Snowflake

First time back in the studio really getting down to work. A while ago I started a series of snowflake inspired bindings. Yesterday I finally started another in the series.

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I start out drawing on graph paper. All the snowflakes are being adapted from some illustrations of black work borders.

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Next I copy that design onto a piece of graph paper mounted on some card stock.

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Then I start sewing. As I go I write out the steps. Once I have figured out how to sew the pattern I make a book block. Cutting, folding and punching the signatures always seems to take forever! This design has 21 signatures! I draw a scale pattern of the binding to help punch the right holes in the right signature.

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I bind the top and bottom to hold the tension even as I sew the design. Here I used a french link with a kettle on either side over a translucent ribbon with a little sparkle. Sometimes I use coloured thread for this stage, but I wanted to keep the focus on the snowflake for this one.

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Here’s the sewing finished.

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I have been trying to make bolder choices with my colours and patterns, to make things less “matchy”. The last step is glueing the covers and ribbons down.
About 8 hours later it is all done!
Feels good to add a new pattern to my repertoire. My goal is to draw them all up and publish them for others to use over summer break this year.

A rather late new year.

This year I am beginning my year the same way I have started the last two years with the great blog prompts from Lisa Sonora. It’s been a very slow start as I have had the flu and then bronchitis and I am still getting caught up.
In past years I have used an old book as the foundation for my journal, but the book I thought I might use this year was  just not the right size or scale or something, it didn’t feel right. Instead I decided to use random formats of watercolor paper as a basis for my journaling.
Working on individual sheets has been a different experience. I started out with 30 randomly sized pieces of watercolor paper. Next I added a layer of collage. I pushed myself to work with brighter colors than I would usually use. It was a good game plan, but after I added additional layers of paint, printing and tissue, many of the pages ended up being in my happy beige range! A few brighter ones survived, but not many.
The final layer on each page was the stamped quote of the day, and I was able to use the reverse side to journal.

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This weekend I bound together the finished pages. I’m still behind but I think I am going to use this technique for the rest of the year, maybe making monthly books.
I have a much less hectic teaching schedule this semester, so I am hoping to get better at guarding my studio time, and posting more regularly here.

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So hopefully there will be more to come soon. Thanks for hanging with me!

Keeping my head above water!

This semester I have a crazy teaching schedule, 5 classes at 3 different schools. It hasn’t left much studio time! I did finally wrap up the Berehinia book, I ended up hand dyeing some paper using tea and rust and making new covers.

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She shipped out this week, along with “maple” and “women’s work” for this exhibit. I am so excited to have work included in this exhibit again! Can’t wait for the opening.

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I am also working on a guest book commission, and a book for a DNA embroidery related exhibit. The binding was pretty easy to work out. But I had a crazy idea to hand stamp a human genome sequence inside. Where do these crazy ideas come from?  Why do they come to me?!

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Thankfully fall break is coming up this week at all 3 colleges, so I might get to play with some new ideas in the next few days.

And just like that summer is gone

The last official week of summer was spent helping our youngest get ready for school while recovering from another surgery. Here’s hoping that sets her up for a better year ahead.
This week was the first week of classes. This semester I have picked up some extra work, so I am teaching 5 classes at 3 different colleges. The college i usually teach at treats their adjuncts very well, but one of the new colleges has pretty much abandoned me to sink or swim. I am glad i have so much experience under my belt or it could have been disastrous rather than just stressful. I also scheduled a workshop one evening this week. I survived, but it was a pretty foolish thing to do to myself!

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And around packing and hospitals and teaching I also squeezed in time for the last festival of the summer

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And to finish up a new installation for the faculty show at the college where I usually teach. The curator took this nice picture of me at work.

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Actually the weather is still very lovely, summer is not really over quite yet, so I am hoping I might be able to make some paper from plants from the garden before the sun slips away. And I have some new projects on the go in the studio.
But first, coffee in the sunshine on the porch.

Summer week 7.

Firstly, eek! Where has summer gone? It seems like suddenly it is time to write lesson schedules and plan for a new term. It also means it is almost time to install a new work for a faculty show at one of the colleges where I teach. So that’s mostly what I have been tinkering with this week. Having thought about this work all summer and procrastinated, I am now nervous and uncertain about whether it’s going to work. Stay tuned I guess!

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Summer week 6

Last week, rather on a whim I went to look at a house. It got me thinking about the future. We have lived in our house for over 20 years, and I still love it as much as the first time I saw it. But, it is a large house, maybe a little too big now the last of our children is getting ready to marry and leave the nest. We live in a great neighborhood, convenient to our jobs, but we have been thinking about making a change. Maybe it would be nice to mark this transition in our lives with a new, smaller home, with more room for our toys in out buildings. And thinking about a new home has got me thinking about where I want to take other parts of my life, and I have been dreaming about different futures. Dreaming big dreams. Thinking about change is big and scary, but I don’t want the next phase of our life together to run on autopilot, so I think it is time to get out the journals and give it some serious thought.
That house was beautiful, but way too much, even though I could imagine myself living there, I also realized I want to simplify my domestic life and make more time to spend experiencing life and making art.
It feels like change is coming!

Summer week 5

This week finally feels like summer, something has subtly changed and I feel the weight lifting. The week began with a journal workshop with a summer reading program. We made paste papers using natural materials and then  made nature journals using a simplified stab binding. Here I am at work!

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Tuesday I hosted a wonderful group of creative ladies at my studio. Together we made recycled long stitch journals, drank tea and coffee, and had fun! Here they are at the end of their workshop with their finished books.

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Today I needed to go to Chautauqua Institution to make some small changes to those chalkboard menus. It was a glorious summer day here with a brisk breeze off of the lake, just perfect! After that I took in a lecture at the hall of philosophy on ethics in the visual arts. I ended my morning by looking at the shows at the Strohl And Kellogg galleries. I saw some fabulous art, and I returned home refreshed with the well filled.
This afternoon was spent doing paperwork, cleaning the studio again and getting work ready for this weekend’s festival, “A Stir of Artists” in Bemus Point. Hope this beautiful weather holds!