Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Artists create holes and openings in the universe" Mary Button Durell

In recent months there's been a fair bit happening ... in May a Residency at Plantbank which you can read about in previous posts... and at Seed Art Lab studio where I ran a series of workshops. 

Ten days knocked out with a virus slowed things down lately ... this week feels like I am just getting my stride again. Blogging is getting to be a rare event but I enjoy running into familiar faces at other sites and certainly anyone who does want a glimpse of whats been happening or to follow the Homage to the Seed project can LIKE my Homage to the Seed FACEBOOK Page for constant updates, news, artworks, related thematic material and abundant Seed themed posts.

Instagram is also where I post frequently these days: INSTAGRAM ~ SOPHIE MUNNS

Even though I've taken several thousand photos over the last couple of months I will have to find time to post those... in the meantime I loved this story about artist Mary Button Durell and invite you to read the whole article and look further into the website where a fav of many or us, Mari Andrews, has her story and work also featured. Enjoy!

Mary Button Durell

Artists create holes and openings in the universe. They 

sidestep the conventional, conditional, predictable and 

habitual, and they illuminate and connect different worlds.

Quote from 'In the Make' - studio visits with West Coast artists.

Read entire article here.

Mary’s studio is in the Mission District in Project Artaud, an arts complex that includes three theaters and is home to over 80 artists and writers. I had briefly talked to Mary on the phone before our visit, and her exuberant, jangly voice prompted me to make a few pre-visit conclusions: I figured she’d be a bit of a character with a healthy dose of nervous energy and a propensity to laugh easily and heartily. I have to say, I pretty much hit the mark. Mary’s a lot of fun to be around— she’s totally unpretentious, gesticulates wildly, and swears like a sailor. Somehow people who swear make me comfortable— maybe it’s because I assume they aren’t holding back and they’re coming at me just as they are, without obligatory formalities weighing them down. Mary’s unaffected way of being comes through in her art practice as well. There’s a rawness and simplicity to her materials, she essentially only uses tracing paper and wheat paste, and her inspiration often comes in the form of singular, unexpected visions. Though her process can be incredibly time-consuming it is decidedly straightforward, and yet it produces layered, imaginative, amorphous pieces that hint at the complexities and fragilities of humanity and the natural world. Mary’s been working with tracing paper and wheat paste since 1998— that’s a long time, and part of me wonders how she hasn’t gotten bored, or stuck, or indifferent along the way. Yet despite knowing her materials so intimately, Mary is constantly renegotiating the terms of her work, implementing new strategies and tactics that test where and how far she can go. Because Mary deals with just the essentials, pushing her materials is crucial, and every tweak, stretch, and pull makes all the difference.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

NEW: Seeds through an Artist's Lens WORKSHOPS start next week.

Scroll right down to see all photos taken at PLANTBANK during the May Workshop held while I was on Residency there. A lovely bunch of participants...  from the very experienced to newbies and everything in between.

I saw wonderful results, heard great comments and sighs of satisfaction. Excellent feedback and warm connections were generated over the two days.

We had so a unique range of seeds and pods to be inspired by. Now I am offering tis same chance for you to dive into the wonderful world of Seeds at my studio here in Brisbane Northside.... starting NEXT WEEK.


SeedArtLab Studio is an ideal space for between 3 to 6 people to be really comfortable ...  catering for beginners, the somewhat experienced,  seasoned artists and those practicing/exhibiting seriously. 

Costs for workshops at the studio are:

$115 per day including most art materials needed and light refreshments, tea, coffee, bickies!

$125 if you choose to have lunch provided as well. NB: Please be sure book & pay for a simple, fresh lunch.
Hours are 9.30am meet & chat over tea/coffee
 By 10am well be getting stuck in. Lunch is 12.30-ish & we’ll be working through till 4 to 4.30 for those who like to wind down. 

Most art materials needed will be provided with you fee. Do bring a journal/sketch book, any favourite art materials you love to use like coloured pencils, mixed media, watercolours ... and if you want to use high quality paper you can purchase something here if you would find that easier than getting to an art shop. Allow $5 or so if you want to buy quality watercolour paper. I’ll have some free for you to try! Most of the work we do will be on various kinds of paper …  or in your Journal!

