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.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Special events during OPEN STUDIO WEEK!

Tomorrow, Saturday Nov 22nd the doors open at Midday for a 9 days Open Studio event. To bring further dimension to the Studio offerings there will be a Communal Drawing started tomorrow called #TheBigSeedDraw which you can read about below... and several Artist Talks which you can read about here!

artist talks at 
All talks are free ..simply rsvp to be sure of a seat and arrive early to take in what's happening at Seed.Art.Lab Studio during this event and ongoing! 

Over three afternoons later next week an Artist will be telling about their work with plants and nature... three very different stories, approaches and art practices. I hope you will enjoy this if you are able to join us at all!

+ wednesday 26th 1.30pm

Natural Fibre Artist Lesa Hepburn: talk + demo

Lesa is an artist working in handmade paper and natural plant fibres with a strong focus on sustainable arts practice working with available natural materials, recycled materials and low impact processes. 

Lesa Hepburn can be found at her website , 

I think you can see why I was delighted to have Lesa come and talk at Seed.Art.Lab next week. 

+ thursday 27th 2pm

Sophie Munns: How a life-long immersion in the journal process 
has shaped current project 'Homage to the Seed'

I have included an afternoon to talk about my work... obviously if you miss this but wish to come on another day... + any of the OPEN DAYS up until Xmas I can share some of the material with you then!

Some of my older journals

The Cairns journal

If you have visited my blogs or other sites you might have gathered that journals have long been important in my Art Practice ... this is a chance to see some of the journals from over the years and see how important that have been in the developing process of my ongoing practice and current project. The Studio Archive blog has referred often to the journal process.

+ friday 30th 2pm 
Photographer Renata Buziak :

'Biochromes' ~ where nature + photography meet.

I got to know Renata in 2010 when on residency at Mt Coot-tha, Brisbane Botanic Gardens. She had been Artist-in-Residence there in 2008 and I've followed her journey over the last number of years with fascination ... this year reconnecting when both of us were working in a School AIR Project.

I'm very pleased to have her come on the Friday next week for a personal glimpse into her work, her exciting approach and unique vision of nature.

Yellow Buttons : Renata Buziac

Renata Buziak can be found at her website and on Facebook.

PLEASE BOOK A SEAT to these free talks... it will greatly help with out organisation on the day! ph: 0430 599 344 or email!


I'm delighted to have new work available in archival quality Limited Edition Prints.

Ask for more information!

And to finish off ... 

about the Big Seed Draw ... #thebigseeddraw

You can always find my on Instagram and FB at Homage to the Seed. 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Prepping for the 9 day OPEN STUDIO week at Seed.Art.Lab

Busy days at the moment making sure everything is organised. Saturday is a few sleeps away and if there is one thing I've noticed about holding OPEN STUDIO events its feeling you can always do more or be more prepared.

However ... really half the thing it seems to me is getting into a social mood and finding ways to make it a lively and joyful event. That was easy yesterday when new intern Jessica Olorenshaw joined me to set up.

If you tired to read the tiny print it say there will be artist talks and a demo or two... yes... more coming on that soon.

And of course I'm offering free sessions of the BIG SEED DRAW with prizes drawn at the end of the event picked from names of those who posted about the #thebigseeddraw on Twitter, FB or Instagram! Stay tuned!

Jessica helping me decide what to hang where for my Black and White wall... images mainly come from residency stints or carious studio phases!

The top wall is work from the Institute of Molecular Bioscience... it was great to included that with other very different seed inspired work.

This was a work I was really pleased to include .... its made up of 10 or so panels of work on paper that I determined could possibly work well installed as an assemblage.

I refrained from stitching or gluing the panels so it can be altered... so this is it ....  for the moment anyway!

Please call or email if thou have any questions and don't forget you may make a time to suit you. All work is for sales unless clearly marked!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Save the Date: Seed.Art.Lab in November + the BIG SEED DRAW!

