16 June 2016

Squam Art Retreat

I have recently returned from teaching at Squam Art Retreat and thought I would share a little. What a wonderful place!

After spending a few days with friends in the Boston area I headed north and arrived to this idyllic setting.

What a beautiful and peaceful place.

Each cabin is right on Squam Lake and each has its own dock. And, although it was chilly many of us spent as much time in the water as we could - it was refreshing!

The cabins are fairly rustic with no refrigerators or heaters but instead each has an icebox and fireplace. Ice and firewood are delivered daily (the ice is sourced from the lake!)

The icehouse

I was invited to teach my Boro Sampler Book workshop there and was assigned a cabin that would act as our classroom. The main classroom was set up in the living room but we also had an adjoining screened porch where students could sit and stitch.


Of course, students did wonderful and inspiring work!

Everyone began by practicing mending stitches, inspired by Japanese Boro Textiles, on their sampler pages.

Although I bring plenty of fabric I always encourage students to incorporate materials that are personal to them, or at least their own palette and aesthetic. 


At the end of the class we bound the pages into books using the Japanese side-sewn binding. Students can refer to these sampler books later when tackling visible mending projects or incorporating what I call the "boro aesthetic" into their artwork or other projects.

What a wonderful workshop and experience. And, if you are still wanting to see more Squam scrumptious-ness then check out the blog post that my roommate Rachel Hazell just posted.

Thank you to everyone (Elizabeth, Forrest, students, and fellow teachers) who made the week a successful and enjoyable one! I hope to return to this glorious lake someday. 

09 May 2016

Book Arts Exhibits Spring 2016

There are a couple of book arts exhibits this Spring in the Bay Area that are looking quite good, and I'm honored to be included in both.

On Hold - from KEEP: Modern Library series

Every year Seager Gray Gallery puts together an Art of the Book exhibit. Seager Gray Gallery is a year round proponent of the book arts but for this exhibit they always work extra hard to gather an interesting and varied group of book artists.

To Be Shelved - from KEEP: Modern Library series

Three pieces from my KEEP: Modern Library series will be included in this show. 

New Acquisitions - from KEEP: Modern Library series

Seager Gray Gallery
Mill Valley, CA
May 2nd - June 5th, 2016
Reception: Saturday, May 14th, 5:30 - 7:30

Seager Gray Gallery has put together an online catalog on ISSUU that you can view here.

Contact the gallery if you are interested in purchasing a copy. 

In 2001, the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art put on an exhibit entitled This Is Not a Book. I remember being newly transplanted to California, being a book artist who didn't know that many artists in the area yet, and seeing this show and being profoundly affected by it. Many of the artists in the show weren't really "book artists" but rather artist making sculptural book objects or conceptual pieces with or relating to books. At the time I was interested in making books that existed more as three-dimensional objects representing books, and all that they embody, rather than page-turning objects with text on them. I wanted the object to tell the story rather than the words on the page, and this exhibit at the San Jose ICA was greatly influential in helping find my new direction. It was the first time I had seen Gaza Bowen's Biliotheca Memoria. If you haven't seen it, or pieces from it, you need to!

This Is Not a Book, Chapter Two is coming up in June 2016 at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. Seager Gray Gallery has collaborated with the SJICA and put together, what looks like, a winning line-up. I am honored to be part of this exhibit and will be installing my Exposed Spines there at the end of this month.

San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
San Jose, CA
June 5th - September 11th, 2016
Reception: June 5th, 2:00 - 4:00

Exposed Spines

There is also a catalog planned for this exhibit but the online link is not available at this time. Check back for updates.

If you are in the Bay Area - lucky you - you can see these shows and you should! If you are reading this from afar, then it looks like you are also in luck since there will be print and online catalogs!

I will be in New England during the San Jose ICA reception but I will try my best to make it to the May 14th opening reception at Seager Gray.

25 April 2016

Spring/Summer 2016 Teaching Roundup

Although some of you are just starting to experience the first signs of Spring, registration for Summer workshops is in full swing and I want to make sure you don't miss out. And, some of the spring workshops are still open, and even if they are full it is worth it to get on the waitlist - you never know!

Here is what I have scheduled between now and September 2016:

Boro Bags

Boro Bags
May 14th, 10:30 - 4:30
Oakland, CA
  (class is full but get on the waitlist!)

