Sunday, March 31, 2013

Shop Tour

  An impromptu tour of our shop with a little background because Hannah of Orange Barrel Industries asked for photos of home studios.  We are lucky here and I like sharing so I took new photos of things you may have seen before, yet still did not clean up first.  Bless this mess.
C'mon in!
     A year ago, most of my studio was in storage boxes in a suburb of New Orleans and I was in an apartment in Milan with 3 other students, printing on a Gocco press while they slept.  I knew I was moving to the Bay Area when I returned to the US but the other details were unclear.

Ben's press

A friend of a friend was also making the cross country move, with a Vandercook Universal One.  I was a printmaker with a press and they were looking for housing to share.  That September, our moving trucks met in Oakland and we signed the lease on a corner of land that included 3 buildings, notably a beautiful refinished garage with skylights.

future silkscreen and papermaking

It took us a few months to unpack and test the press and to accept that our shop would be a work-in-progress.  The shop doubles as a music practice space too and motorscycle-parts-storage.  Slowly we arrange, work, arrange.  
at work

inking station

type cabinet and ipod docking station

Overall, we are pretty lucky.  We have a large wooden workbench for inking and spreading our assortment of unorganized furniture.  We have lots of room to grow and beautiful type to use.  On sunny days, and most days are sunny, we can open the garage door a little for a sliver of light.  Ben is in school and I work 2 or 3 jobs so we print about one day a week on average.  This summer I suspect there will be some more thoughtful organizing.  I have papermaking supplies and some silkscreen materials too.  I have been focusing on making monthly postcards and occasional custom jobs, so we arrange things as needs arise.

expanding desk space

When I'm not printing, I work in here.  This is where I keep projects-in-process, materials, ideas, and books.  Even in here, the music equipment shares space. I could probably line my walls with shelves and fill them with hoarded paper, finished journals, postcards.  Once a week I clean it up but it naturally returns to chaos.We've only been here six months, but I can usually find what I am looking for.  This is also the bedroom I share with the ever-patient Andy, whose guitar sneaks into the photos.  My work has been creeping across the room threatening to swallow his desk for years.  Even with so much space, supplies expand infinitely.  Flat spaces become workspaces.  The kitchen table is another place  for cutting paper, folding while watching movies.  Sinks have dishsoap and lava soap.  Working at home.

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Work and Play

The warmer weather and brighter days are great motivators.  Even these flowers, after a long restful winter have decided to bloom.

I have been printing days at Painted Tongue Press in Oakland, and then coming home to print postcards.  Don't worry, I also have been rewatching Twin Peaks with friends, finding secret garden spots near tourist attractions with Andy and eating very well. 

But spring is a great time for a million ideas.  Like: let's have a print show to share the work of our lovely friends, and make an excuse to play prince songs all night in our backyard.

Can you see the secret?

Because spring ups the idea-maker in my brain, I find its best to take notes.  I have a lot of lists.  And yet, when I need to map out a new postcards, my "plan" is barely decipherable by me.  Here is next month's postcard for you--"revealed".

Old cut becomes polymer plate

Ha!  Even this peek at a plate on the press doesn't give away much.  I will tell you I handset some type in our garage studio while listening to music, courtesy of Ben's giant ipod dock.

our other speakers broke

Do you see why I don't often leave the house.  You better come over. (May 10 6-11 Prince/Prints  show.  buy a print! support an artist and a puppy!)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Making Stuff...

I like my job.  I like making stuff for other people.  I especially like when it comes out looking fine, not too crooked, or inky or splotchy.  I made business cards last week for two ceramic artists.  Roberta sent me a drawing to incorporate into hers.  She makes drawings and functional and nonfunctional work and is about to graduate from Lousiana State University.  And her work is amazing.

For Kim, I hand-lettered her business name instead of using a whimisical-but-overused typeface.  Handdrawn elements are fun!

It's been springlike here and we finally started doing something with the dirt and weed patch called our yard.  Last week, I dug up and turned over a 10 x 5' patch that we mulched to become our garden.  Remember folks, this is not a gardening blog and we have more ambitions than skills. Oh, and we have a good guide book.  So far, there are only marigolds, but I am working on that. Hopefully soon I will post lovely things emerging from the acidic mulch.  Not tonight.

what grew there before

our "garden" where nothing grows

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

In the Mail! At Your House!

Keep Writing number 49
I probably should not admit publicly that at home, I am a terrible production printer.  I have worked, and currently do work, in shops where we get PDF printouts of a digitally designed image, all to scale and in full color.  I match ink colors to pantone books, weigh inks out for mixing, proof the polymer plates, measure and repeat.  For my own work, since I abandoned handset type a few postcards ago (I'll come back!), I have been using polymer plates.  But instead of all the careful planning I could do, I make plates of images I like, text I might use, sketch it out, try it, rearrange.  I would drive digital designers crazy!  This is why I do not have a stationery card line out.  I would have to repeat the same mixed up, hand set polymer plate design.

That said, here is Keep Writing number 49.  Three cards folded and perforated--though not too deeply as I was worried about how they might hold up in the mail.  I scanned the images from books of old printing cuts, carved the words "hello" out of linoleum based on my own handwriting and here it is.

single postcard does not mean lonely postcard

Also, in case you did not know, you can get single postcards based on the subscription series in my etsy store.  I print a limited number of extra cards each month with a more basic backside.  Also,  I have bundled packs of  older postcards for you, five for five dollars, also available on etsy.  The packs are assorted based on availability but all of them are interactive, that is, there is a card for you to tear off and fill out and return to me.  My address has changed since I printed these so I include an envelope with my most recent address.  Or you can send them to the old address and this guy will get them.  Your choice. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I'm not one for keeping a steady pace.  I like a lot of coffee, then no coffee.  Stay up late working, then a few days off.  Last week I got my fill of resting during a little sickness that put me to sleep for 2 days.  Sleep and TV.  No printing, no writing or reading.  I didn't even make my own cup of tea.  Now I am not 100 percent but at least I can stay awake long enough to go to work and cook my own dinner.

A few weeks ago I printed these fun stationery cards for a postcard subscriber.  She let me have free reign with the design and they were fun to print.  I posted partial pictures of the cards, but here they are in full, with the address obscured for privacy.

New postcards are in the mail. I ordered these nerdy poet stamps a few weeks ago and finally the chance to use them.  I have been printing at home on Ben's Vandercook, for the postcards which has been working out wonderfully.  Lucky lucky me.

Sundays are usually for printing but this weekend I made this tiny book instead.  Oh sweet procrastination!  I haven't decided yet if I will sell it on etsy or keep it for notes.  It is the first book I have made with some of the paper I brought back from Italy.  Six months of saving scraps and tickets and take-out bags are collected in a shoebox.  Honestly I thought there was more.  I need a new journal so I suspect you will be seeing it soon.