Saturday, December 26, 2009

Creating Colours

Mixing colours - always messy, always different, always satisfying, always surprising! Almost as much fun as printing :-)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

One of the Locals, Hangin' Out

The inshore rocky reefs exposed at low tide are a popular resting place for the Snake Bird (Australian Darter) and Pied Cormorant. This little patch of the bay is the only marine national park on the Redcliffe Peninsula so it is quite special.

Monday, December 21, 2009

And Busy Sewing As Well

These are the first bags I have made since moving to Queensland and the first to bear the new PalumaPrint label. Very light and summery - suiting the hot and humid climate here.

I have had lots on inquiries about buying my stuff and I hope to have an online shop up and running by the end of March :-)

Friday, December 11, 2009

I've Been Busy Printing!

Been trying my hand at tea towels - after sourcing some crisp white linen/cotton blanks. Three colours and three designs which are just about all destined to be gifts for family and friends.

One of the prints is a stylized Umbrella Tree (on the right). Below is a real one - very close to where I live (no flower spikes yet). The seeds are spread by birds and germinate readily - and just about anywhere - so this plant can become a bit of a pest, invading national parks and other areas where it is not found naturally.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The First Print Run

I have to record this event! Nothing too ambitious so I used a very familiar stencil (but I haven't printed it in blue before). I need to get familiar with different temperature and humidity, new printing table, work space and wash up area and I am a bit rusty not having done anything for a couple of months. But I am pleased with the result. The new area works well and the hotter temperature and breeze doesn't seem to dry out the screens more quickly.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pictures of "My" Beach

and the local birdlife - Yellowtailed Black Cockatoo feeding in the Banksia tree right outside my window. Awesome!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Getting Settled

Now three weeks into my new environment. I have unpacked all my boxes and the place is starting to feel a bit more homey but there is such a lot of work to do. Lots of space after apartment living. I have even set up a temporary printing space in the large laundry area and today unpacked all my stencils and inks. The printing table is two saw horses and a piece of 2mts x 1mt MDF board from Bunnings. I even made a little shelf underneath to store some squeegees and screens. It will probably take  a while to get used to. Maybe next week I will have a try out.

And my new labels from Akie Labels in Melbourne have arrived (they don't have a website otherwise I would have included a link). These are for bags. I also have some elongated rectangular ones as well also with the wheel of fire logo. Very pleased with them.

I still have some of my original labels from the 80s. A bit of a difference!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

One Day to Go!

Fine weather at last. This is how I want to remember Melbourne - all blue and sparkly!

Ten things I love about Melbourne (in no particular order)

1. Trams
- riding on them
- tram noises
- the free tram
2. the coffee
3. the laneways and quirky little shops - how do they survive?
4. the multicultural dimension
5. the inner city villages - Brunswick, Fitzroy, Carlton etc
6. Sydney Road
7. the streets and buskers
8. always something to do
9. the vibes and creativity
10. the interesting places outside Melbourne you can get to and back in a day

Things I don't like about Melbourne

1. the weather, the weather, the weather.......
2. the wind (at Docklands)
3. the price of houses - average(?) price at Port Melbourne $900,000 (Sept 2009)

That's about all really.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What’s in a Name

Paluma, the village, was named after one of the earliest ships of the Queensland navy, the Gunboat HMAS Paluma. Paluma is an aboriginal word meaning “thunder”. HMAS Gayundah was her sister ship, gayundah being the aboriginal word for “lightning”.

Thunder and lightening!

The Paluma was finally broken up in Melbourne in 1950-51. After WWI, HMAS Gayundah was retired from the Navy and spent time as a sand and gravel barge on the Brisbane River before ending her days at Woody Point at Redcliffe, beached to serve as erosion protection. The Gayundah lies on the shore about 100 metres from my studio.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I don't only do flowers

Here are a couple more prints from the past - the Red eyed tree frog - and I still have the stencils - yay for Ezycut stencil paper.
This frog (sometimes called the orange eyed tree frog) lives in eastern Australia north of mid NSW. It is (or was when I lived there) very common to hear it at Paluma, especially after rain. Find out more about it - including an audio of the call at the Australian Frog database .

Monday, October 19, 2009

More on Ellis Rowan (1848-1922)

This woman fascinates me. Some notes extracted from the National Library publication of 2002 The Flower Hunter: Ellis Rowan describe her - "painter, naturalist, writer and explorer ...for almost 50 years she travelled to remote parts of Australia, India, Europe, America and New Guinea in pursuit of exotic flowers and wildlife to paint....petite, plucky and always dressed immaculately... suffered bruises, black eye, occasional fever, stinging nettles, mosquito bites and sunburn....dangled by ropes over precipices...suffered from malaria". Other "highlights" of her life -
  • incurred the wrath and indignation of her (male) fellow painters (including Fred McCubbin, Louis Buvelot and Tom Roberts) by scooping the pool in a number of major awards in the late 19th century
  • criticised by Norman Lindsay who described her paintings as vulgar (excuse me?)
  • acclaimed internationally, works were collected by royalty 
  • became the most recognised and commercially viable painter in Australia and a household name at that time (in a period when the art world was dominated by men)
  • had a facelift, died her hair red with henna and reduced her age by 10 years
  • was still painting bird of paradise species in the wilds of New Guinea at age 68
  • produced over 3000 works during her lifetime
  • now practically unknown despite her huge legacy
How cool is that!

