Thursday, December 23, 2010

First Monotype Workshop for 2011

I'll be holding my first monotype workshops for 2011 on 14 & 15 February at the Caloundra Regional Gallery.

These workshops are short - 3 hours long - a exciting introduction for those new to the technique, or for those who have experienced the wonder of monoprinting, an opportunity to explore more of the layering and beauty that can be developed with multiple print runs.

The cost is $35 including materials.

For enquiries and bookings, contact Caloundra Regional Gallery Ph. 5420 8299

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Latest News

I just realised that I hadn't blogged for a few weeks, but a lot has happened in my art practice......
Bower1, Monotype, 2010

At the annual Impress Printmakers Auction in late November, I sold one of my favourite works 'Bower1' which had featured on the invitation.

In December, I sold 11 of my monotype prints, to be framed and hung in the Mater Private Hospital.  These prints include a selection from my pineapple series and my bird series - Bower, Homage to the Pidgeon, and The Trouble with Turkeys.  It gives me great pleasure knowing my colourful and often quirky artwork will lift someone's spirits whilst they are in hospital. 

Craig waiting patiently for me,
this time outside Neil's Art Store, Fitzoy.
 He is so supportive!

Other news.... in the first week of December I travelled to Melbourne with my partner Craig and was able to check out a lot of arty special places around the city area.  Of particular note - The Sticky Institute where I found a den of zine culture.  In Fitzoy and Collingwood, I visited Beautiful Silks - beautiful fabrics and threads, I bought enough silk to make a pinafore to eco-dye.  Also Neil's Art Store where I took a peek inside their press workshop and had a interesting chat with their press engineer.  In Zetta Florence, I found gorgeous paper accessories featuring imagery such as birds and butterflies.  I also visited Australian Print Workshop's Impressions exhibition - Suzanne Danaher's etching was my favourite.  In.cube8r gallery - artists rent glass cubicles to display their wares - what a great idea!  And in Preston, Pedigree Paper - a factory outlet of paper, fill a bag of offcuts for $5.  A very busy week travelling on trams, trains and buses, and my bag on the return flight was much, much heavier!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Trouble

Yesterday I spent the day at the Impress Printmakers Studio at Camp Hill, working on a series of monotypes I've titled "Conservation of the Species".  Previously I did works based on the humble pidgeon, but yesterdays efforts concentrated on the infamous local scrub turkeys that drive neighbourhood gardeners wild with their constant nest building and territorial behaviour.  Its another bird species that has a less-than favourable reputation in our urban landscape, but of course the turkeys are just doing what comes naturally.  Thankfully I don't have one frequenting my garden at the moment, but being a chicken owner I often experience the frustration of losing parts of my vegetable garden!

A day of printing is always a beautifully relaxing and all-encompasing experience.  And using the large press at Impress is good fun - the wheel is big you feel like you are steering a shipping liner.

By the end of the day, there were turkeys everywhere!

The press with prints drying in the foreground

Inking up....

Revealing a ghost print

Saturday, November 20, 2010

EcoDyed Fashion

After the inspiration of India Flint's workshop in September, I have been 'dyeing' to make some eucalyptus brew of my own.

I convinced Mum that she didn't need her aluminium pot anymore and I was ready to start.

Following the instructions in India's book Eco Colour, I pre-mordanted my cotton blouse using a traditional Japanese mordant technique to help the cellulose fibres to accept the dye.

I then 'rested' my blouse for a few weeks (ie I got distracted by other stuff including my day job) before bundling with leaves and simmering, then letting it sit in the cold dye bath for a week before finally giving up to temptation and unravelling my bundle. 

The colours are subdued but rich and earthy. Yellows, oranges and browns abound with shibori markings from the rubber bands and string used to tie the bundle. 

Whilst I still need more practice to get clear leaf prints, I am extremely happy with my first solo attempt.  Today a pre-mordanted linen blouse (bought for $5 at an op shop) has been popped into the black brew for another week of waiting, waiting, waiting until I can reveal the wonder of eco-dyeing again.

