a REAL studio

I am sure many of you read THOSE magazines – you know the ones I mean, where you get to look inside an artist’s studio, well most of us know – they tidied up a bit before the photographer came! I do the same if a curator or customer is coming to my studio – but the dirty secret is out thanks to Seth Apter at The Altered Page! Today artists of all stripes, from all over are posting pictures of what their studios look like RIGHT NOW, today as we are working!

So here goes nothing I guess!

I am very lucky – I have a whole floor of my house as a studio, which you would think means the mess would be contained – sadly this is NOT true. So the chaos actually begins outside my office door on the second floor

the floor outside my office, filled with boxes of studio supplies

And continues on up the staircase to the studio

boxes on staircase

And finally having navigated all that stuff you arrive upstairs in my ACTUAL studio

view of an attic studio

This is the view from the top of the stairs – you may notice things are precariously balanced across the staircase

stamps, ink, grapevine, book art

The first area you enter is my sewing space, which is tucked into a dormer space

sewing 1

sewing 2

and the one relatively clear space so far – my sewing chair – complete with childhood friends

sewing chair

In the largest open space are my tables and storage areas – lots of shelves and dressers full of paper


and here is my main work table

table 1

which look pretty tidy – but that is because most of the mess has been swept off onto the floor to make way for the last book I was binding!

studio floor

see! And if I swivel around in my chair this is the view

view from work space

Yep! When I am working I make a lot of mess – this is what creativity looks like for me! Don’t judge me too harshly – it is not a glamorous magazine spread – but wonderful things happen here – like this guest book I recently finished for an upcoming wedding.

just learned this french stitch - so pretty!

just learned this french stitch – so pretty!


book of hours

a tiny book with embroidered covers and pages

Many of you may remember the map of hours I have been working on for AGES now, well here is a baby version – a tiny book of hours, each little page embroidered in the same way as the larger work by listening to the paper and following its lead, sometimes in circles, sometimes in completely new patterns. Here’s a little glimpse inside…

tiny embroidered page made of kozo paper IMAG1448

Want to own this little gem? It is headed off as a donation to the Morgan Conservancy for their annual benefit.

back view of the tiny book

I am especially pleased with the beetroot dyed silk covers.

So glad to have finally finished something! And now back to grading and housework with a sense of accomplishment!

Still finding my roots.


It has been a slow art week. In addition to gearing up for classes, I am also away from home taking care of one of my children who had surgery earlier this week. I have been working in a tiny portable project and falling behind with my journaling. Here are some new images.





Hopefully I will have something new to share soon!! Thanks for stopping by all the same.

Root journaling.

I have been trying to revisit the 30 day root journal from Lisa Sonora Beam. Life is getting in the way a little, but here are some images from this round.


Day one


Day 2


Day 3




I have been trying to keep it very low key and limit my materials. A lot of things that need to be addressed are surfacing. I try to remember this is not art, but a deeper practice to uncover some help and guidance for the road.

Lunch Bag Journal at WNYBAC Bookfest

my table display at bookfest

my table at bookfest

I had a great day at the 3rd annual WNYBAC Bookfest. If you took my workshop in the blazing hot parking lot here is the tutorial for the little lunch bag book we made – if you missed out on the workshop – here’s a tutorial for you anyway!

To make this brown lunch-bag book you need:

  1. a large brown lunch bag (the 6″ size) – I added some stamps to the bottom of the bag (which will become the front cover) – you could do this or print, collage or paint/draw on your cover(s).
  2. 32 sheets of paper for the book block cut to 8″x6″ and folded to 4″x6″ to make 4 signatures of 8 pages each.
  3. some decorative thread and a bookbinding or upholstery needle
  4. an awl
  5. this handout: lunch bag journal printed out on a sheet of legal sized card-stock

So lets begin!

1. First cut out the four pieces on the handout – then insert the piece labelled front cover into the bottom of the lunch bag like this

brown lunch paper bag with piece of cardstock

2. Fold the lunch bag at the top of the card to create the front cover.

lunch bag folded to create a book cover

3. Glue the strip labelled spine punch template to the bag on the inside next to the crease. Use the awl to punch the holes as marked on the printed template. Fold the bag to create the book’s spine.

brown paper bag with spind template attached

4. Insert back cover into bag, up to the edge of the spine template, and fold the end of the bag over to secure in place – if you like you can add decorative stitching on the edges to create a small pocket.


5. Punch the centers of each of the 4 signatures using the signature punching guide from the handout. I find an old phone book makes a great book cradle and allows you to punch the holes more easily. Then thread about a yard of thread onto your needle and tie a knot in one end. Beginning from the inside of the the first signature – at either the head or tail – it doesn’t matter which, sew through corresponding hole in the signature and then through the spine by either the front or back covers.

begining to sew the signatures into the book structuredetail shot of sewing technique

6. Continue sewing up the row in a running stitch. When you come to the top sew over the end of the spine, pick up the next signature and continue down the next row of holes. Repeat with the 3rd and 4th signatures, wrap back around to the inside of the 4th signature and tie off your thread.

a small journal made from a brown paper bag

7. Lastly I added some decorative stitching on the front and sewed down the pocket in the back.


You can change up the binding technique and decoration!!


coming or going?

simple abundance july 25

I was driving my youngest daughter back to camp earlier this week when we passed a truck just like the one we were riding in – “watch out” she said, “we just passed ourselves going – we’re in a time paradox!” Too much Dr. Who in this house maybe?

But honestly that is pretty much how I have been feeling all year. Somehow I cannot seem to get grounded at all, and although some incredible and splendid things have happened, I feel they have all slipped by half-appreciated in a blur. I have been far too busy living to have a life. All of my good intentions seem rather tattered and I am feeling glad that a new school year is just around the corner (and a little freaked out about how much work I HAVEN’T done on my new lectures) and with it a fresh mental start.

I am trying to be gentle with myself – but I am frustrated by the fact that so many of the projects I had hoped to complete this year are still unfinished in the studio.I have made incremental progress on a few – the signatures for women’s work are almost completed – but I didn’t finish it in time to enter it in the Rochester Art of the Book show as I had hoped. I know it WILL get finished – and probably pretty soon, but I feel as if I have let myself down yet again. I know the only way forward is to pick myself up and renew my efforts, but I honestly just feel a bit tired. I’d like to just take a nap – in the woods away from everything.

never done....

never done….

I have signed up for the August round of the root 30 day journal project – just to see if anything comes to the surface. Obviously something is holding me back from following through with my commitment to myself, to make more time for my own art, maybe by going back to my journals I can figure it out. While I am waiting for August – I have decided to reread Simple Abundance and journal about whatever that brings up – maybe by staying in the pages of my journal where it is safe to make mistakes I can rekindle my energies and get back to work.

Now back to my coffee and preparations for the upcoming Bookfest at WNYBAC