Friday, May 30, 2008

My Book of trees

I was not able to finish my book of trees in Dwellingup and as there was only two days between flying out to Melbourne. I finally finished it last week. This book I made in Memory of my father-in-law Trevor Earl McFarlane. I didn't get to know him very well as he died about a year after we married, but the little I did get to know of him was of a real gentleman, who was very quiet, much like my husband John. He also loved gardening so I thought he was the perfect person to make it in memory of.

On the cover made from a vintage small photo album is a photo with one of his baby sons, he was a real family man.
On the inside cover in a little pocket a family history and a tribute to the people of the maori race in maori and english. the next page is a clear pocket with his wedding photo.On the front of this little aged mesh hinged page is his baby photo, it was common for Scottish baby boys to wear a dress, maybe it was a baptism gown, seen close up it is very beautiful and he has a long chain hanging from is neck was this to keep him amused while the photo was taken we will never know! The frame hinges Joanne bought me over the internet and I wanted to put them on something special. The twigs top and below are wrapped in vine and aged copper wire.A peice of mica with a sprig of dried fern for his kiwi heritage and the owl his wisdom. Hanging from the right side of the mica is a lovely old marble I found in a tin of bits and peices, I just loved the colours, Nina made a groove, I did help just a little bit, then it was wired and attached with a nina knot. On the peice of old linen used to hinge the mica are the words `bound together with cobwebs' which suggest to me the fragility of life.
Two doors made of aluminium sheet and sanded then some Golden fluids rubbed on, open to a photo of Trevor's father behind crisscross wire through eyelets. Bits of old chain attached with copper brads hold the doors closed. Below on a peice of blue silk an brass metal leaf is wired on.

this last page was two pages from a vintage album attached together with the lovely twisted branches off the vine at Banksia Springs covering a large arbourtorium sandwiched in between.
An old door key hole a brass cog give this page the effect I wanted and relates to the period.

The larger back cover is covered in torn vintage papers. Images of vintage trees are placed behind vintage optical lens. A Photo of four scottish gentlemen in traditional garb one of them being Trevor's Grandfather. Placed at the bottom behind another vintage optical lens is his son John tying the generations together. An old pencil wired one side and lovely peice of greenstone a gift from the lovely Corryn in New Zealand on the right side. On the left a vintage bottle with twigs inside and the metal number 4 indicating 4 generations. Bound together with aged copper mesh and twigs wired to the side, an old key to hold the closure. Below is the wire used to hold the book together.
All the pages are bound with nina knotts, old chain, aged washers, and hanging from these is an sharks tooth that was an earing belonging to my mother, and just on top on the left side is a silver ball that opens out with a fold out metal pages for photo's given to me from my mother-in-law Trevors wife Gladys. There are also some vintage beads not visible in this side view photo. On the opposite side you can see the old marble and in a little open out frame a photo of Gladys, isnt she beautiful.
I love this book now I have finished and so enjoyed making it, I didnt try to do anything original as I just wanted to learn all the techniques. This book will remind me of a wonderful week in May 2008 spent with seven other creative women, the good times we had, all the laugh's, relaxing and just taking the time to be creative.
Now the storm is over I can shut up the shop and leave my safe warm little home and do other things. I have a bag packed to take to do some Misty Mawn pages at home with all the materials I will need.
Have a good weekend and I will catch up with you again with more on Melbourne retreat and time spent in Perth.

Dwellingup with Nina

Well all the stock is back on the shelves, cartons cut up and disposed of, and mail dealt with, now I can try and do justice to a amazing week of uninterrupted art with the wonderful Nina Bagley at the most beautiful serene property of Banksia Springs Lodge with a group of like minded women.
The first morning we awoke to thick mist, in fact each morning this was the case. As the sun came through the mist and these trees we got the most amazing rays of sunlight filtering through, it was very mystical. Of course all the girls where out there, some still in pyjama's or nighties clicking away madly for these lovely photo's. At Banksia lodge it is so private that you can wander around in your night attire, should you bother about going into get dressed first the opportunity would be gone.
Here is Mandy W, camera in hand, other footprints in the dew covered lawn.

Nina showing us the chin thing!!!!
After breakfast, it was up to the spacious light filled workshop to start creating the `Book of trees'. The most amazing thing about Banksia Lodge apart from the fact it is only about 20 steps from the Lodge, is the workroom, you can put all your art supplies, tools etc at your table when you arrive and there it stays until the end of the week when its time to go home. There was tea and coffee on tap, cake for morning and afternoon tea, toilet facility, a deck to sit out in the sun if you wanted a break or just to have your tea or coffee and in some cases a quick smoke. Nina taught her many nina knots and other techniques between 9.30 to 4.00 with a lunch break, then you could continue on for as long as you like. Many of us went down for one of the wonderful tasty meals cooked by the lovely Shelley, had a few wines then wandered back up to the workroom and often stayed until 1 in the morning. Myself being an early bird would wander up in my nightie around 6 in the morning through the mist, make a cup of tea then settle down to a couple of hours work on my book.
The lovely Robyn, you would not guess that this girl was in pain throughout the retreat, she smiled throughout the week.