Eco-dyeing feels so gentle and natural and the eucalyptus smell in the house is beautiful.  It fits perfectly with my passion for the natural world.  I also like the idea of 'slow dyeing' where the process is not rushed, it takes it time to brew and work its magic.  The opposite to our frantic lifestyles today!

Thanks India again for your inspiration and guidance. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Printing Butterfly Angels

Yesterday was all about butterflies!  I did a whole day's printing session with Thumper (my press) to produce 12cm x 12cm prints for several upcoming Xmas shows.  These prints are designed to fit into a CD cover, a novel way to display paper-based works without the expense of framing.

After a shaky start producing prints I was less than happy with, I began to loosen up and subsequently produced some lovely prints with surprising texture and colour.  I found working on a small scale was challenging - I had to limit the number of stencils, plants and other materials to make my marks.  Simplicity was the key - not overworking the colour layers.   I've got a few muddy ones that I can use for collages and book covers, nothing is ever wasted!

I have titled this series 'My Guardian Angel'.  The reference to angels comes from my late Dad's affection for butterflies in his later years.  His butterflies are my guardian angels, perhaps his way of keeping an eye on me!

You can see how loose I was on the inking up for this one!

Lime green is a recurring colour for me, yum love it

Monday, October 25, 2010

Revealed Exhibition

Only a week to go before we install the 'Revealed' Exhibition at Brisbane Square Library!

13 members of Papermakers Qld are participating in this exhibition with over 30 sculptural and 2D paper-based works featuring handmade paper using plant and other fibres.

The exhibition will be launched on Saturday 13 November at 12noon with refreshments. There is also an artists 'walk and talk' on Saturday 20 November at 11am with several members giving short talks on their works.

Please join us for these events. The exhibition will be open until the end of December, you'll find it on Level 2 of the Brisbane City Council Brisbane Square Library at the top of the Queen Street mall.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Opening Night @ 6 Degrees

Last night we opened our group show '6 Degrees' at White Canvas Gallery.  A fabulous night, with a great crowd who braved a rainy stormy night.   Its a great feeling to finally display some of my latest sculptural work.  I received some really positive feedback, as well as lots of offers of more palm inflorescence!

The 6 degrees artists, cheers to us!

My works on show

The crowd on opening night

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Studio Time

There's nothing like working away in my studio with the rain falling outside and we've had plenty of that lately!  I've just spent 2 days printing in my studio with 'Thumper'.  I worked on some monotypes for my book making, then a series of works using pigeon imagery.  I've got a soft spot for pigeons, although most regard them as pests and a pooping nuisance!  The prints are a bit 'tongue-in-cheek' - I wanted to celebrate the pigeon as a beautiful bird, though a little common....

2 consecutive days of printing has allowed me to get into a great creative 'head'space and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I must thank my mother-in-law Jan and her husband Allan who collected plant materials for me during their recent caravan trip to South Australia.  I was able to use some of those plants in my work this week.

One of my prints I'll use for book making
One of my pigeon prints, a work in progress

Thursday, September 30, 2010

India Flint Workshop

I've been busy for the past week catching up with my work after 5 wonderful days spent eco-dyeing with India Flint.  I felt so privileged to experience dyeing beautiful silks with leaves and rusty metal fragments.  I thoroughly enjoyed the dyeing due to its similarity to my favourite art processes- working with plant materials, monoprinting and cooking plant fibre, but much less toxic. 

Working with fabric rather than paper was new to me, as was the hand-stitching of the pieces of silk together.  Luckily for me, I was free to stitch in my own way which was as rustic as the marks on the fabric!

I loved the wonderful aroma of eucalyptus, both on the fabric and in the cooking pots....much kinder on the nose than the pungency of cooking plant fibres to make paper.

As well as exploring new processes, I also learnt a couple of new things to take back to my art practice.  One is to work 'mindfully'.  The other is that I should look at alternatives to reduce the use of toxic chemicals and materials in my art practice - there are ways to create without resorting to the easiest and most obvious solution in a tin or aerosol.

Thank you to India and Roz for their hospitality over the 5 days.

