Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Photograph, some History, a Book- Pulp Redux update

It began slowly...

I was intrigued by a photograph...

that led me to search...

where I discovered a map...

that caused me to think...

about a nations beliefs...

and then it began...

Time for a short history lesson.

I'll try to stay brief.

I have been watching with interest as libraries and museums around the world take up the opportunity to make a number of their historical photographs available to the public through a commons licence. (Fabulous effort to all and I applaude loudly at this generous effort by those who have taken it up. Thankyou for the material that has become available!) In browsing through the various photographs I became intrigued by pictures from the first world war, and in particular those relating to the Anzacs and their part in the Gallipoli campaign. Here's where the lesson kicks in.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, Gallipoli in Turkey was the scene of a major catastrophe that resulted in a huge loss of life, for all participants on both sides of the divide during the first world war. For Australians and New Zealanders in particular it has reshaped our nations and united us with a bond that remains so strong it has never left us. Anzac is an acronym touted during the war that stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The word came to have such significance attached, and to represent such heroism that during the first world war when it was touted, the acronym was officially dropped and the word Anzac, was granted status as a word in its own right. On April 25th 1915, Great Britain and her troops from colonial India, Australia, New Zealand and her ally in France, attacked the Turkish coast first on the beaches of what is known to us as Anzac Cove and then around the rest of that headland. The next few months saw the cream of the nations men die in a futile attempt to take possession of a strip of land that would result in the deaths of thousands of men from both sides and that they would then withdraw from a few months later, resulting in a victory to the Ottoman empire. Almost 500,00 men from both sides lost their lives in a 9 month campaign.
It changed our nation.
Australians entered the war having implicit faith in the dominance of the British Empire, proud to be a part of that empire. We came out the other side, a nation altered, forged by war, really united together as Australians, for the first time. It has helped to shape our identity and it remains strong to this day.
Anzac day is a traditional holiday here. Thousands attend dawn services and line the streets to watch the marches of our veterans. The number of original Anzacs has dwindled with the passage of time to a few old men, but the places of those others who have passed away is held by their sons and grandsons who march for them, maintaining their place in the ranks of men. It is a touching sight. My own son has marched holding a placard inscribed with the name of a man who no longer lives or has any family to maintain his own place. In this way these men, and the sacrifices they made, are never forgotten.
And so the lesson ends.
I have wanted to do a piece representing the Anzacs for some time. It has been quietly smoldering away in the background, insisting on being heard as these things are sometimes want to do, but how to achieve that?
And then along came Fragments, Vestiges and Remains, my book in the Pulp Redux collaboration.
An opportunity to represent some small fragment of this time, these men and the reshaping of a nation.
And so, to the piece...

I cannot show you the before pictures or how the piece developed and was put together. I would like to, but was so caught up in it's creation that I forgot to take any photographs!

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I can tell you that the background was constructed using gesso, acrylic paint washes, metallic waxes and walnut ink. I quite liked the patina it produces, it just took ages to dry!

The left side of the page is dominated by a map of the Dardanelles campaign. A reproduction curtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

While researching the campaign, I came across the papers of Pte. Francis William Edwards. Pte. Edwards joined the Australian Lighthorse in 1914 at the tender age of 22. After training, young Francis shipped out with his comrades to Egypt then onto Gallipoli. He lost his life there in May 1915.

Under the map, a glimpse of a life lived.

The piece is representational of the lives of the men who fought in this campaign.

I have constructed a niche in the book pages and gathered some possessions to represent the life of a soldier.
What remains of his belongings, and a life lived.

Included here are copies of some of the papers of Pte. Edwards, pictures of some of the Anzacs, and some items which would have been typical of a mans belongings at this time. I could not however in my research find any photograph of Pte. Edwards himself. ( Many thanks to Australian War Memorial for their photographs which are reproduced here under a commons licence).

I have also reproduced a diary and included excerpts from diaries kept by some of the original Anzac soldiers. Just a few that pertain to the events portrayed here.

The page as it looks under the map.

A reminder of those lives lost on the opposite page.

This page contains a dedication to those men who died in this campaign.

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A series of doors and windows.

A closer view...

The words spoken so eloquently then, resound just as poignantly today.

The words are not my own but reproduced from a newspaper article of the time in 1917 (I think!!!). I don't have the original paper it came from. With the rise of the popularity of the term Anzac came a profusion of businesses trying to trade in on the sentiments of the nation. Anyone and everyone tried to cash in, until eventually the government of the times stepped in and prevented anyone from using the word without licence to do so. Hence the loss of the acronym and the infusion of the word Anzac into our national heritage.

And then there's the ode...

The ode is recited at every official Anzac day memorial service held today.

