Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Frankenstein's Women: title page and cover art

My dreams were all my own; I accounted for them to nobody; they were my refuge when annoyed — my dearest pleasure when free.
(Mary Shelley’s introduction to Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, 1831).

Pictured above are progress views of the blocks for the title page and cover image of Frankenstein’s Women, a forthcoming artist book focusing on the peripheral female characters in Shelley’s enduringly influential gothic novel. 

The project began last July when I undertook a residency at Melbourne Athenaeum Library as part of Melbourne Rare Book Week 2018.

With the end of the project firmly in sight, I’ve been feeling a little like Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Looking Glass Land as I add text to the lino in mirror writing. (Click on images to enlarge).

Friday, March 1, 2019

ALICE (Part 2)

Featured in this post are page views of our latest Moth Woman Press publication, Alice, a mini-zine jointly inspired by a children's poem by Victorian poet Christina Rossetti and our cat, Alice. (See previous post).

It feels like Rossetti has reached across the centuries to pen this verse for our little Alice, so aptly does it describe her.

Despite the poem's references to hilltops and flowering valleys, all the photos in the Alice zine were taken in our back garden at Ballarat. It's one of Alice's favourite haunts - and she really does regard our 'cottage' as a palace.

(Click on images for a clearer view).

Copies of Alice are now available at Playing in the Attic in Ballarat. The zine retails for $4.00 and is limited to an edition of 60.

Pictured above in Playing in the Attic: Bev Murray, our houseguest from London and one of my oldest friends, peruses Moth Woman Press publications.

Playing in the Attic
119a Sturt Street
Ballarat Victoria 3350

Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 10 am - 4pm
Phone: 0428580309
Email: trudymac@bigpond.com.au

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

ALICE - a new zine

Recently I was rummaging around in a second-hand market in Smythesdale, a small town several kilometres from our Ballarat home, and came across a vintage poetry book intended for very young readers. It was somewhat the worse for wear, but the simple illustrations scattered through it were enchanting and, as if by magic, the little book initially opened onto a poem by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) titled Alice.

As visitors to Moth Woman Press may be aware, this just happens to be the name of our much-loved cat, already the subject of an earlier MWP zine, Alice's Wonderland ( 2018). Although Rossetti's poem was written two centuries ago, it captures our 'Merry little Alice' with uncanny accuracy.

After tending the princessly sum of 50 cents to the proprietor, the book was mine. 

I'm constantly photographing Alice, and among the images I've accumulated lately, found several that matched Rossetti's verse surprisingly well (aside from the reference to lambkins). Despite resolving to place all zine-making on temporary hold in order to concentrate on a major painting project, I couldn’t resist the temptation to combine Rossetti’s prophetic, endearingly daggy words with my photos in the cut and folded mini-zine previewed here.

The zine is a limited edition of 60. It is available for purchase at the delightful Playing in the Attic in Ballarat for $4.00. Further details, including individual page views, will feature in our next post.

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Monster's Bride

Progress view 1: The Bride linoleum block in late 2018

Featured in this post are selected progress views of The Bride, the eighth of eight 'non-portrait' linocuts created for Frankenstein's Women, an artist book based on the peripheral female characters in Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. I developed the series during 2018, the 200th anniversary of its publication, predominantly during a residency at Melbourne Athenaeum Library. (See previous post).

In recent weeks, the project was put to one side as I turned my focus to a new body of paintings. The temporary pause gave me time to rethink part of the drawing and introduce a crucial element, namely, a ribbon choker. In the finished work, this will be red, a colour associated with the French Revolution. Red was also the colour of chokers worn by women who had narrowly escaped the guillotine, as well as a mark of sympathy for its victims. Mary Shelley and her husband Percy closely studied every aspect of the revolution and there are several references to it in Frankenstein. 

In Shelley's novel, at the behest of his 'monster,' Frankenstein creates a bride, but, at the very point of bestowing life, destroys her. Like the downtrodden French revolutionaries, Shelley's monster demonstrates the dehumanising effects of ill-treatment and neglect.

For further reading, visit my Art Blog HERE.

Progress view 2

Progress view 3, with cutting completed and repositioned choker

Work on the title page has begun and the design for the colophon is also in development.

Frankenstein's Women will be exhibited in a solo show at HipCat Printery Gallery, opening on 12 October, 2019.

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
Email: trudymac@bigpond.com.au

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.