While Guy Is Away


Guy's Dad, Peter had just died as we finished the last blog post, so Guy left for New Zealand on August 31st (he has been gone 3 weeks already) and he will return on the 10th of October.
You will probably notice that the punctuation and spelling and the placement of photos for this post will be pretty ordinary as Guy is usually the editor.........sorry about that!

We will all miss Peter, but he was 91 and his health was failing, so everyone in the family was happy for him that he went so quickly. 
Gay, Guy's mother, had just gone to stay at a care home as she was in need of respite because of her health problems, so now she is going to stay where she is as it is such a good place and the nursing staff all love her. Gay turned 90 last weekend and is, of course, very sad about Peter, but she is coping well. 
As this blog is really for Guy and me to be able to remember what we did in our year in Italy, this post will have a bit about family, a bit about visitors and a bit about printmaking!
First off, I know I whine and moan about the weather, but it has been very nice for the last few days, warmish, not humid and not raining. 
Last week it was very humid and the mosquitoes were shocking. It was like being in Darwin!
For some reason the Italian mosquitoes don't like me at all and I haven't been bitten once since we have been here. They fly around me and then move on to someone else, my fellow students are all covered in welts, but not me! I am very popular with Australian mosquitoes however, so I hope this mosquito repelling thing I have got going here stays with me when we go home.
On the Tuesday after Guy left, our neighbour Marni came to stay for a few days, she had been over in the UK for 2 weeks visiting family in Scotland's Outer Hebrides, so she was ready for a bit of warm weather. While she was in Scotland she got her hair caught in the zipper of a jacket she tried on and cut a huge hank of hair off, so if anyone doesn't recognise her, she had to get her hair cut!

Marni managed to see just about everything in a few days that most people take a few weeks to see.
She arrived in the afternoon and she went to the the Academia on Wednesday to see David (apparently someone had graffitied his abdomen with “I love Filipe” in large texta and so they wrapped him up to clean it off- how the hell would someone be able to do that!?- graffiti, not clean)  Then she went to Palazzo Vecchio, Galileo Museum,  bought a ring on the Ponte Vecchio, bought a ring from Alessandro Dari (the famous jeweller who does Dali type jewellery), walked up to the Fortezza and back down through the Bardini Gardens, went to Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens.
I took her to the central market and she bought two leather jackets at San Lorenzo market, she also bought some clothes in the shops on the way to the Ponte Vecchio AND she also went shopping at the supermarket and bought stuff for lunch!!. 
Then she went to  the Ufizzi and tried to  see if she could get in the Duomo Cathedral (the queues are still kilometres long) but she couldn't, so she climbed up the Giotto Tower. 
When she got back we went up to Fiesole to see the archeology museum!! That night we were going to  go to the movies to see Mission Impossible……but she was too tired so we didn't go....and she was only here 4 full days!! - we also went out to dinner on her last  night. 
The next day  she went to Rome as she had a Vatican tour, Colosseum tour and some other tour booked and then she went home the next day.. ...and then back to work the day after! I get tired just thinking about it! 
I realised when Marni was here that I have been relying on Guy's fantastic inbuilt GPS and great sense of direction and just blindly following him like a sheep (sheep...get it, he's a kiwi remember !) So while Marni was here I managed to get us lost a few times (I can however find my way to the railway station and to Il Bisonte,  and the supermarket-all the really important places!) 
I was trying to get us to Piazza san Marco to get the bus up to Fiesole and we got lost (where is that damn river when you need it!) but we found this great exhibition by Dali. The exhibition was of prints, water colours and sculptures related to Dali's fascination with Dante's Divine Comedy. 

Only a few people were in there, and it was a great exhibition.
We finally found Piazza san Marco and caught the bus (a number 7!) up to Fiesole. 
Again it was pretty quiet up there, but the museum was really interesting.

