Friday, October 31, 2008

Lots of progress on all fronts

Met with my critique this morning to continue working on our tablecloth and talking about the collaboration/installation in March. We got through with the gocco printing part pretty quickly, and spent a couple of hours talking about the installation. We came up with lots of concrete ideas that we'll be able to use. I think this was the first meeting where we've gotten so specific and everyone was happy with the ideas. Forgot to take a picture of the tablecloth though.

Then it was preparing for the gocco class tomorrow. Even though I can probably teach this class in my sleep, it still takes a couple of hours to get all the materials organized.

And! I came up with an order of the prints (and therefore, titles), that I was happy with. Each of the following is a title Sheila and I came up with (but mostly Sheila) for the prints. I did add 'The' to 'Willow Tree' so that the rhythm would repeat.

Black Snow
The Willow Tree

Under the Sea

Sheila in Her Imprimery Graphics Studio
Mountain View

There are 12 prints all together. The first 2 sections (end with The Willow Tree and Under the Sea) will be printed with the drizzled font. Then 'Sheila' will also be printed in the drizzled font, but then after that, starting with 'in Her Imprimery Graphics Studio,' everything switches to another font, which I haven't decided yet. I'm looking at Copperplate just because of the name, but I'll sleep on it. I want the change in fonts to control the rhythm with which people can read the text—slower going when they're reading the first 8 prints, giving them a chance to interpret the phrases in a variety of ways; and then for the rest, move in a normal speaking/reading speed, along with normal interpretation of the words. So if that's the case, probably Copperplate isn't the best choice for the last parts...

Here's the first section laid out in the drizzled font. This will all fit on one of the large gocco screens:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Drizzle font

After spending way too much time discussing the pros & cons of stencilpro as a potential substitute for gocco screens, I finally made my letters.

The uppercase:

The lowercase:

Some of these are actually duplicates—if the upper and lower of the letter are the same, then I chose the better one of the two for both. I might redo a few of these letters still, like the cap 'D'. But probably not tomorrow. Tomorrow, it's back to the tablecloth and then preparing for the Saturday Gocco class.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Relay Replay, a whole new font?

I've been thinking about the cover for this book, a lot. Even though it seems like I've been doing nothing. A couple of days ago, I finally decide on the next step.

When we last met (to title the prints), I arrived at her apartment just as she was finishing a piece that she was making for her sister—she was drawing by drizzling Elmer's glue onto a large sheet of pink paper. The white glue against the pink was very pretty, as was the push & pull of the lines as the glue drizzled out of the bottle. She also got the glue on the table, which she let me clean up because that was our only available work surface; but there was glue on her dark blue bedspread, which she would not let me clean up. She thought the white lines were very beautiful and wanted me to admire them as well.

I was really struck by this. I decided I'd write the title of her book by drizzling as well.

At first, I tried drizzling balsamic vinegar using one of those glass dribble-free decanters. I mean, I already had the decanter full of vinegar, so I might as well just try it. Vinegar came out fast and furious, and although I was able to write her name somewhat legibly, the lines were way fatter than I wanted and it all soon pooled into a mess. And plus I was using up vinegar really quickly.

Then I mixed up some some lamp black gouache, and this time tried another decanter. I practiced on some newspaper. This time, the paint poured out even faster and in greater quantity, and I made a even bigger mess.

So I thought I'd try a syringe, see if I can get better control. I have a pile of syringes from when one of my rats had to be on antibiotics, and they've actually been really useful in the studio. I use them for all kinds of things.

Anyhow, it was at this point that I took this picture:

I was able to reuse a lot of the paint, since it was just pooling on the paper, by drawing it up in the syringe. Here's the 3rd practice attemp:

I thought it looked decent, so I did it again on a sheet of bfk:

Too many missing bits, so I continued to add to it at various places, eventually ending up with this:

And this:

All together, I had 8-9 options to choose from; I eventually decided to go with the 'S' and 'h' from 2 later versions, but used the first version for the rest, and came up with this:

And here it is, printed in a ink mixed from silver, navy blue, and some black:

I'm really liking this. And now I'm wondering if I should do this for the interior pages as well. My original plan for the text was to print the collection of the possible titles we went through for each print. Some of them, we were all over the place with different options until we finally settled on something she liked. In some ways, those titles resembled our conversations together...sometimes they followed from one to the next, sometimes they didn't.

