Sunday, 25 May 2008

circles of light

Pockets of northern light, in rows of circles, peeping through the blinds this morning. I love the soft strength of the light in autumn. The days are tinged with a yellow, gentleness not seen in harsh summer sunlight. The mornings are crisp (2 degrees here yesterday morning) but later the sun comes up and warms everything. I love living in Melbourne because we actually have a winter. Many parts of Australia don't. I love the distinctness of moving from summer into autumn and then winter. The fact that we wear different clothes and can rug up. And the cosiness of drinking hot chocolate in cafes and bars with open log fires.

But in just 6 sleeps time, I'll be in the early summer temps of New York City. I find I suffer more from 'season-lag' than I do from jet-lag. It's only something you would know if you live in the southern hemisphere (or if you've been to the southern hemisphere and you live in the northern one). Mid-summer to mid-winter or vice versa is the worst. Three years ago I left Kyoto in early February on a snowy, cold day and 9 hours later landed in Melbourne on a day so hot it reached 44 degrees celsius (111.2 F). The season-lag hit me so badly I thought I was going to melt on the floor.

And what will I do after 6 sleeps when I actually have to use fahrenheit to understand temperature, and the non-metric system for other stuff for 3 weeks? It's going to do my head in. Not to mention knowing how to work our tips. Eeeeeek!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

the big apple

This is where I'm going in 9 days time! Woohooo, can't wait. I've never been to New York before so you can imagine my excitement. I've only ever been to the USA once and that was to Arizona and New Mexico, two states that are very different from the big apple. The list of galleries to visit is endless but so much fun to think about and plan. And thanks to this amazing little book, we'll be checking out some wonderful places suggested by artists, designers, actors, architects, filmmakers and gourmets. My kind of guide book!

And so I won't be filling shop orders from 30th May - 22nd June. Feel free to purchase while I'm gone if you're not in a big hurry to have it posted.

* This gorgeous black and white skyline photo was taken by atomic shark on flickr.*

Saturday, 17 May 2008

block for fabric printing

I've been really inspired by the beautiful fabrics people produce by block printing. So I'm carving out a dragonfly on this lovely piece of red lino and hopeful to experiment on some ivory Indian cotton I've purchased. As a woodblock printer, I find lino so funny to work with. It's all slippery and smooth and not at all like wood. I loved Jesse's tip about keeping your block warm by sitting it from time to time. A good tip on a cold day like today. I have a feeling from what I've read that I'm not cutting deeply enough for fabric printing. I guess I'll soon know if that's the case once I start pressing the block onto the fabric.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

printsy interview: marissa buschow

Printsy is the name of a new flickr group for printmakers who have an etsy shop. That is, printmakers working with techniques such as intaglio, relief, screen printing, lithography and monotypes.  And printsy now has its own blog: Printsy: printmakers of etsy. Printsy members are in the process of interviewing each other about their various backgrounds and printmaking processes. The first interview is up on the new blog and is with Marissa Buschow,  also known as fustian on etsy. This is her lovely woodblock print titled 'fox sparrow'. I'm particularly excited to learn that Marissa also works in the moku hanga (Japanese style woodblock printing) tradition. The interview is a great read. 

And a little note here to say that some of my woodblock print and kimono fabric cards are now available at the gorgeous Bamakko in North Melbourne. Bamakko stock hand made products from a range of Melbourne designers and artisans. The shop is a delight to visit.

Friday, 9 May 2008

hand printed textiles

I'm so in love with these block printed fabrics hand made by Galbraith and Paul. Thanks moontea artwork for drawing my attention to them. I feel like I've died and gone to heaven after looking at their prints, and that studio space of theirs is just so dreamy and wonderful I want to teleport myself to Philadelphia to work there. Seriously. Who wouldn't want to block print fabric all day with such amazing designers? Ok, maybe not everyone. Just nerdy printmaking folk like myself and a few other odd bods probably. But look at the love in those hand printed textiles!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

a morning spent printing

A few sweet friends have just ordered my Dragonfly set of woodblock prints so I've spent the morning printing those as I only ever have one or two sets on hand to support my listing in the shop

Try not notice that the sheet underneath (a photo prop) was not ironed :) Each set has 8 pieces in total and is made slightly differently from each other so offers a unique point for the owner. I've noticed something interesting about framing this set lately. Mine is framed with a light coloured timber frame and I always thought that was the best colour for this piece as it sets off nicely the browns in the ink and creams in the some of the paper. But then recently another friend bought this set from me and chose a burgandy coloured timber frame and to my surprise, it looks great. It just goes to show you can't get too set in your way about what will look good when it comes to framing. I usually advise people to use the float mount technique for framing this set as it lifts the pieces away from the mount board and adds a very slight shadow or 3D affect to the work. 

Thursday, 1 May 2008


I think I'm going to end up becoming one of those dottery old people who obsess about botanical matters and spend their days pottering around in their cute gardens. I've been longing for this book, Flora: an Illustrated History of the Garden Flower Compact, by Brent Elliott for about a year now. I borrowed it from my neighbour last year and just looked with awe at every page of botanical/flora drawings thinking I would have to keep an eye out for it and buy the book myself some day. Well I did. Yesterday. It's a gorgeous little hard cover thing and I found it lurking on the shelves of one of my favourite city bookshops, Readers Feast.