Bundles cooking in the pot

Bundles of cloth and leaves fresh out of the pot

Stitching in progress

The almost finished piece, stitched together lovingly

Sunday, September 19, 2010

6 degrees Exhibition

After months of preparation, its time to invite you all to my latest group exhibition '6 degrees'.  Its on at the White Canvas Gallery, opening 15 October at 6.30pm.  Kate, Mela, Natasha, Ann and myself are 5 artists who are connected by our mentor, Jena.
The title for the show '6 degrees’ refers to the idea that everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on earth: so that a chain or “a friend of a friend” statement can be made to connect any two people in six steps or fewer.  Our connection is Jena.
The exhibition will have a variety of different media from painting, photographic works, contemporary embroidery, as well as my sculptural pieces of felt and weaving.
Join us for a great night and some fabulous art work thats a bit out of the ordinary!

White Canvas Gallery
26 Church Street, Fortitude Valley
Friday 15 October - Tuesday 17 October
Open daily 10 - 4

Monday, September 6, 2010

Heaven !

I've just spent the past 4 days in Maryborough and Hervey Bay, exploring all the charity 'op shops' that Mum and I could find.  I think the total was around 12 (with one in Gympie on the way home) !  Thank goodness for the GPS navigator which enabled us to hop quickly from one to the next.  Shops in country towns don't have long opening hours, especially on the weekends.  The best finds of the trip were a 1955 Womens Weekly and an astrology kit complete with some cute kitch tarot cards.  I can already feel the potential of these goodies!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


In the past week I have been exploring new creative ideas.  I've been looking at Alisa Golden's very informative texts, playing with inks, folding, cutting, and scoring.  I haven't done a lot of painting for over 12 months but I felt very free and relaxed as I washed and brushed the inks over the paper.  What a lovely feeling!  The ink colours are pure bliss and beautifully transparent so they create deep layers of colour and movement.
Also this week I joined fellow Impress Printmakers members at the Queensland State Library for a viewing of artist books from their extensive collection.  My favourite book was "River, plants, birds" by Peta Lloyd. Layers and layers of monotypes, sewing, stencils, text - wonderful!
This was followed by a visit to the Queensland Museum to see an exhibition of Tasmanian Aboriginal Baskets, 'Tayenebe'.  I particularly admired the kelp water carriers, and already I have some thoughts on how I could incorporate this into my work.
Such an inspiring day!  No wonder I bought armfuls of 'stuff with potential' from Reverse Garbage on the way home!
Woven Accordion Book  - a sampler I created this week

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Another happy group of monoprinters.......!

Today I held another of my Magical Monotype Workshops, this time for a group of 8 enthusiastic printers.
It was a energetic and productive day, with heaps of  'WOW' prints but as usual a few challenging, thought-provoking ones! 
Thanks to all that came and allowed me to share my enthusiasm for monotypes.  And I always appreciate the feedback - this time I had made a few improvements based on my last workshop, including allowing more space for 'inking up'.
And the day is always a pleasure with the help of my Mum, Jan, who is turning out to be my very valuable assistant on the press.  She even created a couple of her own prints today!

Above - A few of the beautiful prints hanging up to dry
Below - The monoprinters after a hard day's work!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

'Masterchef' Fibre Cookup

This week I fired up my new electric cooker to prepare some fibre for papermaking.  It worked a treat - I cooked banana stem and leaves, corn husks, and onion skins.  The new cooker is certainly easier and safer than using a pot and Craig's gas camping stove (which unfortunately will never be the same again after the boiling-over incident - sorry Craig). 
The smell of cooking fibre is rather unique.......there's a good reason I do this cookup outdoors! 
It took a couple of days to complete the entire process - preparing and soaking the fibre, cooking, rinsing, sorting, bagging up and finally storing in the freezer ready for my next papermaking session. 
Below are some photos of the 'cookup' in progress.  Thanks to all those friends and family that donated their onion skins over the past few months - a worthy cause!

1. The cooker with the fibre in bags.
2. Rinsing the fibre in my outdoor sink.
3. Close up of the cooked banana fibre - YUM!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Altered Book Project

One of the many things I'm working on at the moment is an Altered Book project, with a group of like-minded paper lovers.  This is the first time I've tried altered books.  I get to work on someone's book for a month, usually with a set theme.

