12 May 2007

Part 4: “Of elephants and dreams”, The finale.

A little blurb before the blurb:

So many amazing comments and encouraging words from so many people. I am so touched by your responses and interest in the piece. I feel humbled, overwhelmed and excited all at that same time. So big hugs to you all even the anonymous people – I do not know who you are but thanks. Thanks to Anne who has made a number of comments, I wish I knew who you were too.

To my gorgeous Michael who is away teaching first at Art and Soul and then the last couple of days at Random Arts in North Carolina at the moment. Michael only saw this book when I posted it here. He had met Karen and Gina whilst he was here so he was happy that they were happy.
I loved and appreciated your comment and that you posted pictures of the book on your blog was so nice. Not sure what was nicer, my photo's or the crumbs of the scone lerftovers.
Thanks bebe, it meant so much to me, as you know.
The countdown is on... just 5 days to go till you land here.

Today I felt like “Grasshopper”!

When I awoke and went on my blog comments today I saw a comment from Nina, the artist who had so much influence on this piece. And what a beautiful comment it was. It’s hard to express how I feel that Nina took the time to publicly comment. It means the world to me.

And yes I cannot wait to spend 5 days with her next year. I will try to soak up everything she has to teach. Her techniques are so clever, well most of you reading this will know. I will be grateful to not zip through a one day workshop trying to remember it all. I am not a jeweller but those Nina knots got me stumped many a time until Ro came to the rescue.

Next year it's 5 days to see the world through Nina’s eyes. You know how she writes, how she views nature and then applies that into her works of art. I cannot wait. You know when every now and then someone comes into your life that has a significant impact on you and even changes your perspective on things.
Well such was Nina’s impact on me.
I mean who would have ever thought I would be foraging the harbours and beaches of this beautiful city for beach glass and rocks that look like hearts.
Nina, what have you done to me??? LOL, I am loving it. Thanks for opening my eyes to nature.

So why the photo and reference to Grasshopper and the series Kung Fu - (Gosh I am showing my age here). Well, Kwai Chang Caine (David Carradine) was trained mostly by Master Kan and Master Po at the Shaolin Temple in China.

The first meeting between the young Caine and Master Po contains the following:

"Of all things, to live in darkness must be the worst." -young Caine

"Fear is the only darkness." -Master Po

"Never assume that because a man has no eyes, he cannot see." -Po

'Close your eyes. What do you hear?' -Po

'I hear the water. I hear the birds.' -young Caine

'Do you hear your own heartbeat?' 'No.'

'Do you hear the grasshopper which at your feet?'

Caine opens his eyes and looks down at his feet to see a grasshopper there.

'Old Man, how is it that you hear these things?'
"Young Man, how is it that you do not?'"

So Master Nina, thanks from Grasshopper!!!

The finale - here we go!

This one is quite difficult to see. When Michael was here we found this large stained glass window made up of lots of smaller sections. So I used one piece, covered it in aged copper tape and put a photo of Karen behind it. The book cover is a multi layer collage done in beeswax. Collaged into it is part of a brochure on the Daily Job Description for the Water Buffaloes that are there too – it is hilarious – and I am glad I put it in cos Karen loved the description too. And the 50 is there for obvious reasons.

This was such an amazing photo and I use what’s called the lomo technique to accentuate the amazing colours that Thailand’s nature has to offer. Look at the colour of the water.
A quote from Kipling’s story, "The elephants child", was placed at the bottom of the photo.

“Then Kolokolo Bird said, with a mournful cry,
'Go to the banks ofthe great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River,
all set about with fever-trees, and find out.”

The signature has the bird here for that reason.

To the right of this photo you can see a bee’s waxed page that has jump ring on it. There were 4 element/pages linked together with jump rings. On page had the encyclopedic definition of elephants, one had the same for Thailand. Then I used those tissue paper patterns I scored from Spotlight – remember that – lol. For some reason I have forgotten to photograph the last section of it which said I love Harry’s-that’s what Karen has called elephants since she was a wee lass. Those interlinking pieces of paper covered the photo above.
"The Elephants Right of Way"
Well i think if an elephant was in my path I would give him/her the right of way too!
More on the use of this book below a bit.

Regarding the photo below,
can’t you just see the love and excitement in Karen’s eyes and smile?

