I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Thursday, March 05, 2015

My Year with Bluestone: Have I found the book's cover?

My friend Kristin is a painter. She lives in a house in Brunswick. The previous owner had built a kind of arty shed in the back garden, using the bluestone pitchers that had previously been the floor of a small dairy on the site.

Kristin's architect built a gorgeous new studio for her and the bluestones became the basis for the garden (she and Chris laid them themselves). Here she is in the doorway:

And here are the stones laid down under the walnut tree, along with Basil's tail:

and a low wall that the brother of her first lodger built.

A few years ago she painted a series of paintings of this bluestone ledge across the seasons. We couldn't afford to buy this painting, but we both love it, and I now think it would be a wonderful cover image for my bluestone book. 

Not only is it a gorgeous and luminous image, and a lovely contrast to the monumental building style that we mostly associate with bluestone, but it's fitting as a cover, too, because bluestone is so often affectionately recycled in this way, and built unevenly. Kristin loves the way it kind of tapers off at the edge. She has been very happy in this house of her own, and while we tend to meet for walks in a park, rather than home visits, I've spent some happy hours in her studio when she's been painting my portrait (this will be the fourth time, I think). Of course book designers will have their own ideas, and of course, of course, I have to write the book and secure a publisher, but it's a bit like writing the contents page: thinking about the cover helps me think about the book.

The first time Kristin painted my portrait was when I first got to know her, over twenty years ago, when she and her then husband, who were living around the corner from me in Princes Hill, bought an old shed in the laneway behind our house to develop as a double studio/darkroom for the painter and photographer. Of course that laneway was a bluestone one!

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