But I'm liking this a lot, and am wondering if I should create an alphabet with the drizzling technique, and print the titles this way? And since this is somewhat hard to read, I wouldn't print all the possible options we went through; I'd just print the final selected title for each piece, and let the 'font' speak, rather than using the extra words.

When in doubt, sleep on it.

In the mean time, here are the room divider screens! These are part of the grant project. I had them custom made and we picked them up in Tacoma yesterday. They're wider than I had pictured in my head, although they do measure to my specification. Half of the openings will be filled with the gocco screens we used in this project; and if I don't have enough, I'll use the actual prints themselves. These will be shown at RSM.

Eventually, I want to fill in the rest of the openings with small paintings. Lets see, there 324 openings all together, 162 will be filled with the screens/prints from this project, which leaves 162 small paintings that I'll have to paint before I'm finished with these screens. Lets see, I made 1 painting this entire year...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Relay Replay, Sheila's book covers

I've had a hard time getting started printing this project. My mind is already onto my next projects, my two collaborations with various other artists that have either started or will start next year. I've spent a lot of time researching materials, tools, and processes. And Portland Open Studios website updates and other chores have kept me pretty occupied as well.

I did finish trimming and folding all the paper for this book, as well as trimming all of Sheila's prints down to approximately the same size, which mostly involved trimming a smidgen off some of the prints.

But today, I really, really had to get started printing. Sheila made her etchings on zinc plates, and from what I can gather from our printing sessions, she loved the plate tone from the etching process. So for the cover, I'm trying to combine two ideas—the color of the zinc plate (light bluish gray) plus plate tone.

Here I've mixed up a batch of ink using white, light blue, and silver (to give it a bit of a metallic shine), and I'm glopping it on one of my open screens. The tape and foam mark off the edges of my paper. The screen is showing wear & tear, but I've used it a ton:

Here I'm printing the cover in two sections.

The ink mixture is probably a little bluer than I really wanted, but it was hard to tell while it was wet. And also, I'm not seeing much of the metallic at this point. I'll see what it looks like in the morning.

Sheila's book will be a Japanese stab binding, so each of these sheets will be folded in half to form a single page (each page is double thickness).

And yay! I voted!

And about those collaborations

One of which has started, the other one will start sometime next year, but I've been doing some research on how we might be able to work together. She's an oil+acrylic painter, and I work in gouache. The two don't mix. (I almost sound like I'm considering marrying her.)

In addition, I've been looking for ways to present my pieces without having to frame under glass (I'm so sick of framing costs, and also cutting myself). And since I know of others who work in gouache and present their work without glass, it's obviously possible. The only problem has been that, if you read specs from gouache manufacturers, they all say pieces need to be frame under glass, and that colors will change if you put other media on top.

So I've been looking on wetcanvas, looking at potential protective media, and reading their manufacturer's specs. And emailing other watercolorists I know (I don't personally know anyone else using gouache). I'm getting lots of conflicting reports, but I've located a dvd on how to frame watercolors w/o glass!

Did you know that you can rent how-to videos from That'd seem to be a useful site to remember. Anyhow, this dvd is so popular that it will be at least a month or more before I get it.

In the mean time, based on what I've been reading, I'm converging on a potenial solution to try, although it would require a new toy...erh...tool. I think I may be able to airbrush a finished piece with Golden GAC 500 mixed with an airbrush extender, and then finishing that with a UVLV varnish. The hiccup is that a good airbrush is $359, and that's seems to be the very cheapest special price around.

So I'm patiently waiting for the dvd to arrive.

