Wednesday, 31 December 2008


良いお年を everyone! (Yoi otoshi o).
This is the expression people say to each other in Japan as the end of the year approaches but you can't use it after 31st December. From 1st January people then say '明けましておめでとう' (Akemashite omedetou) but I'll leave that til tomorrow :)

These berries are from grasses growing in my front garden. They're extremely purple in colour but this photo makes them look blue for some reason. Anyway, they're quite pretty until they start to fall off and people squish purple coloured mush all over the path. Got to love that about nature.


Saturday, 27 December 2008


I've been away breathing alpine mountain air and walking in a ski area without skiers because it's summer. I love nothing more than absorbing the bush smells, the trees and green space, the astonishing mountain views, no people, no shops, no cars, no noise apart from the birds and the wind. The only thing that startled me during the whole 5 days away was a wallaby who jumped out of the bush behind me while we were on a 20km walk. He/she was all wet underneath on the belly, probably having just come up from the creek next to us. She/he then bounded off down the track ahead with important wallaby business to conduct.

I'm back in the city now feeling very revived. What will 2009 bring I wonder?

Thursday, 18 December 2008

ginger madness

So now I have to eat my words with this post which show the results of a baking frenzy that came out of nowhere and hit me on Monday night. It was like I was channeling Martha Stewart. But this recipe is from Stephanie Alexander so it would more accurate to say that I was channeling her when the madness descended. I made ginger star biscuits for my work colleagues and bagged them up with little name tags from my illustrations. I just wanted to offer something small even though I am mostly bah humbug at this time of year. Damn these biscuits are good! The royal icing Steph recommends to go on top didn't work out so well (too soft as I didn't whip the egg white and icing sugar long enough) but tasted pretty good anyway. They went down well this morning with a cup of milky chai.

If you want to see some knitted heaven check out this.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

the way of tea

I was inspired by the beauty of an art shop in Smith St, Collingwood called St Luke's to create this little piece. It's a collage of original woodblock prints mounted on wooden art board with a lovely textured black backing. My photos keep making the black background look blue-ish but it's not, believe me. It's definitely a nice solid black. The woodblock prints have been printed on an olive coloured textured Japanese paper. But then again you can't really tell that from my photos here. Hmmmmm, it seems I'm being a bit challenged with light and photography at the moment......

A big happy birthday to all fellow Sagittarians in the world! I've just discovered a friend's birthday falls on xmas day. Poor N. He says he's used to it as he's had it his whole life (ha ha). No wonder he has a black xmas tree!

I'm not a very cheery Christmassy type of soul I'm afraid. No blog posts here about Christmas baking or homemade decorations (although I applaud all of you who can be bothered). Instead I usually spend this time to be a bit more reflective about the year that's passed and my hopes for the world in the year to come. I'm finding it a bit hard to do this year (the hope bit) as I'm surrounded by seriously ill friends and family and have been feeling a bit bleak lately. A good friend recommended reading Debra Adelaide's The Household Guide to Dying (which, despite the sound of its title is fiction) and so I bought a copy yesterday. And yet the birth/death cycle continues - I know 3 women who are due to have their babies this week. Good luck girls!!!!

Thursday, 4 December 2008


As weird as this may sound, I'm convinced that I enjoy the cutting of paper stencils as much as printing itself with screen printing. It's labour intensive for sure, but somehow so meditative. This one took me a while to cut but it wasn't overly painful.

And thanks to J & J I have Lena's new book Printing by Hand to keep me inspired. I scored it for my birthday last week :)

Saturday, 29 November 2008

drown me in petals

LinkI seem to be on a floral wave. Some designs for a new print. And the orange number is a work in progress with a third layer to come.

If you want to gaze at some seriously good design talent make your way over to see Unfold, the RMIT Studio Textiles and Screen Print Design Graduate Exhibition in Brunswick on until 19th December. I made it to the opening night despite having to brave a spectacular thunder storm on the way. Georgina Cranswick's screen printed textiles are just divine as are Monica Shaw's three screen printed works on recycled card. I can't give you more info about either artist as they don't seem to have web links yet. I'm sure it's only a matter of time though.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

the list

I came across this on the plum tree. The idea is you're supposed to bold the things that you have done. I think the list has a bit of an American flavour to it which made it hard at times to understand some of the things on it. There are lots of things I haven't done. I'm not sure what that says about me........

