23 November 2015

Rydell Fellowship and K E E P : Modern Library

It was almost two years ago that I received a very nice phone call letting me know that I had been chosen as one of the next Rydell Visual Arts Fellows

That was definitely a high point of my last two years which have been a bit of a roller coaster ride. The fellowship allowed me to be a student at Shakerag Workshops, exhibit at Codex, travel to Japan, breath a little when I otherwise would be scrambling for studio rent, and publish an artist's book, called KEEP, that will give a portion of its proceeds to the Santa Cruz Public Library for the purchase of Children's Books.


All of these experiences, and more, are culminating in an exhibit that I start installation on next week.

Here is information about the exhibit:

Rydell Visual Arts Fellows Exhibition
R. Blitzer Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA
December 4th, 2015 - January 29th, 2016
Opening Reception: December 4th, 5:00 - 9:00

The exhibit will include my fellow Fellows: Jim Denevan and Elizabeth Stephens.
My portion of the exhibit is named: KEEP: Modern Library. It is inspired by withdrawn library books, Japanese textiles, the art of repair and a KEEP stamp that was discarded from a library. All of the color you see in these pieces are book cloth that has been stripped, or "skinned", from withdrawn library books. And, the imagery that floats across each piece is from one particular withdrawn library book that became my muse throughout this series.

I realize many readers here are far flung and won't be able to make it to the exhibit. You can see some pieces from the exhibit on my website here. I will add more pieces as time goes on. 

New Acquisitions
KEEP: the artist's book is a book that accompanies the exhibit and takes you on a visual journey of my last two years. US residents can purchase the book on my website (International residents can e-mail me and we may be able to work something out!) 

KEEP artist's book

If you are local I hope you can visit the exhibit! 

Thank you to Roy and Francis Rydell and the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County. You have kept me afloat these past two years!

I will post photos of the exhibit once it is installed.

26 October 2015

Pochoir Sampler Book with Macy Chadwick

Macy Chadwick, of In Cahoots Press, returned to Wishi Washi Studio this past Saturday to teach the Pochoir Sampler Book Workshop.

Pochoir is a hand stenciling technique used to create prints, or to add color to existing prints. Read more about Pochoir here.

Macy Chadwick - Topography of Home

Above and below are cutouts with pochoir inserts from pages of Macy's stunning artist's book entitled: Topography of Home.

Macy Chadwick - Topography of Home

Pochoir allows for a delicate control of color - at once subtle and vibrant. It is a great way to get color and repeated imagery into your book projects but also has applications for printmaking and for textile pieces.

When guest instructors teach in my studio I am hostess, assistant, and student all in one. It is a great mix and I always love to play along with the other students. I came totally unprepared, though, with no images in mind to work with so I pulled out some photocopies of the Vessel People I was drawing and printing a couple of years ago.

My Vessel People proved to be perfect for a beginning Pochoir student as they were very simple shapes and easy to make into hand-cut stencils.

We cut stencils in a few different ways using different materials

We created imagery on diaphanous book pages using our pochoir techniques

and, then we bound them into an accordion book structures with pockets to hold our stencils. How brilliant is that?

Completed Pochoir Sampler Book by Janis O'Driscoll

Layering the stencils creates a nice effect as does layering the pages

My four sections shown layered before I bound them into the sampler book

Macy is such a great teacher and I can't wait to have her come back and teach again.

Next up in Wishi Washi Studio is Crossed Structure Binding taught by me on November 14th, followed by Courtney Cerruti's Playing with Image Transfers - Accordion Style on November 21st. Each workshop has just one space available! Go here to register.

See you in the studio...

08 October 2015

Fall 2015 Book Arts Exhibits

Just a quick post to share a couple of stellar book arts exhibits happening in the USA this Fall.

Ten Years of Artist Books at the Brooklyn Public Library
Curated by Donna Seager, of Seager Gray Gallery 
Brooklyn Public Library
October 1st, 2015 - January 24th, 2016 

 Every year Donna curates an exhibit at her gallery called "The Art of the Book". This exhibit celebrates 10 years of that exhibit.

Some of my Exposed Spine pieces are in the exhibit, and as usual, Donna has gathered a group of amazing book works, by talented book artists, to keep them company.

 Be sure to check out the exhibit if you are in the New York area.

Exposed Spines by Jody Alexander (photo by r.r. jones)

Another fabulously curated book arts exhibit is happening at 
Whatcom Museum, in Bellingham, WA.

