Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 ornament

Back in the late 70s, we used to make Christmas ornaments as a girl scouts fundraiser. They were made from old Christmas cards, cut into circles which were then folded into triangles. The triangles were stapled together along the 3 edges, and 25 of these made a ball ornament. The bigger the original circle cutouts, the bigger the resulting ball. And of course there would be glitter on all the edges (to conceal the staples). We made huge ones and also little ones.

I hadn't made those in a long time, but decided to make another style of ornament from the 2011 cards. We don't get so many cards any more (since we don't send any...ahem). But there were enough cards with the right size images to make this. I used 4 cottage cheese container lids as the substrates, gel medium as the glue to cover the lids with scraps of decorative paper. With the plastic lids, I didn't need to worry about grain and I could use any little bit of paper scrap I had! Yippee! Wrapped gold ribbon around each of the segments and put one coat of GAC 500 over the decorative paper. The card cutouts were then collaged on after that. This is followed by gold paint along the edges...but of course!

The top shot is a star, from the Scarlet Star Studios.

Here are shots of a few of the segments. This is a snowflake from my mom.

Some Christmas stockings from a friend's mom.

From the famous Michael5000. Although I must say that, since he only spent 3.5 cents on this card, the paper is rather thin and weak, and it's not keeping the 2 halves open very well, against the push of the neighboring cards, which are clearly made of more stout stock. (OK, he might've said that he spent 35 cents on the card, but of course, I can no longer tell because the card is now cut up and glued to the ornament.) I even had to give it a little help by attaching another small piece of paper; but alas, it didn't help much.

And from a college friend and his wife.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Red Bean Paste and Apple Pie

Hey, I got my 2012 RACC Project Grant for Red Bean Paste and Apple Pie! Here's the intent for this project proposal:

"I will create a series of paintings using food as a metaphor to explore my transformation as a first-generation American. Nothing is more personal than each mouthful we put into our bodies, but what we eat and how we eat it are both seen as cultural and political indicators. I will use this duality to explore what it means to be an immigrant American by examining the changes to my diet and eating habits since immigrating to the United States. The paintings will be small format diptychs in gouache and acrylic on paper mounted on panels. This is the second of a multi-part series on immigration and migration."

I'll be starting to work on these paintings pretty much immediately. I've promised a lot of paintings, and at the speed I paint, it's gonna be a full time gig.

The first part of this multi-part series on immigration and migration is, of course, The Laundry Maze. Here's the proposal for The Laundry Maze , and here's the webpage set up for doing the survey.

You should, of course, help spread the word!

The third part is a book. It will be one-of-a-kind, and pretty big. At least as I see it in my head right now.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Two hummingbirds

Hummingbird of the Day, gouache & acrylic, 12"x12", 2011

Hummingbird of the Night, gouache & acrylic, 12"x12", 2011

Doing a commission is a lot different than doing something without a final client in mind, especially in this case where stories were provided, although I was able to add my own little twists to the basic premise. Definitely not the usual mode of operation around these parts where I'm making up the story as I go, and changing the rules as I go. The final images are above, here are some process photos:

Initially, I wanted the two pieces to be bolted together and so the rocks continue from the right into the left piece. But after I completed them both, I decided they were better on their own.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Two years and nine months later...

We have a book!

This was the book I started with an elderly WWII vet back at the start of 2009. His wife heard about the project I did at Rose Schnitzer Manor and thought I might be interested in working with him. And now two years and nine months later, I have completed the project!

The book is an edition of 26, Gocco printed on Nepal Heavyweight, a handmade paper from Nepal; each also has 5 etchings on cotton paper handmade by Helen Hiebert.

Here's a stack of a few books. The cover paper is handmade mulberry paper from Taiwan. The image is Gocco printed and then brushed with a foam brush.

The front & back covers, and the back of the accordion. The back cover is created using the same method as the front cover.

Detail on the back of the accordion. It's the melody from San Antonio Rose. If you know the song, you can follow along. Otherwise, it might just look like a landscape or the water.

The opening pages.

The first trifold. The brown paper with the etching is made by Helen and contains soil from the South Dakota farm that he was born and raised in.

The trifold opened up.

The second trifold. The blue paper with the etching contains water from the Pacific Ocean.

The trifold opened up.

The third trifold. The green-blue paper with the etching contains water from the Columbia River.


The fourth trifold. The gray-blue paper with the etching contains water from the Willamette River.


The last trifold. The brown paper with the etching contains soil from his Oregon farm.


