Sunday, August 8, 2010


Began working on a project I've been chewing on since finding a $2 beading loom during one of my regular Goodwill visits. Finally picked up the other required supplies yesterday at Michael's (which of course cost many times the cost of the bead loom itself....Silk thread for the warp: $1.99. Nylon beading thread...half off 9.99 with the coupon. (4) 10g tubes of Japanese seed beads (Delicas)....preferable to regular seed beeds which are less uniform and have a smaller interior $2.99 each. One pkg of gold/bronze mixed seed beeds (couldn't find that color in the Delica assortment there, these were a larger pkg and cheaper, and of course are screwing up the spacing.
Spent a good 2-3 hours drawing the graph, as the graphs I found online didn't appeal, and another 3 getting the first few rows completed. Am now at the point where one of the eventual four squirrels, for a design measuring about 1.5 inches by 6.5", is visible, and at about the 7 hour mark.
Here's a still of the work, I've taken two 5 minute videos showing the process, which I will attempt to get on here somehow, I expect their size may exceed what Blogger will allow and may have to upload it to YouTube and then link it...something else I've never tried. Pics and videos all taken with the photobooth feature on my MacBook.
A better version on the beadlooming demo can be found here. Suffer along with the technophobe..... Part One  and    Part Two of Adventures in Bead Looming with Skwrl. However, I obviously have some more learning to do, as YouTube compressed them as weirdly as Blogger did. Files too large, maybe. On the upside, I appear to be moving very fast, sort of appropriately squirrely. Thanks for looking :).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Printmaking Stuff

Spent the first non-humid afternoon since I picked these up getting around to cleaning the rust off the book press. I've wanted one of these forever (even though a roller/etching press would probably be more useful), and hadn't seen one since college in the printmaking studio. While reading Studley's "Making Artist's Tools" (1979), he mentions their eminent usefulness, as well as the unlikelihood of ever actually finding one, since they've all been snapped up, and for chuckles, I took a browse through Craigslist. Wound up getting this one for $150, and the type-case for a hundred. Thought that was a pretty good deal (I was feeling flush after a couple weeks of full time hours). Of course, it'll be a terrible deal if I don't get off my ass and actually start printing with it, but.....for the moment, I'm just feeling all warm and fuzzy about how I got it looking all shiny today. Before's and after's follow the pics of the typecase I still might get around to polishing. Maybe evicting the wee mousies was enough.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Book of Oot

Trying this again, came out too big last time. I'm trying to get a Flickr account set up, and uploaded scans of the last remaining Book of Oot. The others were given away, as were the posters made after those original 5 books, and the original linocuts were destroyed (my dad threw out the board they were mounted on. My fault, I left it in his garage). The Book of Oot was a final project for a beginning printmaking class at UCONN, the titles were from vintage letterpress in the basement of the studio, the books handbound in Japanese style. The subject, a desperate last minute attempt to come up with a freakin' idea.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Flora/Fauna drawing

I never quite finished this one, this is the bottom half. Still trying to scan in the (naturally, better) upper half.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A much older self portrait

I made this one in the early 90's as a woo in a turbulent love affair. The original was burned or put in a dumpster. The copy I made before actually giving it to him remains, to chronicle my absolute disregard for perspective. Keeping things in perspective was always a particular challenge.

Die Installation and Removal

Made this to try and develop an understanding of the mechanical procedures at a former job where I was a QC person, we printed ceramic sheets that went into IBM computers, and my job involved looking at sheet after sheet of meaningless dots on a pre-fired ceramic square to make sure it had punched properly, and that the mechanics were maintaining the machines properly. I got to wear a clean room suit with a hood. Blurry copy, sorry.

More old stuff for welding designs

The thing that actually got made looked more like a skeletal football player with wings.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Pyxis

After graduation, and after deciding that I didn't like working in a greenhouse in July, I got a job as a receptionist at a web printers in West Springfield. They'd just started up at the time, and we were printing real estate catalogues and massive junk mailings for some evangelist guy. I probably should have stayed there, I enjoyed learning about stripping and ink mixing, but they wouldn't let me near the presses. I spent a lot of my time writing letters on the typewriter. I was so emboldened by making $10 an hour, I got divorced. I spent approximately 6 months living by myself in downtown Springfield, living very dangerously. It was a time when I might have done something like, oh, I don't know, learn how to be independent. But it didn't last long. Anyway, one of my bosses had a boat, and a rich wife. I got to ride on the boat during an employees day off, and got so drunk on wine coolers that I wound up in Rhode Island instead of Springfield when I tried driving home after the day on the boat out of Mystic. Later, Chris Knode, one of the nicest bosses I ever had (despite telling me I didn't dress professionally enough....and brought me his wife's hand me downs so I could look a little nicer, and saying that if I was ever going to make more than $10 an hour, I'd have to get an MBA. I declined. But I did take him up on his request that I make this painting of his boat. Oh, and he wasn't right about the $10 an hour thing. Twenty years later, I have gotten up to $11 !!!! dollars an hour, dispatching drivers from an autopart store and putting away merchandise. Huzzah!

