Monday, November 28, 2016


We have wings!

(Still working on  how best to photograph them.)
(Also, a second wall covered in cork boards...)

...which the wings, at about 82," exceed by about 4 inches ( - doh).
 I still have half a third wall to work with, and I predict that it also will quickly be put to use. 
work continues on the figure - almost there.
I started at the head, and this week,
I reached the boots. decided to attach
 the laces by just mimicking the way
an actual boot is laced (when in doubt,
build it like what it is ;) ).
 I just happened to be
wearing the boots that
were the models for
the prints, haha.

It's not as exciting to look at, but most of the work on this this week is only really visible on the back - I was glueing, ironing, sewing the parts together, then covering the seems by glueing and ironing a piece of thin but strong mulberry paper (I want to make extra, super, sure that the parts stay together even if one form of attachment fails).  
work continues on the tracery block...sloooooowly 

My feline assistants were both extremely helpful this week...(and now you know why I need walls covered in cork to get things pinned up on the wall whenever I'm not there to watch them.)

my Princess (aka Feline Assistant #1)
and her mini me. (aka Feline Assistant, Jr.) 

We also had "tree day," possibly the kitties
favorite day of the year (Good Human ;) )

Monday, November 21, 2016

marbling, wing, and initials (o my!)

with a can for scale
A busy week in Artlandia!  Picking back up with the second human-scale wing, this week started off with marbling, lots of marbling...  Then printing the 18 x 24" blocks of feathers.
full sheets of stonehenge paper (22 x 30")

new block on left, earlier wing on right -
a very good match (whew!)
I don't love the slight texture on this, which comes
from the surface of the block, but I'm going to wait and
see if it's less pronounced after I cut the feathers out (hmm..)

I'm happy to say that all the feathers are now printed and the second wing is starting to come together! (Also, I finished mounting the cork panels to the wall...and proceeded to immediately fill them. Apparently, one corkboard wall is not quite enough - time to do the adjacent wall O:)?

Other missions this week - I decided I needed a block with my initials so that an identifier could be integral to the work.  I came up with a design, then got to carve it - twice.  The first block turned out great, but for an unknown reason, the surface crumbled when I inked the block for the first time (sadness).  Because printing block to block would have flipped the text, it was back to square one to map out and recarve (on a different surface this time - a precious scrap from one of my favorite, no-longer-manufactured blocks.) Luckily, the second go round, it's looking good (- thumbs up!).
The mysterious surface
damage visible on the left edge.

second times a charm :)

Other projects - I continued working on the tracery block and started mapping out a new block of a firebird. For the bird, I'm trying to combine the sensitivity I admire in Japanese woodblocks of birds with the brutality/decisive edges I see in early Germanic woodblocks. (- We'll see...I feel like the firebird is a good subject, since it seems to have an ambiguous meaning in mythology as a harbinger of destruction and/or rebirth.)   

Speaking of marbling and birds...I also made these lovely ornaments to decorate a wreathe for the upcoming charity auction hosted by the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts to benefit the Pittsfield Food Banks on Dec. 2nd - art for a good cause :).

Last (but not least!), En Masse III opened at Thompson Giroux Gallery - lots of lovely work :).

 Closing with a creature story - Junior loves (loooooves) Lucille, our press. Having claimed the press bed as her special napping spot, she's helped her human establish the good habits of rolling the blankets and covering the press immediately after each use (good Helper? :p )

Monday, November 14, 2016

Assembling the figure

 A busy week in Artlandia!  Continuing to assemble the parts of the figure:

It's slow going - I'm incorporating the stitching so that it either adds on to the contours (like the red stitches in the flower petals), or follows an existing path (for example, the stitches along the edges of the fingers).  Doing it this way, the sewing has to be done by hand, and I'm changing the thread frequently (oy.)  But it is coming together (slooooowly - dramatic sigh!) 

 - I think we have officially exceeded kitty-scale (!)
I also painted and marbled the first 2 rounds of paper and printed parts of the second wing.  I'm working my way up to doing full 22 x 30" sheets of marbling this week and trying to print the 18" MDF blocks (fingers crossed!) 

 The template from last week (polyester lithography plates from one of my small relief  prints, scanned and expanded) made it onto this 12 x 18" block. Chipping away at it (thumbs up!)

I also continued working with the scan of the songbirds and tried two them out in a digital collage. (I enjoy parts of this, but think it still needs just a little something more... [hmmmm]).

Longer term, my goal is to build up to a body of work made up of square digital collages (adding to the 3 that are on exhibition, opening this week at Thompson Giroux Gallery); Installed as set of consistent material, size, and framing, but with a flexible number and arrangement, they could be viewed independently or in conjunction with a large installation piece. They would act like stills from the universe of the installation, and, being edition-able, I could have more than one print of each [ - steeples fingers].

So...I've been wondering - how many would I need (minimum) to make up a good set?  Honestly, I have no idea - 12? If I have (almost) 4, and made 2 a month...[hmmmmm]...

Monday, November 7, 2016

Wings, wings, wings...

Wings, wings, still more wings...
Now you may be looking at this and thinking "???" (Didn't we see this last week?) Well... I was all excited last week because I "finished" the 4th and final life-scale wing block...but then I got to thinking about the proof (uh oh).  I decided it was good, but needed just a little bit more... 
Proofs - last week on the left and this past week on the right. It wasn't that the marks that were there were wrong, just that it needed some additional work to help round out the feathers; (because these blocks are transparent, the finer marks can be difficult to see on the block, and some of the finest marks didn't print, so I used the proof as a map to go back and add.)

with my shoe for scale

Why does that last 10% end up taking so much time??  Still, now, I think I really do have the wing blocks - thumbs up!  I also started preparing for my next block - I scanned and blew up one of my small relief prints of tracery (a very early block, from April 2014 and still one of my favorites.)

I'll be using this, combined with my research photos from the Met from 2 weeks ago and others to try it at about 12 x 14". Ultimately, I want to get it up to life scale to house the life-scale figure, and I'm not 100% sure how I'll use this intermediate block.  Part of me just wants to skip this size and go all the way up to 30" or larger, but if history is any indication, skipping steps is a no-no. As lovely as the small block is, I feel like I need to practice/refine it before going really big (and realistically, I may even need a second intermediate block). 

The sizes are not an exact science, but there are several factors I try to keep in mind when expanding things: The size of the first block, the size of the polyester plate (if that's being used to print a guide), the size of the press bed, the size of the paper, and the size of the final block. The tolerance for how much something can be expanded depends in part on how much detail is present in the original block, and also what the thing is (how complex/ organic). 

Work continues on the life-scale figure, slooooooowly - trying to hand stitch the parts together in such a way that the stitches become part of the appearance.

Also continuing my mission to print "master copies" of my blocks, scan them, and prepare the files for digital collage. This week, I did the song birds, which are also some of my favorites:

I did prepare the digital files...  

But...I also can't help myself from playing with them. Which is all good, and working on a plan to develop some finished work [Hmmmmmm - steeples fingers...]

The other semi-artistic thing from this past week was repairing my front door. Somehow, the button on the side of the door got depressed to make the knob lock (doh). I do not have a key, so I ended up needing to chisel out part of the door frame in order to pop the lock. Luckily, I was able to mostly restore it (and switch the lock covers, which I noticed when I disassembled the knob, had gotten reversed at some point?)

Before and After
             Before and After

I also took some nature shots of the changing season out and about: