Monday, May 31, 2010

Holy Holy Expletive

I am not much of a catholic anymore but I do like frescos and I have only seen pictures so Saturday I took a little daytrip to this basillica in Assisi. Maybe you have heard of St. Francis? Even with the pushy little devout tourists who nearly beat me out of the way to touch the saint's tomb, it was worth it to sit underneath this ceiling and look at these.
In my mind I couldn't stop cursing. That's how beautiful it is.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I am pretty sure I have yet to see a stop sign in Italy. Italians are fearless when crossing the street. They don't even look. The roads of Frascati were made for pedestrians and mules, not tiny, fuel-efficient bullets. Smart cars have never seemed so dangerous. Instead of a cross walk, I try to find someone who is well-dressed and focused on anything other than traffic. Then I walk with them, being sure that I am on the opposite side of the approaching car. Moments later, I have crossed the street.

Maybe it is the coffee, the late dinners, the free flowing wine. I am sure there are slower places in Italy but everything is buzzing in Rome. This weekend I hope to get out to the mountains for a night in my own.

I still can't figure out how to show you photos. I want to show you the view from the train as the sun is setting and we are climbing the hill out of Rome, into the vineyards. I want to show you what I discovered in Boston the day I left. I was walking around with my father and I saw something that reminded me of New Orleans, of Italy, of all those places that sound like magic, where you might find a forgotten alley way, hang paintings of everything you pray to and think will save you and want to share with others so that they too might cross without looking and just keep going.

For now you have this. It is not so bad, no?

Monday, May 24, 2010


Turns out, I have forgotten most of the italian I may have learned last summer. This morning while trying to pick up a packet for school at the copy shop, a man asked me what language I speak. Since Mumble is not an international language, Gesturing would suffice.

I made it to Frascati, just outside Rome, in good time only to get lost looking for the hotel. I suspect it is good sport for locals to watch us try and get around. I wonder if this is an indication of what it will be like to get around Rome.

I have photos for you but I can't get them onto the computer yet.

Tomorrow we start wandering the city as part of my art history class. While this is not the most economical way to visit Rome, I should know a lot about medival Roman architecture when I leave.

This town is small, on a hill, just ourside Rome. My roommate and I have counted no fewer than five gelati shops. Yesterday in the main piazza there was a group of people of varying ages playing drums and singing. The only word I could read was 'yoga' and there was something like the laying of hands going on. Italian New Agers? Maybe. For now I am sticking to coffee and walking in circles.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where ever you go...

I walked across the Williamsburg Bridge yesterday just because you can. Half way across I spotted familiar graffiti. It is not just the internet that makes the world feel smaller.

I might be on vacation but I am still working. But I am not doing this one alone. I want you to write about your home town. Tell me why you stayed, why you left, what is different or the same and most importantly, how this affects you. Tell me about what you love about where you live and how it relates to where you grew up. Don't just tell me about your stifling small town and how you love New Orleans, tell me about your neighbors and neighborhood. Don't redefine "home" or "community" but tell me where you are from and how that makes you who you are. Send it to me by August 1st and don't forget to include a photo or drawing of the place you are writing about. This will be part of the second Where You From zine and it should be out in the early fall. So get to work. Leave a comment here and I will let you know where to send it. Now I'm going to sit in a coffee shop in Brooklyn for a while.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

You Thought I Was Joking

No messing around. I still get up at seven a.m. but while in the grocery store this morning I remembered a little bit of leftover winter whiskey. I got myself a bottle of ginger ale and my afternoon turned out right nice. Yes, this glass sits on a lovely letterpressed coaster given to me by Kathryn Hunter of Blackbird Letterpress. I will be joining her next week at the National Stationary Show in New York City.

But first, there is this meal to acknowledge. One of my favorite things about having a little down time is cooking up fantastic meals. I sipped on my ginger ale while kneeding pizza dough and talking to my dad about my inability to remember important numbers. He says he has the same problem. If I could cook for dad next week when I visit, I would. It seems like I may not be doing a lot of cooking in the next two months so I have made up for it with this:

Summertime is all about home made pizza in our house. Yes and it is all vegan. A little more processed food than I always like, but it was a special occasion. Vegi-chicken, and soy mozzarella, with pesto, roasted eggplant, roma tomatoes. I picked a bowl full of salad greens and grated some beet in it too. One of my favorite salad dressings is sesame oil and lemon juice with a little Tabasco, a recipe lifted from my first job in a vegan deli.

