Friday, May 30, 2008

so this is where I have been....

I just finished teaching 2 workshops... so to speak... at DePaul University and Columbia College. Previously I was going to teach a drop spine box making class at Columbia but due to low enrollment the class was canceled.  However, I was contacted by the head of the Special Collections at the Richardson Library at DePaul and they wondered if I would consider teaching 2 of their staff members at DePaul.  Well of course I would!  I spent the past 3 Wednesdays in wonderful company teaching the ins and outs of constructing drop spine boxes.  I forgot how much I enjoyed the career I had in a previous life (book conservator/conservation tech in the Ryerson Library at the Art Institute)... but sometimes life just happens.  

Then Saturday I was off to Columbia College Center for Book and Paper Arts (where I got my MFA).   I have been teaching workshops there since roughly 2000.  This time I taught a How to Make Your Own Book Cloth class.  I will admit I felt a bit unprepared... I usually teach box making.  I am very confident in my technique  (it is quite simple actually to make your own book cloth) but I have never taught it as a class... originally someone else was supposed to teach it but something came up and I offered to fill in.  When I got there in the morning some of the supplies I requested were not there and then we ended up running out of some supplies half way through.... but in the end it all worked out and everyone left with some nice handmade bookcloth.  Next time I would do a few things differently but over all I things went pretty well.  

Today was also my oldest last day of kindergarten and next week my middle son (with special needs) begins a 2 week break before starting summer school.  Summer puts a whole new twist on things.  Our family schedule has literally been packed for the past month but I am hoping that things will start to slow down a bit.  On Saturday we have a soccer game and a cub scout fishing derby, I need to do some grocery shopping and laundry and well that is our day.  Sunday is mine!  After church, I already told my husband that I NEED to get some work done in my studio.  I have several "almost finished" commissions that I want to complete and a few projects that I am itching to start.  I seriously don't think I have spent more than 5 minutes in my studio doing anything productive in the past 3 weeks... (except my work on the Convergence Project, but that was done mostly at my kitchen table where I could drop it at a moments notice and finger swipe some small foreign object from the baby's mouth, set Sam up-right after he tips over in his chair for the tenth time and help Andrew with his homework)... it is sad really.  So I have started my WISH LIST of things to accomplish on Sunday.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

more on the convergence project

I just finished the second round of the Convergence project.  3 artists work on each piece... I am the second contributer for this piece.  Pam Paulsrud provided a wonderful base to work from. I did some shading with a yellow color pencil,  sewed on some buttons and an antique key and added squares cut from old text books.  The squares of random text were dyed with distressed ink (tea dye).  Keeping with Pam's alphabet theme I punched holes in the squares that correspond to letters in the braille alphabet that spell out the names of the three artists who contributed to this piece (Pam, Carla, Rae(me).  I am now sending it off to Carla and like the others it will end up at Vespine Gallery in Chicago.  I have now participated in round 1(first artist), and round 2(second artist)... round 3 should arrive next week and then I will add my finishing touches and send it back to the Gallery.  I assume that in the end, like me, all the artists participating will contribute to 3 of the 10 convergence project pieces.  I can't wait to see the final pieces.

the dots punched in the squares of paper above spell out my name (rae) in braille

Monday, May 12, 2008

Convergence Project

Oh what fun... I have been asked to participate in a convergence project.  I received a 10" x 10" square of printmaking paper and a few collage materials and the rest is up to me.  Paint, draw, alter...whatever I please.  Then I send it, along with some more materials, to the next person on the list.  Finally the last person will send the finished piece back to Vespine Gallery in Chicago where it will be framed and displayed.  Well I was first on the list... so below is what I did and now I will be sending it off to Helen in Lawson MO.  I can't wait to see the finished piece.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

the kindness of others...

So it is official... Aikos, my favorite Japanese paper store, has closed it doors for good.   I kept going back to Aikos time and time again because of the wonderful staff and their outstanding service, not to mention their fabulous papers, materials and books.... "handmade Japanese paper and gift items to inspire and delight".  I know that the decision to close their doors  after 50 years of service was very difficult but they have their reasons... even so it is also hard to say good-bye.  They really had something special, something you just can't find in those big chain stores that have it all.  

Well... yesterday I came home to find a large package on my porch. I saw that the package was from Chuck Izui at Aikos... a gift! Inside, neatly and carefully wrapped as one would expect nothing less from Aikos, was a treasure.  I about cried. Paper, paper and more paper! Lovely Momi papers, vibrant Dyed papers, and heavy Chiri papers and and invoice marked "PAID... a gift from Aikos".  I was speechless.  A very generous gift indeed that I was so not expecting. I humbly thank you Chuck and everyone at Aikos for your years of service and dedication... you will be greatly missed.