Archive for the 'before coffee' Category

Hilde Domin – reading

Thanks to Buchmerkur Schroersche Berlin [Link here], I have started searching for English/German side by side publications of Hilde Domin’s poetry. I’ve stumbled onto the poems translated by Meg Taylor and Elke Heckel online here. Autumn eyes/Herbstaugen is particularly lovely.

I’ve also been enjoying a book on Harlem by Jonathan Gill. From the first altercation between the people already living there and the Dutch, to its place in history as a place for Jewish and Irish immigrants to start out, race clashes, and the Harlem Renaissance. The book continues through 400 years, and I’ve only reached the jazz era. 🙂 But it’s all history we didn’t learn in school, so I’ve been having a great time learning how much I didn’t know.

Bit by the Printer’s Devil part II

 

linocut-reflect

“Reflection” – final project: combined polymer plate and linocut print, hand printed with gradient.

In 2016, I took a course in printmaking, and I got to experiment with linocut, letterpress (with a polymer plate), risoprint, and a mix of two techniques for the final process. Of the 3 techniques, I found linocut to be the most satisfying, with polymer plate in 2nd place.

 

Here’s the breakdown:

  1. If you want to personally carve the blocks, be able to hand press (using a barren or the back of a spoon), or be able to adjust colors with your brayer, so there is a gradient on the print, linocut might be for you.

    lino-jacobsladder

    Linocut print, hand printed with back of a spoon.

  2. If you want to draw something, then process it in the computer minimally for a print that shows your drawing line (sending away the file to get a polymer plate [a bit like a gummy raised sticker that gets affixed to a metal plate for use in letterpress] back), then a polymer plate might be for you. Negative: I wanted to be more hands on with creating the polymer plate so i could adjust it as I went along, but that wasn’t possible with facilities available.
  3. Letterpress is exciting, and involves putting the plate into an older press [may or may not have any real safety features], there is an inking plate up top that the rollers go over. You’re able to layer different colors but not fine tune gradients. If you want speed, this will allow you to be quick, if you’re coordinated, and able to get the paper in and out of the pins in time. [Note: I am NOT coordinated, and that story leads to blood, and we’re just not going there again.] Polymer plate isn’t limited to just letterpress. You can use a setting up press to print these, and get gradients, which was very satisfying, FYI, and very close in technique to classical printmaking (and I’m fast at that).
  4. Risoprint: great results, very satisfying for the people receiving the prints (I made a little book). Negative: I had to use computer programs to lay things out, then send the files away to have them printed at a special facility. My local printmaking teachers are in process of getting a press fixed so they can do these in house, but it is still less hands-on than I wanted. Positive: lots of color theory, adjusting the weights of grey tones in two layers that would be printed in different colors (phthalo blue on one, yellow on the other).
    risoprint-unfolded

    Risoprint: unfolded book waiting to be put together.

    polymer-plate

    Polymer plate, printed in a letterpress.

bit by the printer’s devil

Might come back and blog a bit later. But for now: classes are keeping me busy. My apologies that the blog is pretty boring while my life is exciting.

More later, once I have something to show… maybe some art? Maybe some thoughts about paper….

 

Away and Back Again

July 4th, then a trip to Denver for a huge singing conference… And it’s August already. Not sure how all that time got lost — but subbing for other people’s vacations at work, dealing with my own workload = a lot less time for introspection, writing for myself, or just painting and sketching.

The trip to Denver was lovely, and part of the time was spent with friends up in the mountains. We missed a lot of the heatwave on the East coast of the US, although the past 2 weeks now that we’re back have been a bit of a struggle with all the rain, thunderstorms, and 100 degrees one day outside.

Pictures should show up eventually on the sidebar. I might write about what it was like to sing in a music hall with my chorus, in a space that seats 3,000 (couldn’t see the audience for the blinding lights, and so no jitters). But mostly, I feel incredibly rewarded that I got to go to GALA, represent my region and chorus, explore a new place, and hear some fabulous groups. You guys: you have to see the Seattle Gay Men’s Chorus sometime; if Mano a Mano ever comes back to the States from Cuba, see if you can score some tickets… they have an album you can download from iTunes on that link; the Gay Men’s Chorus of LA was fab; and the youth LGBT choruses — still thrilled by all their talent and optimism. I wouldn’t have had the guts to sing in front of such a large group. This video [YouTube Link] from Dreams of Hope out in Pittsburgh was shown, and should be seen outside of our region and the US. It really talks about the issues of kids who don’t fit into heteronormative society.

Postcards

I have postcards all around my office. Some of them are antique, framed ones, showing photos of places that were near a camp I used to be a counselor at. Others are of bookish things from the British Isles. Still others are art postcards, bought when a local artist’s work delighted me, or a museum had a postcard of a particularly meaningful painting. I’m in the process of making more room in my office, and find that I’ll need to have a postcard framing and hanging afternoon, hopefully when it’s icky outside.

Artists whose postcards I’ve collected:

Martha Dougherty is a contemporary artist who does lovely watercolors set in Baltimore, Maryland — both interior views and external street scenes. Truly lovely. Here’s another one [Madison at Charles Street]. In some of the saturated street scenes, she’s the artist whose work is the closest reflections of the way I see color in landscapes. Very interesting. Linda Hall is another contemporary artist who does watercolors in Chestertown, Maryland.

So, have you collected postcards? If so, are they just mementos of places you’ve been, scenery you love, mail you received from loved ones, or affordable art?

 

 

Attics

Our attic is like many others after winter: dusty, filled with any number of weird things, and incredibly chaotic. While in the process of straightening things up, I stumbled over:

  • Textbooks (honestly, the philosophy books and Fowlers book on literary crit can go)
  • Children’s books (I’ve tagged most of these for the Little Free Library down the block)
  • Art books (I’m sending several out as surprises, to people I think will like them)

Books I’m sending to the secondhand bookshop include books that scared me witless in 6th grade, and The Endless Steppe, which some child might find interesting, etc.

And then I stumbled over the doll clothing. Most of the doll clothes were all lovely little things that my mother had. Petticoats, pantaloons, dressing gowns, dresses, pantsuits for boy dolls, little flower girl dresses, dresses from Gone with the Wind. Tightly crocheted little caps. And I wonder, eyeing the boxes in the attic: where are the dolls that would have worn them? And will it be a nice or startling surprise.

Jonas, the very naughty storm

copernicus

Copernicus statue, Warsaw

In January, I traveled to Europe for meetings. Going to another country is always interesting, although it’s normally more fun when on holiday. During my week, I started to get word that my flight home might be rerouted. And then it was canceled.

I found myself at loose ends and decided to walk to a museum or two. The Chopin museum in Warsaw: highly rated, and they managed to get around the translation issue by providing people with electronic keys (like an electronic door entry device) that you hold up to different video monitors. You either got subtitles, or an explanation in your language. It was a lovely interlude of music and history, and interactive things. If you’re in Poland and you like classical music, schedule time for this one. I walked in the frosty air, hit 7 miles on my pedometer that day, and generally had a good time because I was going home. I went back to the hotel, packed my stuff, and set my alarm, ready to head off after a lovely treat.

Then my flight home was canceled again. Jonas had been a very naughty storm, trashed the eastern seaboard and made it impossible for planes to land. So I had a tiny little meltdown. I can’t imagine I was the only person who felt that way, but people in the travel team were really kind. The piles of snow  were impressive once I got home, the plows broke down in our street, and I did have to shovel the front walk multiple times.

Hopefully you weren’t one of the people affected by the storm, or its aftermath as it headed to the UK as torrential downpours.


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