Opposite the ode, a fragment of a letter, chosen to represent those thousands of letters sent from home to the boys at the front.

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And then...

The remains of our flag, tattered and torn...

representing the vestiges of the nations beliefs...

reborn and reshaped...

into something far stronger.

And a picture is chosen...

of a young soldier...

to represent thousands of others, long since gone.

I could not resist this boys eyes in the photograph.
An unknown Australian soldier.
He too lost his life. He could be Francis.

At least he can be, here.

(Picture courtesy of the Australian War Memorial and reproduced here under a commons licence).

And so the end of a very long post. Hope you weren't bored.

So now the book will be winging its way accross oceans to Alicia and the then the rest of the girls, with a little suprise inside! I can't wait to see what they all do in the book. Of course their input will be completely different as I have not set any topic for this book but want it to reflect each artists individual take on the theme. I have reserved the last section of the book for something else by myself but you will have to wait for those fragments until it wings its way back home again at a later date.
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Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm Under The Covers- A Pulp Redux Update

So hello dear bloggers. I can assure all those worried folk out there who are wondering if I have fallen off the planet that I have managed to claw my way back again! Truthfully I found heavier boots work well at keeping ones feet well attached to terra firma, LOL!

Ah but really I have been up to my, err, derrier (is that how one spells this word??? let me know) in fabric!

The studio, I should say new and previously clean studio, is covered in bits, the cat plays non stop and is well disguised as a mop, in fact if I thought about it I should drag some string around the house and he would chase it and mop the floors all in one go! Exercise and clean floors... something to ponder at another time perhaps!
I digress!

I have however been extraordinarily busy trying to get my book for the Pulp Redux collaboration finalised and posted away to Alicia before the poor girl has a fit and thinks I have forgetten her. Never fear, that wouldn't happen!

And so, lets take a peek at the progress so far...

Five darling cherubs, one for each artist!

Inside the cover a pillow of fragments. Little threads kept from projects over time and brought together to form a pillow. On the pillow some sage advice from the bible. (Hard to beat for sage advice really!)

(You know the drill, click for details if you need a closer view).

Nothing be lost!!! OMG! After moving house and trying to find everything in the new house and studio, I'm not sure I can even find the cat anymore!

Onto the opposite page.
(The cat will eventually miaow when he gets hungry!)

The wee cherubs.
Underneath I have constructed a chatelaine.
A what??? I hear you say!
A chatelaine.

In previous times a chatelaine was a series of chains attached to a womans belt to hold the household keys.

This chatelaine is for the contributing artists.
I thought it would be nice if it held a token item, one from each artist. I have attached a key and a washer inprinted with the word friendship. The items represent the friendship formed over the making of our books and our collaboration together.

But wait there's more...

The right hand page opens out to reveal a hidden page.

Inside are 5 small handmade books. One for each of the artists.

I thought it would be nice to give each contributing artist a place to talk about their contribution. Here we can discuss our artwork, talk about the ideas and the formation of our contributions, or ourselves and include a wee picture of ourselves if we like and have a place to sign our work. Many of us work with surfaces not conjucive to signing and this offers a place to enable that.

Each little book is constructed by hand and has an outer cover made from suede and has watercolour paper pages which have been stitched together by hand. Each little book measures only 8 x 5 cm.

Here's a closer look at one of the minibooks.

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Here's the book free of it's confines.

Then bound within the page.

The light is a little weird it was very early in the morning so sue me!

The colour of the book is actually somwhere between the two pictures, but you get the idea.

And then on the opposite page there's these little ones.

The five chicks...

Like us, five chicks singing their song...

5 artists hoping to be heard.

And so the inside cover work is complete.

Time to move on to the actual piece for the book,

But more on that later.

It will involve a short history lesson...

or two.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

So Where Do You Live?

As many of you know I have recently moved house. Although I have only moved locally the move has been hectic, (is there a move that isn't!!!), and I am a little exhausted. We have a house full of relatives visiting from all over the Australia and the rest of the world and it's a hectic time in the lives of various family members at the present. One of the nieces has turned 21 and rather than everyone visiting the family in Sydney to celebrate, the family has taken the opportunity to have the celebrations here in Noosa as we often do. Everyone loves this part of the world and once again the family has come from all over the world to gather here as the place of choice.This has left me thinking about where we live and how lucky we are, and how beautiful this place I choose to live in is. The family was not born locally, we are from many other places, but now we all think of this area as home more than any other. This is the place we all choose to gather for the significant events in our lives, both past and present. With all these things happening I thought it was time to share a little of it with you all. Tune out now if you don't want to see a gratuitous commercial for my neck of the woods!

Welcome to Noosa, Queensland Australia!

Average temperature around 29-32degrees C in the summer months.
Summer lasts about 6 months of the year.

