Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Botanical Gardens

Due to a wash-out last weekend we cancelled our YDM stall because did not want to sit in the rain all day and have no customers. However we have found indoor premises for a show at the lovely Mt Cootha Botanical Gardens this weekend! Take that rain!

It has been such a wet year - in my new home in the clouds of Maleny we have had asylum seeker froggies hopping under doors and through windows at night to get out of the rain so you have to be careful where you step! You know it's wet when the frogs can't take it anymore!

Because Shannon and I got rained out at the Young Designers Market last week we'd love you to come to our special Christmas event in Brisbane, undercover!

Our work will be on sale at the delightful Richard Randall Studio Gallery in the Mt Cootha Botanical Gardens this Saturday and Sunday 10am - 4pm.

Drop in on Sunday afternoon for a mocktail and some lovely cheese and biccies with Shannon and I and Bettina Palmer, who has kindly invited us to exhibit.

Where: Richard Randall Studio, Mt Cootha Botanicial Gardens
(on the left as you drive in to the garden carpark)

When: 10am - 4pm Saturday December 11th and Sunday December 12th

Soiree from 1-4pm on Sunday afternoon

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Rain Rain go away

I'm sharing a one-off stall with Shannon Garson at the Young Designer's Market this Sunday. So if you are in Brisbane you should come along and support us! If you can't make it, perhaps you might pray to your deity for decent weather!

We'll have some of our new Swamp Cartography work there as well as some glass jewels, porcelain and other great giftage.

Little Stanley Street South Bank
10am - 4pm this Sunday 5th December

Friday, November 12, 2010

Robur Wedding Rings

I just married sculptor and mechanical extraordinaire Russell Anderson, and moved to acreage near Maleny.

We decided to make our own wedding rings and we wanted something that reflected our shared love of botany and the natural world and combined my jewellery skills with Russ's skills in 3d modelling. So we used rapid prototyping techniques and designed them (really Russ did all the slaving and swearing at the computer) and had waxes produced and cast in 18 carat yellow gold.

The original image was taken earlier this year during a visit to Cooloola National Park where a particular Robur Banksia (Swamp Banksia) caught our eye. Russ was able to overlay the image onto a model of the ringshank. On the morning of the wedding foul curses could be heard as I hunted though packing boxes for tools to remove the sprues and sharp edges from the castings in my brand new studio!
For a process so digital and printerly, the rings are satisfyingly heavy and tactile. Though the contour lines of production betray the method of manufacture, they echo the serrations of the banksia leaves and evoke cuttlefish patterning.

Monday, November 01, 2010

New Studio in the Treetops

When waking up to this inspiration in the mornings, it is important to have a jewellery studio with a great outlook.

With this in mind, I have set up temporary digs in our garage which has the luxury of space and concrete floors, a step up from my previous studio. And I can watch the lizards and snakes basking on the gravel as I swat away at the relentless march flies (in the ointment).

As we are on stand alone solar power, I have to take care to only use heavy consumption power tools on sunny days or in the mornings on wet days. Not too difficult as I hate working at nights!

Now I can safely say that in my creative practice not only is all the silver I use recycled, but all the power is solar.
Expect to see some new shoots.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

aussie pride

As the Australian sense of irony takes flight like a winged iced vovo, laminex boomerangs spin back to hit us in the neck.

Some recent works on show at Marks and Gardner, Australian Icons Exhibition.

"Once we found American flag-waving distasteful and 'over the top'. Now we try to out-wave, without having experienced the trauma of a terror attack on our soil to justify such displays of national pride and defiance."

Anne Summers, challenging the adoption of 'Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi', as our international anthem, Radio National. Noice.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Intimate Landscapes

I have some work in a Redlands group jewellery/metal show coming up soon and also a piece selected for the Waterhouse Natural History Art prize in South Australia.

Lucky me!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Growing things

Shannon is correct in saying that art like Wallum takes a long time to grow. Of course there is some that obligingly pops up like mushrooms overnight, but this is definitely not of the fungi variety. Maybe I am using the wrong fertiliser. I won't go into what makes mushrooms grow so well under commercial conditions but I'm sure you are all familiar with the substance.

I guess if these were any kind of fungi, these would be the tiny wild ones that may or may not pop up under decaying leaves and branches by their own unfathomable whim. Which leads me to suspect I have been inadvertently clever in not tidying up the rich litter layer that is my bench as it has finally produced some results.
These little leptospermum flowers scratched into ashphaltum coated silver plate by Shannon have been sitting on my bench mocking me for months, too precious to commit to. Visitors say 'what are you going to do with those?' I mutter expletives under my breath. But now I have a much more polite answer.
I think patience is a great virtue and one that is good to have when dealing with acid. Like gloves. They were etched very slowly over days in a very weak brew of nitric acid so the detail is superb even though the etch is shallow. I'm thinking of starting the slow etch movement. I'm sure it will make my practice even more lucrative and in this age of conservation it is probably time to start dissolving precious metals alot more slowly.

