Thursday, May 31, 2012

Scaredy cat!

Yup, that's me!
A few months ago my friend in Japan, Shungo, sent me a lovely handbound blank book which is intended for drawing in. The book is so lovely that I was too scared to use it, sure that whatever I did in it would not be worthy of it Shungo has told me that he did not make the book, it was made by one of his friends, Masuko Nakamura. I initially thought that it had been made by Shungo who is a man of many talents but he has waded through the language barrier to set me straight.
There was an added complication in that the pages are double with an insert of felt. Why? Was this to protect the thin washi on the other side?
I have finally plucked up the courage to actually paint something in the book.
It seemed like a good idea, as the book itself is actually a 'keeper', to use it to record some of the ideas I have had for etegami(s), so that is what I have done. I hope Shungo san approves.

The book with Japanese 'stab binding'
My painting in the book! You can see the thinness of the paper because the image on the other side of the folded sheet shows through a little bit in the photo.

Not only am I enjoying the book that Shungo sent, it has inspired me through the magic of the internet to learn the art of Japanese binding and I have made a book to bind the watercolours I have done of copies of origami girls I have made...phew,  that's complicated.
My attempt.
One of my drawings in the book I made out of watercolour paper, about 5" tall.
All of this fun from one kind gesture, Shungo, you're the man!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


The passionfruit vine has been given that name because it reminded people of the passion of Christ, the cross in the middle and an encircling crown of thorns.
 Lately it is more apt to remind people of a different kind of passion and that too is apt. The fruit is wonderful, sweet and musky but it excites passion both in those who love it and those who hate it. I am a lover of the wonderful fruit and I cannot understand not liking it but then there are those who will eat the Durian, famously known for its disgusting smell. Our current vine (they only produce well for three years or so) is a fragrant Panama Red and the fruit does not develop the wrinkly dark outer skin of older varieties but stays large and round and a lovely mauvish purple spotted like a plover's egg.

Heigh ho, off to eat this beauty!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Are we worthy?

Are we worthy? It is a question I often pose myself when I see an object of great beauty such as an orchid or a butterfly. The privilege of seeing the splendour around us surely demands a price, that price must be a concern for the environment. That concern can take the form of consuming less and to that end I have resolved to follow the advice of William Morris who said  something like " Have nothing in your homes that is not beautiful or useful".  It is a difficult creed to follow but becoming easier as I enter a phase of winnowing out my possessions and rejecting the ephemera which is (are) daily thrust at us. A task made even more difficult when I look in my email at the many 'opportunities' offered to me from merchants with whom I have dealt before.
Lest all this sound too high flown and sanctimonious, I have exempted a few notable categories of goodies...etegami supplies being the first!
So on to today's offering of beauty (or an attempt at).

An orchid I bought from a man whom I met in hospital who was very ill and was dispersing his huge orchid collection, a sad task but this one at least has gone to a very appreciative person.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Etegami call.

For all of you out there wishing to 'dip your toe' into the etegami pool, here is a great opportunity. Dan Brown from Shropshire has decided to mount an exhibition of etegami celebrating all things English and has invited submissions.

ETEGAMI CALL! Please submit your etegami on the theme of England or Englishness to help celebrate us hosting the Olympic games and our Queen's Diamond jubilee-60 years on the throne. Please submit to me at: 15 Aspen Way, Newport, Shropshire TF 107EE. Deadline is 26th June. Im going to try and get some gallery space in Shrewsbury, if not I will create a Blog to exhibit them.
I have made an etegami but have taken a little licence with the subject (we Aussies can never resist taking the mickey out of the English). I have made two versions of the card, again nijimi and no nijimi paper.
Hope you will have a go, it is fun once you get started.


No nijimi.
Not completely in the spirit of etegami but I traced over the first one to make the second one the same.

(For those not aware of our illustrious history here in Oz, the first european settlers were prisoners from overcrowded English gaols, mostly Irish, sent here to take their chances in the Antipodes. From this unpromising start sprang this great nation, a place still regarded as a haven for rascals and scallywags by a majority of Brits I fear, though they do look with envy on our climate.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Aaah!, the quiet life.

It's what we yearn for and seldom achieve, a quiet uneventful life. Our lives, the Prof's and mine have been anything but uneventful these last few weeks but thankfully we are back to an even tenor at the present time. A stint in hospital for the Prof and a looming 'procedure' as the doctors so euphemistically call it has lately upset the applecart. So, while I have  been as busy as the proverbial, it did not encompass my great love, painting etegami.
One bright spot has been the hanging of an exhibition of my etegami and some of the cards that I have received over the last couple of years. The show is at the hospital where I am a frequent guest, lining a corridor. The hospital has an active program called "Arts for Health" and has ever changing displays in corridors. I have had a lot of positive feedback, etegami being a form of painting that seems to be accessible to most people and even the ones with Japanese or even Icelandic writing hold people's interest.
My etegami for today are a response to the last few weeks, I seem to be buzzing around with not much to show for it.

The second card is on a high 'nijimi' (absorbency) card and the first is on a watercolour card.