Inking up!

Inking up!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Six Days Left

The last print is finished for Mother Time. Of course I still have the cover and title page, and four more pieces of text to set in type and print. I have 6 days now to deliver the book, and can't believe I am stopping to post, but my feet and body and mind get tired. Plus, I thought maybe I could work on the cover design. Ha!

Here is the text for the image above: Besides the obvious doubling of thirty, sixty has its own measure in the moon and correspondences to Earth. 6 x 6 x 60 = 2,160 = the moon’s diameter in miles. In the ancient Hindu system of measure, there are 21,600 breaths per day to equal ten times the moon’s diameter. The mean distance between the earth and moon is 60 x 60 x 60 = 216,000 miles. We can only wonder that the ancient Sumerians chose this base 60 system to measure by, thereby keeping in perspective their relationship to the moon, the sun and the planets. We still use this system today to measure time.

Funny to read this again and think about my 6 days left!

Last night I had a dream about the cups that chain down from our gutters. During our Thanksgiving cold snap everything had frozen up. I took a picture of them then, and for some reason dreamed of them all frozen up again last night. Maybe I was cold. Below freezing temperatures, but no snow, are in the forecast again.

Billy just came home from a geometry night with a friend. Yippee, that means my work day is over now!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

Lately Billy and I have felt healthy, wealthy, and wise during the work week, going to bed early and getting up before light. But the weekends have been quite the reverse. We've been staying up partying and printing till too long after midnight. (Bill doing more of the partying and me more of the printing.)

We went to an amazingly over the top party over the weekend and had a late night drive home from Seattle that was intense. Many of those inches of rain were on the freeway as I hydro-planed our way home in just under 2 hours. Few cars were passing me, but when they did, their rooster tails of water were blinding and lasting so long I was worried I would hit something or someone.

The weekend was a flood of rain, literally. We had over 5 1/2 inches in 48 hours. When we got home the ground between the house and my studio was flooded, and in the morning Bill was out digging a trench to drain the water down the driveway, something we did the last el nina winter.

The night before the party I was up till 1 am, printing printing printing. I am honing in on some designs to illustrate Mother Time.



Check out this link - http://exhibits.library.duke.edu/exhibits/show/bookart
I am excited to see my Revealing History of Women's Underwear in a show at the Sallie Bingham Center at Duke University.

I am hanging in there, but need to get to work now.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Newari New Year

Saturday was a wonderful day of celebrating Newari New Year and Deepawaly, festivals of Nepal. We are exceptionally lucky to have Shweta and Pratistha so close to us and so inviting to share their festival time. Here they are with Shannon, a close friend of Pam's who was able to celebrate with us.

This is our second time to celebrate Newari New Year with Pratistha, and our first time with Shweta. This is a very festive time in Nepal, celebrated over many days, but we generally just celebrate on one day, though this year we started cooking the night before.

The party was held at Pam Didi's house in Seattle. Pam is my friend who has water development projects in Nepal through The Living Earth Institute (LEI). She was in the Peace Corps in Nepal and it is because if her that I know Pratistha and her family. Lucky Bill and I.

In Nepal, in Newari culture, each family has their own mandala design, or sometimes maybe the same design, but a different way of placing things in the mandala for prayers.

Two of our designs are traditional and specific, one for Shweta and one for Pratistha. They were drawn by Bill from photos their family's sent from Nepal and then cut out into a stencil. Bill used our geometry skills and tools to cut them out, very precisely.

Ground limestone is used in Nepal, but here we use ground rice dyed with tumeric, or last year we used powdered sugar.

Pratistha's mandala after stenciling.

We had a third design for us westerners, using the orbiting pattern of Venus as seen from Earth. It was appropriate to our geometry studies of late, so we thought it would be fun to put it in there.

Because this day is also for prayers to Lakshmi, Goddess of good fortune, it is the eldest woman of the house who does the prayers and blessing for all of us, mandalas God/Goddesses included. This falls to Pam, and a good thing, because she is so well versed in Nepali tradition and language and does a beautiful honoring of everyone.

Shweta was an elegant and beautiful overseer of the evening. Not only did she supervise much of the food, she helped make sure the prayers went as smoothly and properly as possible for a bunch of non-Nepalis. She also translated Pam's Nepali prayers into English so we all could follow along.