This month I've been working on Jenni's book.  She has no theme, so its totally up to me what I do with the pages of her Sherlock Holmes detective story book.  I decided on a retro theme using vintage sewing patterns, see the image below.  I was inspired by a recent project led by Jenni making baskets from paper patterns.  I hope Jenni enjoys my "Sherlock Holmes Fashion Investigation" and my weird sense of humour....

Also pictured are some retro pattern magazines I picked up for 50cents at an Opportunity Shop this morning, I can't wait to start chopping them up for book pages and other fantastic paper projects.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Books, books, books

Lately I've been revisiting some book sewing styles that I learnt with Adele at The Studio West End.  The book in this photo is 'my version' of the celtic weave - I'm not sure if its textbook perfect but it looks great all the same.  The texts by Keith Smith were very helpful to guide me through the stitches.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Homage to the Seed

I've been asked by Sophie Munns, 2010 Artist-in-Residence at Mt Coot-tha Brisbane Botanic Gardens to join with other bloggers to create a postcard artwork for her open studio week from 12 July.

My postcard features a monotype I printed during my art residency at Coochiemudlo Island in April.  The monotype was inspired by the morning kajak trips that Cathy and I made through the mangrove forests surrounding Coochie.  Often we would see the mangrove seed pods floating by, which made me speculate about the journeys these pods make on the tidal currents within Moreton Bay.  Within the monotype there are mangrove seedings, the moon influencing the tides and ocean currents, and floating lines representing the journey of the seed pods.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Magical Monotypes Workshop - a creative success!

Yesterday I led an enthusiastic group of artists into the wonderful world of printmaking - together with my press 'Thumper' we created monotypes using plants, stencils, lace and lots of ink!

I was overwhelmed by the number of beautiful images they created - the hall was covered from top to bottom with their prints.  My 2 drying racks just couldn't cope with the creative outpouring!

And thanks to my wonderful assistant, Jan (my mum!) the day went smoothly with lots of 'ooooohhhs' and 'aaaahhhs' over delicious colourful prints.   And those prints that didn't quite work will be excellent starting points for embellishment with stamps, text and drawing.

Thanks to everyone for a great day!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Creativity and Routine

In the past few weeks since my Japan trip I have been contemplating creativity and the work-art balance. 

All of my life my brain has been working hard at being logical doing office work.  But now I am trying to 're-train' it to focus more on my creativity and the conceptual.  Not easy!

I am working on a new art routine.  Just like my routine of getting up in the morning (shower, breakfast, feed chickens), my art needs to become a state of consciousness, a flow state that seems more normal and everyday rather than something I'm constantly trying to get my head around.

I am beginning by splitting my art practice into 2 parts - processes/techniques and concepts/ideas. 

Processes and techniques are fed by my 'logical' brain and are strong and well-developed.  I enjoy 'doing'. 

However, I need to spend more time on my concepts and ideas.  I find this 'thinking' part of my practice the hardest to concentrate on.  I need to slow down and spend time thinking about where I am going with my art, what I am trying to say, and get some depth into the 'why' of my art practice.

Wish me luck!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Tokyo Creative Expedition

Today I have returned from spending a week in Tokyo exploring Japan's creative side.  I had a wonderful time wandering up and down floors of craft and art supply outlets, admiring the wares in traditional craft museums, watching artisans at work etc.  And you can't beat people watching in Tokyo - another very creative and eye-opening experience!

This was our third visit to Japan, and although Craig and I were very foot sore by the end of each day, we enjoyed our holiday immensely.  Lucky for me, we packed very lightly so I could fit in all my art purchases for the journey home!

My favourite shop was Sekaido, with 6 floors of art supplies and stationery - each floor being equivalent in size to one Brisbane Oxlades or Eckersleys shop.  Consequently the product range was mind blowing!  I was so overwhelmed with excitement I had to visit the shop twice to absorb everything.  VERY addictive and the poor credit card got a good workout!