Stitched Photo Collage

Stitched Photo Collage
May 21st, 10:00 - 4:00
Santa Cruz, CA 
(class is full but get on the waitlist!) 

Boro Sampler Book

Boro Sampler Book
June 1st - June 5th
Squam Lake - yes, on a lake! and you get to choose two different classes from a stellar line-up of instructors
Holderness, New Hampshire

If you need persuading beyond the thought of stitching lakeside in June, here is a teaser Squam video:

Dreaming of Squam from Squam on Vimeo.
Boro Sampler Book
June 25th, 10:00 - 4:00 
(not on a lake but this is one of the best workshop venues in the Bay Area!)
Emeryville, CA 

Boro Textiles: Zakka

Boro Textiles: Books, Bags, Zokin and Zakka
Cabrillo Arts Summer Workshops
July 29, 30, 31st, 10 - 4 each day
Aptos, CA

This will be three days dedicated to learning the language of Boro and applying it to books, bags, clothing and art projects.
Register by June 6th for the Early Bird Special! 


there are still a couple spaces in  
Jennie Hinchcliff's upcoming workshop 
in Wishi Washi Studio:

Creative Carousel Books: Layers and Windows 
Wishi Washi Studio
Saturday, April 30th, 10-5
Santa Cruz, CA   

Creative Carousel Books with Jennie Hinchliff
 If you are in the Santa Cruz area you don't want to miss this chance to learn from Jennie!

And, remember there are always workshops on Creativebug 
anywhere, all the time, 24/7.

Hope to see you out there soon!

14 March 2016

Boro Bags!

What's with the bags? 

I usually teach bookmaking and paper arts classes but for a number of years now textiles have been creeping their way into my artwork, and naturally, my teaching.

Tsuno Bukuro and Azuma Bukuro

Japanese Boro textiles have been an inspiration to me and have greatly influenced my series KEEP: Modern Library. In researching Boro I have taught myself many of the stitching techniques, learned a great deal about the different kinds of textiles that form boro, and started a small collection of my own.

Some Boro Textile pieces from my collection

In looking at Boro textiles, I couldn't help but notice the beautiful cloth Japanese bags. Traditional and contemporary Japanese bags are simple yet ingenious in design, and combined with Japanese textile printing, dying and weaving techniques - gorgeous. And then patched and repaired - scrumptious! Possibly, too, I gravitate toward bags because, like books, they are containers that can be stitched in a number of different ways. Their construction fascinates me.

Stitching on one of my Boro Bag class samples

My gateway bag was the tsuno bukuro. Yoshiko Wada taught us how to make that bag at Shakerag and ever since then I have been teaching myself to make other types of bags, mostly by looking at bags that I have seen and/or collected.

Class samples and supplies

I had been teaching the Boro Sampler Book class for a while and it has continued to be popular but I wanted to mix things up a bit so I developed the Boro Bags class. In this workshop we use one length of cloth as our sampler enabling students to work on a larger scale than was possible with the books.

Student work - Boro Bags Workshop

Students learn basic Boro mending and repair techniques that they practice on their cloth and then at the end of the class they make the cloth into a bag. Two different bag patterns are taught - the tsuno bukuro and the azuma bukuro. They are both quite simple, but clever in design, and can be used as a project bag, shopping bag, or even a clutch like bag.

Student work - Boro Bags Workshop

Students can then incorporate the learned techniques, and what I call the Boro aesthetic, into future sewing projects or into their art practice. 

Student work - Boro Bags workshop

It took me a while to develop this class since there were so many variables so in January I ran a "beta" class in Wishi Washi Studio to test it out. Everything went swimmingly so I offered two more in the last month and I now feel like the class is tried and true!

Student work - Boro Bags workshop

Two more Boro Bags workshops are coming up so check out these venues if you would like to learn about Japanese Boro textiles, try your hand at some of the stitching and mending techniques, and make a bag!:

Mountain Maid Workshops, Grass Valley, CA - April 23rd

A Verb for Keeping Warm, Oakland, CA - May 14th



29 January 2016

Spring 2016 Workshops

And, there are a few workshops outside of the studio I want to make sure you know about.

This Spring I am bringing back a couple of workshops that I haven't taught in two years: Origami Travel Notebook and Stitched Photo Collage.