The closing pages.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Good news on the "pillow books"

Yippee! The University of Washington Special Collections just purchased all four of the "pillow books"! These were made at the beginning of my interest and work on progressive memory loss, and right before I started working with the elderly who are at various stages of dementia. I'm thrilled that they're going together to this wonderful collection. The UW collection also has a copy of all the books I created with the elderly.

So here are some images of the four "pillow books". There are more images and write-ups on all four books (and more) here.

Below, Random Cruelty

Tenuous Connections

A Dog's Tale

Cradles for Our Memories

Sunday, July 24, 2011

More Relay Replay progress report

Definitely in book mode now. I actually finished all the etchings for this book back in March, and then didn't make much progress other than trimming papers. But I've been working on it in earnest now for the last couple of weeks and here are some process photos. There are 5 etchings all together (solarplate etchings) on each of the 5 sets of handmade paper made with soils and waters collected from various places (see this link for more on the papers and also some mockup pictures).

The main text block will be Nepal Heavyweight (handmade in Nepal), and the papers made by Helen Hiebert will be laminated to that. Each page is a trifold. On this photo you can see one etching (brown paper in the back) is already laminated to its trifold (already partially folded), and in the front a 2nd etching that I'm in the process of attaching to the Nepal Heavyweight.

This photo shows another etching with a topographical map gocco printed on one of the sections.

On the drying rack --

A peek into the trifold. Different images/text will be gocco printed on each of the sections.

Another page with 1 section printed.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In and Out of the Box

Woohoo, I got into In and Out of the Box exhibit with The Medium is the Baggage! You can see some process photos here. The acceptance letter started with (paraphrase) "there were so many qualified applicants and unfortunately...", so I figured I didn't get in, but then it said "I am pleased to let you know that the juror selected your work to be included..."! So woohoo!

Here's a shot right before I packed it all up:

This was the statement I sent with the piece:

The Medium is the Baggage examines the reality of product vs. the medium it is packed in by inverting the relationship between the two entities.

Practical or aspirational, the products we purchase often have limited live spans – they break down, wear out or we simply move on to the next new thing; they are, in effect, disposable. In mail-ordering, we have found something that will last generations. With the exception of biodegradable starch foam & paper packing, most packing materials are various forms of plastic that do not biodegrade and recycling is limited. When recycling is available, the materials are recycled into other forms of plastic.

In short, these packing materials are the heirlooms that we leave for future generations. By presenting 20 packing materials in a clamshell box packed in shredded mail-order catalogues, The Medium is the Baggage puts product and packing in their rightful places within the historical context.

Made mostly from repurposed materials that had previously arrived by mail - one Amazon shipping carton, various packing materials and mail-order catalogs. Other materials include recycled paper, repurposed mylar and packing tape.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Now lets work on books for a bit

After finishing the last of those 7"x7" panels, I'm returning to books for a while.

Here's one that I thought would be a fun, quick project, but I sunk 40+ hours into it, most of that time was spent on researching the various packing materials that are commonly found in mail ordered products. I tried contacting materials scientists, I looked on the web, and I called a foam/plastic manufacturer.

Now I know the difference between polyurethane, polyethylene, polystyrene, expanded polyethylene and expanded polystyrene. Phew! I wonder how long that information will keep in my opposed to how long the actual materials will keep, which is basically forever.

The book is made from mostly repurposed materials that had previously arrived to me via mail — an amazon box, various packing materials, mail-order catalogs (indirectly through a neighbor); and then there's also recycled printer paper, mylar rescued from the JWSC trash bin and packing tape.

I wanted to make a sampler box of packing materials. So here I'm putting together the tray.

Here's the completed clamshell box made from the amazon shipping carton. On the left is the index to the samples, and the samples in their little cubbyholes on the right.

The clamshell box will be shipped, packed in shredded mail-order catalogs.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

29th & 30th panels

Cosmic Bowling, gouache & acrylic on paper mounted on birch panel, 7" W x 14" H

These are the last of the 7" x 7" panels I got for myself as a 49th birthday present! A year and half later (almost two years), I'm finished! Yay! If I've been consistent, then clicking the tag shut up sit down paint will bring up the whole series. Of course, I've also worked on a few other pieces in between, and if you click the tag painting then you should see those too.

I started these two panels at the same time I started Lichen and Ancient History, and you can see that they started life more or less the same. (Although now that I'm looking, I see that I did not include process photos for Lichen...well, you'll have take my word for it.)

