HEATHERMATTHEW

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Studio updates.

Flying free

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This week the studio has filled with butterflies and moths. Every time I open the windows in the morning, they flutter in. It's like they have come to visit the scene where their pupate selves were unspooled. I welcome them in and help them back out the window whenever I can.

Today I was free to play around, make paper and print. I had bought some embroidery hoops which had been redesigned as circular papermaking screens from Jan when we visited her home (was it only last week) in Le Vigan. I had been dying to try them out and so today was the perfect opportunity. I put the rounds of cotton paper onto the studio windows to dry and watched as the moths flew around them. One landed close by and I just had to take a photo.

The white circles of paper reference the circular boxes in which the grains, or silk moth seeds are first incubated. I have been pricking air holes in mulberry paper circles, but today I wanted to make paper to print on. It was trial and error, but I managed to get a dozen rounds of paper up on the windows to dry ready to print on tomorrow.

I learnt a new mono printing skill from Isis today. She uses the motif of birds in much of her work. I found myself drawn to the image of a moth. I discovered the most beautiful page about the silk moth in one of the books I bought from the charity shop last week. The page is called le bombyx et la soie. I cut out the moth and the cocoon, inked them up, then used them as mono printing motifs.

 Frech books from the charity shop. You can see the silk moth image I used for mono printing.

Frech books from the charity shop. You can see the silk moth image I used for mono printing.

The very first artist book I made used butterfly stamps and was for me about metamorphosis, changing from one state to another (literally Victoria to New South Wales). It was also my very first attempt at a folded artist book, something I had never before encountered. I liked the concept of pairing art and books so much I have continued ever since. It was also for me, a metamorphoses of myself from writer/librarian to visual artist, a label I was very hesitant to use. 

Now on this, my first artist residency I know that I am all this without separation. Free to be all that I am; artist, writer, librarian, wife, mother, grandmother, activist, friend and more, a multiverse of selves.   Like the moths, flying free.

 Pulling a monoprinted moth print in Isis's studio.

Pulling a monoprinted moth print in Isis's studio.

This project was assisted by a grant from Create NSW, an agency of the New South WalesGovernment. The NSW Artists' Grant is administered by the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA).

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