The food was amazing, and everyone had a really good time. Thank you everyone for your contributions of food, prayers, and presence.

We wish you all a very happy Newari New Year! Bill and I always feel so very fortunate to cross cultures and meet new friends. Thank you Pam for hosting this beautiful event!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Exotica Botanica


Last Saturday we went to Seattle again for Saturday University at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. The talk was called "Circling the Center: Pilgrimage in the Tibetan Cultural World." We took with us Pratistha and Shweta, friends from Kathmandu. Pratistha and Shweta are both Buddhist and the day was also Pratistha's birthday. Our friend Pam joined us as well. We all learned so much at the lecture and then went back to the house of P and S to have amazing Nepali food and do puja for Pratistha's birthday.

We enjoyed the talk tremendously. And plan to go again tomorrow (Saturday). The museum is in the same park as the Conservatory, so we couldn't resist going in and getting a tropical blast of warmth and flowers.









Monday, October 11, 2010

Earth to Venus

The view of Venus orbiting the sun as seen from Earth, and likewise how Earth looks from Venus as it orbits the sun. The pattern is a beautiful five-pointed star. It takes 8 years for Venus to make one star pattern: like shown above.

A few days ago Venus went "retrograde." What this means is that from where we sit on Earth and look at Venus up in the sky, it appears to be going backwards. This is just an illusion created from the different speeds of the two planets and that they are passing. Historically this has been a big deal in many cultures and many myths have been created about this time. They are myths of underworld journeys when Venus goes "below" to face demons and returns reborn as a morning star. The pentagram became a symbol of this planet and this journey of transformation.

Interestingly, Venus will be retrograde this time for 42 days. It is always about that amount. So I learned how to draw a 42 pointed star. In my geometry group we draw only with a compass, a straight edge, and pencil. So this is how this was done. 6x7=42, of course. So if you look carefully you can see that the six pointed star divides the circle every seventh point.

Last night in geometry I showed a new way (to us) to draw a pentagon/pentagram, in honor of Venus. Bill filled his page and all day today has continued to color his page.

I also learned yesterday how to find 60 equi-distant points around the circle, using only our geometer's tools. I was pretty excited, as we have all been trying to figure out 30 around and 60 around for some time. So when I figured it out, I was pretty excited, so I demonstrated this to our group as well. 60 around is about time: 60 minutes and 60 seconds build our clock, and time is ruled by Saturn. Saturn is the furthest planet out that can be seen with the naked eye, so to ancient time-keeper/astronomers Saturn was used to mark time.

This may all make me sound like an astrology geek, but I am not. It is really astronomy and archeology. I find it fascinating.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mother Time

"Every twenty-eight days the moon moves through all twelve signs of the zodiac to return to the same place in relation to the stars. Due to this lunar cycle, twenty-eight day months have divided the year in many cultures and still do in various Hindu, Islamic, and Hebrew traditions. Women’s menstrual cycles average twenty-eight days and have been symbolically related to the moon’s cycle throughout history. Interestingly, human gestation, the time it takes for a fetus to develop in the womb, averages 280 days. No wonder that the moon is often feminized and in many native cultures is called 'Mother' or 'Grandmother.'"

This is an excerpt from my new book edition project called Mother Time. I am working on 3 projects at once, all towards various deadlines. All the holidays are working ones for me! Billy has been a big help, cutting stencils and some linoleum for me, and cleaning the press in between as usual. I don't know what I would do without him. Shweta was also in the studio with me this weekend, helping me with excellent color suggestions and making multiple serious offers to organize and clean my studio. I could use some of that!

We were all pretty tired after having a lot of grandkids playing and climbing all over us, cooking, dish washing, and eating lots of pie. (It was all good.) We all had such a very good time. (The pies were 4: apple, cherry, pumpkin, and coconut cream. The grandchildren were 4, adult children were 4, Grandparents were 2, and the dirty dishes were endless.) There was even a snowball fight!

But we were tired the next day and Bill still worked so hard on a stencil for me to use for the print up top. Unfortunately, he cut a 42 pointed star instead of a 28, and we had to start all over again! I know I'll use it eventually, so it's nice to have it in the back file.