Friday, October 24, 2008

House keeping

What can I say, I lost the Vice Dork position to land as 2nd runner up of 2008. That's be-low the vice dork position. However, I still got a dorky little badge for my troubles anyhow.

But what's going on in the studio?

Not much, how about you?

The week's mostly been catching up on a lot of paper work for a variety of things. Portland Open Studios board stuff and website stuff, preparing my entries for the Maternal Legends show at 23 Sandy, putting together the information and images for RACC's featured artist page, doing admin stuff for the Intersect/Parallel show at G&V.

I got very lucky, and I'm not sure what algorithms they use for making their choices—maybe it's the license plate algorithm, or maybe it's random number generator, or maybe they just flip a coin—but I got chosen to be the featured artist for the Dec/2008 newsletter. I find myself in quite exulted company, and I haven't figured out how it happened! But I'm not complaining. Anyhow, finally put all that together, got ok from RSM to use their name, got Jim to edit the stuff (my very own private professional editor), and off it all went this afternoon.

Tomorrow, pick up more gocco supplies (but no more turquoise!) and prepare for my Saturday class. And hopefully, I'm back in the studio on Sunday. I better be, actually.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Portland Open Studios, the reckoning

OK, so I had my studio open for 2 weekends in a row, as part of Portland Open Studios. The first weekend, 2 artists really nearby were also open—one across the street and the other 2 blocks away. The 2nd weekend, neither was open, and the closest open artist was a few blocks away (still not too bad).

The tally

First weekend: about 75 visitors a day. This is about 50% of the traffic compared to last year (2007), but actually pretty normal compared with all previous years (2004-2006).

Second weekend: about 20-25 visitors a day. You can do the math on that. This is the first time the 'open both weekends' option was available. But since not all artists are open on the west side the 2nd weekend, it really still makes sense for people to organize their visits according to geography. I did have a few people come back for the 2nd weekend, usually bringing another friend that they thought would like to see the books I've been doing with the seniors. Oh yes, on Saturday, I also had the big school bus with 16 high schoolers (this is not included in the 20-25 count).

The Gocco class

I didn't quite fill the 1 gocco class over the 2 weekends. Compared with last year, I filled 3 gocco classes in 1 weekend. The fact that supplies are quickly dwindling is probably a player, but I don't know for sure.

The money

I made the same amount of money as last year (not including classes), but it took me 4 days instead of 2.

The demos

As the days went by, my demo evolved. I've always done the gocco demo, and I've always done a 2 layer souvenir bookmark for people to take away. So my initial thought was that I wanted to do something a little different this year.

I printed out a flyer about Relay Replay Press, and my demo was printing a little decorative thing on the flyer for people to take away. I also talked A LOT about the project with the seniors. At the end of the 1st day, it was pretty clear that it was not the most popular demo I've ever done.

So on the 2nd day, I reverted to the souvenir bookmark, which was definitely more successful. People were more engaged. The Good Prince's input was that the flyer was an ad and so not as much fun for the visitors as the bookmark.

However, it was clear that my paintings just weren't getting any attention from the visitors at all, even though people chose to visit my studio based on the image of a painting in the tour guide.

So on the 3rd day, I brought up my paint brushes (they are very small, which always impresses people), and some tubes and pans of paint. I started by talking a little bit about my painting first before I went into the gocco thing. And what do you know? I sold a painting!

Day 4, a Sunday, always a slower day anyhow, so I brought up actual work that I'm doing, so that I can get something accomplished between visitors/demos. My demo was unchanged from day 3, but perhaps because I was working when I wasn't doing demos, I didn't quite get the detailed questions from visitors as I did on day 3. Not sure if it's related or not, but I sold a lot less stuff on day 4 than on day 3.