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train (from Hanoi to SaPa - so much fun!)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb (the cutest thing ever!!!!)
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run (is this about baseball???)
32. Been on a cruise (just a day cruise)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karoke (in where else but Japan)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (snorkeling on the great barrier reef)
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (I wish I could but I'm anemic)
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (in Hanoi!!!)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person (almost, but we got snowed in)
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox (and just about every other childhood disease)
89. Saved someone’s life (yes, if an animal's life counts)
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone (but only got my first one just over a year ago)
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

PS. Katie has just made a brilliant Aussie version of this list here.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

fragile particles

Finally. Screen printed. Using a hand cut paper stencil.
Click on an image to see close up.
More pics here.


Big Blue is a giclee print I made a while ago but forgot about! So here it is framed. It has quite a bit of texture to it because of the Japanese chiyogami paper I used in making it.

And these 2 lovelies from Yellow Monday are going to 2 little people in my life who are just crazy about dogs. Aren't they just delightful?

I might be finally screen printing this today because it's wet and cold (what's with the cold weather here in November???) and very much an indoors day. Celistina's blog has been inspiring me no end with printing projects.

Thursday, 20 November 2008


More fish on the move. Click on the image to see a bigger version.

A printmaking exhibition that looks worth checking out is Observatory at the Australian Print Workshop on Gertrude St, Fitzroy. It's on til 20th December. Found on printmaker, Bridget Farmer's blog. And her prints are part of the show.

Friday, 14 November 2008


Hey it's raining here! That' a big deal for us. Last night on TV they said Melbourne folk are going to be rationed to 150 litres of water per day because of our current drought. Which is fine by me if big water guzzling companies also have the same restrictions placed on them. I am so excited by today's rain that I ate breakfast sitting outside under cover watching it come down on the garden. It smells so good too.

Do you think the design above might work well on a tea towel?

Must sees this weekend include illustrator Kat McLeod's exhibition on at Lamington Drive Gallery in Fitzroy. She's called it '
The Tiniest Spark'. I'm sure this show will be huge as her work has been all over the media recently. Yay for her!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

a little piece of vintage japan

I've stumbled upon something lovely via the internet. A place called Sri Threads in Brooklyn which is a little bit of vintage Japan and India. The image above is from an early 20th century sample book of silk screen textile prints.

This one is an "old sample book which shows 68 different samples of silk dyed with individual samples of 'komon' or the small figured patterns" which were very common in the late 18th century through to the mid 19th century. Each design was made by screen printing through a hand cut paper stencil. The stencils themselves are gorgeous. I have 2 paper stencils used for printing kimono textile designs framed in my house which I bought from a temple market in Kyoto about 5 years ago. This process is no longer used for patterning textiles in Japan as things have become quite high tech these days.

This little piece of antique stitched fabric is a repaired early to mid 20th century sake straining bag. Yes, that's right - used to strain sake in the process of making it! These bags are known as sakabukuro and are apparently very collectible items. This one has been repaired in 11 different places and stained with green persimmon tannin.

For more gorgeous vintage textile wonders visit Sri Threads. Or if you're lucky enough to live in Brooklyn or Manhattan they're physically located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn so you can even check out their textiles in person.

Friday, 7 November 2008


This lovely eucalyptus tree bark was spotted in Sydney over the weekend. I just love the way their skin sheds this lovely dusky pink and then underneath the new bark is so light and different.

And such wonderful news for the world that Barack Obama won the American presidential election! This is the best news since Rudd was elected as PM in Australia last November. Yay for world leaders who put humanity, the environment, civil liberties and social justice high on their political agendas.

Thanks for the print name suggestions including the ones sent to me via flickr. So the giclee print in my previous post will go to Jesse for the title 'but I want that one....'. Fitting I think for the greedy cat with too many birdie options. Send me you postal details Jesse.