Other great shops were Okadaya, Itoya, Loft, Yuzawaya, and Bingoya.  The Paper Museum in Oji was also very interesting and I was able to try paper making Japan-style.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Jill Brose Basketry Workshop

A few years ago I did a basketry workshop with Jill Brose, who is an experienced fibre artist with exhibitions nationally.

She is running another workshop in July, so I thought I would give her a 'plug' on my blog!

DATE: Sunday 18th July 2010

VENUE: FIBRECRAFT HOUSE, 12 Payne St, Auchenflower
FEE: $70 (includes materials)

"No experience required - only enthusiasm. This informal and flexible workshop, encourages you to express your own creativity, to make baskets from plant materials, many of which are found in your own gardens.

Two baskets will be woven in the day so that you will learn two very different methods of weaving a basket.
The workshop will commence with a talk on the different fibres suitable for our craft. How to collect, store and soak them before weaving."

For more information: Phone Jill 3369 8367 or Email:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Magical Monotypes Workshop

I've finally managed to organise my Magical Monotypes Workshop on Sunday 27 June!

I can't wait to share my monotype experience with others.  I'm sure they'll get sooooo excited when they start seeing the wonderful images they can create using plants, stencils, netting, string, lace etc.  Some of the ladies who have already booked for this workshop did my previous one in January.

We will be using my portable printing press ‘Thumper’ to produce the prints.  During the workshop I plan to also demonstrate how to develop layers and detail as well as printing by hand using brayers and other tools.  I didn't get time to cover this in the previous workshop.

My Mum has volunteered to be my assistant so it should give me plenty of time to give advice and keep the ink flowing.  It should be a very fun, creative day if not a little frantic and chaotic!  Lets hope there's not too much 'queue' rage at the press....... :-)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Lost and Found

During my week at Coochiemudlo Island in April, I worked on pages for an artists book.  I ended up making 2 books in a series I entitled "Lost and Found". 

The prints and text were inspired by the diversity and fragility of the island's tidal mangrove environments.

The books are not bound, with the 16 prints contained in a clam-shell box.  I wanted to allow the viewer an interactive experience - they can re-order the pages to discover their own visual version of 'Coochie'.

tidal place
tidal time
retreat, surge

flooded forest
diamond light
dancing across the water

beach drift
wanderings in the sand
bleached remnants

lazy water shadows
mud, cool, mud
primeval aroma

skimming the surface
shifting patterns
of sand and time

ocean currents
transient presence
breathe in
breathe out

skeletal vestiges
two worlds
above and below

tidal scars
tracks and trails

Monday, April 26, 2010

Australian Book Arts Journal

I've been featured in the first edition of this local publication, Australian Book Arts Journal.  For the article, I was interviewed by the publisher and editor, Linda Douglas - we discussed my art career, influences, and working ethics. The article spans 6 pages, including photos, some colour.

Linda found me through my Traffic Signal Box artworks around northern Brisbane.

Australian Book Arts Journal was launched at the 5th Australian Artists' Book Forum at Mackay earlier this month.  Linda will be publishing the magazine quarterly and is available by subscription.  Linda's email is

There are some very interesting articles about galleries, artists and artist books - in Linda's words "this journal is about people and their life's work, their inner thoughts and their soul."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Coochie - the simple life!

The week long art retreat at Coochiemudlo Island is over!  And what a FABULOUS time we had.....
Heavenly days of kayaking amongst the mangroves followed by hours and hours of printing and book making at Cathy's family shack.
Cathy worked on her wonderful artists book based on turtle bones and beachcombing - creating interesting pages using drawing, monoprints, rubbings, scratching etc.  And I created more than 70 monotypes on my press 'Thumper', 32 of these monotypes are to form the basis of 2 artists books reflecting my Coochie experience.
The mangroves, curlews, white-bellied sea eagles, and found objects were a major influence on our artwork.
We've vowed to do the Coochie Art Project again and are now confident about working on a collaborative project together at a residency somewhere in Australia next year.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

In the news.....

My work from the Pine Apples Exhibition has been featured in a couple of blogs and articles -

Thanks to Amanda Watson-Will who made favourable mention of my Pine Apple prints...

