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!
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.
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!
I hope no one out there was waiting with baited breath for me to finish the tale? Life this year has a way of laughing at my best laid plans. Oh well, for those who do want to hear the end of the tale, here we go.
I was first into the building on Sunday morning (after another delicious bagel) and was glad I had an extra pair of student hands to help navigate all the keys and alarms. I think I am not really cut out for big city life!
On day two there is a lot of folding – twenty two signatures, and then all those signatures needed to be punched at quarter inch intervals. Once that task was completed we created a book block using a french link stitch over two tapes, leaving a space in the center of the binding which would hold the embroidered design.
Really creating the book block takes more time than the actual embroidered binding – especially once someone has worked out the sewing chart! What is so exciting for me as a teacher is seeing how every participant takes an idea and then sets about making it their own and brainstorming ways to incorporate the new knowledge into their own practice. It makes prepping for a class, and travel, and airports, and noisy hotel rooms all worth while!
After class I just had time for a quick visit with Esther Smith and a college friend who lives in Brooklyn before a terrifying taxi ride to JFK to fly back home again. It was a wonderful break, and much of the snow was gone by the time I got back, an added bonus! I wish the class hadn’t been in the middle of the semester – I felt like such a traitor not going to see a single museum, but hopefully I’ll be back soon.
Well the past weekend was exciting! It began on Thursday with a trip through the arctic tundra of Buffalo (you may have heard we had some weather here!) to catch a plane to NYC. I would never have made it without the help of my wonderful hubby Glenn who drove through a blizzard to get me there. He’s a good man – I am so lucky to have him as a part of my life. I flew to the city Friday morning and arrived tired but safe at the Center for Book Arts that afternoon. After a little time prepping for class and getting the lay of the land I checked into my hotel with some take out and collapsed!
sun comes up in the concrete canyons of Manhattan
Saturday dawned and as the sun came up in Manhattan I was serenaded by the gentleman in the next room as he showered. and the sound of hammers from a renovation going on across the street, the fabrics they were using to cover up the furniture in the room were lovely, a spot of colour in a sea of grey stone.
Coffee and a bagel, and it was time for class at last! I was really nervous about meeting my class, but wow! what a wonderful group! What is so wonderful about the opportunity to teach classes like this is all the things I learn from my “students”. Right from the start there was an amazing energy in the room, and ideas were soon flying for innovation and improvisation. It was such a privilege to work with this group. Together we retraced some of the pivotal discoveries and ideas that led me to start making the embroidered bindings, beginning on day one with a two needle cross-stitch binding and then moving on to create a soft cover fabric journal using Portuguese stem stitch.
I was buzzing with energy by the end of the day, and was glad I had some prep work to do that gave me some time to process all the new ideas and information. After a great meal I was glad to get back to my cushy hotel room and rest up for the next day!
I rounded out last week teaching a workshop at WNYBAC and making the travel arrangements for a workshop I am teaching in NYC this weekend – I love saying that – it still doesn’t quite feel real that I have been invited to teach there – or that people have signed up to actually take a class with me! Most of my creative time has been funneled into making samples and prepping materials – so really not much to share as far as pictures go. Instead I am going to leave you with this link to a great broadcast on BBC Radio 4 shared with me by Elena Thomas. And this- just so you have something to LOOK at!
plate 3 from my reduction lino print demo – don’t judge!
The final grades are submitted and finally I can turn my thoughts back to myself and my own work! Yesterday I cleaned up my office, and was rewarded by finding these
I had completely forgotten I had even started them – most of the pages were complete rubbish – so moldy that they had to be thrown away – but these two were drier and worth saving.
I had a pretty blissful day restoring order – my office floor and my desk gradually reappearing from a whole term of dumping. Then I sorted all my sewing materials – wound up threads – untangled many more – put all the needles back in their correct cases.
