Saturday, 29 December 2007

angie lewin

I've just discovered the lino cuts of a British artist called Angie Lewin. I was lucky enough to get a set of her reproduction cards which feature 2 of her prints: Dandelions and Blue Meadow. The one you can see above is called Clifftop IV and was sold out at Bircham Gallery recently along with a whole lot of her other prints.

If you'd like to see more click over and look at the gallery page of her website. I love the colours she uses in her prints. They have a retro feel to them but the lines and shapes are modern, all in all a wonderful balance. She has limited editions of her original prints available too. Oh and she also has some of her prints made into textiles like the lovely one below:

Friday, 21 December 2007


The succulent in one of my big pots is flowering again. I love the gentle orange colour of these flowers.
How can things that survive in such dry conditions produce such loveliness?

Puss still isn't home (see previous blog) but I'm trying to be a bit buddhist about it and accept that we can never really possess an animal and that their time with us is sometimes very fleeting. You know, the non-attachment stuff....but I swear it's harder to do than to say.

I've got to share some beauty from the Grampians National Park. We went there for my birthday just before we moved. This area is just stunning. The wildflowers were out because it was early summer. Check out that Kangaroo Tail (the plant with the tall, black stem). If you want to get a better look at the view and a sense of how high up we were click on the image to zoom in closer. It's pretty amazing.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

crappy things and good

This is a bit of sad blog. Our 3 year old cat, Sumi, has been missing for 3 days now and it's making me unbearably weepy and very anxious. She's a cute little grey blossom of a thing. We've just moved house and while she seemed ok for the first 2 weeks, something has spooked her and set her off. I'm hoping that she'll turn up at any moment but the days of looking for her are long and hard.

On a happier note, we are online again at home (yay!) after the move. It's been really challenging to maintain my etsy shop during the transition but somehow I've managed. The best thing about the move has been setting up the studio (photos to come). That's been very exciting. The studio has three long windows so there's plenty of light. It's at the front of the house facing the street so I can watch people walk by. In a matter of days I'll be using it more often and then the real fun will start!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

insect madness

I just have to share one of my birthday gifts with you. This little etching by the talented Mike Southern of Printman (his etsy shop) is titled 'enter the favourite bee movie' and is just soooooooo sweet! There is so much fine detail in this little print. I'm also the proud owner of another of Mike's prints: Dragonfly. Which is just perfect really because it feeds my dragonfly and insect obsession and will look wonderful when framed and hanging in the new house. Speaking of dragonflies, we saw so many of those delightful little creatures over the weekend at the Grampians National Park. I've never seen so many of them before. And for the wildlife record we also saw one echidna (shy little things that they are), 2 emus, many many wallabies, and heard billions of cicadas. I'm not kidding: one woman we saw bushwalking had earplugs in because the cicadas were so deafening!

Sunday, 18 November 2007

"from little things big things grow" (the waifs and kev carmody)

I'm doing a lot of growing at the moment or at least it feels like a lot of change is going on so I sure hope some kind of growth comes out of it all. We're in the middle of packing as we move in 2 weeks, so it's crazy in our house. Today I found letters I wrote more than 12 years ago! What a purge I've been having. As well as moving to a new house (with a studio * big sigh and smile*), I'm making some changes to my day job so I can work there part-time next year and spend the rest of my week printmaking (belly does flip flops with excitement) AND my birthday is at the end of this coming week and I turn one of those big numbers with a zero at the end of it (a little scared about that but mostly amazed: where have the years flown?). My good friend N, an astrologist, would say it's all about my pluto-square-pluto. I don't know what that really means but I do know this time in my life is all about making changes and decisions that will set me up for the next part. I'm mostly very excited about all of that.

The little tree growing above is a simple ink drawing with splashes of chiyogami paper. I'm still playing with it. This is its first iteration.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

tea, tea and more tea

I've been making lots of small mixed media pieces lately. This one is chiyogami paper with ink and a little digital colouring. I'm a late bloomer to the wonders of photoshop and so haven't been able to stop fiddling with some of my drawings and prints since I got cs3 earlier this week. I'm driving my graphic designer friend J a bit crazy with all my basic questions (sorry J!). I'm playing around with colours on my designs this way so I can get a better sense of how a woodblock print might look before I start the labour-intensive process of carving the block.

