We’ve been having so much fun around here. Half the roof had to be replaced. A rain storm happened in the middle of the roof replacement. The tarp didn’t work in one spot.
The water mess is mostly cleaned up now — mostly — but it has meant even less time in the studio. No studio time and lots of loud noise and lack of sleep makes for a grumpy Chipmunk.
I needed to get less grumpy. It was time for simple, mindless paper crafting and a small amount of studio decorating.
There’s one patch of unused wall above a drafting table. It’s too high and inaccessible for a shelf. I’d thought I might hang something decorative there, but had never gotten around to it.
If you scan something quite small, such as a postage stamp, at a high resolution you can turn it into something considerably larger with no loss of image quality. These stamps were scanned at their usual size at 3200 dpi, then resized to roughly 12 x 18″ at 300 dpi — perfect for printing on a 13″ wide printer.
These other paper aficionados have set up house right over one of my studio’s windows. Oh dear.
Update: There are two of them. One on either side of the house. The other is high up in a redwood. We’ve decided to let them stay… for now. We’ve been told they are mellow paper wasps, as opposed to the scary hornets we had a few years ago. Even so, I sure don’t want to offend them.
My experiment in blogging began three years ago today. Chewing with the Paper Chipmunk has changed quite a bit since then. A lot of things have changed since then.
But one thing has not.
My very first post was about the black widow spiders in my studio. They, alas, are still here. As I walked in the door the other day, I spied a rather large specimen darting behind a big heavy bookcase that is bolted to the wall (this is, after all, California). I can’t move the bookcase, and there isn’t much I can stick back there with which to remove her nor, I am imagining, her several hundred children waiting to hatch.
I’m not particularly worried about being bitten. Black widows, as far as I know, keep to themselves and don’t wander too far. She’s kind of cute, in her way. I’ve since seen her hide upon sight of me a few other times. Charming. Really. Delightful. Most delightful.
And now that I’ve probably scared off all my spider phobic readers (Wait! Come back!), I want to announce a celebratory blogiversary giveawaymy very first. I never dreamt three years ago how many fabulously eccentric, fun, funny, creative and all-around wonderful people I would meet through this blog. Thank you all.
Leave a comment, and I’ll send you a little surprise. I loved Amanda Watson-Will’s idea of sending a little something to several people (and, I must say, her little giveaway book was delightful). I’m not sure if my small surprise will be delightful, but that will be the idea here, at least for all legitimate and welcome comments (alas, unfortunately there’s been a dark side to having the blog as well…). The deadline is the end of this coming weekend (before Monday 12th) California time.
Some of my blogging friends have been doing things like Worktable Wednesdays or finding other thematic days to highlight their studios. I thought I’d join in. Muddled Monday came to mind, but it’s not Monday. Disarray Daily is more all-purpose. Although Freaked Out Friday might’ve worked as well.
I need to get stuff done. I have a show headed toward me. Thanks to my various maladies, I feel muddled and very, very tired. Pretty much all the time. I have been doing things, but not finishing much of anything. I have quite a few half-made prototypes and projects. I keep telling myself this is good — better than no projects at all! Still.
I decided that I need to pick one thing and focus on it as best as I can. Just start working through the list. First up is a flag book called You’re Not Paranoid. I made one similar to it a couple of years ago, and decided to make a more polished small edition. This is my prototype copy. I took Karen Hanmer’s advice and used a heavier weight paper for the flags than the spine. This ensures a satisfying tactile experience when opened.
A few other things in the pipeline: a small edition foldout book about germs with petri dish covers; a Board Book for Bored Children that will require a disclaimer that, no, I’m not really suggesting children play with matches or bleach etc; a book about memory made with a dollhouse window in a box (still being assembled); and an accordion consisting of layers of transparencies. Still not started, but being contemplated, is something with a skeletons in the closet theme. And I haven’t forgotten the vending machine minis, although I haven’t been able to do much with them at the moment. I feel overwhelmed.
Most of these projects keep winding up piled on my table. Often all at the same time.