Next MONDAY 29th, TUESDAY 30th or WEDNESDAY July 1 is available + the Weekend Saturday July 4th + Sunday 5th.

Anyone wanting the week after or later on …. please suggest dates and I’ll put that out to others.

Please ask me if you have any questions or concerns about what we will cover in this workshop… I’ve taught in schools, Uni & adult education in a huge variety of contexts so the starting point is always getting you oriented, making sure everyone relaxes, then entering into a kind of adventure where learning is absolutely enjoyable, one process after another is set up to get things rolling and by the time the afternoon sessions begin everyone is absolutely ready to get more focused on something you've particularly enjoyed discovering in the morning. 
I hover around but don’t intrude! I make suggestions that may extend ideas for you to explore and ofren others in the group will bounce off each other too, depending on the day. I like to do a few 'Show and tell’ interludes … there’s plenty in the studio to share and inspire. 

After you make the Workshop booking I will send out a practical check list too.

When weve confirmed dates you will then make the booking through DD bank account:

call studio: 07 3359 6849
mobile: 0430 599 344
Meemar St, Chermside, 4032 
(near the corner of Inga St)

Other events coming up:

I’ll be back At Plantbank, South West Sydney at the Australian Botanic Gardens doing another workshop mid September. Let me know if you want more info on that. Shelomi… will send you that info asap.

*MAYBE OF INTEREST: At the moment I’m in discussion with a lovely resident near Lamington National Park about a possible Art Retreat in Spring. If you wish to hear about that let me know. My friend is an organic grower, also producing fabulous coffee, growing Indigo plants for eco-friendly dye and is an amazing cook. Once we’ve put our heads together tomorrow night at her place up the mountain we will have more of an idea about offering Seeds through an Artists Lens as a 2 or 3 day retreat up there.  

In the coming months there’s likely to be some other regional workshop venues on the cards. For now however …  anyone who can make it along to the Brisbane Studio ... its definitely a great place to start from ...I run my project here and everything is on hand.

I look forward to seeing you before too long if in this region and keen to make deeper acquaintance with an enthralling diversity of seeds at our fingertips.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

May Plantbank Residency and Weekend Workshop, May 23 + 24, 2015.

Yesterday I posted this update at the Homage to the Seed Blog : homage to the seed weblog . . .: May Plantbank Residency Workshop, 2015. which I'm reposting here at Visual Eclectica.

On Monday I commenced a 2.5 week residency at Plantbank, located at The Australian Botanic Garden Mt Annan in SW Sydney.

Diversity wall at PLantbanks Foyer.

This follows an intensely rewarding residency conducted here at virtually the same time last year. The drive from Brisbane was a drawn out over three days to visit friends along the way and take in the landscape of NSW where I grew up and lived for many years. 

Saturday night stopover in Newcastle.

Yesterday was a series of lively conversations, catching up with familiar people, settling in to onsite accommodation & creating a workspace in the Plantbank Staff work area which is expansive and has wonderful natural light streaming in.

Seed-collecting shelf next to my work desk at Plantbank ... looking out to the Garden.

I managed to fit in a two hour walk in the Connections Gardens seed collecting and taking photos in the afternoon but last night by 6.30pm I was ready for a simple dinner in the Residency flat & catching a couple of TV programs, too tired to even write on my laptop.

Today was more conversations, reading material and another quick trip to find seedpods.

Sophora tomentosa found today in the Wattle Garden.

Near the staff Kitchen at Plantbank I set up a drawing table and placed a large sheet of paper, sepia ink, seed pods and twigs for drawing implements. Everyone is invited to contribute to this #BigSeedDrawing.

After a few staff had dropped by and made a start of this communal Seed drawing which will be completed by the time I leave.

Gum blossom

Gum blossoms via Instagram and Apps.

Callerya megasperma found Monday in the Garden.

From Plantbank Seed Material

Gmelina leichardtii .... found in the Gardens on Monday.

You can follow the residency through extensive posts with images on my

 FACEBOOK PAGE:  Homage to the Seed


Instagram will also have some posts.


I'm here till May 27th. Look out for the Workshop details on May 23 + 24... places left if you are local!  