Sunday, 4 November 2007


It's pouring with rain this Sunday morning, and for those of you who don't live in Melbourne or don't know much about the Australian drought, this is a very good thing!

I have a lot of carving to do. This is the most tedious part of woodblock printmaking in my opinion but the nice part is you can end up with some gorgeously carved blocks which are like pieces of art in themselves. And not to mention it's the only way to get the print on the paper! I love using my carving tools. I bought them one by one in Japan as I had the money (good quality tools can be quite pricey) and now have a good collection. There's even a very old tool previously owned by the lovely Kazuko Hirota, a wonderful Japanese woodblock printer. The wooden handle is smooth with wear and very soft to touch and hold. It's a tiny tool with a small scoop carver and I swear it's one of the most used tools in my box.

They say in Japan that the rainy season or at least a rainy day is the best day for printing as it helps the paper to stay moist. If there's going to be any printing today I'd better stop my carving procrastination.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

pottery play

My small woodblock print, green tea, is really popular in my etsy shop so I have decided I need to re-explore my fascination for Japanese ceramics (especially those from the Shigaraki area near Kyoto) and design another tea and ceramics inspired print. These close ups are from this funky calendar I have from Shigaraki covered in Japanese tea cups. I LOVE this calendar poster so much I can't bear to take it down off my kitchen wall even though it is for 2005. Some might say this shows I haven't accepted that I've left Japan yet, but I would say it just shows how much I want to keep little bits of Japan alive in me wherever I am. Anyway that's my story on the tea cup poster. I'm using it to inspire a bigger, tea themed woodblock print. This one will involve a teapot too. I haven't decided on the colours yet but am working up to it.

Best news is (for anyone who cares, I know at least Kristin will....) we have bought a new house and so are no longer spending every waking moment house-hunting. Yay! And the new house even has a studio for my printmaking! I'm soooooooo excited.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

the evolution of a little box

I've been developing a little chiyogami paper box for the past week or so. It started off looking like this in its first incarnation:

Bright red covered chiyogami paper on the bottom and then textured, white Japanese paper on the top. Then my little monk woodblock print on top of that. I lightly lacquered the whole thing to protect the paper from wear and tear. But I didn't like the paleness of the lid so I started playing with it again and put some more chiyogami paper on it to lift the monk print out a bit.
I love the colours in the chiyogami I used for the new lid. And now it looks like this:

and this:I'm much happier with it now. I've also bought some plain coloured paper to experiment with more lids to work in combination with some other amazing chiyogami patterned paper I have from Japan. I bought a huge stash just before I left and then rolled it up and tucked it inside one of my large rolls of printmaking paper. And just the other day I re-discovered it again accidentally while rummaging through my paper collection. I had completely forgotten about it!

Friday, 5 October 2007

little owls and things

Owl Gocco Print by Matte Stephens

I've recently discovered the wonderful work of Matte Stephens through his etsy shop, matteart. This lovely Owl gocco print is just one of the soft, colourful pieces he has for sale. Matte's profile says he's been making a living as a painter for 12 years. Yay Matte! How fantastic that an artist can find a way to work in their field full-time.

It looks as though Matte's based in the USA. Take a look at his shop and see what you think.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

purples and blues

Spring is definitely here now the wisteria is in flower. This gorgeous one is in our back garden and because we're moving soon (when?) I was motivated to take some photos of it this week. Anyone who has ever had wisteria in their garden knows it's an amazingly fast grower with strong winding branches that get so thick that they can start to pull part of your house down - true! I've been vicious about chopping this one back every winter. And it still gets up the strength to flower like this every September.

On a printmaking note, I've just changed my mind about European printing papers. I'm pretty much a paper snob and until now have only really liked to print on good quality Japanese paper. But because I don't live there anymore and my Japanese paper supplies are starting to dwindle, I've decided to investigate and try out some of the European papers available in Melbourne art shops. Tonight I printed my little blue dragonfly print on thick, white paper from Italy and I think I like the way it worked out. It had this lovely way of merging with the block while I was printing. So I think I'm going to lose some of my paper snobbery and try some Stonehenge paper I bought yesterday and see how that turns out too.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

pods and things

I've been printing all afternoon (sore shoulder to prove it) off this block for a print exchange with print exchange five so that I can make the deadline. I loved the sepia tone of the wet block as I was printing so I took a few photos. Sometimes I prefer the colour on the block more than the colour that prints on the paper. Here a few small pods I printed off the block when I was finished:

It's hard going with printing at the moment. Half our stuff is packed away and in the shed ready for our move as we sold our house last weekend. It takes me so much longer to prep paper and print as I try to remember where everything is and improvise by printing without my big red laminex printing table. All will be better once we find another house and I can set up my studio space again.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

wild things

Over the Ridge. Drypoint etching by Robyn Rayner.

