Wednesday, July 30, 2008

San Juan Island weekend

OK, get ready to have your eyes EXPLODE due to the tremendous cuteness you're about to witness.

Niece #2, being fascinated by a wind chime:

Nieces #1 and #2 stuffing straws into a scarecrow they're building:

Niece #1 belly dancing with auntie:

The lavender farm:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

MiT, 6th senior days 4 & 5

Haven't really had a chance to document, but my 6th senior and I met twice this week. Today, inspired by the giant tub of lego pieces my neighbor brought over for my nieces to play with, I took a few of the lego pieces to share with my senior. We put those on the copier (along with a few other things) and made some abstract images to get the ball rolling. Lego pieces make great abstract images! I might even try some for myself.

I have now run through the 100 sheets of Rives Lightweight that I bought for this project. I'll have to start on the stash of my own paper.

The New Normal

The Good Kitty, after 2 days of flee-n-hide, on the 3rd day chose a new tactic—stay-n-fight. After making a few gestures of biting them (although she never bit down so I guess that's more like snapping at them), the 3 of them have settled on a truce of sorts—pet the kitty for a little bit, but not too much.

She (the kitty) might even make a pretty good babysitter. We were all sitting on the deck the other day. One of the kids started going down the stairs, something that we don't allow the kitty to do, and the kitty started growling at the kid! The kid came back up on the deck. After a little while, the kid headed down the stairs again, and once again, the kitty growled! A herding kitty?

Among the various activities we've been enjoying with the kids was a trip to an alpaca farm. Exhibit A:

Now that the nieces have been here for over a week, the herd-of-mustangs-on-a-stampede feels quite normal now.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

MiT, 6th senior day 3

Just a really quick note—got together with my 6th senior today and made another abstract print with one of her collages. She loves to use those shiny candy wrappers for her collages, and they make really snazzy b&w copies! I guess the reflections make the object super high contrast, and the copies come out great!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Life with kids

My 8 and 4 year old nieces arrived from Taiwan yesterday (along with my sister), and the Good Kitty has hardly been seen since. The kids were fascinated by the dishwasher and watched closely as I filled the detergent cup and turned it on. All of this probably led to my dreaming that our dishwasher came with a baby-washing feature. There were all these straps and buckles for you to strap the baby in, and it even came with a helmut so the babies wouldn't get water up their noses and ears.

As I was strapping the kid in, I kept on thinking that, somehow, this didn't seem quite right; but the Good Prince kept on saying, "yeah, yeah, that's how you're supposed to do it," and reminding me "how happy the baby was after her last bath through the dishwasher."

All of this is a long way of saying, I probably won't be getting much studio time in the next few weeks.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Storage Problem

But first, the Neglected Garden Problem

The Good Prince and I are not exactly the best home owners there are. It had been a few years since I last swept the back deck, and there were blackberry branches growing out between the slats on the landing. I'm not talking a few inches of bramble, I'm talking 10 feet of bramble, with thorns.

Now it's all clean. Looks kind of rustic, but clean:

And after our very wet and cold spring where the bird seeds pretty much molded instantly, I finally cleaned and put the feeders back up again. Now we sit and wait for the birds to arrive.

The Storage Problem

My shows came down at Abcedarian Gallery in Denver and at 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland, so all my pillow books are back at the house; in addition, Rake Art is closing its doors, so I have all my paintings back at the house too. And since guests are about to show up, I can't use the guest bedroom as a storage room anymore. So here was the gocco room; clearly, I'm not going to be doing much printing in this condition:

Then it occurred to me that I don't need to store all the framed pieces in the closet, they can be stored on the walls! Why didn't I think of this earlier? The new arrangement:

And now the gocco room is usable again.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

MiT book, MARTHA is a wrap!

Yippee! Martha is all finished, all 20 copies of it! Here's the lot of them; and you can see the different button on this one.

The wrap-around cover:

The interior; there are 9 printed origami envelopes plus 4 printed pages (not envelopes):

Two of the envelopes:

A detail. All the individual prints inserted in the envelopes were designed, written, and gocco printed by my Rock Star senior, aka senior #2, aka Martha. Everything else is designed, gocco printed or hand tinted, folded, and sewn by me:

And I started mocking up the pop-up book for my senior #1, aka my Mercurial Senior:

These are the scraps from when she asked me to make copies of her 2 watercolors. These didn't quite match the colors of the originals but made fine mock-up materials. I'm actually interlacing elements from both watercolors into a single pop-up here.

I have to say that I'm not finding this rendition particularly exciting, although I'm still crazy about the pop-up idea for her book. I just need to figure out how to make it come alive more.

