2 festivals and a workshop

What a busy week! It started Sunday with a perfect afternoon at Chautauqua Institution, warm sun, gentle breeze off the lake and lots of vendors set up for an afternoon of local shopping. I got to visit with lots of friends and move some merchandise, a fun afternoon! 

Hot on the heels of that was the fourth of July holiday and some family time. I often have a hard time keeping track of what day it is in the summer, but a holiday in the middle of the week really messed me up!

Wednesday I headed out to a new teaching venue. The Springville Center for the Arts is housed in a beautiful old church.

I’m teaching a month long class exploring different ways of manipulating and playing with paper. We started out doing some eco-printing. Here’s my sample

I made this one using some heavy cotton paper I use for etching. After soaking the paper in a bath of water containing a little alum, I make a sandwich of leaves and paper, with a ceramic tile on the top and bottom of that leaf/paper sandwich. Then tie the bundle with some gardening twine or big rubber bands, you want the bundle snug so the leaves make contact with the paper but not really tight. Put the bundle in a large pan and cover with water. I added old coffee grounds to the water, but you can use any organic or commercial dye. Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least an hour. Some people just steam their bundles, but I never have much success that way. Then unbundle and rinse in cold water. I hang mine on the washing line to dry.

Because I knew we were going to make a mess, we opted to work outside rather than in their classroom space. The workshop participants made some gorgeous papers. We used a RIT dye in denim blue instead of coffee, and I used a big turkey roaster crock pot to cook the bundles. We also discovered that clover from the garden added a bright yellow to those papers.

We also tried dyeing some paper using some other traditional dyes, tumeric made a gorgeous brilliant yellow, onion skins make a beautiful ochre and beets with vinegar in the bath gave us a delicate blush pink. 

We also experimented with dip dyeing using some commercial dyes. We really accomplished a lot in a short two hour class, and cleaned up just ahead of an incoming thunderstorm! Next week we are going to try some monoprinting techniques.

On my drive home I was eating some almonds in the car when disaster struck, I broke a tooth. So Thursday was an emergency trip to the dentist. Not fun. 

Today I spent the day at Bookfest at WNYBAC. I had a fabulous day despite the stupid tooth catching up with friends and I managed to sell enough books to cover my dental bills, win-win!

This was my last festival of the summer as I am heading back home to the UK at the end of the month.

Tomorrow I need to finish up a commission and finish my entry for a book exhibit. Monday that tooth is coming out, it broke below the gum and can’t be saved. And then I need to clear the decks of some restoration work before switching gears to finish an installation. How does summer fly by so fast?

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Local arts showcase

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I’ve blogged about Infinity before. What happens there is the best of the arts. Young people are mentored and inspired. With the help of local artists they craft their own goals and get all the support they need to make them happen. We all know the arts make better people. So I am happy to be participating in this year’s local artist showcase. In addition to hawking my wares I am also donating an art guitar to their auction.
Here’s a shot of the work in progress.

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Hope that if you are in the area you will take the time to come and see the marvel for yourself!

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 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!

Summer week 4

Most of this week was spent on production binding for the 4th annual Bookfest at Western NY Book Arts Center. I also experimented with a few more long stitch word bindings.

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Yesterday I spent a great day under my tent at Bookfest. I met some wonderful new people, saw some old friends and past professors from my time at UB, sold a few books and taught a mini workshop. If you are looking for the tutorial, it should be up later tonight.
Today I am exhausted! I did a few paste paper experiments for a workshop tomorrow and added some type to a few more brown paper lunch bag journals (another festival next weekend).

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Now I am laying on the couch in the air conditioning, and I think a nap may well be in my future!

Summer day 7

Yesterday I decided to work on some mini books, just in case a local festival would go on despite the torrential rain. I also put each book I was planning on taking in a protective plastic sleeve. I don’t like to do this as you can’t experience the books in the same way but I also didn’t want my entire inventory to get soaked.
This morning the festival was cancelled, it is still pouring here. I was fully prepared to go stand out under a soggy tent with few visitors, but I am glad I can stay home in the warm and dry.

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good intentions

It’s been a while. My life is just nuts. I keep cutting things out of it but there are not enough hours in the day. Regular readers know that last year our youngest was diagnosed with a chronic pain disorder, and while she now has a great team of specialists to work with, she has needed some help finishing out this semester. It is not often that I say this, but fortunately I am an ADJUNCT professor, so I am only on campus two days a week. The other five have been spent driving back and forth over the three hours between where we live and where she goes to school to help her manage. Obviously this has taken up a lot of time I spend doing other things, something had to give, this time it was the blog. I post almost everyday on my Instagram account because all I need to do is take a picture with my phone. But trying to put my life/studio work into words has seemed like too much effort of late. But I miss being “here”. Because sometimes putting the work into words helps me figure it out, and blogging has always been a link to my tribe,and it has been a difficult time to feel cut off from that. So WHAT have I been doing? I really have been busy, not always in my studio, often in the living room of my daughter’s flat, which has fewer amenities and fewer choices! But I have tried to keep working, because as I am sure you all know, it’s the work that keeps you sane. I have been really focused on small functional books lately, as it is festival time, and since giving up my job at the print shop, I need to figure out how to make up that income in the summer. Here’s a small sample of that work

little baby books made from lovely scraps

little baby books made from lovely scraps

and even smaller book charms, each with an individual stamped quote

and even smaller book charms, each with an individual stamped quote

Lots of colourful journals with ribbons and pretty paper

super colourful!

super colourful!

and as always recycled book covers and lunch bag journals

lunch bag journals

lunch bag journals

leading up to this – my annual trip to the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair

my table at the book fair

my table at the book fair

I am going to be at another book fair this weekend in Westfield NY at Eason Hall. Tomorrow May 2nd from 9-3. Stop by!

I am also slowly creeping along on some ongoing projects. As I will be around this weekend – maybe more pictures tomorrow.

If you are reading this – thanks for patiently hanging in there. Summer is coming, and before that Paper and Book Intensive. Can’t wait!!