Sunday, March 29, 2009

Book binding class wrap-up

It was a GOOD decision to do just one book. They got it done in a timely fashion, but there was certainly no extra time to do a 2nd book. Most of the people finished pretty much right around 4pm, which was our planned quitting time.

So, day 1, 5 hours: they gocco'ed 20 cards and dyed 9 sheets of tyvek each. Only 10 people showed, which was good because the room really couldn't have been comfortable with 2 more people in there dyeing or gocco'ing. I had 5 people dyeing while the other 5 gocco'ed, and then they swapped. That worked out rather well actually. Everything had time to dry overnight.

Day 2, 5 hours: I demonstrated folding the pockets and the accordion. Some people wanted to decorate and some people just wanted to go straight to sewing, so I demonstrated the sewing fairly early on too, which meant that I really had to do that a few more times as people caught up to that stage. Same with doing the wrap around cover.

People seemed to have really enjoyed the class and asked that I come back—yes!—so I guess all that preparation paid off. It's also a group of women who work really well together. Some of them have taken lots of classes together, so it was a good group.

Now that it stays light until later, I managed to get some much needed pruning and yard cleanup done after I got back. Now it looks somewhat less trashy...

Friday, March 27, 2009

The rolling pin that got away!

Every few weeks, I like to hit a thriftshop or two. Partly for entertainment and partly to look for things that I might actually use. So the last time, I saw the World's Largest Rolling Pin and thought, what in the world would you use that for?

Well, after a few attempts at mounting paper on panels, I figured out what one would use the World's Largest Rolling Pin for. So after I photographed the horses and picked up more supplies for this weekend at Art Media, I went around to my usual thriftshops hoping to spot the World's Largest Rolling Pin.

Naturally, it was gone. I did find a normal sized rolling pin, so I bought that. It will still be handy, even if it's not the one that got away, which by virtue of having gotten away, must now be the World's Best Rolling Pin.

But on the horses—this is the senior whose family I've been working with. We're hoping that he and I can do a book together this summer. The plan is to make a fundraising print to raise enough money to pay for my spending a week out at The Dalles where he lives. The family has horses, so I went out to photograph them, looking for reference materials for a print.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A new book model

OK, after much struggle and a chat w/ the organizer for this weekend's class, we decided to just do one book rather than two. We could've done two, but it would've been super stressful; I mean I was stressed out just thinking about doing those two books in two days (plus dying the paper and gocco'ing).

Doing one would be much more relaxed and would allow them time to decorate the book as well. So I reworked the version of the pocket book that they'll be making to fit the new agenda (ie, give them more space to personalize and decorate). Here's the model:

A spread with the inserts. My inserts are just blank, but they'll be gocco printing on the cards and then trading with each other in the class. There are 12 participants, so they should get a nice collection of inserts.

A spread without inserts. This would be space that they can write on, collage on, draw on, etc.

Oh yeah, and Esther got into the GBW's Marking Time traveling exhibit. Yay!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oh my, oh my, oh my

Yes, there's been more of that top secret stuff going on, and also prepping for my class this weekend. I'm teaching my 2nd bookbinding class this weekend. As it turns out, the class is completely filled (12 people), they want to do 2 books, they want to gocco, and my materials budge is only $100! !! !!!

Now that's pretty tough, since the gocco supplies alone is $3.5/person (=$42), which leaves me $56 to spend on paper for 24 books. I spent 1 afternoon just looking at a variety of paper, trying to figure out how to do that. Ended up going with Tyvek & Canson Mi-Teintes for the pocket books, and Tyvek and just basic text paper for the Japanese stab binding. And even at that, the inks, paints, and linen thread will just be coming out of my own pocket.

[Oops, upon reviewing all the emails exchanges, looks like I have $100 plus the $50 gift certificate, so yay, I have a bit more room to maneuver. Good thing I checked!]

Plus, I've spent a whole afternoon trimming paper—they'll barely have enough time to gocco & dye the paper on the first day, and bind 2 books on the 2nd day, that I have to pre-trim the paper.

So I'm learning more and more about teaching book binding. That's took me a couple of gocco classes before I figured out what could really be done in a reasonable amount of time for a reasonable amount of fee.

Oh yeah, I tried this new brand of gesso, Art Boards gesso, which Art Media now carries because of request from icon painters. I figured, hey, if it's good enough for icon painters, it's good enough for me. I tried it, sanded it, and it looks absolutely gorgeous! Now I just have to paint on it too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Openings, events, demos, or my!

Well, I thought this was going to be a relatively easy week, and it was, but not as easy as I had thought. (Read: I didn't get as much done as I figured I would.)