Its a quick post today to mention an upcoming OPEN STUDIO event at Seed.Art.Lab Studio in November. Throughout the year I've opened occasionally on Thursdays from Midday, putting notices out through FB and Instagram. 

It was a great way to test the waters ... all very informal ... with low-key promo. Many weeks I was too busy or away which is why the casual approach was so helpful. 

I had an excellent time meeting new people and catching up with some I'd met before. Friends dropped in and I found a good rhythm for running the Open Studio days. A bonus was the studio was getting put in order.... it was easier to find things and get a fresh start afterwards too. When painting deadlines became crucial it was simply a matter of opting out till life was settled again.

Elizabeth Santillan, Brisbane Photographer, from her shoot at my studio.

It will be a year exactly since the launch of the Studio... well worth celebrating I thought.

Deciding to Open over 9 days struck me as a good idea when everyone is getting so busy at this time of year. There's a few ideas also being discussed for small events to run during this time.

WHEN:   Two weekends + any day during the last week of November
WHERE:  Meemar St, Chermside
INFO: Email, phone or text for more information ~ 0430 599 344

Once all the details are worked out I will be posting more info here and on FB Page : Homage to the Seed and Instagram. 

 Stay tuned for info on special events during   OPEN STUDIO WEEK!               

One of the activities planned for this OPEN STUDIO week is a communal BIG SEED DRAW. On my recent Residency I set up a drawing table, brought in baskets of seed material for inspiration, some books and artwork and set people up with sepia ink and and brushes. It didn't matter who came and who left... the idea is simply to be together working on shared paper and conversing about the task at hand and the beauty and value of seeds.

I'l be running a REALLY  big BIG SEED DRAW event on November 16th in Brisbane as one of many cultural activities at the G20 Cultural Festival happening for 3 weeks.

Read about this BIG SEED DRAW event here...  let me now if you are in Brisbane and interested to join us.

Its a FREE event and it will be buzzing with all kinds of activities by the river ...  I'm going to be in a Marquee next to the local Community Garden where they will be doing demos ... all very in theme!

The Studio after a huge spring clean following a 2 month painting spree!

Friday, October 17, 2014

An exhibition st Mobilia Gallery

Time to update on what's been happening at Seed.Art.Lab Studio.

After the May Plantbank residency 2014 seems to have flown. From late June to late August considerable hours were dedicated to painting three large works for a Textiles exhibition currently being held in the US, at Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

During the painting phase I updated often on Instagram and FB page... and below are images of the works which have been professionally photographed and are now available as Limited Edition Archival prints. Enquiries here ... I'll add a link when formal online sales are organised.

 The show opened October 10th but a formal reception is being held Saturday week.. see here:

 SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25, from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. 
 RSVP 617-876-2109 or mobiliaart@verizon.net 

Text from my website:

The series, approx, 1 m x 2 m, is painted in acrylic and pigmented ink on-stretched Linen, featuring frayed edges, and stitched with Irish linen thread. A May residency earlier this year (tab: 2014) at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mt Annan 's new seed research facility PLANTBANK presented a huge array of Australian species, seed collections and related material which was important fresh inspiration for this artwork in addition to the body of material on Seeds gathered over the last 5 years. 

The motifs in these works are abstractions of seed forms, drawn from pods, seed capsules, seeds themselves, and also in the case of the third work, from the motifs that the artist became familiar with many years ago when looking into the symbolic language of diverse ancient and indigenous cultures. A statement which puts this work in perspective can be read here.

'Antipodean Inheritance I'      1m x 2m

'Antipodean Inheritance II'     1m x 2m

'Homage to our common inheritance'      1m x 2m

This week I've spent on residency in Brisbane at Food Connect but I'll update that at my Homage to the Seed blog tonight. So check in soon.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A global moment to stand for something that matters...

Its been such a long time since I posted here...

Much has happened and most of it is reported on my Facebook Page or Instagram.

