Much Afoot …

Well, it’s been very  – very – busy in the studio lately!

Seems as though I’m actually making some headway though, so that’s a good thing … the last push before the exhibition in October continues, with some interesting related-but-slightly-tangential-to-the-moment projects along the way, for good measure (just in case I felt like I needed more work to keep me busy … sheesh).

The sculptural pieces I want to include in the Residency exhibition in October are nearing completion (phew~!!), and I am really quite happy with the results as they stand just now. Some tweaking and fine tuning to still do, but overall, things have worked out as I wanted and expected them to (no small sigh of relief there).

I have also been writing, and working on writing-related things … since October 3, 2011, I have been collaborating with Catherine Owen on a sustained project related directly to the work I’ve been doing in the studio: we have been co-writing a poem … and we just finished it! The piece is 50o lines long … yup, TWO zeroes there … 250 lines each, alternating, for almost a year. The idea for this project came from Catherine’s discovery that it can take up to 500 trips for a bird to find the material it needs to complete a nest. So, from this “500 lines about Childhood –  or  – It Can Take One Bird Up to 500 Trips to Complete a Nest” was born. It is by turns funny, quirky, eccentric, painful … all the things childhood is and can be – and has been – for both of us. An incredibly powerful experience to write this with Cath, and I am very grateful to her for suggesting it – and for being such a great support and inspiration throughout.  The work in its entirety will be incorporated into a sculpture I am presenting next month.  Images to follow … just not yet!

I’ve also been working with Catherine on another poetry project that will see the light of day at the October exhibition of NEST – we are producing a chapbook of Catherine’s poems and my block prints! NEST {types} is the title of this little book, and it includes a selection of nest poems written by Catherine Owen, and a limited edition series of hand carved block prints of different nest types created by yours truly. I am really excited about this chapbook – both  the writing and the prints – and am having a delightful time putting it all together.

Some pictures  – not the best – but to give you a hint of what’s in store when it all comes together:

The cover of the Chapbook, featuring a block print of a magpie nest, created and photographed for the book
The set of seven block prints that will accompany the nest poems. The nests you see represented here are the following Birds: Eagle, Blackbird, Grosbeak, Marsh Wren, European Bee Eater, and Weaver.


Carving the blocks for this project was a wondrous experience for me – a lovely combination of the things I love best: drawing, sculpture, and printing (which I haven’t done in any concerted way since printshop class in high school – which I loved!). And to be honest, I just love working with my hands – the making of doing this was so incredibly satisfying. And at the end of the day, being able to see this set of 350 prints (7 prints, 50 copies of the chapbook being created), finished and ready to be bound into the chapbook, was one of the most satisfying moments I think I’ve ever had.

More to come … soon!


9 thoughts on “Much Afoot …

  1. Sydney, this all sounds fantastic! I just love the poetry idea, such a great concept..and those books look just’s great when collaborations work and take you off into new or renewed places isn’t it..

    • Absolutely Cath! There’s a great honesty in collaboration – keeps one honest with oneself as well as the co-conspirator … So this keeps things open, to risk, to trying absolutely new things. Good to know there’s someone who ‘has your back’ so to speak. And renewal is very mica part of that too … Seeing ends own work through fresh eyes continually. And that’s so much for your kind words – I’m pleased with th first effort … Ad can see doing more for sure.

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