We started with a trip to Braidwood, to visit Kate and Mick, my Auntie and Uncle who have a wonderful farm on the edge of the Monga State Forest. They bought about four huge paddocks full of rocks and transformed one paddock totally by building a house and planting a rambling (but very ordered) garden around it complete with huge vegetable patch, berry patch, orchard and lake (empty bar a puddle full of desperate yabbies, thanks to the drought). They have cows, a horse, a dog, ducks, geese and chooks. it is a glorious place with marvellous little nooks like this
We were there for a birthday party, and the kids had a ball running through all the paths and having treasure hunts and killing the lion pinata, which Lucky the dog found interesting:
And then he ran around like a mad thing, enjoying a reprieve from our back yard. When he had to have a break, he managed to find the greenest, juiciest coolest grass he'd seen for a long time (thanks to the drought). Oh to be a dog!
Anyway, just being there was extremely inspirational because I feed off other people's passions, and the amount of time and care put into that garden is phenomenal. I went home and spent time at my 'studio' (a desk in the corner of the loungeroom) making a kick-ass little book that I'll send off to the Noosa Gallery Book Exhibition this year.
But! Not before I popped into the new bookshop in Braidwood owned and run by Ingeborg Hansen and Phil Day (also of the Finlay Press). I always enjoy visiting them immensely but come away despondent, feeling like there, in an alternate universe, would be I. They have a lovely little house with a bookshop in the front that sells select and very literary titles and also artist's books, and a workshop out the back with a printing press, a letterpress and type and the time and energy to make gorgeous handset books in collaboration with serious and respectable writers. Still, I have a little nook in the corner of the loungeroom, cats on my lap while I work, a press and type (under tarps in the garage) and an excellent son who is the best production of my life. When he's older I will be able to get out into a cold smelly studio and inhale lots of kero and turps in order to make beautiful limited edition books. Sounds delightful, doesn't it? I must be mad.
Did I say equipment under wraps? Not all of it... today, I got a new toy! It's a nipping press, many thanks to Lawrence Finn of Gallery 451 who
Isn't it a thing of beauty? Mind you, my idea of beauty can be a little odd.
'But what does it do?' asked Best Beloved, as he (lovingly but exasperatedly) heaved it out of the car.
'Makes things flat' I replied.
'Oh, like flowers?' came the response.
No! I prefer my flowers in the round, like this
No, this will press things like book sections, postcards, collages, cover embossings. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Time to get back to the corner table...