Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gallery Opening Tonight

Tonight there's a lot going on Downcity. Come on down to the Craftland Gallery's opening reception. The new exhibit is called Souvenir Stand and was guest-curated by local artist Liz Sheehan.
Souvenirs – French for “to remember” – are inherently contradictory. Though they evoke powerful memories for their owners, and may have high sentimental value, these objects are often cheaply and anonymously mass-produced in countries far from their point of sale. As an alternative, the artists in this exhibition share an intent to restore the maker’s biography to the souvenir, creating unique objects that reference both personal history and regional identity.
The reception is from 5-8, so please stop by and see the show and say hello. If you're interested in what it takes to curate an exhibit, Liz will be teaching a class in the School of Craft on June 9 about the art of curating. More info is here.

Some of the local pop-up RISD galleries will also be having a block party tonight, so there will be plenty of art around to visit.

Come on down!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Weaving Project

Lately, I've been feverishly making books and cards, all the while with my huge loom in the studio, with a warp I put on in a flash of inspiration. (Remember?) The other day, I finally stopped and realized . . . that was February when I put that warp on????? Gulp. I haven't touched it since!

My goal for this summer is to actually give myself some time off. Imagine? Lately my schedule is two days in the studio, three days working at Craftland, one day at the Open Market, I should allow myself Sunday to relax, right? As much as I love that my little handmade business is growing, and I actually make money off of selling stuff I make (!), it often leaves little time for being creative, and making stuff that I don't intend to sell.

I think what was stalling me with this warp was trying to think of an end use for it. What will this be? How will I use it? Can I sell it? So, on Sunday, I just let myself weave. Does it need an end use? My loom had been unused for about 4 years, and then in the past year that it's been set up again, I had used it once. Maybe I just need to let myself ease back into it, remember the feel of doing it and actually allow myself some quiet, creative time that I'm not thinking about price points and profit margins.

What a relief. Maybe it was the Pura Vida card I designed, or that the sun is out again, but it's now on my list of things to do to actually relax and refresh.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pura Vida

This new Pura Vida card is the latest in my travel inspired collection of stationery. This design was inspired by my 2007 trip to Costa Rica. For anyone who has been, I'm sure hearing this phrase brings a smile to your face as you remember hearing it there. For those who haven't been, pura vida is a phrase used in a similar way to aloha in Hawaii. It's sometimes used as a greeting, a farewell, or just an expression that gets thrown around for a whole host of reasons. It translates into pure life, but it often used as a "this is living" kind of expression.
I remember one of the last nights of our trip, a bartender asked us how we liked his country. We confessed to loving it, not wanting to go home and ended with, "ahhh, Pura Vida!" He smiled "Oh, you know Pura Vida?" We said we knew it from spending a week here, but what did it mean to him. He said it means being happy, leading a good life, not being so stressed. He thought those of us from the U.S. work too much to have bigger houses, bigger cars, more stuff, but we don't enjoy life, we're always stressed out.

The people of Costa Rica are often said to be among the happiest in the world, and it doesn't surprise me. While they may have less according to our U.S. standards of what is supposed to bring you happiness; they enjoy life and focus on the things that make living important.
It's easy to relax, enjoy life and smile at the sunset while on vacation, the challenge is to hold onto that when you get back home. Every time I think of Pura Vida I smile, and try to be present and slow down.
The illustration I paired with Pura Vida on this card is based on a photo I took of a ginger plant. This is one of my favorite tropical plants. I remember seeing it in Hawaii, Costa Rica, and I would love when it would show up in the background on Lost! The bright red color is so vibrant and so tropical. This design I printed on my Gocco printer and just listed in my Etsy shop, here. It will also make its appearance at the Open Markets this summer.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Providence Open Market: Opening Day

Outdoor craft show season is officially here. I'm already regretting not weight training all winter to make transporting tent weights easier. Saturday was opening day at the Providence Open Market. It was surprisingly slow for an opening day, but I still think it went well. It was a lot of fun to see familiar faces, both sellers and shoppers, and to meet lots of new people. It was also a reminder that I'll be spending the summer sewing Rhode Island journals!

I forgot how fun it is to hear everyone tell me about their secret map addictions (this card is often a hit for the addicts), and also to hear their travel stories. It's amazing to me how people can look at a map of a place and be transported right back to that time and place. I heard about one young woman's year spent living in Nepal, and a story about a trip in a rented Volkswagon driving from Amsterdam to Copenhagen by a very old man. I wish I had asked him what year he made that road trip.

