22 November 2010

three panel wood screen

I have carved relief images on one side of three panels and fitted the panels together with brass hinges. The other side without images, still rough-sawn with some sanding and polishing. My own sense at this moment is taken up entirely by the difficulty of working the Paulownia, which is a bit like carving the inside of a pineapple skin, with some cheddar on the sides. Sort of, not entirely but... Anyway, not time yet to judge whether the screen is merchantable, it should do for hanging photos at the December-January exhibition at the Denman.

If placed as an item for sale, I will put an oval gilt mirror on the centre panel of the blank side (see third photo), also offer a photo shoot and framed photo portrait to decorate it.

Here are two photos of relief-carved side of panels, one of the plain side. Yes, there is a small brassy decoration on that hand, a string of beady things on a top corner. Note that the sides of the heavier, higher central panel have been trimmed straight and vertical, while the side panels (legs on the left, Labrador on right) have not been trimmed at all, the hinges are slightly away from the margin.

the blurry photo

While there is much effort given to the pursuit of the perfect image, there is also much pleasure (even if scary) in the blurry image - here of George, not Jaws, the Labrador, aged 10, taunted by love.

16 November 2010

panels for exhibition

As mentioned earlier I wanted to make wood panels to add space to the Denman exhibition over Christmas.

I may in fact have a screen at marketable quality. From paulownia, which I planted in 1993.

I plan three panels for the screen, in zig-zag, at this stage lesser panels (170cm) on either side, a large 2 metre panel in the middle.

The centre panel's sides have been cut to a straight edge. The side panels retain natural tree trunk edge. Hinges will be fitted to the sides of the centre panel and a couple of inches in from an edge of each of the side panels. Foldable, portable, like this   \/\     but right angles to stand in the room.

While sanding the major central panel I found there were three knots in the wood, immediately suggestive of a form (the third was going to be a navel but an arm got in the way so it appears to be a stigmata). Click on images to enlarge, 'back' to return.

So here is the roughed out panel centre panel and the yet to be thought about properly side panels. The leg form of the side panels was determined by stress cracks in the slabs. As art works will hang on these side panels they will not be ornate, may simply be polished as is.

15 November 2010

other preoccupations

During the last federal election campaign I worked with others to organise and then chaired a community forum on mental health in the electorate of Gilmore. Five speakers from the mental health community spoke, five candidates responded and there was open discussion.

After the elections, I drafted and secured agreement to letters to the successful and unsuccessful candidates, from the Shoalhaven Mental Health Fellowship. Also to the state member for the South Coast Shelley Hancock. And now can report that in addition to a speech in the federal parliament by Joanna Gash MP, Shelley Hancock has used the correspondence as briefing for a major campaign on the issues, including speaking in the parliament.

The central concern as expressed by the community is that while political parties compete to invent new mental health services it is critical that they sustain and enhance existing services. The most serious underlying issue is of staffing: staffing is so thin on the ground (starting at the top, there is no psychiatrist resident on the NSW coast south of the Shellharbour Hospital) that new programs rob old programs of staff and the most important core community programs are seriously stressed.

You may read the correspondence here.


As to something completely different, my strength/s or otherwise at 67 mean I have to let go a rural paradise owned (or which has owned me) for twenty years. To see it, click on the photo I took yesterday, at the entry to our own rainforest (or the rainforest that has owned us).

These years have shown me that the most recent thinking about entropy is right. Regardless of our greater or lesser hand on the tiller (or tractor) nature is imposing its order; our place is inside nature. Read Masanobu Fukuoka, understand that all agriculture (all culture perhaps) is attempt to distort the purpose of nature. Conventional agriculture swipes the plate clean, turns it into a level playing field of sorts, imposes its will and poisons whatever gets in the way. Conventional organic farming swaps the industrial chemicals for 'natural' ones. Fukuoka's mahayana-like farming style works within nature.

It has been a major impact on my brain to spend time in that place, further down the coast, now a bit too far. But even this weekend was so rewarding, entranced inside nature, in the house I built to be beautiful and express personality, to command for a moment some equipment, to revisit the complexity of systems for water and power and growing on a farm. Some nice people came to see; it is really a bit overwhelming, in every sense. There is also the problem that land values have shifted the ownership of such a place from the realm of modest hobby. I may have to offer low price, select on merit, hold an exam!

I brought back more slabs to carve or build with. Pelting rain, no photo now...

Having driven 180km home late yesterday through storm, I collapsed as one does before a screen. Some time later, raising my hand with the remote control in it, there on my top knuckle was the tiniest sweetest leech, about 25mm x 1 to 2mm, waving at me. Were I a more patient soul, less given to impulse, I would not have done what I did before taking a photo: alas you have only my word that it was there. Today I have the notion of a tick here, a leech there, but they are fantasy itches, fortunately.

Anyway, click on the photo to see beauty (and buy it, do you dare buy beauty? Perhaps it would be placing yourself in a position to be possessed by, to support, rather than prostitution...)

09 November 2010

Mural: Escape from Jervis Bay

I had over several weeks painted two bedrooms in the house using natural paints, achieving pleasing textures.

I then wandered into the front bedroom to consider what colour it should be. I said to Helen later, "Look, I was carrying a charcoal with me when I went to think about painting that room." She told me I would have to proceed with the mural and forget about a pretty coloured wall. Which led me to pondering the complexity and difficulty of painting it and perhaps using mosaic tiles, etc.

I have not shown it to all, but visitors from Canberra liked it last week, and Amanda, coming to do her usual fortnightly organisational support work (as she prefers I speak of cleaning), said: "I like the charcoal, charcoal's great, it's great, leave it like that."

So I spent several more hours finishing the charcoal. I find I am a bit startled with myself... this kind of work just flows. Here's a photo, of wall area approx 2.1 x 2.1 metres. Click to enlarge, 'back' to return.

06 November 2010

photos, wood panels

I asked Jervis Bay and Basin Arts if I could submit a bunch of photos for December-January exhibition and they said thanks for checking early, we can't accommodate that many. So I said what if I provided a wood panel to put them on in the middle of the gallery. And we have agreed on some such ... So gosh I have to work on a screen of three panels, zigzag form such as famous theatrical beauties used to change behind in their dressing rooms before people began undressing in front of the camera.

No photos of the photos in question, nor the beauties mentioned, nor photos of the wood panels, but they will be from 20mm x 1700mm x 4-500mm slices of Paulownia, as in photo.