Friday, January 13, 2017


Leaves of Absence (closed). Linen box with debossed text and image,
32.5 (H)  x 25.5 (W) x 4 cm (D). Edition: 10, plus 1 artist proof
Yesterday the final milestone of this two-year long project was reached. The boxes for the artist book, Leaves of Absence, are now completed with the pages (31 archival pigment prints on Canson Infinity rag paper) nestled inside. I'll be writing about the book at considerably more length in the near future. Meanwhile, the closed book is previewed above, followed by a selection of page views. (Click on individual images to enlarge).

Monday, January 9, 2017

LEAVES OF ABSENCE - a progress report

Selected pages of Leaves of Absence, 2017, unbound artist book,
archival pigment prints on A4 sized rag paper, ed. 10

As the time for completion of its linen casing draws closer, sorting and collating the pages of the unbound artist book, Leaves of Absence, in the Ballarat studio is well under way. Directly below are two double page views. (Click on images for a clearer view).

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The artist's hand

Our latest mini-zine is one of three new Moth Woman Press publications destined for Sticky Institute's famed Festival of the Photocopier zine fair, to be held at Melbourne Town Hall on February 12. For further details of FOTP 2017, visit Sticky Institute's website HERE

Pictured below: The artist's hand in the artist's hand.

The artist's hand, 2017, mini-zine, 10 x 7.5 cm, edition: 100

The artist's hand, pages 1 and 2

The artist's hand, pages 5 and 6

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New leaves of a new book

Pictured above: selected page views of Leaves of Absence, an
unbound artist book, together with a sample of the linen
with which its specially designed box will be bound.
(Click on image to enlarge).

The old year ended on the last page of a book, so it seems only fitting that 2017 begins with its first page (along with three other page views).

The Leaves of Absence project heralded a new direction in my work and has consumed a considerable amount of my time and energy over the past two years. It was only in the last several months, however, that I decided to gather together its many narrative fragments and present them in book form.

The images on the A4-sized pages are archival pigment prints. For me this was an entirely different approach to image making. The technique was intuitive, springing almost organically from the hybrid nature of the imagery. As with any art form, I've learned a great deal along the way, and continue to do so.

The unbound artist book Leaves of Absence, an edition of 10, plus one artist proof, will reside in a linen-bound box embellished with lettering and a small image, both debossed in gold.

Further details of the book will be shared in future posts.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Year that Was

L-R: Myself and Nadia Wheatley in 1996 with our King Charlemagne teddy bears.
Photo credit: Ken Searle. Collection State Library of Victoria

With a brand new year nearly upon us, it's hard to resist looking back at the one that has just passed, which, putting it mildly, was not without its troubles.

Here at Moth Woman Press, however, we have little to complain of. In February we were first time participants in the fabulous 2016 Sticky Institute Festival of the Photocopier Zine Fair (and look forward being part of it again in 2017).

The past year saw the launch of several new zines, including A New Leaf (see below), The Story of the Moth Masks and The Enchanted Hair Ornaments. The National Library of Australia, ACT, acquired a number of our zines, together with the one-of-a-kind artist book, Tall Poppies (2013). The State Library of Victoria also purchased a goodly number of zines.

Back and front covers of the MWP mini-zine A New leaf (2016)

2016 marked the twentieth anniversary of the year I illustrated the children's picture book, The Greatest Treasure of Charlemagne the King by Nadia Wheatley, published the following year by Scholastic Australia. The book received a Children's Book Council Notable Book Award and my illustrations were also nominated for a CBC award.

The Greatest Treasure of Charlemagne the King was launched at Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney, where Nadia and I were presented with teddy bears dressed as King Charlemagne. (Charlemagne's teddy bear appears in several of my illustrations and is based on my childhood bear, Boodie). Nadia's partner, Ken Searle, took the photo reproduced above.

Earlier this year I donated my working drawings, illustrations and other material relating to the book to the State Library of Victoria through the Cultural Gifts Program.

Looking forward now, four new MWP zines are in the pipeline, all destined to be launched at the 2017 Festival of the Photocopier Zine Fair at Melbourne Town Hall on February 12. In addition, Leaves of Absence, an artist book due for publication in early 2017, has already been selected for an international artist's book exhibition in Western Australia.

The last page of that very book seems a fitting way to end the year, especially one as chequered as 2016 has been. The following image is the Colophon page in its original state, before I added the text: a new leaf for a fresh start in 2017.

Wishing you all the very best for the year ahead from Moth Woman Press.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

FIREBRAND and GORGON: more progress views

As regular visitors to Moth Woman Press blog will be aware, lately I've been working concurrently on two one-of-a-kind artist books, Firebrand and Gorgon (see centre photo below).