I just love the prints of Robyn Rayner, a Melbourne printmaker who documents in her work the ordinary weeds and wild surroundings of the western suburbs, as well as the wider landscapes of rural Victoria. Her work is full of the delicate lines and plants and things growing from the earth amongst shadows and clouds and the landscape of south-eastern Australia. I am a proud owner of one her prints, Shady, a group of 16 small prints together. It kind of looks a bit like this one

Neck of the Woods, but the one I have has more trees and weedy things, so generally more lines in it, which I like very much. I also love the colours she uses: soft greys, washed out blues, and pale earthy colours. And I've just found a few more of her prints here at the Framers Gallery website including the one I have, Shady, so I've decided to include it here for you to enjoy:

Shady, Etching by Robyn Rayner.

Monday, 27 August 2007

things that grow in spring

A small digression from creative blogging today. I've been distracted by our plum tree which is now almost in full bloom. Spring is here! Our neighbour's two massive almonds tree have also blossomed and look absolutely gorgeous in her front garden. I especially like the early morning light on our plum blossoms. The tree glows in the dawn light and makes getting up early almost pleasurable at the moment. Almost..... And our friends' sheep, Curly, gave birth to twin lambs 2 weeks ago so we know spring is definitely here when the sheep are lambing. Curly had one male and one female lamb (pictured) and they've been named Larry and Mo (short for Monique I'm told). We got to visit the little ones yesterday and Larry was so kind as to let us pick him up and give him lots of cuddles. They are both so incredibly sweet and almost make me want to move to the country.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

moku hanga (Japanese woodblock printing)

People often ask me about the process of making a Japanese woodblock print. Other kinds of printmaking techniques like etching are more well known than woodblock printing in Australia. I think a lot of people are quite fascinated by the carving of the actual wood blocks which are an artwork in themselves. There are so many cute things about the Japanese method of woodblock printing: the lovely little bamboo leaf covered baren used for rubbing the paper during printmaking, the small, funky horse hair brushes used to place the ink of the wood, bowls of watercolour inks, the small carving tools, and the use of beautiful Japanese papers. And what I really love is the portability of art form itself. If you're printing a small block, it's possible to set up and print in just about any space, even the floor! I've travelled with my tools (including carving tools) on international flights (post 9/11) with no trouble at all (not in my carry-on luggage of course!). I've just found this interesting article (with pictures) by Eva Pietzcker and Miriam Zegrer on Japanese woodblock, known as moku hanga in Japanese. It covers Japanese woodblock history, technique, materials and printing. They've even included pictures of cute brushes and baren discs.

The print seen here is a Japanese woodblock, Adabana, by Kyoto-based artist Richard Steiner.

Friday, 3 August 2007

packing and printing

It's been a bit mad around here since we made the decision to sell our wee little house a week ago. We're starting to prepare for the open for inspection period where all and sundry can walk through the house and check out our stuff. So some of it's being packed up and put in the shed at the back of the garden including a lot of my woodblocks. It's so hard doing this because I have so many and I don't know which ones I'll be needing over the next few months. I'm hoping our next house will have a bit more space inside for me to spread out my blocks, tools, inks and paper. I'd love to have one of those amazing big paper drawers but haven't found one yet. That way I could keep all my paper stored flat rather than rolled up. If you happen to know where I can find one of these in Melbourne please let me know.

I'm getting a bit excited about seeing the new print exhibition by Australian artist Sarah Amos. Sarah lives and works in the USA now but in Melbourne next week Gallery 101 will feature her prints. Click here if you'd like to see more of her work. This lovely print below is one of hers.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

rover thomas

Jailhouse Creek, Rover Thomas (Joolama) , 1991.

