Planning Workshops and Back to Work in the Studio

This is the journal and map I am working on as a sample of how the class in Halls Gap for Grampians Texture will start. It is a six day masters class titled, “An Expedition that Begins with One Square Metre”. I use that measurement because most of my students are lucky to get that much space to work on in class. And the funny thing is that in Australia they are usually concerned that their neighbor has enough space to work on and adjust their bits and pieces accordingly. A generous, considerate lot to say the least.

In this class we will start by making this small leather field journal to write about our excursions. The map is one I learned how to cut and fold to be used for field work. It will tuck neatly into the back of the journal.  And the rest of the journey is anything the students want it to be. They can go where they want to go and accumulate “artifacts” and “evidence” along the way. Some may go to places of memory, others into a literal square metre outside the studio, and others making it up as they go… I am.

I will be teaching a white line printmaking introductory class in Hobart, Tasmania early March. It is one of my most favorite places. Tasmania is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. My mid nineties experiences with the basket makers there have made it a place to want to return to again and again. Here is a bit of white line they might relate to.

Although the image above was colored with watercolors made from Australian soils, this might just be the first time in several years that I am not teaching that technique there. It will save on packing space, that is for sure. Not to mention examined luggage.

My third class scheduled in Australia will be in Ocean Grove, Victoria. So far it is titled, “Book, Basket, Boat – Vessel for Memory”. Students just need to show up with a memory and the materials they like working with, and together we build something that houses a memory that can be saved of dispatched, wherever it needs to go. …sort of excavating followed by expediting. Here is one of mine.

It is a page from “Ties to Home”, a book about leaving one home for another.

Speaking of home, I see these things on my walk close to the house. The first is this glorious fungus along the road that appears only in this one spot every year come summer.

And this tree, an old very tall pine that has been leaning for many years and grew to adjust. But this year with so much rain, I think it is tipping ever so slightly more towards just dropping straight down to the ground. See what I mean?

I don’t know how it manages to hang on. It is a determined tree and I remember photographing it for a book of pictures of trees for an assignment in my photography class in undergraduate school. They were all so much more impressive in black and white and many of them reminded me of old men just waiting to be asked something they knew all about. The book took an award and I still have it….another thing I need to find a home for. Don’t you just look around at times and wonder, “Where did all this stuff come from?” and “Did I really need to buy or make that?!”

And here is one of my cats. Some blogs it is the picture of their cat that makes the reading worthwhile…..

She likes to watch me read in bed at night….it only lasts ten minutes and we are both gone.

And aside from all that, I have been back at the Specimen Journal. More pages as I start on the third of eight signatures between wooden covers.

There will be some writing on these last pages. Surely he had to take notes on what he was seeing and recording.

It is a wet day here in Brasstown, NC and I will stay in the studio packing things up I need to get rid of and maybe working on this Specimen Journal. I put all of the papers I made in Claudia Lee’s class away and wondered what in the world I am supposed to do with them and all the others they are keeping company with. If I take them out and make something, then that something needs to sit on a shelf. I am trying to clear off the shelves. What was I thinking?! I keep asking myself that more and more lately. Maybe I will just sit and look out this window and write some poetry. That at least ends up on one or two pages or even better in the bin.

Til next week.