Hand-lettering the title page of the former is now complete and it's ready for the next step, namely the cover art. As with my previous book, Cat's Cradle, the front and back covers will be hand painted and lettered on prepared MDF boards. (The boards can be seen on the top left in the first two photos directly below).

Back in 1993 I was awarded a three-month Australia Council for the Arts Visual Arts Board Residency in Paris. One of the high points was a glorious exhibition of illuminated manuscripts at the Bibliothรจque Nationale, the most extensive I've ever seen. I've long been drawn to hand written and painted manuscripts, but as is sometimes the case in my work, the period of gestation has been a slow one. It's only comparatively recently that I've begun to make some versions of my own. 

Click on individual images for a clearer view.

Hand-lettering in progress on Firebrand

Further progress views of Gorgon and Firebrand

First stage of Firebrand completed

Monday, December 26, 2016

FIREBRAND - an artist book in progress

Further to our post of Thursday, 22 December, directly below are further progress views of Firebrand, our latest one-of-a-kind artist book. Click on individual images to enlarge. 

Firebrand, artist book in progress, pencil and pigmented drawing ink
on Khaki paper, 16.5 x 15.5 cm

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Season's Greetings from Moth Woman Press

As many of us prepare ourselves for one of the hottest Australian Christmases on record, it's hard not to dream of a White Christmas. To one and all, wherever you are:

Our Christmas tree at Moth Woman Press, Ballarat

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Artist books in progress

Two more Moth Woman Press books are currently on the drawing board. Pictured directly below in early developmental stages are Gorgon (top) and Firebrand (bottom). 

I'm still battling with the unruly snakes on the head of the Gorgon, but have plowed ahead with Firebrand. Below are three detailed views, followed by the first stage of the inking up process.

In 2012, I made a smaller version of this work for an artist's book exhibition at Hand Held Gallery in Melbourne. (The original book can be seen to the right of the tubes of paint below). I was never entirely happy with the end result, which I felt didn't quite reach its full potential; however, I've used it as working model for the current artist book. It's one of a new, ongoing series of concertina books collectively titled Tail End.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Pressed for Time

Pressed for Time is one of three Moth Woman Press zines currently in the works. (Its title describes my current state of being only too well)! The new zines, which are in various stages of development, will be unveiled at the 2017 Festival of the Photocopier zine fair at Melbourne Town Hall on February 12.

Until then, here is a preview of the front and back cover art of Pressed for Time. The cut and folded mini-zine will measure approximately 10 x 7.5 cm; it will be limited to an edition of 100. To discover what is pressed between its covers, join me at FOTP 2017. Full details of the zines and zine fair will be posted nearer the time.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cat's Cradle, Part 4

Completed Cat's Cradle, 2016, unique concertina book, pigmented drawing ink on paper and acrylic on MDF panels, (H) 16.5 x (W) 15.5 cm x (D) 1 cm (closed).

Click on individual images to enlarge.

Front cover of Cat's Cradle
Front and back covers of Cat's Cradle, 2016, unique book,
acrylic on MDF, (H) 16.5 x (W) 15.5  x (D) 1 cm (closed)

Front pages (detail)

Back pages (detail)

Cat's Cradle, 2016, unique book, pigmented drawing inks
on Khadi paper and acrylic on MDF, 16.5 x 92 cm (open)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Cat's Cradle, Part 3: Cover Art

Cat's Cradle is the first of several books to resurrect the Shadow Women. Already the subjects of several zines, they appeared most notably in the vertical concertina books, Tall Tales (2013).

The new series will employ a more conventional landscape format, and unlike the previous books, which were cloth-bound, their front and back covers will be hand-painted and lettered. 

The photographs below show the cover art in progress. The covers are constructed from MDF, to which several coats of gesso were applied. Each layer was sanded with fine sandpaper to ensure a smooth surface. I've used acrylic paints for the image and text. (Click on individual images for a clearer view).

Front and back cover. Each panel measures 16.5 x 15.5 cm

Front cover (progress view) 

Back cover (progress view)

Front and back covers nearing completion

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cat's Cradle, Part 2

As promised, here are further developmental views of the one-of-a-kind artist book, Cat's Cradle. The hand-lettering was a particular challenge, but one that I really enjoyed. (Click on images for a clearer view).

The front and back covers of the book will also be hand-painted and lettered; they will feature in our next post.

Friday, November 18, 2016

CAT'S CRADLE, an artist book in progress

Just because it's been awhile between posts, please don't assume things have gone quiet at Moth Woman Press. In fact, it's been just the opposite. Of late we've been hard at work on two artist books and two mini-zines, all due for publication early next year. Below are some early views of one of them, the one-of-a-kind concertina book, Cat's Cradle. All going well, it will be the first in a series of similarly-themed books. Further progress views will follow in the very near future.