Friday, July 31, 2015

The Blue Books of Love

The conference program has been full to overflowing what with tutorials, class times, presentations and evening socials .... not to forget the party goers continuing long into the evenings. Who me?

The Blue Books of Love in the Passionate Pen Faculty Exhibition.

 In the cabinet.

You don't see this too often but I am thrilled to bits!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Golden Moment

I am grateful for and I thank all the kindhearted people who have helped make this trip from here to there and back again the wonderful adventure that it has become.  Yesterday after Elena Caruthers picked me up from San Francisco airport after a ten hour flight from London she asked if I would like to go for a walk ... there is nothing like stretching the legs ... across the Golden Gate Bridge and back. Wow what a treat. A walk so special that I could hardly contain my excitement as I hung over the edge, took photos and often stopping to simply enjoy the view.  I didn't care that the weather was not quite ideal but I felt the fog and the grey skies enhanced the journey. What do you think?

Iconic - the Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco

25th Anniversary plaque

I never forget to look down - as you may have already noticed!

Or up! The light whispy white in the sky is fog. In the summertime the fog drifts in, out and by most days. A strange phenomenon.

Lime Point Station

Fog on the hills in the background.

I am sure these rocks have names.

And there is no escaping it, I had to take this photo of Alcatraz!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ditchling 2015

One of the most wonderful things about a trip to Ditchling is to see original works by the artisans who lived and worked as a community in this south-east English village in the early 20th century. Also I like to go there to pay my respects to those who went before us.  Not only calligraphers and letter designers and carvers but print-makers, letterpress craftsmen, weavers and designers of all traditions. We learn something from them all.

One work stood out most of all for me on this day. The painting David Jones created for Petra Gill (daughter of Eric Gill) to whom he was engaged. The engagement was short-lived and they didn't marry but this painting though iconic is full of love, you can see it in the work. The Madonna & Child. It is not often you see the Madonna kissing her child and completely embracing him in her arms as lovingly as this.

Beautiful isn't it ... and what is interesting is my reaction to both this painting and the marble sculpture in the Waterperry Chapel yesterday, another mother and child.

Even the lawn rollers were not safe from the carver's chisel. "Come all you false young men do not leave me here to complain." from a song called the Seeds of Thyme. The next line is: for the grass that has been often times been trampled under foot.

How perfectly apt.

Edward Johnston 1872 - 1944 & Greta Johnston 1872 - 1936

It is easy to remember Johnston's birth and death date because he died aged 72, born in 1872 so death date must be 1944.  I know a lot of trivia but it works for me.

This is their foot-stone and it is engraved EJ + GJ

 A must see on every maker's list of places to visit!

This roll of text by Ewan Clayton offering grateful thanks to supporters of the Museum, greeted Tina and I on our entry.

Ewan Clayton (detail)


... is housed in a place called ...

The Barn where you will find original works by Edward Johnston, Thomas Ingmire, John Nash, John Woodcock, Patricia Gidney and Gerald Fleuss (and more).   Gerry very kindly showed my host Tina Warren, and I through The Barn and some of the special works held there. This was a lovely surprise I wasn't expecting. 

 Thank you both!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

... the 9.34 from Marylebone ...

First day of the weekend:

I have always been curious about the high profile UK gathering of creative people at Art in Action UK. It is held each year at Waterperry House, Waterperry, near Wheatley, Oxford.  As I was in London at the time the event was on I juggled my diary a little and worked out the walk/bus/train/bus/courtesy car route.  I left the Ridgemount at 8.30 am, walked to the bustop and took the #18 bus along Euston Road to Marylebone (pronounced Marleybone) Station and took the 9.34am to Haddenham (pronounced Had'nam) Thame Park, then taking the #280 Arriva bus to the Kings Arms (as you do) near Wheatley and waited for the courtesy car. It came in due course arriving at Art in Action approximately 11am. No bad. Costing for the day:

Return train ticket:                                23.60 GBP
Return bus ticket:                                   5.70
Entrance to Art in Action                     17.00
Lunch, slice of quiche & salad             10.75
Bus from home to station                       5.00

62.05 GB pounds = $131.28 one day for an art/craft fair? For an artist, I struggled a little especially converting to AUD.  Travel is expensive here and so too is food. It cost me 18.00 British Pounds entry into St Paul's the other day just to see the carvings and yet other places free entry with donation is acceptable. So I climbed the Dome to make up for it.

I am glad I went to satisfy my curiosity.  I was delighted to see and support the calligraphers, the print-makers, the textile art, the sculptures, the beautiful gardens but the joy for me was a little family chapel where I saw and touched the carvings. Touching was to feel the depth of the incision.