I was lucky enough to be able to vist the South Australian Art Gallery in Adelaide last week and came across some beautiful paintings by Aboriginal artist, Rover Thomas. Rover's from the Kimberley region in Western Australia and has been painting since the '70's. There's a list of his works here if you're interested in seeing more of his magical paintings. And for anyone who's not sure where the Kimberely region is here is a map to help get you oriented:

It's definitely a remote part of Australia with an incredible, unique landscape. I hope to be able to get up there one day soon.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

collaborative printmaking

Sometimes it's just pure genius when somebody has energy to burn and decides to take on a big project involving artists from all over the world. Recently the lovely, generous Jenn Schmitt organised the fabulous collaborative periodic table of elements project where each artist signed up to make a print (6x6 inches) of an element from the table using any print method. The overall effect of all those prints together is just magical. Check out the table link above to see what I mean. The print here is for the element chlorine (element 17) by woodblock print artist Annie Bissett. I just love this one!

Thursday, 7 June 2007

miho museum

I'm having a few dramas with blogspot and so for 4 days these photos of Miho Museum have been up on my blog with no text. Hopefully the text will upload today.
Last week when I was shuffling through bits and pieces in a gorgeous old box of things from Japan, I re-found these postcard images of one of the most incredible museums I have ever been to. The Miho is a museum with a futuristic structure plonked in the middle of the mountains of Japan, about 90 minutes by train and bus from Kyoto. It was designed by the American-Chinese architect, I M Pei, who amongst other things, also designed the Pyramids of the Lourvre in Paris. Miho Museum is one of those places, if you like architecture, galleries, museums and art, you should make an effort to go to if you're ever visiting Japan. Why? It's urban structures poke vividly out of the mountains of Shiga and present to you, right from the entrance, a very modern view of how art and history can be viewed. In the hills of Shiga surrounded by rice farms, you just don't expect to see this. I've been there twice and would easily go again. The last visit was especially good. My Australian friend C was visiting and we packed homemade bento lunches, along with our chopsticks and a flask of green tea and set off for a perfect early summer's day.

Friday, 25 May 2007

more succulents in the garden

Look at these little beauties! This gorgeous pot of colourful succulents was given to us last weekend our lovely visitors from NSW. I've added them to my table collection outside the backdoor and this little grouping sits right in the middle because of all that colour! I can't wait to see what kind of flowers they'll produce.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

shades of still life

It can sometimes be tricky to get the right colour and ink intensity in a print. I've played around with this print quite a bit over the last few days. A few posts ago I said I wanted it to have soft, gentle colours but now I'm not sure. The pale ones were ok but now I think I prefer the more intense blue colour in the later print run. I still like the composition and use of shadow in the print, but I think I might keep playing with the background colour a bit more before I let it just rest for a while. It's amazing how your attitude towards a print can change if you just walk away from it for a few weeks.

Sunday, 13 May 2007


I've just been told I've been 'tagged'. This is something kind of nice going around in the art blogging world where when tagged you have to:

1. List 7 random facts/habits about yourself.

2. Choose another 7 bloggers to tag and list their names in your blog.

3. Leave your 7 tagged bloggers comments to notify them of their tagging and to direct them to your blog for tag instructions.

So here goes with my 7 random facts/habits:

1. I live in a little old house in the city with a large garden that will one day engulf me with its weeds.

2. I've just finished reading "Dead Air" by Ian Banks, a wonderfully cynical, but incredibly funny British writer.

3. I really want to visit New York City. I'm reading NYC City Secrets edited by Robert Kahn, full of the favourite places of writers, artists, filmmakers, foodies etc... It's fantastic!

4. I go to bed early - about 9.30am most nights or I can't be human the next day.

5. My favourite television program of all time is "Six Feet Under". Rachel Griffiths is amazing.

6. I love the smell of eucalyptus trees and the Australian bush. I almost cried when I first smelt it again after living away for many years.

7. I could easily be a hermit but fight the temptation daily by being reasonably social (I hope).

And the 7 art blogs I'm going to tag in this game are (apologies to those who have already been tagged or who don't like these games):

1. Moontea artwork - Kristin Logabill

2. Inaluxe - Kristina Sostarko

3. Janeys Journey

4. Woodblock Dreams - Annie Bissett

5. Pepperina Press - Helen

6.Poppy Talk

7. Jodi's Weblog - Jodi Green

my lovely sweet cat, Sumi, sitting in the olive tree pot.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

still life

Work in progress.........
These are the blocks (and quick sketch) for a small print I carved today. I'm intrigued by the smooth shapes often found in pottery. This still life is going to have some very soft, almost old fashioned colours in it. As I carved it I felt like it had a very gentle energy. I might even print it tomorrow if I have time.