Unhinged: Book Art on the Cutting Edge 
Curated by Barbara Matilsky
September 27th, 2015 - January 3rd, 2016

Below is an image of my piece in the exhibit entitled: If She Thought it Would Help, Zelda Would Use Her Antediluvian Curse Cache to Attain Her Revenge

And, boy oh boy, is Zelda in good company at this exhibit. Many of the book artists in this show are artists that I have studied and admired for years - some real foremothers and forefathers of the book arts genre. Also, included are many of my book arts colleagues and friends.

If She Thought it Would Help, Zelda Would Use Her Antediluvian Curse Cache to Attain Her Revenge by Jody Alexander (photo by r.r. jones)

 It is a real honor to be included in both of these exhibits!
You can order a copy of the catalog for the Unhinged exhibit at Blurb here.
And, I believe you can order a copy of the Brooklyn Library exhibition catalog by contacting Seager Gray Gallery here

I won't be able to attend either exhibit but I hope that some of you can. 
Let me know if you do!

14 September 2015

Fall 2015 Workshops in Wishi Washi Studio

Wishi Washi Studio's Fall 2015 Workshop schedule is up!

We have a fun and varied selection of classes coming up.

I'm kicking off the season with my Boro Books workshop that has been popular, and true to form it filled lightening fast. But, let me know if you want to get on the waitlist as I may be adding a second date.

Boro Books workshop

Next up are my guest instructors extraordinaire, Macy Chadwick and Courtney Cerruti.

Macy will be teaching a Pochoir Sampler Book workshop for the first time at Wishi Washi Studio. I'm personally very excited about this class since I've been mark making on paper and fabric with carved blocks, transfers and stencils and I hope to learn some new tricks from Macy (yes, I always play along with the class when we have a guest instructor!).

Macy Chadwick's Pochoir Sampler Book

In November Courtney Cerruti returns to Wishi Washi Studio to teach her Image Transfer class. But, this time we added a twist: students will also be creating a hardcover accordion book into which they will transfer their newly learned techniques. The end product will be a transfer based artist's book that will also be a great reference for future projects.

Student work from a past Image Transfer class with Courtney Cerruti

Every year I make myself a date book using the Crossed Structure Binding so I thought this would be a great time of the year to teach that binding to students who might want to do the same. Or, make a journal or sketchbook for the new year. Or, create a really, really nice present for a special someone for the upcoming holidays.

Two of my Crossed Structure datebooks

Speaking of the holidays, in December I will be teaching two fun techniques that could easily serve as last minute gift ideas: the Iris Fold Technique and the Exploding Picture Box. These are both historical crafting techniques, the Iris Fold originating in Holland and the Exploding Picture Box in Victorian England. Take both classes and combine the techniques into one project.

Iris Fold Technique

Exploding Picture Box

I realize that many of you are not in the Wishi Washi Studio area so I want to remind you of my online classes with Creativebug, including the Iris Fold Technique. And, Courtney Cerruti also has a wide array of classes with Creativebug, too.
Hope to see you in the studio and if you make something via Creativebug please share on Instagram or Facebook and tag me - I always love to see what you make!

15 July 2015

Snake Book

This is a long overdue post so I want to give you a free tutorial!

I recently taught the Snake Book to kids at Camp Tannery Arts. This is the fourth year that I have taught at this Camp and every year I do something different. Each year I start out with inviting the kids to my studio and showing them some books from around the world made using different structures and materials. Each year I end with showing them this children's book from Japan:

And, each year I say "we should do this structure next year" and then I forget and come up with something different.

 Well, this year I finally remembered and this is the project that I taught the kids. The structure is called a Snake Book and it is a wonderfully dynamic book that can be read in many different ways and works great with images and words, or just images. This children's book tells a story, without words, of a little fish who gets lost and swims in and out of the holes in the structure, encounters many creatures, some scary, some funny, and then finally finds his/her parents at the end.

I love this book for its non-linear reading. It can be turned in a number of different ways to progress through the story. Book artists have utilized this structure to create very sophisticated artists' books, but it is also a great project for kids.

Here is how to make one:
 These are the materials you will need: a square piece of paper (any size but this is 12 x 12), pencil or pen, scissors, glue stick if you want covers, and two cover pieces if you want them (see end of project for cover pc. sizes).

Start out with your square piece of paper.

