Category Archives: print

As seen through the eye of a needle…

I have been thinking about material, fabric, and handmade textiles and how words related to textiles are used in our everyday language. They are familiar yet not. Then I started playing around with some of the words and I made a little image of this in my journal. I liked seeing the connection between common sayings and the possible cloth-related origin of them. But the more I played with the textile related words, other words and sayings started coming into my head so I jotted them down on paper…maybe it’s all for a future art project? Please add any you can think of…I am sure I have missed some obvious ones.

Given that I can barely sew a button on a shirt I am not sure why the interest in material/sewing/textiles but I have always collected vintage bits and bobs and paraphernalia related to sewing, including an ancient singer sewing machine that found its way to me. I collect antique linens, have a collection of tissue paper patterns, jars of old buttons, a few old material cutting scissors, cotton reels..) yet I have no purpose for it all. It is strange.

My mother was a dressmaker & seamstress. So maybe it is a legacy thing?

On books….and photography of them.

I really like this image. It’s ripped out of a magazine…its actually an advertisement for something travel related, no doubt. I don’t care. Its just a really neat photographic image. I can’t even tell you what magazine it was in, or what product was being promoted, or even who photographed it…

I put it in my journal for several reasons.

Firstly, its just a great photo. It reminds me how effective a simple photo with great composition can be.

Secondly, its a reminder about noticing things, seeking beauty in the everyday and finding inspiration in unexpected places.

Thirdly, I have my own photo’s of books, old penguin paperbacks on a shelf at a music school actually, taken long before I saw this image, so it was interesting to compare them. That also was a moment of seeing beauty in something neglected, gathering dust in a waiting room.

Finally, more personally, I just like looking at it and thinking of the places I have travelled too and also thinking about the places that I have not been too…yet!

Below is one of my own “book” images, some old books noticed and appreciated for the beauty that they have. Enjoy.

Am I a writer who likes paint and or a painter who likes words…?

A found journal and a lost art

I was given this journal. A broken, damaged, well worn, scrap of a thing. A simple name “Anne” written on the first page as the only clue to the previous owner. And one date, on the bottom of a poem, carefully handwritten “Copied, Wed, Sep 22nd /20”.

The book is full of poetry, prose, and prayers. All handwritten in an elegant, careful, almost errorless style. The writing itself an image of pure beauty and a reminder of what we have lost in one? two? generations of handwriting no longer taught at school…. Flowing font, scrolling letters, almost not quite legible, yet so very, very beautiful to look at.

I don’t know who Anne was, or if the majority of the poetry is her own or copied out as per the last entry, but it flows like silk…yet has an honest, heartfelt anguish threading through it.

I share with you one entry..(hopefully I have transcribed it correctly).

“To a star”…

“Thou brightly glistening star of even,
thou gem upon the star of heaven,
Oh, were this fluttering spirit free,
how quick I would spread its wings to thee…

Thou little sparkling star of even,
thou gem upon the brow of heaven,
how swiftly would I soar to thee,
when this imprisoned soul is free.”

Beauty in a book. A lost journal with its thoughtful poetry and prose and its elegant handwriting -a joy to behold. Anne, wherever you are, I hope you know your book is safe and treasured. I like to think you’d like that.

Who’s afraid of a big blank journal?…Not I….

I know i shouldn’t, but I did…I brought yet another journal…full of promise, full of nice thick blank pages, a hard cover, a spiral binding for easy page flipping….I know I shouldn’t have as my collection is getting quite big now (but they all serve different purposes I argue) …but I did. And its not about the cost (although buying good quality journals is not for the faint hearted…) it’s all about the promise, the anticipation and the high of that first page – the allure of a new period of creativity and spontaneity and inspiration. Then, after the high, there is the realisation that if you buy a new journal you should at least use it! And that first page…all shiny and new and blank…with so much promise for talent, inspiration and creativity suddenly feels like an unattainable proposition….you don’t want to “waste” your new journal, so you better do something really good, you think!!!! Set the bar REAL high, so to speak…so if you are like me, you then feel a teeny bit intimidated, and a bit regretful thinking “why didn’t i just stick with my old journal?” The blank pages seem to taunt you, tease you…you couldn’t possibly fill these pages with anything THAT great…

Well, the answer I think is to really truely not think about it and just to do it…just break in the journal in one decisive move, slide a paintbrush over its pure white page, grab that pen, or charcoal, or your tool of choice and mark your book. Mark it with a bold initial, a sketch, a quote, a scribble, or a splash of colour…but just do it. Once you have broken through with the first mark, its yours, to love, cherish, challenge, inspire, or practice. I tell you this is the truth and as i look at my now lovingly cherished journals of old, I know this is the truth, but, for now, the new journal lies untouched, full of promise, and still, slightly intimidating.


