Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hello Macs

The Macs are coming tomorrow ... let's hope the transfers are smooth and we don't loose a beat ... bye for now.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Humble Bookmark

I loved joining in this bookmark collaborative/competition for the Buderim Craft Cottage. For such a humble object to create I had so much fun ... and a tiny frustration getting the books down to size to fit the width. But, I got there in the end.

I love books, reading and bookshelves so I took some shots of my own shelves and transferred one of the images to the paper. I have fallen in love with piercing (paper) so I chose an early Roman mosaic design at the time the codex was first created to pierce. The verso sees one of my many book quotes created using my favourite graphite tool the Rotring 0.35

This little labour of love managed to win 3rd prize. Yippee! Congrats to Susan Bradshaw for her 1st and to Anna Day for 2nd.  Well done to all the Highly Commendeds too!

The Materials

300gsm watercolour paper (not)
Image transfer & piercings
Graphite pencil Rotring 0.35
Linen thread & paper bead

Friday, May 11, 2012

Just finished ...

Kedumba, Godoomba, Katoomba!

Aboriginal for valley of falling waters!

Materials: gouache, pen, ink & pencil

The triptych

 I have just finished this triptych.
Materials: gesso, ink, brush, pen and pencil on canvas

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Historic Shipwrecks

Clearly the Minister Tony Burke was impressed!  These are the six Historic Shipwreck Declaration documents I prepared just before and after the Blue Mountains gig.  How wonderful to see the Federal Government supporting the arts as Tony Burke does. Such a shame the ANU School of Music isn't getting the the same!

The great gold size story …

The great gold size story …

I went to teach two workshops in the Blue Mountains recently. To save on carrying all my art supplies for the participants by air, I either send materials ahead and/or rely on purchasing goods at the local art suppliers.

This time I purchased a gold size from the local. A size I have been using for near on twenty-five years. It is a safe, easy and fool-proof size for easy gilding … everything sticks to it – real and imitation gold alike.

With a glance at the label, I picked the bottle off the shelf. I held it up and thought “this is very white”. Normally the product is a creamy colour but I though no more of it. Then came the class demonstration. Opened the bottle and the product did not smell at all like the gilding size I was used to and I immediately knew this is not the product the label says it is.

I am well experienced with handling gold, gold sizes and gilding both traditionally and modern. In fact, I am teaching a class in Portland Oregon for the OCAC in June specifically on gilding and I was to use this product as one of the sizes.
Surrounded by a gaggle of eager students awaiting the glitz & glam of gold I gave my reservations about the size and to prove what I knew to be true I demonstrated in my usual fashion all the way saying the gold will not stick. Of course the gold didn’t stick. Phew … step one over.

I came back to my home studio in Tassie via Canberra and ran some trials with my own bottles of the size and some bottles of friends.  I knew then, unquestionably, the labeling production had gone awry.  Wanting to get to the bottom of the problem a.s.a.p. and make amends with my students I wrote to, then spoke with, the General Manager of the manufacturing company and put my case. Obviously they wanted the bottle and as I had lots of photographic evidence, my gilding swatches & my student as witnesses I happily sent it off with some swatches for the manufacturer too.

The minute they got the bottle the General Manager said:

The package just arrived and even at first glance I can confirm it is PVA. The labels are old labels and we were able to identify when this might have occurred. We can only sincerely apologize. We will send you 3 replacement bottles today. Thank you for your understanding and best of luck for your upcoming workshops.

Kind Regards … etc. etc. etc.

And … they did a product recall … and I got three new bottles yesterday! I must say I could have done without the hassle but two things have come from this unwanted intrusion into my frenetic life – I am really proud of my students for believing in me and two, I am very very pleased with the company for their immediate attention to the problem. I feel sorry for anyone who has tried this product and found it didn’t work … thinking it might have been them.

Note Bene: a pva will allow real gold to adhere to it but this particular pva is very thin and did not work at all. It dries flat unlike most pva’s I use.

Visit my website too!

Visit my website too!
In-class illumination demonstration

Something about Gemma

My photo
Blackmans Bay, Tasmania, Australia
I am an Australian, a letter designer & calligrapher. I enjoy working with letters and grounds, teaching and mixing with like-minded people.


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