Ink, pad and brush + a spot in the shade = the perfect afternoon.
This past week I received a request (by an non-profit that produces secondary school courses) for permission to use one of my comix from the late 90's. I'd originally created this piece - entitled "My Body" - for publication in Mind Riot: Coming of Age in Comix - a collection of coming-of-age stories. My comic addresses body image, encouraging young girls to disregard outside influences suggesting how their bodies should look, and embrace themselves just as they are.
Coincidentally, just months before receiving this request, I'd been reminded of this same piece when, much to my dismay, my TEN YEAR OLD daughter asked me the following question:
"Mommy, do you think my thighs are too fat?"
I knew this day would come, just didn't think it would come so soon.
Of course, we had a conversation (in which I tried to determine just where that idea came from - and wound up with no answers), but ultimately I dusted off my copy of Mind Riot and showed her the piece that I'd written before she was even born. It felt great to share it with her, and I believe it answered her question to boot.
If you'd like to share this comic with your daughter (or niece, or grand daughter, or Girl Scout troop...) feel free to download and print a copy here.
Just returned from our annual week-long vacation in Truro, MA, where I'd been thrilled to find a class in "White Line Woodcuts" being taught at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum during our stay. I immediately registered and I'm glad I did. The class was taught by artist Sally Brophy whose work includes white line woodcuts inspired by nature. You can see more of her prints here - my favorite is the one with mermaids, which coincidentally, I had purchased (in the form of a notecard at the Pilgrim Monument gift shop) several years previous to enrolling in her class.
Highlights of the workshop included:
Learning the white line woodcut technique.
Seeing original white line prints from the PAAM collection by artist Blanche Lazelle and others.
Visiting the Bakker Gallery to see more prints, including an origianal Sally Brophy!
Watching the documentary "Packed in a Trunk" - which uncovers the story of artist Edith Lake Wilkinson (one of the originators of the white line technique), who was "committed to an asylum in 1924 and never heard from again".
Working alongside classmates and seeing their work in progress.
All in all, a great experience - more white line woodcuts to come!
Greek vases I photographed at the Art Institute of Chicago, love these. The surface illustrations as well as the silhouettes inspired the potted plant piece below...
I worked on this series while living down by the Jersey shore one winter. The focus here was on abstract shapes, line and movement. When I look these over, I still like (and use in my current work), the bold shapes and repetitive lines. Also, I'm drawn towards the pieces with a limited color palette - 2, 3 or at most 4 colors. Over the years I've limited my palette even more, and find that one single color (along with the negative space it creates) has the most impact.
Size: about 5"x7"
Date: mid to late 90's
My latest challah cover design is inspired by an artwork I saw in a book entitled "Traditional Jewish Papercuts" by Joseph and Yehudit Shadur. It's a beautiful book, with highly informative text and descriptions. The papercut my illustration is based off of was a type of amulet called a "childbed letter". It was originally meant to hang on the nursery wall to thwart "the evil intents of the witch Lilith who carries off newborn infants"... Where there were areas of text on the papercut, I substituted a sun, and in the rectangular shape flanked by lions, I inserted the word "Shabbat" in Hebrew.
Below you can see that I've experimented with three color combinations: red and yellow, purple and orange (with purple ball fringe), and the traditional blue and white. Do you have a preference?
In future variations, I may add facial features to the animals... Initially I thought that people might want to embroider these details in on their own to add their own personal touch, but either way, having them there can at least serve as a guide...
I'm finally giving up on my stack of skinny jeans! (If I ever lose enough weight to fit back into my size twos, then I'll want to reward myself with a new pair anyway.) The multiple shades of worn and unworn blue denim will form a happy family with my block print fabrics, living side by side in a patchwork quilt. I'm making it as a gift for my mom, who loves gardening, so I decided it should have a botanical theme.
With that in mind, I select the block print fabrics that have nature related patterns, and cut them into neat little squares. I also cut the skinny jeans into neat little squares - satisfying! Then, I assemble the fabrics checkerboard style and move them around until I feel a good balance. I sew the squares of each row together, then iron them flat. Next, I sew the rows together, and iron the entire quilt top.
For the backing, I use a dark denim. I like to cut the backing about 2" larger than the top on all sides so I can use it to bind the quilt. I layer the top over the batting, and both of these layers over the backing. After pin basting, I tie the corners with embroidery thread. To finish up, I fold the backing up and over the top of the quilt, then sew it into place.
Stay tuned for pics of the finished quilt!