MiT, 6th senior day 2

How to Make an Abstract Print with the Gocco

When I met with my 6th senior this afternoon, I was prepared (in case she didn't draw or make another collage). I brought an assortment of things that we could throw on the copier—some vine maple seed pods, bubble wrap, seashells, Chinese tea bag, etc. We put everything on the copier and made a copy. Then she put a shell on the copy and made another copy from that. Then we used the gocco screen itself as a cropping tool to select what she liked, and voila, a screen was made!

I thought it was a pretty successful way of making an abstract print using chance. She got pretty tired after one print, so that was it for today. But I think I'll continue to bring things in and get her started this way.

And We Have Another Nest!

Bushtits this time. Right off the deck, although pretty high up on the douglas fir. I wasn't sure that it was a nest at first, it didn't look too sturdy. It hung there pretty loosely (I thought) and just dangled like a loose bag of leaves:

Turns out, that's how bushtits make their nests, with leaves, fuzz, and spider webs. Here's a better picture.

Unlike the abandoned finch nest by my front door, this seems to be a pretty active nest, with a couple of bushtits flying in, out, and about.

Friday, July 11, 2008

MiT book, final push for Rock Star senior's book

Between yesterday and today, I finished 10 more copies of Martha. 3 more copies, and I'll be finished with this first book. And it's the middle of July already. At least this next book will be pretty simple, I hope.

I had a dream a couple of nights ago that I counted up the number of seniors I've worked with and I only counted 3! The fourth person was actually a youngster in her 20s. I thought, oh no, she's not going to qualify for the project...what was I thinking!?

I am starting to get pretty stressed out about how behind I am. I've not slept well for days. This morning, I almost decided to get out of bed around 3:30am or so, since I still hadn't fallen asleep. But I figured I'd probably just make mistakes anyhow, and that would be worse than pointless.

The Random Movie of the week—Bigger, Faster, Stronger, or something similar. A surprisingly personal look at steroid use. I thought it was pretty interesting.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What would you do with your last gocco supplies?

That's the Gocco Question — should I dole them out slowly and thoughtfully, spreading them out over projects that are 'gocco-worthy' (Roberta's phrase), or should I have a Gocco Blowout and spend every last drop of my supplies on one final project, literally the Gocco Project to End All Gocco Projects?

Right now, I'm leaning towards the Blowout. And I even have a project idea.

I've always wanted to illustrate my own version of the Thousand and One Nights, but even in that, I have another quandary. Should I do the traditional Nights, or should I do something more relevant, like 1001 tales from Iraq vets? (The number would be approximate, like the traditional Nights.)

Although, in the end, the choice might be dictated by something else — I want to use the last of my gocco supplies to do what it does best, and that means illustrations rather than text. This does not preclude my doing the illustrations with the gocco, and the text in letterpress. I do have that letterpress in the garage which I'll finally get serious about using now, maybe. That's if Andrew doesn't suddenly want it back. That will be my luck, run out of gocco supplies at the same time that Andrew settles down and wants his press back. Then I guess I'll just make one of a kind books after that. Like manuscripts. That would be fun too.

But back to the Gocco Question. Oh, what to do?

In the mean time, I finished all the copies of the books going to my Rock Star senior, and I'll deliver them tomorrow. This means 13 more books and I'll be finished with my FIRST book for this project. And I need to get FOUR books done before November...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

MiT, 6th senior day 1

I think my 6th senior is a little further down the road in memory loss than I had previous thought, but none the less, she made a beautiful abstract print today. We started from one of her collages made from Dove chocolate wrappers, pill blister packs, barcodes from assortment of discards. But she has a great color sense, and in the print, all those things had these lovely textures that came through. Even though we've only worked together once, I'm already picturing her book as an accordion of her prints, matted and mounted, so that they can be displayed.

Gave my Rock Star senior the first copy of her book today, and I think she really liked it. (No, she didn't cry, as someone asked me today!) I hope to have the other 6 copies finished by Thursday. Her sister and one out of town daughter are coming for a visit soon, so it's great timing. I think she's planning to give each a copy of the book.

And I finally came up with an idea for the book for my Mercurial senior (my 1st senior). She loves that first watercolor so much, and it's really the only thing I have to work with, since she's only just completed her 2nd watercolor...and I'm willing to bet that we're gonna go back to it again. Anyhow, as I'm working with her, it's apparent that she's really concerned about perspective. Always asking if something appears to be behind something or in front of something.

So, I'm going to take the image that she completed and loves, and make a popup book for her. It will have all the layers, from foreground to background, and she can see everything in all the 'right places.' I've not made a popup before, so this will be interesting.

MiT book, ta-da!

OK, closure and all. I've got four made so far, 16 to go.

