Showing posts from 2020

Flowers and the Dickerson

       Two of my absolute favourite things ...  
          Hamish & Madison Canberra 25th December 2020     Such beautiful moments, happy children. Mind you, they are happy most of the time. I miss them.  

Christmas 2020

              Wishing you many happy moments over the festive weeks.   The kindest gift you can give someone is time.

Not quite there yet.

      the spirit of twenty twenty   I have just finished prepping for tonight's class that starts at 9pm my time. As the workshop series is run out of Ardington in the UK it is their 10am Monday morning. Ardington is a sweet little English village with a pub, an old schoolhouse and a few scattered homes with gorgeous country gardens, hanging baskets and idle lanes. Truly beautiful, I know I have been there. Staying in a village nearby Lipscombe Regis, we, Pam and I traveled to Ardington to this wonderful old schoolhouse to teach. Was that 2017? Welcomed by scones & chocolate biscuits and some wonderful English characters we settled into exploring the art deco movement in lettering. It's not what I am doing now though. I am on and adventure with the German script artist Hermann Kilian. Presently I am finishing off my final class for the Ardington Academy with whom I have been teaching since May pretty well non-stop. Perfect from this distance in the middle of a pandemic. Int

Winding down ...

    With one more class to go for 2020 I am starting to wind down a little from an amazing seven month teaching schedule that started up due to pandemic living. I could never have imagined my creative life would change so much and for the better. Life has changed on several fronts but mostly in my teaching, creating art, creative writing and writing articles etc. Most of all I am very happy and very fortunate. I know not everyone is feeling these emotions right now. I hope to address these issues soon here in my blog because I feel if I write it all here it will give me some perspective I think, even if no-one ever reads it, I'd still like to write.  For now though I am exhausted and tired after spending a few days answering emails as the classes start to finish one by one.  I am looking forward to a quieter December writing a new program for Acorn Arts and brushing up the existing one Foundational Hand. I will also be working on technique classes for Calligraphy Italia. This will

Classes & workshops

  T U I T I O N Due to the ongoing world pandemic I will continue to teach my classes online for the forseable future. Please make expressions of interest with Harvest and/or Riccardo respectively. Acorn Arts and Calligraphy Italia This allows me a little more freedom to continue to explore my work, start some new artistic endeavours and some research projects. As always, thank you for your ongoing support.  

Workshop & Classes updates

  All international workshops and now Australian workshops have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic but ... zoom zoom zoom is a happening thing! P R I V A T E     L E S S O N S   Enquiries welcome! Gemma offers one-on-one, personal lessons to discerning students of calligraphy anywhere in the world. This guidance is specifically designed to help students further their existing lettering skills or for them to learn a completely new hand.   Gemma is not only a skilled calligrapher and artist, but also a highly respected tutor nationally and internationally. Gemma is now pleased to offer personal instruction designed specifically to the interest and level of the individual student. Full handouts are provided for each lesson.   This offer takes the form of four by one-hour lessons at one lesson per week. Once payment has been confirmed through PayPal Gemma will set up the best time for lessons according to various time zones around the world. Consultation regarding the

Calligraphy italia

I have finally jumped on the wagon and run a wonderful zoom class through Calligraphy Italia organised by Riccardo Ali.  By all accounts the folk enjoyed themselves as I did and here are my in-class demonstration pieces. The first class was the European Series Adolf Bernd and the second class Art Deco pen & pencil Lettering.  Enjoy! Japanese Saying Detail

The shell tree ...

Today was one of the most beautiful winter's day here in southern Tasmania. Just south of the Bay is the awesome Fossil Cove. David & I took advantage of the windless sunny morning to climb the depths of the rivulet crevice to the bottom thinking all the while what goes down must come up. Phew. It was a trek down, down, down but worth every sore muscle now we're home and relaxing.                                  The most beautiful surprise was the shell tree.  Wanting to do a little beach fossicking one is not allowed to take a single pebble, shell rock or flower away from the conservation area.  With the Cove coming into view as I walked the last leg of the track in, I wondered what the beautiful white flowers were growing down there at this time of year. "Shells" they were, yes shells. So David and I added our own shells to the trees. It was strangely a special treat. So we came out with nothing but sweet memories of the shell trees. Enjoy these photos

UTAS Module One: done and dusted.

