I’ve been remiss in posting over the last few months. I’ve been working on another project which has been burning up a lot of time but now that I’ve wrapped that up, I think I can get back on track.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the last PLAY Retreat. Teesha and Tracy Moore have decided to terminate their large art retreats for a variety of reasons and its been a tough haul knowing that I probably won’t make it back to Fort Worden anytime soon. This time, I took just about nothing with me except for a handful of fine-line pens and a book of Peerless Watercolors. The retreat had no specific focus this year like it has in the past, just forty artists working away.
One of the things we did do was some light painting that everyone seemed to enjoy. Tracy used his Lomos while I went digital. here are a couple of the nicer shots I got from the light painting sessions.
While I brought very little in the way of art materials I did bring a couple of lights in addition to my camera, and offered to do portraits for anyone who wanted them. One of the people who took my up on the offer was Lisa Cheney-Jorgensen. While most people we’re interested in something a little more traditional, Lisa had a special request — she wanted a pose she had seen in a dream so she could make it part of here dream journal. Here’s the shot.
A couple of hours after I gave a print of this image to Lisa, it was already in her journal. I’ll miss PLAY.
Today’s class was Carla Sonheim’s Blobs & Sidewalk Cracks. If you don’t know Carls, she’s an amazing artist who paints wonderful animals that are vibrant, full of life and have awesome character. Carla “finds” her animals in peeling paint, blobs of oil on the ground, cracks in the sidewalk and in random marks. She loosened us up by starting with some contour drawings and once we were thinking in terms of the line, we went outside and wandered around with some paper looking for cracks and blobs.
We drew out what we found on the paper and then went back to the classroom to flesh them out into pen drawings of animals. I ended up with a seal. Next, Carla gave us some cards that she had painted blobs on and our task was to turn those into creatures as well. The best part of the class came after lunch when she demonstrated how she creates her depth of color through layering her watercolors. We then tried her techniques ourselves and created our own colored blobs to work on, I ended up with some Cookie Monster looking thing, a mutant hedgehog and a green shark.
The night wrapped up with the vendor event, Carla Sonheim, Dan Essig, Traci Bunkers and others were selling their art and other wares. I managed to get downtown before the even and headed to one of my Port Townsend favorites the Hanazono Asian Noodle House. I had a wonderful bowl of Udon but there was strangeness at the noodle house. Toes were everywhere — apparently these creepy toes were the halloween decorations, it was just weird.
When I decided to come to JournalFest I decided I would take some classes that pulled me out of my comfort zone. I have certain beliefs about books and journaling and one of the things I don’t like are sculptural books that have no utility. I want my books to be used and to accumulate the patina of use. With that in mind, I took Dan Essig’s class on making a mica book.
I’ve admired Dan’s work for sometime and I though his instruction was thoughtful and well planned. He provided us with a materials kit that allowed us to experiment with a variety of techniques such a trapping, inlay, sewing and staining. Over the course of the day, he demonstrated each technique and then we stepped through it with the materials in the kit. BY the end of the day, we had produced a seven page book that was made entirely out of mica and bound with a two needle coptic stitch.
I actually like what came out of the class and I’ll amend this post in a couple of days when I have a change to take some photographs. While I don’t know if I’ll produce another mica book, Dan provided a lot of information about mica and its properties and I can definitely see incorporating it into my wood and polymer books.
We closed out the day with a fire at the beach and journaling in the Beach Shelter, a small structure down by the waterfront. There were hot dogs and marshmallows and pens were flying.
As I was looking at the calendar today, I suddenly realized the JournalFest backs right up against Halloween. While I’ve made a few things to trade already, I decided to make a few more cahiers to celebrate Halloween. Since JournalFest takes place in the Pacific Northwest, the logical choice seen to be Ravens & Skulls.
I’ve been working on wrapping up my trades so I can pack them up and ship them to Port Townsend. Today, I completed all of the Emergency Journaling Kits. I made 20 of these to give away so I’m afraid I’m going to have to be a little selective about who gets them. Here’s a shot of them as they’re about to get packed up.
