Sunday is studio day

I remember when I was just a little Emily, maybe 10 years old. I looked up the meaning of my name in a book, filled with definitions of flowers, oceans and honey bees. And then I found it. Emily! Completely deflated in that moment, as I read the word ‘industrious’. What the actual f@*k?! Who names their baby after a factory? Mum. And Dad.

It took years to process this information. And I questioned their brick and smoke stack decision for many years. Until now. Now I’m ready. Ready for industry. Ready to be industrious.

Today was a great day, blissed out on ink fumes, while being absolutely Emily. Industrious.

Didn’t get any washing done. Let the chickens free range instead of feeding them. Didn’t mop the floor. And most definitely did not qualify for a 10,000 step kind of day. Did I mention my pyjamas? They stayed on way longer than they should’ve too. 

I had made a few mid week carves and come up with two Lino cuts and was pretty keen to see how they turned out.

This one was first. And surprise… it’s me. It is. Morning functioning is not my thing. Unless, coffee. I’m lucky to have a partner who knows this, and delivers one every morning to the cranky, bleary eyed monster that I am in the a.m.
The next one – a little more depth involved. I have been drawing up a storm over the last month. Filling pages with parts of me, once upon a time.

 In this one I was remembering, the absolute agony of the loss of a great love. Remembering the feeling of cushioned lips pressed on a warm forehead. The forehead kiss gives the gift of many things; calm, comfort, patience, respect, adoration, preciousness and love that seems truthful and unconditional.

Heavy and light hearted – one balancing out the other.

A Sunday session ensued, slowly reclaiming my studio from being a Winter snuggle space to a Spring hang – taking the tape down in one long strip that had lived firmly for 6 months between the joins of the doors to keep the chilly drafts of  minus degree months out.

With these two cuts in tow, I inked up and waited for the ultimate treasure to reveal itself. Printing is like opening birthday presents, taking a blindfold off after whacking the belly out of a piñata. The uncertainty and following reveal is a bit of a high that I don’t usually experience on a Sunday morning. Noted….aaaaand happening again soon, make no mistake.

Found me some Mansionair and rolled like the dickens to reveal these treasures. I pegged them up to dry and drew up my next batch.

‘Exit song’ October 2016

‘Remedy’ October 2016

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‘Sweet thing’ {making}

It’s just one little moment that gets me moving. Once that moment hits, watch out – this is where I transform into a bull at a gate. The impulse is deep and profound. I immediately start fabricating this girl with glass and smalti from an image I’ve drawn years ago in one of my sketchbooks. Without noticing it before, I’ve ended up filling it with ladies. Life drawing was always my thing, but why always girls? Youthful ladies, faceless, with long limbs, engaged in nano snippets of life.

I imagine ‘young Emily’ in these moments and am drawn to recall how I felt at this age. I remember being these girls. I did these things. In my hometown I remember spending hours laying in the grass, with the sun warming my skin, eyes cast upwards to bluebird skies – and spending time just absorbing the shapes of the clouds – and the closest I’ll ever get to meditation.

 I would naturally empty my mind once the sun hits my face, close my eyes and quietly engage all senses. From time to time, past conversations and moments would seep in. I would shoo them away again. A constant tug of war between remaining present and overthinking things. 

I drew her. Me. Back then.

I moved away from the sun on my face, lying in the grass and a head full of empty thoughts and song, no more cloud absorbing and became a girl with a career. I moved to the big city where I was affectionately  labelled ‘country bumpkin’, ‘sweet’ and ‘naive’- because I was. My street smarts hadn’t kicked in yet. I believed people were good and kind, and ulterior motives didn’t exist. Had no idea about networking, instead just doing my own work.


This happened. I was at a ball in a big puffy skirt like this, but black tulle. I was on the fringe of turning my back on the big city, and moving away. After years of racing in traffic, working hard, and complicated weekends – I longed for simplicity and ease. A slower life again. The undercurrent at the ball was beyond me, and here I was again. ‘Naive’, gangly and ‘sweet’ – I no longer wanted to understand the language of the city, I didn’t want street smarts anymore.

So here – still a work in progress, she is. (She was nearly named ‘Something’s changed’ a nod to Miss Sharon Jones.) ‘Sweet thing’ won out,  her title inspired once again by Van the man (Van Morrison). Listening to this song – I instantly feel warm, comforted, any troubles are instantly put aside, and I remember, the days of lying in the grass.

