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!!

small press wonders

small press 2013a

my sunny spot on day one


Going to the small press book fair in Buffalo every year is magical. I get to see old book friends and meet new ones. This year was particularly amazing as I got to meet Esther K. Smith, author of How to Make Books and part of Purgatory Pie Press. She is pretty amazing, and we traded work (I LOVE trading!). It is so cool when you get to share your work with others in your field, and I am almost giddy with joy because she liked my bindings!! Excuse me while I go all crazy fan-girl here – but she liked my bindings!!! I also got to meet the fine folks from The Workhorsery who were my neighbours on Saturday, they were super friendly – so go buy some Canadian fiction I say!! I managed to come home making a profit although I did break my resolution and buy some new paste papers from the awesome Blowfish Bookbindings. Her paper is so incredible I just couldn’t resist.

I’d really like to thank the organizers and all the people who stopped by and said hi. Its like a big annual reunion. I am energized and excited to get back to my studio and make some progress on never done and chart some of the simple bindings with an eye to teaching/sharing them. Back to work…

my booth day 2

my booth day 2


and so it goes

It has been a long emotional day. It started sleep deprived and very early, our new kitten thinks I should get up at the same time to feed and play with her – she doesn’t know its spring break so I want to sleep in. As I was up I decided to grade some rough drafts, they have to be graded at some point. What a relief to find they were actually much better than I had expected!

Then I checked in online. Louise from the Artist Book Collective included a picture of my book on her post today. One of the great things about the internet is how it has miraculously brought such amazing people and opportunities into my creative life. And Lou has been the inspiration behind my new bindings, it was her call for work that finally spurred me to take the idea out of my sketchbook and actually start playing around with it – so GLAD that happened.

Then I saw this link to an article and some great video from the small press book fair. I think the video gives you a really good feeling for the energy and the amazing amount of NOISE in that space, still I enjoy it more every year and wouldn’t miss it! Thanks to all ay WNYBAC for sharing that!

Then the news came – I didn’t make it to the next round of interviews. I was pretty crushed, but mostly I felt as if I had let my poor hubby down again. He was so excited about the possibility of a new start, and then it was gone. I have to believe that the universe has something better waiting out there for me, but in the meantime I am a bit disappointed and still worried about our financial situation. I know worrying won’t change anything, or make me feel better but it seems it is just my nature.

So I retreated to my studio, I have been working on something for a call for work Seth posted over on his blog, related to his wonderful new book. I can’t post any pictures as I want him to be the first to see it. Maybe if I am pleased with it I will post pictures later.

So now it is late, I have been up too long. I am drained and a little sad. I have my art and a room of my own. I am loved. It WILL all come out right in the end. So goodnight.

books, and more books

What a busy book-filled weekend I have had! Saturday I was at the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair. There is really just something magical about hanging out with 100’s of other bookish nerds that words cannot explain. I had a fabulous day, and enjoyed sharing my new bindings with an appreciative audience. I was on cloud nine when I finally got home. (oh and don’t tell my hubby but I had only been there about 5 minutes before I bought MORE PAPER!!). Everyone at the WNYBAC and all the organizers should give themselves a huge pat on the back. If I ever win the lottery I am sending some money your way!

Sunday was back to work after all that fun. Jen and I installed the final part of the Women Create exhibit – the flag book installation. Neither of us likes ladders, which made for a slightly anxious afternoon, but when we were all done the final result is not too shabby! I am posting my fairly awful pictures here, but as soon as Jen processes hers I’ll add a link to her much superior ones.

Today I had to come back down to earth, lots of exams to grade and an interview. I hate interviewing, I spend the rest of the day uselessly repaying my answers critically in my head. There are times when I definitely wish I could let things go. Oh well, if it is meant to be it will, I have given it my best shot!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend too – I am off to my studio to make another new binding – all those book people have me all revved up and my head is full of complicated new ideas – woot!!

recovery sunday

So first some good news… Thursday I was offered, not one but TWO summer workshops with local arts organizations, which made my nervous but supportive hubby very happy!! So seems the universe is sending me a little positive reinforcement this week!! Yah!

Yesterday I went to the small press book fair in Buffalo, it was a great time. I did some shopping and networking and attended a lecture on assemblings and created a page for the Sugar City Zine! It was a noisy, people filled day and by the end of the afternoon I was way over my people quotient so I was glad to take my spoils and head home.

I saw all manner of fabulous stuff but amongst the high points Scott McCarney and his witty but slightly sad books about himself… I just loved them… and reconnecting with someone who was a grad at UB when I was a lowly undergrad and gave me some great references and really egged me on! And last but not least the amazing bookbinding of Susan from blowfish bookbinding.

The lecture by Chris Fritton from Ferrum Wheel was illuminating and reinforced ideas I have had about my own books… and was intelligent and refreshingly art literate.

I had hoped to get into the studio, but mum stuff prevailed… ah c’est la vie, but only for ONE MORE WEEK!!!!

not much to report

Still struggling with the daily grind until the end of the month, and that spurt of enthusiasm born of my decision to quit has long since flickered out. So I have just been puttering in the studio, willing the door to my creativity shut, or at least only ajar until the end of the month. There is a little news to share however…

First the local library procured a copy of a book I have been dying to read

Scrapbooks: An American History

by  Ms. Jessica Helfand

I was hoping that reading it would cure me of my desire to own it… no such luck!! I guess it will just have to stay on my amazon wish list after all. If you haven’t seen it, it is absolutely worth a look, especially for all you ephemera collectors out there. I used to keep scrapbooks as a kid, I spent hour cutting and pasting, I still have a few of them, my favorite is from a trip I took to Southern Ireland to attend an international scout jamboree when I was 14 or 15. Maybe I’ll scan a few pages next time there’s no news from the studio!

This seems a good moment to plug Seth over at the Altered page who will be hosting a sort of online book guild for art lovers every sunday on his blog. In his words “The Book Guild will meet every Sunday, rain or shine. So stop by to be introduced to a whole new library of art-related books. The Guild will be more than just a list however. There will be links, book reviews, giveaways, and interviews with many of your favorite authors. And I promise you that there will be some major events that are guaranteed to knock your handmade socks off!!” I’ll be there for sure, hope to see many of you there too!

Then Lawendula over at Woven Letters posted an update on the one he(art) one tribe tree, you can see it here, all the bags are still hanging in there (excuse the pun!!). Also today I got the news that the collage box is finally on its way to me, so Seth, if you are reading this, I’m dying here!!

Lastly, a local plug, for a small press book fair that I am dragging my poor hubby to this Saturday. I’ll report in on what I see and no doubt purchase! Hope anyone living close enough will take a trip to check it out. While I’m in Buffalo I’ll also be stopping by the WNY Book Arts Center to try and not buy paper!!!

Now I’m off to teach perspective drawing to my evening class, wish me luck