If you saw last week's blog, here, you will know that I had to deal with the xmas chaos in my studio before I could even think about getting back to work. So this is the pressed cloth hanging in wait for me to begin - without all the boxes in front of it!
Wednesday, 20 January 2021
Wednesday, 13 January 2021
Happy new year! Well, in order to get back to work, I first have to deal with the chaos of the past six weeks and get my studio back into working order. Even before I get in to my attic studio, I have to clear the stairs going up to it - the flat surfaces of the stairs have been brilliant repositories for all kinds of detritus to be dealt with "later". "Later" is now!
Wednesday, 23 December 2020
Well, the presents are all wrapped, the house and tree are decorated, gingerbread cookies made... with just a few things left to do, I am definitely in full-swing Christmas mode. Certainly this has been a humdinger of a year, but still there are many things to be grateful for. One of the last things for me will be, through this blog, to send out good wishes into the ether, for readers to have a happy, healthy holiday and a joyous new year. I will not be posting again until next year. Keep well, stay safe.
Wednesday, 16 December 2020
As part of my studio residency (whether at home due to lockdown, or at Signal Arts Centre when allowed) a daily self-portrait is de rigueur. I have blogged about previous selfies from this year's residency here and introduced the residency, with links to previous years here.
During August of this year, both myself and my husband, sculptor James Hayes, took part in the Aos Dara/Umha Aois combined symposium. I posted about my work here and here, but one of the things James did as part of his work was to experiment with making "iron gall ink" out of oak galls found in Tomnafinnoge Wood. He recorded the entire process, posting a, 11.5 minute video to youtube, which may be seen here. He exhibited the video, along with other work, in the culminating exhibition to celebrate work done during the Aos Dara/Umha Aois combined symposium this year along with work done during last year's Aos Dara symposium. I blogged about the exhibition here.
James also used the same method to make a jar of ink from walnut shells, which he had found during a site meeting at a park in Dublin. Taking up a pen nib and holder, I used the walnut ink to create a self portrait one afternoon, while in lockdown.
Wednesday, 9 December 2020
With the second lockdown ended on December 1, Signal Arts Centre prepared in advance to open its doors to its annual Christmas Craft Fair.
Wednesday, 2 December 2020
My intention for this year's studio residency at Signal Arts Centre was threefold: to do a daily self-portrait (see blog post here), make a number of unique silk fibre pages (see blog post here), and to create a new series of prints as part of my body of work, Memory Is My Homeland. My initial intention was to create monoprints on the handmade silk fibre paper. However, after doing several tests, which I discussed here, I decided to do linoprints, which I discussed here. Everything was going swimmingly until a second lockdown meant that I was going to be working at home instead of the Signal studio.
Since I normally work in my home studio, theoretically this wasn't a big deal BUT the road where Signal Arts Centre is located was blocked off due to construction on a nearby bridge and the printing press was still in the studio at Signal. As I had hoped, the road was only blocked off for two weeks, during which time I could prepare lino blocks, cut paper, etc. so that I would be good to go once I retrieved the press. In any case, my home studio is in the attic so any printmaking would have to be done downstairs. For several weeks then, the kitchen was the area for preparing paper and inking the blocks.
Wednesday, 25 November 2020
I started the Signal Arts Centre studio residency at the end of September and I blogged about starting it here. My plans for the studio this year included a daily self-portrait (which I blogged about here), making silk fibre paper for printing on (which I blogged about here) and printmaking. My initial plan was to create a series of monoprints and print them on the silk fibre paper. However, after trials (here), I found that the monoprints, though I liked the results on the paper I made, would actually be too vibrant for my Memory Is My Homeland series and even working small, would be too big for the silk fibre paper, which I wanted to be as memorable as the printed image. I have worked on very tiny lino blocks before and decided that this format would be better suited to the planned series. I had five images in mind and wanted to start work on them immediately.
I was happy with this test print and didn't do any further work on the chain lino. The image derives from my memory of the chain barriers in front of the first house in Toronto where I lived. I remembered sitting on the chains and treating it like a swing. I always wondered about this memory, until one time passing the area on a streetcar I saw the "barriers" that separated the house lawns from the surrounding footpaths. They were very low chains between short bollards, no more than two feet high. It made sense of my memory - my family moved from that house when I was two years old.
The test print of the gate at Knockeen was also satisfactory. This small gate, seemingly within the hedge separating the second house in which I lived in Kerry from the fields in front of the house, had a glass ball (a buoy?) affixed to it's post.
Though I bought the red wellies in Galway in the summer of 1988 because my shoes were soaked from a downpour, I practically lived in these wellies, rain or shine, while in Kerry 1994-1996. I wanted to keep the image simple, so did no further work on the lino.
I have spent about half my life living in Ireland now, just as long as I've lived in Toronto, and although I haven't always been in Bray, it is most certainly my "home". There is a Victorian promenade at the seafront, looking out over the Irish Sea, and it easily becomes a genteel symbol of the town's history.