Before breakfast most mornings we went for lovely long walks to enjoy the beautiful bush shrouded in mist, camera's in hand. No this photo is not out of focus.
Bones that Denise found and is taking back to Sydney for assemblage, cannot wait to see what she will do with them, she also found a couple of mummified mice to take back, the sniffer dogs will go banana's if they catch a whiff of them.

Now there is an issue of working at a neat tidy table and working in a mess. I am afraid I am the latter, my intentions start out good, everything in its place, but as time moves on I work into a smaller and smaller space, fortunately I found a mess buddy, Mandy W who shared a table with me. As you can see our table, then again maybe you can't see the table with a little space about 30cm square (well the book pages where only 10 x 15cm what more room do you need to work for goodness sake) then we spilled onto the floor, just in arms reach. Now the girls who work nice and neat, you know who you are, can see everything at a glance, this is also reflected in their work. I can not work like that to save myself, they did make us feel guilty one day so Mandy and I did a cursory tidy up, guess what couldnt find a thing. So we will leave that issue unresolved ok!
The messy workers table, Mandy W and me.
And the neat and tidy workers desk, personally can't see much difference myself! hah

Denise set the ball rolling with putting entry's in each others journal. This entry by Mandy W in Mandy H's art journal was the result of an impromtu art class by Mandy H on painting with gouche, not sure what Mandy W was painting but she decided it was much to formal for her and attacked it with a scratcher and it became wave rock, this class ended up in peels of laughter.

No, all these empty bottles had nothing to do with the laughter, we where all just trying so hard and didn't like to admit defeat until Mandy went crazy with her scratcher, ever have one of those times? Well much wine and Black Russian was consumed, usually after the evening meal.

The wonderful group of girls who made this retreat so much fun. From left Denise Leitchfeld, Cheryl Brown, Mandy Herring, Robyn Longley, Karen Hardey, Mandy Woodham and in the front seated age before beauty myself and the ever so patient Nina Bagley.And following is the wonderful Book of Trees these lovely ladies all completed, or almost.Despite the pain, Robyn made this wonderful book. Robyn also took Nina for a few days down around the wineries and sight seeing around the lovely South. Thank you Robyn for your generosity.Mandy Herring who always does beautiful work, very creative in her ideas, very generous and giving with her supplies and knowledge.Lovely Cheryl who was so nervous about doing this retreat, and just look at her wonderful book, she was also one of the first to finish hers. Do you know anything about those Black Russian bottles Cheryl?Well Mandy W don't you look pleased with yourself, also finished before everyone else. Mandy also used the bits of the trunk of the Blackboy tree as her tree in the background. This looked very effective and so Australian.This is Denise's lovely book. Rather than make her book a Book of Trees, Denise made her book in memory of Dulcie, from a box of photo's Denise felt compelled to buy. So lovely Denise.

And this is the yummy mummy Karen, would you look at those beautiful hands and finger nails, I am so envious. Karen does really beautiful work, she likes to take her time and get it all just right. Would you send me some photo's of all your girls inside pages I would love to see them and share them on my blog.And this is my incomplete book and as we are having a storm here at the moment, I am going to add one more photo of the lovely vine that we all pruned for our book of trees before something drastic like losing power and all my hours of doing this post are lost.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Anzac Day

25th of April we celebrated Anzac Day.My dad was an Anzac from the New Zealand 2nd Echelon in the 2nd World War, I am very proud of him for his efforts and so happy he returned relatively unscathed, he was hospitalised with shrapnel wounds and got a bullet clean through his calf muscle. My father fought in the 8th army with Britain, he was in the battle of Crete, one of the hardest fought battles, which they were forced off the island in a big hurry with bombs attacking their troop ships constantly. He then went on to fight in the battle of El Alamein against the infamous Desert Fox (Rommel), the eighth army won this battle and it was viewed as the turning point of the war.

I also admire my dearest mothers bravery and fortitude. When my dad left New Zealand on the troop ship for the other side of the world, my mother was pregnant, and while my dad was on another troop ship from Britain (he was also in the battle of Britain) to Crete, when my baby brother was born only to live about 24 hours. My mother wasn't let out of the hospital for his burial and never knew where he was buried. She left our home town of Gisborne and went to Petone to work in the munitions factory there. Above is a treasured photo of her with fellow work mates. She is the one on the right, back row. She wasn't to see my dad for over three years, this must of seemed like a lifetime, not knowing if he would come back at all, in fact he was reported as missing in action at one stage. When he finally came back to New Zealand on furlough, they wanted to send him back again so he went AWOL until the end of the war, he felt he had done more than his duty and it was time to send new recruits, by this stage my Mum was pregnant with me and there was no way he was going back to war and leaving her to cope on her own again. Anzac is a day to remember these men and women who fought to make a better world for us. To reflect on the time they missed out on of their youth, the dangers they experienced.

I will be unable to blog for the next few weeks as we go to Dwellingup to spend a week with Nina Bagley and then off to Melbourne to run the Art Retreat where we will have Nina, Misty Mawn and Tracey Batista as Tutors, can't get better than that. Will have plenty to blog about when we get back.