ALL THE THINGS TO TAKE TO OUR VERY OWN ARCHIPELAGO

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison (formerly hammer & daisy), and Elaine Haby (Thelma's handmade)

enCounter In the window
Craft Victoria, 31 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Monday 29th of September – Sunday 19th of October, 2008

 

New things appear in Flinders lane, should you know where to look. A window filled with the things we have made by hand, from images printed on paper to things sewn with needle and thread. We have the paper for correspondence and we have the stuffed creatures to populate the many small islands.

 
 

In interview with Craft Victoria
Clog, the Craft Victoria's blog
10th October, 2008


All the things to take to our very own archipelago
An installation by Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison
In the window of Craft Victoria

 
Using paper as our primary medium, we make limited edition artists' books, lithographic offset prints, zines and the like, together, and have been doing so for many years now. Based in Melbourne, we work from home, and we are often to be found up late tinkering on some project.


Paper may be their primary medium, but these ladies sure are adept in doing all that they do! To coincide with our latest enCOUNTER display, this week CLOG looks at collaborative act Hammer and Daisy a.k.a. Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison. You might recognise their work which is stocked extensively in the shop, namely their bound journals and notebooks, greeting cards, softies and little owl pin cushions. What you might not know is that all these works are the created by the team effort that is Gracia and Louise! Incredible.

Not only are these ladies talented, but eloquent as well. We'll stop gabbing about how amazing Gracia and Louise are, and let them speak for themselves. Happy reading!

The titles of your work are whimsical and carefully constructed. How do you come up with them and is there a particular reason for this inclination?
Thank-you, we are rather chuffed you think so. Titles, be they for an exhibition or a particular collage seem to spring forth of their own accord. They can be coaxed out of their hiding spot somewhere in the chambers of the mind by the irresistible lure of a quiet room, an early morning or a late night. They are less cooperative around midday and think only of lunch at such times. Titles take shape whilst a work is being made. A postcard collage, a collaborative collage piece or a folded sequence in a concertina book, as one works titles leap forward and present themselves. It is then a matter of quickly penning the sentence to paper before it heads slightly, teasingly out of reach.

Titles are another area to play with, for us. Just as the two-dimensional surface is a delight to use, so to is the space allocated for a string of words with questionable punctuation. It also serves as an entry point for some folk, but do be careful… there are many red herrings lying about.

In the case of this display in the fine windows of Craft Victoria, the title All the things to take to our very own archipelago came after the once-broken chair was sourced in Elwood and before the black trunk was commandeered. Once we had title in place, the final trimmings were sought. That said, we've neglected to include a few things we might actually take with us. Whatever shall we do for coffee and chocolate? We hope there are cocoa beans in ready supply.

Tell us a bit about your stint in Switzerland where you learnt the art of bookbinding.
We learned several bookbinding techniques in Ascona, Switzerland. In a delightful building near to a lake, at a quiet time of year, we were introduced by Daniel E. Kelm to the various tools of the trade. Prior to this we had little knowledge of a bone folder and a means to ensure square covers. It really was a case of diving in blindfolded and liking what we found. The exacting and beautiful techniques of those working and studying there was impressive and inspiring. They were also most welcoming.

Do you have a preference for any one of the many wonderful things that you make?
Initially, we'd have to say that our preference is always for our artwork be it collaborative or our own work. Making collages, watercolour drawings and tinkering on the page layout of an artists' book side-by-side is what we love to do. However, thinking about it some more, we like all the various things because they are all the various things. Finding pearly buttons to use as eyes for an owl pinnie, well, that is also fun. Toggling back and forth between the two probably keeps us closer to sanity and of course, one feeds into the other.

What's the best thing about doing what you do?
Hmm, so many things. Today, it is the flexible hours that we can work and that we can, for the most part, work at home. Our studio for it all is our entire house. Prints are editioned on a glass cabinet in the middle room and every flat surface is put to use, even the floor.

...and the worst thing?
Working from home can sometimes have a few pitfalls. Hand-in-hand with the good, it does mean that you never quite switch off.

And finally, you're on your way to your very own archipelago and you can only bring 3 things. What would they be?
Only three, you say? Hmm, that shall be tough. We'd want something for a caffeinated high (be it chocolate or coffee in form… but, please, on second thoughts, don't give us the raw source material, we're woeful in the kitchen). We'd want something to read lest we’d go mad. And, we’d want sunscreen for we are pale and indoorsy.

(Craft Victoria's blog, Clog, is no longer active, but their archives are still available for online perusal)