So a heart rock we had to find.
I dragged 2 of my kids down to a local park with a stream through it and we went a-hunting. Jackpot.
I adore vintage lenses and this was one that I felt would go well here to focus on Karen utter joy, riding Yuki. The pocket that is beside it had another photo and held 2 caricatures of Yuki and Boon-mar that Gina and Karen received, so now it was safely tucked away in the book.

I saw Nina use a glove in one of the magazine articles – ingenious. As Gina wanted to insert the Agenda that was given to them, I thought the glove idea would be great. I transferred the elephant image on the paper next to the glove and placed the following Dr. Seuss quote:

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant,
an elephant’s word is one hundred percent”.

Why, pray tell, did I put that in here, I hear you asking?
Because it is Karen 100%.
She is Honest thru and thru and her word is 100% (as is Gina’s - mind you) so it seemed fitting.

My all time favourite photo.

I just love how I managed to pull this one off, even if I do say so myself. To Photoshop this to where I wanted it took me 4 hours. So many layers and to get the photo to grade so Karen’s image was highlighted within the circle as well – I was thrilled with the end result. So thrilled that I felt the photo, placed on a simple vintage black book cover would almost suffice.

Remember the post about the soldering problems – the microscope slide piece was this piece. I used part of their uniform in here too – “the birthday gift” – a little reminder of what this trip was from Gina to Karen. The other side said, “the elephants did this trek” – which was from a story within this book. More on that in a second.

On this the final page of the inside back cover is a photo placed in a niche of an encyclopedic definition of “Ride”. Here I placed a piece of… yes; you guessed it…beach glass. I added the words, ‘tales of big game adventures to the glass”. Mica is then placed on top and screwed into the 10 pages that were stacked on top of one another to house the photo. I stitched the top with wire – no easy feat, but it looked more effective than floss.

To this, the back cover.

I found myself wondering what I was going to do with this page.
A very dimensional element would not allow the book to sit correctly.

So I collaged the transparency photo on top of the following… a very old ephemera piece that I just loved. It is an architectural type element of an elephant – like a building, here is the image behind Karen’s photo.

I felt this page had to sum up the book a bit.
As such there is a photo of Gina riding.

I found an old piece of ephemera (bottom right corner) that was from a chewing gum packet. It was an ad for Elephant finger puppet chewing gum. I noticed at the bottom that it was manufactured in New York and I was kind-of hoping Karen would recognize it from her childhood – wild guess and hope.


She had some vague recollection of it. (I think Eureka is an Aussie term, it means, I hit the jackpot).

One day I felt I needed just one more book or story about elephants for this book. I looked in 3 bookshops that had vintage books till I found an old childrens annual that had this story in it. Bits and pieces of this story have been featured in this book.

“The elephants right of way” was the name of the story.

The really funny thing about this story which I did not read until I got home was that the main character was a girl named Judy.

Well, how bl—dy perfect was that.

So I placed the title page in the back page collage, right next to Karen to represent that I too became entwined in this journey of journeys.

Details, details, details.

I hope you have enjoyed coming along this journey with me. Every Visual Anthology I do has this amount of symbolism in it. I immerse myself in the books which is why sometimes I go off-line and cannot post for a few days at a time. It takes an enormous amount of my energy. When it is finished it is very nerve wracking until my clients receive it. I usually only get a small 20 minute brief or so then they hand it over to me.

Most of my other books/albums are 60 to 80 pages long.

They take a month of production time. But as I have said once before, it’s all worth it when that phone call comes in from the recipient. Then I can breathe again.

Yes sometimes it can be hard to hand them over but I know that they are treasured and loved by entire families.

A very special thanks to Karen and Gina who have afforded me the opportunity to show my work here. It is frustrating not to have been able to do so before. Can't wait to see what you do for Gina's 50th Karen.

Happy Mother's Day to one and all. I hope you get the appreciation you all deserve and breakfast in bed.



Steph said...

I can't get enough of your book... It is an awsome piece... I don't think I know words to express exactly what I feel...

you know who said...

well, judy. damn! you've outdone yourself and made me blush, all in one fell swoop. there are NO others like you, grasshopper - so walk tall among the grasses and know that you are a leader. remember that i am only the teacher and you are the artist; what you've done with the knowledge i shared with you is phenomenal. i've learned throughout the years that life is the best teacher of all - take all that you've gleaned in your fine life, there in sydney, over in italy, and wherever you've graced the earth, and channel it into these spectacular pieces of fine art you are creating. i wish we lived closer than we do - you are a treasure...
it is very generous of you to share and explain your processes and inspirations of this beautiful book with the world - generous and trusting. it adds a new depth to the judy that i met and started getting to know while i visited in australia this past february; i can only imagine what leaps you will have made by the time we see each other again next may.
the world is fuller with you in it. i know your boys are proud of you, including that biggest boy of all. love to all - m. included - xo

Geraldine said...


archimedes, i think, said "eureka" when he realized how things float in water. i think he was in the bath at the time. i nearly said it out loud myself at artfest in one of keith lobue's classes.

i'm glad nina sent me over here.

