Tuesday, December 11

Sad Goodbye

Sadly, we lost Atticus yesterday after emergency surgery for bloat last week led to sepsis. As you may recall, I have been worried about his risk factors for years and did everything in my power to prevent him from experiencing bloat.

We are heartbroken that our time with this magnificent, gentle dog was cut short, but are grateful for the joy, the laughter and the unconditional love that he shared freely with everyone he met.

Rest in peace, buddy.

Sunday, November 25

The Alphabet Times Two

You may remember these letters that I made for Kiran's room when he was a baby. They led to some others.
And others.
Letters for people of all ages.
This batch is just half of the letters I'll be working on before Christmas.
The alphabet times two.

Wednesday, November 21

A Traditional Thanksgiving

I've heard that salmon, certain birds and monarch butterflies return to the place of their birth. Well, somewhere in the beginning of my family's life story, someone must have been born in a kitchen. For every special occasion -- holidays, birthdays, reunions and the inevitable passing -- calls us to a kitchen, with family and friends crowded around a table of preparations, continuing an endless conversation percolated by a stove covered with simmering pots.

Our family legacy is one of prairies, cattle and corn . . . Frontier women splitting stovewood in skirts . . . It's the aroma of baking . . . Spicing life with a pinch of salt . . . And sweetening the pot, either for dessert or for a game of cards.

 Tomorrow will be no exception. The kitchen will be full with the smell of roasted turkey and stuffing; the happy sounds of laughter and children's squeals will bounce off the walls. When the table is cleared, the men I love will warm themselves by the glow of a Thanksgiving football game . . . and cards will replace the empty plates on the table.
Almost exactly as it's been done around here for generations.

 Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 5

Charity Auction to Benefit Sandy Victims

Seth Apter -- artist, author of The Pulse and blogger at The Altered Page -- is a New Yorker.

His city was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy last week. In an effort to help those who've suffered, Seth will be auctioning off art bundles. The first one is on his blog right now.

The proceeds of these auctions will go to The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. Donations will support immediate aid needs -- including water, food and hygiene supplies -- as well as long-term relief and restoration efforts. One hundred percent of donations are being dispersed to relief organizations and their efforts.

If you do not wish to bid, but want to donate, here is a link to the fund's donation page. If you are unable to donate, please spread the word.

Thank you.

Saturday, November 3

For Chris, who asked about Atticus

I haven't written about Atticus much recently. Not for any particular reason, really.
He used to be featured here once a week when we were keeping K on Thursdays. They were so darn cute together.
Now there are three Littles, and we don't get to watch them as often as before. Life gets busy, but Atticus is still here. Still entertaining us. Still interested in the kids.
And they're still interested in him.

 * Scout's still here too, and is still steering clear of the kids and the camera.

Wednesday, October 24

Birch Bark

I put this small book together using birch strips I found at Terrain last week.
The slip knot binding I learned from watching Karin Bartimole's video is a little different from the coptic binding I generally use, but it is quick and easy and still allows the book to lay open flat. AND this method works for binding single sheets.
It was nice to work with different materials today.

Monday, October 15

It's the Waiting that Kills Me

India Flint recommends that bundles be left to "rest" for a couple of days after coming out of the dye pot, before unwrapping them, in order to realize their full potential.

I think it's safe to say that all my bundles are underachievers, as it's nearly more than I can do to wait until they are cool before opening the little beauties.

So, the other night, 11:30 p.m. seemed just as good as 7:30 a.m. for unwrapping. Besides, I reasoned, I'd sleep better if I wasn't wondering what magic had occurred while this block of yumminess had been cooling for six hours.
This batch of 36 pieces of paper had been layered with leaves that were pressed overnight between the pages of the hefty new Restoration Hardware catalog (a wonderful way to study their fall offerings) and then wrapped between two pieces of cardboard that were slightly larger than the size of the paper. Loosely following the technique I read about on Cassandra Tondro's site, this bundle was steamed rather than boiled for about three hours.
However, I could see that the pages didn't have that delicious dark edge that comes from being simmered in the dye pot, so after the steaming, into the dye pot they went for about an hour.
I'm not sure if the results are from the steaming or the boiling, or even the pressing, but I'm really happy with the rich, sharp prints that this batch yielded.

 There was a chunk of salvaged iron in the bottom of my dye pot and a splash of vinegar in the water, but nothing else was added, and I forgot to dampen my paper before layering my leaf sandwich, so the paper was dry when I started the process.

Saturday, October 6

Diamonds and Rust

I've been itching to use that as a book title.
So, I added a little rhinestone to this one, just so I could. I guess you might say that the tail was wagging the dog, but I like it.
As threatened, the pages in this book are made from paper I rusted last month.
The first page is made from sandwiched composite mica.
This image of the girls sits inside of a rusty washer embellished with brass filigree under resin. It (thankfully) fits nicely in the hole cut into the front cover.
A piece of vintage lace rests between the sheets of mica.
I'm really liking the endbands I've added to the last two books. It took a lot of false starts before I was able to relearn how to stitch these. Daniel Essig taught me the technique, but it's been a while.

Thursday, October 4

Autumn's smile

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree." ~ Emily Bronte
Today, I'm building homes for the leaf pages. The first page of this book is made from mica sandwiched around a skeleton leaf. The rest are the eco-dyed paper mixed with some decorative and Mi-Teintes pastel papers.
Tomorrow, the rust paper . . .

Friday, September 28

Capturing Fall

There are piles of leaf-dyed paper sitting around my studio and extended studio (kitchen), and still I roll more bundles for the dye pot.
This last batch had marigold petals sprinkled on some of the pages. I like how the flowers add fall color to the mix.
I dyed some silks and wools as well, but the images aren't as crisp as on the BFK Rives paper. These will probably end up as blocks in the tablecloth I keep threatening to make.
At some point, I'm going to start making covers to house all these pages. But not today.

Tuesday, September 18

Eco-dyeing - A New Tradition

I believe I've got a new custom, because piles of fall leaves inevitably lead me to eco-dyeing anymore.
Two years ago, Patricia Kessler came for the weekend and shared her enthusiasm and knowledge of dyeing with things found in the garden after she took a workshop with India Flint in Sewanee, Tennessee, at Shakerag.

 Patricia and I met at the airport in Nashville before the workshop when she pegged me for an artist because of the shoes I was wearing. Funny, I can't remember the shoes at all...
But, I do remember the beautiful work that everyone produced in that classroom.
Last fall, India came here and taught her Landskin workshop. (Gosh, I guess I never blogged about that, but the workshop was awesome, as were the skins that came out of it.)
This fall, I'm dyeing paper to bind into books, and once again, I'm feeling the thrill that comes from opening a bundle. It never gets old, as anyone who enjoys this process will surely tell you.

Friday, August 31

Rusting by design

The days are growing shorter and cooler.
The colors of summer are fading.
Getting ready for an autumn show of the most glorious shades of red, yellow and rust.
We like rust around here.
We're cultivating our own.
And thinking about the possibilities.

Saturday, August 25

As Luck Would Have It

They say that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
Well, not always.
I met the man of my adolescent dreams in Las Vegas nine months ago.
At the airport.
We still marvel at the intricacies of fate that brought us together.
How easily we might have missed each other.
I made this book to collect our story.
The covers were etched and soldered.
The pages were rusted and dyed.
The gaming token is from McCarran Airport in Las Vegas.
Filling the pages will take a little longer, but it'll be happy work.