Saturday, 24 March 2018

Book Art Day

Last week I went to London for The Society of Bookbinders Book Art Day. Would you believe that my friend Ruth came all the way from the Isle of Bute to join me?! I was super impressed by her intrepid journey for this one day event and it made the day even more special.  
The event started with an illustrated talk by Tracey Bush. In 1995 Tracey made a series of books connected to the River Thames and I really enjoyed hearing about stories and process behind these. Her latest book 'Dusk' is a beautiful work, each page carefully hand printed and hand cut out. This book was awarded the 2017 J.Hewit 'Excellence in Design' in the SOB International Bookbinding Competition. It's easy to see why when you see and handle the book.  You can see this and other books by Tracey on her website.   
Around the room were a selection of other book artists and it was lovely to see the wide range of techniques and designs.  Enjoy a few photos, and apologies to the artists - I was so engrossed in talking, looking and taking the occasional photo that I didn't make notes to attribute.  

One of my favourite stands was an Iranian lady who made journals using Photoshop and mixed media. And Dizzy Pragnell, who I met at Turn the Page in Norwich last year. Her fruit and vegetable books still continue to amaze me. I mean, really! Can you believe each page is a cabbage leaf?!   

I realised when I got home that I did not take photos of all the books that I admired, but that's okay. The ones I have show the diverse and colourful collection that was on display, and it was lovely to meet the artists in person. 

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Meaning Making - an exploration with ink and poetry

Last year I signed up for an online course called Meaning Making : Inspired by Poetry with Lendon Noe.  It took time for me to to start as I wanted to set aside several days of uninterrupted time, and snow days last week were the perfect opportunity.  I won't go into detail about the content as it is a paid course and Lendon talks about the course in the video included on the link above; but I will say how much I enjoyed Lendon's relaxed and professional presentation and the course content. Some of her ideas were new to me, and  that's always a good thing because I like to be stretched and to try something different. And this was.

I decided to be open to the experience and go along with the ideas suggested by Lendon, although I struggled to get excited about the theme of apples.  'Just see it as process!' I told myself. And with the table covered in inks and mark makers I made myself comfortable with the lap top set up.

Each of the 6 videos include a different stage or technique, so I took regular breaks to try these out. I didn't take photos throughout as I wanted to get into flow. And the idea of apples? These provided a good focus and starting point, and an idea I will use in future. But for now, let's look at some of my pages. They are not meant to be works of art - for me they are play, and practice pages.  I will be making them into a resource book  and on the back of each page I have written the technique and general approach - because I know I won't remember in time to come!  

Let's get started: 

A selection of my tools. I enjoyed using the pipette and stick. I have yet to master the home made cola pens and need more practice and experimentation.

I treated myself to Sumi ink and brushes but never got round to using these. As the project is work in progress these can come out next time.  I also used a restricted range of ink colours on these experiments so I will be more bold then too.

One of our tasks was to draw and take photos of apples, and below is one that I printed to use as a collage. Other photos were image transferred and I discovered Lendon's technique was quick and easy,  although in fairness she warns this has variable results. Anyone who does image transfers will know this is the case, although I have generally been lucky. 

One of my pages with ink background, this was created by 'mopping up' surplus ink and water from the master page. Some of the pages  became quite wet after spritzing with water and moving the colour around and I love getting two pages from one. Interestingly my favourite fluid was my homemade walnut ink, the colour was rich and stable and also colourfast. I will certainly make more walnut ink this year.

Lendon encouraged the use of poetry and apples in our work. These were more mopping up pages that worked well as a background for text. I liked this poem and the little boat is part of an apple.

I have since decided that some red ink will add to this page, so I will come back to this.

After a while I began to feel more loose and playful.  I also started to use my own ideas, and here I cut an apple stencil out of a sheet of acetate.  It also worked well as a template.

When you look at a cross section of an apple the seeds look like a small star shape, so I also cut a small stamp out of foam to print onto the pages. 

I experimented on different papers, and sketching apples too. I loved Lendon's suggestion for how to do this and I would love to be more confident and loose, so I will practice more in future.  I'm glad that I was open to the theme of apples as they are  quite easy to draw and offer lots of variables such as shapes, sizes and colours, and ways you can cut them. I may even continue with this theme a while longer, while I experiment more and get familiar with different mark makers and inks. Meantime I have a big pile of papers and backgrounds to work on more, and while other people were out on their sledges or negotiating treacherous roads, I enjoyed the snow days, warm indoors!