The greatest view {making}

Here I am, getting back into it all again; inspiration to create images of the gloriously mundane is no challenge for me.

My latest offering –

  

‘The greatest view’ 2016, Emily J Hogan. 

Reclaimed marine ply, glass, beads, mirror & gouache.
I imagine I find the simplicity of these images satisfying due to my ease of moving in and out of a fairly meditative state, on a daily basis. I need white space, and if I am in a position of being in the midst of chaos, which is a realistic summary of my work days – the switch goes off. Emily is officially off the grid. 

  

Dry point etching

One of the things that happens when you are required to spend a lot of time hanging around the art room at school,  all in the name of work – is that my hands get itchy. I’m happiest working side by side with students. Lucky me struck a quiet week and a generous co-worker, who suggested, ‘make one!’

So I did.

The last time I did this I was 14, with a completely and fairly permanently stoned teacher assisting the process. Needless to say, whatever we churned out was fine by her. I carved out a giraffe. I was a bit taken by spots and twisty long necks back then.

By the time I had printed out some images today I felt a little bit calmer, a little bit wiser and a little bit taller. Another thing I can add wholeheartedly to my resume, ‘fully competent in the process of dry point etching.’

 

Printed in brown – black looked best. Discoveries made through repetition.

 

‘A Falling Through’ {making}

I made her in January.

A knee jerk reaction to Summer, swimming, and polka dots (of course polka dots).

I spent a weekend almost by myself, driving – which to me is my definition of heavenly. Driving my car, listening to my music, shirking all responsibilities for 48 hours. An amazing sense of freedom.

I bought some vintage dominoes, and I sat on the side of an ocean pool, dangling my feet in the water. It was the most beautiful day. I wanted to jump in with gay abandonment. I didn’t. I watched other people enjoying the freedom – I hadn’t come prepared. The water was beckoning. I have a reputation of rebellion when it comes to the costume constraints surrounding water, and have in the past just jumped in anyway. Clothes and all, This time I couldn’t. I was being careful, watching myself, and I had to get back on the road and continue my journey. The further away I got from this pool, the more I had to fight myself not to turn around and just jump in that damned water! I really wanted to, and I felt the conditions would never be the same, never that perfect.

Anyway, I carried on, and had the most jam packed amazing weekend surrounded by people I love, reconnecting with the city that was my home BC (before children). I ate, I drank, I was merry – and topped it off with an amazing haul from Rozelle markets.

Even with all that distraction, this image didn’t leave me.

I knew this was my next piece.

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I had to sit on my hands until the festive season was over – there was a lot to do, as the ‘festive’ with extended family was happening at my house.

Every now and then I would sneak half an hour with this girl.

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She still wasn’t finished.

After Christmas the ocean calls.

So, down the coast I headed with a gaggle of children, and m’lady tucked in amongst the beach towels.

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I snuck in some time to stick the last few pieces on.

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Then with an audience of at least 10 friendly caravaning kids. I grouted.
And here she is.

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The weekend {making, treasure}

I started drawing. I had found a tin of pastels given to me by my parents when I was just 16. I treated them like gold, and didn’t like the idea of sharing them just incase there might be an accident that involved one of these babies snapping in half. I moved to the side wall of my house with this tin in my hands. I opened it, remembering the feel of these familiar friends.
I spent hours drawing as a child – and it’s been a while since I’ve drawn something of this scale.

I didn’t actually mean for this to happen. It just did.

Eyes, nose, mouth, freckles – she must have freckles. I have freckles.

Them I added a flower, and another, and another. And then some more.
I love her. When the rain comes – she’ll be gone.

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Hebe – the Goddess of eternal youth and Spring.

The front steps needed disco {treasure, making}

A mirror broke. I didn’t do it. A paint tin did. No bad luck for me.

I make the very most of situations such as this one, as you see. I contemplated a design of my own, but in such a prominent position, I didn’t want to start using the back gate in order to avoid using the front stairs. (What I mean is, I didn’t want to *sigh* or *cringe* every time I arrived home, because my skills & ideals of coolness have changed.) So, I turn to disco – as we all should.

One step down, seven to go.

disco steps