I’m really proud and thankful to Ellen Hochberg to be participating in this show. It opens next weekend, August 2, at the Tashiro Kaplan Arts Complex in Seattle. If you are a person concerned about the state of reproductive rights in America, this show will be of interest to you.
This week I went to the Dick Blick location in Venice Beach. it’s a really nice store with the usual assortment of art supplies that I simply can’t live without.
Surprisingly I managed to walk away with only one item, a clear carving block for printmaking. The Richeson Clear Carve Linoleum professes to carve like butter and because it is clear you can simply place it over the picture you are carving.
To be honest, I found it the same difficulty to carve as regular linoleum which is to say, it does take effort to move through and you have to be careful turning the block as you carve to ensure you are always carving away from yourself. As for simply placing it over the picture you are carving, the depth of the block makes it difficult to ensure that you are always following the lines. You have to tape the block to the paper you are working on to ensure that it stays in place. I really think that if you are looking for something that really does carve like butter, you are much better off sticking with speedy carve blocks in pink or white.
Since I was set on carving the beetle I decided to get out a woodblock and my woodcarving tools. I won’t be able to print this until we are finally settled in our new house, but it is always fun to have a block to carve. The shina plywood I use carves as easily as the clear carve, although I think it might be time to think about having my tools sharpened.
If you have any questions about printmaking in general, or the products I use in particular, please ask them in the comments! I’m happy to help and if I can’t help you I have a few friends I can ask.
Last Sunday we unexpectedly came upon an open house at the El Segundo Museum of Art, parking right in front. The open house was in celebration of the current show, “Scratch”, which is all about graffiti and the artists creating it.
From the web site, here is a description of the show:
In 2013 more than 150 of LA’s leading graffiti artists responded to a 16th century manuscript from the vaults of the Getty Research Institute called a liber amicorum (book of friends) by contributing works on paper to be bound into a single book and created the Getty Graffiti Black Book. Street artists have used black books for decades to create a visual memory of drafts and to serve as a vehicle for the exchange of ideas. The extraordinary competition that occasionally arises among such artists can also lead to respect as rivals invite each other to “hit” their black books with original works. The contributing artists decided to give the Getty Black Book the title, LA Liber Amicorum, to capture the spirit of its transformation of rival ‘writing-crews’ into a Los Angeles Book of Friends.
Now, ESMoA and the Getty Research Institute have invited Getty Black Book artists Axis, Cre8, Defer, Eyeone, Fishe, and Miner to co-curate those crews of creative friends from the LA graffiti art community and turn the art laboratory of ESMoA into an open black book. Graffiti and tattoo artists will transform the space into a cathedral of urban art for the first presentation of the LA Liber Amicorum to the public with SCRATCH.
The show is absolutely fantastic, playing off the vaulted ceilings, making you feel like you have walked into a church cathedral, albeit, covered in graffiti. I’m excited to know that such contemporary art is going to be featured at our soon to be local museum.
This isn’t quite as easy as embroidery, if you’ve been following along on my summer projects. However, if you have ever wanted to try weaving, this is a great introduction. I brought with me in my little travelling art box two little hand looms, called “Weave-it” looms. This is another project that is small enough to travel with you on summer days, even if just to the park or your deck.
My looms are vintage bakelight, you can find them in great shape on eBay, under different names such as Weave-it or Loomette. You can also purchase them new through Purl Soho right here. Or you can buy new wooden looms in a couple of sizes here. Don’t you love the shadows in this photo?!
I didn’t bring along instructions for threading the loom, but the internet was kind and I found instructions here. It took me a couple of tries before I got the rhythm of winding the yarn on the loom before you start the weaving. I actually found it easier to follow the written instructions rather than the diagrams but I’ll leave that to you. If you buy a used loom try to buy one with the instruction sheet, it will make things so much easier.
A great site for inspiration is eLoomaNation. You’ll get a good idea what various yarns look like when woven. I think I have enough yarn to make a scarf after I stitch all the pieces together.
Finally, back to my sketchbook for my 15-minutes (-ish) of creativity a day. From January through May I diligently worked in my sketchbook for at least 15-minutes but some days it was as long as an hour. I’ve missed doing it so I’m glad to get back into it.
I started by taking quick photos of a couple of things to sketch, a palm tree and some grasses. You don’t have to have something to sketch, you can just wing it, do something abstract (triangles and seed pods are a favorite of mine). The point is not the product, but the process.
For those of you just joining in, I am following along with Crystal Moody’s Year of Creative Habits. Crystal is amazing in her discipline to the project and I love her work. You can also follow her on tumblr, twitter and Instagram.
I finished the pillow cover and pom poms, now all I need to do is stitch them together and get an 18-inch pillow form. This worked up quite quickly – I think working with a limited color palette helps the process along.
Embroidery really is a perfect summer project, you can work on it anywhere, the sunshine helps light up your work area and even simple projects like this are so satisfying. So what are you waiting for?
Have you ever wanted to try embroidery? It is something that you can easily teach yourself and most of the good embroidery books on the market have a glossary of stitches and lots of simple projects. One I bought recently is Sew and Stitch by Alyssa Thomas.
Right now Sublime Stitching has their Petite Embroidery Kit available at the pre price-hike price. It has all the tools, floss and pattern that you need to get started. The only additional thing you’ll need is something to embroider! If you want you can buy the linens from them too.
Have fun. Embroidery is a wonderful, creative outlet that you can carry with you anywhere an pick up anytime.
Chase Jarvis is a photographer, and although I’m not sure he puts this on his resume, he’s a motivational speaker. I had the pleasure last summer of seeing Mr. Jarvis interview Austin Kleon. I know that I wrote quite a lengthy blog post about it, mostly chatting about Mr. Kleon (please go visit his website now. It’s okay, I’ll wait).
So yes, I went on and on about Mr. Kleon’s first book, Steal Like an Artist and about his advice for artists regarding creativity. I should also have gone on about what a great interviewer Mr. Jarvis is. I was reminded of this today while I was re-reading Mr. Jarvis’ Hit List: 13 Things Crucial For Your Success [In Any Field]. I’ve read it before but I’ve felt like I’ve needed a kick in the rear lately and this really did it for me. I’ve let my daily ritual of creating art fall by the wayside this past month. Even though I knew I was going to let it go for one month I promised myself that come July 1st I’d be back at it and here it is already, July 7th and … nothing.
Do you ever feel like you are in a creative slump? You feel like you should be nurturing your creative soul but somehow this has fallen by the wayside and you’re not sure how to get back on track? Well, join the crowd.
To help you out, here is Mr. Jarvis’ Hit List.
We are between homes at the moment. We’ve moved out of our home in Bellevue into temporary living arrangements in Marina Del Ray. That means that all of my art supplies are in storage. My husband drove down before we moved down and took with him a carload of home goods. He suggested that we pack clothes to have at the other end. I packed a bin full of art supplies (my daughter packed a tote bag full of plush toys).
I packed everything from sketching, stitching and printmaking supplies to magazines and a scrimshaw kit. I really just threw in things that were on and around my work desk. We’ve been in our apartment a week, and now that I’ve braved the local roads and freeways, I feel like it is time to tackle some handwork. I’ve started stitching a pillow cover. I got the cover and the embroidery patterns from Sublime Stitching. The pattern is “Birds of Prey”, which was recently retired.