Category Archives: Melbourne library service

MRBW Day 4

A quiet Sunday, with only two Melbourne Rare Book Week events on today.

REMINISCENCES OF SECOND HAND BOOKSHOPS IN MELBOURNE: 1970-2015

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John Arnold is an Associate Professor at Monash University lecturing in publishing and communications. He has been involved in the second-hand book trade as a dealer and collector for over forty years. In this talk he reminisced on bookshops past and present.  Lots of people in the room nodding their heads as he mentioned various people and businesses. This talk was held in beautiful room in the Old Treasury Building, so I decided to colour the room in this sketch.

 

PENGUINS ON PARADE

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Melbourne book collector, Professor Chris Browne, presented an entertaining illustrated talk about Penguin Books, focusing on their interest to book collectors, particularly looking at early Penguins from 1935 to 1970. He pointed out the important role of Penguin books during the Second World War and show how important innovations in book design were introduced by Penguin, He outlined the history of Penguin Books, both in the UK and Australia, illustrated the talk with examples from his personal collection of around 2000 Penguins.

MRBW Day 3

 

Melbourne Rare Book Week hosted six events today. Some were at the same times, so I had to make a choice about which ones to attend and sketch at. The decision was made easily, as one, A Walk on the Mean Streets, was going to have more sketching potential than the others.

The day began at the Rare Book Discovery Day at Melbourne Museum. It was an opportunity for people to bring along their books, maps and prints to this Antiques Roadshow-style event for discussion and informal appraisals from a panel of leading antiquarian booksellers. I arrived when they opened the doors and sat behind the appraisers.

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I immediately realised that my ink pen was empty so I sketched in watercolour pencil. Instead of a quick sketch I stayed there for about an hour, drawing the appraisers first and then adding some people who had bought books along. I was pleased when a family arrived with a stack of books . I had a wonderful time watching, listening to the interesting conversations and sketching.

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After rushing home to refill my ink pen I went back into the city for A Walk on the Mean Streets. I knew in advance that the two presenters were dressing in period costume, which is why I wanted to attend this event. We had a perfect winters day – clear blue sky and sunshine.

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This walk was hosted by Dr. Lucy Sussex, an expert on Australian detective fiction, accompanied by Professor Chris Browne. We walked for two hours, stopping at some of the sites of Melbourne featured in the books of Fergus Hume, the author of The Mystery of a Hansom Cab.

 

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The walk finished at East Melbourne Library biscuits and coffee and with an interview with the ghost of Fergus Hume. We also viewed some early editions of the Mystery of Hansom cab and related titles and learned more about the publishing history.

 

counting down to travel and MRBW

The countdown is really on to two BIG events for me. Melbourne Rare Book Week in two weeks and UK holiday in three weeks.

Here is an update.

HOLIDAY

Three weeks to go ’til we leave on holidays to the UK – here is this weeks envelope to Mum. I a not at prolific this year and have forgotten to scan them before I send them !. Here are lots from  last holiday three years ago  to the UK.21Jun16 squirrel envelope

MELBOURNE RARE BOOK WEEK  – PART 1 – Sketching

As I have described previously I am going to be sketching the events of Melbourne Rare Book Week. They will be quick sketches in pen, maybe adding a splash of colour. I plan to combine these with some sketches of the buildings or room they are held in to provide context, interest and colour. Yesterday I spent time at the beautiful State Library of Victoria (after dropping some of my greeting cards off at  Readings bookshop – they reordered ! Hooray. But that’s another story) .

Five talks are being held there in two different rooms at State Library of Victoria. I could only gain access to one room yesterday – The Red Rotunda. I sketched from two angles – both sketches are very heavy handed, but they give an idea of the room. I may go back and redo these.

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MELBOURNE RARE BOOK WEEK – PART 2 –  Exhibition

The other part of my involvement in Melbourne Rare Book Week is my exhibition “You Can’t Draw in Books?” at Melbourne City Library. Yesterday I met with one of the Library staff to look at the practicalities of the display. We tried to find display stands to suit the various book sizes and see how they would look in the different areas of the library.

photo 2photo 3photo 1 Life is very busy and exciting !

exhibition preview

Today I held a special champagne preview for some close friends of my upcoming exhibition “You Can’t Draw in Books?” for Melbourne Rare Book Week.
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from left to right. Leon, Alissa, Louise, ,Michaela, Adam

Today’s preview was at my apartment for some good friends who will not be in town while my exhibition is on. The books were displayed, grouped as they will be in the different areas in Melbourne City Library. The difference was that today, they were spread out over a table, mantle piece and my bed, instead of labelled in display cabinets.

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The exhibition is at Melbourne City Library, Flinders Lane from 14 – 24 July. I will be giving a talk with book collector, Chris Browne  on Monday 18 July at 6pm. We will explore aspects of drawing in books, from early manuscript illustrations and the presentation of pictures on the printed page, to my own informal drawing in books. Book here for the talk.

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Above are a selection of the books. There are forty in total.

We are now at the stage of designing the flyer, and writing the content for the different areas of the display. In just over three weeks we will set up the exhibition. Today, it was great to receive some lovely comments from my friends and to get their feedback on some questions I had.  Thanks all for a lovely celebration and sharing my exciting art adventures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melbourne Rare Book Week

“Melbourne Rare Book Week – for the love of books” was launched on Monday night. The program of free events has been announced and bookings are open. It is on from 14 -25 July 2016.

I am absolutely thrilled and humbled to be involved with the event in two ways. Melbourne Rare Book Week (MRBW)  is a very prestigious event – attracting a wide range of local, Australian and global visitors.