But pretty quickly, I turned it vertical and it became a very different beast, lobster claws and all. Here it is about mid-way:

I really wanted to get this done today, before I head to Seattle for the opening of the Gallery 110 exhibit, so I've been working on it pretty consistently for several days. And of course, the top image is the completed painting. It does not yet have the acrylic on it; I'll do that when I get back. I have several pieces batched up waiting for the acrylic and the edge finishing, all of which I'll do at the same time.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Gallery 110 exhibit, Seattle, June 2011

Here are the four sculptural books I will be showing at the June exhibition at Gallery 110:

Clockwise from top left: Superfoodland!, Tenuous Connections, Random Cruelty and A Dog's Tale.

Exhibition details:

Past Journeys/Present Tense
Gallery 110, Wed-Sat, 12-5pm
Artists' Reception, June 4, Saturday, 5-8pm
110 3rd Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98104

You can read more about the three pillow books on my website following these links: A Dog's Tale, Random Cruelty and Tenuous Connections.

Process photos for Superfoodland! are here: gocco'ing the cards, painting the board, polymerclay utensils and polymerclay blueberries.

Process photos for the pillow books (among other things) are here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mr. Seahorse

This is the result of a failed experiment. But yes, I like it. I see some possibilities for it.

Gouache & white pastel pencil on gampi, sandwiched between 4 sheets of gampi glued together with GAC 500. So there are 5 layers of gampi all together. Shot on a window.

In my previous experiment, I played with using Chinese mulberry paper to paint/draw on, and then attaching it to a gouache/acrylic surface. The mulberry paper is thin, but only slightly transparent (as you can see in this entry; it was also really easy to handle, and it dampened very easily and evenly.

So today, I tried doing the same thing with a gampi paper that is known as 'Japanese silk tissue.' It's not silk, it's a gampi fiber made into a super thin, fairly transparent paper. it's often used in conservation work.

So first, I made 2 sets of 2 swatches, one of the Koh-i-noor watercolor pencils and another of the gouache (I didn't bother with the pastel pencils this time). Attached it to a gouache/acrylic scrap using the spritz & dust method using wheat paste. For the most part, it's really hard to see where the swatches even are! And it was very difficult to dampen the paper evenly; the paper was also harder to handle after dampening. And with the paper unevenly dampened, it's not uniformly transparent throughout. It's pretty much impossible to see the Koh-i-noor swatch (on the left).

While the swatches were drying, I also started the seahorse with gouache. The paper puckered and stayed puckered. I started with a very watered down black+brown pigment and finished it with a white pastel for highlights. This is shot attached to newsprint.

At this point, looking at the swatches drying, I decided to not bother collaging the seahorse onto another drawing/painting. Instead, I decided to sandwich it between more layers of gampi, and the result is the top image.

I can definitely see some possibilities for this, maybe in a book, or in a sculptural work.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ms. Potato Head

My friend and fellow artist Catherine Alice Michaelis of May Day Press planted some potatoes. And she said that if it was true that you are what you eat, then she would be a potato. So this is the kind of potato that I think she might be:

Gouache & watercolor pencils on Chinese mulberry paper.

It's actually an Ernst Haeckel image that I've shaped into more of a potato shape. It's part of a new experiment that I'm trying. So here it is, earlier in the night, when it's mostly just sketched in with the gouache and I've just started to draw the 'blooms.'

Remember that drawing of a peony that I didn't use for the the 27th & 29th panels? I used it here. The larger drawing was a doodle I made a few weeks back in gouache.

I spritzed the back side of the peony nice and wet (it's done in koh-i-noor watercolor pencils and it did not run when I spritzed it), dusted it with dry wheatpaste powder, flipped it over and pasted it down on the larger drawing. Since the larger drawing was not dampened, it is now slightly warped. The exercise was to see if the spritzing and wheatpaste powder would work as a glue for collage on gouache painted surface when I can't or don't want to brush on the glue. This was a trick Jane Pagliarulo of Atelier Meridian taught me for chine colle, and it works really well here too!

(If I were doing this for real, this would be on a board, or I would've dampened the substrate so it wouldn't warp.)

The experiment started with this -- I made 2 sets of 3 swatches with pastel pencils, koh-i-noor watercolor pencils and gouache. I pasted 1 set onto a scrap (painted w/ gouache & acrylic) using the spritz & dust method, and compared the result to the control set. None of the mediums had problems with being spritzed on the back side, even on the thin mulberry paper. The pastel pencils did rub off easily, but the water caused no damage that I could detect.