The inside of the museum has lots of artefacts that archeologists have dug up from the site, both Etruscan and Roman. As you can see from the photos, no one was there!
September is also a popular time to visit Florence and there are so many tourists here it is hard to walk around. Marni lost her temper on the Ponte Vecchio and told a group of people to "GET OUT OF MY WAY" and those of you who know Marni will know that I have paraphrased what she actually said, so now getting annoyed at tourists is known as; 
"Doing a Marni!!"
We met an American couple when we were in the restaurant (Jule and Mark) and they live just on the corner of our street, I have been out to dinner with them and to the movies - they have kept me from staying in the apartment and avoiding the crowds! - actually Jule was the first to coin the phrase "Doing a Marni!!"
A few days after Marni left, Michelle and James, our friends who run a hotel in Strontian in Scotland, came to stay for a few days. I managed to find my way to the railway station to pick them up.
They have both been to Florence before and so didn't feel the need to go to all the museums and sites, they were just happy to wander around and sit in coffee shops and go to the gardens - which is lucky, because I had to go back to school for 3rd semester on the Monday - and anyway, I get lost!!

We went to the movies as the Odeon has finally reopened as it was shut all July and August, and we went out to dinner a few times. 
I went back to school on Monday the  7th September and it was good to see everyone again! It is sad that Tony and Selena are not coming back, but Theo is returning in October and there are 2 new students; Lourdes from Majorca in Spain (speaks excellent English and lives just near our apartment) and Valerie, who is American and has been here for 3 years with her husband who is a lecturer in Architecture with Syracuse University. 
I asked them if I could put their pictures in our blog!


Since our last blog post, my son Liam in the UK had his 39th birthday, his son Yarran had his 1st birthday and Jarrah and Jye (grandchildren in Australia) had their 5th and 3rd birthdays. So I am putting a few photos of them in for those who haven't seen them for a while!

Jarrah with the magician at his birthday party

Jye looking cool
Yarran and Alba
Printmaking 3rd semester
We started back on the 7th September. Most of us are finishing off things we started before the holidays. I realised that I need to print a few things as we are expected to give Il Bisonte 2 prints of every plate we make, and all I have are proofs! 

First of all this is a print I made for Liam and Jo to give John, Jo's father, for his birthday. I didn't put it in the blog before because I didn't want him to see it (it was a surprise )
Alba and Grandad at the beach

I wanted to do some more viscosity printing, so before the end of last semester I started another plate, but didn't get to finish it. So I finished it on the first day back.

The finished plate

I just printed it with a roll up of black ink

I don't actually like it much, bit too Christmas card!
I had also started a copper plate with some more birds (what was I thinking?? Well, it was nearly 3 months ago!)

I am trying to improve my aquaforte skills and I think I wanted to try copper again- but it takes so long and there was an issue with the ferric chloride - it was very strong and thick and it was biting through the hard ground. I think I will leave this for a few weeks and think about it!
The next plate is zinc, I wanted to do something for Liam and I thought having Alba and Liam walking along a cartoon road might be interesting.

The plate

Ist proof

3rd proof  after sanding the road!

The soft ground was left in the nitric for too long!

I tried soft ground for a change for the background but left it in the acid too long, so I am trying to sand it back. I have also done a lot of burnishing as Alba looked like a little black kid and Liam looked pretty black too in the earlier proofs! Sorry I couldn't get them in the right order. We were going to start multiple colour etching this week, but the graduate exhibition is going to be earlier than usual this year so we probably won't do it. 
The exhibition is from Thursday the 22nd October to Wednesday the 4th November and then we finish on the 27th November.
However, Manuel and Vincenzo said that as I am pretty quick maybe they can help me with it before we finish. Valerie has been working with Professor Sweitlan Kraczna  (known as Nick) ,  the printmaker who has developed this process and is co-writing a book on the process with him, so she is going to help me as well. 
They will probably offer this as a separate seminar for a month in January (and it will be full on as it will be from 9.30am to 6.30pm 5 days a week for one month!)  but of course I will have gone home by then.
So, if anyone is interested in learning this process (and it would help if you spoke Italian!) you could enquire via the Il Bisonte website. 

From the woodshed on the farm in New Zealand

Guy has been taking photos while he's been away, mostly on his phone I think. The weather has been pretty awful over there, so I hope it stays a little bit warm for when he comes back to Florence! 
Anyway, not sure if I will do another post before he returns. I might try and document the colour etching if I get to do it and then Guy can write all about New Zealand!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all the news! Sounds like you are keeping busy!