So after procrastinating for ages, I cut them out, soldered posts on the back, drilled some holes and made this necklace. It is very simple. Why I couldn't do that earlier I will never understand.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Tidy up

Running out of oxygen in my cylinder meant no more soldering today. I made myself clean my bench so it looks more aesthetically pleasing than the usual ugly mess incorporating dead moths and gecko leavings.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Silver and Porcelain Impressions

I made these pendants and earrings in collaboration with Shannon Garson for our project.

The little silver sticks are cast in cuttlefish bones which is why they have a slight wavy texture. A straight stick is also used as a catch.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Etching flipflops

A new necklace from Swamp Cartography. Made from photo etched silver sheet and Stradbroke Island pebbles. I imagine the pebbles were formed millions of years ago from bits of mountains long worn away. They weathered off and travelled down to a giant river valley now known as Moreton Bay. Masses of river rocks were tumbled along in its surging waters getting knocked about and polished and eventually sinking in sand and mud. Iceages came and went. More recently they were dredged up by the pacific swell and deposited at my toes on a beach on an island.
While this geological drama unfolded, plants, animals and people were evolving on the appearing and disappearing landforms.
In my necklace each piece of silver can flipover like a pebble in the surf . Different plants and combinations are revealed: wallum banksia, bracken fern, coral fern, pouched coral fern, twigrushes, reeds. Strange looking plants with prickly foliage. Each time the necklace is handled it changes with the flipflopping of the silver.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Midyims and Nujigums: Navigating by the Flowers.

Midyims (top) and Nujigums (below)

I've been thinking about the different ways we use maps and navigation techniques to get around the wallum and find various plants. Recently I was walking around the backroads of Cooloola National Park with my technology savvy companion who relies on GPS to get around town and bush. You can see contour marks, roads, compass and where you have been on this gadget so it makes it quite difficult to get lost unless the batteries run out. Luddism makes me triumphant when this happens! I am wary of such technology, preferring an old style paper map, a fairly good sense of direction, some visible landmarks and a 'solar derived' notion of north. But all these devices, new and old, while setting out to 'close the distance' also seem to somehow put a distance between person and landscape so that you can pass through a place without knowing or feeling or being there.

Shannon and I were at Peel Island last month walking through cypress and eucalypt forest with the National Parks ranger looking for a narrow slither of wallum . Peel is quite flat and I lost my bearings soon after leaving the road. As Shannon related, we were being carefully guided so we found the open wallum fairly directly. We made our observations, took our photos and the snakes kindly let us though. Then we took a 'short-cut' back to the road through a dense and high fern, peat and melaleuca forest which required us to push through with our whole bodies. Evidently the forest had regenerated after fire more quickly than our guide anticipated. For a brief moment we had that feeling of being lost. Everything looked the same. Forest stretched as far as we could see in all directions and every few steps the false floor of the peat layer gave way and we fell through to the true ground like Alice in Wonderland. But we did feel that we were really 'there', wherever 'there' was.

This experience led me to ask Shane Coghill, traditional owner how he would navigate when landmarks are not easy to see. He related how pathways to significant sites are told in stories and it may be years before this knowledge is called upon. And when it is, there is considerable pressure to find the site, with knowledge concentrated in a chosen few to keep the sites safe. In what would probably sound like mysterious metaphor to me, the story might describe the patches of midyims and nujigum (pronounced midge-ims and nudge-ims) and their delicious berries along the way. Knowing the plants is important and the seasons too, as deadly snakes are associated with these species at certain times of the year. Children are warned off the delicious fruiting midyims (now fruiting) for fear of the death adder which hides under foliage, tempting berry-eating wrens with a protein hit by wiggling its tiny worm-like tail. And the tell-tale blue staining on a child's mouth will alert a watchful parent if they have been spending too long feasting on Nujigums where red bellied black snakes are found.

So this awareness, with an intimate understanding and embodiment of the spirit of the land makes it possible to find places without paper maps or high-end GPS equipment. That there is more going on than the graphical representations of contour lines is both fascinating and mysterious to me and presents a new way of being here/there.

It is this kind of mapping and the creative journey that I think of when rolling the words "Swamp Cartography" around in my head. I hope that the jewellery, ceramics and glass works that we create will have the immediacy of notes taken along the way.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Twig Impressions Experiment

Working on the Wallum Project and teaching a cuttlefish casting workshop at the BIA I have been inspired to venture out of my happy little comfort zone in cuttlefish casting by making impressions of these leptospermum twiglets from the Wallum. Inspired by what the students dared to do in class after informing them that "it probably wouldn't work but give it a go anyway", I found I was able to get quite delicate impressions in the cuttlefish bone. These castings are only 5cm long, to give an idea of scale. I also pressed some of the tiny tea tree seed cases into the cuttlefish, closed up the mould and poured molten scrap silver from the crucible to make these 2 pieces of double sided sheet: The castings are relief style owing to a brass sheet inner cutout mold. And the cuttlefish pattern shows its wavy texture in the background. Quite appropriately too I would say, as the cuttlefish bones were all found along beaches adjacent to Wallum/heath coastal areas like Kangaroo Island and Bribie Island.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Wallum Etch

For the full story go to the Wallum blog.