Ro Bruhn said...

Fantastic doesn't even begin to describe your book Judy, but I can't think of anything else, it is sooo amazing. I love the way you've used the stained glass. I think part of the enjoyment of working on such an epic, must be the searching and finding of the images and ephemera that goes into it. From your wonderful description I feel as if I've been on the journey with you. As much as I'm so into colour, I also love earthy, rich, vintage pieces which you have captured so well. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Happy Mother's Day

Gina said...

Judy, Karen and I cannot stop looking at this magical and fantastic book you have created for us! Each time we go through it, we find something different. Your creativity is just amazing. I always knew you were an artist from the days back in primary school when you taught me to do the "squiggly" patterns with all different colours - you were ahead of your times then!! I can't thank you enough for the time, effort, and most of all love and care that you put into this visual anthology - its just AWESOME! Most of all its great that you and I have re-kindled our long lost friendship after many years. Thanks so much again! BRAVO!! xox

Monique said...

In absolute awe I have been trying to grasp little of the beauty of this amazing piece of art.I am sure the photos do little justice and I would love to touch and feel the structures and see upclose the amazing love you put in this book! Thank you for taking us on this journey!

Gisele said...

Judy, so pleased to have discovered your blog through Michael's......I'm left totally speechless by the beauty of this book and have to keep coming back to view all the beautiful photos to be able to take in the wonderful earthy tones & details incorporated into this. Truely a masterpiece!

Sharon Manning said...

Nothing short of superb!

Megan Pickwell said...

What a mammoth work!
Happy Mothers Day to you too Judy.
Magnificent Piece.

lindaharre said...


Angie in AZ said...

Your book is just phenomenal. I love the colors and textures but I'm most fascinated with the incredible amount of thought you put into each and every piece for every page. Everything tells a story and has purpose. What a treasure you have created. It's obvious that it comes straight from your heart. This book is truly an incredible work of art... a book you can look at a thousand times and always see something new that you hadn't noticed before. It really draws you in.

katie said...

what an amazing book of artwork, just stunning! i want to study and touch all the gorgeous and intricate details you've built into the book, the multitude of textures i see, and soak in the ambience of this original piece. i'm a big fan of michael and his work (i went to pozos for his workshop) and i hope i get a chance to meet you as well one day.
happy mother's day!!

Cre8Tiva said...

Judy - the book is beautiful and so are you. Your spirit of sharing is wonderous. I thank you. It was a pleasure watching it grow. I have spent the last few days in NC with MdM. It was an amazing adventure. Have an awesome time together! God speed for a safe trip.

Susan Tuttle said...

Hi Judy,
I am still in such awe! Gorgeous work!

Happy Mother's Day to you! Have a wonderful visit with Michael--I see you are on the countdown--will be 4 days by time you read this!


Tricia Scott said...

hi judy. i, too, am in awe of this amazing work of art. how generous you are to share it in so much detail. i can only imagine the time it took to post alone! incredible work and i am thrilled to have found your blog.

Jen Crossley said...

What can I say that hasnt already been said you are indeed a very talented artist Judy ,your work has totally blown me away,Thank you so much for sharing this piece of true ART
you are amazing

Bronwyn said...

Wow, it is what I would call achingly beautiful. Even though I have only seen pictures not the real thing, it has a quality that seems somehow spiritual. To me it has a similar sensibilty to the Ashes and Snow images.


Marie said...

What a fabulous book Judy. A stunning piece of work.
Hope you had a happy Mother's Day.

Karen Cole said...

Master Poe..."What beautiful image have you made Grasshopper, to please your eyes"?

KCC..."Only the branch of a tree, master".

Master Poe..." Is not painting, the joyful reaching out of a man (woman, in this case) so filled with beauty, that there is not enough room to contain it?

This certainly must be your way of overflowing the beauty inside.

Bob and I spent ever week watching KCC and Master Poe with a group of our friends.