It's back to real work today, rather than entertaining visitors. Updated the Portland Open Studios web site to reflect the fact that the event has now passed, and to get ready for bigger changes to come. And I was so good, I sent thank you notes to those who signed my guest list, and I added them to my mailing list. Compare this to previous years, when it took me 3 years (3 YEARS) before I got around to adding them to my mailing list. Credit goes to Laura Russell, whom I interviewed for a blog piece (yet to be written), but wow, she's organized about that. And I got inspired.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's a tablecloth!

This is the piece of fabric, originally bright white 100% cotton, that I've stained with coffee grounds and concord grape skins, and we (my collaborative group) gocco printed today.

It's trimmed down to about 3 yards long. Each of the stripes is about 3" wide, printed in pink in one direction and red in the other. We spread the fabric out on the dining table, and used a single gocco screen flashed with a solid block 3" x 6" wide. Inked up the screen, with the edges demarcated with strips of foam (so we can see how to roughly register). Then we just laid the screen down and pressed down on it with the stamp pad. We had to re-ink quite a bit, as the fabric is absorbent and we had to press pretty hard to get good solid images.

I'm actually pretty amazed that we could register as well as this. We also did not use any guides to align the stripes as we printed; we just eyeballed, wanting that imperfect look (to go with all the stains, which I so carefully and laboriously created!).

We're meeting again in 2 weeks to print more (there will be designs on the strips). After that, it's still open to discussion.

And it's Portland Open Studios weekend again.

So I spent the rest of the day preparing, printing more cards and making new signs. One of my neighbors will not be open this weekend, so she gave me her signs. I doctored them up with my number, and I think they look pretty darn good, if I don't say so myself. And there were more board duties to attend to as well.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

No further injuries or mayhem in the studio

Things went relatively smoothly today. Finished trimming the paper for my 4th and final Relay Replay book. Laundered the cloth I've been staining for the collaboration, and it came out well! The coffee stains held; the grape stains are now less purple and mostly just blue, but held as well. I've flashed the images we'll be gocco'ing on the cloth tomorrow; I've packed the inks and the screens. Now I just have to remember to pack the fabric as well, then I'm set for tomorrow.

Just for the record, in case I want to do this again, here's how I used the coffee grounds to stain the fabric:

almost 4 yards of 100% cotton white fabric
about 10 cups of old coffee grounds
fabric, coffee grounds all in the kitchen sink, warm water, mix well for maybe 20 minutes
let it sit for about 4 hours
hang up to dry (I left it for 1 week)
launder regularly

The grape stains:

concord grape skin rubbed on fabric
let dry (left for 2 days)
launder regularly

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Making art as a comedy act

There I was, having lunch while flipping through this weekend's NYT magazine (all about food), when I came upon this picture:

Which instantly reminded me that I have yet to stain the cotton cloth with my grapes, which I'll need to have stained and then laundered before this Friday. So off I went to clip some grapes off the vine. I threw the cloth in the tub (which was still covered in the coffee grounds that I used to stain it last week) and proceeded to rub the concord grapes all over it. Then I noticed that only the skins of the grapes stained the cloth, the inside did nothing.

So, not wanting to waste the fruit itself, I decided to eat the grapes before spitting out the skins on the cloth and rubbing them all over. As I picked up my little container of grapes, somehow my grip slipped, and grapes tumbled out and into the bottom of the tub, still covered in coffee grounds. Hmm.

Well, no matter, I decided to proceed. Eating the grapes, I mean. So there I was, sitting in the bathroom eating coffee grounds covered grapes, spitting grape skins, then rubbing them all over.

I ate so many grapes that I got a buzz from the sugar. Oh, the sacrifices I make for art!

And here it is, hanging up to dry.

Still trimming paper

On my last Relay Replay book, Sheila—I'm still trimming paper. In fact, I gave myself a kink in the neck and numb arm from being bent over for half the afternoon. I decided to quit trimming for the day.

On Intersect/Parallel

The show in Hillsboro in Dec/Jan—met up with one of the artists to select the prints he'll be putting in the show. I think it will be an interesting (diverse) group show.