Mostly long destroyed sculptures

I wound up taking a couple of welding classes, but I was supposedly a "ceramic sculpture" major. I only got to take one of the proper ceramics classes, the lady who gave most of the courses wouldn't let me into the tightly knit group of students who had decided earlier in their matriculation to devote themselves to worship of her. So, I did most of my stuff independently, under the deranged and almost entirely uninvolved tutelage of Ray. I forget his last name. He made a lot of gigantic bronze pieces of men's penises, and liked to sink his former student's work in the pond outside the converted mill he'd turned into his home. I didn't really like Ray, but he really liked my husband. The nicest piece here, the things that look a little like geese talking to each other, actually won a $300 prize at the senior show. Whoopee. It cracked in transit when I moved to Portland, but that didn't stop someone from buying it for a hundred when I moved back. The drums were fun, I gave those to my ex-BIL, who is still a musician...and might even still have them. The "Gate", is no longer a gate. The individual schlumpy pieces have been relocated by my dad around the yard, where they house thriving hornet populations every summer.

Early Printmaking Efforts

The nature of this particular beast would imply that I should have a few of these hanging around somewhere. I might, though I seem to remember giving away most of them as last minute gifts over the years.....a poet type friend owns most of the Dante's Inferno series I did (mostly etchings and a mezzotint, mostly sucky, being all initial attempts at various methods, though I was rather fond of the mezzotint, featuring as it did the ninth circle of hell....Judas, gnawing on the head It's been awhile). Here we have a linocut of a Day of the Dead inspired skeleton, and one of the other circles of hell. In a future post, I'll scan in what was my proudest achievement in printmaking, the one book I ever finished (apart from some really shoddy attempts at making a 'zine in the mid-90's), "The Book of Oot". I'll elucidate on that later. It'll be good, I promise.

A couple of ink drawings

I liked making minutely detailed ink drawings for a couple of reasons. I could do them stoned. I could do them anywhere. And I could do them while sitting in bars while my then husband played open mike nights. The photo of the two of the ladies sucks, I'm sorry, I'm not sure these still exist, I'd have to look through the piles of clutter. The one of the ruined mill, however, which I was very proud of at the time, is in the possession of my mother in Indiana. She peeled it off the inside of a kitchen cabinet where it was living, along with studies of onions and lemons and other deeply meaningless subjects, and had them expensively matted and framed. She tells me when she dies, I'll get them back.

It took me another couple of years to settle on a major. I wound up becoming a sculpture major, mostly because I wound up having more of those classes than anything else. I did try painting, watercolor and oils, mostly, the fumes from the later can be rather nice. We all had to take graphic design classes, but....I think ultimately, my discomfort with color ruled these out. Here's a few samples, the first, a watercolor from a life drawing class, the second an enormous oil that I ultimately sold when I moved from Oregon a few years later, and the last an acrylic color theory assignment.


I went to UConn from '86-'91, it turned into a five year plan because I switched from a Russian Studies major to Fine Art after my freshman year. The art school didn't require me to take math and science (which seemed to explain the number of basketball players and sorority girls in my classes). Art school was a refuge, along with my marriage at 19....which virtually eliminated any need to finish developing social skills. That's the's some of the work from the time......
First......a view from the porch of our apartment in Willimantic. In the house pictured, lived a woman with her retarded adult daughter. The mother enjoyed throwing knives at that tree, along with finding reasons to call the ambulance at least once a week. Her other daughter, a junkie, lived next door. Hopefully, I'll unearth the photographs I took of *her* children, who used to wander into our apartment looking for milk and food.

A Thank You

I'm going to try to write less, and draw more. Hans Rickheit recently inspired me to draw again with the publication of "The Squirrel Machine", this is the result. Not only is he an artist of the highest calibre, but a genuinely kind person to boot.
The squirrel head i'm wearing in this perhaps overly flattering self portrait is what I hope to produce in three dimensions for actual headgear. Maybe the squirrels will stop running away from me.