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Published November 3rd 2014
All is calm, all is melancholy and bright
Poetry pots. Image courtesy Paper Boat Press.
Love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe ... This quote from her beloved grandmother Myrtle was one which Brisbane ceramic artist and poet Kylie Johnson simply had to share with the world. Originally scribbled in her childhood autograph book, Johnson says her grandmother's simple but profound words of wisdom ignited in her a lifelong passion for words and philosophy.
Over the past decade she has collected a wealth of other quotes too. Snippets from Socrates, observations from Oscar Wilde, and a range of other popular and rare sayings by people both famous and unknown have found their way into her latest book Melancholy and Bright which wil be launched at the Gallery of Modern Art on 7 November 2014 and available in the QAGOMA Store thereafter. As the title of the book suggests, these words run the gamut of love to loss, family to friendship, and melancholy to bright.
Of course, quotes are nothing new to Johnson. Over the past ten years, she has made hundreds of thousands of her signature ceramic 'quote tags' in her delightful Paper Boat Press studio and shop at Ashgrove. Her personalised Christmas decorations are always in high demand, as are her limited edition letterpress prints; heart, bird and cloud brooches; ceramic vessels; calendars; garlands; bunting and many, many more products.
Melancholy and Bright, which follows on from Count Me the Stars (2008) and A Once Courageous Heart (2010) was born of her practice of pressing inspiration words into clay. 'I see many of the quotes in melancholy and bright as either being evocatively melancholy or bright,' she explains. 'Or, in a strange way, a mix of both. Where at first glance there is a pensive air about a quote, you then realise it is sprinkled with a big burst of beautiful, hopeful brightness.'
Christmas ornaments. Image courtesy Paper Boat Press.