Fold the paper in half and crease.


Unfold paper and meet one of the edges to the center fold and crease, then unfold the paper and meet the other edge to the center fold and crease.

Unfold, and your paper should look like this with three folds and four columns.



Do the same thing in the opposite direction.

Now you should have a square piece of paper divided into 16 smaller squares.

Take a pen or pencil and draw a spiral on the fold lines like this (three squares up, two squares over, two squares down, one square over, and one square up):


Take scissors and cut where you have drawn that spiral.


Take one end of your Snake Book and start folding it back and forth accordion style.


You can call your Snake Book finished now but if you want you can create covers for it. If you want to do that cut them the same size as the small folded squares, apply glue to the cover and glue to each end of the snake book.

Voila, a Snake Book. I love the wonky quality of this book.

I've included this structure in many adult book arts courses that I have taught throughout the years but this is the first time that I have taught it to kids and I was so pleasantly surprised at how well they did. There is a lot of folding, creasing, cutting, and general direction following but they did great and had fun with it. I would say this is appropriate for ages 6 and up and possibly younger with some extra supervision.

Here are some pictures of them in action:

I can't wait to see what they do with the covers and pages: stories, words, pictures? I will find out later this week at the end of camp and might update this post with some shares.

Kids love making books! This is a perfect project for the summer when kids are home and out of school, or if you are teaching summer camp yourself. Please share!

Here are some other tutorials and classes for making books with kids:

Add beautiful covers with Orizomegami

Happy Summer!


25 May 2015

Boro Sampler Book Workshop - and more to come

I completed another season of workshops at Wishi Washi Studio with my Boro Books workshop.

Preparing my materials and tools for teaching

This is quickly becoming one of my favorites to teach since Japanese textiles are becoming a favorite subject of mine, particularly Boro textiles. 

I'm trying to learn everything I can about Japanese textiles since the history of Boro textiles is intrinsically linked to the history of Japan and the textiles created there.

Boro textile from my personal collection

In my Boro Books workshop (a.k.a. Boro Sampler Book) I share my modest but growing collection of Boro and other Japanese textiles so we can examine the stitching techniques up close.

My Boro Book pages in progress

Then we work on "pages" to re-create mending and strengthening techniques seen in Boro textiles. Students are encouraged to bring materials meaningful to them that can include fabric, paper, and other ephemera.

My completed Boro Sampler Book

The finished product is a book, bound with the Japanese side-sewn binding, that can be referred back to for future art or mending projects. It can be added to over time and even used as a needle book! (See post on a previous Boro Books workshop here)

Detail from my current series: KEEP: Modern Library

The Boro aesthetic has inspired my current series: KEEP: Modern Library that will be in my Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship exhibit at the end of this year. I look forward to sharing more of this series in the coming months.

I'll be teaching this workshop twice this summer at Cameron Marks in Santa Cruz on July 11th, and at Handcraft Studio School in Emeryville on July 18th. Come and join us for a day of learning and making!

11 May 2015

Drum Leaf Binding/Sewn Boards Binding with Rhiannon Alpers

The Drum Leaf Binding is a structure of many names and versions. It is also known as the Sewn Boards Binding and there are also ways to put it together with no binding at all.

This past Saturday Rhiannon Alpers, of Gazelle & Goat, visited Wishi Washi Studio and taught the sewn version which is technically the Sewn Boards Binding (attributed to Gary Frost) - she also discussed ways to create the structure without sewing that is called Drum Leaf Binding (attributed to Timothy Ely). Confused? Check out Karen Hanmer's description of the two structures here.

Rhiannon's Drum Leaf Binding/Sewn Boards Binding class samples

This a fabulous structure that is a nice, tight binding but is also extremely flexible.

my sewn boards binding in progress

Card stock sections are bound along with the textblock that eventually become the book's covers.

This contributes to the structure opening nice and flat

My complete Sewn Boards Binding

I tend to gravitate towards exposed spine bindings but I really like this structure for its compact and flexible qualities.

Rhiannon is a very thorough and patient teacher and it was so much fun having her in Wishi Washi Studio again. She also teaches classes out of her studio, Gazelle & Goat, in San Francisco. Check out her upcoming class schedule here.

My last Spring workshop in the studio is the popular Boro Books workshop. The class is full and there is a large waitlist, but I will be teaching it at two different locations this summer - see my previous blogpost for my Summer teaching schedule.