Relay Replay, Sheila's book

I'm switching over to the new labeling, if I can remember to keep doing it. Not an exciting day, just trimming paper. Should be able to finish that part tomorrow. Still playing with different ideas in my head for the cover and such. There were also some Portland Open Studios chores to do.

OK, gotta go update my dorksume...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dorkfest 2008

Just a heads up that I'm again running for Head Dork over there at Michael5000's. I was Runner Up, Miss Vice Dork 2007 (despite my most excellent legs), so I think I have an excellent shot at it this year.

I'll be updating my own Dorksume here, but making disparaging remarks about the other contestants over there. Why soil my own front stoops, eh?

The festivities run through the end of the week, by which I assume Michael5000 means Saturday night 11:59:59pm. So I shall be updating my Dorksume frequently until then.


The Good Prince and I are like clockworks (that's pretty dorky in itself), a movie a week whether we need it or not, randomly chosen using the following unix command line, erh, command (that makes it Double Dorkiness):

jot -r 1 1 n

'jot' returns 1 random number between the numbers 1 and n, where n is the number of movies in the hopper. And then we go to the movie jot selects.

And here's how we decide where to go eat—get in the car, start driving. I choose 2 restaurants and decide which one is even and which one is odd. (Some restaurants are always odd, like 3 Square Grill, or always even, like noodle soup). The Good Prince picks a distant car at random, and its license plate then chooses where we go eat. Sometimes it's hard to see the license plates in the dark, then we drive around aimlessly until we find a plate we can read, that actually has a number on it.

The Good Prince firmly believes that this will thwart any terrorists, secret agents, and aliens off our trail. We're paranoid—definitely signs of dorkdom.

The Main Course

Hmmm, I still keep track of what I do in 15 minute increments in a database.

And I still brush my cat's teeth.

I use '—' (the M dash, for you dork wannabes) rather than the non-dork '--' substitute.

I don't like to be touched by the blanket or the quilt in bed. The top sheet MUST, at all times, be folded down over the blanket and and the quilt. I adjust this continuously all through the night to ensure that there's no breach by the bedding.

The Good Prince reminded me that I used troff and wrote my own macros. But I think that was more geeky than dorky. But along the same lines—and this would qualify as dorky—I do websites by typing in lines of text into a text editor. I don't use no stinking web design tools!

I like to live off my past glories. Like dropping, whenever I can, that I was mentioned in a NYT column (which was so last year); or that I, along with about 20 others, won an Emmy (which was, omg, so 2 decades ago). Or how I scored the highest score in my Theory of Computation class (which was, omg, so 2.4 decades ago). Or how I'm always talking about having great legs...except the knees are all wrinkly now. Living in the past, definitely dorky. Hmm, and there I go again...

Patterns are a dork's best friends. I like critters that end in 'at'—like 'cat', 'rat', or 'bat.' I have a collection of cat, rat, and bat figurines.

My CDs are still sorted geographically. Unfortunately, the NYT op-ed columns are no longer available as podcasts, so much for that one. What's on my ipod right now—Hot, Flat, & Crowded, Three Cups of Tea, Power, Faith, & Fantasy...but the ipod is becoming like the bookshelf, full of unread/unheard books.

The Dessert

I wear the same outfit for days on end. Sure, you say, I work in my own studio, so who cares? But I did this when I worked 'out in the world' too, One day I showed up at work, and the Good Prince (back in his Pre-Good Prince days) said, very loudly, in the sea of cubicles, "hey, that's the same thing you've been wearing for two days!" But I married him anyhow. Awww!

The Check

As much as I'd like to go on and on on my Dork credentials, this must end or I'll not get anything done. So—

Obsessive compulsive behavior? Check.
Oblivion to social norms? Check.
Delusional? Check.
Constantly talking about past glories? Check.

The rest, is up to you, my dear judges.

Monday, October 13, 2008

One down, one more to go

This was the first of the two Portland Open Studios weekend. I spent today recovering (read, sitting in front of the computer).

