Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Booth Setup

For the Holly Fair last weekend I thought it would be a good idea to refine my booth setup, which is usually just a bunch of random stands and boxes that I've acquired over the couple years I've lived in the area:

It's always worked out for me in a sort of homey way, but I recently realized that the huge variety might end up overshadowing or obscuring the work. I also wanted to make sure visitors knew that both the maps and the jewelry were made by the same person. I did some brainstorming with a friend and decided that the deep red chests (which I came upon by lucky chance at a yard sale just days before my first craft fair ever!) should determine the look of the rest of the setup, since they're my favorite part. Besides those dark-colored display pieces, though, most of my work (especially the jewelry) looks better on light colors. I decided to go with a frame theme to connect the art to the jewelry, and also to set off the jewelry in their own spaces for each type. It's difficult with work this varied and individual, but I think my solution worked out pretty well:

I kept the earring stand, but painted it to match the fittings on the red chests, and replaced the old plastic cross-stitch mesh with light cream cross-stitch fabric, which still has holes for earrings to go into but is less translucent (so the earrings don't end up being backlit, which gets annoying) and also more organic-looking. I also kept the red frame with white lace since it's always caught people's attention, and goes well with the chests. For the flower earring display, I scrapped my old system of a cigar box with plastic mesh (too distracting and thrown-together) and hung the earrings with more space on two blank canvases hinged together like a book. I like the way it all comes together, and I think visitors enjoyed discovering the jewelry without having to search for it. We'll see if it works as well in the darkness of the Burren's back room this weekend!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Leafy Jewelry

When I first started making singed fabric jewelry, I tried making some leaves to go along with my flowers, but it never really worked as a form. Maybe it's because I've gotten better at controlling the results, but I was recently inspired to try again and this time had success. So far I've made two pairs of leaf earrings and a leafy, autumnal necklace. I hope to have some more on display at the Union Square Winter Craft Market tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Two craft fairs this weekend!

New items for these fairs will include brand-new holiday cards, leaf earrings and hand-printed woodblock cards. (Links allow you to view them in my Etsy store!)
Saturday, December 3rd, 11am-4pm: Winter Craft Market inside the Precinct at 66-70 Union Square, Somerville. More info
Sunday, December 4th, 10am-4pm: Comicazi-Con comics and craft fair at the Dilboy VFW in Davis Square, 371 Summer Street, Somerville.
You can also see my art in these local exhibitions:
Now through February 4, 2012: ”Plenty” group exhibition on display at 13Forest Gallery in Arlington, MA (167A Mass Ave, near the Capitol Theater, accessible by 77 bus from Harvard/Porter). More info
Now through mid-January: ”Small Works” group exhibition on display at Riverside Gallery in Cambridge, MA (5 Callender Street, near Central Square). More info

Monday, November 21, 2011

Joy Street Open Studios

Yesterday I had a slightly rushed but still wonderfully edifying trip through Joy Street open studios. Even though I was only there for about an hour, and missed several wonderful artists that I wanted to see, I still had a lot of interesting conversations and came out of it inspired to try new things. The first studio I went into was Elizabeth Heide's, where I was drawn in by the intriguing textures in her work. She uses a variety of printmaking techniques in her work, and was kind enough to explain some of them to me during my visit, particularly gum arabic printing, in which you apply a layer of gum over a photocopied image and then ink, wipe and print it. I've used gum arabic for photo printing before, but I hadn't heard of printing with it.

I also spoke at length with Ji-eun Shim, whose does 2-D work that incorporates repetitive markmaking as well as a variety of 3-D sculptural explorations. Her work is incredibly creative, and I was inspired just standing in her studio. She works with some unusual materials such as twigs and grains - there was one amazing repetitive wall piece done in what appeared to be barley. It reminded me that someday I should try doing twig sculptures again, if I can figure out a way for them not to dry out and fall apart -- I recently lost one of my favorite ones when it fell apart out of the blue. One more project to put on my list for when I have more time...

 Ji-eun Shim, Monster Seeds

Upcoming Shows

Instead of posting separately about each show, since I'm doing so many this holiday season I thought I'd just post a page with everything. Feel free to ask questions about any event in the comments!

Art Shows:

Now through February 4, 2012: ”Plenty” group exhibition on display at 13Forest Gallery in Arlington, MA (167A Mass Ave, near the Capitol Theater, accessible by 77 bus from Harvard/Porter). More info
Now through mid-January: ”Small Works” group exhibition on display at Riverside Gallery in Cambridge, MA (5 Callender Street, near Central Square). More info
Craft fairs:

Saturday, December 3rd, 11am-4pm: Winter Craft Market inside the Precinct at 66-70 Union Square, Somerville. More info
Sunday, December 4th, 10am-4pm: Comicazi-Con comics and craft fair at the Dilboy VFW in Davis Square, 371 Summer Street, Somerville.
Saturday, December 10th – Sunday, December 11th: Holly Fair art/craft fair in Harvard Square, Cambridge MA. I will be at the 56 Brattle location. More info
Saturday, December 17th, 12-4pm: SLAM craft fair at the Burren in Davis Square, Somerville MA. More info

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Boston Globe Blog Article

I recently found out that the Boston Globe's blog posted an article about the Ahts Boston festival that I participated in over the summer, and included a photo of me and a short description of my work! Click here to read the article.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sterling Silver Necklace

