and storage boxes and shelves that are loaded with the things that no longer matter. I look forward to the clarity that will bring to where I want to spend my time. Making more artwork that needs to find places to go seems a bit silly at this point. I might seek the advice of others….especially the art group.

I plan on drinking more herbal tea.

And I am going to slow down. That is the one thing my physical therapist kept nagging me about. “You need to stop rushing through the things that take time and concentration. You need to not be so obviously thinking about what comes next and work on staying in the moment.” “Breathe.”

I will leave with one more image of how it is for us now….a bit of the prickly along lines of holding things in place.

Til next week sometime.

 

The Things We Live With – Part II

Some other things that just stay in place. On the long thick pine bench my husband made and runs along a wall that faces the front door has at one end a stoneware vase. I put the reddish sticks from some out of control willow bush with white and green leaves in it. The bush was supposed to look like the neighbors down at the end of the road, but no, it throws floppy branches out into the driveway to rub across my car. It sort of flails it arms in a sense, and a couple times a year I have to cut it back. I think this only encourages it. But the branches are a deep wine red and I bring them in to poke into this vase. Then I add Eucalyptus stems that refuse to fall apart. The fake red berries are so totally not me, but once in the vase over the holiday season, they stayed. Only two rocks were supposed to be here. They were handy to take to classes when I taught earth pigment gathering and processing. For some mysterious reason, my husband has decided to bring rocks in to join them. I said I thought there were enough there now….but he may not remember me saying that.

Above the bench hangs a collection of Aboriginal Australian art. They are pieces that could not be left behind once found in galleries or meeting the artist. And above them is a coil of barbed wire from along our road. It was my Christmas wreath for two holiday seasons. In the barbaric calf muzzle that I attached to the wire wreath I hung holly, bright green and red from a tree not far from where the wire was harvested. I wanted something different for a wreath on the front door. It was too different for a neighbor who came by. He was reading too much into it….way too much.

These are faces of apartheid from a photojournalist’s book.  He was documenting South Africa while Mandela was still imprisoned. Again, I could not put the book down once I saw it in the store. I drew the faces with paint on tapa cloth and used sticks and fabrics to capture what it was that I read about them. The eyes staring out from the page just was not enough….I wanted to see them more often. The iron animals below are part of a large collection that started with just a couple. Originally they were made from oil drums in the Caribbean, then likely, when popular, mass produced in India. I love the way the cow’s head is flat and at right angles to his neck. Each one has such character.

At right angles to them is the bowl of rocks watched over by a black bird. Hanging on the wall above are Aboriginal baskets from Indonesia and Australia. There is very little in our house that is not in this same palette of browns and golds and beiges and greys.

On a chest from Bali sits some clever sculpture pieces with rocks, basket, nest…all back dropped with an old Indian textile tied carefully onto a black framed fabric so as to show the edges and disperse the weight evenly. And when I go out onto the porch through the door just to the right of the chest, I see this.

Baskets, a face jug and a tall sculpture that I made of spare parts from local farmers and a large rusted piece of metal that looks a bit like a horse’s head…well sort of. It was bulldozed up by the man who excavated for our house. He could not believe I wanted to keep it and mount it onto blocks of wood with old springs and other bits of rust. It stands as tall as me and I think of Garland and how he knew just how to clear the land to give us the best view even when it was just him on his machine in the middle of the woods. Those baskets were made in classes taught by Grace Kabel in the late 70s. I think she single-handedly is responsible for the contemporary interest in making functional baskets. She taught us. We taught others and it went from there. Because we worked with her, we were given  “at cost prices” for materials from the only supplier in the country of packaged cane. Back then it was the by product of the rattan furniture business.

Here are others made in her classes that sit at the end of the porch.

On a bench out there are more of those Eucalyptus stems dried up in a vase behind another old basket that came from a peach farm where my father and I picked peaches not long before he died.

And to the left of this bench hangs this. A carved face from the root of a bamboo plant.

It is hard for me to pass up things with faces and yet I can’t stand dolls. Odd isn’t it. There is a collection of dolls in the guest room with that pesky cow and his story full of characters and I wonder what to do with them. Obviously I do not like living with them that much because they are in a room I hardly go into. Back to the porch and bamboo.

Bamboo and willow sticks with a clay bird hung in. It is the messy end with the only surviving zebra fern. I loved these ferns when they appeared about ten years ago. All yellowish green and mottled.

And this too at the messy end. It is the remains of an old pottery fountain that I put dirt into and hoped a plant would want to live there. I didn’t. Old bamboo bits of things that have dried and cracked covering whatever died in there. Some rocks and a blue glazed clay round thing that a friend in Australia gave me years ago because I admired it. I never should have brought it home. I tried to float it like she did in clear fresh water with just the right stones in just the right pot and look what I did….neglected it to the point of it chipping and being stuck here with other sad things that for some reason I can’t toss out. I should have said, “No, you keep it here where it will last forever.” But I didn’t and now it has become one of things I live with.

I will do more of the happy fun things later but I do like this last image. Something sadly poetic about it.

Til later.