So, about Portland Open Studios...

It was much quieter than last year. Had about 150 people over the two days, compared with about 300 last year. And I didn't have a single person sign up for the only class I had scheduled. Last year, I couldn't beat people away with a stick and I didn't even have to mention classes, people just asked; and I filled up 3 classes during those 2 days. I did get 2 registrants today though, so that's a start.

Sales were down 70% compared to last year. People were really upfront—they didn't bring credit cards on purpose, they're not spending any money not already in their checking accounts, and they're trying to set good examples to their kids by showing restraint. All good reasons.

And all believable. But I'm obviously attracting the wrong demographics, because my neighbor 2 blocks down (a very fine artist) sold 9 paintings for a total of 4g! She said she got mostly young urban couples from LO who for the most part didn't come my way. But it is interesting, she herself just turned 30, so clearly her artwork is speaking to people of her generation. I'm definitely attracting mostly people of my own age as well. I do see some younger folks, but I'd say 75% of my visitors are my age or older.

On finding foreign substances in your food...

I find foreign substance in my food fairly frequently when we eat out, but the Good Prince never does. Why is that? I once found a piece of raw chicken in my hamburger at O'Connor's in Multnomah. Then encountered a long cucumber peel in my fettucini and then some strange orange lumps in a salad on two consecutive visits to the same restaurant. Needless to say, we've never returned.

Then there were the 2 earwigs in the quesadilla at a Mexican place that's no longer there.

Hair in my food, hah! Fugetaboutit!

And then there was the plastic bottle seal in my salad Sunday night (at a very favorite restaurant, so I shall not mention its name).

And then tonight...well, it was a slightly different problem.

On NOT finding the stuff in your food...

We tried a new restaurant tonight, Thong Thai (what a name!). We got the combination appetizer platter...but where's the satay? Then the salad came, without the ground peanuts! Heck, the ground peanuts was the whole reason why I chose that salad as opposed to the salad below. So I asked the waiter, who said, "oh some places put ground peanuts in that dish, but that's not always true."

Me, "your menu says ground peanuts."



Then the curry came. When we were still perusing the menu, the Good Prince chose this, saying, "look, baby corn!" (One of my favorites.)

You guessed it. The dish arrived WITHOUT baby corn.

And there was a hair in the salad!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

It was the night before...

Well, almost.

I've scrubbed the deck (the annual Portland Open Studios ritual so I don't have someone take a fall...I just don't understand how the deck can get so slimy in a year); I've printed, folded, and packed the cards; I've printed, packed, and labeled the reproductions.

And as a bonus, I've finally finished all the closures on Esther's book. So that's put to bed at last.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

But wait, there's more!

On gocco touch-ups, that is.

I touch each one up as they come off the press, so the ink is still fresh & wet and movable. This of course contributes to the backache because I'm staying in my printing position, just bent way over so I can see what I'm doing.

Onto Portland Open Studios Prep

I finally started printing cards and reproductions of my paintings today. I've resisted making inkjet reproductions of my paintings in the past, mostly because I really hate the common practice of people selling 'giclee' prints for what seems like a lot of money, and it's just an inkjet print, for heaven's sakes.

However, people have always asked for reproductions, and economy being what it is, I'm going over to the dark side. However, I refuse to call them 'giclee' prints. They're gonna be labeled as inkjet reproductions, and they're not going to cost an arm and a leg.

But it was pretty slow going. It takes a few tries before each one is reproduced anywhere close to their actual colors. And for some reason, when I convert to CMYK, I seem to have more difficulties getting the colors to match. So after close to 7 hours of computer/printer time, I have 25 good prints (and 10 bad ones). And I'm just now getting to print the cards. The good news is, I already have most of these set up correctly from previous years, so now I'm just baby-sitting the printer.

