Monday, October 20, 2014

New Site!

I feel like, after months of thinking about looking for a new place, I up and moved all my stuff in the middle of the night.  Expect this is just on the internet.  I moved my website,  and blog to one place, with lots more housekeeping to come.  That said, come visit me at the new place.  The boxes aren't yet unpacked and we will have to eat pizza on the floor, but I think it's gonna be real nice.

come on over.

packing up and moving!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

More From Penland

from the knoll, evening time
 It is nearly midnight, with rumors that it night possibly rain a little tonight and the people in the park outisde my window are listening to 70's soul. Luckily, I had a late cup of tea to help combat the list of things I'd like to do tonight.  I forgot the list but now I can't sleep.  I found these photos on my phone last week, more images of my time at Penland.  It is difficult to express what a special place it is,   how beautiful the landscape is and how amazing it is to have so much time to focus on work.  As my time there seems farther and farther away, I keep in mind the things I learned.  From these photos, it seems that I like to collect things.  Though A. (who has moved with me 4 times at least) could've told you that.
chicken bone, moth wing, mica
collection in progress

more collections and the work i went home with

late at night, hard at work, my desk in the paper studio

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I Know What I Did This Summer

the paper studio at night
I was gone for a bit this summer, adventuring and I've been wanting to tell you about it.  But I didn't know where to start. Have you had this experience, where you are somewhere else for a time and everything seems so different that new universes seem possible? Then you return to what you are used to, where you are comfortable and you don't want to lose the magic. I feel like the more I talk about it, the farther away it becomes.  Like I am belittling the experience.  Well, I have these photos for you--maybe they can explain.
in progress works drying in the dry room

I drove to North Carolina.  I went to Penland School of Craft for two and a half weeks.  I learned about sculpting paper.  I made things that looked like other things I've made, and then I made more. At the end, they were similar but different. I would like to make more before I tell you about them.  But here are some pictures to start. 
felts drying at night

wet paper being assembled around an armature, which is fancy talk for a balloon filled with sand

dry, with the balloons removed
experimental "sheets" of paper drying tacked to a wall
found objects encased in handmade paper
handmade paper , found objects, lit from below

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Nine Years Later

from 2012

Every summer, around the end of July, I feel like I loose control of my emotions for a while. I am inconsolably sad, I cry inexplicably.  Something feels off. Last year I talked to my friend Bear about this and Bear reminded me that next time, I should remember to take extra care of myself.  It is my birthday time, which I get outwardly excited about while being inwardly anxious (thinking about life choices and all).  Then, a few weeks later is the anniversary of one of the most disruptive events in my life.  Tomorrow is the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and it is still the storm I am referring to when I say "the hurricane".  I lost friends in a few ways because of it, and I also experienced some of the greatest love and strength and resourcefulness I have known, in the years following.  This year I was ready.  But then, I was in North Carolina, making paper and swimming in a river. The sadness didn't come the way it has.  Other friends have told me about nine year cycles, about recovering from PTSD, about healing.  Maybe this is the year I can see some of this with clarity.  But not from the internet.  So tomorrow, I am taking the day off.  Since losing my job, I have had more time for book binding and preparing for the SF Zine Fest  (Saturday! Sunday! in San Francisco)
and more time for listening to the news, and searching for a new job but also a lot of time on the internet procrastinating. I'm going outside to take advantage of the temeprate and dry California (drought) summer.  Take care y'a'll.  And I'll see you soon. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Doing the Important Work

looking away from the kitchen
My friends own land in North Carolina near the Tennessee border.  It is a wonderland of gardens and herbs and wildlife and smart people. They study herbal medicine and are working to build a place with herbal gardens, a library, an apothecary and ways to share their information with others.  All of these beautiful things are happening there but when I visit, I seem to mostly nap.  Which is also important work.  But photographs of napping are not very interesting.  
the ceiling of Janet's kitchen.  posters she made and 2 prints by Lauren Scanlon
I loved sitting under this skylight
View from the napping place