Origami Travel Notebook

Origami Travel Notebook is a structure that I devised to hold signatures that are made up of a traditional Japanese folding technique that contains many useful pockets. They can stand on their own as pamphlets or portfolios or they can be sewn into a larger structure as signatures. There are also blank pages incorporated into the structure. The pockets and the blank pages together make for a great structure for traveling - jotting down notes, writing, sketching and a place to stash tickets, maps and other findings.

Stitched Photo Collage

The Stitched Photo Collage was a student favorite for many years but I gave it a little break. A few of my newer students requested that I teach it again. It is a fun way to incorporate fabric, thread, book pages, photographs and other ephemera into pieces that can then be part of a book or a wall piece.

Boro Bags

A new workshop is Boro Bags that is proving to be very popular (I ran a "beta" session in January and students loved it!). Both dates are already full but I may add more so get on the waitlist to be the first to hear if I add more dates. In this class I share what I know about Boro textiles (I'm still learning more all the time!) and then students use a length of cloth as a sampler to learn the stitching and mending techniques seen in Boro textiles. At the end of the class the lengths of cloth are made into bags! Students have their choice of one of two traditional Japanese bags that are simple but ingenious in their design. The bags can be used as book bags, project bags, or for shopping or a very fancy gift wrapping.

Carousel Books by Jennie Hinchcliff

Last, but definitely not least, is my guest instructor extraordinaire Jennie Hinchcliff. She will be teaching Creative Carousel Books: Layers and Windows. Jennie is so much fun and such a great teacher. If you are in the area you don't want to miss this one!

I also have two teaching/traveling workshops scheduled:

Mountain Maid Workshops is a new program in the Grass Valley/Nevada City, California area. I will be teaching Boro Bags there on April 23rd. This will be a nice opportunity to take this class if you are outside of the Wishi Washi Studio area.

Boro Bag

And, I'm thrilled to be teaching the Boro Sampler Book at Squam Art Retreats in June. They are located in New Hampshire...on a lake! Students pick their choice of two one-day classes from a stellar line-up of instructors. I'm very much looking forward to being in New England again.

Boro Books

If you are no where near any of these venues remember that I have classes online at Creativebug

I hope to make something with you soon!

04 January 2016

KEEP: Modern Library

Happy New Year!

My Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship exhibit, KEEP: Modern Library, has been up for a month now and I thought it was time I posted a few pictures here. All of these were posted on my Instagram feed but I realize that not everyone lives over there so thought I'd share them here.

 The exhibit is at R. Blitzer Gallery in Santa Cruz, CA and is up through January 29th, 2016. There is still time to see it!

 You can see pictures of individual pieces on my website here and read my statement for the exhibit here.

The artist's book, entitled KEEP, that accompanies the exhibit is still available and can be purchased online here.

I will be giving an informal gallery talk at R. Blitzer Gallery on Saturday, January 9th. I'll be in the gallery from 2:00 - 4:00 and will start the talk at about 2:30. Hope to see you there! 

07 December 2015

KEEP: the artist's book

I've produced an artist's book to accompany my new series and project KEEP: Modern Library.

It's called KEEP 
and was made possible by the Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship that I received.

It was important to me that I did something with my Fellowship that gave back to the community so 10% of the sale price of KEEP will be donated to the Santa Cruz Public Library for purchase of books for their children's collection. The remaining revenue I hope to pay forward into another artist's book project that will also pay back to the community somehow. That's the plan!

My project, KEEP: Modern Library, utilizes withdrawn books from a college library as material for my artwork, so now those books are completing a circle of life by generating funds for books for kids.

KEEP takes the reader/viewer on a journey with me of the last two years of gathering materials, traveling, learning, stitching and seeing, with images of all those things as well as my artwork from the project scattered throughout the book. It is mostly photographs with some line drawings and a few key words that sum up the essence of the project.

The book is 32 pages, in color, and signed, numbered and stamped with the KEEP stamp that was a partial inspiration for the project. The book is an edition of 200.

You can purchase the book for shipping or local(Santa Cruz, CA) pick up on my website here.

U.S. Residents can use the paypal button on my site and for International shipping please e-mail me and I will send you a paypal invoice (wishiwashistudio at gmail dot com).

Also, available on my website shop page is the Rydell Visual Arts Fellows 2014-2015 Catalog(Scroll to the bottom of the shop page for that). The catalog includes portraits of all three fellows (myself, Jim Denevan and Elizabeth Stephens), essays on each of us plus one from a juror, and images of our artwork. I will sign your copy!

Check out my Wishi Washi Studio Shop 
and thank you for your support!