02 December 2019

SCRAP - Artist's in Residence Exhibit

Well, our four months of gleaning the treasures of the Santa Cruz Resource Recovery Facility is up and we are all wrapping up and fine tuning our projects for the upcoming exhibit (I'm late in posting this - we just finished our first day of installation today!) Here is exhibit information:

SCRAP: Santa Cruz Recycled Art Program
R. Blitzer Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA
December 6th - December 28th, 2019
Opening Reception December 6th 5:00-9:00
Artists' Gallery Talk: December 8th 2:00-4:00

that's me with the wood pile!

This exhibit will display the culmination of our artist residency. Artists include myself, Janet Fine, Angela Gleason, Andrew Purchin, Paige Davis, and Pamela Dewey. See the second half of this previous post for some background information about the residency.

We had fun. We worked hard. And, we learned a lot about what our city is doing to keep items out of the landfill, but also that we all need to do better. So much is ending up at the dump that can be reused or placed back into circulation. It was frustrating at times since we were unable to "save" all of the things that we knew had more life in them.

My residency project is an installation entitled “out in the distance there is a glow”*. The installation will consist of the workspace and personal library of a fictional character of my own creation whose story emerged as I worked with the found materials.

Studio shot of: out in the distance there is a glow (partial and in-progress)

The story strengthened and deepened as I noticed themes in the items I was gathering, and as found items began to relate to one another in completely unexpected ways. 

out in the distance there is glow, no. 125

This person is responding to the time in which he lives – it could be now or another time, place and existence. Wherever and whenever he is – the times are challenging and darkness is reflected in his space. 

out in the distance there is a glow, no. 101

But, there is light. He is not just hiding out or idly waiting for it all to be over. Rather, he is trying to fix us, them, me, you – with our own waste. Gathering items that have been cast off he is attempting a sort of alchemy in the hopes that just the right combination of material, imagery, placement, and order will set things right again. It is all he can do and it is his way of coping.

out in the distance there is a glow, no. 124

Materials used are: tar paper, stencils of found items, dirt pigment, pen and ink, thread.

I stenciled the tar paper using things I found on the ground and painted it with dump dirt that I mixed with gum arabic and water.

All in all the residency was a fantastic experience.

Thank you to Santa Cruz City Arts and the Santa Cruz Resource Recovery Facility for sponsoring this residency.

I hope that those of you who are local can make it to the exhibit and if not I'm planning to make a little Blurb book that documents the experience and my final project. Stay tuned for that! 

*"out in the distance there is a glow" is a line from the song "Big Darkness" by Crooked Fingers. The artist Eric Bachmann has graciously given me permission to use his words.

16 September 2019

Fall 2019 workshops and looking forward to 2020

Here is a quick look at upcoming workshops for Fall 2019:

Japanese Mending as Utility and Embellishment
San Jose, CA
October 13th, 11:00 - 5:00

Boro Sampler Book and Boro Bags
co-sponsored by San Antonio Fiber Artists
San Antonio, TX
November 9th and 10th, 10:00 - 4:00
(class is full - waitlist open)


and looking forward to 2020 for those of you planning ahead:

The Boro Aesthetic: Creating Fiber Art Pieces Inspired by Japanese Textiles 
Aya Fiber StudioStuart, Florida
March 21 - 23rd, 2020

The Boro Aesthetic: Creating Fiber Art Pieces Inspired by Japanese Textiles 
Fibre Arts Australia
Ballarat, Australia: June 30 - July 4, 2020
Toowoomba, Australia: July 7 - July 11, 2020 

There will also most likely be a February workshop at French General in Los Angeles - we are still cooking that one up - it will be something new! ****update - new workshop is up here**** And, an April workshop at A Verb for Keeping Warm. Keep your eyes peeled for those...

I usually announce workshops first on Instagram and my Wishi Washi Studio Facebook page so join me there to hear about them first. I also list them on my blog - workshop page.

As always my Creativebug classes are available 24/7 from anywhere you have internet access, and my book The Boro Aesthetic is still available from Blurb Books.

13 September 2019

Fall 2019 : Exhibits and a Residency

It has been a while since my last post. Summer 2019 was busy with teaching and teaching related travel. I didn't seem to find time to write blog posts but I did post on Instagram and you can catch up there if you feel so inclined!

This Fall brings some fun exhibits and an artist residency.

Hemingway and the Art of Awareness, No. 6

Coming up in October at the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University is a compelling book arts exhibit including my work:

Unbound: The Art of Deterioration
Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA
October 4th - December 6th, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 3rd
Member's Preview: 6:00 - 7:00
Public Opening Reception: 7:00 - 8:30

There will be a number of my Bibliomuse series pieces in that exhibit.

Hemingway and the Art of Awareness, No. 1-6


This summer I began an Artist's Residency at the Santa Cruz Resource Recovery Facility, a.k.a. the Dump! The program is called the Santa Cruz Recycled Art Program (SCRAP) and is loosely modeled on the 25 year plus Recology Program in San Francisco. 

Me pondering the wood pile. Photo by fellow resident Janet Fine

Artists in the SCRAP program are given access to most of the items brought to the Santa Cruz Dimeo Lane facility. There are wood and metal piles, plastic and cardboard bins, electronics, paper, dirt piles, etc., and a tipping station where Santa Cruz residents bring just about anything you can think of that they need to get rid of - this is where we find the really interesting stuff.

While we are allowed to glean most anything as art supplies from the dump we are expected to use our own studio spaces to create.

We gained access to the facility in late July 2019 and the residency will culminate in a exhibit at the R. Blitzer Gallery in Santa Cruz in December 2019:

Santa Cruz Recycled Art Program (SCRAP)
Santa Cruz, CA
December 6th - 28th
Opening Reception: First Friday, December 6th
5:00 - 9:00

The dominant material that has attracted me at the dump is tar paper which is what you are seeing in these photos. Circles, numbers, dirt, and misc. objects have also been following me back to my studio. I've been making books, boxes and wall pieces with the tar paper and stenciling with found objects and painting with dirt. I don't want to give too much away so I will let these images speak from themselves for now, and hope that you'll come to the exhibit to see my installation in December. 

I have also have been posting images on Instagram and will continue to do so as I reveal more about the project leading up to the exhibit.


11 February 2019

Workshop Round-up: Spring, Summer and Fall, 2019

Happy Belated New Year to all.

A little late on this post but here is a round-up of 2019 workshops that I have scheduled so far.

Boro Bag Workshop
French General, Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, March 31st, 2019
10:00 - 4:00

Japanese Mending as Utility and Embellishment
Saturday, April 20th, 2019
11:00 - 5:00

The Boro Aesthetic: Creating Fiber Art Pieces Inspired by Japanese Textiles
Sunday, June 2nd - Saturday, June 8th, 2019

Japanese Mending Techniques: Boro Sampler Book and Boro Bags
Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance, Chamblee, GA
June 9th and 10th, 2019
10:30 - 4:30 each day

Textile Manipulations: 
The Boro Aesthetic with Jody Alexander
Tactile Notebooks and the Written Word with Sandra Brownlee
Encaustic Castle, Lexington, KY
Wednesday, June 26th - Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019
Register for both or either workshop - see website for details

The Boro Aesthetic: Creating Fiber Art Pieces Inspired by Japanese Textiles
Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, CA
Friday, July 19th - Sunday, July 21st
9:30 - 4:30 daily

Japanese Mending as Utility and Embellishment
A Work of Heart Studio, San Jose, CA
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
11:00 - 5:00

note: first two images are bags that I have made and the last four images are Japanese textiles from my personal collection - we look at them, or similar, in all of my workshops.


Some of these workshop may be full but it is worth it to get on the wait list - life happens and people's plans change.

I often announce workshops earlier on Instagram and Facebook so join me there if you want workshop news earlier. Additionally, I try to keep the Workshop page on this blog up to date, so you can check that periodically, as well.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see some of you in my workshops this coming year.


{if none of these workshops are convenient for you remember that I teach online book and paper arts workshops on Creativebug and I also have a book entitled The Boro Aesthetic that goes over much of the information I teach in my textile workshops}

{note: many of you mention to me that they received an e-mail from me when in fact I haven't sent out an e-mail in quite a while - this is because some of you have it set up so that my blogposts go directly to your e-mail - that is great! but, please note that you can change these setting if you want - directions should be included at the bottom of the e-mail. and, if you would like to receive this as an e-mail so that you don't miss anything - there is a box in the upper right where you can enter your e-mail address}

27 December 2018

New Publications: Bibliomuse 1 & 2

I've been making books through Blurb Publishing for a number of years now. It is a great way to capture my art installations and my art series' on the printed page. My Blurb books are almost like little art exhibits that you can hold in your hands.

I just created two more Blurb books to get my last two series' on paper:

Bibliomuse 1 is a sub-series of KEEP: Modern Library. I created all of the pieces from 2016-2017 and they are entirely machine stitched. Obsessively machine stitched! You can read more about them here. Their creation culminated in an exhibit in Seager Gray Gallery in the Fall of 2017 (see images from that exhibit here). Seager Gray Gallery made a beautiful catalog and if you were lucky enough to get one then it will suffice. But, their distribution is limited so I decided to create a Blurb book in order to make the first Bibliomuse series more accessible.

Bibliomuse 2 is a series that I have just completed and that I've worked on in the last year, 2017-2018. In this sub-series of KEEP: Modern Library I return to hand stitching while continuing to look to discarded library books as inspiration. The new development in this series is that I'm dyeing/painting the linen with natural dyes such as woad, persimmon and walnut as well as india ink. This results is some more daring color juxtapositions with the cloth that I remove from the discarded library books. I had fun playing with color combinations in this series in addition to manipulating the size of imagery gleaned from the discarded library books. You can read more about Bibliomuse 2 in my last two posts here and here.

