Friday, August 21, 2009

Meet the Team - Rhonda Ayliffe

To all of us down under, Rhonda Ayliffe, affectionately known as Ronnie, hardly needs an introduction. Her many years of involvement, interest and achievements in the calligraphic, fine art and book art fields are mighty impressive.

A 5th generation country girl, Rhonda lives with her husband and two young children on a 360 acre farm "Sam's Creek" on the picturesque far south coast of NSW... a rural farming community from which she creates and practices her art, grows her own food, and tends to her beloved garden....

"I'm very, very, very, very attached to my little corner of the world - you know the saying "you can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl"?...well you can't take this girl out of the country - at least not for very long! I'd miss the wombats and wallabies."

"Mixed Emotions"
assemblage - 1950's mixmaster, paper, gouache, wire (1995)

Perhaps becase of this, Ronnie has become an 'expert' at Distance Education; to add to her BA (Art History), Grad. Dip ED (Visual Art), and Diploma of Western Calligraphy (all completed via distance education), Ronnie is currently finishing her Master of Visual Arts. Whilst undertaking the course she had the honour of being admitted to the Golden Key International Honour Society.

Location hasn't stopped Rhonda from fully immersing herself in all things arty....she doesn't blink at travelling hundreds of kilometers to attend courses of interest...and....(drum roll please) she is the creator and instigator behind calligraffia.

'Weight of Words'
Acrylic, gouache, ink on canvas panels 150cm x 60cm (2007)

Rhonda has only occasionally worked as a commercial calligrapher since being awarded as ASC Guild level Membership in 1995, but uses her love of calligraphy for many other things, especially via her passion for book arts. She has had work published in Letter Arts Review around 1997, but it is her achievements in the book arts that make her stand out from the crowd.

'you are'
(poem by artist)
ink, gouache, collage on concertina booklet (2006)

Over a number of years, Rhonda's creative works have been included in Lark Books '500 Handmade Books', she has work regularly selected for national major book art exhibitions/awards....Books '05, Books '07, SCU Acquisitive Award....and as recently as a fortnight ago, received a Judges' commendation in the National Book Arts award at East Gippsland Art Gallery.... and has just had work shortlisted for the Meroogal Womens Art Award

carved reclaimed 2 volume dictionary (2009)

"Calligraphy and book arts go together like wine and cheese (yum!) They are natural and complementary partners. Within my arts practice, I enjoy taking these crafts on a journey, stretching their possibilities as far as I can before form, all traditions and discernable 'skill' are lost completely. Recently with my works, I've been exploring ideas of knowledge and theories of knowledge - and the changing role of books in a blogging world. With the seeming replacement of books by the internet, I think that books as objects, and particularly the traditional crafts associated with them, are more important than at any other stage in human history....but as a calligrapher and book artist, maybe my opinion is biased...."

Work in progress from burning books series (2009)
Ephemeral sculpture utilising discarded encyclopaedias - this is hot out of the studio!
(see /read more about the creation of this work here)

Besides attending to calligraffia, Ronnie regularly contributes to her own arty blog, Art & Etc. Her website is currently undergoing a major revamp, so we will just have to wait a little while to view her latest creations. In the meantime, a selection of her older works can be enjoyed on Cecilia Sharpley's website.

....and Ronnie tells me she is hoping to go on to complete a PhD course - perhaps as early as next year...

"Yes, sometime in the near future, I hope to be able to insist on being addressed as Doc Ronnie...hee hee hee"