Here are some of my photos from today, do enjoy them:

I do love trains!

I find this a little odd and also a little discriminatory; if you haven't demonstrated before you are placed in the newcomers tent.  Of course I was expecting all the calligraphers to be together. Anyway I found them all!

How wonderful to see a big sign Calligraphy & Illustration, marvellous!

Helen Scholes. It was so lovely to meet Helen in person. We have emailed for so long it was just like meeting an old school friend. We had a lovely lunch and talked so much I almost made her late getting back to work.  Helen is one of the convenors for the CLAS Festival of Calligraphy for which I am teaching in Malvern UK next month. Brava Helen!

 There were at least a half dozen script artists at work.

Simon Sonsino.
I also met Simon for the first time as well even though we have been in contact for a while.  I had written a forward to his new publication Textual Art.


I was so taken with this work; the artist prepared the ground and invited the public to make their mark by writing something of their choosing. I would have liked to have stayed longer to see how the painting evolved but I couldn't. I may yet find out.

The Peace Obelisk in the gardens of Waterperry House
carved by Simon Buchanan

Waterperry House is owned by the School of Economic Science and Art in Action was conceived by some of it's students.

Scattered around the gardens were Life Journey banners. I particularly like these two.

The little parish church that lured me in ... I must say I am attracted to doorways.  
"When you walk through a doorway, watch out, for a new world may appear"

This sculpture and it's inscription moved me so much.

 The long "s"

A carved plaque high up on the church wall. This one confused me as I didn't know the quote, but I do now.

It is from Chauser's Canterbury Tales
The Parson 

"But Christ's own law, and His apostles' twelve
He taught but first he followed it himselve."

It is worth looking it up and reading the whole thing.

That was my Art in Action Day!

Next up


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hmmmm London

 Guess where ...

Summer Exhibition 2015 at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. That staircase!

F U N K Y   E H?

Nearly killed my sense of balance!

I met my sister-in-law Jacqui outside the RA and she treated me to the exhibition. Armed with the catalogue and pen in hand I explored room after room of some of the most amazing works annotating the booklet with my thoughts.  Looking back on all the images I took of the works I liked a pattern emerged.   I will pop a couple of my favourite paintings up too.

 Julie, Rob, Gem and others - tapestry by Grayson Perry. (detail below)

 If you are in London in the coming weeks and you want a fabulous show to attend, go to High Society, brilliant. Thank you Damian & Jacqui.

 And so the trip continues ... enjoy these:

 Cyril Croucher

 David Barrow


London ... so far

On Sunday morning before class I received news from David that Dorothy, his mother, had fallen, broken her hip and had a massive brain haemorrhage and was unconscious in Royal Hobart hospital. Subsequently Dorothy who had lived with us for the six months prior to going into care, died yesterday. Thankfully her time was short after such a horrid accident. I suggested while her last hours were ticking by that he play his cd's for her and when one finished the nurse said she struggled to indicate she wanted more. So she could hear. Slipping away to the dulcit tones of David's oboe was all we could offer her.


I arrived in London after a smooth, picturesque and relatively short train trip from Cambridge. I am getting used to carting two+ months of clothes, my tools and student material around with me. Here in the back of the London cab.


The Ridgemount Hotel is just perfect for someone like me who is looking for central London accommodation, not too expensive and convenient to every place I am visiting. Thanks for the tip Carl Rohrs!

The garden view and beyond from my bedroom. I say bedroom as the room is as wide as the bed is long and it is also as deep as the bed is long. Thank goodness I am a slim little lass, ha!  Housed behind a narrow door is the tiniest bathroom I have ever seen or used but it is as clean as a whistle.

As you can see the breakfast is more than adequate and I have fallen into the habit of having breakfast, a cappuccino out and about and dinner at the Marlborough Arms around the corner.

My first visit was to the British Library. Manuscripts galore including the Lindisfarne Gospels, St Cuthberts & the Beford Hours. Some of my favourites. This is the King's Library but it beats me hoe they read the spines to choose the books. 

I was astounded at the price to get into St Paul's Cathedral - eighteen pounds - and sadly no photographs were allowed ... at all. What I photograph (without flash) are inscriptions usually on the floor but this too was forbidden.

So to get my money's worth I walked up to the Whispering Gallery and then up to the top of the Dome ... it nearly killed my but it was an amazing experience.

These high Corinthian capitals and arches were magnificent though I had to crouch down and hang my arm through a grate to take this photo.

My day could not have been more pleasant after visiting friend, gentleman and Heraldic Artist Tim Noad at the College of Arms in Queen Victoria Street. How privileged I am.

Visit my website too!

Visit my website too!
In-class illumination demonstration

Something about Gemma

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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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