The Scandal of Silence, No. 1 - Bibliomuse 2 series

You can visit my Blurb page to see these two new publications as well as other books. 

In both my Bibliomuse 1 and Bibliomuse 2 Blurb books I include images of the discarded library books that act as my muses as well as all of the art pieces in each series, along with close ups so that you can see all that stitching! Both books also include statements about the sub-series'.

Theory of Collective Behavior, No. 1 - Bibliomuse 2 series

If you have ordered books through Blurb before you know that they are not inexpensive - this is the price to pay for on demand printing - they will print as many or as little as your want and if you only want one then the cost is higher than might be expected for a book of that size.

BUT, they have a product now that they call "magazine" quality and I love it! I was skeptical so I created a draft and ordered one and on receipt I was so very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the printing. The paper is thinner which results in a more casual feeling publication. Both the paper and cover are matte - which I really like. AND - my photographer was impressed and pleased with the printing - he has an eagle eye for color and often criticizes art books for poor color quality. The reason I'm explaining this is because the "magazine" quality has allowed me to keep the price down on these two new publications and I just wanted to be clear that they are a little different from my previous Blurb books

Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution, No. 1 - Bibliomuse series

I'm taking off for a trip to Tokyo in a few days and will have some copies of Bibliomuse 2 with me there at an event at Blue and White -  you can find me and the books there on January 12th. 

Everyone else can order copies at anytime from Blurb

I hope you enjoy them.

26 November 2018

Bibliomuse 2: Books

In my last post I shared new work from my Bibliomuse 2 series - a subseries of KEEP: Modern Library.
At the end of the summer I had completed four wall pieces and now I have a mind to create artist's books to accompany each wall piece.

Here are the fruits of that labor:

 The Scandal of Silence, No. 2 


 The Impact of the Social Science, No. 2


Theory of Collective Behavior, No. 2

Accordion books are so versatile. I love how they can look similar to "regular" bound books.

Or, break into dance and become sculptural objects.

I'm on a roll with bookmaking lately and am enjoying the small scale.

I have been sharing my process over on Instagram so join me there on my instagram account if you'd like to follow along.

And, remember, I teach bookmaking and paper arts on-line on Creativebug.

There is a simple accordion book class as well as more complicated binding classes (Coptic and Japanese Side Sewn) - so check that out if you are getting the bookmaking bug like I have lately!

20 September 2018

Bibliomuse 2 : a new phase

My Bibliomuse series is a sub-series of KEEP: Modern Library where I look to Japanese boro textiles and imagery from withdrawn library books for visual inspiration, and use old European linen and cloth from the covers of withdrawn library books as my materials. The image-making processes used are stenciling, block printing, image transfers, and occasionally graphite directly on the fabric.

You can see some images from the original KEEP: Modern Library series here and here; and the first Bibliomuse sub-series here; and by visiting my art website here.

Essential from KEEP: Modern Library series

Currently, I'm working on a new phase of the Bibliomuse series where I am experimenting with color combinations and dying the base-cloth, playing with the scale of imagery, and transferring images of woven cloth from the withdrawn library books on the fabric.
With the first Bibliomuse series I used the sewing machine and densely repeated back and forth stitching to create a unique texture on the base-cloth. 

Hemingway and the Art of Awareness 1-5 from the first Bibliomuse

In this new phase of the Bibliomuse series I'm hand stitching only.

Enough explanation! Here are the new pieces: 

Title: Theory of Collective Behavior, No. 1

Base cloth is lightly dyed with walnut dye.

Below is the withdrawn library book that is the muse for this piece, also entitled: Theory of Collective Behavior.


Title: The Impact of the Social Sciences, No. 1

The base cloth of this piece is dyed with walnut and persimmon dye. The inspiration for this piece is the four dots that appear on the cover and the title page of the muse. I played around with blowing up the dots on the photocopier and then translating those images to block prints, stencils and image transfers.


Title: Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution, No. 3

I used this book as my muse in the first Bibliomuse series and have returned to it here playing with the scale of the imagery and printing and drawing on old linen that is stained with india ink.


I've resisted working with blue since my work is influenced by Japanese boro textiles: I want my work to reflect the lines, shapes, layering and textures of boro textiles but not look like boro textiles. However, after my trip to France this summer where I dyed old linen cloth in woad, I just couldn't resist working it into a new piece when I returned home.

Title: The Scandal of Silence, No. 1

Below is the muse. In addition to using the black bars as imagery in the piece I also referenced the faded squiggle mark on the cover of the book by making a stencil of the line and repeating it in the piece.

I'm currently working on making little fabric accordion books to match each of these pieces - things are getting really meta!

 While in France I acquired an old lab coat at a brocante and gave it a few dips in the woad vat while there and added imagery from The Scandal of Silence after returning to the studio. Maybe I'll make books and clothes to match each wall piece...