papercuts

Summer slips to fall

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Silver lining  17″x5″

Every year the fall comes and I get itchy, antsy for the crispness in the air and for new adventures and change. When I was young, Maine’s Common Ground Fair marked the change with bluebird days and annual sighting of my blacksmith friend Zack, (who still exists, see his wonderful workHERE) then dockside departure preparations for sailing ships, and  winter work seasons in the sun or even southern hemisphere….

Now its the first day of preschool.

But im still itchy, expecting that change to come that will somehow re-arrange complicated life into a new and clearer path.

In the meantime, standing by…. i am preparing,

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Sneak peek of Emergency Preparedness Poster Series, coming soon to an Island near you.

It has also been a summer of love in the studio, with a bunch of commissions for anniversary gifts and wedding Kettubah. here are some snippets, and best wishes to all the happy couples.

Sadly, this summer has also seen the passing of loved partners and changing of longtime loves. It is an imperative reminder to me that we can never be prepared to loose someone, so instead  may we have and hold and love so sweetly, making the most of whatever time we get to share.

 

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on the books

Last year I bought a 1969 chevy van.  It is so great, it has its own corny, sexy, song.

It was bought to haul around the region my large pieces of framed artwork.   6 feet of glass, times many such pieces, quickly overwhelms even a stationwagon. Not to mention installation  projects and 50 gallon drums to fill with message bottles.

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This year, big art pieces….not so much.  As my path with this art-work thing goes on its winding way, all roads lead to books, and illustrations,and less 6 foot sheets of glass (for the moment). Luckily the van has another purpose and is gearing up to haul my small family and our tiny boat to Baja for an expedition in the Sea of Cortez this winter.

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Currently on the docket are illustrations for a collection of sailing stories and thoughts from the smiling guru on simple living Teresa Carey. I am also working on the mock-ups for a Northwest childrens’ adventure story. Already on their way to print are “S is for Salmon”, made hanychartw_word1Angelstaircase1from the Salmon and Salal Alphabet project images, and a cameo illustration in an upcoming book from Ivars.

Perfect work to be done with nothing but a pencilcase and travel-size drawing board as the summer unfolds and we trundle around in that van full of food, bikes,  running shoes and playing gear instead of frames.

         Sometimes life fits into the space it has. Like Goldfish.

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Dear Lake #6 from Urban Lakes install.

2013

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“Untouched” 24″x18″

For this year i am thinking that i want to make more things for myself and my loved ones, there will be plenty of art,  but i want more banana breads, and jars of jam, and hand stitched curtains, and superman insignia silkscreened on everything my son owns.  I want to turn off the internet, (wasnt blogging intended to be done at a cafe?)  read more books, plant a not so improbable garden, and listen to all the stories my mom can tell me.

Resilience and Revelry  are what im thinking of this year. …. and maybe running, ive been doing lots of running.

 

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12 miles today and more to come thanks to some lovely inspiration tangled up in an art contract. This year I will make a series of images for each of Rainshadow Runnings’  trail races and ultramarathons.  As we started to go back and forth to make it all happen I began to think that maybe it was a little bit of fate that they contacted me, and really what excercise do i have time for if not running?  No, crazy gear, no pool schedules to wrestle with, and as it happens the dog needs to get walked and the kid needs to get to school anyway. So ive been running, recently in the rain, and along the Truckee river during a trip to set up a show at Riverside Studios, and over Christmas in frozen midwest cornfields reminiscent of the movie “Winters Bone”.

It is clearing my head, and letting fresh ideas flow….

So the running part is not my resolution, its the making space in life, so that these new  ideas and old ideals can  grow.

Happy new year.

 

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“Along Highway 139″  18″x24”

 

Salmon and Salal- A Northwest Alphabet Project

         In the 1980s a woodblock artist called Mary Azarian went to work in a rural one-room schoolhouse in Vermont. Finding it bleak and uninspiring, she set strait to work making a set of alphabet posters for the walls depicting rural life and objects.  The alphabets’ fame spread and later the Vermont Board of Education commissioned sets for every school in the state.  After falling in love with her work and this story, I started to look around at my own sons pre-school and the other learning places in our lives.   Despite many fancy alphabet sets on display at kids’ stores, I kept coming across playrooms and library corners without this most essential literary tool.  I would guess this is a product of extensive budget cuts and a culture of teacher-out of pocket expenses for anything “extra”.

So I proposed  (to the CityArtist grant committee at Seattle Office of Arts and Culture) to make an alphabet set using papercut technique and then transferring it to silkscreen to reproduce the copies by hand. The 20 set first printing would be donated to schools, libraries, and community centers in the greater Seattle area.  5 of these locations would be chosen to do an in-person “demonstration”.  This visit will include me introducing the alphabet by reading through the letters, bringing in show and tell items related to the images, and describing creative process of making the posters from field sketches to long hours in the  printshop.  I would also bring a small silkscreen setup so each child/person can pull their own small print of a favorite letter.  These demonstrations are going to be  be kicked off with a family friendly presentation at my local Ballard library, ( October 13th 2pm)  to explain the project and art making process to community, friends, and family. …. Watch out those Salmon specimens are slippery!

 

To my great delight this project has taken flight and will also be turned into a book  to be published by Sasquatch press, still a year to go on that process but ill keep you posted on release dates.  At the moment i’m busy silkscreening the last of the letters and compiling my list of childrens’ programs who will receive the handmade sets, if you have a worthy place in mind let me know with a comment, i need them to be spread out all around the city.