Friday, March 27, 2015

Announcing the ONLINE-STORE: SeedArtLab Studio@BigCartel

Well... its rather late ... and a peaceful night it is here.

Can't believe how long it took me to get my head around setting up an Online shop. First the thinking, then the research and looking, then more thinking, gradually the site-building and finally some lessons here and there and a crescendo of activity and wa la! Its Up!

Glad to say its getting easier and more familiar as I go... its been 9 days since I quietly launched the venture.

I decided on Big Cartel for my ONLINE STORE: . Gradually adding stock... a few smaller original works on paper and mostly Archival Quality prints. I have offered Limited edition prints for some time now... but the platform for selling Overseas was a necessity.

I've sorted out a square format for small prints... something affordable for purchasing with modest shipping costs seemed a good idea. I've long been drawn to squares... and circles.

20 SMALL PRINTS ARE NOW AVAILABLE: As a Special offer... before Easter Monday, APRIL 6th, any of the 21cm sq Prints on beautiful Hahnemule Photo Rag 208 Gsm ~ cotton rag paper are avilable for a special price. Visit the ONLINE STORE: to see the current offer and the range posted in the last week or so.

Section of Orginal Artwork.

There are larger LIMITED EDITION prints up already... and as of today small prints that will be signed but sold as affordable works on Archival Photo Rag Paper. The print above is a section of a large Limited Edition print available on Paper or Stretched Canvas.

Limited Editions Series are signed, titled and numbered by the artist ... subsequently in a different price range as larger, high quality works. 

One of my passions is the element of water... pursued in my art-practice at various times, especially in the Newcastle years 2000-2008. I've accumulated many photos taken at Ocean Baths... particularly focusing on light & movement of water.

There are 5 prints as part of the special offer with this theme ... titled 'Water Quartet'.

I will gradually post up other Limited Edition works that are available. I've more images than time to post them online it would seem. Learning the process of writing to convey crucial info, supplying all the shipping and purchasing details takes time... and I am sure there will be some finessing to do yet.

My goal is to be sharing work from my studio through this new venture whilst I focus quite intensely on a quite involved 'Homage to the Seed' book that's been started ... a writing fund is a good thing indeed.

Best wishes everyone!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February ... 2015

I'm sure we haven't seen the last of summer in the sub-tropics but its been a most pleasant week or so here... cooler and easier for trying to concentrate on work. 

I've started work in earnest on the book that's been on the cards for ages.

Today I collected a Limited Edition print which had been ordered for a client and thought I would post it here.

The image below is a stretched Limited Edition print on canvas for a client last year. The artwork was wrapped around the wooden stretched frame... a mirror image of the artwork that is. I particularly liked the way this worked in real life. 

However this work below which was painted last winter... an unframed work on linen, 200 cm x 100 cm, required a different approach for the Limited Edition print.

“Homage to our common inheritance” by Sophie Munns, 2 m x 1 m 

The original artwork has a frayed selvage that I stitched in natural linen to strengthen. The work was given a layer of an Atelier varnish to seal the ink and paint surface on linen in addition to the surface having been sealed as an undercoat prior to working on this piece.

On this framed print the frayed edge is revealed on the front of the work rather than attempting to wrap the design around the frame.

Making a print from a work this large required professional scanning at an extremely high resolution which thankfully has produced an excellent quality print. 

Unfortunately the lighting on the work was not ideal for taking images this evening ... it seems to have thrown a warm glow on most of the images thus affecting the authentic colours. Apologies for this somewhat annoying problem.

These close-ups give some idea of the effect of the print at least.

The image below is ironically more true to the colours... 
however its not a good image or resolution.

The other task of the moment I am very focused on is the book project that has been gestating for a few years.

The weekend just passed was spent working on a draft of sorts! The computer clearly was useless for trying to capture essential material for a book which will rely heavily on text, image and a somewhat unorthodox composition of concepts... (hopefully)!

Instead I've gone for watercolour paper ... It comes in 50 sheets per pack... 300gms, acid-free , cold pressed, 210mm x 100mm + using pigmented ink pens, lightproof, permanent + waterproof.