Friday, 27 April 2007

all about washi

People often ask me questions about the kind of paper I use for my larger sized woodblock prints. In response I find myself going down a detailed conversational path about the wonders of washi, or Japanese handmade paper. There's an informative piece about washi on the website for an amazing looking shop called the Japanese Paper Place in Toronto. I really hope to be able go there some day and look at their collection of paper. So have a read of the washi article and discover how it's made, who uses it and why it's so strong. Even Japanese money (the notes) are made from washi! If you're ever in Kyoto there are washi shops around the centre of the city that you can visit. There's one on old Teramachi Dori and another near the corner of Shijo and Karasuma Dori. The paper in these places is so beautiful it will make you weep!

Sunday, 22 April 2007

bookbinding for etsy

If you're into quite nerdy short videos about crafty things like book binding have a look at this cool etsy mini youtube video. Rebecca from moontreepress (her link is on the etsy blog) designed and put together an etsy kit of goodies and the video shows her doing the bookbinding for a notebook design.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

not my usual style

I'm going to tell you a little here about an interview I just did and no, this is not my usual style but I had so much fun answering the questions that I thought I'd share it with a few more people! The lovely Helen of pepperina press writes for a cool blog called 'indie pretty perfect' . Anyway here is the link with the interview if you feel like reading more about my printmaking and creative ponderings.

Friday, 6 April 2007


The way light moves at certain times of day really interests me. I was on the banks of the muddy Yarra River in the afternoon when I took this photos a few days ago.The light seems to just bounce off these leaves. It was very quiet and the river seemed quite still. It's amazing when you think about big rivers in large cities and how it's still possible to find this kind of tranquility somewhere along their winding paths.

Friday, 30 March 2007

what fires bring

We've had a long, hot firey, summer here in Victoria. Bush fires burned for something like 6 weeks (possibly longer?) in many of the national parks and it was a smokey, scary time even for those of us who live in the city. The wonderful thing about fire in the bush is that it generates life and does so remarkably quickly. Banksia seed pods like the ones in this print of mine (seed pod in black) burst open and drop their seeds to the ground due to the intense heat that fire brings, and so the process of life can continue. Two Canadian friends have just been cycling in the Alpine National Park area (northern Victoria) and say it is starting to spring back to life now. The beautiful green of new growth pushing through, almost phosphoresecent in colour, glows against the charred black ground and trees surrounding it.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

snake bean

This incredible-looking curly flower belongs to a beautiful vine growing across the entrance of our front veranda. I've heard someone say it's a snake bean vine but I don't know if that's true or even the botanical name for it. At this time of year it's heavy with flowers like these, so curly and smooth and very sweet smelling. I've been asked many many times about this vine and the flowers by people passing on our street. One woman even asked me for a cutting so she could try growing it in her garden. I don't know if she ever succeeded. Very soon, as autumn decends on us the vine will drop everything - leaves and flowers - and will look half dead and very scraggy when winter comes. Each year in winter I look at it in its sad state and wonder if it will regrow. And each summer, without fail, it does. This year we've let it grow and grow and there were days when I arrived home and parts of the vine had reached out and extended its arms to the house walls, the front doors and windows. Like "The Day of the Triffids". It hides and protects the front of the house from the world like in the wonderful children's book "The Secret Garden". It rained last night (a rare but wonderful thing) and today the flowers on the vine are damp with droplets of water.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

beauty in all its forms

While I sit here writing this I can hear my neighbour doing her voice exercises (she's an opera singer) and it sounds beautiful as it rises and lilts in the slight breeze blowing today. It travels out of the studio and across the fence to our garden and stops me from the wanting to play any music in our house. Her voice is enough.

I was thinking about the work of a wonderful Melbourne printmaker, Belinda Fox, today as I was reading the Print Council of Australia journal. She has a show coming up soon in Canberra. It's a pity we live nowhere near Canberra but I'm sure she'll have an exhibition sooner or later in Melbourne. I've included some interesting images here: two of her prints - 'Minor Damage' (above), 'Tread Lightly' (below) and one of her at work in her studio (far below). Here is a link to her website

I fully recommend a look at her website. I saw her work at a exhibition 18 months ago in Sydney and was blown away by it. She manages to combine Asian images and political messages, and yet retain beauty in her work.