For those of you who have run off to Port Townsend for October, ill have a bunch of pieces in the  “Black and White” show at  the Simon Mace Gallery. See EVENTS page for details.

 

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Straight Back Home to You

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When I think of home it is still a saltwater farm, and a blonde man, and a swirl of swallows so busy, so certain of purpose as they build.

This month we will present Straight Back Home to You  as a multimedia installation in Gage Academy of Arts’  Steele Gallery. It is an idea that was blown in on the wind and kept me up all that night. I am lucky to know the lovely new curator at Gage, Shelly Leavens, and even luckier to have been given an opportunity to make an idea into an exhibit.

I drew a napkin sketch with an improbable nest at the center, so i called the remarkable sculptor Margie Mcdonald. Scampering through the picture was a woman, so I got in touch with mover and shaker Amy Ross and she assembled a team.  I imagined subtle counterpoint to McDonalds dramatic structures….and the ephemera of Sarah Jones had to be worked in. But what would be the sound?… Emily Eagle is crafting that part.  And with all of this there must be one perfect bite or smell or bit of drink…. Jess Thomson is the one for that in my life.

Now here it is, a thing forming around me, that I get to push and pull together at the end when they  have done their good work. Maybe with a thousand birds of mine,  and childs building blocks, and the artifacts that we keep through all the changes, all the moves, and  all the  paths we make from our front door.

See the installation on the third floor, 1501 10th ave E.  Sept. 7- Oct. 6

Come be part of the fun and pies and performance during the reception on Sept. 21st. 6-8pm.

*ill be sure to add some photos when we get to installing…

Seaworthy

Due to a storm off the Azores, I nearly forgot to pick my son up from preschool.

Ann Davison was the one sailing, the first crossing of the Atlantic by a lone woman sailor. I was the one reading her book “My Ship is So Small” in the back yard grass and musing  too long over the rigging of a passing catamaran while waiting to cross the locks.

A series of inspiring projects have been causing me to loose myself in sea-fever after a good few years of being content to play at the very edges.  Ann Davisons’ tiny boat, the Felicity Ann has just landed in Port Townsend and a group of amazing ladies have taken up the charge and plan to work with the NW school of wooden boatbuilding to create a series of empowering opportunities for women and girls starting with the restoration. Felicity Ann Boat Project.

“Go North, Go Simply”

Also in the works is a sweet little documentary being made by an old Outward Bound friend of mine, Teresa Carey, who has her own small fame these days for blogging about her experiences as a singlehander and striving for simplicity. The movie is called One Simple Question and documents an expedition she made with her partner on their own tiny boat  in search of  icebergs and answers. Watch the trailer, I love how she can ask big questions with the winning charm of a rosy cheeked girl from the great lakes.

Maybe not so much of the Sea but at the heart of Seattle, the Center for Wooden boats just opened their North Lake workshop and warehouse, next to Gas Works park in what used to be the mysterious and wonderful land of sea squatters and schooners called Metrodock. I made a piece that fits in panels between the old wooden studs and looks toward the buildings long and happy future as a community anchor for the North end of the lake.

Lucky me lucky me if only i could go to sea.

For the moment it is  well enough to be involved with some wonderfully seaworthy endeavours.  My own current show called “Hydrodynamics” is up at CLICK in West Seattle.  In this series of papercuts  I have been playing with the many qualities of  water  and the different types of linework  and form I can use to tell the seas’ stories.

Current Line 25″x35″

Ill be on hand Thursday June 14th for West Seattle Artwalk.

What a good excuse to see the citys best sunset.

Seastack 20″x16″

Alder and Anemone

The Field

A fixed location.
The fields breathe
their amber afternoons,
and gray mornings. Grasses
sweep the wind
like wings.
The thick webs
of autumn spiders
snap, then dance.
The man
leans over the fence,
gives apples to horses.
The paddock
from barn to where the pond
dips down into cattails
releases cowbirds and killdeer.

So certain is this field,
horizon becomes
a question.

—Anita K. Boyle

Among the alders hide my ongoing work at capturing the world around me in stark black and white.  Anita K Boyle will be joining me at the Sammamish Library on Tuesday the 17th to celebrate the crisscrossing inspirations of our creative energy and  the natural world. I will show off my work at the City Hall (next door) and then speak a bit about my own process and naturalist leanings,  Anita will read more of her lovely poems, and to finish, a representative from a local non-profit “Sammamish Walks” will talk a little about various ways and opportunities to learn about and enjoy the area.

City Hall will be open from 6-7pm for viewing, the Library program starts at 7ish in the meeting room and runs about 1 hour. Kids are welcome (its a new library with a great kids area).

Anemones are the first star  of my new alphabet…..but we are all trying to slow things down right, so ill hold on to that a little bit longer.

The picture above is at Sammamish City Hall (and looking for a more permanent home) 28″x 60″ 2012

 

This Distance

What’s distance to me? Even birds
in flight need no assistance.

Butterflies.

I need a space with light. A few trees.
I’m no judge of anything.

The earth sings
with ease. Frogs sound
throughout the night.
I’ve wandered here awhile.
I’ve all the music I need.
This is not a disgrace.

I’ve planted the willows
on the first island of the lake.
If the red-winged blackbird means yes,
I agree.

—Anita K. Boyle