Sunday, January 20, 2019

Looking back on 2018

As a former St. Kilda girl who grew up in the shadow of Luna Park, I've come to liken the passing years to roller coaster rides, in other words, a series of highs and lows. I'm happy to report that in 2018, the highs by far outweighed the lows.   

High on the list of personal highlights was my residency in June/July at Melbourne Athenaeum Library for Melbourne Rare Book Week (pictured top). The linocuts I made during the residency will be the basis for Frankenstein's Women, a forthcoming artist book.

During the residency I also made a unique artist book, Progeny, which later in the year was Highly Commended in the Biblio Art Prize at Blarney Books and Art in Port Fairy.  Biblio subsequently traveled to Tacit Galleries in Melbourne.

LEAVES OF ABSENCE, the artist book that was launched at the Melbourne Athenaeum Library in late 2017, was acquired by the library in 2018. The book was part of the group show PATTERNS OF COLLECTING/From the Bower at the Johnston Collection (see below) and was a finalist in the 2018 Libris Awards.

Early last year LEAVES OF ABSENCE was acquired for the permanent collection of the State Library of Victoria and towards the end of 2018, it was acquired by the National Gallery of Australia. The year couldn't have been more perfectly book-ended.

2018 was exceedingly busy, even for me. Every year I vow that this will never happen again, and every year it does - and then some. The constant travelling between Melbourne and Ballarat doesn't exactly help. With the aim to make more time for my own projects and myself in general, from now on, I'm saying "no" more often - and sticking to it. For example, for the first time in several years, Moth Woman Press has reluctantly decided not to participate in the annual Sticky Institute Festival of the Photocopier Zine Fair, an event we very much enjoy. We're feeling sad about this - Moth Woman Press usually does particularly well there - but believe it's ultimately for the Greater Good. I do hope we can return next year. Meanwhile, a selection of MWP publications are currently available at the delightful Playing in the Attic.

The halfway mark for January has already passed. Currently, my primary aim is to further develop Back Stories, a series of paintings that is already well under way. These are thematically linked to the linocuts in Frankenstein's Women, for which I have to design a title page and finalise the text before printing begins in the second half of 2019.

A second artist book is also planned. I'll post updates on this and other projects as they unfold.

Wishing you all a fabulous 2019.

Monday, December 24, 2018


Moth Woman Press is closed for Christmas Festivities, but will be back in action within the next couple of days.

Here in Mothstralia a heat wave is forecast for the remainder of the week - no chestnuts roasting on an open fire for us.

Whatever the weather wherever you are, warmest Christmas wishes from Moth Woman Press.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Biblio at Tacit

For the first time in its ten-year history, Port Fairy-based Blarney Books and Art's Biblio Art Prize has traveled further afield. On Wednesday, December 5 the exhibition was launched at its second and final venue, Tacit Galleries in Melbourne.

The following photos were taken at Tacit Galleries on Opening Night.

At Tacit Galleries with one of my two Biblio entries,
 Bell Jar, 2018, archival pigment print, 42.5 x 32 cm.
The work was inspired by Sylvia Plath's novel
The Bell Jar. (Photo credit: Shane Jones)

 Progeny, 2018, unique artist book. Pigmented drawing ink, gouache and 
hand stitching with cloth binding, 16.5 x 91 cm (open). 
Installation view at Tacit Galleries, Melbourne

The exhibition runs until Sunday, 16 December.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

More MWP publications at PLAYING IN THE ATTIC

The diminutive but delightful Playing in the Attic is one of our favourite stores in Ballarat. Helmed by the equally delightful Trudy MacLauchlan, it specialises in products primarily sourced from local makers, including a plethora of Moth Woman Press publications: postcards, zines and our small fairytale anthology, There was once...  
Playing in the Attic is also the sole stockist of our recently published book, Fallen Women. (For individual page views, go HERE).

Also in stock as of this week are the four remaining copies of our zine, A Short Book About Long Hair. Signed and limited to an edition of 60, this was the very first zine published by Moth Woman Press, and we're still rather proud of it. The zine is held in the permanent collections of the State Library of Victoria and the National Library of Australia.

Playing in the Attic
119a Sturt Street
Ballarat Victoria 3350

Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 10 am - 4pm
Phone: 0428580309

Friday, November 30, 2018


The November edition of the Melbourne Athenaeum Library's journal Shelf Life includes several of their highlights from 2018, including one that was among my own high spots of the year.

In the second week of my term as Artist-in-Residence back in July, I first met the delightful Patricia Cornelius. She is the library's current Playwright-in-Residence. I was gratified that Patricia was particularly drawn to the Moth Woman Vigilantes zines and immediately grasped their subtext. (Incidentally, we'll be hearing a lot more from the MWV in 2019).

