Thursday, December 27, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Then switched the cuts out that would be printed blue.
Finally the red layer for the wood type.
We used crane's lettra and it was interesting on the deep punch how the lower layers etched though. A fun printing day had by all!
Here's Donna on her maiden run on the Vandercook. See how her clothes coordinate with the project? It always seems that I'm wearing the color of ink I'm printing that day. I figure it's a biological mimicry strategy so if I get ink on me, then no one will know ;) We printed the front side of the paper with 3 colors and the back side with only the dark snowflake color. We rotated the paper each pass to get movement on the page in terms of shape and color.We started with the darkest color ink first and they went to opaque lighter inks. I love the tone on tone!
The last layer we printed wood type in white for the text--it's a cinquain poem titled Winter Blue. It was a long printing day with a couple of snafus during the day but near the end I was generally elated. I exclaimed to Donna--"We make a great team"! I thought so because we never printed together and it worked out so well.
"Not really" was her reply as she didn't miss a beat and kept printing. I almost coughed up a lung and totally burst out laughing when she said that--she has such dry sense of humor! She explained that snafus might not happen if we were a better team--or she had more experience printing. I think about every editioned project we do whether its papermaking, letterpress, bookbinding--sometimes it goes smooth as glass and other times snafus & hiccups are bound to happen--you run out of the right letters of type, there can be a last minute typo, the packing on the press changes, sheets won't form, glue won't dry, Federal Express is closing in 15 minutes, etc. You just have to adjust where you can while maintaining the original intent and keep on going. The final outcome is the reward. By the way, she is the best art partner!
The handmade paper is an "ends of the day" paper--which means it is a combination of a bunch of natural fibers--cholla, palm pine, cotton, abaca and anything else we had in the pulp refrigerator. Sometimes that makes the nicest paper. I've been intrigued with bird images this past year, so when the topic for this exchange was Flora and Fauna, I decided to print the bird cuts with old wood type that I'm quite partial to. The key thing is that you have to be careful when printing handmade paper. If there are lumps or knots in it, it can actually break or mar your letterpress cuts or type. Mostly we try and print on smooth paper so not to run into this problem (we did that once with a handmade paper made with soft inclusions where we broke an "e" in a magnesium plate). But this paper was malleable and cooperated pretty nicely. Some of the old wood type had nicks in it so they show up but that just gives it character.
We also wanted to look at a way to do simple functional lighting that would add ambiance to your space. Imagine how beautiful it would be to see three of these luminaries as lighting on your table or mantle? Think how lovely these would be for a Valentine's Day or wedding setting. Ohh la la!
We designed this project for a segment for Channel 3 TV Everyday Entertaining that aired on December 21. You can see the condensed version of the luminaries demo with Cindy and Suzanne that aired as well. Looks a little different with fancy editing! http://www.azfamily.com/video/everydayentertaining-index.html?nvid=203174&shu=1
Making Ornaments with Paper Strips
The 2nd video we uploaded is Making Ornaments with Paper Strips. We do lots of different projects at the studio and we always have tons of left over long strips that seem to good to throw away. A lot of time we can re-pulp them into new paper but if they are really stiff or metallic that doesn't work too well. When I saw these projects and how they used strips of paper I was elated! Now both of these projects have been all over the planet this year in blogs, magazines and more.
I used to make these ornaments when I was a kid in 4-H club using construction paper. I must say the moms who led our 4-H classes in our town were pretty good a keeping a bunch of kids busy during the holidays! The problem with construction paper is that it is, well sort of yukky--it fades and it doesn't have the strength of card stock. Now that card stock comes in all the colors and designs you can imagine, it's pretty limitless. Plus, these ornaments can translate to decorations for weddings, showers, parties and other holidays depending on the papers you select. Make them in mass quantity to create impact!
As we said, we didn't invent them but we like them and think you need to see them so you will recycle your strips of paper into fun ornaments. These are projects you can do with your kids, family and friends. Recycling, easy, quick, simple and instant gratification. What more could you ask for?
