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?

Being a student

Last weekend I took a workshop at WNYBAC with Jill Kambs. I have done plenty of printing and book binding, but never any gelatin plate printing, and I rarely make books with words, so I thought it would be great to try a new way of working.
I really tried hard to work fast and to pick materials I wouldn’t ordinarily choose, although I did cheat and work mostly in black and white. I swapped colors with others at the workshop, picking colours like peach and pink I would never usually pick. I was amazed by the delicacy of the prints, the texture. After about an hour I had a heap of prints, that looked as if they had been made by someone else, but sort of like me.
Once the prints dried, we selected and bound them into little pamphlet stitched books. Since I had worked in such a random way it was a challenge to make any sense of the images I had created. Deciding what went with what was a tricky process, mostly accomplished by eliminating the ones that didn’t fit. I managed to make 2 reasonably sensible compilations but I also had a lot of extra prints that made no sense with each other!
The last step was to do some simple Xerox transfers of text selected by Jill. Again working with someone else’s choices was hard for me. Words that speak to other people’s practice don’t always speak to your own.

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Here’s the final product, I keep taking it out and looking at it. I can’t believe I made it honestly. It is subtle and delicate. Needless to say I’m pleased!

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I’m so glad I took the workshop, and I can’t wait to try more gelatin printing. I hope I can keep the freshness working in my own space.

time flies

Where has the time gone? Well honestly a lot of it has been spent in doctors offices as our Youngest, and my father-in-law have been having some health issues. Things are starting to turn around slowly for them both, but “normal” life (whatever THAT looks like) has been a bit disrupted by it all. I have been working in the studio, but my lack of posts here has begun to weigh on my mind lately. Sharing my work on this blog helps me keep track of where I have been and get a glimpse of where I might be going. So as today I have an extra hour courtesy of daylight savings time, and November is AEDM it seemed like the universe was telling me to put my butt in gear and get back on track.

Yesterday I spent most of the day driving as I went to see the Youngest in a production of The Green Room at SUNY Brockport. That counts as art right?

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In the studio I have been working on some commissions generated by my solo show and on some projects generated by playing with the materials I use for those commissions – like this sheet of Canson I embroidered for a memory book for a new mother and for a second book which is now available (along with others) at the Burchfield Penny’s Gallery Store.

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a very girly book for a new mother

a very girly book for a new mother

I am still plugging along on some big projects, trying to wrap up the “women’s work” book and prep some samples for upcoming classes at WNYBAC and The Center for Book Arts in NYC. Maybe I’ll see some of you at a class. OK back to the studio – more posts tomorrow!

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Lunch Bag Journal at WNYBAC Bookfest

my table display at bookfest

my table at bookfest

I had a great day at the 3rd annual WNYBAC Bookfest. If you took my workshop in the blazing hot parking lot here is the tutorial for the little lunch bag book we made – if you missed out on the workshop – here’s a tutorial for you anyway!

To make this brown lunch-bag book you need:

  1. a large brown lunch bag (the 6″ size) – I added some stamps to the bottom of the bag (which will become the front cover) – you could do this or print, collage or paint/draw on your cover(s).
  2. 32 sheets of paper for the book block cut to 8″x6″ and folded to 4″x6″ to make 4 signatures of 8 pages each.
  3. some decorative thread and a bookbinding or upholstery needle
  4. an awl
  5. this handout: lunch bag journal printed out on a sheet of legal sized card-stock

So lets begin!

1. First cut out the four pieces on the handout – then insert the piece labelled front cover into the bottom of the lunch bag like this

brown lunch paper bag with piece of cardstock

2. Fold the lunch bag at the top of the card to create the front cover.

lunch bag folded to create a book cover

3. Glue the strip labelled spine punch template to the bag on the inside next to the crease. Use the awl to punch the holes as marked on the printed template. Fold the bag to create the book’s spine.

brown paper bag with spind template attached

4. Insert back cover into bag, up to the edge of the spine template, and fold the end of the bag over to secure in place – if you like you can add decorative stitching on the edges to create a small pocket.

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5. Punch the centers of each of the 4 signatures using the signature punching guide from the handout. I find an old phone book makes a great book cradle and allows you to punch the holes more easily. Then thread about a yard of thread onto your needle and tie a knot in one end. Beginning from the inside of the the first signature – at either the head or tail – it doesn’t matter which, sew through corresponding hole in the signature and then through the spine by either the front or back covers.

begining to sew the signatures into the book structuredetail shot of sewing technique

6. Continue sewing up the row in a running stitch. When you come to the top sew over the end of the spine, pick up the next signature and continue down the next row of holes. Repeat with the 3rd and 4th signatures, wrap back around to the inside of the 4th signature and tie off your thread.

a small journal made from a brown paper bag

7. Lastly I added some decorative stitching on the front and sewed down the pocket in the back.

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You can change up the binding technique and decoration!!

 

coming or going?

simple abundance july 25

I was driving my youngest daughter back to camp earlier this week when we passed a truck just like the one we were riding in – “watch out” she said, “we just passed ourselves going – we’re in a time paradox!” Too much Dr. Who in this house maybe?

But honestly that is pretty much how I have been feeling all year. Somehow I cannot seem to get grounded at all, and although some incredible and splendid things have happened, I feel they have all slipped by half-appreciated in a blur. I have been far too busy living to have a life. All of my good intentions seem rather tattered and I am feeling glad that a new school year is just around the corner (and a little freaked out about how much work I HAVEN’T done on my new lectures) and with it a fresh mental start.

I am trying to be gentle with myself – but I am frustrated by the fact that so many of the projects I had hoped to complete this year are still unfinished in the studio.I have made incremental progress on a few – the signatures for women’s work are almost completed – but I didn’t finish it in time to enter it in the Rochester Art of the Book show as I had hoped. I know it WILL get finished – and probably pretty soon, but I feel as if I have let myself down yet again. I know the only way forward is to pick myself up and renew my efforts, but I honestly just feel a bit tired. I’d like to just take a nap – in the woods away from everything.

never done....

never done….

I have signed up for the August round of the root 30 day journal project – just to see if anything comes to the surface. Obviously something is holding me back from following through with my commitment to myself, to make more time for my own art, maybe by going back to my journals I can figure it out. While I am waiting for August – I have decided to reread Simple Abundance and journal about whatever that brings up – maybe by staying in the pages of my journal where it is safe to make mistakes I can rekindle my energies and get back to work.

Now back to my coffee and preparations for the upcoming Bookfest at WNYBAC

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.