Monday, August 11, 2008

The week that was: edited highlights

Forgive me for any vaguenesses I am about to commit; I am chronically underslept and overworked, and all that is keeping me awake is the thought that in four (four!) sleeps I am going to the south coast of NSW to a rented beach cabin to do nothing but eat, sleep and wade. Holding that thought is wonderful.

Where was I? Let's start with Thursday week ago.

Dateline: Thursday 31 July.
I'm introduced to Indian artist Tushar Joag, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the naughty anti-establishmentarian corporation Unicell. Tushar was visiting Canberra and the Art School for ten days to install a hand-drawn piece for the human rights exhibition Recovering Lives. I offered to do a collaborative piece with him using letterpress (fake certificates or something). Tushar was keen and goes away to think about it.

Dateline: Sunday 2 August.
Tushar and I met up at the Book Studio to discuss our project. Tushar rightly pointed out that he could manufacture false certificates with an inkjet printer, and would like to utilise the letterpress more creatively. He showed me his idea, which ties in with his Monument work.

Tushar's original drawing

It's a piece that talks of wasted urban space, and ways to make good use of silly things like the valuable Floor Space Index over rotting old memorials, and involves recreating the Gateway of India Monument in Bombay using letterpress.


It looked very complicated, but so interesting that the enthusiastic right side of my brain crash-tackled the dubious left side of my brain and I started planning how to make it possible.

initial mockup

My first mock up looked promising, but it brought home the fact that to make it work, I had to do a number of passes of the press; you can't inlay one letter inside or on top of another, because they are solid blocks. I started calculating [numbers of layers x amount of time available] and thought that I could just wing it.

rough draft

But! The test pull of the press was not a good one, and Tushar was worried about the proportion of the central arch to the rest of the building. We had a frenzied search amongst the studio type cases and wracked our brains for solutions. We came up with this:

larger arch

And we decided we were happy. Full steam ahead. I set and printed whilst Tushar worked down in the gallery, drawing directly onto the walls with chinagraph pencil and solvent to make huge graphic novel panels. He did the [number of panels x amount of time available] calculation and also thought he could just wing it, albeit with some student help.

First pull -- the basic framework of the Gateway:

pull 1

I started with an edition of 50, which decreased as I bugger up.

Dateline: Monday 3 August.
Second pull -- the second arches and some frilly bits:

pull 2

Dateline: Tuesday 4 August.
Third pull -- the third arches and the project title and explanatory footnote:

pull 3

Unicell proposal to utilise the FSI* of the monuments and heritage buildings in Bombay
*Floor Space Index = Total covered area on all floors of all buildings on the plot [divided by] Area of the plot

Dateline: Wednesday 5 August.
Fourth pull -- the first silver 'support' structure and the colophon:

pull 4

Plus the fifth pull -- the second silver 'support' structure:

pull 5

In the morning I found time to record an interview with Sydney community radio 2ser's book program about The Lost Dog and other bizarre things I get up to, including setting the Gateway of India Monument in wood type. I'll let you know when it airs (I think I gabbled too much, but never mind).

Dateline: Thursday 6 August.

Sixth pull -- large hypothetical structure. This took a while to set, but then had to be reshaped a bit to attempt to make it less temple-like, which took a slab out of the day.

pull 6

Tushar and I managed to print this together minutes before his exhibition opening (we didn't have to use the print for the exhibition, thankfully!) and then we both went down and ate our bodyweight in gorgeous cheese and passable wine (actually, I stuck to the bubbly water, because there was still a lot to do).

Afterwards I dashed home for some dinner and then came back to set and print the very last bit. I couldn't work on Friday or the weekend due to other commitments, and Tushar was leaving on Sunday, so it was crunch time.

Pull 7: the last silver tower, finished about 10.30pm:

pull 7

Dateline: Friday 8 August.
Visited the Aged Poet in the morning, sorted out all her worries, then dashed back to the Studio to hand over the finished posters and farewell Tushar. Phew! There are more photos about the poster at my flickr set if you're interested. We ended up with an edition of 45, which is pretty good when you think that seven runs of the press leaves a few openings for error. (If you're interested in buying a poster, I have no idea how much he'll be selling them for, but Tushar's contacts are here if you want to ask him.)

Then I ran home, threw lots of relevant stuff into boxes and bags and jumped in the car. I swung past B's school and picked him up, then we hit the highway for Sydney.

Halfway there I threw him out onto the highway for his dad to scrape off dropped him off to his dad and kept going. I reached my lovely hosts at their magnificent Enmore residence at about 6.30, in time to hear the cork pop. Le puff! Le pant!

Dateline: Saturday 9 August.
Print to Book Workshop, Warringah Printmakers' Studio, day one.