I love this button that I found, but they didn't have 20 of them. So I have 8 of a 2nd kind of buttons. See this entry for what the cover looks like unwrapped.

Monday, July 07, 2008

MiT book, the wrap around cover printed!

The sheets that I tinted the other night for the cover were finally dry. They soaked up a lot of water and, naturally, puffed way up. I spent a couple of hours burnishing to get a printable surface. Here's the pile:

The sheet on the right has been burnished; the sheet on the left not. Not sure if you can see the difference.

This is the right half of the image to be printed on the cover. Her name is Martha, and I'm hoping that it's readable that the paper chain people are the 'M' in her name. This design makes more sense once you read the text on the inside.

The text reads, on the 1st page (formatted as the page itself, except the page is right justified):

my hand
And follow
my lead, Let us
go on an adventure
I won’t say that
it’ll be pretty
or perfect
I Will

Then on the 4th page (again, same formatting, except it's right justified):

Like a walk thru a wild
place, flowers, weeds

and trees with
big roots

learn to
get around

make this walk
your walk, make
this place, your place

Originally, I had thought that I'd make all the books look somewhat similar on the outside, but wildly different on the inside. And in order to do that, and have it work for every book, the covers would have to be somewhat plain. But as I was finishing this book, I realize that my Rock Star senior really would not enjoy a book that looks so plain on the outside. She loves colors, and she loves designs. I do want each person to like the books she gets, so I've decided that it's each book for itself.

So here I've printed the right side and I'm ready to print the left side. It's a similar continuation of the design:

I'm finished printing, yay!

It dried pretty quickly, and by tonight, I was able to sew the first cover onto the text block.

Then I discovered that the tinted halves of the sheets shrank! Not by much, but it's definitely a smidgen smaller than the inner sheet. (The Nepal Heavyweight is pretty heavy, but not quite heavy enough to use as cover by itself, so the plan was to double up, the outer sheet tinted and printed, the inner sheet just plain.) I decided to let it be.

Here I am, part way through sewing the cover sheets to the text block.


I still need to sew on the button and crochet a string for closure, and I completely forgot that I was going to do that before I stitched the cover to the text block (so I can hide the button workings on the inside). And, I glued the reinforcement fabric to the inside cover sheet, so I'll just have to sew it through both sheets now.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Web site revamp, already!

After sewing the extra pockets in my Rock Star senior's books today (and I only made the extra pockets for the copies she'll get, not the copies I'm keeping, since I won't have things to put in there), I reworked the Portland Open Studios web site. Yes, up for 2 weeks and I'm reworking it already.

The long story — there's now a competing event! Just started. The domain name was registered in April, and is registered to someone who lives at the same address as an artist who was rejected this year. So they registered the name after they got the rejection. They only registered it for a year though, so I guess this is just a trial run. The application deadline is the end of July, and the event is the end of September...just 2 months. I don't see how they can put on an event that quickly.

Anyhow, according to their web site, they're really positioning themselves as Not Portland Open Studios, although they'll produce a tour guide and people have to travel around to see the art. One of their catches phrases was not your mother's open studio!

Anyhow, so I revamped the home page a little. There's a bit more information, and I added a Featured Artist, eh, feature. So of course, the first thing the Good Prince asks is if the Featured Artist is dynamically generated. Since I go to the Just In Time School of Javascript Learnin', the answer is no. He thought perhaps it's time. So perhaps I'll be looking into that.

It's waiting for board approval before I upload.

MiT book, the wrap around cover

But first, some garden photos. The daylilies are everywhere in my garden. Here's one of my favorite combinations, red & orange:

When I went out to get a bit of yard work done this morning, the neighbor said, "getting the last of the weeds, huh?"

Huh? The last of the weeds? Hahahahaha. There might be a body in here for all that I know. I'm not going to see the last of these, ever!

Pink and yellow...I'm not sure about that.

This is what you see right now, walking up to the front door:

So I mocked up the wrap around cover for my Rock Star senior's book:

With the book open:

Then I painted a scrap sheet of the Nepal Heavy weight; burnished it after it dried (took a while) and wrapped it around. I liked this much better than the plain natural, particularly since my Rock Star senior loves color.

So here I am, painting 21 sheets of the Nepal Heavy weight. I want the shape to resemble an envelope, but this paper soaks up SO MUCH water that the edges are really fuzzy. I'll have to gocco over the edge to get a nice crisp edge. Anyhow, here I've just outlined the edge:

Here I've painted the whole section first in the berry color, then in the grape:

Then I go over the top again with the berry:

This paper can really soak up liquid alright. I used up 2 cups of acrylic mixed with water to paint 21 sheets of about 7"x9". That's a lot of liquid.

