26 January 2015

A New Year in Wishi Washi Studio

Wishi Washi Studio is entering its fourth year at the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz, Ca and I've just put out the Spring 2015 Workshop schedule.

Tacketted Binding Workshop taught by Jody Alexander

I have scheduled a number of great bookbinding workshops taught by me and guest instructors Rhiannon Alpers and Jennie Hinchcliff. Check out the schedule here and join us if you can.

Also, coming up soon is the Fifth Codex Book Fair and Symposium. I have previously attended the Fair but for the first time I will be exhibiting this year.


This is an International Book Fair and book artists and collectors gather here from all over the world. I'm looking forward to seeing some of my far flung friends and meeting new ones.

Hope to see you in the studio or at Codex!!!

15 December 2014

Boro Books

This past weekend I taught the last workshops of the year in Wishi Washi Studio: two separate workshops called Boro Books.

My samples materials and tools

If you have been to my studio lately, or follow me on Instagram, you know that I am enamored with a certain kind of Japanese textile called BoroFollow this link to learn more and see examples on my Pinterest board here.

In the workshops this weekend we made small sampler books inspired by Japanese Boro that contained Boro-like repair techniques on fabric or paper pages.

I brought in some Boro pieces from my collection to show the classes:

As well as some of my own Boro inspired artist's books and class samples:

My boro inspired artist's books in fabric and paper

We began by warming up and making some stitches and practicing some mending techniques on muslin:
muslin sampler by student Diane Ritch

I also threw in a little demo on image transfers and provided them with some hand carved blocks and stamps to print with:

Students transferring images on paper and fabric

I encouraged students to bring in papers, fabrics and threads that they wanted to work with. They practiced the mending and stitching techniques on their book pages in very artful ways:


Sampler pages in progress by student Cheryl Maruyama

Student Rene Chock used mostly paper with some fabric

At the end of the day we bound the pages into little books that the students can use as reference when working with mending stitches in their future artwork:

Some completed sampler Boro Books

As usual my students were not only talented but very generous bringing papers, fabrics and threads to share with one another, and me! I was gifted these gorgeous textiles:

 That wraps up another year of workshops in Wishi Washi Studio. I'll try my bestest to get the Winter/Spring 2015 workshop schedule up on my website by mid-late January.

Happy Holidays!

23 November 2014

Don't Buy - DIY!

My friend and studio neighbor, Angela Gleason, is having an event at her studio, The Jewelry Toolery, on Black Friday called Don't Buy - DYI. Anyone is invited to sign up and visit her studio that day (during your designated sign-up time) and make jewelry that you can then give as gifts or donate to be sold. All proceeds of the event go to charity. Win, win, win.
I've always been a big proponent of making holiday gifts and shopping local from independent shopkeepers and makers.

The last couple of years I had workshops in my studio for this exact purpose. A number of years ago I had heard about Plaid Friday that promotes shopping local and independent on Black Friday instead of visiting super stores. So, I called my Black Friday workshops Paisley Friday. We made cards, small books and other giftable items.

Plaid Friday started in Oakland, CA, but they encourage anyone to participate

I'm not able to have a Paisley Friday this year but you can still play along by visiting Angela's studio or by making something on your own.

If you are not in the Santa Cruz, California area you can still play along with me and my fellow instructors on Creativebug.

Make a gift-able photo album or scan and bind your kid's drawings into a book - great gift!

Creativebug is currently offering a free two-week trial to all of the workshops on their site so you can play along from wherever you are...in the world!

If you are in the Santa Cruz area then contact Angela at the Jewelry Toolery to sign up for Don't buy - DYI. Or, follow this link to play along with me and the other amazing Creativebug instructors (click on the Try Premium Free button on the homepage).

The Six-Pocket Keepsake book makes a great holiday card with pockets for stashing photos and notes.

A Creativebug subscription also makes a great gift!

I'd love to hear about what you make - please share...


I just found out that Creativebug has released a number of free holiday themed workshops:

Wrap your handmade gift with handpainted wrapping paper with my friend Courtney

Go check it out.

10 November 2014

Storage Book, take two...