Reminds me . . . years ago a friend came to visit. He was a sculptor whose work emphasized open space and clean lines. After sitting down in my studio, he began to look noticeably uncomfortable. Beads of sweat formed on his brow. He needed to go outside.
With grateful thanks to Buechertiger, I discovered that my blog feed was messed up without me knowing it. The new feed was working on my end and sporadically working elsewhere, so I didn’t realize that others were having a problem. It used to work. I’m not sure what happened — possibly it had something to do with the forward that I have set up from the old blog. Whatever it was, I’m grateful to my persistent friend for leading me to dealing with it.
Unfortunately, in spite of trying to do it without dumping everyone, the only way I was able to get everything working right in the end was to start over. ARGH!! My growing list of deeply appreciated followers is now . . . gone. Blogger misery and isolation.
I do realize I’m trying your patience at this point over this @#$%! blog move, but please, I’m hoping you’ll find it in your hearts (and that you’ll find that, on the whole, I’m more entertaining than annoying enough) to resubscribe, even if you just did after the move. This really should be the last time. Thank you very much. And now please excuse me while I go pound my head against the wall.
My answering machine says that I’ve been abducted by aliens again and when the probing is finished, I’ll return the call. Moving this blog has, at times, really felt like. . . never mind.
I’ve been thinking about caution signs. I’m currently working on an edition of flag books that has some inside. Not showing aliens, but surveillance cameras. A peek is coming soon.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a paper crafts story. I have a surveillance camera in my studio, aimed over my worktable. It’s actually just a paper model designed by Kenn Munk that came with the book Papercraft: Design and Art with Paper. But the weird thing is, even though I glued it together and put it there, I found myself, in the first few weeks it was there, frequently looking up at it with a vague sense of unease, as if it were real. I’ve noticed that people quietly eye it when they come in. Interesting.
Heavens! This has nothing to do with paper, books or art, but is so pleasing I just had to mention it. About a day ago my bedroom started to smell as if it were filled with roses. Lots of roses.
Then I noticed sticky gobs of sap by my printer (fortunately, not on the printer). I looked straight up over my head and saw this. It’s a Dracaena (commonly known as a corn plant). I’ve had plants like this for 25 years and never previously had one do this. Its name turns out to be Dracaena fragrans—those lushly-scented flowers, apparently, are a defining feature.
One houseplant website says they rarely bloom indoors. I thought I was mean to it, but it turns out they like low light and forgetful watering. Who knew?
It sits right next to a mother-in-law’s tongue that blooms annually. Perhaps this will become a regular occurrence.
We had a 6.5 magnitude earthquake yesterday, centered to the south of us here in Humboldt County. Fortunately for us, we shook a lot and lost our electric for several hours, but there was no damage and nothing fell off the shelves here at home. People we know who are not that far to the south didn’t get off quite so lucky.
The photo above was taken at the seaside in the town I live near, Trinidad, about a week ago. This general area is scenic, but seismically scary. A few major tectonic plates converge here. Eighteen years ago we had a series of three major earthquakes over two days. It was the only time I’ve ever seen an entire house (the one I was living in) wag vigorously back and forth. I wound up with a deep appreciation for the flexible wooden buildings we have here in California (nothing, miraculously, broke in spite of that motion).
Our most recent event made the national news. This coverage [update: since removed] from the San Jose paper includes a couple of YouTube videos. One of these is like a Humboldt County joke–it shows a bunch of people standing around in the woods like stunned deer, wondering if a redwood will fall on them. Sigh.
Much to my amazement, we didn’t find many black widows in the studio the other day, but instead found all kinds of other things that had fallen behind furniture and storage boxes.
Cleaning my work space feels as futile as going down to the beach and attempting to bail and organize the Pacific, but I guess one has to start somewhere. Part of the problem is that I sometimes do use things like leftover packaging and scraps of paper, so I can rationalize having things like that around. But one needs limits.
I discovered a while ago that those 3-tiered plastic bin organizing things designed for kids’ bedrooms are useful for messy, visually-minded artists. I’ve had one for a while and have grown fond of it. I keep rulers, inks, glues, small toys (for assemblages, of course), etc in it, and it works great. I like having things out in the open where I can grab at them.