Sunday, 30 October 2011

Some iPhonography experiments

In response to "Dave's Apps Recipe Book Project" I'm throwing my hat into the ring and will try to show a few of my iPhone apps and what they do. As a complete novice at this I'm not sure how useful this will be to anyone else, but I can assure you that I'm having a great time playing with my iPhone and iPad. These photos are all from the iPhone. Maybe I'll do another post sometime on the iPad apps.

Using the 360 Panorama app, which takes a series of photos I took this untrimmed strip of our garden.
I then chose Stereographic Mode and got this result. It is possible to make a 360' photo if you take a full circle of the photo.
 Using a photo of my bookshelves
I then used my Kaleidoscope app using 20 segments to change this image to this:

This is achieved by a bit of finger twiddling and makes thousands of varying images. Next I tried my FishEye app to the same section of my library.

I also have AutoStitch which stitches a series of photos into a panoramic scene, and is a lot of fun but I'm a bit more keen on 360Panorama. As well, I have Hipsamatic and CameraFlash, neither of which I've had time to master. I started installing free apps but have found it sometimes pays to upgrade to a paid one.

If you'd like to see more iPhone apps please visit Dave at Clearer Reflections Blogspot to see the list of other blogs taking part in this challenge.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Paper Stacks at The Altered Page

The Altered Page aka Seth Apter, is hosting blogs featuring stacks - paper, books, stuff. My house is full of stacks so these are just a few of them. These are books I've made, a mix of artist's books and traditional bindings.

Then there's just stacks, all slightly wonky, ready to topple, and a bit scary. Boxes, and books.

Visit The Altered Page to see a list of all the participating blogs. Or just visit anyway because it's a really interesting blog for artists and book artists.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Playing with iPhoto

I've just added a couple of photo apps to my iPhone and iPad and I can see that this could be a great time waster. But a lot of fun. Not sure how this works on Blogger so if photos don't appear I'll put it down to not reading the instructions, and try again later.

Photos are Suzy's 1964 Honda, some poly pipe, beach flowers, and a Lake Eyre shot.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Lake Eyre adventure

Last weekend I was looking down on Lake Eyre, in flood for the third year after many years of drought, last filled to capacity in 1974. Covering an area of nearly 10,000 square kilometres, about the size of Holland, it is Australia's largest salt lake and the 13th largest in the world. Set in South Australia, our driest state, it was a thrill to see the dry land tinged with green, and the beautiful Flinders Ranges a misty mauve in the background. My photos of the Lake and surrounds are not brilliant - will I never grow out of being airsick? - but you'll get some idea I hope of how huge the lake and rivers are.
For really great photos of Lake Eyre go here.

Absolutely stunning was the country we drove through - in a very comfortable bus with the perfect guides - and we stopped at many small towns for refreshment. One of these was the Parachilna Prairie Hotel where lunch consisted of kangaroo salami, emu pate, goat pastrami - crocodile was off the menu that day. Fortunately for me there was a huge salad and lots of grilled vegetables.
At Beltana Station I made two new friends. First a Shingleback Lizard that was being harassed by the farm dogs. I reached in and snatched it away from them, only considering later that taking prey from strange dogs was a bit foolhardy. However the dogs befriended me, probably just in case I decided to give the lizard back, and I was able to get it to safety while others held the dogs at bay. The Shingleback looks rather the same coming and going as the head and tail are the same shape. Here is a really lovely video (read down a bit) of David Attenborough (my hero!) showing Shinglebacks, including the female giving birth to two huge baby lizards. Here is my Shingleback.
Another friend was this very cute little Alpaca, name of Chocolate for obvious reasons. Beltana Station is a restored homestead and worksheds, now having a new lease on life as tourist accommodation.  There is even a  modern day cameleer with a herd of camels for trekking.
What else do I have to show you? The most wonderful Flinders Ranges, the softness of the colours being truly amazing when one considers that this is virtually a desert. I'm still mulling over this trip, which was 6 days in Adelaide (capital city of South Australia) and 6 days on the road visiting the outback. So much to see and think about, and more than ever, I realise what a beautiful country Australia is.
More about South Australia next time.