Lets see, I'm in the Book + Art show at the Collins Gallery at the Central Library, and the opening reception was Wednesday evening. Got to meet up with a bunch of artists that I don't see often, so that was wonderful. It was also the new haircut's debut! Afterwards, the Good Prince (I originally typed 'Good Prints') and I headed over to Ping, the new fancy pants pan-Asian restaurant in Chinatown, in what was the old China Council office, where I spent a lot of my time years ago. Well, I have to say that it was somewhat disappointing, given the amount of press they've had and the pedigree (connection to Pok Pok ) and all. But maybe it's just the 'getting it up and running' usual bumpy beginning, I'd certainly try them again.

Thursday—worked on my professional development grant application, and went to Art Spark, a monthly art gathering that I've been meaning to go to for a while but only made it for the first time this month. The format—short presentation by an arts group in the middle of the evening, but mostly just a networking/social scene, which I'm not terribly good at. I think I also managed to mount Prosperity Soup on board.

Then Friday (yes, this is the laundry list) was a pretty long day of preparing for my demo at Contemporary Craft, prepping a board with a new gesso that I want to try, working on my grant some more, and prepping for Portland Open Studios jurying.

When I taught the class at Springdale las week, they asked to keep the models for the school, so I figured Saturday's demo would be a good opportunity to make myself some more models. There was really quite a bit of traffic through there but I did get the 2 important models done (the two that I will need for this coming weekend's class), and I got started on a 3rd model that I want to have on hand. I have a 4th model I need to make for the collaboration my critique group is doing, but I don't need to have that done until next Friday.

Then today was the Very Top Secret meeting which of course I can't talk about, so that's that.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ready for the Seals!

Out of several attempts, this was actually the best shot where you can see how short the hair is. It's about 1.5" at the top, and it all stands straight up. I'm thinking of going to just 1" next, or maybe going for a crew cut.

Here's the shot from a few days ago, before the haircut.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A rich experience

I'm finding that I'm constantly thinking about my exchange pieces with Artist X. There are so many directions I can go, so many possibilities. In fact, the process has been so engaging that I'm thinking of making myself an assignment of picking out a piece from the monthly showings and doing a response to that piece. (Although, it's not like I have a lot of extra time on my hands at the moment. Had to turn down a logo job yesterday too.)

And this is likely to be the last picture of me with long(ish) hair:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Teaching my first bookbinding class

After years of teaching Print Gocco, I had my first gig teaching bookbinding today.

I spent quite a bit of time looking at materials and then most of Wednesday preparing—making models & writing instructions, and still didn't quite finish. Ended up skipping the Shabava Norooz concert Thursday night in order to finish illustrating the instructions. (I did look around for basic illustrated instructions but just didn't find quite the exact right thing.)

So this was a 4 hour class at Springdale Jobs Corps. After the Oregonian article came out, they contacted me to come out to teach a class to their students who are training to be NAs. All in all, it went pretty well. Most students started out doing pretty well, but I think they lost some steam later in the afternoon. I also could use more cutting mats and awls. I bought a bunch of new brushes, X-acto knives, and bonefolders for the class, and also another awl, and 2 more cutting mats and rulers, but we really needed more. The extra waiting around contributed to some impatience. So now I know.

It was pretty exhausting, not having taught students that age before. There's quite a bit of socializing going on during the class, and I can't always read their expressions on whether they're enjoying the class or not. Although a few of the students were really quite serious about it so that was very nice.

I had them start by dying a sheet of tyvek, which we used later in the afternoon as covers for a Japanese stab binding book. We also made a pocket book with a wrap around cover and pockets glued to an accordion. We went 30 minutes over what I had planned, but I bet if I had 2 more mats, rulers, X-acto knives, and awls, we could've done it in 4 hours. Again, now I know!


"Trip" is the title of my 2nd piece for the exchange, which is my response to Artist X's first piece in the exchange.

When we met in early Feb for our 1st exchange (during which I gave her a printout of Prosperity Soup to be Eaten in the Dark), my initial response to her piece was "oh, wheat!"

So there I go again, it's always about food, isn't it? (Yes, I do spend an extraordinary amount of time thinking about, consuming, and then trying to burn up food.)

As we chatted about her piece, her intentions became more clear and it was so NOT about food (although she said she was happy to hear that my first reaction was "wheat"). The idea of the zipper came to me at the time and I stuck with it. Part of the thing with the zipper is that I have been having trouble with my winter coat which has a broken zipper that needs to be repaired. It's sometimes very frustrating trying to put on my coat, trying to zip up the darn thing.

And I looked up "wheat" as a symbol, and ta-dah, it's also a symbol of prosperity, in Christian traditions (the peony being prosperity in Chinese traditions). So of course I had to do this image—the queue being caught in the zipper that's trying to hold it together. The zipper that moves along a predefined track also references the idea of progress (or perhaps the illusion of progress in this particular case). I wanted the hourglass shape to signify time passing.

