9: gracia + louise


gracia haby+ louise jennison

Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison are visual artists who make artists’ books and all sorts of things most usually on paper. More often than not, they collaborate, and more often than not, they favour evenings over mornings. Through their artwork they hope to eke out a unique other world full of beauty and wonder, sadness and humour, all the while hoping to remain undetected. They work chiefly from their home-based studio in Melbourne, Australia.




Summertime: And the livin’ is easy, just as Ella & Louis sang.

Sticky palms, sweaty brow, emerging from warm and sleepless nights, summer is with us until the first of March and it can be a taxing season, one I struggle to embrace. But, summer it is, there can be no escaping it. Best set to enjoying it, all its heat, storms and early starts.


In the morning, the bed looks a battlefield. Pillows lie twisted and contorted and creased, stained yellow by the calendula in my night cream that is good for skin touched by those strong UV rays, the top sheet a tangle, and the alarm beeps and I wish it wouldn’t. On hot days, curtains stay drawn and outdoor umbrellas and sails look to offer little shade relief. The light is bright and by middle of day, the garden wilts through heat and water loss. Birds can be seen standing with wings airing their feathery pits and beaks fixed ajar, cats flake in the shade and canines pant. Washing dries in but an instant on the line that runs from above the bathroom window to the back fence, blowing in the breeze, if there is one. Towels come in off the line stiff as if made of cardboard and carry the aroma of summer days. Summer days may well smell of thickly applied sunscreen on the body, but they also smell of washing baked and bleached.

Summer is a time to become reacquainted with one’s body, to wear less layers and as someone pale and frequently to be found indoors, to marvel at the long lithe limbs of others that seem to magically appear with that first warm day in November, in their element where I am not. In singlet and skirt or the smallest pair of shorts, they appear on the street astride bicycle or strolling, arms entangled with an equally lithe-limbed lover, commandeering the street for the beautiful. Not for them, it seems, the inelegance of white sunscreen, shirtsleeves, sunhat and mess. As someone who swam frequently at the beach in a t-shirt as a child, I seem to have spent my three and thirty years trying to shield or be shielded from the sun.

In the full throes of summer, one quickly remembers, any open expanse of asphalt that needs crossing on foot needs to be done in feverish haste. The heat underfoot burns and my thin-soled sandshoes offer little by way of protection. Sunglasses slide off the nose, or leave tiny red indentations across the bridge. Rings once loose on fingers feel now tight.

Summer in Melbourne holds many pleasures. Those first January days find the city emptied of crowds and quiet. Summer holidays have transplanted people to the coast and driven them poolside, and emptied my local haunts of chaos. The city and its neighbouring suburbs becomes the domain of those without beach house or camping trip plans. The cinema, a popular refuge, beckons and novels on the shelf cry out to be read for lengthy periods.

Cicadas and their night time musical serenade made by vibrating two membranes of their abdomen, ice cubes clinking and cracking in a jug of water flavoured by mint leaves and slices of lemon, perhaps a fan gently whirling, thunder imminent, showers forecast, summer has many sounds. It brings with it bountiful harvest, for those whom acquire their food from greengrocer, market stall or supermarket shelf; strawberries, cherries, watermelon, grapes, plums and other stone fruits, and tomatoes vine-ripened and flavoursome, all best savoured close to natural state. Late night strolls, an ice-cream treat, windows open and doors flung wide as night descends or cool change arrives… summer is full of potential and yields much by way of treasure for those of indolent ways. The creation of halcyon days seems to desire it thus.



on the nightstand…


am loving..

Summer days, gradually. Summer evenings, wholeheartedly.
In addition, always the smiles of friends and the company of animals.


what inspires you about the summer?

Summer brings with it days laden with possibility and glorious extended hours of light. We feast on pineapples, blackberries, nectarines and slices of watermelon until our bellies are full and fingers stained.


what are three constants in your day?

  1. Caffeine
  2. Laughter
  3. Much quietness


what three things do you hope to accomplish in 2009?

To exhibit a new body of work at Craft Victoria (in October-November).
To make a more valuable use of the time available to us.
To fritter away time daydreaming of all we wish to do this year.






Summertime: And the livin’ is easy, just as Ella & Louis sang, a small zine by Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison made especially for this joy+ride.

A 15 X 10.5cm, Colour and B&W copy, 16 page printed zine with a handsewn spine. With drawings by Louise and words by Gracia, and summer ever in mind.

{Please note: price shown in Australian dollars.}

Gracia and Louise are offering a special secret extra with the first ten copies of the zine. To order, click here.



13 thoughts on “9: gracia + louise

  1. Thanks, once again, Shari & Sheri for taking us along on a joyride. Louise and I were delighted to play a part and so enjoyed dreaming up the words and visuals for issue nine.

    And, thank you for the warm and encouraging comments left here.

    Since we started work on this project and new zine, summer seems to have arrived in full force. Late January and all of February, when everyone returns to school, study or work and the the holidays come to an end… yes, that is when summer begins here.

    see you, g

  2. Thanks for having us. I had a ball drawing thirsty pandas and fluttering butterflies for your issue nine. It was a joy to work on this and the zine, and I loved getting to read Gracia’s thoughts and words about summer in its various stages.
    xo lj

  3. these illustrations and books are absolutely beautiful. I especially love this:

    “To make a more valuable use of the time available to us.
    To fritter away time daydreaming of all we wish to do this year.”

    valuable time is daydreaming time, indeed!!!!!

  4. this was just exactly what i needed to read on this cold, cold, bitter cold morning. you have reminded me that summer is there, waiting,

  5. Thanks all. Your words mean allot to both G and me.

    The first ten copies have sold… and of an edition of fifty, only a handful now remain. Thank-you for your interest.

    lj xo

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