Friday, March 21, 2014

The Maze-Fold Bridge Book

Way back in May I wrote about the maze fold book I was making about bridges. It was a long process, but very satisfying. Here is what I ended up with:

It was a very long painting process until I got the finish just the way I wanted it. My experience painting for theatre comes into play here-- I have many years of faking it under my belt (and under my fingernails, splattered all over my glasses, matted in my hair...) so I can make paper look like rusty metal and peeling paint.  The book is about 6x6 inches. The front and back covers look very waxy- so much so that my sister thought they were an encaustic finish. Exactly the effect I was going for! Yes, it is my favorite secret sauce- acrylic wax varnish. I have many layers- possibly five or six- of that painted over the printed cover. The bridge prints on the front and back covers are from photographs I have taken while crossing the trestle bridge over the Puyallup river on Highway 99. I turned them into black-and-white images in Photoshop, printed them, and transferred the printed images to rice paper, then added collage elements and began adding layers of acrylic wax varnish.

The book will be in the Puget Sound Book Artists' exhibit in June 2014 at University of Puget Sound's Collins memorial Library.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


In late summer (August, perhaps?) I signed myself up for an online class offered by one of my favorite bloggers, Mary Ann Moss of Dispatch From LA. It wasn't because I didn't already know how to paint patterns or sew on paper. I just needed help finding that creative spark last summer, and this class sounded fun. The class is called SEWN, and is an exploration of pattern-painting, chopping those pretty papers to bits, then madly sewing them back together into little books, lanterns, paper name it. Did I do all the projects and "finish " the course? Ummm, no. Was it nonetheless worth every penny? Yes. And here are some reasons:

No Pressure. You were supposed to have fun, and not think too much. In the beginning, just pick colors and crank it out. No measuring or sketching first or waiting until you can purchase just the right paper. Just paint.

No Precious. Then just when I thought I was getting the hang of everything, I had to chop all those pretty papers up. What?! Really? Yes, really. I didn't think I wanted to do that, but I did it anyway. And what a freeing feeling that was.

No Rules. Well, of course there were guidelines, but once I got started, even several of the guidelines ended up on the cutting room floor. The two books I made didn't look like the guideline books, but I'm sure if Mary Ann saw them, they would meet with her approval. Most importantly they met with my approval.

No End In Sight. I can still return to the class (saved passwords!) and finish it. Maybe I will, and maybe I won't. I do still paint patterns when I am at creative loose ends, and I chop them up without hesitation when I need a little something on a project. I can always make more.

So thank you, Mary Ann Moss. It was just what I needed. It was a great online class. It still is.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Here We Go... For Reals This Time

OK, so October, November, lalalalala February went by and nothing. Trust me, things were happening, just not so much blogging. OK, no blogging. Work, work, painting a set, holidays, never-ending bathroom remodel, and work happened. Oh, and a Day of the Dead wedding, a joyous occasion totally worth blogging about, but book-ended by more work.
Then at the end of February, I was rather unceremoniously laid off. As much as that job had taken over all my waking moments, I did like it there, and being booted out has been the cause of much grousing on my part. The upside is that while I am home nursing my wounded whatevers, I have had a lot of time to spend in the studio. I have thought a lot about the blog, but decided that while I was still in that place where I had trouble saying ANYTHING nice, I should probably refrain from posting.

I'm feeling better now.

PS Isn't that wedding cake the coolest? And it was vegan, as were those very lovely cupcakes.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Last Tuesday evening, I went to the first ever adult-swim craft night at Tacoma's new creative-reuse center, Tinkertopia. Tacoma artists Ryan and Darcy Anderson opened this venue, with the help of Tacoma's Spaceworks Program, in the U-district on Pacific Avenue this summer. Tinkertopia, in their own words, is "A destination for teachers, students, artists, crafters, inventors, makers, hackers, and tinkerers (of any age) in search of unusual materials for any creative venture." The items they collect through donation range from paper and cardboard tubes to what-the-heck-is-THAT. Items are sold in bulk by the bag. Bags come in three sizes. Zany ideas are free for the asking. Tinkertopia also has a drop-in craft space filled with tools, sewing machines and glue-guns, where $7 gets you an hour and a half of studio time in the store.

I don't need studio space. I have that in my home. I also have plenty of my own "stuff." But I really really want this place to succeed. It is such a wonderful idea, run by young, energetic, creative people who are willing to take one of those out of the box chances. It is a kid's (yes even a geriatric kid) wonderland. It is a Place of Possibility. I wish it had been around when my sons were young. I can imagine handing them each a $10 bill and a bag, saying, "You have 30 minutes to find your Halloween costume! Go!"  It's also a place to share those items you hate to throw away, but have no use for yourself-- like those sturdy cardboard tubes from the large format printer where I work.

It's hard to describe Tinkertopia. You really need to just go there. You need to browse. You need come back and browse again, because stock changes all the time and you really did miss something last time you looked. I had a great time Tuesday night. I met some new people, I finished stitching up a journal, and I selected a few Mystery Items to bring home. I have a Nebulous Plan. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

London Part 2: Historic Feet

One of the things I got rather obsessed with in the museums was feet. Statues being on plinths, those feet are right at eye level, but what is everyone else looking at? Faces. Well, I did look at the faces, but I took pictures of the feet. You start noticing the successful sculptors of feet, and the less than successful. The really long toes. The sandals that look surprisingly contemporary.The bronze foot guards that probably did not catch on too well with anyone who needed to do a bit of running....

... and then you spy The Toe.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

London Part 1: Iconic London

So we had the opportunity to visit London for a couple weeks in May. Mr. B and I had both been to Great Britain before, but never together. Of course we had a great time, are you kidding? It was London! The May weather was windy and drizzly and pretty much exactly like the Pacific Northwest, so we felt right at home. We stayed in a rented flat in Clapham (Airbnb) and we walked miles and miles. We took a boat to Greenwich and a train to Canterbury. And I finally got to Carnaby Street- a bucket list item since my teenage years, way before lists came in buckets.

We took lots of photos, which I have divided into my own weird categories, and I will share them in a few posts. This first group  is from what I think of as Iconic London.

Next up: Historic Feet