Thursday, March 29, 2012

Handmade Coptic Sketchbook

Yay! I'm a little late posting, but I made my new sketchbook.  Just in time for New York!  I used what I remembered from our bookmaking class at One Strange Bird and a youtube tutorial.  Once I get better at it, I'll share the steps with you!

Here is the book un-bound.  I used cheap chip board covered with handmade brown paper and pretty rice paper that I got at the art store for the end papers.  The inside pages are watercolor paper, sketch paper, kraft paper, and fun surprises of left over rice papers. I already started using it and I am really excited! The watercolor paper is great for paints. 

I used hemp that I coated with beeswax for the thread.  It was a little bit too thick and made it difficult to get through the signatures.  There is blood here and there in the book and I broke two needles...sheesh.   Good thing it is just mine.  When I was finished, I printed my hand cut lino-stamp on the front, in hot pink of course! 

Here's one of the surprise pages! 

My favorite part of handmade books are their deckled edges!  

Before and After!  

Thanks for reading, we are off to New York for much needed vacation and inspiration on Tuesday!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Handmade Lino cut stamps

This week has been strangely productive, as I tend to always be more energized in the spring.  It is so pretty here and everything is blooming!  It is no wonder that I've been drawing plants and birds in my sketchbooks.  I have been teaching lino cut stamp and print classes at my store One Strange Bird, so I've been practicing a lot as an excuse to make my own.  

If you are interested, it is pretty easy and really addictive!  All you need is soft lino, a cutting tool handle and a couple of different tips, and imagination.  I like to cut them kind of small so they can be stamped into my sketchbooks or on little boxes and such.  I think of these more as stamps.  I also make larger versions that are more "art prints".  

Here is my little sprout that I inked with a duel color ink pad from the art store in stamped in my March sketchbook.  

I also made this little birdie.  This was my attempt at making something really normal looking, but it still turned out a little strange.  Maybe because of his giant eye?

That's it for now, Happy Spring!  

I hope you are smiling,

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sketchbook Update.

Here is my March sketchbook. It is almost full and I'm working on making a new hand bound book with the skills I learned from the lovely Nicolette Ross who has been teaching sold out coptic stitch classes at One Strange Bird.  I have been gathering a bunch of papers for this book because I like the look of all the colors, but also because I feel like I am always on the search for the perfect paper.  These little Moleskine's are handy and light, but the papers are not so great for wet media because they are super thin.  Below is a sampling of some silly meanderings in March.  My goal has been to work in it almost everyday and to involve more play in the work.  Also to care less about making perfect drawings and just try to get down some details of my life.  

I made this doing an image transfer with AD blender markers.  It is so easy!  All you have to do is have a print out made from a copy machine (your regular printer won't work for this), place the image face down on your surface, and soak the back with the blender marker.  I used a combination of images, one of which is an Egon Schiele drawing and then worked back into them with my Micron pens.  

I also started to experiment with some threads I had in my bag (more on this later)

This little guy at the top got turned into my first wheat paste of the new season.  Here is the full version but I didn't get a pic of the paste up because my phone died.  Grrrrr

Nothing gets the work going like new supplies.  I have been broke for so long, this paycheck was like a godsend, so I decided to treat my self to some new markers, water colors, and a new transportable water color palette.  Since I am constantly between my store and home, this is crucial.  It also may come with us to New York in a couple of weeks! 

I also got this book to help prep with a class I'm doing at One Strange Bird.  It is a sketchbook workshop and I am so excited to teach it.  I hope lots of people sign up!  It has nice tips and a lot of picture, which I love. 

That's it for now!  

Go make stuff,

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


My "art" has recently expanded to meet the boy in the kitchen.  We have been trying a bunch of new recipes and I also make him a delicious cake for his birthday!

 Homemade yellow curry with tofu!
 Spinach burgers in the pan.  We served them with pita bread and hummus. Yum!

Turkey and veggies quesadillas with plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  (trying to loose weight) 

Cookie dough fudge.  Yummy but a little too sweet for me. 