You can also see the condensed & edited version on Channel 3 TV with Suzanne Bissett's Everyday Entertaining. http://www.azfamily.com/video/everydayentertaining-index.html?nvid=201400&shu=1
It was a crazy day at the studio and I had 2nd thoughts about going because to get all the way to Gilbert AZ by 7:00, Gary and I would have to be out the door by 6:15 which is like having a day off leaving that early! But we were intrigued because we had watched Charles Phoenix video clip from his recent appearance the Martha Stewart Show and found it wildy interesting.
Who is Charles Phoenix???...you may be asking--he's an author, entertainer, and a lover of mid-century design & American culture. And he shares this with you in the most hysterical two-hour slide show you'll ever see. Real slides from the 40's, 50's & 60's that he has collected from thrift stores, yard sales and now folks unearth them out of their attics and give them to him. He is an astute observer and has this unique ability to point out the hysterical and historical, the ironic and the iconic in these slides from everyday American life. (I think he and our friend Marshall are brothers separated at birth. They look alike and have similar personalities...)
We got to see lots of holiday slides. Remember the aluminum Christmas trees? Our family had a 4 foot tall sliver one with red satin balls. Oh yeah! If you don't remember them the first time around, check eBay out--they are making a huge comeback. All the slides of boys toting their brand new BB guns were hysterical (mostly due to the wacky pajamas they were still wearing). Housewives with clothing matching the table decor were also quite a scream. I could see my own family on those slides which I think is why it resonates with so many people. Even if you are not from that generation, family traits & traditions don't change a whole lot--they just look funnier 50 years ago. And the show is for the whole family--it's totally fun & clean! We laughed so hard for two hours our sides ached--you just couldn't stop.
Before we left, Lisa asked Charles Phoenix to randomly select a recipe in her 1950's Jello Cookbook by Home Economic Teachers. She was so inspired by Charles, she decided she would make the Astro Weenie Christmas Tree (you must see this holiday video and send it to your friends!) and a jello salad to take to her work potluck. The Astro Weenie Christmas Tree is straight out of the 50's replete with tin foil, toothpicks, peanut butter for glue, and all sorts of veggies for relish appetizers. Thankfully he randomly selected a lime, pear & cream cheese salad--it could have been a jello and meat salad--eeewww! (she scored 2 swimming fish molds at savers!)
Here's a photo of Lisa's Astro Trees and Swimming Jello Fish at her potluck. How Fun! I told Lisa, had I been there, I would have clapped my hands with delight and skipped on over to the buffet table had I spied such a delightfully colorful display! The photo friends--we all met through photography years ago and still love to hang out together even though our schedules hardly allow it. It was a night filled with so much laughter and camaraderie--just the best Christmas present--to feel that much joy!
Charles Phoenix show. He's a talented photographer (see his vintage camera case that is holding his new digital camera--nice!) who does lots of fun alternative things with clothing--printing, reconstructing--you name it, he probably does it!
He got a hold of 50-60 lbs of old negatives and has been printing up a storm. With 50lbs of negatives, he could probably print forever! He started a series of cyanotypes portraits on old ties. They are just crazy fun!
I just ordered the exhibition catalogue because there are tons of really good artists in the show and I want to do a more comprehensive post down the road. A couple of people I went to grad school with are in the show--my super talented professor friend, Kerri Cushman and fellow artist Aimee Lee--congrats to both of you! Aimee Lee's piece is pictured in the American Craft photo spread. It's the paper brick wall on the far left. Go Aimee!
I was finishing the grad program the year Aimee was starting so I didn't get to know her well but I'll tell you the work that I've see this gal produce has been amazing! She is one hard working artist. I loved reading her documentation when she was building the brick piece for her thesis performance. I'm contacting her for a more indepth post about her work. So stay tuned!
Friday, December 21, 2007
Once I saw all the buzz about those paper dresses, I thought about the class paper sculpture class Bett York taught at the beginning of the month. The way cool thing about Bett's class was that she had everyone bring in photos or drawings of what they wanted to make into paper sculptures--and she showed them how to turn the concepts into reality! Here are some photos from her class. Can't you just see some of these pieces evolving into the most amazing paper sculptures and paper dresses? Yes, Yes, Yes!! (Somewhere down the road, I'll do more extensive posts on paper clothing--I've collected a bunch o' stuff on that and need to dig it all out!)
Bett and some of the paper cutting proteges in action!