In article directly below I am interviewed by Lawana Coulson about my richly rewarding time at the library.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The National Gallery of Australia acquires LEAVES OF ABSENCE

With the gradual winding down of 2018 comes some happy news. Our artist book LEAVES OF ABSENCE has been acquired by the National Gallery of Australia.

LEAVES OF ABSENCE poses a question that may be unanswerable: what became of the women who remained in China when their menfolk came to seek their fortunes during the Australian gold rushes? 

Pictured above and below: cover and selected pages from LEAVES OF ABSENCE, 2017, unbound artist book, 32.5 (H) x 25.5 (W) x 4 cm (D). Edition: 10 plus 1 artist proof. Printed by Luke Ingram at Arten.

Thursday, November 15, 2018


Tomorrow evening at 6 pm, when the Australian Print Workshop finally throws open its doors to IMPRESSIONS 2018, its eagerly-anticipated biennial fundraiser, I’ll still be scratching my head and wondering where the last two years went to.

As a preview of sorts, here is Alice casting a critical eye over my IMPRESSIONS lino block shortly after I had finished the carving.

My linocut was printed by APW master printer Simon White and is limited edition of 20. Without giving too much away, Simon has cleverly incorporated Chine-collĂ© into the work, a serendipitous, as well as aesthetically pleasing decision, as it turns out. I’ve just noticed that his choice of paper is a pretty close match to the colour of Alice’s eyes.

Opening night is Friday, 16 November 2018, from 6 – 8 pm. 

Australian Print Workshop Gallery,
210 Gertrude Street,
Fitzroy, Vic.

Gallery hours: 10 am - 5pm Tuesday to Saturday

The exhibition runs to 16 February, 2019.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Biblio Art Prize: Opening Night

Pictured above and below are some snaps of the lively opening of the 10th Annual Biblio Art Prize at Blarney Books and Art on Saturday, November 3. There are some remarkable works in the show, and we enjoyed chatting to several of the makers, including Carmel Wallace and Mel Kerr (seen directly below with her terrific Edgar Allan Poe-inspired work). Congratulations to Biblio Prize winner, Mandy Gunn. (Her work Pillars of Wisdom  is displayed on the table, centre, in the second photo below).

I have two works in the show, an archival pigment print inspired by Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, (see top photo) and was Highly Commended for Progeny, my hand-drawn, stitched and lettered artist book inspired by Mary Shelley’s immortal Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. As someone who failed sewing in high school, I’m thrilled with the way Progeny is displayed. Strategically directed lighting causes the stitches/sutures, to cast short, sharp shadows, throwing the blood-red threads into low-relief.

For more about Progeny, visit Deborah Klein's Art Blog HERE.

Many thanks to Biblio judges Justine Hyde, Director, Library Services, State Library of Victoria, Vanessa Gerrans, Director, Warrnambool Art Gallery and the indefatigable Jo and Dean of Blarney Books and Art.

Click on images for a clearer view.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

FRANKENSTEIN'S WOMEN, an artist book in the making

Pictured below: selected progress views of the fifth of eight linocuts for the forthcoming artist book Frankenstein’s Women, in this bicentennial year of its primary point of reference, Mary Shelley’s groundbreaking novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.

For progress views of the sixth linocut in the series, visit my Art Blog HERE.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The 10th Annual Biblio Art Prize

In recent news, two of my works are finalists in the Biblio Art Prize 2018.

Once essentially an altered book competition, its parameters have expanded to include a wide range of media, with the only proviso that the completed work references a specific book of the artist’s choice.

Progeny, 2018, one-of-a-kind artist book (detail), pigmented drawing ink,
gouache and hand stitching with cloth binding, 16.5 x 91 cm (open)

The first of my shortlisted works is Progeny, a one-of-a kind artist book made during my recent term as artist-in-residence at the Melbourne Athenaeum Library during Melbourne Rare Book Week 2018 (see also Blog Post Sunday, July 15).

Its point of departure is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, which also celebrates a significant anniversary this year - the 200th anniversary of its publication. The artist book's title originates from an extract from Shelley's introduction to the second edition of Frankenstein: "And now, once again, I bid my hideous progeny go forth and prosper”.

Bell Jar, 2018, archival pigment print, 42.5 x 32 cm,
edition no. 1/10

My second shortlisted work is Bell Jar, an archival pigment print inspired by the eponymous semi-autobiographical novel by Sylvia Plath.

