Up and down and round and round

I have had a bit of a rollercoaster two weeks, with good news and bad news. The high point was finding out that the print I’ve documented making on this blog has been selected by the Print Council of Australia (PCA) for its 2008 print commission. This is just great! The PCA exists to support printmaking and both established and emerging artists working in print media, and each year it commissions up to six artists to produce a limited edition print which is then distributed through a subscription scheme. I’m a member of the scheme myself, and by paying a bit more each year I can chose one print from the annual commision as well as receiving the usual member benefits. Imprint, the PCA’s magazine on print media, is really interesting and the prints I’ve chosen through the commission scheme have been brilliant. You’ll recall me writing several times about GW Bot, and although her work sells for vast sums of money (well out of my league!), through the PCA print commission I am now the proud owner of one of her prints. I am so pleased to have been chosen, and slightly stunned too. I really didn’t expect it, given that I arrived in Australia less than two years ago… Now all I have to do is to produce six perfect proofs and an edition of forty perfect prints!

Last weekend was great fun: I attended Glen Skien’s workshop on making boxes and books, at the Primrose Park Art & Craft Centre near Cremorne in the northern suburbs of Sydney. The building itself nestles in a wooded park, tucked down a steep and winding side road, and I was extremely glad that my friends knew where it was and were willing to take me there! I think the whole site used to be a sewage pumping station (and that the old stone building is the craft centre) and also a waste incinerator. It probably means that underneath the adjacent rugby/football/hockey pitches horrible contaminants are lurking, but it looks lovely.

I didn’t realise that it was so far away from any shops and that refreshments weren’t provided, but the lovely people who were on the course with me shared their food and were so kind. I had a great time and made new friends as well as running into a couple of old ones. How great, when I haven’t been in Australia that long, to find myself recognising people when I walk into a workshop!

Susan Baran gave me a cheery greeting as I walked in, and it was lovely to meet her again. She is one of the leading members of Warringah Printmakers, where I attended Seraphina Martin’s viscosity printmaking workshop last year. Susan was very helpful and gave me an impromptu introduction to solar plate etching, which I must make use of! Also at Primrose Park was Christina Cordero, whom I was thrilled to meet. She’s someone whose name I seem to have known for years and I love her prints. I was very sad not to have had enough time to visit her just-finished exhibition at the Australian Galleries works on paper gallery in Paddington, but I just didn’t get a chance this trip… Christina is a lovely person, very modest about her own work, and very encouraging.

The tutor, Glen Skien, is a printmaker and maker of artists books who lives in Brisbane. He’s another modest, self-effacing person, and you would be hard-pressed to get much information out of him about what he does! But he runs the Silent Parrot Press as a vehicle for his own work, and it’s beautiful. The object of the workshop was to show us all his method for tearing up and cutting out bits of prints – an ideal way to ‘use up’ duff prints or working prints that don’t make the grade! – and collaging them onto book boards and boxes. So to begin with we made the boards and the boxes, and it was great to be able to make a hardback book; it’s something I’ve read about but never attempted, and although the final binding is deficient in many ways I had great fun doing it and am inspired to do more…

It was lovely meeting all the people at the workshop, and I was particularly lucky to share a table with Sue Anderson who is a very talented and experienced bookbinder. I tried hard to find a good picture of one of her books up on the web but the only example I could find was this one, which with its cover of vellum and snakeskin, among other things, sounds fascinating and looks beautiful…

I stayed with friends in north Sydney, who were absolutely great, and had two wonderful nights’ sleep. All was well when I got home, but on Wednesday the roof fell in as Michael was suddenly taken ill. Hopefully he’ll be fine, but we’ve got a few tests to get through before we have a diagnosis and/or treatment and in the meantime I’ve fallen way behind with everything including my art…

3 thoughts on “Up and down and round and round

  1. Such very good news about the prints. It was interesting to follow you as you went through the process and then to discover such exciting things that happened when you were done. Happiness!! jan

  2. SaraI have been really interested in catching up with your recent struggles and activities with the making of your most recent printwork — which in the end looked really beautiful. Shame not to see it in the flesh because that’s part of the tactile nature involved in printmaking i.e., its appeal to the senses in a 3d format. blah blah blah……..wax lyrical..Your trip to the workshop on books and boxes sounded like such an enriching experience and I felt so pleased for you reading it — howeverthen there was this horrendous news concerning your partners illness.How are things now ? — I hope you are alright. Please do email me from my blog — if you are feeling low…anytime you are welcome.very best wishesAine

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