My next major excitement will be next March when I go to a four day workshop in Sydney, at Bondi Beach. This will be run by Art is...You and I will be doing three assemblage art works shops with Keith Lo Bue and a two day book structure workshop with Judy Wilkenfeld. Here is the list of the faculty for this Art is... You event. Check it out because there are some great teachers here and I just wish I could double up on some. However, I've been promising myself to do classes with Keith and Judy for ages, and this time I'm taking the plunge.
Thanks to all the BookArtObject team who have sent me their Paper Wrestling books so far. This will need a special post to show what people are making.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Cold, wet and windy at the beach

Sydney, and pretty well all the east coast of NSW and Victoria, have just experienced days of torrential rain and gale force winds. Hopefully over now but you never know. I love storms but it did get a bit scary as I watched the water rising into our garden and hoped the chicken pen would survive. Of course the chickens themselves were fine; they just moved onto the doormat and gazed at me sadly as Basil the Beagle and I sat huddled by the heater. Keeping their food dry and feeding them on the deck has meant that the local birds have stepped up to the challenge and tried a bit of pilfering when my attention strayed.

This is a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, one of about 50 that attempt to steal the chook food. However, these two Rainbow Lorikeets, way smaller but very bold, chased the Cockatoos and kept them at bay until they'd had their fill. These are wild birds, and I don't think should be fed, but they are accustomed to handouts from campers and spend their afternoons casing the neighbourhood for possible snacks.

The beach has been covered with seaweed and a wonderful collection of sea animals, most of them dead, but if I think they may be alive I toss them back in. Sea urchins of many varieties, starfish, small fish, all tumbled together out of the maelstrom of waves and onto the beach. For the first time I found a sea mouse Aphrodita australis. This is a polychaete, and I've read that the spines may be stingers but I had to pick it up to put it back in the water, and I didn't get stung. The photos show the top and underside of this weird little animal, which was about 4 inches long. The link is to the Sea Slug Forum, and this is NOT a sea slug. It just happened to be the best link I could find.

I finally finished my edition of books for BookArtObject and posted them off. I had worked on a spiral version but had a change of heart and instead made 15 copies of a Blizzard Book. As I'm not at home I don't have photos to show you but will post pics in a couple of weeks. Two more weeks to go here at Basil's house and I'm hoping for lots of dry weather.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Books, birds, beach

I've mentioned Ed Hutchins in earlier posts -  one of my favourite book artists and a most kind and generous person. Ed taught some classes in Australia and New Zealand a few years ago so I was able to fulfil one of my ambitions, to do a workshop with him. At the time he told us about this book, then only in the pipeline, so I was very pleased to purchase a copy when it did become available.
There is a review of this book by Miriam Schaer in Bone Folder, Vol 6, No.1, Fall 1909. If I may quote from the back cover : Acclaimed book designer Ed Hutchins creates artist books that spring to life in delightful and unexpected ways. Combining eclectic materials and ingenious formats with unusual printing techniques and advanced paper engineering, his hand-made books blow apart the traditions of the bindery, while infusing traditional forms with new meaning. Hutchin's inventions and variations expand the boundaries of bookmaking in unimagined, and not soon forgotten, directions."
To watch Ed make and manipulate his books is an inspiring experience and certainly one I'll always treasure.
My good friend GB gave me this book for my birthday - very clever of her, I thought. Thanks, GB. This book has some quite quirky ways of repurposing books, and a couple I'll be putting into use. My only complaint about this book is that the print is fashionably pale and I find it hard to read with my aging eyesight. I've noticed this trend lately when I've bought magazines and while a pale green page with yellow print looks very attractive, it just is impossible for me to read. No doubt this is all aimed at a younger demographic but I do feel slightly miffed when I have to stick my head under a lamp just to read a few lines.
I mentioned last time that I'm again doing an online course with Michael deMeng (power tools, vroom, vroom...) and after being lost in the mail for months I finally received this copy of one of Michael's books. I still haven't assembled anything, book making taking all my time and space, but my collection of rusty things grows apace and threatens to overpower me. I've discovered that I can sit and watch TV while dismantling electronic gadgets - though I am wondering how many circuit boards any one person can use.

I've finally completed my latest pile of books for "the shop", they look great, thank goodness, and tomorrow I will clear the decks to get down to serious work on my BookArtObject edition. I want to complete the 20 volumes by the end of June before I go off to puppy sit for a month. I suspect I'll be taking more books for "the shop" to do while I'm away.
I can't get enough of these Sulphur Crested Cockatoos. This one has picked a lemon from the tree next door and is busily chomping a hole in it. A few bites and the lemon is tossed to the ground and the cockatoo goes off to pick another. A flock of cockatoos can demolish your orchard with no trouble at all. In fact they seem to get a kick out of just picking and dropping fruit. They are the vandals of the garden, only topped by the fruit bats, who also do a lot of tasting and tossing.

