Friday, December 30, 2011

With Apologies to Ruggero Maggi

Last night, after spilling a cup of tea, I finally cleaned off my desk so I can use my laptop on it instead of the kitchen table. I also finally sorted through the mail pile and found TWO unopened letters. Oops. Including this map sent to me from Ruggero Maggi, an artist from Milan who was kind enough to send his response a month before my show. I also organized my letter-writing materials so maybe I will sit at this nice window and write you a letter.

For Christmas, my awesome sister sent me and Andy this jigsaw postcard. Of course, she was always better at puzzles than I, and the envelope arrived in pieces, as it was supposed to. Completed, one side is a letter, the other is this image of these creepy mail cats. Thanks Sis!

Friday, December 23, 2011

One more

After posting all those self-portraits, I found one more that arrived after my show but here it is for you now.

My sister sent me a box of goodies for Christmas including vegan fruitcake(in my family, we like fruitcake), pizzelles, and a bowl she made in her ceramics class. It looks so nice with all the other handmade dishes in our cabinet, including four dinner plates from Roberta Massuch. I haven't started packing, I don't even have a suitcase yet but I've been feeling very cozy at home and not quite ready to pack it all in.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

House of Sick

It's in the 60's and I've been watching Christmas specials and The Wonder Years, sick with a sinus infection that won't quit. It gives me lots of time to post all the postcards I've been receiving but couldn't get around to scanning. Now I have hours at home, too tired and sick in the head to go out and too wired on decongestant to sleep. First round: self-portraits from Keep Writing number 35. I displayed about 14 of these at my BFA show two weeks ago but received about 7 more so here they are, featuring this from fellow scholar, Beck.

Also, before this sinus infection took over, Andy G. had a fever for two days so I stayed home, made tea and answered my mail. If you have somehow not seen this blog, My Real Wall, go look now. Here is a postcard he sent me just because.

Now maybe it is naptime again.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'm Back!

What a few weeks it has been! My computer broke down around Thanksgiving, my show went up a week later and my visa application went in the mail the following week. But here we are, back on track with these chocolate-cherry jam cookies I baked last week. Andy and I are preparing to bake for Christmas. Maybe I will even start eating at home.

The show went well, better than I could have hoped. Kathryn and Dave at the Ephemeral Gallery were amazing. My mom came and sat at the desk and told folks to write postcards. It was stunning. I dreamt about setting up a show for the following three nights. I don't want to hang anything from a ceiling for a while.
Some photos are posted on the gutwrench facebook page.

And I finally had a chance to bind a pile of datebooks. If you are looking for last minute Christmas gifts, I have five of these, handbound letterpressed dayplanners. You can see them on my etsy page.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Handmade Paper Cold

With the rain the temperature dropped about 30 degrees. And so I cannot breathe through my nose. But here are some final week countdown photos from the studio.

First, here is the paper made from things you sent me. The variance in color is due to the addition of white pulp. The paper was looking too dark to print on. I was wrong. The printing is done and they look great.

Megan Singleton has been helping me immensely in the paper studio. She lent me these plastic frames for drying paper to build the baskets for my hot air balloons.

And here is a close-up looking though a very large balloon.

Nobody likes a public sneezer. Time to go home.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rainy Day

Flavored soy lattes have been my solution to the tired/stomachache problem. Still nothing for the backpain but hot showers. Enough complaining! I had a little time tonight to catch up on a few things I have been ignoring/forgetting so here is a little bit for you.

First, one of the last submissions to the Keep Writing number 29 batch of paper postcard. This is a postcard from Kathryn of the Jefferson Davis statue in New Orleans. Lasse actually sent his postcard just in time but I can's seem to find the photo of his fabric scraps. The paper is made. I made a base pulp with these t-shirts from Mark, but they looked a little like puke together. So I made a second base pulp, mixed the two, added all the stuff you sent me, and pulled large sheets that will be cut into postcards and printed this weekend. Somehow. (Read:coffee, whiskey and a late night at the printshop). They are currently in the dryer though I suspect nothing in South Louisiana is dry right now, the rain barely made it wetter. Will I ever re-acclimate to average to dry air?

Oh, and note that the photo of Mark's t-shirts was filtered through the new Cheapstamatic website. I liked the old site so much I offered to test the new one. Thanks, Mark. (Not Mark with the shirts, Mark in Sweden who makes the website).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Game On!

Phew! After a whirl-wind weekend trip to Tennessee to see my 95 year-old grandma, I am back. I sold out of two datebooks in two days before I left but my etsy shop is back up, online and stocked.

Along with getting ready for my show (less than 2 weeks!), and eating meals with Andy, I have been getting things together for my 4 months in Italy. There will be postcards from Italy so if you have a subscription to Keep Writing, you will continue to receive postcards. I am working out exactly how it will all work, but there will be some letterpress, and some other media. As of February 1 I will no longer have a "permanent" address but my sister has so graciously agreed to let me use hers. Stay tuned. I am going to try to focus on the present while eating candy cane oreos. Thanks to Daniel for this photo of his room displaying his collection of Keep Writing postcards!

Also, if you were looking for past postcards because you missed out on the first few years, Ms. Valerie Park Distro has purchased all the remaining cards and is selling them in assorted packs of ten. I assembled them so I know you get ten different cards in each pack!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Date Book Day!

I am not even sure I sleep in my sleep anymore. However, now is the time to finally share with you the finished collaboration between Gutwrench Press and Blackbird Letterpress. These datebooks are born of talk the perfect datebook, something flexible but accurate, sturdy but stylish, compact but room for all our ideas! We have spent months hand-setting type, printing on the Vandercook, buying books at used book sales, practicing our coptic binding, finally deciding to print the remaining pages with polymer plates, cutting, sorting and now you can have one! I had them at the New Orleans Bookfair two weeks ago but now we both offer them online on our separate etsy shops. Blackbird Letterpress also has a much better story about these lovelies on their blog. Check out their website to hear her side of the story, including a photo of the press bed with handset type, and to see her selection of covers. Each is unique. You can also see what I have here.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


At the New Orleans Bookfair, some friends gave me this fortune which they have been holding onto for a few months. (ps my name is Hope not Gutwrench which is why this is funny). It is also funny because I have not been drinking so much coffee and I wake up early without an alarm, when I am not sick.

Down to business. Here is Keep Writing no. 35, BFA show card announcement and self-portrait postcard. If you want an invitation to my show and did not get on in the mail, contact me. The show will be December 3rd at the Ephemeral Gallery in Baton Rouge, located at Main St and North 18t, from 7-10 pm. There will be drinks food made from recipes from senders, prints, handmade paper balloons and, of course, postcards.

Also at the New Orleans Bookfair, my friend Case came by to hand deliver a few completed postcards only to realize they had fallen out of his backpocket somewhere in the Bywater. Amazingly, Sarah P. found one of them (without knowing their fate) dropped it in the mail and here it is. Case! I have your self-portrait! Thanks Sarah. Now it is Saturday night and I should be in the studio but I might stay home and study.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


The New Orleans Bookfair, tenth anniversary edition, was a success! One block of Chartres Street was closed to traffic, open only to pedestrians, and to one dude who didn't read the signs about the street closure. We watched him nearly back into our table, get out of a tight parking space and make a mom move her baby stroller out of the way so he could go uptown. Regardless, it was good to see lots of friends, sell zines and books, and spend the day with Ella, Rebecca and Becca. New Orleans folks got their postcards first this month, but the rest went in the mail yesterday. I will have a close up for you tomorrow. They are the show announcements for my senior show. Mark your calendars: Saturday December 3 from 7-10 pm at the Ephemeral Gallery in Baton Rouge. One night only.

This month's postcard is s request for a self-portrait, so that I can include your smiling facing in my show and give you, as contributors, credit. I have received my first response and it is...anonymous. But charming. I should be able to figure it out, right?

In case I didn't have enough to do, I will also be sitting in front of the LSU student union next week as part of the print club's Print Sale! Held in conjunction with the more organized and highly anticipated CASA Ceramics Sale, we printmakers will have blank books, handmade paper, cards, t-shirts and of course, prints, all made by LSU students for sale. Stop by! Half the proceeds help us bring visiting artists and maybe will help us go stay in New Orleans during the Southern Graphics Convention in the spring. The Print Sale will be November 14-17th, 9 am-5pm.

