Friday, October 24, 2008

helping at home

new drape

Last week I took off for a few days with Mom and we got all my wash and folding done. Then got to work on hanging the drapes we bought a few weeks back. The hard part was hanging the curtain pole, or rather the part that I was not looking forward to was hanging the pole. It turned out to be easy easy easy... so I don't know what all the fuss was but some chores just invoke fear or anxiety about doing them correctly. I got the curtain pole up and hung the curtains and now that part matches the dinning room curtains and they are lined with two layers to keep out the cold and the unwanted direct light of sun rise and later afternoon sun that can over heat the house in summer although it does help warm it in winter. Pictures are not decorator magazine quality but we were happy to have the chore done. It looks nice for a change. I can't remember how long it has been since we had it looking this way. I was also happy to see the little red rose is blooming in the yard trying to beat the first frost that will slow it down for the rest of this year. 

Monday, October 20, 2008

done for this year


The Light in October show was great fun with good weather and light. We had a good turnout and the arts and crafts flew out the door. To heck with the recession and the economic crisis we have great stuff made by real Americans. I took a few pictures at our show and visited with lots of people. So much so that I  had a hoarse voice by the second hour from telling my book stories. We carried it forward for 8 hours. For those who want to see all the photos I took  at Light in Oct. I loaded them on Flickr under Light in October 2008 in a set. Click here: Light in October 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

4 more books

This shows you a book cover, fly sheets and signatures of white and some green backing and then the inside marble paper which will come together to make a little pocket sized book. 4.5 x 5.75 inches 

The papers from last weekend's supply shopping are now in the final form! I am off to the show first thing in the morning with a stiff neck but happily holding a box full of books. 

L I O final preparations

red, white and Florence books

Today is Friday the 17th of October and the big show is tomorrow morning. I have plenty of books completed. Five more are on my desk waiting for me to get back in there and sew them up. Bookbinding is fun but the self imposed pressure to have all that I want on the show table remains. I have to do other things today besides sew books to get ready. Things like put gas in the car and buy cream for our coffee tomorrow morning. Yet the day has arrived where I feel like I have a good collection of my books to show at Light in October V. I took some snap shots the other day of the collection as it was completed on Wednesday when Keith was finishing up his flower photography on the back steps I took the set up and did these shots of my completed books.
I have used  most of the red wave paper and it turns out a lovely book cover or end page. There are two beautiful blue and pink waxed paper books in the works and the large white journal. I got a small one done with a red wave and a special one from the Italian paper that Doug Kingsbury brought to me printed in Florence Italy with a special woodblock two color design which includes birds in burnt orange and foliage in green on a cream back ground. I got a gold and black satin cover and a green& rusty brown marble paper pocket size waiting to be sewn up. So in short I have a treasure box full of beautiful things I made this month. Hope some of my friends will find their way over to the Light in October show to see them. Next chance would be a personal visit or at the Plan b Gallery in November. Now time to get back to the studio and sew up those remaining books. 

Monday, October 13, 2008

more supplies

choices blue or natural linen thread?

