I'm out of love with my red digital camera. I bought it on the way to Korea in 2004, so I suppose it's given me five good years of service, but it's either succumbing to inbuilt obsolescence or I'm getting bad eyesight and shaky hands.
Anyway, I'm starting this way because I took lots of photos of my weekend workshop in Bega, and only a few of them actually came out ok. GAH!
Here they are. All of the following images are of work made by participants:
I kept the weekend very broad and quite simple -- a few fun kinds of book structures, a lot of talking about what constitutes a 'book', a demo how to do eucalyptus oil photocopy transfers, stuff like that.
I showed a couple of Powerpoint slideshows, one about the work I'd done by myself and with other artists, and another using what I'd put together for what I thought would be my talk at the Library on Thursday night.
The talk went really well,* with me pulling out a lot of my books and talking about them, and letting everyone (there was about 15 people there) pass them around and look through them (which is the point of making books, isn't it?). One of those looking was once the proprietor of a favorite secondhand book shop, Candelo Books, which used to be located along the way to Tathra Beach, taking up most of an old cottage along the highway. The shop is no more, but he survives, and is a lovely articulate and fantastically-educated man who helped keep the conversation flowing.
The workshop had 13 members, and we were hosted in a room underneath the local lawn bowls club. I'd had a day between speaking at the library and starting the workshop, so I did absolutely nothing other than flop around, read (Georgia Blain's Candelo, winkled from the Bega Library, since I'd just finished her Births, Deaths and Marriages), and play Gameboy, trying desperately to fit a weekend of leisure into one blessed weekday. I did manage to cook a cake, one that Zoe had fed me a few days earlier, from this recipe. Lady Duck had a big bag of persimmons, so I couldn't resist. It's the scrummiest cake. I didn't have the right persimmons, you're meant to use the astringent sloppy ones, so I didn't get the magical alchemy, but I want you all to know that even the hard non-astringent ones work if you cook them up until they're mushy first (I used the microwave).
That's my persimmon and walnut cake in the centre, almost gone before I thought to take a photo. All workshops need lashings of cake. The one below was a shop-brought choco sponge roll (brought by Rhonda), and the one above is polenta and poached pear (brought by Anna). There was also a lovely coconut cake the next day, and I can't remember who brought that, but it was also delicious. We were happy females.
I encouraged everyone to pull apart old hardbacks and find sheet music and maps to play with, and they all did really well. People had all sorts of backgrounds (getting them to talk about themselves is the best part of the start of the workshop), from art to graphic design to costume design, and some had no art at all, just wanted to try something new. Fabbo!
I also liked seeing what people brought to play with, and they didn't disappoint: vintage boxes full of thread,
not so vintage boxes full of thread:
brand new contraptions that do dye-cuts and embossing, old stamps and woodblocks, and check out this exquisite needlebook:
The woman who owned this is a Oscar-nominated (and AFI winning) costume designer who has spent years scouring op shops and junk shops for props and costume embellishments. That needlebook was used in the TV series Under Capricorn. She has a regular stall at the Candelo markets, and also has lots of interesting stories.
I promise you, I took lots of photos of people, but this is the only decent one, and it doesn't do the poor girls justice. On the left is Sharon, who has a lot of fabulous jewellery in the new Craft ACT shop, and on the right is Ali, who is learning to wrangle silver under Sharon's tutelage. I am wearing a pair of Ali's earrings as I type, and have been wearing them non-stop since she sent them to me months ago. They are working very hard on their bookiness.
The whole mob were a great bunch of women, and we had a lovely time. I went home on the first night tired but happy. Well, I didn't go straight home, I first bought a bottle of cold white and a pack of Bega cheese crisps and went around to my lovely nana's house and watched the lawn bowls (!) with her and her crazy dog. Then we all went to the pub for tea.
On the second night, after cleaning up and saying goodbye to everyone, I got back to the farm exhaustipated.** I couldn't string many words together, and I certainly couldn't drive any further. I'd been invited to cracker night at Chez Megan, which was a fair drive up the road... but Lady Duck was not well, and Best Beloved, bless him, is not a confident driver (or he thinks he is, but I'm not confident about his driving) so I did the unthinkable and PIKED. I felt awful about it, because iconophilia had made the trip from Canberra, but what to do? Enough was enough. I curled up next to the cats and nodded off in front of the tv. A big night's sleep and then we went back to the first proper day of Canberra winter... and today was even colder.
Tomorrow I'm running a Japanese bookbinding session for the Majura Women's Group, which should be lots of fun. But I hope they have heaters!
[Many thanks to the Bega Valley Shire Council for giving me a reason to visit my parents! And to all my lovely workshoppers.]
* If you click that link, you'll get Meg's post on my talk. It's the first time I can actually see why people keep telling me I look like my mother.
**Exhaustipated = so tired that nothing comes out easily.