As usual, D wore his shirt and was on camera duty. Here are a few photos of the day!

Please come by and visit. I'll be there May 29, June 5 & 19 and then again September 11, 18 & 25. The Farmers Market opens there on June 5, so all you foodies had better come say hi after you buy all that fresh produce.

My space
Heather of Heatherjeany
Suzanne of Tanner Glass

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rhode Island Hike

Two weeks ago (was it really that long) we did another hike from the Weekend Walks in Rhode Island book that we love so much. This one took us out to Matunuck, RI. We've been trying to do the coastal ones lately since the traffic will be too much in the heart of summer. This one was in the National Wildlife Refuge, Trustom Pond. I learned from the volunteer working that day, that for such a tiny state, we have a lot of protected areas because we're a stop on so many migration routes. I have a thing for migrations, so this idea really appealed to me. Here are a few photos from our day.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gracias Cards

I'm currently working on a stationery collection inspired by some of my travels. I previously made an Aloha card and Mahalo card inspired by trips to Hawaii. In order to have it less Hawaii-centric, I designed and printed a card inspired by my recent trip to Ecuador and am currently working one based on my 2007 trip to Costa Rica. My Ecuador inspired card simply reads ¡Gracias! and has a border pattern along the top and bottom.
One of the reasons that Ecuador appealed to me as a destination, was its rich textile history. As a textile designer and weaver, I have a special interest in a place's unique textile history and how that plays a part in their culture. One such technique that is practiced in Ecuador is backstrap weaving and seeing it in person was a highlight of my trip. (I blogged about that experience here.) While in Otavalo, I bought a piece of weaving made by José Cotacachi (that's José weaving in the second video of that blog posting) and it was this piece that I based this pattern on.
An interesting side note, before traveling to Ecuador I had bought a used book from 1987 about Otavalo weaving. Upon returning, I was flipping through this book and saw a photo of a much younger José. Here he is photographed winding a warp.
These cards have been Gocco printed on a curry colored card stock. The word Gracias has a slight texture to it and is printed in brown ink. (I love the exclamations points in this typeface. The challenge was finding a typeface that didn't make it look like iGracias.) The diamond border is printed in a rich purple. The card comes with a chocolate brown envelope. I just listed them in my Etsy shop and they made their debut at Twist.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Twist IV: The Recap!

This past weekend I participated in Twist, a two day show in Northampton, Massachusetts. My blog void last week can be blamed on my pre-show frenzy. I was trying desperately to get my display looking good, and I was feverishly trying to bind as many books as possible. The result was being totally exhausted, but with a table top display that I thought looked good, and was full of books. (I even had overflow that I could keep adding to keep it looking full.)
A bunch of us drove up together, and were set up near each other, Rhode Island Row as we were referring to it. I especially enjoyed meeting in person some of the Craftland artists whose work I try hard to sell every week and it was also fun to meet new artists and see some new and exciting work. Here are a few photos, and the rest I've uploaded onto my Flickr page.
Seeing a rainbow before loading up the car was an extra treat.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monthly Post

My monthly post for May is up on the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team blog. Read it here. This one is about keeping a journal, without using a journal.

Oh, and just on the off chance that Bono is a regular reader of my blog, Happy 50th Birthday!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Arts in Rhode Island Spring Show, the recap

This past Saturday was a gorgeous spring day, and we had a lot of fun at our Arts in Rhode Island spring show. It was great to see everyone, and catch up and see what everyone is making. I was pretty much sewing books the whole time as I chatted. Special thanks to Jyll for organizing and letting us all set up in her gallery, West Side Arts. Here are some photos from the day, click on each photo to go to the artist's Etsy shop.
One of the highlights for me, this skirt made by Katelyn of PhriendlyK8 Threads. That middle panel of fabric was familiar to me, I had those sheets as a kid! So fun to see that pattern given new life in this dress.
Always love seeing Lisa from Pink Lemonade Boutique coming and going from any show. Cracks me up.
The night before the show, I made D a new shirt for Craft Show Season 2010. Last year's shirt was just OK, I realized after making it that the paper should be used on light colored shirts. (See what I mean, here.) It made a difference for sure putting it on a new, light shirt. This heat transfer paper is awesome if you want to make just one of something, but I still don't think it's that great on knits since it does crack a little when it gets stretched. Still, for my purpose it works well. I love that D kept it on all day as he ran his errands. It always gets chuckles at a craft show, but confused looks at places like the supermarket or mall.