Firstly, I have an exhibition, “You Can’t Draw in Books?” and an accompanying talk. I have over 40 books that I bought for a dollar or two, or were being discarded. I am illustrating on pages in reaction to the text on the page. One of my thoughts is that this drawing may make the viewer look deeper at the page and the book. And by doing this, giving the book a new life.

Hare Preservation Act

The drawing from my exhibition that was chosen to go in the MRBW promotional brochure (above) for the event  is drawn in a old law book. I have illustrated the Hare Preservation Act 1892 (UK) . Just read deeper and you will find out about regulating the hare breeding season.

The exhibition has an associated talk , with book collector Chris Browne, who will explore aspects of drawing in books, from early manuscript illustrations and the presentation of pictures on the printed page to some examples of formal and informal book illustrations in more modern times.

Here are some of the sketches in books I have already shared online. They are all still “works in progress “as I have a bit more to add to each before July.

Ross's Outlines of English History

Ross’s Outlines of English History

Undomestic Goddess

Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

All but one of the books are on open pages.

However the London A-Z Street Map is falling apart and is just asking to have many pages drawn on.
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July may seem a long way away, but is rapidly coming closer. My time between now and then will be spent investigating signage, labels… and completing the drawings.

23may2016 MRBW

Secondly, I am involved as an urban sketcher. I was excited to be contacted by Chris Browne last year after Kay Craddock (the organiser of MRBW) had seen some of my sketches from various Melbourne Rare Book Week events last year.
Chris suggested the idea of me visually recording some of the events and activities in 2016 through drawing. I started by sketching the launch (above). Urban sketchers draw what they see, on location, in real time, as it happens, and share their drawings on line. There are 55 events over the week and I will be kept very busy! You will see more about this over coming weeks on my blog, facebook, Instagram and flickr.

And then before it ends, I jump on a plane and fly to Manchester for the Urban Sketchers Symposium !

Lunar New Year – fast & slow sketching

On Saturday at my local East Melbourne Library there were Chinese New Year celebrations, including Lion Dancing. There were two Lions (each had two people in it)  and a mischievous buddah,  accompanied musicians on the drum, gong and cymbal. A fantastic overload of sights and sounds to delight the small crowd . It finished in firecrackers (outside the library) .

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It was very challenging to try and capture the constant movement of the characters. They darted up and down, back and forward, in a seemingly impromptu fashion. They jumped up onto the loans desk and bookshelves, in amazingly acrobatic moves. I learnt afterwards that they had not been to the library before this date and it was all made up on the spot.

I am not sure if I could have prepared for sketching this. It required very loose hand,  and arm movement. I was trying to juggle multiple coloured pencils and this slowed me down.

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It was a lot easier to draw the musicians – this was within my comfort zone !

After the finale of firecrackers outside the library and the ending of the ceremony, I moved back inside to try the deep fried dumplings and Chinese black tea. The makers of these explained the process as I watched and chatted to the library staff.

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Chinese black tea with Sarah Cowell from Teasense

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Deep fried prawn and pork dumplings with Corona So from Living Cuisine

Totally in my comfort zone here !

New exhibition of my sketchbooks

In August this year I was fortunate to have the opportunity to hold my first exhibition at my local East Melbourne Library. At the time, I also booked the space for my second exhibition for this month of October. Today I set it up with my friend and curator extraordinaire, Louise. This exhibition features 24 of my sketchbooks open at pages displaying a variety of themes. I hope to show people the wide variety of things that can be sketched and open their eyes to the concept of sketchbook journalingL1100103a.
The themes on the opened pages include people, travel, food, drink, Melbourne, tools, everyday things and medical – as you can see, a wide variety. Anything is sketchable! Some are quick sketches and others are studied drawings. I carry my Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook, watercolour pencils and Ink pen with me every where, and draw everyday.

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It was difficult, but fun to choose 24 pages from 55 books with sketches capturing the last 8 years of my life. I had help and advice to choose pages that had strong images in landscape format so that they would be interesting to look at in the glass display cabinets in the library. So many choices !

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My exhibition is on for the month of October. If you are in Melbourne, I hope that you get the opportunity to come and visit.

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My first solo art exhibition

My first solo art exhibition. It is small but it is all mine.L1100034

My local East Melbourne Library provides display cabinets for residents to book for a month at a time for exhibitions. With the encouragement of friends, I booked a space for August. Then, with the incredible guidance and assistance of my good friend Louise, (curator and exhibition designer) we planned and then set up my display.

THE PLANNING

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This took many hours and the time that we spent planning paid off.   I learnt that there is a lot involved in finding a theme, keeping focus and using the space of the  glass cubes that make up the cabinets. I cut 12 squares of 30 x 30 cm paper (the number and size of each shelf) and spread them out over the floor at home . I then decided what should be placed in each shelf. We took it all down to the library last Saturday, making slight alterations on the day .

All along, I had visualised how I wanted my feather and nests sketches to be exhibited, and the final display exceeded all of my expectations.

The theme of the exhibition was based around the drawings I have had printed as Greeting Cards and envelopes (which are available for sale on my Etsy site). They include feathers, nests, library books and ladders and snails.

BOOKS

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There is one display cabinet featuring library books and ladders.

I tried to add as many relevant sketchbooks as possible to the display as well as the finished drawings  on loose sheets of A4 paper as I am really a sketchbook artist.


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FEATHERS, NESTS AND SNAILS

I also wanted to include some of the original objects that the drawings were inspired by.

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I have already received some lovely feedback from the library staff.

I hope that you have enjoyed strolling through my first solo exhibition with me today. It is very big event for me and I very proud of my exhibition.