 Janet and Dave are Medicine County Herbs. 
They are knowledgeable, experienced and solid folks.  In my brief visit we talked a lot about the state of things in New Orleans, where we all met, but also about anxiety and allergies.  Their website has many more photos taken on sunny days.  Though I'd be a fool to complain about having such a great place to visit on rainy days too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

While I Was Away

Middle Tennessee
I'm back in Oakland after five weeks of visiting friends, family, papermaking and skygazing.  Also in the the whirlwind, I turned 37, lost my job and someone used my social security number to watch a lot of satallitie tv. It's been an exciting summer. I have so much to tell you about but I am still unpacking, sorting, napping, baking cookies.  But here are some celestial highlights of the past few weeks.
later from the same lawn chair

the light of god on the atlantic ocean

hazy Tennessee evening

Middle Tennesse.  I sat in a chair, watched the sky and drank wine.  Happy summer.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Come On In! (We're still unpacking)

Doorways! and textured glass windows.

Welcome!  We moved boxes and boxes of belongings four weeks ago into this Victorian in Oakland with so many windows and doors.  We unpacked enough to make dinner, sit with friends on the couch and send emails.  I still can't find the camera, actually.  But I wanted to invite you in, and show you around. Of course, A is about to leave on tour and I am heading to North Carolina to make paper so the housewarming will be postponed until August or September. Unless the house-sitters get ambitious without us.

repurposed hall light
let me cook you dinner on this old and lovely stove! the middle section is a griddle. yes, I have made french toast on it already.

some of the plants that survived

this is where the new (to-be-aquired) shelf will go.  this is most of my studio tools and supplies. 
Studio of the Dramatic Lighting (disorganized)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Stories About Moving

After two weeks of packing, a long day with a moving truck and a few friends, three days off to unpack, we have now been at our new place for more than a week and you can finally walk from room to room without having to do any special contortions to get around something that is going to go somewhere else. We've even had a friend over for homemade pizza.  Not that there isn't more to arrange, discover, move around, share.  In a few days I will have a postcard to show you and maybe some photos of out lovely little place.  For now though I wanted to share five favorite moving moments I thought of while packing our place up and shifting it a few miles down the road.

1.  In 2001, leaving Savannah for Seattle, I was trying to clean up the last of our things at 2 am and I threw away $500 in cash.  The mistake was realized in the morning.  M's persistence led to a 30 minute search of all the garbage cans as the car was otherwise ready to go, stuffed to the roof with bikes, a table, and Andrea, who was catching a ride to Philadelphia via my mom's house.  M found the money, and, despite the anxious car, we walked down the street and got sandwiches before leaving.  I apologized but I also stubbornly held the belief that one who gets paid in cash shouldn't leave it in an unmarked envelope in a room full of unmarked envelopes.  Of course, one who throws away $500 shouldn't make excuses either.

2. 2012 leaving New Orleans for Oakland: Andy drove to one of the only grocery stores with ice for cold beer to offer friends as we packed a moving truck 2 days after a hurricane, while most of the city didn't have electricity.  He arrived back at his place to find me drinking elderberry vodka and water and packing and brought me ice cream despite the lack of refrigerator to store it.  Luckily, Eric showed up soon after and ate the rest of it before it melted. 

3.The one time I was ready on moving day, 1997, leaving Allston, MA, splitting my belongings between a youth hostel in the Back Bay of Boston, where I was an overnight front desk clerk.  I was lucky enough to have a room with only one roommate and we had separtate bedrooms and our oun "kitchen" : a hotplate and a toaster over.  But we were in the basement and surrounded by alcoholics.  Perhaps knowing this might not be a good move, half of my stuff was going into storage at my dad's place in New Hampshire to be retrieved 4 months later when the city and moreso the hostel living, depressed me too much so I loved to the New Hampshire seacoast.  Which was also depressing.  But when my friends arrived in the morning to help me move out of myAllston apartment, everything was boxed, labeled and I already had iced coffee.