We were quite fortunate this past Saturday to have Macy Chadwick come and teach in Wishi Washi Studio for the third time. She taught the enticing structure The Storage Book again. (See my previous posts on last year's Storage Book workshop and the
Hidden and Revealed workshop two summers ago).

class samples and one of mine

What struck me most this time around were the rich colors that everyone worked with. Macy gave everyone the chance to stain and color their white and off-white papers to suit their fancy

Then everyone set to work making all of those windows, pockets, slidey-things, spinning wheels, and gentle capture techniques that Macy teaches (see a better description of these in this post).

student work in progress

student work in progress

As usual, everyone did gorgeous work:

Macy played along, too

Sweet pocket with illustrations made by a student

More student work - I love all the layering

Thank you once again to Macy for a fulfilling day and we hope that she comes back again!

27 October 2014

Crossed Structure Binding

Every year I make myself a datebook using the Crossed Structure binding. It is one of my favorite structures and when I make it using flax paper (from Cave Paper or the University of Iowa) it is a mighty sturdy book to throw in and out of my bag everyday.
On Saturday, I taught the Crossed Structure binding in Wishi Washi Studio.

  my class samples and tools with cave paper for a new binding   

I always make a book along with the class while I am demonstrating each step and by the end of the class I realized that I had made my datebook for 2015. I am loving orange lately!

My crossed structure book - a datebook for 2015

I learned the Crossed Structure binding over 15 years ago while living in the Boston area. Someone had visited the North Bennet School and taught the bookbinding students this wonderful and innovative binding and in turn one of those students taught a workshop to a group of Boston area book artists. I was lucky enough to be in that workshop. 

Crossed Structure bindings

The Crossed Structure binding was devised by a book artist and conservator named Carmencho Arregui. Read her story of its inception here. It is a fabulous and innovative binding that employs traditional binding methods but that also allows for creative and decorative finishing touches.

My crossed structure datebooks 2000-2013

In the late summer of the late nineties I had my datebook stolen and found it impossible to buy a new one at that time of the year so decided to make my own for the remaining months of the year. The next year when shopping for a new datebook I realized that making my own was really the best option. I had recently learned the Crossed Structure binding so decided that it was the perfect structure for a book that was going to receive the kind of abuse that my datebooks suffer as I toss them in my bag everyday.

The above picture is a "#shelfie" that I took and posted on Instagram of my collection of datebooks. I'm continuing the tradition still and make my little customized datebooks every year. 

They take some time to make - especially hand drawing and writing in the grids, days, dates, and months of the upcoming year but it has become a therapeutic process that eases me into the upcoming year.

20 October 2014

Book Patrol

A proper blog post is just not in the stars tonight so I will share this with you instead: a recent blog post of some of my artwork on 

Jody Alexander and laura laura - The Lone Arranger
image from an installation by me and laura laura - the lone arranger

The post includes images from my website including ones that are collaborations between me and my friend laura laura.

A special thanks to Melissa, of the blog Libreriamo, who alerted me to the post while also asking me if I would answer a few questions for an interview on her blog. 

Keep an eye out for that one, too. See you out there...

13 October 2014

Iris Folding

I was fortunate to teach at SCRAP again this past Saturday. Such a fun place to teach, and shop! (see previous SCRAP post here)

This time I taught the Iris Fold Technique, or Iris Folding.

One of my class samples using security envelopes
This craft originated in Holland and traditionally the insides of security envelopes were used to create the iris (so named because it resembles the iris of the eye or a camera).

I love using the security envelopes since they are an art supply that arrives free to my front door almost everyday - what's not to like about that? But, a number of papers of similar weight can be used.

student work - iris folding workshop

The student above used a mix of wrapping paper, sheet music and paint chip cards. Below the student also used sheet music along with book pages and maps.

student work - iris folding workshop

I love how the use of a solid color (below) amongst the busy patterns really accentuates the curve of the iris pattern:

student work - iris folding workshop

Although security envelopes are my favorite material for this project I love to experiment and see what else I can find at SCRAP that might work:

I played along, too! Another class sample finished.

I found a box of coin wrappers that already had folded edges - they worked great (above)!

The finished product can be a card, an ornament or a piece ready for framing to hang on the wall.

If you missed the workshop you can still play along with me on Creativebug where I teach the Iris Fold Card