The title of my first module in the UTAS Wellbeing Toolkit unit I am undertaking is called: Human Behaviour in Extreme Environments: stress, distress & resilience I found the module to be extremely interesting. I passed the quiz section and will now await the essay assessment. I thought in the meantime I would share with you a poem I wrote as one of the outcomes to this learning environment on this particular module. It's called When earth becomes sick . My next module is The History of Public Health: epidemics and social change . Can't wait!


A   N O T E   O F   T H A N K S I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to the Sidney Myer Fund & the Myer Foundation for administering a series of grants on behalf of the following Participating Philanthropists and Philanthropic Entities: Andrew Myer AM & Kerry Gardner AM Ann & Warwick Johnson Berwyn Roberts & Jennifer Mackenzie Carrillo Gantner AC and Ziyin Gantner Creative Partnerships Australia Darin Cooper Foundation Day Family Foundation Doc Ross Foundation FWH Foundation Inner North Community Foundation James and Diana Ramsay Foundation Kate and Stephen Shelmerdine Family Foundation Kathryn Fagg AO Kim Williams AM Lindisfarne Foundation Mandy and Edward Yencken & Family Mark and Louise Nelson Minderoo Foundation Nunn Dimos Foundation Robert Bishop Philanthropy Australia Sarah Myer and Baillieu Myer AC Sidney Myer Fund Simon Mordant AM and Catriona Mordant AM Spinifex Trust Tim Fairfax AC The Skrzynski Family Sky Foundation Vallejo Gantner Yulgilbar Founda

A happy day - debt repaid

How lovely to have made the final payment on our beautiful new townhouse. Now a few years of upping the Superannuation and we should be okay in retirement. Speaking of which, my plan is to continue as an artist messing about in the studio making & creating things.


INKWINGS WRITING ADVENTURE My friend from New Jersey Linda Lanza invited me to join her class to undertake a writing adventure. Linda started the course at the outbreak of the coronavirus in the USA to help friends navigate a path through the virus lockdowns. I would like to keep a record of what I wrote during those sessions. I will also jot down the a number of words that have been floating around during our sessions: ONE-LINERS pick one leaf not the whole forest what did the writing tell you we are still in the boat the dependable colours of old friends the nurturing that is love I see many things on the back of my eyelids hate bites, joy sings death divides, memory clings IDEAS swept away two words seen on a River Derwent walk in March 2020 WORDS caught nourishment, food, friends, mother, father, freedom, acceptance, love, peace, comfort, space, freedom, burn tear, dissolve, share, save, raw, write, spring, seeds, courag

Leave your mark

A wonderful video of my colleague Monica Dengo came across my desk this morning. I have thoroughly enjoyed this interview with our highly respected colleague Monica. The essence of her words are informative, intelligent and knowledgeable about the subject of handwriting, so primal to us all and how handwriting manifest itself so importantly to our creative existence.   This is the best interview I have seen that has resonated deeply within me. And that’s a great thing, what I need right now. Not, I think because we are in the mids of the covid-19 but rather because I am personally in the midst of change within myself. Those can be discussed at a later time as I'd love for you to grab a beverage of your choice, calligrapher or not as it pertains to us all and spent this half hour watching Monica talk about handwriting, materials, community, plastic, working with our hands and our her own art:  click here for artist Monica Dengo

How to make Origami Box

Here is a little video I created a couple of weeks ago just to test the quality of my filming ability, my video camera, clarity, accessibility and quality. I am also testing the new format of my blog. Right now there is plenty of time to simply mess about in the studio - thanks to COVID-19. Enjoy!

At Potters Field ...

A Potter's Field is known in historical terms as a place of burial for the poor and the unclaimed. Here is a potter's field in New York today. Hart Island, the Bronx.