P.S. No cookie photos though I made lavender shortbread last week and I just took sweet potato blondies out of the oven for tomorrow. Both of these smell better than they look. Yum.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


The multiple to-do lists in my head are not as organized as I thought. Here are a few things I forgot to tell you about the last week:
1. After missing one week because of schedule confusions (I mean, I forgot)I made cream cheese brownies for seminar. Vegan of course. Please reference this most wonderful recipe book for information.
2. Coconut magic is in the oven. Same cookbook. I may not make all one hundred recipes but I sure am trying.
3. Did I mention I am studying in Milan for the spring? That is one whole section of the to-do list. So much paperwork.
4. The other night, while house sitting for Andy's sister, I took a relaxing hot bath in a giant spa-like tub, read the new issue of Harper's, and did not think about to do lists. Weirdly, the tub was lit by an overhead chandelier.
5. Even weirder was the cop who came to the open side door in the morning, gun drawn, concerned we were home invaders. That's what you get for having a big ol'van in a nice neighborhood. The cop took my id, put his gun away, ran the license plate number and did his job without apology. Not my favorite Monday morning. No more guns pointed at me this week is what I am hoping for. Thank you neighborhood watch. Good job, we were watched. We returned to our neighborhood.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bits and Pieces

Ha! I don't even feel close to being on top of upcoming deadlines and then more appear like magic. So these photos are from a few days ago. First, a late night session with the C & P treadle-driven platen press at Blackbird Letterpress. Andy and coffee kept company while I printed the first layer of my show card, a shiny thin lilac layer that does not photograph well.

Sunday I went to school to build more for the army of handmade paper hot balloons. This paper always looks so nice lined up along the windows outside the shop. When they are dry, I cut them off the frames and add them to the balloons. But you will have to come to my show to see them, Saturday December 3rd at the Ephemeral Gallery, Baton Rouge.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"So, How's School Going?"

No joke, this is how I feel. Even after a day or two off for pumpkin carving, fancy cocktails, napping, and casual, meandering bike riding, I'm back to this. No complaints though. Trying to make time for friends, keeping things in perspective and remembering that in February I am going to Milan for 4 months of school! How's that for a last semester of undergrad. Of course, at the moment I should be studying for an Italian midterm. But it takes me so long to update y'all. Here it is:

These are posters I screened for an upcoming show in Baton Rouge. I will be there indeed. Even if I have to drive straight back from the New Orleans Bookfair, which I will. Andy asked me to do these before Circle Takes the Square was added to the show even though it looks like I should be getting parital credit in from them this semester.

But here are the goods. A detail from one of the panels I have been working on. Lovely. The image is something Lorraine sent me. I love it. Now back to conjugating verbs.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Busy Busy

I was starting to feel like I have been in the studio for twelve hours a day daily and not getting anything done. Sort of like running in waist-high water. But no! Here are things to share. First, I made these bookmarks for my friends in Circle Takes the Square, who are about to head out on tour. I made the paper with high-quality paper scraps, some abaca fiber, and embedded with bits from the magnetic tape with which they recorded their new album, Decompositions I.

Hopefully everyone has received Keep Writing number 34 because here it is. On handmade paper. The letterpress looks so good on it too, if I don't say so myself.
This postcard is a recipe card. Hopefully folks send some good recipes because I want to use some of them as refreshments at my Senior Show, Saturday November 5 at the Ephemeral Gallery in Baton Rouge. And Why Are We Building Such A Big Ship will be playing. Thanks, friends. See you there.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In the Mail

Yahoo! October postcards are in the mail. Keep Writing number 34 is printed in two colors on handmade recycled paper. But you'll have to wait a few days before I show them to you so the recipients can see them first. Now I can watch Twin Peaks.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

From One LA to Another

My friend Jason is originally from Louisiana but he lives in Los Angelos now. He is good listener. Which is why it does not surprise me that he co-authored a book with Juanita Leonard called "Juanita's Hard Times Bus on Hwy 71". It is a collection of her stories and his photographs of the folk art wonder she created in North Louisiana. And now they are published and for sale. If you are in New Orleans you can get a copy at the Ogden. Or you can click on the link and purchase it online. If you do that, all the proceeds go to Juanita.