By the way, this printing style is done with stencils. The printing technique I learned from Kathy Kuehn, but designing and cutting stencils to make them I figured out on my own. I love it!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

By the Skin of My Teeth

Well, I did it. It wasn't easy, but yesterday I got Erotica Botanica delivered to the gallery with one day to spare. I am not sure I had one day to spare, as I am exhausted.

This is the wrapper with the book inside. I should say the deluxe book, although the trade edition will also have a wrapper.

There are two blue flaps inside that hold the book in at the top and bottom.

I only printed a few butterflies (they pop-up) and a few blue flaps. My press started making a new noise, and I couldn't oil it away. It doesn't sound good. So I just wanted to print the minimum I needed to until I could stop and get Bill's help to work on the press. Actually, Bill suggested I leave out the butterfly so I could stop printing, he thought the book was beautiful enough. But I couldn't leave it out now. I was in do or die mode.

My favorite of the poems:
"Bandy-legged bumble bee
your furry belted belly
tickles me"


A week before the deadline I printed the poems on one half of the book and realized the next morning I had mis-registered them. I had to begin printing that half of the book over. This happened the day before my mother-in-law arrived. So I emailed the gallery and they were able to give me a few extra days. Phew! I thought I could still print and socialize and get the book done with plenty of time to spare.

I began printing on the second half of the book and printed the colophon on the wrong page. So now I also had to re-print the second half of the book as well as the first. I gave up on the idea of printing with my company in the house. My attention was too diverted. I was getting sloppy. The good news was that I could change a few things that were bothering me.

All the imagery for the book was printed from stencils I designed and cut. Except this flower which Billy made. I think this is the only stencil that was cut once. All the other stencils for the book were cut at least twice, and some (including the leaf pages) three times! There are four different flowers and they pop-up from the folds.

I have a huge pile of models from designing the book, a pile of used and unused stencils, and many proofs of the stencils in multiple colors. What to do with all this leafy color!

For now, I will focus on binding, finishing printing the trade edition and getting that out, and getting back into a routine that includes exercise, nature, and friends.

Come see the show!
23 Sandy Gallery, Portland Oregon
September 22 - October 30, 2010
Pop-Up Now! A Juried Exhibition of Movable Books

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Poetry Poll for Pollen Poem Dilemma


Ok, here's the deal: I have written all the verses for Erotica Botanica, but I have to make a decision - which version of one particular poem to use. So I thought it would be fun to ask you all your opinion.

This particular verse is referencing "buzz pollination" or "sonification." A year and a half ago I didn't even know what this was, had never heard of it.

Certain flowers, like the shooting star and
the tomato, potato, eggplant and other flowers with cone like centers are buzz pollinated.

This is done by a bee at close proximity moving its flight muscles rapidly, causing the anthers and flower to vibrate and the pollen to be released. I assume the bee then gathers the sticky pollen from the air as it is released, but I don't know. About 5% of flowers are thought to be buzz pollinated!

So I have two verse versions. I like them each for different reasons. You can respond with just saying you prefer #1 or #2, but I would appreciate hearing your reason if you can take the time. Printing happens at the end of the week, so please respond!

#1

your dashing beat of wings
ruffles my flashing colors
sticky from what floats between
both you and I
dizzy


#2

your dashing beat of wings
ruffles my flashing colors
tipsy with what floats between
both you and I
dizzy


you can click on the word "comments" below this picture to reply, or reply to my email, whichever your preference!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Is That A Pistil In Your Pocket

or are you just happy to see me?"

I was dying to use this variation on the famous Mae West quote in my book, Erotica Botanica, back when I had other ideas of what my book was to be.

These are some of the flower prints for the pop-up version of Erotica Botanica.

I am working pretty hard, and can't really focus on blog posting these days. But I thought it would be nice to at least post a proof of some flowers and some real flowers that are thick into their "reproductive behavior." I love euphemisms.







This orchid cactus is not native to here and lives indoors. I don't think it has a friend to help it out.


Bill is at the kitchen table trying to rescue me from my latest registration "challenge." I think I should go help him now.