I went shopping for more supplies yesterday and came home with papers and fine book cloth to cover some of the new books. It is exactly like going to a candy store for me to walk in the Paper Source Stores in Georgetown and Alexandria. There are so many patterns, textures, colors and styles it is a real task to choose the ones I want to work with and get out the door. I chose some basics of plain Lokta Nepal papers in various bold colors purple, red, yellow-green and teal to use as end pages or fly pages or even cover the board on small books sometimes. This paper is like cloth made from a fiber of plant that they mash and pound down into a pulp then smear it on screens stretched out in the sun to dry. The air is so dry in the high mountains and allows them to do a sheet at a time and dry it in an day. They used to make paper for money years ago as a legal source of income. Then I found a few lokta papers that were coated in a nice wax that made a transparent like wax paper and it has a nice design printed on it in a green gray ink. I found one paper fabric mix with wax that is blue and pink like a batik fabric. It has enough stability to be a cover and both of those wax papers have a nice feeling in the hand sort of like leather when compared to traditional book cloths. Then there were fancy printed Japanese papers! One of them had to come home with a black and red wave pattern that looks almost like a lacquered box cover. I was lucky Keith came along and helped me select a few and he was really excited about that red wave paper design. Yesterday afternoon I cut out the covers for a full sized journal using this paper as a cover for a change of pace. Then a smaller one with bright red cover using the wave print as a strong end paper and black will go on the fly pages all sewn together with a red thread against the red white and black the red thread should look right. We found a new sort of flocked paper with a rather traditional wall paper design and those were in all sorts of colors. Keith said he liked the red and pale gray white flocked one so I went with it this time. 
I have worked all morning and most of the afternoon on cutting the cover papers and cloths and I got 3 pocket sized book covers all glued up and into the press drying flat is an important part of the work. I am also working on a Yoko Ono all white book both large and small. This required that I cover the boards with a plain white paper before putting the textured white paper on or that won't look white glued against the gray book boards.
Outside is a textured paper that has little rectangles that stand up in a grid which is kind of loose. Then inside it gets a dove gray Japanese paper that has white fibers scattered all over it like feathers fallen on a sheet willynilly. Then the paper of the book is white and the fly sheet is white Nepal paper with a small printed white design of wandering vines. It is a mixture of off whites and a little gray. I think of Yoko Ono who used to only us white flowers in her apartment at the Victorian Dakota Apartments on Central Park West, NYC. Now that I have written about the papers, cloths and books... It is a beautiful day and I have  drawing group tonight so I need to go rest to draw a hunky young man who works as an accountant and pays a physical trainer to keep him in shape at the gym. It will be interesting to see what he has to say about the financial crisis that has overwhelmed our politicians and Wall Street this past few weeks. Today a record high rise 949+ points on New York Stock Exchange may turn around some of the sad feelings. 

Thursday, October 9, 2008

the newest books

books 1

Lavender blue, hot pink, grass green and soft gray are a few of the colors in my newest handmade coptic bound books. Last night at the BAWA poetry reading of curses, rants and revenge of the poet a great theme for poemsI was telling my poet friend and young neighbor Dan  Vera     about my newest book and the colors I chose to use.  It is always fun to select the textures prints and colors: lavender-blue two tone taffeta cover cloth, navy blue and purple print end pages,  hot pink fly pages and a softer pink spine paper instead of beads. These are all pulled together with a dark blue bee's waxed linen thread. I soon found I had quite a pretty little hip pocket sized book.  I am waiting for some poet to take one of the smallest books 2"x3" to write a poem in for a rare, one of a kind, book. Meanwhile I wanted to show the book selection is growing each day. These will all be available at the Light in October show I am doing on Saturday Oct. 18th. 12-8:00 PM in Arlington, Virginia. 

orange on wednesday

That ceramic tube vase that lies on it's side Keith made himself a couple years back when he was exploring ceramics at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. This was the first time he got it to work with a branch to support it on it's side at a very dramatic angle which does not show very well in the pictures. More sogetsu ikebana pictures can be seen on Keith's ikebana blog. The photos he took of this latest arrangement in orange and green are on Keith's flickr page

Great gobs of orange showed up in Keith's latest ikebana arrangement pyracantha berries with those great green pods in the gray day, cloudy covered sky they just sang ORANGE. While we were outside taking the photos of the arrangement a beautiful black, white and orange monarch butterfly came to visit our lavender blue asters! Needless to say I couldn't resist getting a few photos of the orange visitor. Seen anything orange lately?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

a couple artists far from here

This week I am working on my books and trying to build my stock for the Light in October. I have perfect weather to be out in my glass box porch, the light is great which makes it fun to work but always requires I take it slow to avoid damage to my spine. I learned that lesson the hard way a few years ago. My reason for posting today are two fold. I have sometime ago discovered a couple artists I like that I don't know personally and yet I enjoy the work they show on the internet and I wanted to share them with you. First came Michael Nobbs  who is now showing his Masters graduation exhibition in Wales, UK and the web. I met Michael in an Artist Way's group on the internet about nine years ago when I worked through that book of 12 chapters to a more creative life. We all worked on a single  Artist's Way chapter each week and discussed it online. Michael was struggling with a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome but he has also learned to go slowly. I followed his development in exciting blog posts when he began writing and posting his thoughts and his delightful sketches of his life and things near at hand. Then he did these very interesting books (a zine) the size of your hand with his sketches and stories in them. I subscribed to Michael's zine "The Beany" and treasure each one of three he published and sent out in 2006. Now he has taken his art to the next level and done a masters degree and set up a show in a gallery and published a limited edition digital book. Good news is most of this show is online for us all to enjoy. I would rather go to Wales to see it in person but you know it would leave a huge carbon foot print. So I can enjoy it in a very 21st century way and show you now too. I wanted to congratulate Michael for his hard work and give him support not just because I think he is a great guy but he also lost his  Mom while he was working on this show. His Dad has been gone for many years so I know this was a very hard time for him. So take a look and explore the Michael Nobbs online. I encourage you to leave him some comments. 

