pop-up card – perfect for Mother’s Day!

Make a pop-up Mother’s Day card

Usually this week I’d be busy designing a pop-up card to make with my adult art group. They really enjoy making them and they usually get rave reviews – every Mum likes to get a homemade card no matter how old their “kids” are!

Since we are still on pause here in NY my group is not meeting right now, and kids are not in school, so they are not making cute gifts for Mum either, so this week I am sharing a couple of tutorials for cards, They might be a bit complicated for small children, but maybe Dad or an older sibling can help!

Today’s tutorial features 3 different versions of the same card, including one you can just print and color. The links below will let you download the files you see in the video tutorial. I drew these with a sharpie and scanned them in – so they will have a more “homemade look”

I hope you enjoy the tutorial – watch for another card later in the week! 

Blackout Meditations

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As regular readers know I have been doing these blackout pages as part of my studio practice for well over a decade now. I started doing them as an inexpensive way to center myself as I started work in the studio. Many artists have routines that help them reach their creative place – blackout meditation is one of mine. My studio is on the third floor of my home, and as a new art school graduate, I found I needed a transition between my “real” life and my artist life. Blackout meditations became that transition for me, a way to clear my head and begin. They help to trick my inner censor – “nothing to see here – just a doodle on an old book page – no “serious” art happening here!” Over time I can trace my thoughts and preoccupations in these pages. You can search here on the blog for more examples, use the word blackout in the search box, and see other examples over on my website here.

Right now the world is turned upside down, I find my brain is in constant fight or flight mode and it is exhausting. Making a simple page meditation gives me a few moments of calm when I am absolutely absorbed in what I am doing. And some days I am even calm enough to get to work in my studio.

I get a lot of questions about this part of my practice, and so this week’s art in the time of corona virus is a really quick little video tutorial. I outline my basic process, but since it is a “made up” process I hope you will make it your own. If you decide to make one (or a few – be warned it can be addictive!) I hope you will tag me on your @debeck01 on instagram or use the hashtag #blackoutmeditation so I can see your work too!

a tiny journal

In today’s installment of what to do when you are in social isolation I give you a fun notebook using an old greeting card or note card. I often use this project in intro to bookbinding classes, it’s a simple binding, and it is an easy way to get to grip with all the niceties of paper grain and using simple tools. To be honest you don’t really need any tools except a big tapestry sewing needle to make this project – and you can use any papers you have on hand.

I started making these little note books for myself many years ago – my Mum writes to me regularly from the UK, and it is a way to carry that letter around with me in my every day life. I write my to-do lists and grocery lists and lists of books I want to read in them, stuff like that, and so my daily life is wrapped up inside notes from my Mum, my husband, my kids, my friends – entwined with people who love me, many of them so far away from me.

Anyway – have fun making one for yourself and I’ll be back in a few days with another project from every day stuff.

communities coming together

its a strange time to be alive right now. As an artist and consultant/educator I mostly work from home, so my life doesn’t really feel very different, except when I do leave the house and its like a ghost town everywhere.

What is giving me hope is all the artists everywhere sharing what they know, all the authors reading kids books, all the musicians giving concerts from their living rooms, all the teachers of every stripe sharing resources and knowledge. It seems the carriers of culture are determined that humanity will be all right.

Here’s my humble contribution of a craft you can do if you are stuck at home, that doesn’t need any special materials. I want to give a huge shout out to an organization I work with – Infinity Visual and Performing Arts https://infinityperformingarts.org for sponsoring this video series and for sharing them on their platform to increase their outreach.

More videos on the way – until then stay well – hugs Deb

zines in a time of crisis

I’ve been struggling to figure out how to respond to the current crisis – and I have decided to share my experience as a teaching artist with parents everywhere who are searching for something to do with their children while we are all practicing social distancing. I’m going to make a short video everyday using materials you might already have at home. For today’s project you need a sheet of paper and a pair of scissors (no scissors? you can probably tear it instead!)

Zines can be about anything and can use drawing, writing, or collage, to create content. You can make one on your computer, but it’s fun to go analog and get sticky with some glue every now & then Maybe you could make a zine of some inspirational poems and pictures, and leave them on neighbors porches to cheer them up, or scan or photograph your zine and send it as a pdf/jpeg to friends and family with instructions on how to fold it up, they might enjoy it while they are waiting out the virus at home.

Want to learn more about zines? Try these resources

this is a really cool video – wish I was this good at videos!

here’s a quick look at zine history

and if you want to keep learning more – read Notes from the Underground: Zines and the politics of alternative culture by Stephen Duncombe

I made this zine from an old drawing that wasn’t really working, I’m going to add text to it next

If you make a zine, please leave me a comment and let me know how it came out. I’ll be back tomorrow with another project – until then be well!

All change

I’ve been missing in action for a while here on the blog.

While I’ve been gone, my whole life has changed. I’ve had some health problems, so I’ve started taking better care of myself. And as part of that, I made the decision to finally walk away from the adjunct life.

So right now I am recovering from surgery, and mostly unemployed.

I am still teaching here and there, workshops, and one regular adult class.

I am going to hang a couple more shows at the gallery, but at the end of the year I am also walking away from that part time gig.

I’m grateful for my husband, his grown up, real job allows me the luxury to take a deep breath, and figure out what’s next.

Some things are coming into view on the horizon.

Orkney magic – part 3

I’m going to end this little set of posts with some images from the sights. We took a little bus tour to visit a few of the many historic monuments on the island. I could bore you silly with lots of information, but I’m mostly just going to show you how stunningly beautiful it is and encourage you to go see it for yourself.

The Broch of Gurness

The Earl’s Palace – we ate lunch here – it was just like being on a school trip, with our brown bag lunches.

The Brough of Birsay – a magical stroll across the tidal causeway

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and we ended the day at The Ring of Brodgar just as the sun was going down. Just thinking about it still gives me chills

brodgar 2

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Our very last stop as we headed home for dinner was at the studio of the Harray Potter where it is possible I bought many souvenirs!

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I’m planning to return someday soon – one week was not enough to soak up so much history.

I’m sure I’ll go back to this place during the year as I work on things I started here, but I’m going to end these posts for now. I want to offer another sincere and enormous thank you to the Allegany-Cattaraugus-Chautauqua Fund for Women and The United Arts Appeal for supporting my trip and workshop experience.