Tonight I wanted to take a moment to refer to the importance of the extraordinary mobilisation of  people all around the globe as preparations have been made for the Peoples Climate March ... 

Everyone is invited to participate and to even make their own event... a great idea if its too far or not possible for people to attend.

I decided to make a tribute to my newly born great niece Emmy-Lou... there are her beautiful little hands. She came into the world on August 3rd... born to my niece Lara and her husband Dwight.

Here I am below siting in a cafe on a recent trip up the coast to meet Miss Emmy-Lou! I also have three little great nephews ... all of whom I'm delighted to spend time when I can...  enjoying the precious years of their childhood.

Tomorrow taking to time to stand up and show support for the acutely critical matter of Climate-related matters seems SO essential ... especially where children are concerned. 

They are brought into this world unknowing and their inheritance now is an extremely vulnerable one. I've heard many my age say they don't believe in or wish to think about climate change... but for the sake of our children I would argue it's compulsory. 

Denial at this point is grossly disrespectful of consequences already clearly mapped... and my concern is about giving young people the language, concepts, empowerment and support to be able to face the future with as much eagerness and resilience as possible rather than with fear and loathing and or denial!

This 5 week old child is in the arms of loving parents who are blessed to live in a country with resources and opportunity... but this we cannot take for granted... nor should we be blind to what is happening elsewhere and how things are for others.

I hope that millions take time to rally tomorrow. to observe this mobilisation and in whatever way possible support it and discuss it.

For the sake of everything we consider precious may we find a way to preserve, celebrate and fight for the continuity of what is for the good of all peoples on this planet!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What happened to May?

I just noticed my last post was mid April. 

Unheard of for me to take such a long time between posts here at this blog.

I can't even remember April now. I left Brisbane April 24th driving the coast road to Sydney staying a few nights along the way.

Sunday, April 27th I arrived at Plantbank, the brand new architecturally designed Seed Research Facility at the Australian Botanic Gardens, Mt Annan, south-west of Sydney, where I undertook a two week residency.

The new facility houses all aspects of Seed Processing, Seed-banking, Plant Tissue Labs, Offices, workspaces, a Library and Teaching space. Outside is an extensive Nursery and the old Seedbank Facility. And then there are the hectares of the Botanic Gardens which would take ages to get to know. The location is still in part a rural area with suburban sprawl encroaching, and nearby Hume Hwy access takes one to Sydney which is an hour northeast of this Garden.

Seed processing room.

In the centre of the Plantbank building is a large lobby lined with displays and education panels. The room in the image above is the Seed Processing room where new collections are brought in to be sorted and documented before removing to other areas of the building for other processes and storage.

The Seed Vault consists of several refrigerated rooms set at different temperatures below zero, catering to requirements seeds have for storage purposes.

This image was taken in the large open workspace where staff desks are located.I found this to be a great place for the odd quiet conversation during the day, and getting to know people throughout the residency. The seedpods I accumulated at my desk each day started many an interesting exchange.

Something I find so fascinating about working amidst staff like this is one learns a great deal about Plantbank's numerous projects and the stories, research and background of individuals. Seeing a project in all its aspects enables a depth of understanding that is unique. As questions arise one can find someone with a response.

'Callerya megasperma’ , seed pods collected at the Tweed Valley. 

Hearing about collecting trips is also instructive. So much is what is involved in Plant Conservation Science begins to make sense when you see the connection between the in-situ and ex-situ work, seeing what occurs in the Nursery, Gardens, Seedbank and on collecting trips and field work.  

All invaluable work, Plantbank offers various programs for communication with the public, guided tours and so on. De-mystifying the work to new audiences can be crucial given aspects of the work can be all too easily misunderstood. Much confusion exists around Plant Science due to lack of public awareness of processes like gene-banking. Its highly problematic when seed conservation work is lumped in with the worst case scenario of Corporate Seed politics and practices. Education is the only way through false assumptions. 