Looking forward to the holiday with my family (including my sister and her hubby who fly in from the UK on Sunday) and then getting down to some work of my own to kick off the new year.
one for sorrow
It’s official – I am completely overwhelmed this term. I offer the following photos as evidence – and these are the clean-ish rooms.
there was a table under there..
and no clean plates…
This morning I had to eat my breakfast crumpets from a bowl as there were no clean plates!! I am up to my eyeballs in final exams – research papers to mark and stupid questions. Oh and I believe a holiday also rapidly approaching. The studio has spilled out into the dining room – mostly because my office is so trashed I can barely get through the door and there are books on every flat surface. I keep telling myself only two more weeks – but the truth is that now my hours have been cut I won’t be able to really take a break and will have to keep working at job number two over the holidays. I am exceptionally bummed out about this, I have work I NEED to do. The ideas are piling up. Gah! What’s an artist to do? I am beginning to wonder if I will have any work to show at all next year! The solo show next October may be a tad empty if I can’t figure out a better solution.
I did manage to make a little time this weekend to finish my collages for this event – which I am looking forward to. I sort f cheated and revisited the magpie series for some of these.
OK enough online procrastination – those papers won’t grade themselves.
Where have I been? Obligation and an evil sinus infection have kept me out of the studio and so hence, little to blog about. This past Thursday I taught my first class at the Western New York book arts center. It is a fabulous space, and I was excited to be asked to teach there. I hope everyone enjoyed learning how to make the little “book bag”. If you want to make one – here’s a free tutorial you can print!
tutorial with patterns-web
Where has Deb been? All this week in addition to being in the studio I am teaching an Andy Goldsworthy style installation class at Jamestown Audubon. I took pictures, but my friend Jen also took pictures and hers are MUCH better so here’s a link. Those of you who are regular visitors know this is my absolute favorite thing to teach, playing in the woods is so much fun, every grown up should do it once a week. I think you can tell from the pictures that everyone is just having a fabulous time, including me. The picture above was our first attempt at a Goldsworthy style egg/seed form. It is a bit wonky and not too symmetrical, but we learned so much making it we are going to give it another shot tonight! Things are chugging along in the studio, still not much I can share, nothing in progress is at a very interesting stage, so I leave you with another secret Belgium binding that I made. I LOVE this paper! If you want to try making one, the directions are online here. Well back to work, I hope you are having a wonderful day, it is breezy and cooler and marvelous here!
I didn’t exactly hit the ground running this new year. The piece I started for Seth’s book turned out to be large and complex (I know shocker-right?) and didn’t get finished by the deadline. I am disappointed with myself… great start to this new creative year, before day one has even passed I have missed a deadline. yikes!
Things are going on creatively, I have several opportunities to show work coming up this year, and have been busy making large gallery works, so not much to show here… one includes hundreds of those meditations in an eggshell that I used in awake, so that is typically time consuming, another work features multiples of something else, not an idea ready for exposure yet… so I feel it is going to be dark and quiet on the blogging front for a while.
So what will I be up to, apart from papering hundreds of eggs? I am teaching an online section of my visual survey class this semester, and I have been having fun working out the logistics of that. Of course it is Spring semester and that means 3d, my favorite class. I am always so excited for a new semester, new opportunities to improve on my teaching, new project ideas, new guests! And reading stacks of books. My usual. Oh and I am going to spend this new year acting as a creative mentor for a group of beginning artists as they take their first steps on their journeys. I am absolutely psyched for that! I will be plenty busy, but maybe there won’t be much to show around here for a bit. I am not really sure.
So happy new year readers, I hope it is full of creative joys and great nurturing relationships.
I feel like my life is so crammed, so tightly organised that it is easy to slip and get behind, which is how I am feeling today! I did finally get to my grading, so my students know at last how things are going for them, and the book is in the post on its way (or maybe has even arrived) in Leeds, so that’s another plus and the playbill which I do every year for the high school musical is at the printers, so again, big sigh of relief there!!
Today has been a hectic day of classes, errands, costume fitting/repair and hair curling for dress rehearsals. I have many talents but styling hair isn’t amongst them, my daughter was pretty disgusted with the end result, I was testy with her, now I feel bad! Oh well like many parenting missteps no doubt it will be better in the morning… or at least by opening night when she will be in her glory!!
on the brighter side, some of my students are making awesome work on the Proteus/radiolarian project, so since I forgot like an idiot to take a picture of the finished book I was in such a hurry to post it, you will have to settle for their work tonight! So here are two works in progress…