Thank you for popping by. And if you have encountered some difficult weather days, I hope you could make the most of them too. 

Saturday, 10 March 2018

5 in 5 - March 2018 - Melanie

Melanie is my friend who lives in Australia and she loves photography.  Every month since the start of this challenge Melanie has taken part in this monthly meme and as she doesn't have her own blog I post here. I love that we have found a way for her to take part, so over to you Melanie:

Once again in the city of Adelaide March Madness has arrived when there is heaps happening.  The Fringe Festival, the Arts Festival and writers week to name a few.  For the length of the Fringe there are eight areas which include several buildings which are illuminated with laser projections.  The projections on a building change continuously over the course of several minutes.  This colour transformation has happened for a few years now but this year it is known as ‘The Parade of Light’.  I walked the length of the parade and have chosen for my 5 in 5 photos I took at the first building I came to which was the Adelaide Institute Building.  This is part of the State Library now and over the course of its life has had many uses.  It was built in 1860 and was the city’s first cultural centre.  It is the oldest building on North Terrace where the Parade of Light was.   The changing light projections on this building depicted the Aboriginal Kaurna family clan customs. The Kaurna are the original people of Adelaide and the Adelaide plains.  Before 1836 this area was an open grassy plain with patches of trees and shrubs.

How wonderful to have so much going on close to home, I would love to be part of this March Madness! This has become an annual event here too, with Melanie sharing photos and what she has done. Thank you for this, it is always something I look forward to and every year is so different. 
If this has inspired you to pick up your camera and join in please go to this months post for details about how to link in. 
And to find out more about this monthly photo challenge, you can find out how it started here.
Thank you for popping by and I hope to see you back here soon.

Monday, 5 March 2018

5 in 5 - March 2018 - A stir of starlings

Welcome to '5 in 5' where on the 5th of
each month I post 5 photos that I have 
taken in 5 minutes.

A couple of years ago I saw a video of a starling murmuration and knew that the longing to witness this for myself would not rest.  So last year I got excited when I heard of a large flock in Suffolk but when I phoned the warden of the reserve I learnt that the birds had been such large numbers that over the last couple of days they had flattened the reed bed and since left. I've heard of smaller flocks nearer home but I was looking for a spectacle, an experience that would live with me and match my expectation.  And so when I saw a recently uploaded video I immediately contacted the photographer. She kindly sent me details of when and when I might see them, and we lost no time in packing the campervan and heading off.

It was a bitterly cold day, with north winds blowing from the open sea. It's always cold along the east coast but the wind made it especially so - but nothing that layers and thermals couldn't contend with! We were staying in the grounds of a local pub overnight and a meal was booked for the evening.  So with that in mind we felt stoic and hopeful that our visit was not in vain. I had phoned in advance and learnt that there were now a lot less birds, it seems they are unpredictable and leave without warning. But with hopes high and a flask of hot coffee we set off along the paths towards the suggested sighting. While the presence of the starlings is not predictable, the time of their activity is.  And so at the appointed hour we were joined with many other people with cameras and binoculars poised.

Everyone stood in eager anticipation and silence, waiting for the first birds to rise from the reed bed. Then we saw then, a small speckling in the sky but enough to stir the soul. They hovered and then gained height. And over time more small flocks revealed themselves, until gradually I saw a pattern forming.  They would rise, circulate, then fly across to the other side of the fen before landing among the reeds. Gradually more and more small flocks gained momentum, and slowly they joined into an ever increasing flock that gained shape and size. Flying backwards and forwards, so that on one occasion the murmuration flew directly overhead. What an incredible experience! My camera rested as I watched and was fully present in that moment, wishing time to pause as I watched individual birds with flapping wings and incredible agility. How is it that so many birds, swooping and making sudden twists and undulations can avoid collision? But they seem to, and I'm sure there is an answer if I look for it. But for now I am happy to hold on to the memory of that magical hour and the privilege I felt of witnessing this first hand. I did take a few videos, but since this is a photo challenge I will keep to the idea of sharing 5 photos taken in 5 minutes:

Thank you for visiting and to Karen, Velady, Melanie, Borqna, Green Tomato and Maggie for taking part last month.  I wonder what photo themes will be shared this month? It is a time for Spring, snow and lots of other photo opportunities. Do join us! Here's how: 

1.  Choose a location.

2.  Have your camera ready.

3.  Set a timer for 5 minutes (I use my mobile phone).

4.  Take as many photos you can until the time is up.

5.  Choose 5 photos to download and share by using the link tool below.

You have until the 25th of the month to add your photos.

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