Friday, 31 October 2008

giveaway - name this print

I've called this new giclee print 'the shuffle'. If you can think of a more interesting name (and one that I like) I'll send you one for free on lovely ivory white 220 gsm acid free textured Prisma paper (without the copyright watermark on it). Go on - let your imagination run wild! I'll announce the new print name and winner on Friday 7th November. To see the print better just click on the image.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

more thyme please

More garden talk.... my excuse is that everything is growing madly from the warm weather despite the lack of rain. We're back to using the bucket in the shower to water the garden. If you're unfamiliar with this little routine (most Australians know it well), one stands in the shower with a bucket between one's legs to catch the run off water. Then it is hauled from the bathroom to whichever part of the garden is looking the most dry. This is all fine if your lower back to doesn't get niggly from time to time like mine does. We just need some rain. Please.

Most of us need more time/thyme. Our herb patch is doing well. Note the thyme and oregano in the pic above. These herbs don't mind the dry weather so much. Tomato seedlings have just gone in too in keeping with the Melbourne vegie garden tradition of planting them around Cup Day now that the soil is nice and warm.

You'd be forgiven for thinking this is a garden blog. It's not. I just think gardening is good for the soul and compliments doodling around in a sketch book.

Monday, 27 October 2008


A teeny tiny flower from a succulent plant in the garden. Well, ok yes, I did tweak this one which is why it's so fluro-like. Is it just too weird? I must confess to liking this kind of hot pink colour in a flower. (by the way, the natural colour is a softer pink).

Friday, 24 October 2008

slow days

Some days I feel like these snails: slow, slow, slow. But that's a good thing in my book because sometimes the pace of life is just too speedy for my liking. Slow walks down at the creek, sipping cups of tea slowly in the sun, slow afternoons of reading books and having naps, and best of all, slow food.

Unfortunately it's not really possible to print slowly. Well, not with the moku hanga method anyway. Too slow means inks and wood that dry up and does not bode well for the end result. The Japanese say that it's best to print on a humid, rainy day to keep the process moist. Our desert-like climate in Melbourne means that rainy days are scarce and the air is dry, dry, dry. So I had to print these new wee cards with a speed bordering on mania this morning.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Some favourite things from around my house:
  • a wedding box from Vietnam
  • sake cups from Japan
  • op shop vase with succulent flower
  • old Japanese multi-stack lacquer box with ikebana teapot on top
  • blue vase from Japan
  • chiyogami paper box from Japan
I've just realised how many of these things are from my travels and life lived outside of Australia. They also reveal my love of Asia.

I recently discovered the beautiful ceramics of Queenslander Shannon Garson. She's a finalist for the Home Beautiful Product of the Year Award and has some stunning ceramics made from porcelain with botanical designs.

Friday, 17 October 2008

seed pods

Seed pods collected from Edinburgh Gardens. See more here. Inspired by Yellow Monday's gorgeous seaside collection.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

printmaking in japan

I was having an 'I miss Japan' day today and so thought I'd check out what my Kyoto-based printmaking friend Richard Steiner has been up to lately. Even though the print above is from 2004 (titled: Harvest View) I hadn't seen it before so I was really excited to stumble across it via Richard's website.

And Richard also has info about KIWA (Kyoto International Woodprint Association) that's worth checking out. KIWA exhibitions happen every 4 years and the next one is scheduled for 2011. The rules for print entires are listed here. Who knows, with this kind of lead time even I might be able to enter a print if I get cracking.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

textile printing that inspires

Have you seen the new range of Marimekko textile designs for 08-09? If not see more of these luscious prints here. How gorgeous! I think I even prefer them to the range that Marimekko are more famous for with the big floral designs. And if you want to see some amazing photos of what a reasonably large scale textile design set up looks like have a look here. Call me a nerd but I think this kind of thing is fascinating. (Actually I'm quite comfortable with the nerd label in most contexts). Equally as interesting are the mechanics of a smaller scale textile printing set up like the newly formed Melbourne based Ink and Spindle. Those girls are hugely inspiring!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

sun kissed

We're been having some sublime spring sunshine lately. It makes for good long walks. I was down at St Kilda a few days ago and couldn't stop looking at the weathered texture in the old wood on the pier. It's a lovely spot too to look over the bay. I only get over to that side of Melbourne about once a year if that even though it's not that far away. Funny how we all tend to stick to our own neighbourhoods and 'tribes'.