The next artist Ahmad Nadalian is a Persian (Iranian) artist I stumbled upon somehow who sends out these great long emails every once in a while reporting on all his art making adventures. He is a traveler and makes river art an inspiration that makes me glad.  He inspires peace and thoughtfulness and delights my eyes and soul in a way that Scottish artist Andy Goldsworthy does but in an eastern sort of way. Ahmad carves fish on stones and leaves them in places he travels. He was once in Washington DC and left some of his stone fish in Rock Creek. and they wrote about his visit  and art in Utne Reader that is where I found him. These fish are in the four corners of the world now which was the subject of his latest post as illustrated in the photo from his email above. He writes in both English and Persian which is something I don't know anything about. I find I respond to the marks he leaves on the sands and the rocks and the people he meets around the world. I want my friends to explore his world and put aside the propaganda we are fed about Iran for a few minutes. You will be glad you did. Ahmad Nadalian's last email began with this text to give you a little introduction in his words and then go see this website: 
"Today is 26 September. I am flying in the sky and writing this note.  Many people like hearing stories, and many tell stories- I want to be the story. My art and life are the same,  my life is my art."
  "My life shows my art. In the past 12 years , I’ve traveled to many lands and dedicated my fish to nature.  Canal of Venice, Rock Creek River- Washington DC, River Thames in London, Seine river in Paris, Lijiang River in China, Rhein River in Germany, Danube river in Serbia, … Persian Gulf, are now permanent hosts of the sprit of my fish.  Now I also dedicated my fish to South Africa's rivers, Indian and Atlantic oceans.  These fish were born in the streams of my village and now they swim in the ocean of the global village."

Saturday, October 4, 2008

october begins

This week I went to Manassas to visit my Mother and had a good time with her hunting for new insulated drapes for the living room and dinning room windows. We visited the Manassas farmer's market and found a beautiful magenta colored chrysanthemum she fell in love with and brought home along with a few others to fill her porch with autumn colors. I got the weak in the knees for some red with yellow center button sized chrysanthemums and got two of those for our front porch steps in DC. When I got home my partner Keith had used one of his free days to make a beautiful wreath with all the cool dried flowers and pods he has been saving for the last year on our porch. The grape vines we cut and twisted into a wreath years ago at a friends house and now it has some decoration. We share the old sleeping porch that has been glassed in for a studio to work on our creative projects. In the five years we have lived here we learned it is best to work on the porch this time of year before the cold comes and after the heat leaves. The walls of glass that enclose the porch used to be screen and now they let in lots of light but also hold the heat like a hot house in summer. I realized as I was sitting there yesterday that I am so lucky to have a room with light in which to work. The studios I have had in the past were often nearly windowless. Our creative space is great and my  partner makes things I delight in having around that studio and in our home. Not to mention a beautiful garden that brings so many delights.  At the moment our lavender blue asters are blooming to beat the band. They signal the beginning of autumn; soon the wild Chinese chrysanthemums will begin to bloom.  I got two packages in the post this week, one from Holland that has  video footage of Cor's  retreat in France as it was this past August, the other is full of flower seeds and live sempervivums from Massachusetts from my collage buddy. I am looking forward to getting them in the ground once we decide where to work them into our garden. I took photos of the garden flowers and the creative wall in our studio porch for you. I am working on my hand made books for the Light in October fair and it is perfect weather here. The cool nights have put the mosquitoes to rest. They aren't all gone but there are clearly fewer hungry for my blood since the nights have grown colder. We enjoyed  watching the vice presidential debate with some neighbors where we played Sarah Palin bingo as it unfolded. Today I what to say that I feel blessed to have so many people in my life that bring me joy and appreciate my creative works of art and craft. This past few weeks with the economy tanking and the endless wars raging over seas and the endless  campaign that these dear ones and things are very important to remember and honor.