The last meeting of yesterday was to catch up with Journal 29′s Inscriber for… (da da da daaaaaaaa…) the final handover!
Journal 29′s Inscriber arrived as the afternoon faded and the cold wintery weather kicked in. We chatted about art and cooking (this Inscriber is an amazing cook, I am a less amazing cook) and the differences between following a recipe and going by instinct. Then I handed over Journal 29. It was a big moment for me, this is the final Journal to be handed to an Inscriber. Very exciting! Each time I hand over a Journal and each time the Inscriber returns it, we get a step closer to putting the Sharing Ink Journals out for people to find!
Yesterday afternoon was very warm, oddly so for the middle of winter. It was happily tshirt weather and I was glad I hadn’t taken my jacket with me on my daily adventures. I was about an hour early for my meeting with the second last Inscriber, so I hung out in the State Library of Victoria’s foyer for a while. The sky started growing dark and the clouds gathered. I was looking down at my phone when suddenly I heard rain pelting down and squeals from people caught in it. Crowds flooded into the foyer, all dripping wet as the sky burst.
It went on for a good twenty minutes and it came time to brave the weather to head to the cafe where I was meeting the Inscriber. So I dashed out in the pouring rain, down the street, around the corner and ended up at the cafe, dripping and soggy. I sat for a few minutes before realising that I was in the wrong cafe and the cafe I was supposed to be at is attached to the Library via a weather-free corridor.
I sighed, picked up by bag and dashed back out into the rain. Eventually I made it to the right cafe, who do an excellent and warming chai tea!
I met the Inscriber, who was clever enough to have with them an umbrella, and we talked of games and play and students and teachers. Then I handed over Journal 4. Luckily the rain had stopped by the time our drinks had come to an end, and the sun broke through the clouds by way of apology.
This morning it was time for one of the last handovers, Journal 22 was to be given to it’s Inscriber.
Our car broke down yesterday, so I traveled out to the prearranged cafe by public transport. Sort of. By which I mean I got it wrong, got on the wrong train and got off at the wrong station and then had to catch a tram to the right place. Which then appeared not to be the right place and I wandered around a little before stumbling on the cafe down an alley down an alley.
But I arrived in the end only 5 minutes late (how that happened, I’m not quite sure. Maybe I’m better at this public transport lark than I think? Somehow, I’m not sure that’s it) We chatted about radicalism and feminism and baby boomers, our generation and the next one coming. We chatted about class systems and privilege and the opening and closing of schools, all over exceptionally good coffee. Journal 22 was safely handed over and then the hand over was over and we headed back to town. In a much more direct fashion (we found the right train station this time, less than a minute’s walk from the cafe).
Sharing Ink is nothing if not an adventure!
This morning it was time for the hand over of Journal 30 to it’s Inscriber. I met this Inscriber and their assistant in a breezy (read ‘freezing’) cafe and talked about Buddahs in boxes, cats in containers and chai in jars. There also may or may not have been some Instagramming of said chai. We also watched giant ants encourage children to move pretend sugar around the space.
None of these things are untrue.
In between the chaos and hilarity (of which there was so much I started wondering if I was over tired) we managed to do what we had met up for, the handing over of Journal 30.
This morning after a phone radio interview with Southern FM, I dashed into town for the hand overs of Journal 18 and Journal 28. The Inscriber for Journal 18 arrived first, accompanied by their tiny month old baby. I handed over the Journal, and we had a chat about the project, and then chatted about art and making – projects, works and families. The Inscriber pulled a cloth bag out of their backpack to put the Journal in, created from Japanese inspired material in a range of beautiful colours including gold. I remarked on just how beautiful the bag was, and the Inscriber said – “If you want beautiful things, you have to make them yourself!”. This idea aligns so well with Sharing Ink, the idea that the most beautiful things are the heartfelt handmade creations rather than the mass produced items created in terrible conditions by people being paid pittance. These Journals are hand made from locally sourced materials and two or more strangers have collaborated to produce a beautiful moment and a lovely item for the finder.
Soon after, Journal 28′s Inscriber arrived. We sat around and chatted about art as a business and how universities so often teach people how to make the art but totally neglect the business side of things. It’s great to be able to paint/ draw/ make, but how to you write a proposal? Or a quote? How much should you charge? All of these things are so hard to work out when you’re an emerging artist. This meeting was a quick one, unfortunately I had another meeting after this, so I had to leave, but the Inscriber was still flicking carefully through the blank pages as I was leaving. There’s something so very tactile about these Journals, they just make you want to run your fingers over them again and again!
The other day I headed into the city for the handover of Journal 26. This Inscriber has a studio in The Nicholson Building, which I always love visiting. It’s an old 1920s (definitely) hotel (I think) and each room is now a studio for artists and small businesses. The amazing Vali Myers had a studio in this building until she died, it was dark and villied with glorious materials and artworks and trinkets from her wild life. I visited once, in my under grad days, and did a (slightly overawed (me, not her)) interview with her.
This Inscriber has almost the opposite type of studio, all light filled and chock full of things they are working on. I spent about an hour with this Inscriber, chatting about the state of the world, the state of our art forms and the creative process. This Inscriber loved the fans on their Journal, and revealed that they always have trouble starting a new book, so I think it’ll be interesting how they will Inscribe their Journal!
This hand over was an adventure… It started with climbing a hill so steep that gum nuts dropping from every tree I passed rolled past my feet and away. I arrived at the house on the summit, which had a lovely gent who opened the door and a 7 foot monster sentry guarding the fridge. I met this Inscriber, who was still in their pajamas – robes fit for a sailor or pirate, and a crocheted wizard cape. We drank tea that didn’t taste of tea and milk that didn’t taste of milk, and we spoke of animals, newly discovered cellars and ancient wine presses, while birds dropped olives from the skies. This Inscriber proclaimed their love for the narwhal, who smiled gently at them from the cover of Journal 9.
