Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Website title for Botaniko

Have a little look at this website title I created:  Botaniko

I am very happy with the result.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

2016 Studio Workshop One

2016 studio classes have started and we are in full swing for the coming year.
First up was this lovely Capitalis Rustica.

Each class is a one-day stand alone workshop and participants enrol in the workshop of their choice. With a maximum of six students here in my studio the class is always enjoyable as the students (and tutor) form close bonds and learn heaps!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Sturt Summer School ... out and about

A sampler of student & my work from the 

Italian Hand & Ampersands of Bennardino Cataneo

Sturt Summer School

Mittagong NSW, Australia











 Class demonstrations

Table view

 ... too lovely not to show ...

An old stairway

  ... to show the way ...

Cataneo ligatures demonstration

Class demonstration

 My "island" Cataneo theme for the week. I am using "island" as my 2016 yearlong project theme in a collaborative group.

Thea - Printmaking class (Basil Hall)

Blocks - Printmaking Class

Shibori - Mahdi Chandler's class

Shibori - Mahdi Chandler's class


Frensham - the north-wing grounds.


The final evening "red" party. David, Alison & Basil.

What goes on at the summer school, stays at the summer school. And just as well judging by this photo that I took and I can't remember a thing about it. ;-)

 The start of the "red" evening. Drinks by the 200 year old tree.

 The oportunity doesn't come along very often so, whilst in the southern highlands I took some time out to visit my fathers grave in the Marist Brothers' Diamond Fields Road cemetery. An extraordinary & beautiful resting place.

 My father would have loved this grave stone.  A roughly hewn stone I designed for him.

 Such interesting patina on the old headstones. Celtic crosses, my favourites.

 I do hope I get the opportunity to teach here again.

T H E   E N D

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Weathergrams, walks and wonders ...

My last post to you was just under one month ago.  What a time it has been.  Work has taken a good part of my time with a major commission for the Australian Catholic University that saw me working pretty much right up to leaving the Island for mainland Australia.  As Christmas drew closer and closer I will admit that I was feeling more and more guilty that I had not prepared our usual new year greeting card.  Why is it we feel guilty that we haven't done something just because we have been under pressure to do something else?  It is not that sending the cards to friends & family isn't important, it is. They just didn't get done.  Perhaps I have made a rod for my on back by creating a hand designed card for the past thirty something years, having it printed, writing the inserts as well as calligraphic envelopes.  2015/2016 not a one was sent and the upshot of it is   g  u  i  l  t .

Strange phenomenon guilt.

Notwithstanding, I/we (David & I) actually do wish all my friends & family a sparkling 2016.  After all I do love being surrounded by sparkling, happy & positive thinking people.

Before we left for Canberra David & I had a little weathergram hanging ceremony. In the last rhododendron tree to flower each summer we hang weathergrams with the names of those we love who have died. David can be seen here hanging those of both his mother Dorothy & his father Arthur.

 ... and because I hadn't done it before, I hung my fathers, Bill Walsh.

 Prepping for summer school before leaving Tasmania was all consuming ... happily but edged with guilt.

My yearly Brause pen & nib resuscitation process.

An ampersand booklet ... an idea for a student project. 

Book marks and folders ... so the students do not forget their names!

Farewell Tasmania for now ...

On the tram at Gundagai!

Christmas was lovely with very special times spent with both our families, often together. None is more special than that one spent with the young and the very precious amongst us.

Sometimes it's the simple wooden toys that work well.

Or, a bike from Aunty Amy and Uncle Nick nick nick ...

... and there is a helmut to go with that ...

... and father & daughter Laura got in on the act ... 

 Christmas was lovely!


Spending time in Canberra and treating David to four days of birthday celebrations at the Hyatt was a very very special treat. One of our favourite activities was walking out the front of the hotel and along Commonwealth Avenue to do the "bridge to bridge". It was both exhilarating and frightening. I took this photo of the National Museum of Australia from the middle of Commonwealth Avenue Bridge on a glorious morning at seven a.m.

Then it was off to the National Gallery of Australia. A regular Canberra habit.

One of my favourite Australian artists, Bob Dickerson.

 The iconic Nolan: Ned Kelly series.

Then it was on to:

Personal favourites were Roberts' European paintings:

 Lake Como, Italy

And his expression of Australian life, real & hard living on and off the land.

Bailed Up! 1885

An early Coogee Beach (1888), where I grew up and learnt to swim.

I have seen it time and time again and never fail to marvel at this amazing painting: the opening of Parliament in Melbourne by the Duke of York. Every face is discernible - two hundred & fifty odd real portraits.

Poppies & ...

... still life with pomegranates 1883 ...

... and Ulverston Tasmania. Where my granddad Reggie MacLaren was born & raised just about this time period. 

How fortunate I feel. More for them Summer school soon!

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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