It's subtropical!

Noosa enjoys loads of sun, a little light tropical rain now and then, (read that as tropical storms, LOL) and day after day of glorious sunshine!
Winter is sorta non existant! (Average winter top temperature 20degrees C and low of around 10degrees C, as I said non existant!)

The heads and inlet from the Pacific Ocean to the Noosa River.

It sits on one of the worlds best strips of sandy beaches at the top end of what is known as the Sunshine Coast.
A section of sandy beaches stretching for over 100 kilometres with vast areas of undeveloped beaches and natural bush. It is famous for it's sunshine, beaches, everglades, salt water lake sysytems national parks and nature walks. This strip encompasses a number of small towns of which Noosa sits at the northern tip.

The local tourist beach in Noosa.

The salt water lakes.

The national park here in Noosa where you can walk to one of the best surf beaches in Oz!

Fancy some more?
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The river area at sunset.

Fancy a walk along the local surf beach?

One of the locals has been fishing again!

One of these guys lives literally around the corner from my home!

So there you have it! A small glimpse of my home here!
Hope you enjoyed this plug for tourism Oz style, LOL!

We'll get back to your regular viewing channel soon, I promise!

As soon as the family leave and I finish unpacking!!!
(Read this as a week or so...)
Now where's that drinky gone???

In the meantime...

Fancy a walk with me along the beach?

Lifes too good, hope you're enjoying yours!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Check Your Pulse!

Have you checked your Pulse lately?

No, not that one, The Pulse!
The fabulous Seth Apter of The Altered Page is once again taking everyone's art pulse, gathering information of interest to we arty types!

Have you checked it out because you soooo should.
If you do nothing for yourself you should really get involved with this, but I'm sure you know all about it anyway.

Several times a year Seth gathers info on what's happening in the world of online art, artists and mixed media, compiles and sends forth a wonderful gathering of information about, well... all sorts of stuff of interest to the art community. Its happening again but this time something a little different is underway...

Check your Pulse...

Its a Secret, shhhh!

This time Seth has a wee secret to share!

On a Sunday!

Sunday November 22nd to be precise!

Seth has sent out a call.
Beginning Sunday 22nd November a series of weekly posts about...

secret art business, LOL!

If you want to know more, and I know you do, pop over to Seth's blog post and find out!
You won't regret it and you will be glad you did!

I'm soooo excited, I love secrets...

but the suspense nearly kills me, LOL!

It's no secret, check your Pulse now!
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Thursday, November 5, 2009


Admit it!

We all have them.


Oh yes you do! Those things you just love and have to have but are usually completely impractical. Oh we all justify them, sometimes well too, but really could you live without them, yes but why would you!

I thought I'd show you one of mine.

I love old photographs! I know many of you do too. How often do we pull them out to use as grist in the makings of our art? Quite often these days I think if you look around. I love faces and people. Portraits particularly but I will opt for landscapes and still life as well if the other isn't around. Portraits painted or snapped on film, I'm not fussy, I love them all.

Usually I like to guess at the people in them. Who were they? What are they thinking? What were their lives like? What is their relationship to the others in the picture? I like to make up lives and stories for them.

Recently I came across this little beauty and thought I'd share some of it with you all. It is an old antique Victorian album containing lots of photographs, mostly from around the late 1800's and early 1900's. It is not small as it measures approximately 12"x 9" and is about 2.5" wide. When I saw it I fell for it's charm and the obsession bug kicked in. You know the one that screams mine, mine, mine at you and refuses to let you leave the store without it! Oh, I argued with myself about the price, haggling internally, poo pooed at it and spun tales of how it will feed my artistic inspiration for decades to come etc; but in truth I must admit that it is really just that this is my own personal obsession. I purchased it and took it home and have gazed adoringly at it almost everyday since. LOL! From its covers wonderful textures to the gilt on each and every page to the gaze of those who inhabit the pages, I am lost...

The front cover...

Embossed leather, it feels wonderful. If you're a texture peep it will draw you in right here.

The spine, yumm!

and without even opening a page, I was in love with the back cover...

The most amazing cutting and embossing ever! It feels wonderful!!!

(Told you all I was obsessed, LOL!)

So I suppose I should give you a glimpse at the lives inside the covers too!

Isn't she wonderful!

Don't you love the artwork on the pages and the foxing!

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Does it make you wonder who they were too?

No hands touching there, I wonder why?

Another gorgeous decorative page...

and then there's the girls...

I love that one of them is sort of peeping away candidly at the camera from the side.

What was she thinking?

And then there's these lovelies.

Lots more of course but I don't want to bore you all completely.

Think I'll just close it up now or I will be here dreaming all day!

What obsessions do you have?
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