Next, I traveled across town to meet the next Inscriber. We had agreed on a local hip cafe, worn wood and all day busy. The kitchen was releasing amazing smells, but we were here only for coffee. About an hour beforehand, this Inscriber had just had some good news publicly released, so throughout our conversation they were receiving texts, tweets and email congratulations, which was lovely. We spent some time chatting about Masters, PhDs and teaching, before I handed them Journal 23. Coffees finished, we said goodbye and the Inscriber pulled out their phone to see the whole screen filled with more messages! So nice!
The final hand over for the day was back in town, in the gold and red lush surroundings of a lush cafe. The waiters were lovely (although a little amused at my tired attempts at sentence structure) and I found that a lemon, lime and bitters works wonders to combat too many morning coffees. The Inscriber and I talked of poetry and PhDs and the ability of projects to clump together like shoals of fish.
Journal 24 has trams and bikes prominent on it’s cover, the Inscriber observed it’s a very Melbourne Journal!
Journal 21 handover
The other day it was time for Journal 21 to be handed over to it’s Inscriber. I had been past this building in the CBD many times, and knew what it was, so it was simple and easy to get too. This time, there was no getting lost for me! I climbed the stairs and was directed to the lift. In such a beautiful building I felt sure the lift would be gorgeous too, but instead it was just all black mirrored glass inside, reflecting about a thousand of me sharing my journey.
When I arrived, the Inscriber was busy on the phone but came out to meet me very quickly. They delighted over the journal and told me they already had an idea of what they were going to write, they thought they might even buy a new pen for the occasion. I love how special that is!
Because I’m occasionally aware of how busy the Inscribers are, and because I don’t want to take up too much of their time, I bustle out of their company as fast as I can. This means that again, I forgot to take the photo of the actual hand over moment. But I contacted the Inscriber later and asked if they wouldn’t mind taking one themselves, and they were happy too. At the right is the gorgeous and dreamy photo they sent me. I think it fits perfectly with the loveliness of the project and the Inscribers!
Journal 12 Handover
Yesterday I was in Richmond running a playtest for the games company we run, Pop Up Playground. It was a perfect time for a couple of the Inscribers to drop by, get given their Journals and play a couple of games with us as well. The first Inscriber to visit was Journal 12′s Inscriber. They came and received their Journal, which was safely stowed in their bag just in time to attempt to save the world from an evil super villain.
Journal 19 Handover
Next up was Journal 19′s Inscriber. They arrived minutes after Journal 12′s Inscriber and was handed their book. Journal 19 was carefully slotted into their well packed bag, then the two Inscribers teamed up to try to save the world. Unfortunately, despite their valiant attempts (the the attempts of the other 20 people in the game) the super villain won this round, cause the apocalypse and laughed evilly over the smoldering ruins of the planet. As super villains are wont to do.
Journal 8 Handover
Journal 8′s Inscriber dropped by, unfortunately they couldn’t stay for the fun and games, they had a talk to present. But they loved Journal 8, they were very keen on the intersecting patterns. You can just see the bikes and tram under their hands in the photo.
Journal 5 Handover
Lastly, Journal 5′s Inscriber arrived, a little late but all good. This Inscriber loved the art deco feel to the covers, and placed the Journal carefully on their belongings before diving into the next game, helping a spy academy churn out top spies in under five minutes.
Journal 10 Handover (well, sort of)
Yesterday afternoon I found myself wandering city lanes and alleyways, looking for the next Inscriber’s office. They had given me the address, which was clear and simple, but finding the laneway that the building was in proved (only a little) bit tricky. But find it I did, one of those beautiful Art Deco buildings hidden in the city which look like a normal storefront until you look up. Next time you’re in the Melbourne CBD, remember to look up! The buildings are (usually) so beautiful. But I digress. So I found the building, and headed up in the lift to the floor. When I entered, the office was warm and cheery and filled with nice people, it made me feel very welcomed. Then the Inscriber came out of their office and joined me on the couch. I handed them their Journal (Journal 10, which you can see here), which they seemed rather thrilled at. It’s a beautiful Journal and specifically matched to it’s Inscriber because of the bird on the front. The Inscriber was very busy, so we only had a couple of minutes to chat and I was very aware not to take up too much time, so I left pretty quickly. It was only back down in the alley that I realised that I hadn’t taken a photo of the handover! Luckily, as I walked down the alley there was quite a lot of paste ups and stencils, including this little sparrow, which matches Journal 10, in a way. So I provide you with this photo instead of the usual one. Because stories with pictures are always nice.
Journal 13 Handover
Straight after Journal 10′s Handover, I headed off down some more alleys to another rendevous with an Inscriber, this time for Journal 13. But I am not great at navigating. I’ll happily admit to that. And Smartphone technology, while on the surface seeming to solve all your directional problems, still doesnt help if you’re peering down trying to figure out which way you should turn to follow the map. So you’ll be unsurprised to learn that I got a bit lost. Twice. But getting lost down Melbourne alleys just means you find loads of street art to instagram, so that worked out well. I even found a piece of street haiku, which was lovely. And eventually I found my way to the next Inscriber’s office. Through a warehouse door, up some old stairs and into a brightly lit office with old floor boards and a miriad of people working on computers. This Inscriber was also super busy, they had a deadline looming, so the encounter was quite short, I handed over the Journal, which the Inscriber carefully opened and leafed through, we had a super quick chat and as they put it safely on their desk I exited the building. At least this time I remembered to snap the moment of hand over before I left!