And you'll see my prints in the background of a news article on the opening of the Myrtle Street Studio...

Also some photos of the exhibition space with the prints on the walls...

Monday, April 5, 2010

making paper as meditation

The last couple of days I have been 'in the zone' making paper on our deck.  I've had bags of cooked plant fibre choking the freezer so I siezed the opportunity of a long weekend to process the fibre into those wonderful sheets of paper destined for my handmade books.

Firstly I made corn husk paper - very fine texture and light in colour.  I also experimented with broccoli - very fibrous and a surprise to work with after the delicateness of the corn husk.  I mixed in some bleached banana fibre to give it more body and ended up with some beautiful sheets of off-white paper with interesting patterns of pale fibres through them.  The fibres are about an inch long and really give this paper its character.

The sheets I create are VERY uneven and adhoc, I love the randomness of it and it contrasts well with the mass-manufactured watercolour paper I use in my books.  The process is like meditation to me, an enjoyable but lengthy process that produces something unique, delicate and beautiful.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sell out at Pine Apples Exhibition

I had a GREAT time on friday night at the opening of the Brisbane Pine Apples Exhibition at the new Myrtle Street Studio.  Both of my prints sold, absolutely wonderful and exciting!  I hope that their new owner will spend many happy hours gazing into them and seeing all the wonderful marks and the serendipity which is emboded in each unique print.  I really enjoyed creating them, they've got great vibes and of course a bit of my quirky sense of humour! 

I can't wait to get back into the studio and get creating again after being on the road camping in NSW for the past 2 weeks.  Along the way, I collected some very interesting grasses and leaves to work with in my printmaking.  We camped mostly in National Parks, so there was plenty of inspiration and atmosphere to breathe in, I feel like a new woman (except for the dirt and sand, sunscreen and aeroguard which I accumulated along the way!).

Monday, March 8, 2010

Knotless Netting

This week at Basketcases we learnt a knotless netting technique. Its quite straightforward and can be used to make bags etc.

In the photo you can see I used part of a 'pool noodle' to support the weaving whilst I worked on it.

I also learnt how to make string from banana fibre.  There is something very satifsying about being able to produce your own thread.  And it will be great activity to pass the time whilst Craig and I are driving around New South Wales on our camping trip later this month!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Coochie Art Retreat - its on!

THE major art event of 2010 is on - the inaugural Coochie Art Retreat!  Cathy Money (fellow printmaker, wonderful artist and friend) and I are off to Coochimudlo Island in April to retreat from the busy world and make art, art and more art!

Our focus will be on the mangroves around the island, so at high tide we intend to set off in Cathy's double kayak to do sketching etc.  Then the remainder of the day will be spent at the shack (ie resort) with 'Thumper' my printing press, cooking up a creative storm.

Goodie!  I can't wait!  Lets hope the weather is kind to us, though it doesn't really matter because we will be in the shack printing anyway (what a shame, NOT).

Only 51 more sleeps to go........... ;-)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pine Apples Exhibition - Tasmania

This is the Tasmanian leg of the Pine Apples Exhibition, which will feature 2 of my pineapple monotypes I referred to in a previous blog.  Bon Voyage!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Art of Creating

I've been reading a book "Fearless Creating" by Eric Maisel and in it was this quote ....

"Between each fruitful phase are long periods of exploration, faltering, learning, and working things out." (Kenneth Noland)

People often misjudge a finished artwork... "thats easy, my kid could do that".  But they don't see the journey that lead the artist to that point, they don't see where the artist's mind was when they made the artwork, what the message or idea behind it is.

Being an artist isn't easy.  Both creating and not creating creates a state of anxiety in me, but I will always choose the anxiety of creating!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Stab Binding Books

I've found yet another way to use my monotypes - japanese style stab binding booklets.

They were great fun to make and involved using the Dremel to drill holes for the binding - using a power tool adds another dimension to the making of an object, even though a Dremel is only a 'baby' tool!

I also had to scrounge through my bead collection to find just the right beads to decorate the covers.