Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Beavers, Bisons, and Prairie Dogs, Part 1

I have a stack of reading that I'm going through to research for my Fluid Dynamics exhibit next August at Waterstone Gallery in Portland, Oregon. I decided to start with what is probably the most fun, easiest, and least depressing of the bunch, Water: A Natural History, by Alice Outwater (I assume that last name was completely coincidental). And it has proven to be a fun and informative read.

Just for fun, here's the back side of the state flag of Oregon:

I have lived in Oregon for 30+ years, and had never really fully appreciated the state mammal, the beaver, until I started reading this book. I knew, of course, that they built dams, that they had powerful teeth, that they had an unusual tail, and that they were hunted almost to extinction for their pelts when Europeans started to settle in N. America. (Their pelts were prized for coats and hats, but it was the hat trade that did them in.)

What I didn't know was how big an impact they had on managing rivers and the riparian zones (habitats for fish/insects/birds), and ground water. When the beaver population was decimated, the rivers flowed faster, provided fewer shelters and less organic materials as food for fish/insects/birds. And not only that, by cutting down trees near the water, the beavers created more diverse habitats. And for humans, the faster flow meant that less water seeped down to the aquifer to be stored for future use.

Coming up in the next few days, some process images of Beavers vs Hats.

Has It Really Been Six Months?

Looks like my last post was on April 6 when I wrote about Phlebotomy of a Pie!

Truth be told, I've been spending more time over on facebook, yeah, you know, THAT place. (And if you'd like more frequent but quick updates, you can sign up there.)

Well, no point crying over spilt milk, what I haven't posted here, I haven't posted here. Suffice to say that I have been busy over the summer — there were 6 small paintings of bugs and 5 have sold! My goodness, that's a record for me. The last one is available at Bainbridge Arts & Crafts Gallery:

Grace Hopper's Bug, II

Here are three that sold during the August exhibit at the gallery:

Grace Hopper's Bug, I

Hello World


I followed these up with Hello World, II and Startup, II and they sold before I was able to get high quality photos of them. That's a good problem to have.

I have started to plan and create work for my next solo exhibit at Waterstone Gallery next August, Fluid Dynamics. It will be a show of paintings and artists' books about our changing relationship with water. Because the topic is complicated, I will be writing more about it here. Facebook is great for a short & quick update, but sometimes, one needs more than that.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Phlebotomy of a Pie

Here are the professional photographs.

Phlebotomy of a Pie
Artist's book with clamshell box
Nepal Light, Chinese Mulberry paper, gouache, acrylic, ink, cotton thread, medical supplies

This is really a book about desires and restraint, told via the narrative of a pie.

Phlebotomy comes from the Greek, meaning to incise into a vein. I think it came from back when 'bleeding' was a medical procedure. Now a days, a phlebotomist is the person who draws blood for medical tests.

When you make a pie, slits are cut into the top crust to allow the steam to escape; and as the pie bakes, the filling oozes out through the slits in the crust.

On one of the first pages, the instructions for preparing the pie crust —

In the messy pie-making process, the boundary between pie filling and blood-drawing is crossed —

The reckoning. I could not figure out how to include a medical lancet in the book without getting into trouble if someone should hurt themselves. I have collected and used rose thorns for many projects before, and I thought the rose thorns would be a great application in this book. So here the narrative takes a more poetic turn even as we prick our fingers on the rose thorns.

And life continues...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"The Pie Book"

The Phlebotomy of a Pie

Unique artist's book with clamshell box, handmade paper (Nepal Lightweight, Chinese Mulberry paper), gouache, acrylic, ink, medical supplies, binders board, bookcloth

And I completed this book without indulging in a single slice of pie. Not that I didn't want to. Here's the outside of the box, where the pie has obviously overflowed.

And a few interior shots. You can also see lots of mid-process shots in this album on my Facebook page

This page below has generated the most interest as I posted progress shots. On the left are rose thorns that I have collected and painted. They're attached to the page pointy sides up. On the right are "blooms" made with thread. The locations of the blooms match the rose thorns. The blooms have both a symbolic purpose and a practical one — they're where the thorns have pricked through the skin and blood is flowing, but they also protect the thorns and prevent the thorns from poking through the next page.

As always, this took about two & half weeks longer than I anticipated. There were also lots of problems with old batch of methylcellulose, which was resolved by buying a new batch. I make boxes so infrequently that it's always a struggle when I do it. And this one was particularly difficult in that it's so large. The sheets of bookcloth was more difficult to control and place. But I'm reasonably happy with how the box came out. I think I could be a good box maker, if I made them more frequently.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Limited Edition Archival Reproductions

I'm slowly putting limited edition archival reproductions of the Red Bean Paste & Apple Pie series up on Etsy. I've been working on this (doing pre-press, researching printer, etc) since December last year, and finally picked up the 1st set of reproductions a couple of weeks ago and have been putting one or two up every day. Already sold two!

On other fronts -- doing some experiments for about 5 different book projects. Each at different stages. One got as far as having paper already dyed for it...evidence --

So yes, I am in fact, still alive and working in the studio!