Please have a look at my previous post - I've added some photos. More birds I'm afraid but I'm pretty much hooked on birds as you may have noticed.
Another beachy pic to finish. I just love these sand trails, don't you?

Monday, 23 May 2011

Autumn at the beach

I'm spending an idyllic 4 day weekend at Bundeena Beach, an hour south of Sydney. After a few weeks of sick kids and even sicker adults, including me, I felt a few days away wouldn't go amiss. This is something of a practice weekend, because next weekend I'll be back again to dog sit Basil the Beagle, and in July I'll be here for 4 weeks while Basil's humans go to Europe. This is a gorgeous part of the world to live in, three very different beaches within a short walk, situated in the world's second oldest National Park, cafes, and a very artistic community. I think I could happily live here - if I could afford two houses, which seems most unlikely.

I'll try to add photos when I get home, especially of the birds that try to coax me to share my breakfast.
Done: First the Rainbow Lorrikeets, noisy, showy but very pretty. Then there's the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, inquisitive, cheeky and as for noise, they make the Lorrikeets seem like amateurs.

At home work is piling up in my studio as I'm making a heap of books and picture frames for the QVB shop in Sydney, and also working on my edition of the poem  "Paper Wrestling" by Claire Beynon for Book Art Object. Once "Paper Wrestling" is completed I plan to completely rejig the studio to make space for assemblage art, which I think is a generous but hopeful way to describe my collection of found and rusty materials.

This week I'm starting another online course with Michael deMeng, this time on using the Dremel drill and other tools. I love my Dremel (it doesn't take much to make me happy) and for my birthday I was given lots of attachments for it, so I can't wait for the course to start to really try them all out.

It's evening now, Basil is snoozing beside me on the sofa, and I'm listening to the flying foxes (fruit bats) squabbling in the trees, which reminds me of home (where they shriek all night). What I'm not used to hearing is the sound of the water ebbing and flowing just a few hundred metres away. The night sky here is just full of the Milky Way, a real delight, because at home we have too many trees to see the stars clearly from our garden. Beautiful Bundeena, beautiful Wamberal. I'm feeling very fortunate to have such lovely places to live.

 I loved that someone produced this work of art on the beach.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Rust, gardening and new books

Not sure if I've mentioned my new obsession with rusty stuff but I seem to be filling up my house (competing with the piles of books) with rusty tools, circuit boards and anything that has an interesting shape. Here's a small sample.
I'm resisting starting to make anything from this lot because I need to keep my studio rust free while I'm making my BAO books but once I've finished those I'll be dividing my space so I can have both occupations going at once. I've signed up for another Michael deMeng online class to start in May, on the use of tools, such as the Dremmel and heavier power tools.

I was delighted this morning to see that I've won a print on Diane Lou's blog. Diane is an assemblage artist and I've recently bought her book "Transfers and Transparencies ... and other fun ways to use your inkjet printer." To quote from the back cover: "Safe, easy, non-toxic techniques that yield professional results."

Suddenly it feels like Autumn/Fall and it's really delightful after all the heat and humidity. We've even had some rain so getting out into the garden is a pleasure. I planted another 100 bulbs yesterday, a little late for some of them but I'm hoping they'll surge away with the damp soil and the slightly cooler temperatures. I've planted belladonnas, daffodils, jonquils, freesias, and Dutch iris, and I have my fingers crossed for them. The Satin Bower Birds are back and stealing from the chooks. I still haven't managed to get a photo here in our garden but I did catch this male, also a Satin, when I was last in Queensland. His eyes really are violet.

