SUMMERTIME

 

Gracia & Louise
Summertime: And the livin' is easy, just as Ella and Louis sang
January, 2009
Digital print zine
Edition of 50
Made especially for this joy+ride

 
 

A 15cm X 10.5cm, 16 page colour and B&W zine with a handsewn spine. With drawings by Louise and words by Gracia, and summer ever in mind.

 

Sticky palms, sweaty brow, emerging from warm and sleepless nights, summer is with us until the first of March and it can be a taxing season, one I struggle to embrace. But, summer it is, there can be no escaping it. Best set to enjoying it, all its heat, storms and early starts.

In the morning, the bed looks a battlefield. Pillows lie twisted and contorted and creased, stained yellow by the calendula in my night cream that is good for skin touched by those strong UV rays, the top sheet a tangle, and the alarm beeps and I wish it wouldn't. On hot days, curtains stay drawn and outdoor umbrellas and sails look to offer little shade relief. The light is bright and by middle of day, the garden wilts through heat and water loss. Birds can be seen standing with wings airing their feathery pits and beaks fixed ajar, cats flake in the shade and canines pant. Washing dries in but an instant on the line that runs from above the bathroom window to the back fence, blowing in the breeze, if there is one. Towels come in off the line stiff as if made of cardboard and carry the aroma of summer days. Summer days may well smell of thickly applied sunscreen on the body, but they also smell of washing baked and bleached.

In the full throes of summer, one quickly remembers, any open expanse of asphalt that needs crossing on foot needs to be done in feverish haste. The heat underfoot burns and my thin-soled sandshoes offer little by way of protection. Sunglasses slide off the nose, or leave tiny red indentations across the bridge. Rings once loose on fingers feel now tight. Summer in Melbourne holds many pleasures. Those first January days find the city emptied of crowds and quiet. Summer holidays have transplanted people to the coast and driven them poolside, and emptied my local haunts of chaos. The city and its neighbouring suburbs becomes the domain of those without beach house or camping trip plans. The cinema, a popular refuge, beckons and novels on the shelf cry out to be read for lengthy periods.

Summer is a time to become reacquainted with one's body, to wear less layers and as someone pale and frequently to be found indoors, to marvel at the long lithe limbs of others that seem to magically appear with that first warm day in November, in their element where I am not. In singlet and skirt or the smallest pair of shorts, they appear on the street astride bicycle or strolling, arms entangled with an equally lithe-limbed lover, commandeering the street for the beautiful. Not for them, it seems, the inelegance of white sunscreen, shirtsleeves, sunhat and mess. As someone who swam frequently at the beach in a t-shirt as a child, I seem to have spent my three and thirty years trying to shield or be shielded from the sun.

In the full throes of summer, one quickly remembers, any open expanse of asphalt that needs crossing on foot needs to be done in feverish haste. The heat underfoot burns and my thin-soled sandshoes offer little by way of protection. Sunglasses slide off the nose, or leave tiny red indentations across the bridge. Rings once loose on fingers feel now tight.

Summer in Melbourne holds many pleasures. Those first January days find the city emptied of crowds and quiet. Summer holidays have transplanted people to the coast and driven them poolside, and emptied my local haunts of chaos. The city and its neighbouring suburbs becomes the domain of those without beach house or camping trip plans. The cinema, a popular refuge, beckons and novels on the shelf cry out to be read for lengthy periods.

Cicadas and their night time musical serenade made by vibrating two membranes of their abdomen, ice cubes clinking and cracking in a jug of water flavoured by mint leaves and slices of lemon, perhaps a fan gently whirling, thunder imminent, showers forecast, summer has many sounds. It brings with it bountiful harvest, for those whom acquire their food from greengrocer, market stall or supermarket shelf; strawberries, cherries, watermelon, grapes, plums and other stone fruits, and tomatoes vine-ripened and flavoursome, all best savoured close to natural state. Late night strolls, an ice-cream treat, windows open and doors flung wide as night descends or cool change arrives… summer is full of potential and yields much by way of treasure for those of indolent ways. The creation of halcyon days seems to desire it thus.

 
 

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, It was found that blending in ensured far greater success, 2009, collage

Interview for this joy+ride
shari + sheri
15th January, 2009

Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison are visual artists who make artists' books and all sorts of things most usually on paper. More often than not, they collaborate, and more often than not, they favour evenings over mornings. Through their artwork they hope to eke out a unique other world full of beauty and wonder, sadness and humour, all the while hoping to remain undetected. They work chiefly from their home-based studio in Melbourne, Australia.

On the nightstand...
Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk
To Siberia by Per Petterson
Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
Voyages of Discovery: A Visual Celebration of Ten of the Greatest Natural History Expeditions by Tony Rice
The File on H by Ismail Kadare
The Sacred and Profane Love Machine by Iris Murdoch

Am loving...
Summer days, gradually. Summer evenings, wholeheartedly.
In addition, always the smiles of friends and the company of animals.

What inspires you about the summer?
Summer brings with it days laden with possibility and glorious extended hours of light. We feast on pineapples, blackberries, nectarines and slices of watermelon until our bellies are full and fingers stained.

What are three constants in your day?
Caffeine
Laughter
Much quietness

What three things do you hope to accomplish in 2009?
To exhibit a new body of work at Craft Victoria (in October through to November).
To make a more valuable use of the time available to us.
To fritter away time daydreaming of all we wish to do this year.