4. New Year's Eve, 2010, Baton Rouge. The first of 4 days of moving as a freaskish cold snap hit the south and we didn't know how to turn ont the heat.  We figured out the stove, ate pasta, got dressed in shiny things, rode half across town to a party, got drunk, told Andy it wan't raining, rode home. It was raining.  Woke up cold, damp, hung over, on the floor of our new place (the bed frame was still at the old place). Still, it was a good place. Did I mention it was the time we moved to Lover;s Lane? Really.

5. July 4th 1996, Derry NH. A few weeks earliter, I moved out of my first apartment with a sleepover. Had requested teh elecetricity to be shut off that day but forgot that might mean 2 am so we could't watch the end of the zombie movie or vacum the industrial carpets.  I stayed with my dad for 3 weeks then was offered a bunk bed at a friend's apartment.   I drove a car full of my stuff, probably mostly summer clothes and books and my typewriter over to his place and moved in. His parents lived 30 miles away and let us stay there for free. The downstairs was haunted by a ghost or a demon and so we had to take out laundry to the laundromat in town. 

Ok, enough reminiscing for now.  It is late for me and I might have to get some sleep so I can fold and send 150 postcards tomorrow.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Packing It Up

Once on the radio, I heard a man being interviewed explain how to be most productive: recognize what you are best equipped to do that day in your cycle, and do that. I can't remember what cycle he might have been talking about, if it was related to the moon or workweek or a creative cycle, but the idea is that some days are good for creative endeavors, some days fro reading, some days for analyzing, some days for fixing things, etc.  Which is how I like to justify my procrastination.  There are lots of things I would like to do with my time, a few things I thought were important to do today but what I'd really like to do is start packing.  Andy and I are moving in a few weeks and I am ready to start boxing it up.  As if I don't have a few tasks to attend to first.  I started taking down the curtains that enclosed our bed in the winter, for warmer sleeping, and then I remembered to take a few photos.  We are lucky to have this place as our first home in Oakland.  I'll let you know where we land.

double decker desks

fun machine

Add caption

some of the plants.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stopping to Smell Roses

I realize that a lot of my posts are wither about my day job or my days off and maybe not so much about printing or new ideas or the piles of fun wonders I have been creating.  Winter is for hibernating but I can't seem to get  up to full excitement speed.  I've been a little bit sick, very tired and working a lot at something that isn't my love.  That's just what I am doing for now.  How do I combat the lethargy that comes with being tired and sick? All the good ways: walking, small adventures, and remembering to take care of myself.

That's why you get a lot of photos of days off in the park.  You can't work all the time, no matter how much you love what you do. You still need rest and fuel.  Today I took a break from designing the new postcard to go fro a walk at the Oakland Rose Garden.  And what timing! Everything is in bloom (except one poor plant, misnamed "eternity").   I went to the rose garden last year for the first time, but foolishly rode up and over many hills to arrive.  It is tucked on the backside of a hill, in a secret little valley.  It is small and though the flowers are amazing, the whole park is under maintained and a little wild.  All of which makes it the perfect walking spot on an April afternoon.

Things are happening. Our garden is in a state of indecision as we prepare to find a new living space in Oakland. Plans for summer are made.  Maybe I will stop picking up extra shifts and finally make Eric's book and Janet's business cards.  I have been working on things I am not ready to share but maybe that will change.  Meanwhile I have big plans for 3 kinds of pizza this weekend for friends coming to visit this weekend on tour.  And I have been receiving many postcards from y'all and new subscribers, so thanks everyone! I better get to work!

