Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Japanese Wood Block Printing

Summer school continues for me. Last week I took a three day class with Mary Brodbeck through the Glen Arbor Art Assoc. close to my home. Her 35 minute documentary "Becoming Made" you see at the top of her page is a wonderful 35 minute film that really gives you the feel of the technique & history of Japanese wood block printing, Moku Hanga.

I have wanted to learn this technique for some time and Mary was a great teacher. Only 5 of us in the class, which was a nice number. Our surroundings on historic Thoreson Farm, pictured here, were inspiring.

We were in the long sprawling building you see at the far right of the top picture. Fortunately we had gorgeous weather as we were somewhat exposed to the elements.
Using rice paste (Nori) and tubes of water color paint is a real bonus with no nasty smells and easy clean up of the medium. Color variations and opacity are limitless. Carving the Shina wood blocks takes lots of time, but it is an addictive and meditative task!

Mary's prints are gorgeous luscious things.  She did an artist in residence in Glen Arbor several years ago that generated this print of the farm.

I didn't want the three days to end. But we were all happy with the results of our first efforts in the ageless art form. I definitely see myself doing more & more of these types of prints. Thank you Mary!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Windmill in Holland, MI

I have lived in Michigan (almost) my entire life and have seen it from bottom to top of the UP (upper peninsula). I never knew until a few weeks ago that "De Zwaan", a working windmill moved here from Holland, existed. So my husband & I, needing to travel to visit family in Grand Rapids, made a point to visit.Click the picture to see the details of the park where it resides.

The entire structure was brought here from Holland about 40 years ago. The tour was excellent. I even came home with a bag of flour and some dutch Cocoa Powder. The engineering is amazing.

                                                       Notice the shims on the shaft

 The "Dutch Village" is rather touristy, but very nicely done. The gardens are beautiful. The day we went was after their tulip festival was over and a cold overcast day, so there were no crowds.

I plan to add more travel insights in the future as we are taking a big trip to Alaska in August that will spark lots of creativity, observations, journaling, and great photographs.  Nature remains my most constant muse.
Stay tuned. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Laziness in Summer

I keep running across a recurring theme lately. On the radio, in articles, in conversations with friends, the topic of laziness, also known as down time, time off, unplugging, "just sitting and letting your feet hang over the edge", the list goes on. How did our lives get so busy? Is it technology, media, culture, greed?  We all talk about it and yearn for "it" a chance to be lazy.

My challenge to you is to embrace this little word. It has gotten a bad rap. Laziness allows the cob webs to clear and other ideas to emerge. Have a seat and see what happens. Maybe even make a regular habit of it.

Here is a little inspiration form a morning walk I took yesterday. This time of year in our area is one of the best.

                                                 Beat seated, take a load off. Breathe & enjoy.

These beauties are in my front yard.They have been one of my favorites since childhood.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

PBI 2015 Continued

During my final class we learned a few amazing ways to construct multi level accordion structures.
Kevin Steele is an amazing graphic designer and paper engineer. He brought his book The Deep
I encourage you to go to his site and scroll down to the video of The Deep to see it unfold.

             The mock ups we started with to get the sewing procedure cemented in our brains.
             Kevin made this wonderful little book for the auction that is held on the final day. 

Show & tell is one of my favorite things at PBI as there is so much inspiration and fodder for talking with other participants about their art. Every evening you can wander into other class rooms to see what they've been up to.

  I could go on & on about my time at PBI. If you care to know more please comment or send an email.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

PBI Inspiration

It's time to share some of my experiences and thoughts on PBI 2015, short for Paper & Book Intensive,

 Held each year at Ox-Bow,  just outside Saugatuck MI. The grounds are a beautiful natural setting. The Kalamazoo river as it dumps into Lake Michigan is the backdrop.

Over a total of 11 days participants take 3 classes. This year I chose clam shell box construction, digital book content & creation, and accordion craziness. My title not the instructor's.

Of about 70 total attendees we had several countries and many states represented. Everyone gets to the studios early and stays til late at night. I loved this schedule for day 3, sums up the pace.

There were several newbies to book binding as well as seasoned veterans in the world of books & paper.

Mary Uthuppuru taught the box class. It was VERY time intensive and loads of fun. Making a clam shell box is something I've wanted to learn for some time, and we got so much more in this class.

In the book content class we did several writing exercises and played with loads of images we all brought to help generate ideas. Tate Shaw, our instructor, shared his great personal book collection with us.

 I will share more over a couple more posts. So stay tuned and please comment!