I’ve just spent most of the morning responding to emails. It always seems that the morning has gone before I have accomplished anything. Yikes! There is invoicing and bookeeping to be done, and revisions to be made (after first perusing my favourite blogs). I have made myself a promise that if I get through all that, then I can work some more on “Hortence & Giles”.
I spent much of yesterday (Sunday) doing research for a new book (an activity book for a slightly younger audience of 9-12yr. olds). I love sitting cross-legged in the children’s section of a bookstore and eaves dropping on kids playing there. There was a four year old flipping through “The Grouchy Ladybug” by Eric Carle (one of my personal favourites) and was ‘reading’ it from memory. The part he seemed to remember the most was when the Ladybug says repeatedly, “You wanna fight?” I sat giggling. Kids love this part, especially when he picks a fight with the whale. (It sounds rather violent I know, but there is a sense of satisfaction in the reader knowing that this Ladybug is too big for his britches. A little lesson in Karma.)
I finally got to see “Living Out Loud” for the first time in a store. It was a surreal experience, my immediate reaction was, “Oh, did I leave that there?” Then there was a real feeling of satisfaction at having achieved something that I set out to do, (four years ago it was just an entry on my “list” that said “write a book and get it published”.) The whole experience of becoming a ‘published’ author is something of a conundrum. There is a definite feeling of being disconnected from the book itself once it is released out into the world. It is no longer ‘the thing which i created’ but rather ‘the thing that is being sold’. This is not a negative observation per se, but an understanding of the two energies being completely seperate from each other. I am always a little surprised and elated when I receive an email from someone saying they have bought my book. A kind of “wow, I am reaching people that don’t know me”, how strange. I spose I should not be surprised by this, but since I am not in bookstores everyday I do not get to see people responding to it. I am grateful for every single email that comes in, (the ones from far away countries are even more surprising.)
Do you ever find something and get a little spark of electricity, almost a knowing that it is something special? I picked up a copy of Speck -A Curious Collection of Uncommon Things, by Peter Buchanan-Smith (of the Ganzfeld fame) and felt exactly that. It is such a hard book to explain. My favourite entries include Amy Unikewicz’s “Found Alphabet”, she spells out the alphabet with pieces of garbage, Adam Yates photographic series of “The Back Side of Paintings”, and Lauren Redniss’s drawings of things found at Grand Central Station.
Check out The Ganzfeld’s tribute to William Steig
She rocks my world.
I bought a new scarf from Andrea as a treat! It had to be fuschia for me.
Rumour has it that Somerset Studio Magazine has a write up on Living Out Loud!
The opening went very well. I got to meet the brilliant artist Ryan Price (it was a double bill with him and I). His work is so beautiful and haunting, the pieces make you want to look deeper into them and at times avert your gaze.
I’d like you to meet two of my newest creations…
Giles has a tendency to get into some rather messy predicaments, but luckily Hortence has a penchant for problem solving. Together they make a good team. A story is slowly evolving.
I am torn today between work and wanting to spend some time outdoors. I’ve really been excited about making a series of dolls based on these new characters. The doll idea is inspired in part by the T&O dolls designed by Marilyn Neuhart (who worked with Charles and Rae Eames). So I started my first one the other day. Basically I printed the design onto iron-on transfer paper (with an ink jet), ironed it onto some white cotton, and sewed it up in a pillow type format. (The trick with this paper is to keep the iron moving over it, peel up a corner to test, it usually requires more heating in my experience. After I go over the blacks with a permanent marker to make it stronger.) Then I added a felt scarf, and made a cute little black felt purse for Hortence. I think the thing that makes me the most happy in this world is bringing something to life, going from idea to execution. Hortence is travelling around with me now, seeing the world*. Sometimes I feel like a kind of Dr. Frankenstein. “It’s alive!” [insert manic look here] This style of “pillow” dolls reminded me of going into fabric stores as a child and seeing racks of doll patterns printed onto flat cotton. Usually in the form of ugly teddy bears or hollie hobbie. I like that I can use the concept to my advantage here.
*My digital camera is on it’s last legs, so sadly I cannot post photos today. I will try and get some up soon.
I finally picked up “Sunny” by Robin Mitchell & Judith Steedman, it’s fabulous! It comes with a c.d. of really hip tunes (which are actually not just for kids, I’ve been listening to it over and over.) The flap has instructions on how to make your own instruments.
True story: Today Amazon.com recommended to me “Living Out Loud”. How appropriate! At least they’re paying attention to what I’m into.
Liking this Eames Stationery!
I think I will compromise by going for a walk in the woods and then sewing up Giles. Oooh, that sounds nasty doesn’t it?