Memory Markers, Perth Western Australia - redux

A few years ago I posted this fabulous sculpture here on my blog. I am very pleased to tell you that both the Artist Anne Neil and the Historian Barbara Dundas have given me more information regarding this amazing work. With their permission I share it with you now. I thank Barbara Dundas for initiating contact with me so I can share with you the true and historical meaning behind the work. And just to quote from Barbara: " The markers acknowledge the physical and social changes and less obvious, but equally important, the need for the written word to help support and preserve those oral traditions of the First Nation people."   This art work Nibs - Memory Markers was completed by Artist Anne Neil and her team Blackwell Landscape Architects and Historian Barbara Dundas in 2005. The artwork is comprised of 5 dipping pen nibs that stand 3.5m high with blue up-lights    To understand the art work one has to consider the competition brief from the Perth

Dishes & fishes

Just a follow up on the dishes & fishes. Here they are in all their glazed & fired glory. The fishes are pen rests just in case you didn't notice. Five of us gathered on International Women's Day for a celebration in clay. Thank you wonderful friend Carolyn Canty!

Today's brief message.

A brief message: Well that didn't go very well. I tried the Glover, I tried to sell a good work here but to no avail on either. Not to worry, we are well and that's the important thing. I am in the studio working and David is practicing for some small (three peeps) ensembles and interviews to be recorded by the TSO during the covid-19. Marvellous! Though here in Australia we do not have a total lockdown we, like so many others, are staying at home only to go out to the market and the pharmacy as short five minute walk for both. We check on our neighbours and we practice social distancing. I feel a bit more positive, more than I have over the past few days. Let's hope that continues. Covid-19 sucks!


Watercolour painting: 300gsm Arches cold press H 83cm x W 57cm Cost: $800 AUD I created this work as a response to the Australia bushfires earlier this year. The colours are of course more rich and sumptuous as appears here. The texture is almost tactile. If you are interested please contact me.

Tasmania closes borders

Tasmanian Mercury Newspaper 20th March 2020 This happened a few days ago but I would like to save this photo here so that a visual record will remain of this time. When I first saw this it actually shocked me, I think because it was a blatant "in-your-face" message which of course was what the public needed to hear. As I mentioned in my facebook post on this it jolted me to think "no room at the inn". Sad, needed and real. To be honest I am sick and tired of all the fun jokes and memes about the virus. I am normally not a doom and gloom person rather quite the opposite. And, I'd be one of the first people to raise the spirits of someone in trouble. I am bitterly annoyed though, at the the number of people particularly the young in Britain & Australia flouting the regulations to stay away and self-isolate. These are the very people who will either get sick or worst still carry the virus to their families and the elderly. Selfish selfish selfis

Cancellation of all classes.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic all of my international and Australian workshops have been cancelled. For me this will mean a loss of that arts practice and teaching income. I hope to be able to change tactics in a creative way to keep a small amount of money coming in. I just need a small amount and I'll be happier than I am feeling right now. I know many in the arts sector are feeling this right now. I'm working on it!

COVID-19 two weeks later

Well, it has been a whirlwind of a fortnight with the virus spiralling out of control with more cases diagnosed in Australia.  Two nights ago the Tasmanian Government took the step to close our island borders only allowing a short period of time to receive returning citizens and residents and those returnees have to self-isolate for fourteen days. I was to teach in Sydney today and tomorrow and as of Tuesday past I was still going, then all of a sudden the spiral began. By Thursday I had cancelled my workshop with notice from Jetstar that my flight had also been cancelled. The workshop has been rescheduled to November 21 & 22 and my flight credit will be available "if" airline is still in business. Australia's borders have now been closed isolating us from the rest of the world but is it too late? Only time will tell.  Many people here in Australia are flaunting the rules of "social distancing" of course in some cases spreading the virus further.  My

COVID-19 interesting times

I don't think there is anyone left in the world, perhaps with the exception of some refugees in war torn areas of the globe, who have not heard about the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. It is a new influenza with no vaccine at this stage. We are four months into the spread of this new virus and right now the world is indeed a wretched place. It is wholely up to each individual to keep themselves free of the virus to the best of their ability . through personal hygiene and cleanliness. The stories and visual images of cities emptied of people & traffic, closed businesses and schools, people working from home and so on are compelling. Hospitals are gearing up for one of the worst epidemics we have seen since 1918 with the Spanish Flu, which if I remember correctly had nothing to do with originating Spain. The WHO has not called it a pandemic yet. Many in government and health circles believe it is just a matter of time. It is not funny but oh how fickle and selfish peo