Monday, April 27, 2015

Poems, Prayers and Promises

I'm sitting in my studio listening to Carole King records - I found two of her albums at Savers last Saturday. Heaven. I bought a new heater for this rapidly impending cooler weather, and for the first time ever I have a studio that feels pretty cosy. I just got back from the printers, where I was picking up my limited edition artist books that I was commissioned to make for the National Gallery of Victoria Art Book Fair this coming weekend. More on this later!

Last week was really busy and overwhelmingly stressful. I had deadlines for not one but two books - the afformentioned artist book and of course the book I am publishing with Hardie Grant - due to come out in September. I spent time with my book designer and editor working on the final layouts, and it was pretty intense. I've been making a bunch of small changes and tying up some loose ends and finally, it all seems to be coming together. I wrote the 'Thank you' pages over the weekend. Crazy. At the same time I was putting the finishing touches on 'Poems, Prayers and Promises' - the artist book for the NGV. The hardest thing, I found, was calling printers and organising logistics for getting this thing printed. That's always the way. Making the work was really enjoyable. The artist book is a combination of new painterly collages and poems. It's really fun and feels really special to me.

Both of these things coming to an end is strange as I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. This light is perhaps a little bit scary, even. I am so used to having one task immediately follow another with no breathing space. Knowing that it's a possibility I might get some soon - in the next month or so - is terrifying for some reason. But I think it will be valuable.

As I had hardly allowed for any leisure time over the past two weeks, this weekend I did relax a bit. My boyfriend came back from being away for work for two weeks, so I hung out with him and other friends. We went out for drinks on Friday night which was great fun, and the next day we went to a record store and browsed for ages before I had to do a bit of work in the afternoon. Saturday night we went to a Triple RRR wine party on High Street. The best part was the taxi ride there where the lovely taxi driver (RARE) let us put on music and we drove (carefully) through the then pounding rain. It's getting so wintery already, and I'm unprepared. My feet were soaked in my little ballet shoes, but it was relatively cosy inside with red wine and exceptional company.

Plans for this week include lots of things. Wednesday night an exhibition opening at Bus Projects in Collingwood that I've written some text for - more information here and Friday night is the opening of the Art Book Fair I mentioned earlier at the NGV. I was really stoked to have been commissioned to make one of only five artist books, and in flipping through the end product right now I am really proud of what I have produced and can't wait to show people. I've invited my Mum and Dad and a few friends to the opening event on Friday night and I think it will be lots of fun. I haven't decided on what to wear though - I know. Anyway, there are only 100 copies of the book, and all of them have been hand numbered by me. It's a special item. I'm not 100% sure on the sale price yet, but I am hoping to find out tomorrow and will update this post with the information. The books will be for sale at the NGV International on St Kilda Road this coming weekend, the 2nd and 3rd of May, as well as the opening event on Friday night which is ticketed. On Saturday the 2nd, I am doing a book signing in the afternoon! It's going to be lots of fun. It's from 3.30pm - 4.00pm. More information here. I would love to see some of you there!

Tomorrow I have another day in the studio which I'm looking very much forward to. I love uninterrupted days here hunched over my desk. The only problem is that I've eaten all my Easter eggs :(

Here are some pictures starting from whenever I last blogged here:

Beautiful work at RMIT First Site Gallery by Lizzi Morris and Kaitlin Hickey! 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Feather canyons everywhere

I've just come back from the most brilliant weekend away with my boyfriend and another beautiful friend. We went up to Mount Buller which is an alpine village east of Melbourne. We stayed in a little cosy apartment with very thorough heating and a comfortable corner couch with mountains of cushions not unlike the mountains that surrounded our warm little sphere. We arrived on Saturday evening and went for a brief foggy stroll before settling in to eat dinner (I cooked something, guys! A zucchini, ricotta and halloumi tart!) and to drink some pinot. We got very comfortable and laughed ridiculously and I was ridiculously relaxed - more relaxed than I've been in like potentially months to a year eeep.

On Sunday we slept late and went for a bush walk to the summit of the mountain. It was - for lack of a less meaningless word - breathtaking. In two ways - one because I was puffed out from walking up hills in altitude and two because it was so overwhelmingly beautiful. And clear, quite and still. And I was with two inexplicably bright, exciting people who are exceptional company. The last part of the walk was the best, it was much less busy and the views more expansive. I loved looking at the little native wildflowers and keeping my eyes peeled for wombat or echidnas (We were disappointed we didn't see any!) Despite that, it was just brilliant. I really had such a refreshing time.

That afternoon we relaxed and read and wrote and generally had some quite time. Towards the evening we put on a couple of episodes of The Jinx which is mind-blowing - subsequently addictive and equally disturbing. Then we roused ourselves enough to cook dinner together and pour a couple more glasses of the exceptional wine we invested in for the weekend. That night, we played a board game called Settlers of Catan, which, okay - looks pretty daggy. But it's so so addictive and is actually really fun! I lost - and was very disappointed given my relatively competitive side - however I have some strategies up my sleeve for the next time we play...

We reluctantly left for home this morning and on the way back stopped off at Tarrawarra Museum of Art to look at the exhibitions there and to break up the trip a bit. Now I'm sitting on my bed surrounded by a ridiculous amount of Easter eggs that I don't even feel like eating (?!) because I think I overindulged over the weekend. That's what long weekends are for, though, right? And I've never spent one in that way before. I feel so happy and relaxed and at ease right now, I'm hoping the feeling will last when I start back at work and in the real world tomorrow. While we only went away for two nights, I just feel amazing after having that brief distance from rushed everyday life and deadlines.

Before I went away we had a family dinner at my Nanna's place on Good Friday. Everyone was there, and I set up an easter egg hunt for my two little cousins. The excitement was palpable! My two little cousins also decorated the table so well, with name cards, easter egg necklaces and little quotes they'd looked up on the internet. Very cute. Before THAT, I had a busy week - but now that I'm in holiday mode I can't even remember what I did... so here are some pictures pre-Easter to post-Easter!