Friday, December 19, 2014

A little music...

Just a little something to listen to, to make up for not posting more map book pictures as I promised.  I will get to it, but the last few weeks have been very busy, emotionally and physically, with biggest munchkin graduating from primary school, getting ready for high school (she might be ready, but I'm definitely not!), school plays, school camps, last minute recording projects for my music course...and more!  I'm looking forward to the holidays.

Both of these songs were recorded at the Denmark campus of the Great Southern Institute of Technology.  I've had a wonderful year there, so will be back for more next year.

A poem written for the map book, which then became a little book, and then became a song.  Mythological inspiration of course.

And another one with mythological inspiration.  I found a book of short stories about Trickster characters in my local library.  In the introduction it warned that most cultures that have a Trickster in their folklore suggest the best way to avoid him (and occasionally her) causing chaos in your life, is to never, EVER draw his attention to yourself.  So I wrote a song about him!  This may well be the first happy sounding song I've ever written.  My awesome classmates provided my backing music...I just sang!

With a bit of luck, I will get some more map book pics up before Christmas.  But if not, please everyone have a safe and joyful holiday season.  I sincerely hope next year brings the world more joy than this year has of late.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Map Book #1 - Mapping more than just the road from point A to point B...

This will need to be the first of several posts.  There are too, too many photos for just one.  So today I will post the photos of each double page spread, so you can see the 'whole picture', how one page leads to another.  I'll save the details for another post (or 3!)

This was such a different experience for me.  Up in the city, I would drop off a painting to an art exhibition, then go along to the opening, rarely meeting anyone I actually knew.  Then after a week or two, I'd go and pick it up (or on rare and exciting occasions, receive a phone call to say it had sold), and that would be the end of it.

But this time?  At the opening there were people I have come to call friends here in this little town, I sang the 'A New Kind of Map' song (see previous post) with my lovely friend Linda on beautiful, beautiful cello, and got so many heartfelt comments from people throughout the whole 10 days the exhibition was open.  I even got comments from people I'd never met.  I was truly in danger of getting a swelled head, I think!  But such a wonderful, supportive, encouraging place to be, full of so many incredibly talented people.  I wouldn't go back to live in the city if you paid me!

The book itself is A3 size closed (297mm x 420mm).  The outside cover is canvas, painted in acrylics, and tea (yes, I probably did go overboard using the marvelous properties of tea in this book), sprinkled with salt to get the mottled effect (I'm in love with this effect, it looks like a tropical reef).  I must say a huge 'thank you' too, to Trace Willans at Soewnearth, because if I hadn't done the lovely bookmaking workshop with her at the beginning of this year, I wouldn't have had a clue how to bind this all together.  It wasn't a very professional looking effort, but it did the job, looked OK, and most important, held together over 10 days of being looked at by lots of people.

As for the interior, well, anything and everything I could get my hands on.  You'll see some familiar pieces, recycled bits of artwork, recycled ideas, recycled mistakes, even some very VERY old scraps recycled from my days as a graphic design student in Perth almost 30 years ago (which just goes to show, sometimes being a hoarder is a GOOD thing).  There are still more maps in my head that time would not let me finish (hence a couple of 'UNintentionally blank', or almost blank, pages), so perhaps I'll try to add those in future, to make it a more 'complete' version.  I don't think I'll say any more than that, or I'll end up over-explaining every page, and that would just get boring and annoying.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How life in a small country town turns out to be BUSY!

Yes...I know...It's been quite a while.  But I promise you, I haven't been lounging around in my PJs and ugg boots in front of the fire all winter (just some of it).  I've been BUSY!

Big things are happening.  Firstly, there's this...probably the biggest.

We have bought a small slice of paradise, two and a half acres to be exact, and are now in the midst of getting shed quotes, fencing (pulling out old and putting in new), water tank arrangements, and house designs, and all that goes with building from scratch on a blank canvas.  Not something we've done before, so it's all a bit scary.  But exciting.  At this stage, we're planning on a strawbale/mudbrick combination, but nothing is settled.  It's going to be a BIG couple of years.