More on gocco touch-ups

Dr. Russ asked for more details on the gocco touch-ups, so here's a bit more info:

I use the same ink as I'm printing with, no thinning. If I'm using the ink straight out of the tube, then that's what I use to touch up. If I'm using ink I've saved (as was the case in the previous post), then I use that. If I am using ink that I've thinned (sometimes saved ink seems a little stiff, so I thin it with a drop of baby oil), then I use that same thinned ink.

Also, the brush has really very little ink on it. After I pick up some ink on the brush, I wipe as much of it off on the palette as I can. When I touch up, I'm very slowly building up the color. I might brush over the spot 6, 7 times, or more, before I get a coverage that matches the surrounding area. Occasionally I make mistakes, such as the one I made where there was more ink on the brush and the mistake showed as a stray line in the concentric circles. By having to build up very slowly, you reduce the chance that a single mistake will be very noticeable at all.

Also, I used a very tiny brush in this case (12/0), since I was dealing with really fine details. But I have several brushes of different sizes dedicated to touching up. Some are 3s and 2s. Just depends on what I'm doing.

Maybe I should make a video!

Now for something completely weird and unrelated.

I can get stressed out pretty easily, especially when I have so many different deadlines coming up in the next few weeks. Portland Open Studios is this coming weekend (and the weekend after), and I've NOT started to prepare. I'm mentally prepared—I know what I'm going to do, I just haven't done it yet.

Now normally, I would just have some obvious stress dream, like I'm trying to get something very simple done, but all kinds of things keep getting in the way and I can't accomplish anything. But last night, I didn't exactly dream, mostly because I didn't exactly fall asleep. I was in this semi awake state and I was very worried that I would find a yellow tabby stray cat covered in fleas.

I was fully aware that I did NOT actually have a stray cat, I was just worried that I might find one. And I kept on thinking what I would do to remove the fleas—what kind of shampoo, how should I go about shampooing it, etc. And then I would remember that I do, in fact, know exactly how to apply flea shampoo so I should stop worrying about it. But it was of no use.

I got up a few times, both to go to the bathroom and to try to clear my head a bit, but as soon as I got back into bed, the same thoughts came back—what if I found a yellow tabby covered in fleas?

Monday, October 06, 2008

MiT book, we have a cover!

Yes, the cover is printed. I thought this day would just about never come. But it wasn't without some back-breaking labor. I'll blame it on the change in the season, but the screen did not flash very cleanly today, I had several holes. It can be a little hard to tell what was a hole in the screen itself and what was a gap caused by the unevenness of the very lumpy handmade paper (Nepal Heavyweight). Lumpy paper, I could live with, but the obvious holes in the screens, I always touch up.

And touch-up jobs are definitely back-breaking.

So today's lesson is touching-up your gocco print

Before and after I touched up the missing spot in the scroll close to the bottom, and also at the corner:

Before and after I touched up the missing spot in the right leg of the 'H':

Before and after I touched up the obvious hole in the line at the bottom:

And here, well, I had some coffee after lunch, and I had a bit of a jiggle, you can see the result inside the outer most of the concentric circles (compare that to the picture above). I decided to live with it:

A shot of the cover:

The tools of the trade. I use a 12/0 acrylic/oil brush. And very little ink, if any at all. Usually, there's enough ink on the print itself and I just use the brush to spread it around to cover up the hole. But if I do need more ink, I dab up the tiniest bit of ink I can, then I wipe as much off as possible on the plastic lid (what I use for a palette):

Here are the 7 books I've finished; they're going to Esther and her family.

And on other fronts:

I'm starting work for the collaboration my critique group is doing for our show next March at Cedar Crest College. I picked up the fabric yesterday (100% cotton, white, 3 and half yards of it); laundered it, and today stained it with a big bucket of coffee grounds I picked up at the local coffee shop.

I wish I had gotten a shot of it while it was in its coffee bath, it was pretty disgusting looking. But anyhow, here I'm rinsing out the coffee. I think it's stained a bit darker than I'd like, so I'll probably run it through the washing machine again.

And whoa, Relay Replay blog got tagged as a spam blog!