In light of this miss-mash of misinformation currently existing around Seeds it was gratifying to see the constant flow of visitors at Plantbank and the excellent level of public engagement and education offered.

In the large open room lined with staff desks I set up a workspace across two seeks with excellent storage and benches where I seas able to place seeds I was collecting from around the place.

I spent most evenings working back late... that way I could wander around in the morning taking photos in the garden or looking at various aspects of the work being carried out around the grounds. 

Two weeks was far too brief a time for getting as much done as I'd have liked. I tend to make too many plans and always have to rethink mid-way. For this reason photographs become crucial records... and all one to come back to a topic of interest later.

My plan is to return later this year... that was decided quite early in my stay which took some pressure of the fact of only having two weeks to make the most of the experience. 

The images above are of Parachidendron pruinosem, a small seedpod collected at Bellingen which I found captivating. 

Above is Melaleuca globifera, a Western Australian species I took many images of and also drew. The tree was was a great discovery on a walk one afternoon. I found myself returning again and again to observe this curious form, the way it grew half-way along rather thin stick-like branches, and the little globe itself.

Daphnandra johnsonii ... these fascinating seeds (above) took spectacular photos in the late afternoon sunlight ... capturing these shadows was most compelling.

The work above is a long painting on linen that I worked on in ink and acrylic paint. Based on various plantbank inspirations ... like working with petrie dishes, seeds under the microscope etc.

The Microscopy Room was another source of great inspiration. 

The Microscopy Room offered access to a Micro-imaging computer and an x-ray machine which I was able to use to produce extraordinary images, once I learned the basic processes. I will attempt to work with some of this imagery soon.

This Parachidendron pruinosem pod was quite intriguing ... especially so under the X-ray machine.

This species I must check the name of ... it led to some amazing images as well. The small seeds were contained in centre of the sepals... it looked rather like a flower!

The structure was fascinating the more I enlarged it.

The image below is quite pixilated but reveals details I found very interesting... the veins and circular cell-like detail.

A native grass going outside at Plantbank caught my eye so I ran it through the x-ray machine.

So much beauty in the forms and details. Fascination with the x-ray process grew the longer I played around with the possibilities. Its definitely something I'd like to work on further. Finding I could alter the appearance quite radically by shifting the size and tonal contrast of the subject it dawned on me what might be achieved... as well as the magic of what I was looking at.

Since returning home I've been flat-out working on several projects at once. A deadline for the Biodiversity Conversation Plates below  meant some late nights painting to be ready for the weekend just passed ... the Mayo Arts Festival being held at St Margaret's, Ascot. I had already put aside plates I'd previously painted for the show... but on return home from Plantbank I decided too explore and interpret some of the imagery from the residency on this plate series. 

I could be posting much more about the residency, from the 100's of photos taken, the amazing people I had the opportunity to work with and reflections since.

Life is lived very intensely when on a brief residency. Everything is under the micro-scope so to speak. Every conversation is potential material for further research. I certainly worked long hours and came away feeling really rejuvenated even if a little exhausted as well.

Coming home to a whole series of projects timetabled for the last few weeks I've been heavily involved in preparation and delivering material on seeds and diversity as an artist-in-residence in a local Brisbane school ... Kelvin Grove Secondary College. The '100 FUTURES program with yr 8 started on my return from Sydney, as did a Yr 12 program with Brisbane City Council + KGSC, and this week another Jumpstart program for Yr 6 and 7 student at KGSC kicks off.

Between working on the Biodiversity Plates and these Intensive programs with schools I have been absolutely flat chat and am only just now beginning to catch up and reflect back on Plantbank, write blog posts and so on.

If you go to my Facebook Page or to Instagram you can track the last month in images and posts there.

I hope not to take such a long time between posts in future... but sometimes one has to get on tha wave and ride it  ... and not lose the moment that is requiring 150% concentration.

Best to all who pass by here,