Then there was more music as a student at Tech, more gigs, even some recording.  I even got to play a shiny black electric guitar and pretend to be a rock chick for about 5 minutes (though, sadly, I think those days are long past for me really!).  

And for the last few months, I have been busy making a book.  A book of maps, though not ordinary maps.  More maps of the mind, of the imagination, maps of thoughts.  As part of the 'Brave New Works' arts festival held here in Denmark every year, an exhibition titled 'Everything is a Map' was held, and so, silly me, I decided to create a book of maps.  I didn't realise quite how much it would take over my life, and for the last couple of weeks I've done not much other than live, breathe and (not) sleep maps.  Indeed, I didn't actually sleep at all the night before it had to be handed in, which was actually a week and a half AFTER the deadline, but thankfully, I was granted a special dispensation and allowed to let that pass by, and I scribbled the last few words on the last page before rushing into town to drop it off as the exhibition was being set up, to open the following day.  Yes, just a little tight! So tight in fact, that I didn't have time to take any photos.  So I have a few 'teaser' pics that I took of some of the first pages, but I promise to post photos of the whole book when the exhibition is over and the book comes home.  But, PHEW! what a job!

There were also walks along the glorious beach at Greens Pool, looking for maps in rock and sand and sea, as the sun sank down in the west, and where, it seems, 'X' may actually mark the spot.

As part of my music assessment, and as an extra submission for the map project, I recorded a song version of a poem I had written a few years ago.  My friend and fellow student played lovely cello.

And last but not least, as I remembered that today is Remembrance Day, I have posted a song I wrote about my own Granddad's experiences in the Great War, and my feelings when I visited the battlefields in Belgium where he fought.  It took me quite a few goes when I first recorded this, to get through it without having a bit of a blub, so it is very rough (I will try and record it again when I have time).  But I managed to sing it at a Spirit of Peace community event held in town last weekend, and my mum was in the audience to hear it.  And I didn't cry.  It's called 'Passchendaele.'

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lost swans and tiny twigglings

I got a bit bored last week, so I made a little book.  And a hat for a very small, new person, which is in the post as we speak...snail mail post, that is.

I've had maps on the brain for quite a while now, and as ideas lead to other ideas which often tend to send me down obscure little side tracks that really aren't going in the direction I thought I was heading in, I got thinking about the maps that exiles and wanderers might keep in their heads, of places they love but cannot return to, and who might these exiles be?  Well, perhaps we are all exiles in one respect, don't we all carry mud-maps in our heads with oh-so-familiar landmarks...of places that we cannot return to?  Like childhood.  The house we grew up in, our grandmother's backyard, the streets or patches of bush we haunted that either no longer exist, or we cannot go to.  And then I got to thinking about the exiles of myth and legend.  Like Suibhne the mad king.  Or the Children of Lir.

The Children of Lir is a story I've been fascinated by since I was a teenager.  I'm not sure what it is about it, but I think it has a lot to do with the deep longing and yearning that I felt in the story, the desire to go home.  Perhaps it just struck a chord with a teenager who felt she wasn't in the right skin, or the right place, or the right country, or century, or something just not quite definable, and longed to go 'home' even though she didn't know what this 'home' she longed for was.

So I wrote a little poem.  And then I looked up collectives nouns (because I was sure there'd be something as interesting as 'a murder of crows,' for swans), and discovered that a flock of swans is known as a 'lamentation'.  How absolutely perfect.  So then the poem became a little book because I wanted to experiment with a bit of 'bookmaking' in different ways, in preparation for the map book.  AND because I wanted to just do something that was for me and not for a deadline (as much as the deadline was imposed by myself).

Tea bags, calligraphy, pencil lettering, a little feather in ink on canvas, a real feather (though not a swan's), and then I got a bit lazy because I wanted to finish it, and I redrew an old drawing of mine that appeared in this little book.  So now it's done, and I'd better get back to the real business in hand...maps...and songs for my music course.  Hmm, maybe this will become a little song too.

Oh, and not forgetting the hat for a tiny twiggling!

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