This was a lot of fun. I spent a lot of time talking about the work I'd done, both personal and collaboratively, I showed lots of examples of books as artworks, and then I encouraged the participants to think about ways that they could use their prints to create both artist's books and in more traditional book techniques. I armed them with a variety of techniques, and let them loose on their own prints. I think we all had a great time.

Marina, Susan, Chris, Jan

The workshop co-ordinator, Susan, had given me a lift from Enmore that morning, but I wanted a bit of fresh air, so she dropped me at Manly in the afternoon after class, and I bought a lemon gelato, donned the ipod and caught a ferry back to the city, and then a bus back to Enmore. I love that trip from Manly to Circular Quay, not least because I get to gaze lovingly at the Macquarie Lighthouse and think about the time we lived next door to it in the (Army-rented) stone lighthouse-keeper's house. I realised with a shock, as I looked and thought, that next week is my brother's deddiversary, and that this was a fabulous time to be gazing at the house lovingly, since that's where I have a mental picture of him when I do think about him (did that make sense?).

Once back at the hosty house, we all headed up to the Warrenview pub for a clandestine blogmeet with Harry (whom I have met, reasonably often) and Speedy (World Peace and a Speedboat), whom I have never met and have often been encouraged to meet by the other members of For Battle.

We spent a lot of time laughing, and my hosts liked my blog friends very much. A lot of time laughing, except when Speedy and I did Teh Girly Bonding with stories of bad exes and sweet children. Every now and again we surfaced to find the others roaring over things like Harry's testicular modelling or Brad's strange costumed historical re-enactments. Speedy gave me a CD of The Church's Box Full of Birds. I was embarrassed to admit that the only CD I had in my backpack was the Greatest Hits of Hall & Oates, thanks to Bumblebee's latest obsession brought on by watching The Wedding Singer. We decide that I will send her some (now rare) Arty Fufkin.

We retire to the hosty Mansion and eat wonderful Turkish pizza until host Brad and I tripped over our eyelids and forced the others out onto the street, still laughing. Fun. Sorry I couldn't catch up with more peoples, but I didn't have the energy to organise anything else than what Harry organised. It was really so nice to just talk to a few people after gabbling on all day.

Dateline: Sunday 10 August.
Print to Book Workshop, Warringah Printmakers' Studio, day two.

Goodness me, more gabbling. And looking. And making. These people went nuts. Good things were made.

Annie's books

Jan's books

My flickr set for the workshop is here

Fun was had. Rain poured down. The City to Surf came and went, apparently with casualties. And then, sooner than expected, it was time to go home.

I stopped halfway home to scrape Bumblebee off the road outside the truck weighing centre pick up Bumblebee, then we went to a Retailer of Fried Foods and bought a very greasy and salty dinner to keep us awake and on the road. We got home to Chez Duck about 9.30pm.

Dateline: Monday 11 August.
Let the students loose with the letterpress. No-one was fatally injured. Hooray! Got some way through cleaning up the Tushar mess. Fought the eyelid droop. Came home.

And here we are. And I haven't seen or heard a single second of the Olympics. Don't want to, neither.

Now I just have a Clamshell Box workshop to teach on Wednesday, an opening to attend on Thursday, and then it's off to the beach! Four sleeps... mmmm...


fifi said...

Oh. My. God.

that Indian Monument is bloody fantastic!!!!

and I am pouting about the weekend. I was hoping to make books AND kidnap you for a spell by the sea.
(I emailed you)

have a loovley time down the coast.

Ampersand Duck said...

Now I am pouting about the weekend. It would have been LOVELY to have you in the class.

I emailed you too :)

lucy tartan said...

HOW do you do it woman.

The print is beautiful.

Mummy/Crit said...

That is an amazing poster!!! I hoep you have a good time by the sea.

Mindy said...

I want 4 days by the sea, but if I have to do that much work to earn it, it's going to be a while coming.

Glad to hear that Harry got his act together.

Elsewhere007 said...

my jetlagged brain is struggling to take this in, but it looks beauteous indeed.

Elsewhere007 said...

my jetlagged brain is struggling to take this in, but it looks beauteous indeed.

harry said...

"Glad to hear that Harry got his act together."

# What the hell do you mean by that, woman?!!
I'll have you know I was charming AND hilarious.

Great to see you, Duckie!

Ampersand Duck said...

And humble, Harry. Great to see you, too!

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

Haz, self praise is no recommendation, you're just lucky we already think you're wonderful...

Duckie, it was fabulous to meet you and have the pleasure of girlie bonding and crapping on - two of life's great pleasures! here's to more of the same :-)

I love the poster too, always find pictures made out of text possibly a bit more exciting than I should. there's something sort of cryptic about them, like a code to unlock the meaning of the picture... and wow for the 45/50 for 7 passes!

harry said...

"Haz, self praise is no recommendation"

# But I'm _so_ good at it!