For your reading enjoyment…a new article:
In the past two weeks I have plugged through a lot of work, including:
-finishing my show (there are bits of collage everywhere, they were glued to my socks, my cat, the floor in my studio)
-a card design for Hallmark
-an album cover
-an editoral piece
-mailing booklet orders
-doing my books (financial that is)
-a wish jar tale
So I’m giving myself a little public pat on the back! Whew. The show is finished and hung. All that is left is to show up at the opening. I picked out a special outfit, something vivid to match the intensity of the work…
Also, I recently did the cover of a young adult novel for Random House. It’s called “A Winter Night’s Dream” by Andrew Matthews. It’s a cute love story based on the Shakespeare title of a similar name.
I’m very excited about beginning to make some X-mas gifts. Inspired by some clothes I saw at Distill, I’ve decided to give felting a go.
(WARNING: if you are a close friend or family member do not read any further. Gift descriptions to follow. Dad, Jen, Matt and Wendy, this means you!)
A and I are going to felt a bunch of colourful old wool sweaters, and make them into mitts and hats! I became so immersed in colour doing my collages I can’t wait to do the same with wool. Since I have only experimented with this on a small scale I will let you know how it goes.
Here are a couple of great links on felting…
-Get Crafty how to
-ekologic, a company that makes beautiful designs. Mine will not be nearly this detailed, think basic mitts with a different coloured band, maybe a button sewn on for looks.
Penelope reminded me to do this today. Ten things I am grateful for this weekend:
1. Colour (the leaves are gorgeous right now).
2. a vintage 1930′s red dress that I am wearing to a dinner party tonight.
3. really good jobs coming in (I am celebrating).
4. the harvest. you should see all the fabulous local food I bought today, butternut squash, leeks, carrots, oyster mushrooms, baguette, arugula.
5. my health.
6. having dinner with good friends.
7. new babies in my life.
8. a clean house.
9. sharing secrets with friends.
10. creating new artwork and enjoying the process.
Oooh, I had to add a couple more links…
…how to make an origami Japanese Maple Leaf. Decorate your home.
…Pamela Barsky has started her own blog in an attempt to document the day to day experiences of running your own business. I for one am very excited about it! It is so great to share in the processes of others. Keep it up Pamela!
…loving the illustrations of Annika Smajic.
So after all that procrastinating I was doing about the show, when I got right down to it an actually started doing the work I got hooked. Now I can’t stop. I’ve done about 20 collages and am hoping to do another 15 at least. They have a kind of “modernist” feel to them, somewhat reminiscent of the 40′s & 50′s. Yesterday I took some down to my friend’s gallery in Toronto, Distill. Located in the beautiful Distillery District (if you are nearby you must visit it). To my delight she quite liked them, so after the show I will be displaying some pieces there. Suddenly I am becoming a fine artist, and it’s a whole different world. A helped me shoot some slides of the new work, so I will post some photos when I get them back next week.
While at the Distillery I stopped in to see one of my favourite textile makers Rukus (for some reason their site has some issues in IE). Their world is so full of colour and bold graphics. I was wearing one of their bags at the time and the girl at the counter was overjoyed to see someone with her work! She beamed happily when I told her I was a Rukus addict. I could drown in the colours, and it feels really good to support other small business artists. They had a lovely linen teatowel that I wish I had bought with an essay about teadrinking printed on the front.
Then is was off for coffee at Balzac’s, and a trip to the art supply store to replenish my dwindling supply of goache. I got another beautiful chinese paste brush. I must admit to purchasing art supplies for aesthics purposes, (and I’m a sucker for anything in a nice box, namely japanese brushes.) I so enjoy pulling out my little wooden box of brushes and displaying them while I work. Sadly I am not so good at cleaning them regularly.
I spent several hours today at a friend’s farm picking pumpkins! It is a gorgeous fall day, the first sunny day in a long time in this part of the world. This weekend we had to harvest all of the vegetables from the garden for fear of frost. Because many of them had not ripened I spent several hours cooking and preserving some Green Tomato Curry (it’s almost like a pickle but can be eaten warmed over rice). With the ripe ones I made a really tasty Tomato and Red Pepper Salsa (six half litre jars), which will probably not last a month. I’m now on the hunt for a really good Pumkin Soup Recipe.
Green Tomato Curry
1/4 cup butter
2 cups onions, chopped
1 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp. curry powder
1 cup water
8 cups green tomatoes
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt to taste
Saute onions in butter for 10 minutes. Add curry powder and cumin and cook for 5 minutes longer. Stir in water and remaining ingredients. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour depending on desired thickness. Serve over rice. Serves 4.
Show opening: Local Colour (in Flesherton)
October 17, 2003
7pm – 9pm
Some things I like:
…the work of Alexander Girard.
…Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
…Atonement by Ian McEwan. (for the bookclub) Having difficulty getting into this one (especially after reading “The God of Small Things”).
…Memories With Food by Roald Dahl (illustrated by Quentin Blake). My friend Helen lent this to me knowing that I am a huge Quentin Blake fan. Roald Dahl is a definite connoisseur good food and this volume contains his favourite recipes and memories of growing up in rural England, it is everything I love in the world. Sadly it is out of print.
*Thanks to Graphic Goo for featuring my site!