Artist X and I met on Thursday to review our images, and where I saw hourglass for time passing, she saw a female form. Which in hindsight is of course obvious, but until she said it, I saw it first as just an hourglass, and second, as a very stylized head on drooping shoulders (and a very skinny neck). Very much like some of the Chinese peasant paintings of recent years with the women depicted with large heads and skinny necks. Like this image from Boxing Dragons:

I might fuss with the mountains on the upper right some's starting to look like a pyramid to me. (And now that I'm thinking about it, one of my first reactions to the piece she brought this time was "minaret"...hmmm.)

Prosperity Soup to be Eaten in the Dark

I'm catching up on some stuff. I had said that I wouldn't say anything about the collaboration for a while, and so I didn't. But now I really need to catch up, or things are going to start changing in my head and I'm going to lose track of what's going on.

This was exchange #1 with Artist X that was due early Feb. We exchanged images but each kept our originals. And as it turned out, I wasn't quite done with it...two issues—it still needed to be mounted, and I wasn't sure what was happening yet with the flower-tiger transition. And now a month later, it still needs to be mounted (which is not entirely my fault), and therefore, I've not finished it. (That the flower-tiger transition looks like a doily or a saddle is waiting to be fixed.)

Anyhow, here's how it evolved over the days that I worked on it. Freshly off my Superfoodland! game piece, I was still thinking about wealth, status, and their relationship to what we eat, and so I'm still on that topic here:

In our chat, it was interesting to hear Artist X's take on it. It was actually very similar although from a different angle—that of male dominance and power. All those things are related, and tiger's penis as aphrodisiac is directly about male power. The interesting thing is that Artist X did not know it was a tiger penis that was stabbing the tiger in the back when she saw it as about male power.

So the details—peony, a symbol of prosperity; I also wanted the stylized stamen to look like the oil that floats on top of a bowl of soup. (I love the patterns you can make playing with the oil on broth.) The tiger penis is stabbing the tiger in the back, although several people I showed it to thought I should make that more obvious.

So, that's where I am with this piece.

(Oh yeah, and on Wed, I picked up the panels I ordered, so will be able to mount this piece soon.)

Beginning of the blog-a-thon

I've been quiet but not because not much happened, rather, lots happened. I've had a string of 10, 11 hour days. And now it's Friday night and all I can manage is to have coffee & veg/blog...pretty sad. I did have a dessert tonight, just desserts, if I ever had one.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The next Relay Replay book

Just a quick note to say that I had another meeting with the family of my next senior today. Had a terrific talk, made a lot of progress in terms of how we would approach the project, have a rough schedule in place. I'll be starting to work on a fundraiser print in a couple of weeks. Spent the rest of the day working on my exchange with Artist X. Another good day, although I'm pretty certain that I'm going to back out my last change from last night. But I'm going to sleep on it another night.

Hard to change gear

Having spent the last week thinking about the painting that I'll be exchanging with Artist X on Thursday (in between all the other business/admin stuff I was doing), I finally put brush to paper today. And it went REALLY well. So far. It's probably the most smoothly going piece I've ever worked on. Although I am right now thinking about backing out the last thing I did before I quit for the night.

I guess all that thinking pays off. Although quite often I find too much thinking is not necessarily good—I get it figured out to a point that I no longer feel the need to work on the's finished, in my head. Again, I can't show pictures at this point yet, but it does have a title—Trip. (The last piece from this collaboration was Prosperity Soup to Be Eaten in the Dark.)

Trip is being painting on paper already mounted on gesso'ed board, and it's behaving differently than just plain paper unmounted. I used gel medium to mount the paper to board, and the medium must've infiltrated enough of the paper to make the water-based gouache behave differently. I'm liking what it's doing though, it adds a nice texture that almost makes it look like an aquatint in places. The pigment is also lifting off much easier than when the paper is unmounted, which will take a bit of getting used to.

But anyhow, now that I'm all into the painting and everything, I'm gonna have to get into book making gear for this week. I'm meeting with a family tomorrow about a Relay Replay book, I'll be meeting with my critique group about starting a collaborative book project, I'm picking up supplies for a class I'm teaching on Friday, and, of course, teaching on Friday.

Friday, March 06, 2009

How quickly a week goes by

I didn't think I was very busy, but I've had scant studio time this week. Instead, the week has filled up with administrative and volunteer duties—taught a little mini-bookbinding class at the senior resident facility where I worked with 4 seniors last year, installed a show at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, met with the Print Arts NW web committee, did a bunch of Portland Open Studios website updates and other admin stuff (lots of it), looked at materials for the class I'll be teaching at Jobs Corps next week, and finally almost completed Katy's website update. I'm still hoping that before the weekend is over, I'll be painting...