A couple of people have asked what’s inside so here’s a detail shot of the contents. Each kit contains 10 sheets of Fabriano Artistico, a 0.3 Micron pen, a micropalette with Daniel Smith watercolors and a small paintbrush for the watercolors.
When I saw this funny little song, I instantly thought of Tiphoni Moore. For those of you who don’t know here, she’s Tracy and Teesha Moore’s daughter and she is a color mixing demon. From a basic mixing palette, Tiphoni can mix any color and match it perfectly within seconds. It’s fascinating to watch and I wish I could do it half as well as she can.
To wrap up construction of this project, I printed some instructions for the kit and applied them to the inside flap of the kit using a Xyron machine.
When I initially laid out the measurements for this project I started with the assumption that the paper inside of the kit was going to be 3″ x 5″. After putting the mock-up together I decided that I’d include a pen with the kit — after all what kind of an emergency kit would it be without a pen? To fit one into the kit, I extended the measurements of the outer shell by about 1/2″. The change provided some space for the pen on the side of the kit but because of the pen’s length I also had some extra space at the bottom of the kit.
I toyed around with fabricating a small paint palette out of polymer clay and while it fit into the kit nicely, the tolerances were too tight allowing only a couple of colors on the palette. I decided to fill the gap on the bottom of the kit with some Foamcore to provide structure for the kit but I still wanted to include a watercolor palette.
If you’ve ever ordered anything from Daniel Smith, you know that they frequently enclose a watercolor sample with your order. It’s usually their featured triad or new colors and they sample them out buy placing dots of the paint onto a card of watercolor paper. I decided to take a page from their playbook and make some micropalette for the kit that way. It’s not an ideal palette for color mixing, but hey… it’s for emergencies only.
Back in January of 2008, I was sitting around shooting the breeze with Tracy Moore and he confided to me that he hadn’t documented some event because he didn’t have a journal with him at the time. It was one of the most shocking revelations I had ever heard; anyone who has known Tracy any length of time knows that he always has a journal with him. For a while, I though he actually might have had a secret pocket sewn into his underwear to store them in. I remember making a joke — something about needing an emergency journaling kit, I even drew it out in one of my journals later that day.
As I was thinking about what other things I might like to make to trade at JournalFest this year, I thought that a few of these kits might be fun and different. I started as I normally do by using a sheet of plain bond paper to work out the measurements. Once that was done, I used Adobe Illustrator to draw the design I wanted and scaled the to the measurements I’d worked out. I printed the design out on a sheet of French Paper Company’s Pop-Tone card stock. These kits will eventually be filled with some paper so when I calculated the initial measurements, I made sure that they’d be about 3/8″ deep for the paper to fit into. I used a Scor-it board to score the card stock so that when it’s folded, it will be able to house the sheets of paper that will go inside. If you study the image below carefully, you should be able to just make out the scoring.
The next step was to trim out the areas that wouldn’t be part of the case once it was folded and after some experimentation with a couple of prototypes, it seemed like rounded corners would be a good ideal as well.
With the trimming completed, the next step was simply to fold each case on the scored lines to set the creases into the right position.
The case will be kept closed with a string and some paper buttons, similar to the ones you find on inter-office envelopes. After fabricating the buttons from some scrap I attached them using some standard grommets which pretty much wrapped up the exterior for this project.
Stay tuned. I’ll post part 2 as soon as I figure out exactly what I’m going to put inside.
One of my favorite art forms over the past several years has been mail art so I’ve had mixed emotions about the news of the past several weeks. Like anyone else I’ve had the negative experiences with the USPS and customer service. You know the story, thirty people in one with one clerk at the counter who moves like the old man character Tim Conway made up for the Carol Burnett show.
This week though, I got a surprise. I had ordered some Field Notes and although the online tracking they provide showed the package had been delivered, it was no where in sight. I called my post office and Eddie answered on the first ring, I told him about my missing package, gave him the tracking number. He told me he’d talk to the carrier and get back to me by the end of the day, I thanked him but didn’t count on hearing back. I was surprised then when a couple of hours later, Eddie called me back and told me he had talked to the carrier, who found that the package had been misplaced in the mailbox below mine and that it was now in my box waiting for me. This was great customer service and the experience made me feel worst about the future of the USPS.