‘I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow, the million moving shapes and cul-de-sacs of shadow. There was shadow in bureau drawers and closets and suitcases, and shadow under houses and trees and stones, and shadow at the back of people's eyes and smiles, and shadow, miles and miles and miles of it, on the night side of the earth’.
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (1963)

The exhibition runs from 3 November - 2 December. 

37 James Street,
Port Fairy

In celebration of the competition's tenth anniversary, the show will travel to Tacit Galleries in Collingwood, where it will be on view from 5 - 16 December 2018. 

All 2018 entry fees for the Biblio Art Prize will be donated to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

FRANKENSTEIN'S WOMEN: an artist book in progress

In a week that included the birthday of Mary Shelley (on 30 August), work continued on my current linocut, one of several intended for an artist book based on the women in her masterwork, Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus. The second of these progress views shows several adjustments and changes that were made to the original drawing.

2018 also marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Walking-and-Talking at a snail's pace: a leisurely stroll through PATTERNS OF COLLECTING: FROM THE BOWER AT THE JOHNSTON COLLECTION

The rain is bucketing down as I write, and in its wake come the snails. If not firmly dissuaded, they will devour the lovingly nurtured plants on our Abbotsford balcony down to the stalks.

Thankfully it’s warm and dry inside the Natural History Room at the Johnston Collection Museum and the snail atop my artist book Leaves of Absence, on loan from the museum, is ceramic. An ingenious example of trompe l’oeil, it will leave no slimy trails across the front cover, nor will it chomp on the eucalyptus leaves from Newstead Forest, gathered especially for this project.

Rain or shine, this morning’s Walk-and-Talk at the Johnston Collection with fellow Bower artist Carole Wilson will take place from 10 am – 11.30 am. The event is fully booked, so for those who missed out, a final walk-and-talk is scheduled:

Thursday 13 September 2018 | 10.00 am – 11.30 am with Deborah Klein & Louise Saxton

For further information about the above, or to book a house tour before PATTERNS OF COLLECTING/ From the Bower at the Johnston Collection concludes on 18 September, go HERE

Friday, August 10, 2018

CREATIVE WOMEN IN FOCUS - an artist talk at Duldig Studio

It's an honour to have been invited to speak at the Duldig Studio Museum in the first of their new series of Creative Women in Focus talks. I'll be posting more about the museum in the next couple of weeks. Meanwhile, see below for full details of the talk.

Deborah Klein: printmaker, painter and book artist
When Saturday 25 August 2018. 2.00 – 4.00pm
Where Duldig Studio 

Creative Women in Focus is Duldig Studio's new series of talks with Creative Women, Inspired by our current exhibition SLAWA modernist art + design, and our own creative woman – Slawa Horowitz-Duldig.

From printmakers to embroiderers, weavers to dressmakers this is an opportunity to hear some very creative women talk about their lives in art and design, their practices and the challenges and pleasures of the creative life.

Beginning in August, artist Deborah Klein will join us to discuss her career as a printmaker, painter and book artist.

Deborah Klein has exhibited widely, most recently at Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne; RMIT Gallery; the 9th International Printmaking Bienniale, Portugal; and as part of the Johnston Collection exhibition, Patterns of Collecting/From the Bower at the Johnston Collection, Melbourne. Her work is held in collections around Australia and overseas.

As Deborah describes, ‘My visual language has evolved over the years and is multi-layered. Many works pay homage to women and their creative histories. The work is unified by its concern for women: the untold numbers who have been completely written out of history, the courage of those women and girls who must still fight seemingly unsurmountable odds to have their voices heard.’

Instagram: @duldigstudio
Facebook: @TheDuldigStudio
Facebook event URL:

Duldig Studio is the former home, sculpture garden and studio of artist and inventor, Slawa Horowitz-Duldig and her husband artist and sculptor Karl Duldig.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Melbourne Athenaeum Library Residency: Final Day

Pictured above: the view from my work table at The Melbourne Athenaeum Library on Saturday, 14 July, the final day of my residency.

In this post I cast a wistful eye over my former workplace, beginning with a photo of myself and the library's current Playwright-in-Residence, the delightful Patricia Cornelius (photo credit: James Baker) and a series of shelfies featuring accordion books in various stages of development.

Below right: library volunteer Aaron Cook, who kindy helped Shane and I carry the substantial baggage from my residency to our car several blocks away at the top end of the city. (All of the nearby car parks were full).

I'm going to miss going into the library every day. I'll miss the staff, volunteers and the energising conversations I had with a steady stream of visitors, several of whom made return visits. A future post will focus on Progeny, the artist book I made during my residency. In the meantime, I'll think of Melbourne Athenaeum Library every day as I continue with the projects that had their genesis in this very special place.