Cookie day again but things were so frantic at school (that is, in my head) that I forgot to share. So I guess I will share them tomorrow. Salted almond cookies with oats. Seriously.

Sunday I missed a lecture downtown because I was trying to photograph these five little buddies. I don't think I can use thisimage as a slide for a juried show but I know y'all appreciate it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Old and New

While putting together a presentation about my first print making teacher, Eva Isaken, I realized I still have my first ever monoprint. Since at the time I fancied myself more of a writer than an image-maker, I left a space for text that I never filled. Twelve years later it is still blank.

While procrastinating on said presentation, I found the link to Strip , a chapbook of poetry by Jenn Nunes. She asked me for photographs for it. Photographs of driving and the sky? I can do that. I had plenty already. You can download a pdf for free with the text and the images. I won't comment on my own images but her poetry is amazing, sparse, well, you'll fell like you are looping around the interstate. I love a road trip. Now back to work.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Yet Another Saturday Night

How can you make everything hinge on a moment? My brain and body are working against logic right now so it's no coffee and no complex sentences. Which is going to make essay writing difficult. Meanwhile, there is this lovely pile of postcards on my coffee table awaiting addresses. I somehow forgot to mention on them that they are printed on handmade paper recycled from fancy paper scraps. It is soft pink and lovely to letterpress onto, once I was sure they were consistent enough and not harming the type. Also in the photo are three rolls of washi tape, because I have not decided on which to use.

Earlier this week I made these chai spice shortbread cookies with chocolate chips. We moved our outdoor table around the corner of the house and suddenly it is more inviting. Also, thanks to "autumn" it is now possible to comfortably breathe while sitting in the sun. Things are pretty good around here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Late Night Paper Shop

I said "I'll go home by eight." but then I was in the print studio prepping for an extra hour. So ten sounded reasonable. Can still get enough sleep. And I didn't have a proper dinner with me. Only some decaf espresso because the real stuff is just making me impossible to talk to and yet, still tired.

Now it is one thirty a.m. I need to go to sleep but I thought I would share with you these hot air balloon previews, with the handmade paper still drying on them.

And these are for the next two--a lovely orange made with an old linen blanket and some crazy sharp grassy plant from my driveway, mixed with abaca for strength.
Sleepytime now!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Where Is My Mind?

A perfect example of my week: I somehow managed to publish this post with just the title before I wrote anything else. Not enough sleep and constant revisions of a mental to-do list leaves me wondering how the rest of the semester will go if I can't pull it together. I finally have a photo of the ten-days late Keep Writing number 33.

I have continued the weekly vegan cookie extravaganza but neglected to photograph the delicious chocolate with surprise-peanut-butter-center treats. I also built this, the first of at least seven large hot air balloons. Well, this is the frame. Before I covered it with paper. Wet paper. And when it dried, I realized I may have a lot more work to do. But this is all I have to show you for now. Since my brain isn't working, I'm going to dancing.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Not Ahead At All

Ha ha. Sometime in this past week I thought, maybe I am not behind in my work. Tonight I stayed home out of tired- and cranky- ness and realized while posting this that this first photo is of coffee cake I made last week. Persimmons on top because it is fake fall here, but yes, I've been busy.

I finally printed and mailed all 143 Keep Writing postcard number 33. I think most people have received theirs so I will post the photo of the whole card soon. The handmade paper is ready and I have a plan for number 34. No typesetting. Maybe, just maybe it will be on time.

Also last week I received the Current Even Print Exchange prints and they look lovely. I had intentions of posting some of my favorites and instead this is the note that came with my package. My print is shown below. It depicts the first African-American LSU undergrad who was harassed until he dropped out. He recently received an honorary degree from LSU.

I will try and keep up. I am about to make paper for a Circle Takes The Square bookmark. I am sewing up prints for my final show, making things to sell at the New Orleans Bookfair, talking to someone about building a website for me because apparently, you can't make it our of paper,and I sort of quit one of my jobs so maybe, maybe I can get all this done before December.