This was my favorite, the Audrey Hepburn

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Across the Bay

northern california coast!
Between tour schedules and work and plans and all, our out-of town anniversary adventure had to be condensed to 2 days so we didn't go too far.  Lucklity we live in the Bay Area and you don't have to go far.  We took BART to San Francisco for breakfast, then rode our Oakland-city bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands.  It was hard to beat the crescent moon over the hills in view of the Pacific Ocean, within walking distance of the Nike Missile site. No swimming but we still managed to get sunburns. A perfect little vacation.
beachy spring!

harbor seals!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Works ______ With Others part I

  I'm not going to bore you with stories of busy-ness and certainly there are no excuses. But here is a showcase of some of the things I have printed in the past 2 months.  There has been a lot of collaborating going on, some more successful than others.
hand set type, silver on black paper, printed at SFCB

Thou is touring a bunch these moths.  Which means Andy is out of town and I will probably eat more burritos.  I might even catch up on posting Keep Writing photos to the Tumblr website. Maybe.  The best part is that Thou is coming here with Cloud Rat. Which means I get to see them all play and I got to make this poster for some of the shows here. You have to go the website to see the whole list.  And you can get a peek in Bryan's brain as there are days marked for writing and practicing and a to do list that looks little too familiar.  Anyway, these posters were printed at the San Francisco Center for the Book, using their beautiful collection of handset type and photo plates.  I printed while Andy learned about locking in the type, furniture, distributing type and got snacks for us.   I will have these for sale at the shows for $5 and on etsy if there are any left after that.
5.75 x 8 letterpress on somerset paper, image by cecilia hedin
I was lucky to work with designer Cecilia Hedin again to print another hybrid animal postcard.  She sends me a drawing done in film--coated black plastic that she essentially scratches at. I turn it into a plate and print it with the type she chooses. The Goldfant is her 3rd such creation. Her line work is amazing and the fluorescent makes it so fun!
keep writing numbers 59 and 61!
Jeremy Sedita of Sea Monster Workshop was kind enough to let me use two of his drawing for two months of postcards while I was working too much at non-print endeavors.  The first one came out quite nice but the second one had some issues with poor resolution and added text.  It was a fine enough postcard but not exactly Jeremy's work. He's a sweetie and a great artist so don't let the poor linework fool you. The sloppy/loose/handmade look is all me.

There's more but I will save it for another day soon. Rain finally came to California, which means the plants are all reaching for the endless sun and I light have to go take a little ride around the block to check it out! More soon!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Rain for a Draught

The rain has been bringing the birds out in the spaces between storms.  One side of the sky clears while another heavy blanket slinks in.

lavender and pineapple sage flowering

I feel like the past two months have been a counting game of weeks and duties.  Payroll and scheduling and rearranging and sleeping through off days and trying, twice to work a second temporary job.  The off time has felt glorious. Two weeks ago I stopped trying to cram in more stuff, more work, more timelines and decided just to take care of the job at hand.

As I mentioned two months ago, I have been the temporary manager at a vegan cafe in Berkeley. I went from dishwasher to manager in a few months, or, even better, food prep to manager in two weeks.  How did it go? I haven't been printing too much and if I have, I haven't been able to tell you about it. After the first week I gave up trying to avoid overtime.  Luckily the days have been getting longer too so now I occasionally leave when the sun is shining.

When it isn't raining, that is.

neglected fractal cauliflower

But I am grateful for the rain.  There is a draught here in Californina and honestly, the months without any rain at all are eerie.  Not to complain about endless sun and temperate weather but the plants have been sad.  And, in a larger sense, the entire agricultural system is under stress.  But I won't go into that here. Sufficice it to say that I have been busy and I have been learning a lot about myself.   For example, I am generally not a very confrontational person. But I have had to deal with upset and irrational people and found that I can do it, with grace and peace, even if I feel a bit queasy afterwards.  Also I have had the opportunity to say exactly what I think about the way my place of employment is run.  Which is liberating. And has me thinking about other possibilities for the future.

For now though, there is this garden, which has thrived despite neglect thanks to rain and luck.

Expect more about printing soon. I have some things I want to share with you. And I am almost ready to start talking about new projects.

the return of rhubarb