Just to add to my collection of early animal books, I purchased a copy (reproduction of course) of Conrad Gesner's "Von den Hunden und dem Wolff". Gesner [1516-1565] was a Swiss naturalist and produced encyclopaedic volumes on natural history. My new book is in German and shows some of Gesner's dog illustrations.
I now have four issues of the Australian Book Arts Journal, which commenced last April 2010. This is an Australian journal dedicated to book artists, book binders, printmaking, letterpress and zines. There are profiles, interviews, articles, reviews and exhibition news. Each issue has had a theme : Beginnings; Women of the Book;  Text as image, Image as text; and Men of the Book. See the website for subscriptions.
Daylight saving ended last night which means all the east coast of Australia is on the same time zone. I love it when it starts, and then I love it when it ends. Easily pleased, me.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

More from the mailman

Everyone loves getting mail, though these days it's probably more likely to be email than the real snail mail, and I'm no exception. Letters generally turn out to be bills but packages - now there's the thing. I know I should use the library but I just can't resist the real thing; which is ownership. My book! Or in my case, my several thousand books, which are bursting off my shelves, tottering in dangerous piles, and ensuring that I have no flat surfaces on which to work. So, in a tiny act of sharing, I'll show you one treasure that has come through the letter box in recent times.

I think I first saw this book when Anna talked about it and I thought then that it looked highly desirable. And it is. Unfolded : Paper in design, art, architecture and industry by Petra Schmidt and Nicola Stattmann, Birkhauser, Basel. I can't see a date but I think 2010. (I hope I'm just missing it - a book like this needs to be dated. Well, all books should be, but a book of modern design should definitely have a date.) ISBN978-3-0346-0032-3.

From the cover: "Unfolded" presents paper from a new perspective: as a high-tech material and substance for a new generation of engineers, designers, artists, and architects.

For a traditional book binder or book artist, this book doesn't tell how to make a book. What it does, with lavish illustration, is inspire and inform on the amazing and wonderful things being done with paper and paper products. About a third of the book is devoted to Materials and technologies: Innovative paper and manufacturing processes for intelligent lightweight construction by Nicola Stattmann and Marieke Gast. An extremely interesting look at modern technologies.

The cover of this book deserves a word or two. On the book the cover is folded several times, showing the title on the front, other information on the back, but removed and unfolded, the paper is the softly printed, very beautiful (I think A1) sheet depicted here.

This is longer than I had expected so I'll save some books for next time.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Here, there and back again

As usual it has been a long time between posts but so much has been happening, and getting down to business is not my great strength. I've been working on my edition of books for BookArtObject, and I think I've reached a point where I can begin assembling them. Here are a couple of photos of my progress. First the paper on my work bench being ruled up for trimming.
Next the cut strips, Gocco printed, drying, before measuring and folding. I'm not a very competent printer and so I'm not completely happy but I've consoled myself with the thought that these books are very much hand made. The actual shape of the books can be seen here, though I've changed the measurements and they will be smaller than the one pictured.
On the family front we've had the first day of big school and a 5th birthday party. Very exciting happenings and Fia looks so grown up in her new school uniform. We are very lucky in that her little local primary school (government run) is considered one of the best schools in the state. The two little ones also go to preschool (right next door to our house) three days a week and they love it, so we have three happy campers, thank goodness. Look at their enormous school bags!
I have a new obsession to add to the others. I've done an online course with Michael deMeng, learning to use his paint effects. I've been collecting bits and pieces all my life, I have containers of anything that takes my fancy, which is just about everything, and now I want to actually make things with my "stuff". To do the paint effects I had to buy new paints - who doesn't like doing that? I spent a small fortune on them so now I am obliged to make use of them and I'm all set to start creating. Here are my paints. A warning. Buying them in Australia cost four times as much as if I'd ordered them from the US but I needed them instantly to do the course. And they are gorgeous!
I've just spent four amazing days at my daughter's beachside house - in Bundeena, in the Royal National Park in New South Wales. The Park is the second oldest in the world, after Yellowstone, and apart from wonderful walks and scenery, has really beautiful beaches. We packed so much into the four days that I'm feeling I need a little holiday to get over it all. Here is a tiny glimpse of Bonnie Vale Beach.
Here are a couple of links I'm enjoying at the moment. Advanced Style, which shows just how stylish elderly people can be in New York. As I've never been blessed with "style" I feel as if this is something to aspire to when I'm in my 80s. And a booky link. I'd seen some of these before but not all.  I see that Brian Dettmer is in there - I don't think I ever get tired of seeing his work. Here is some more of it.

We are in our second week of autumn/fall and so far it's still hot and humid. In spite of most of Australia being flooded (still) we are in a mini drought here in sunny Wamberal. I'm so looking forward to autumn, with the milder days, cooler nights and that wonderful feeling in the air that you only get here in spring and autumn.

If you're an assemblage artist and find your way here, please let me know. I love to hear from everyone, whether your interest is in books, natural history, rusty things - or anything at all.