I got a note from blogger today saying that the blog ( had been tagged as a spam site, and therefore had been blocked! After looking at the long headers, I decided it was legit and so followed the link it said to follow in order to unblock it.

I don't know why google's software tagged it as a spam blog, but I have one guess—all the posts are titled with a woman's name, I wonder if they thought I was posting nudie photos or something?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Day on which decisions are finally made

After deciding on 'no border' on Friday, I sent off my postcard files this afternoon before the 6pm deadline...with a border, but of course. And looks like I'll get the postcards back by Friday, so they say.

And after much waffling, I'm just going to go with a very simple wrap around cover for 'Esther.' I'm about half way through trimming the paper, yet again, but should be able to finish before I go to bed tonight. Then I can gocco in the morning, and hopefully finish it off by Monday night.

The postcard deal wasn't without further issues either. I followed directions and uploaded the postcard front as a photoshop file, and voila! The preview showed...a blank card! I did it again, and predictably, got the same result. I'm not insane yet, so I didn't do it yet a 3rd time. After converting it to a jpg though, it did show up correctly in the preview. The postcard back had no problem with the photoshop file I uploaded. I think I'm going to call them first thing in the morning to confirm that it's all ok.

Friday, October 03, 2008

PR, PR, and more PR

My eyeballs are about to fall out.

Spent 10+ hours yesterday dealing with photos, the new blog, sending out announcements, etc. And today, after the critique group meeting (more about that later), it was onto the postcard design for the Relay/Replay show at the John Wilson Special Collections. It took me way longer than it should've..."oh, border or no border? Yes! No! Yes! No!" (No border now, and I'm not going to look at it again.)

Got it all finshed at 4:46pm, 4 minutes before the deadline. And since the '3 business days' turn around time does not include the weekend, I decided I might as well hold it until I could get Jim to take a look. I'll send it off in time for Monday morning. I was hoping to get the postcards back for this coming weekend for Portland Open Studios, but it's not gonna happen.

The critique group—this will be our 2nd collaborative effort. The first one, we ended up each doing our own thing for the show at Austin Peay. This one, our group got smaller (6 to 4), and we came upon a topic that not only do we all care about, but we can each approach it from all the different angles that we care to. (Did that sentence make sense?)

So the meetings have been fruitful, and we're starting to work on it already. I have a list of things to PROCURE and gocco screens to make. Exhibit is on for March, need to ship out Feb. So we don't have a whole lot of time.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

It's official, MiT now Relay Replay

I just started a new blog for Relay Replay Press. I will continue to document the daily grind here; I'll be using the new blog more like a web site, only posting with finished books and good photographs. I have the first 3 books up (photographed today).

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

MiT book, palm leaf book

I'm having the first 3 books (Martha, Marion, and Esther) photographed tomorrow by a pro, so these are kind of gratuitous, except to show that I was doing something today. In the little containers to the right you can see the mah jongg tile beads, and the ribbon that I'm going to use.

The baby blue ribbon seems out of nowhere, except that that's Esther's favorite color. Each time we started a new print, she wanted to use blue ink. We convinced her to try other colors (rather, her daughter convinced her to try other colors). My plan originally was to print the text part in the baby blue, but in the end decided to leave out the text. I did print the title and the colophon pages in blue though (they are the 2 pages at the top of the photograph that look like they're blank, but they're not).

Here I haven't strung the pages together:

And I just now noticed that 2 of the hands next to each other are almost mirror images of each other (they're not, just close). I was trying to not do that. Sigh...

And here the pages are strung together wrapped up; the mah jongg tile beads worked out well, I thought. Turned out, the ribbon was too thick to go through the holes in the beads, so I had to make wire connectors. Good thing I already had the tool and the wires on hand. It's always somethin'!

And about that container...

Unfortunately, I think I've decided that container isn't going to work. I spent 2 days designing it, making mockups, and trimming the paper, and THEN decided I didn't like it. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it yet.