I finally completed a project that was about a month overdue -- a large necklace in the twiggy floral style for Mobilia Gallery's jewelry exhibit "Objects of Status, Power and Adornment". I used oxidized sterling silver wire, iolite beads (which are a shade of blue I can somehow tolerate!), faceted blue-grey glass beads from Toho Shoji in New York, and singed fabric flowers. I think the necklace took so long mainly because many of the techniques were new to me, since I don't usually work in silver. I also noticed that a lot of the chemicals involved (liver of sulfur to oxidize the silver wire, even the wax to polish and protect the oxidized wire) gave me headaches, so I couldn't do them very often or for long stretches. I don't know how metalsmiths manage! I suppose the draw is similar to working in the darkroom -- you have to go through long and tedious processes with smelly and often dangerous chemicals, but in the end something magic and luscious is created and you get to hold it in your hands.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Craft Fair at the Burren Oct 29th!

I will be participating in a Halloween-themed market (perhaps even in costume!) at the Burren in Davis Square on Saturday, October 29th. New works will include one-of-a-kind woodblock print cards, hand-painted autumn tree pins, and a brand new collection of twiggy floral earrings. Of course there will also be map art and cards as well as other standard goodies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Woodblock Print Map Cards

I recently decided to try using the woodblock I used in this post to make one-of-a-kind printed cards. I just love how the prints come out completely differently each time, so that even though the same block is used each time, the cities each look unique.

Those were all done with the same block, but because the ink was particularly watery, different parts of the map was revealed each time. I also love the organic texture of the ink, which makes the black parts look like bodies of water. The process works well with my general concept of map-making; the marks are very controlled, but the outcome of the piece depends on organic processes that are out of my control. The cards are currently available on Etsy if you'd like one of your own!

I also just started doing larger prints that take up most of the card's front. I need to get some more delicate woodcutting tools, though, because the roads stand out a bit too much for me. The watery texture makes the scale really off. So far I think the middle one of these cards is the most successful:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Copper Printing

Yesterday I went with some friends to New Bedford Open Studios, and we had an amazing time. I especially enjoyed learning how to impress materials into copper at Sue Kowalski's studio (which is beautiful in itself -- it's in an old church!). We placed dried plants on copper strips, and then put a harder brass strip on top and ran it through a roller press. Because the copper is softer, when the plants get squeezed between the two materials they impress their forms onto the copper. I used milkweed pod silk, which is pretty much entirely without substance, so it didn't make much visible effect until I darkened the copper strips with liver of sulfur and buffed off the top layer. The patina stays in the lower indentations made by the plant material and makes the design easier to see. Here are some examples:

Milkweed pod silk

 Milkweed pod silk with some seeds attached (which exploded in the press...)

Shepherd's purse, a much more substantial plant

Sanding off the patina struck me as incredibly like working in the darkroom, and selectively dodging or "bringing up" certain parts of the image. The big difference is that when printing plants with cyanotype or other sun prints, the print is made by the differences in opacity, while with physical printing the print is made by the differences in thickness. Of course, there is a direct relationship in many ways between the thickness of a plant and the opacity; in fact, when we were having trouble placing the plants, Sue reminded us to think of the "shadow" of the design (basically the negative space) to judge whether the design would be too dense. The resulting patinaed prints did look pretty much like what you would get from a sun print, but with added texture.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Double-Strand Twiggy Necklace

I've been working on a prototype for a necklace that I'll eventually make in silver with semi-precious stones and glass beads. I'm a little tired of it because I've been working with the same form for a while, but what do you think?


Back (the little twiggy accents end up just at the back of the neck):
The chain is all handmade, by the way, which was another new experiment. I think the way it looks works well with the organic look of the links. It's also helpful because that way I can make chain to precisely match whatever wire I'm using.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Large Map Project

The stop-motion project I linked to a little while ago was part of creating the largest map I've attempted so far (18" x 24"), which is finally somewhat finished. I'm still debating whether I want to make it a little more visually interesting by coloring in all the houses (like some of my previous maps).
Details (the photos got really blown out for some reason):

And the full map!:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Map Drawing Stop-Motion

I've been taking a photo every time I draw a line on my large map project, and just added the footage to make a longer animation. It still needs to be cleaned up, but that will happen later.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

August Porch Garden

Earlier this month, the garden featured bee balm in various stages;

a second (and third!) crop of strawberries;

an entirely unstoppable mini rosebush;

several colors of sweet peas;

the first morning glories; 

and the first ripening vegetables:

Those cucumbers were surprisingly large, and really tasty! I can't wait for the peppers to ripen.

I went out yesterday to take some photos before Hurricane Irene arrived this morning. My Thai eggplant "tree" (it's the biggest thing on my porch!) finally started putting out buds;

the coleus plants have AMAZING color (entirely different from the colors of the plants I took the original cuttings from, for some reason);

the bell peppers are getting pretty enormous;

the first Heavenly Blue morning glories have finally come out, and the cosmos is starting to flower for the first time too;

 some beautiful colors on the tomatoes;

and the lantana, which has just kept blooming steadily through the season.

I brought many of the plants inside, but the garden is so enormous by now that I just can't fit all the plants in the house. I hope that the ones currently out in the hurricane survive!