Your blog and book are incredible. Of course you're tired, silly girl!!! ENJOY YOUR WEEKXXOO

Laura said...

Hi Judy, found you thru Susan Tuttle's blog - this piece you've been working on is simply amazing. It's very zen looking at all the imagery, symbolism and soothing color palette. Your hard work and dedication to this project has paid off and you should be very proud. Thanks so much for sharing!!

Marie C said...

Gorgeous work Judy - love all the attention to detail, and the wonderful vintage feel that unites the piece throughout....

jo said...

Hi Judy,
Lovely to chat with you last night, thankyou sooo much for your kind words of support.
This last installment on the book is incredible, might have to get my husband to commision a book for MY birthday!!!
Take care, looking forward to catching up in May.
Love Jo xoxo

Debby Harriettha said...

WOW!!! This book is so incredible.
Nothing short of spectacular. Thanks for sharing this incredible journey. Awesome!

kristine alana said...

absolutely amazing ! judy, it has been a year since cortona - we have to catch up....michael's class was tooo fabulous- i'm going to try to do mexico...i'd love to get you both up here to wine country to teach ! i'm so overwhelmed with your work- blessings to you

Karen Owen said...

Rande recommended your blog, and I'm delighted she did. Such beautiful work! That book is a treasure.


lindaharre said...

Judy.......your artwork blows me away! I can't hold a candle to your work. This book (as I said before) is fabulous. Lucky girl:)

gaby said...

I've found your blog through art2studio. Your work are really wonderful. I love it all. I love all the things you could do with an elephant... Lovely!

oldflowers4me said...

hello darling girl- your work is divine, how many hours did it take -lots and lots- did i read you are australian, maybe sydney, mmm if so do you do work shops some where over here. love jo. dont for get to put your lipstick on.

Studio Panorama said...

Amazing! Absolutely and utterly, wonderfully creative. Thank you for sharing.

Gypsy Purple said...

This is absolutely amazing and great great work....some of the best work I`ve ever seen.

It was a joy to go through....thanks for sharing this...

Joy said...

judy....what an incredible piece of work! you have definitely outdone yourself if that's possible.
i just took my first class with nina this month (loved it) and am now convinced i need more after seeing your book.
miss ya'
ciao' bella, joy

Sharon said...

Judy, your work is amazing ... and soooooooooo very detailed. I found you blog by chance and I'm so glad I did! :D

Dawnie said...

Ive been savouring the reading of the finale and Judy,Judy,Judy you have delivered.It totally hit the spot.Thankyou for the time you've spent to share your work.
Its so amazing, inspiring and Ive totally enjoyed every offering.
I will be back to eat up all the detail's.
Wonderful work


Sharon said...

Nina sent me and others your way the other day. I read your post about the book and was left so speechless that I had to go back and read everything from the beginning of your blog. This thing happens to be sometimes when I feel my stomach clench and my heart pound and my head swirl. I have learned to call it an Art Anxiety Attack. It's that feeling that I just have to do this. But I probably can't. I never wanted to pound an eyelet like when I saw your book. I keep coming back and back and right this very moment, well, I am suppose to be doing my real work. My real profession. That I don't claim because I so what to play ART just like you.

"Of Elephants and Dreams" has blown me to some new realm.

Thank you for sharing this masterful piece of art.

One Crabapple said...

Gorgeous !

(came from Gypsy Purple's blog entry about this)

Kristen Robinson said...

Judy my friend I am in awe I cannot believe I missed such extraordinary beauty while away. Your book is beyond words stunning. The luscious layers and incredible elements you used are divine. What a treasure to behold. Spectacular is the only word close enough to the amazing work you have done.


izabella said...

after gazing at the photos of your book, I really can't find the correct words to descrive the feelings it provocated, it is an amazing piece of work!! I wonder if it was hard for you to give away!?

thanx for sharing~ you are an amazing artist~

xo Bella

Aquareelle said...

Tout simplement magnifique !!!!!!!!

Kristy C said...

I am in just absolute amazement over this book-its just breathtaking! WOW!! I have to keep coming back and looking at it :)

sue said...

I just stumbled onto your blog, and was totally amazed by your work in this book. It makes me want to hold it, touch it, and hear more about the stories that inspired it-such great work!

Crafty Green Poet said...

What a wonderful book, so much work and such beautiful materials!

vivian said...

oh my... this is such a wonderful piece of art.. i wish i could see and touch in real. take care.