I've tried books of every size, cheap A4 paper, computer, a private blog, post-it stickers... you name it.

And this time it's working the way I need it to!

One of my favourite painting projects was carried out on these excellent paper sheets. Once this stage is completed and I begin to transform material into pages on my computer I could paint over work on these cards if I don't wish to save them.

I'm reminded how reliant my process can be on shifting between idea, text and image. Images are not purely illustrations and diagrams... articulating far more than words at times. It's filmic in some ways... and this is the Story-board. I can't be concerned with how it flows or comes together yet... all that matters is managing to assemble the disparate parts of something that's been long gestating.

Capturing the key themes, musing on stages of one's Art Practice over decades offers much to consider. The challenge to pare back... to lift out what is essential. The search for central motifs and the leading thoughts is everything at the moment.

I hope February is proving stimulating for you... with good challenges that are enriching.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Years Greetings + a 2015 Calendar.

I hope 2015 has started well for you wherever you may be. 

Slow time at home has been very pleasant... perhaps the humidity of last week here in Brisbane I could have lived without ... but its certainly timely, as one year ends and another begins, to reconsider ones place in the scheme of things.

Ive not been posting regularly here anymore yet I find I am meeting blogging friends at Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest etc so that is one consolation for not having time to spend here.

Today I took delivery of the 2015 Calendars that people ordered when I posted them on FB and Instagram. At this stage I'm only able to offer them Australia-wide were they can be purchased by Direct Debit and once the order is paid for I place my order with the printer. 

Just leave a message if you wish to know more or email me here.

If you wish to connect follow the Homage to the Seed FB page, or find me on Pinterest or at Instagram!

May 2015 be a truly rewarding year for you all!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


OPEN STUDIO week concluded yesterday after 9 busy days open from Midday most days.

The experience was well-timed for a complete makeover of the space... paintings came down off the walls and works on paper wall-papered the entire space.

It was incredibly refreshing and stimulating with all this material around... those who may have thought it too maximal were too polite to say and many found it interesting  and took time to gaze at things.

The Artist talks were a really productive part of the 9 day event... I so enjoyed having two artists come to share their stories and work... and I also ended up doing two different talks on the journal process which was a very unique experience to actually be surrounded by so many of my journals and works to refer to. Often I talk with a Slideshow for prop... quite a good process as the images are lively... however the intimacy of this weeks talks prompted a great discussion through sharing primary materials first hand!

Some of my journals

...on the table after the groups left Sunday morning.

I'd forgotten what was included in some of these journals not looked at in ages. 

Wednesday's talk with Lesa Hepburn was fantastic .... she brought fibre and paper samples and did a demo of some paper-making processes which got my imagination working. I am planning to go to an exhibition at Redcliffe near where she lives this weekend featuring Paper. I rather wished this talk have been taped ... I felt like I was hearing so much I wanted to know more of!

I certainly hope to see much more of Lesa Hepburn's work... her knowledge and experience leaves one wanting to learn much more!

On Friday afternoon I was delighted to have photographic artist Renata Buziak at the studio doing a talk on her fascinating Biochromes ... a process she developed with photographic materials and decomposing plant matter that is really something to observe.

Her time lapse images were stunning and the range of ways she has applied her work absolutely riveting. Through the period of her current PhD her exploration of plants used in medicine and healing has grown ... taking her back to the cultural context of her homeland Poland and to the Indigenous people of North Stradbroke Island in Moreton Bay.

The one thing about this 9 day Open Studio I particularly valued was the exchanges... I went into it having worked alone in the studio most of the year... often in a really intense and ultra focused way. Through these new interactions I found I was able to hold onto that atmosphere of it being a dense thinking space... but in a an entirely different  and collaborative way.

I've started this new week considerably refreshed by the experience ... keen to follow up on some excellent exchanges and ideas... even possible collaborations with the artists.

I worked this afternoon with Renata at the school project 100 Futures Now we've both been part of this year... tomorrow an exhibition of what was created with Yr 8 Students will be shown to parents and friends.

The Studio is going to be OPEN each THURSDAY till Xmas and by appointment if anyone wishes to visit. Sophie is on 0430 599 344.... call or text a message if you wish to get in contact.