The Birthday Cake

My guy is pretty obsessed with marshmallow, so I decided it would be best to fill his birthday cake with homemade marshmallows!  I have never made them before, so I was a little scared.  They are surprisingly easy!  If you follow all the steps and are patient, they will turn out fluffy and wonderful.  So much better than the store bought kind.  Here is the recipe I used: Raspberri Cupcakes's recipe.
I added vanilla AND lavender to spice it up.  I can't wait to try out more "strange flavors"

 Of course it needed rainbow sprinkles too!

 I usually do chocolate, but I did a vanilla confetti this time.  It was super moist and delicious.  Here it is leveled with its marshmallow interior ready for icing!

 I made some extra for the top (and snacking!)

 Here is the finished product!  Happy Birthday Mr. Cody! 

So much for the dieting ...

Woa...also he died my hair red (again).  I screwed it up the first time!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

glitter fish visions

Hey there, friends.  This is your weekly update in Instagram. 1. I'm obsessed 2. I'm doing the March photo a day challenge 3. Pinterest is also consuming all my "me" time.  Notice the sweet braids below via a Pinterest tutorial.  Nice!  I also made some delicious cookie dough fudge last night and built a pretty sweet sketchbook lecture for my Drawing 1 students.  

Last weekend Cody and I finally got a day date in! We went to the Green City Market, yum! I changed the shop hours to open at 12 instead of 11, so I have more time to myself in the a.m.  I've been having a hard time balancing all of the different selves I have going on at the moment: painter, teacher, small business owner, jewelry designer and my other interpersonal roles.  I love the shop (One Strange Bird), but I am also teaching 3 classes at Columbia while I am in the start up phase.  All of this equals about 50 hours a week at seven days a week.  Finding time to make my own work, follow my interests, and spend time with the people I love the most has been a great challenge.  I am hoping I will find more of a balance as the store gets more streamlined.  Wow!  I have learned so much in these couple of months.  

That is Cody Kirchner contemplating potato varieties

I also started up my sketchbook practice again! Yay!  Sketchbooks and journals have been a part of my life since I was a little one.  I have a giant shelf in the house full of crazy ideas and harebrained schemes. I figured since I am talking to my painting and drawing students about the importance of using a sketchbook, it would be a perfect time for me to get back into the saddle.  I feel like I have been on a roller coaster since about May.  First the Etsy shop went crazy and then I opened the store.  It has been a whirlwind and I have had very little time to reflect, let alone doodle.  I do know that drawing and writing make me happy and that is the goal for 2012, so here it is!  

Above is a picture of some vegetable dye samples I made at one of our art workshops at One Strange Bird.  (You can see classes here:
Jess Egan, one of my brilliant student interns taught us how to dye linen, cotton, and feathers with berries, onion peels, turmeric, and red cabbage.  It was a blast and we will create a tutorial for you soon.

Also this week, just in time for the amazingly talented Cory Sever's opening in our gallery at One Strange Bird, we got our window lettering!  Now hopefully people will be able to tell what we are, what we do, and what we sell. (and hopefully quit trying to buy my plants and displays)  I also feel like it makes us look pretty darn classy.  

The week was trying to say the least.  To reward myself for getting through it, I decided to buy myself a 12 pack of glitter!  I really just freaked out when I saw the hot pink glitter and had to buy the whole thing just to get that ONE.  Sheesh...  This small effort to add more "play" into my studio practice justified the price. 

I had a moment of inspiration this week and got a couple of new (and really strange) ideas for paintings.  I can see it in my head, but not all the way, so I figured I could start by doing a little set up of part of  it.  I am hoping the final painting will be this cascade of flowers, boobs, birds, legs, and drips.  I set up this sweet still life to practice my flower skills.  It has been a second....

This work will still fit into the "Shipwrecked Sailor" series, but I am into a wild part of the "story" where the main character meets up with some other very strange humans (all women) who subsist on only flowers.  (This is the story I am making up btw)  These flowers allow them to have visions and access a dreamlike state.  They have built these elaborate alters and effigies in honor of their powers and I want to make a painting to show you what it looks like! 

Here's a little sketch I was working on yesterday. 

The wonderful and sweet Adam Farcus stopped by to drop off a "sentinel" to guard me and the shop.  

I also made dinner for the boy to say "thanks" for putting up with all my bitching and moaning.  

That's all for now!  

Take care and go make some stuff,