As I was mocking up the wrap around cover today, I saw 2 more opportunities to create extra pockets for people to put things in. So tomorrow, I edge these pockets, burnish the paper; that might be all that I can get to tomorrow. Then I can print the cover on Sunday, and start sewing the cover on Monday!

I received my free copy of 500 Handmade Books in the mail yesterday! And drat, I'll have to look up to see which page I'm on again.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

MiT, 6th senior meet & greet, 1st senior day 20

OK, I hope this is THE ONE. Keep your fingers crossed. She was a professional artist (printmaker). Pratt Institute. Taught at U of Mississippi. And after a circuitous beginning, where I thought I was going to work with her, got all excited, and then was told that her son didn't think it was a good fit, got really disappointed; then met her son serendipitously, where I got to talk to him about the project and showed him some of my work, and now we're back on!

Her short term memory is definitely not in a good shape, but she still has such an incredible drive to create! I went to her room; she has a studio apartment, and other than her bed, every horizontal surface in her apartment was covered in projects that she's working on, or she's finished.

She had to give up her etching press, of course, so now she's making collages and sculptures with whatever she can get her hands on. Collages with leaves and candy wrappers she picks up. Sculptures with styrofoam packing. One of them had a lightbulb mounted on the inside. She didn't turn it on for me, but I'm guessing that it lights up from the inside and you can see the styrofoam packing glow! I should've asked her to turn it on for me to see.

She was having trouble with her computer. Somehow, she had logged herself out and couldn't figure out how to get back in. She wanted to hear the music and see the beautiful graphics. Well, I was able to turn itunes back on, but since I didn't know what graphics she had up, I couldn't help her with that.

I explained that I didn't know what it was like before, and so couldn't restore it for her. She said, "what it was like before was FUN. And now it's NOT FUN." I thought that was great.

And the afternoon was the watercolor session with my senior #1. I think she's finally decided that 2nd piece is finished. Yay! We've worked on that for, what, 2 months now, probably. We went back to another piece that she started but never finished. We'll see how far we get with that.

Back in my own studio, I've finished the gluing part for my Rock Star senior's book. Tomorrow, I experiment with coloring the Nepal Heavyweight paper for the cover.

The Latest Gocco Rumor

This turned up on the print gocco list tonight:

I just received a letter from RISO stating that the supplies are now limited and not likely to be available after December this year although they are taking orders while they last—and will no longer be manufactured—Anyone else get this information?

If true, it would be very bad indeed!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

MiT book, done with sewing, onto gluing

Here are two piles of the text blocks, all sewn up. Yes, the text blocks are bulkier in the middle than that top and bottom. A design flaw—the origami fold envelop has more layers in the middle, something I did not consider until after I had sewn up the first text block. But, focusing on the positive—I really like how the edges look, with the specks of colors showing:

Everything's gocco printed, of course.

Here's one of the pages, yet to be glued together. The tab on the left will be glued to the fore-edge on the right (so yes, the image will be on the inside and will not show):

So here is the foxgloves page, already glued together. This is the spread with the previous page:

And the spread with the next page:

Remember that my original intention was for the pages to look and feel like envelopes? What I had in mind was for each page to look and feel like an envelope, but turns out, each spread looks like an envelope too (except that the designs are different on the left and right).

Here, the prints by my Rock Star senior are inserted into the envelopes. It occurred to me that, of the copies going to my senior and her kids, they can easily double up some of the prints and therefore end up with extra envelopes that they can use to insert mementos or photographs!

I'm still undecided on the cover. I did have one design mocked up and I liked it, but it does not have a wraparound closure. If only these prints are in there, a wraparound closure wouldn't be necessary, since it's a nice fit and the prints won't fall out. But if they do put other things in there, a wraparound closure might be really nice (and necessary).

MiT book, sewing, sewing, and more sewing

I've been sewing for two days (although not full days), and I've gotten...what, 8 text blocks done?! It's a bit slower going than I was anticipating. I have no appts tomorrow (yeah!), so hope to get some yard work done in the morning, to be followed by more sewing.

Went to the Contemporary Crafts Museum's Kaffeeklatsch on cultural appropriation vs inspiration today. It was a bit more free form discussion than I figured, but was interesting. Shelley and I were the only painters/printmakers there; besides us, 2 people from Froelick, a curator from the museum, another artist who does beading, an intern from an interior design firm, so an assortment of people.

The non-Random Movie tonight — Wanted. It was entertaining in a ridiculous way, although awfully violent. I didn't like that they strapped little bombs to rats though, and they didn't put up a disclaimer that no animals were hurt. We saw WALL-E the other night too, and it was pretty sweet, although I didn't think there was much chemistry between the two leads.