A major exhibition of (a portion of) her works was organised by the National Library of Australia in 2002/2003 in order to make her art more widely known and available and "to help establish her rightful place in Australian art".  Her painting of Pandorea jasminoides (and Clematis aristata) - reproduction below - is held by the National Gallery of Victoria and is rated a public favourite in the collection.

A new publication about her life is The Flower Hunter: the remarkable life of Ellis Rowan by Christine and Michael Morton-Evans (Simon and Schuster, 2008)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Flower of the Day

My fave flower for today is the native Bower of Beauty - Pandorea jasminoides. These photos show my original tee shirt print design from the 1980s - and I still have a faithful apron from that time but no tee shirts have lasted the 20 year distance :-( . The 2009 version has been made into a dress bag (Nicole Mallalieu pattern).

There are lots of Pandorea species (and shapes, colours and sizes) so lots of fertile ground for more prints. Here are a few Pandoreas taken by my sister in her native plant nursery in northwest Tasmania - Redbreast Plants . P. jasminoides is top left. A nursery bred form P. 'Lady Di" is on the bottom RHS.

It is a hardy plant - a climber - which has adapted well to Australian gardens. Originally a rainforest species from south Queensland/northern NSW, it can be grown as far south as Tasmania (and in far north Queensland). I have seen it growing and flowering vigorously in suburban Melbourne at my (ex) local petrol station near La Trobe University.
Ellis Rowan - the flower hunter - painted a beautiful water colour of jasminoides back in 1900. See image at the Powerhouse Museum website.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

One Week to Go!

Before the big final move back to Queensland after 15 years in Victoria. I am looking forward to some warm weather after weeks of low temperatures and grey skies here in Melbourne. But I have been making the most of these last weeks to soak up as much Melbourne design and culture inspiration as I can. I am like a big sponge (helped by my trusty notebook). I will have to come back yearly for a topup. At least with the internet and blogosphere, physical location becomes almost irrelevant in being able to track what's going on in the creative world. I will miss the easy access to looking and touching the lovely works of local Melb screen printers - such as Ink & Spindle, Pippijoe and Spin Spin and the words of wisdom from sewing teacher, handbag designer and pattern maker Nikki from Nicole Mallalieu Design (going to one of her classes in 2008 set me back on the road to screen printing and sewing again).

But Brissy is looking pretty good with plenty of local indie designer markets and regular blogs such as BrisStyle and those produced by a raft of local crafters. So I am itching to get stitching again (but I've packed up my machine) and getting back into printing - soooo hard trying to do it in an apartment.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Another Favourite - The Grass Tree

There are quite a few species of Xanthorrhoea. These magnificant specimens from the Brisbane Ranges just outside of Melbourne, are probably X. australis. One of my gardening books describes the grass like leaves which crowd together at the top of the dark rough trunk as looking like the skirt of a hula dancer. This very slow growing plant produces creamy flowers on the spike which can be up to 2 metres high. Often the best flower shows are after bushfires have swept through an area. The grass tree is very susceptible to a nasty introduced disease - Cinnamon fungus - which can devastate whole areas of them.

Grass trees make a lovely print - dancing across the fabric. It is worth the hours and hours of stencil cutting.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Wheel of Fire Tree

The flower featured in the PalumaPrint blog banner is the Wheel of Fire (Stenocarpus sinuatus). Sometimes called Wheel Flower, this is from the rainforests of Queensland and has long been used as an ornamental tree in more southern parks and gardens. I first saw it flowering in a paddock on the Atherton Tablelands back in the eighties - a paddock that was once, sadly, lush tropical rainforest. Since then I have spotted it flowering in a backgarden in suburban Brisbane, in Hyde Park smack in the middle of Sydney and in the grounds of La Trobe University in outer Melbourne, Victoria. This is one tough tree - a bit large for my small backyard though, so I will have to admire it from afar. Eminent artists such as Margaret Preston have also recognised its stunning beauty. See her woodcut print at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

And this is the real thing

Its solid but graceful form and vibrant colour makes a beautiful textile print.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Beautiful Moreton Bay

This is the very first post for PalumaPrint. As the environment plays such a key role in inspiring the designs for the textile prints here is a picture of the studio's location.

And this is where I am right now (Melbourne)!