 I have several collections of symbols – and several collections of words. Here they converge. Each one drawn above  is a symbol in its own beautiful way – a symbol of a time past when printing was the only efficient way to distribute written information yet the symbol is also, I think, clever and elegant and efficient in its own simple circle based design. The elegant shape of each one (only two are drawn above) are strangely beautiful, like a hidden language, a secret language. They look familiar but are not. Fascinating.

On the note of text as  symbol, there is of course a hells-box..Its basically a random selection of discarded printing letters, all jumbled up in a box of random letters in various fonts. I’d love to find one someday…my collection of random printers block letters thus far is a few antique printers block letters (of various fonts) found at various junk shops.  I know you can buy entire sets of perfect new letters but they just lack the provenance of a hells box.

I did see once some very beautiful romantic poetry written and printed by an artist who used only the letters available in a found hells box…it was fascinating, beautiful to look at as both a collection of words made of odd fonts and letters, and to read as poetry, I think it was just wonderful.  

I keep  collecting symbols that speak to me, both ancient and modern… A symbol can be a powerful connection with our past, but also can be a fragile thread that connects us as families, communities, cities, and as global citizens.

an alphabet of sorts…

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When I collect words,sayings, quotes, random thoughts, etc, I usually keep them alphabetically in my journals. I set up a page for each letter and collect things for each page. It is a work in motion however, some pages fill easily, others sit empty for a long time, as if waiting for the right word or phrase. Words/thoughts/quotes are placed under the letter that fits best at the time, not necessarily under the first letter of the phrase/word/thought.

I used to hate handwriting my own notes (which seemed to always look like scribbled down notes) but now I just accept that my handwriting is what makes my journal mine. It may not look as pretty as fancy fonts, but it is mine.

Anyway, I have put this alphabet of sorts into a slide show – hope it works!

what is a journal? A peep into your mind or your heart?

the end of an era, the dawn of a new age….

A new year…a time for reflection and a time for looking forward…

To be honest, I am glad 2011 is over. It started well enough, but by the end I was distraught, distracted and unfocused. Personal events threatened my family, overshadowed my creativity and I was unable to find my way through the fog to a creative outlet.  

It wasn’t all doom and gloom however, there were some highlights from an artistic perspective…Importantly, I sold some paintings! I also  entered the Taranaki Art Awards and had the joy of seeing my art holding its own up there on the wall with other talented artists – famous and emerging artists, local and international. I also, of course, started this blog, about my art and my life and I am absolutely committed to continuing to blog and share my thoughts, ideas, trials and tribulations..I have a big sense of satisfaction in the fact that I am the only person I know who knows what “tweak your widgets” means…who knew I could become a tiny bit geeky by writing my own blog!! It is an incredible thing…to get a comment from someone reading your blog in other time zone, in another country, and them telling you that they found something you wrote or an image you have created is inspiring to them. You then know that your journey is not in vain, and that you are not alone, a dreamer. There are others, artist, creative people, photographers, writers and poets and others…all with stories, dreams, ideas and thoughts to share…Finally, I met some very passionate artists who have encouraged me, inspired me and whom I have made new friendships with.

So 21012, I hope for more painting. I start the year with no painting planned, nothing started (In fact, I haven’t painted for 3 months now)…I want to focus on more creating, more photography, more writing, more blogging. Taking and making more time for this. Thats my goal. Simple. Just keep moving forward creatively while being the absolute  best mum/friend/mentor that I can be to my three sons and my daughter, the best partner, friend, sister, daughter, aunt that I can be, and working toward being the best artist and person that I can be.   I have a dream, a vision and I know it will happen.

I hope to continue to notice the small or seemingly insignificant things, and find beauthy in places where it is not normally expected, to appreciate the simple things and take time to be inspired and to be deeply thankful.

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