I'm a bit addicted to shades of orange at the moment so you'll probably see that popping up more and more in my prints. This one is a new woodblock print greeting card in a firey red-orange and I've called it 'sun kissed'.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

camilla engman

Camilla Engman's new 2009 calendar.
I couldn't stop myself, I've order one. Her work is brilliant-beyond-words-beautiful.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

making doo

A few other bloggers have just jolted my memory cells that the new Lamington Drive Gallery in George St, Fitzroy (can you believe I used to live on this very street and now it's gone all funky and popular?) has some amazing work by Niels oeltJen aka Nails being exhibited at the moment (until 11th October). Niels is the creator of this beautiful piece above which is in the exhibition called Making Doo. Lamington Drive is the new gallery space of the Jacky Winter Group. Must go see!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

trouble comes in fours

My kitty and her feline friends are responsible for this new giclee print, trouble comes in fours, a reworking of a previous print known as unraveling. I'll never forget the night a few months ago when I left some well-intentioned knitting out on the floor of the living room only to wake and find that it had been the evening's entertainment for my cat, Sumi. The whole ball of wool had been made into one big messy knot. It was just too funny for words.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

cod pieces and the like

Well I rode my bike down to Port Jackson Press in Collingwood this morning to see Against the Grain. What a gorgeous spring day it is here! Sun is shining, a light breeze, everything is flowering (sorry hayfever sufferers!). The world looks good today. And at the exhibition I fell in love with a cod piece by Rhyll Plant - the gorgeous wood engraving above. The digital image here does not do this print justice I swear!

And I also really liked Georgia Thorpe's sensual tableau III, a woodcut and intaglio print. The exhibition finishes this Sunday so hurry down there.

I'm going outside now to catch some more of that wonderful vitamin d.

Friday, 19 September 2008

a new giclee: kitchen stack

More kitchen thoughts......

Thursday, 18 September 2008


I had fun making this new giclee print, unraveling, the other day. You can see the full image here.

The good news is I'm almost completely recovered. I can't believe how many people I know have been sick these last couple of weeks. I guess it's the change of seasons that brings this on.

One thing I missed due to being sick last week was the opening of a new woodblock/wood engraving show at Port Jackson Press called Against the Grain. It's on until the 27th Sept at their gorgeous new gallery space in Collingwood so I hope to get there this weekend. It includes the beautiful prints of Georgia Thorpe and this one by Michael Schlitz called urban camper.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

brunswick bound

It's been a hard week as I've been sick with a virus that has knocked me around pretty badly. I'm not a very good patient.

Something that cheered me up in the midst of my sickness is that Brunswick Bound, a bookshop that is simply sublime (and located in my old neighbourhood) will be stocking my cards and a small range of giclee prints from today. Thanks guys!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

carving is like meditation

I'm cutting out a paper stencil for a screen print design. I started off using my little paper cutting knife for all those teeny tiny shapes.

And then quickly changed to my woodblock carving knife because it feels so much nicer to hold and I'm better at using it for no other reason than that I've spent hundreds and hundreds (could it be thousands?) of hours carving with it.

Slowly but surely...... I've got a cramp in my thumb now so have to take a break.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

go west!

Yes, that's right, a range of my giclee art prints are now available at William Topp in Perth. Check out their lovely shop on William St all you peeps from Western Australia (if you don't already know about it). Australia is one very large country so it makes me super smiley and happy to have my prints stocked all the way over across the Nullarbor!

Sunday, 31 August 2008


Today is the last day of winter.
This was the sky this afternoon with a storm brewing.

Spring begins from tomorrow.
The wattle trees are in flower everywhere.
Bright yellow-gold, a visual feast.