I didn't get to make the orange linen paper I hoped to for another collaboration post card but do not fear, even on vacation I will find plenty to do.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

No, Thank You.

Some one sent me a link to a website. You know, someone you hardly know sends you somewhere because you have something in common. The internet makes it easy. So I looked at this website, slick design stuff, wine labels and such. Then I found tiny books. Very clean, crisp little silk screens and letterpress. I found contact information and wrote an email telling this stranger that I liked his little books and asked him if I could send postcards to him. I included a website address so that I might seem less creepy. As if by seeing that I send postcards to lots of strangers that would make me merely "eccentric" or "an artist" instead of a creeper. He responded and offered to trade. A few days later I received this little book in the mail and a nice letterpressed card. People still get it. Even strangers.
So thank you Bryan Kring. If you want to see his little books go to: .

Now, as promised, more school projects. I was hoping to get a picture of these in the skylight where I eventually hung them but things did not work out okay. In total, I made twenty-three hot air balloons out of different fibers, some of them with handmade paper sheets, and some with partially processed kozo fibers. These are some of the fifteen that I assembled and hung in a corner of the print shop.

And that's it for the semester. I'm going on vacation.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Will Keep Writing

As grad students scrubbed the acid room and the book arts class stumbled through a final critique, I printed addresses and such on post cards for June and July. Cheating? Maybe. But If the choice was printing them ahead of time or not sending them out at all, I think it was worth the full day on the Vandercook to do this, all in the middle of finals week. I won't give away the whole card, just a tease. If you want to receive monthly postcards from me, sign up for the Keep Writing project. June's cards were printed in collaboration with Fittzgerald Press of New Orleans. Subscriptions are available on my etsy store, but since it is "on vacation" until I return from Italy in late July, send me comment here and maybe we can work something out. Until then, enjoy the view from here.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Why, what do you do on your day off?

Yesterday was my last day of classes so of course when I got home I busted out the vacuum that has been in the storage shed since we moved in on New Year's and removed most of the cat hair from the only rug. I swept, re-arranged, went out for drinks with a friend, and then got up early this morning to bake 12 little cinnamon rolls. One is not pictured. It is in the fridge for the kind friend who will feed the cat while I am in Florida this weekend. I should be tired, sleeping, resting. Instead, I am binding a new sketchbook for the summer. And I am about to go eat one of those sweets. It isn't just the coffee.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The end of the semester...

looks like this.

I don't know what my neighbor/fellow art scholar thinks of this but the downside of having access to all the print and paper making equipment is that on clean up day, you have to take the pellons home and wash them. They look so much better. I mean, I wore a strapless dress tonight because I need to wash my clothes but at least the shop is ready for more papermaking. And so am I.

Meanwhile, here is something for you to look at.
I made five hot air balloons out of handmade paper and installed them in the hallway of a crumbling down building that is, unsurprisingly, part of the art department. The light wasn't as good as I hoped and the sticky-tack was a poor choice. But here is a photo of one of three windows.
And here is a close up of one balloon. Soon I will have photos of other hot air balloons made of handmade paper. But this is all for tonight.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Where I've Been

In the basement of the Natural History Museum, there is a printshop. I have been arriving first, unlocking the door, wiping the humidity from my arms, turning on the lights and getting to work. I was never the last to leave. I sometimes ate two meals a day on the stainless steel tables, my food tasting slightly of Comet and emulsion. Now the best of what I made rests wrapped in glassine in cardboard, awaiting inspection by my professor. I am going to post some of it here. Then celebrate. This is what I have been doing.
This is something I worked on a few months ago. It is a lithograph printed on hand made paper. The white and yellow are part of the paper and the text is letterpressed. It is about 11x 17 inches and less menacing than the images that came before it. I wanted to make prints that might inspire people.

This is my final project. After breaking a litho stone with the original image (yikes!) I made a screen print of it and printed them on handmade paper. The paper is pale yellow with a watermark pattern and it did not survive the scanner. This is the same image on translucent drafting paper. It is about 12 x 7 inches. Maybe some day I will get a good photo of the watermaked paper for you.

It wouldn't be fair to show you these yet because I have not mailed them but here is number 18 in the Keep Writing series of postcards. This is a silk screened collaboration with Walker Mettling currently of Providence, RI, and former roommate. Read about his future death here:
If you want to see the postcard in its entirety, you will have to subscribe. For detals and other examples go to

I've been writing away as if I don't have a project to hang. I will post more photos of other work soon.