Monday, December 28, 2009

A Very Handmade Christmas 2009 Edition


There's this funny joke Jim Gaffigan does about when you catch onto something too late. In his version, he has just watched a movie that came out 5 years ago, and when he's like "whoa, I just saw (insert old movie here) and it blew my mind!" everyone else is over it and not excited. -- and he says "yeah, but I still want to talk about it!"

That might not have translated well, but its still how I feel about this super late Holiday post!

So you may remember last year when I scored big at the family Christmas when I was presented with one of my Grandfather's famed cutting boards? This year did not disappoint either. My mom had my name, and had been making this (and keeping it a secret from me) for the last few months:


This is a hook rug tapestry made from hand dyed wool strips looped through a the large kind of mesh/woven base-- I hardly know how to describe it myself, its that amazing. All I know is that from the moment I opened the box it looked like some kind of amazing heirloom folk-art relic, and that I can't stop looking at it long enough to know where to put it!

This particular pattern called to my mom a bit because she has three girls who left the nest. The birds in the image are carrying bittersweet.

I took handmade Christmas to a different level this year. Normally I have the time (sort of!) to make lots of stuff, but this year I gave away plenty of handmade gifts from others-- some towels made by Lish went off to my Grammie, a Vermont sugar shack print by Melanie for my Grandpa, amongst others. I ordered lots of t-shirts off Threadless that support amazing designers and some jewelry from fellow Etsians.

I received lots of handmade gifts too. Some earrings from Rag Trader from my sister, Lisa. An exquisite bowl from my other sister, Brooke -- carved by an artist in Austin from a solid piece of stone with snail fossils in it. (!)

I didn't take the Handmade Pledge this year or anything (and have to admit, I did include a sprinkle of Trader Joe's, Target, and Ann Arbor's super sweet fair trade warehouse Orchid Lane, into the mix, but I did give more handmade items this year than I have since I was 10 years old and didn't have any money of my own!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday Show Recap: Part 2

So we loaded up the wagon last Friday and headed to the windy city for my very first Renegade Craft Fair. We stayed right downtown (at kitschy/cheap wonderland: the Ohio House) After immediately hitting the Michigan Ave. H&M (we forgot to bring hats, gloves, scarves etc) we were adequately warm and ready to hang out.

(looks cold, huh?)

My sister Lisa and her husband Brad came to town too, so we all went out on Friday and had some deep dish and beers-- we didn't Yelp it up before hand and ended up at the local racetrack betting bar, a beer cafeteria, and a hotel restaurant-- but had a great time nonetheless! Chris and I found increasingly better food and drink as the weekend wore on!

We got up bright and early on Saturday and headed for the show just a few minutes away in Wicker Park. Pulaski Park Fieldhouse is a beautiful old community building with Eastern European architectural details-- a wonderful place for a show!

Here's my table in the morning-- lots of natural sunlight in this venue!

I had a little time to shop on Sunday morning--this show had over one hundred and fifty vendors-- and my favorites were the printers, of course. I got plenty of loot, but my absolute favorites were concert posters from Spike Press. They were selling slightly irregular/botched hand screened posters for $5-- considering I really only hang the misprints of my own work up, I thought they'd fit right in!

picked up this poster for the National with super fun hanging clothes and lovely shades o'green!

and one for Rogue Wave with gold gates!
(photos from spike press' site on gigposters)

also picked up a little letterpress note card from Michelle at Ann Arbor's own Elevated Press (which I framed and stuck up on wall)

(photo: elevated press)

We took off for home on Monday, and I got right to work putting together the Etsy sale (going on now!-- Buy One Get One!) and have been cleaning and organizing my supplies and inventory since.

I have lots to blog about in the coming days and weeks-- a few local projects, an online feature, and plans rolling into next year. See you next time!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Show Recap: Part 1

I sold prints at two holiday craft shows this season, and had a blast at both!

First was Detroit Urban Craft Fair on November 21st. I have only one lousy camera phone shot from this show because it was absolute crafty madness from open to close. I sold so much work that I had to ask for backup frame delivery service to the venue, (thanks to my friend Ms. Going) where I framed woodcut prints at my table for the better part of the afternoon. I had purchased a batch of frames for DUCF and Renegade, and left at the end of the day with one frame from that entire batch.

My table was right between Phantom Limb's incredible paper goods:

(wouldn't these little library pockets make the best little cards to go with gifts?!)

and My Vintage Kitschen (lovely applique flour sack towels):

Both of these ladies will be at Holiday Crafternoon next weekend with a handful of other wonderful vendors-- if you're in the area and have some last minute shopping to attend to, I highly recommend you stop by!

Just prior to this show I decided to start taking credit cards, and while I don't have a system perfected for taking them yet (this is where I justify buying an iphone) I saw a huge leap in sales.
Handmade Detroit has really put indie art in Michigan on the map, and I'm so happy they gave me the opportunity to be a part of the community they've created this year.

Here's a video from the show!

Detroit Urban Craft Fair from Final Five Productions on Vimeo.

After DUCF I rushed back to work to prepare for the Thanksgiving Pilgrimager. Trader Joe's gets absolutely bananas this time of year-- in the art dept. we rush around like mad little elves to get signage and decor out for two flyers inside of three weeks! Here's my vestibule design for Thanksgiving, complete with a barely visible 8 yard burlap canopy!

I had so much fun arranging the table to look like a messy kitchen-- lots of vintage kitchen bits mixed in with baking and cooking products!

After Thanksgiving I got right to work on prints for Renegade Handmade. My most successful print of this group was a bird in a tree carried over from my woodcut edition. These all but vanished the first day of the show-- and I'm already planning to bring them back in the future!

Last Friday we packed the car to the gills and headed to Chicago for the Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale! Expect to hear all about it tomorrow!

Monday, December 7, 2009

and the winner is...

Buy One / Get One!

Now through December 19th, every print (in the freshly updated shop!) is Buy One Get One Free!
Just buy the more expensive of the two prints you'd like, and include the other in the Message to Buyer. Mention that you read There Is Only Make and I'll throw in a free surprise!

The two holiday shows I participated in were absolutely wonderful! Expect a full recap later this week!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Allow me to create a hypothetical situation. Say there's a recession-- no, economic downturn-- no, depression and you need to buy some holiday gifts, but you'd also like to get a little something for yourself (because you work hard, dammit) and you will also happen to be in Detroit this weekend?

May I suggest you print out this little coupon and bring it to me on Saturday at the Detroit Urban Craft Fair? Then you can pick out one print for a friend, and one for yourself on the house, negating all possible feelings of self-indulgent guilt.

Please note, this deal only applies to my table.
No other vendor at DUCF will value this coupon and they might look at you like you have a screw loose if you try to give it to them. The part that says All Things Grow = me only.

If you are an ink miser, like myself, feel free to shrink the coupon itty bitty teeny tiny or print it in just black. I don't mind. If you are out of ink (also me) you can simply tell me you'd like to use the.. what's a good name... sherbet colored coupon and I will honor that as well. Its greener anyway. :)

In summary, I'm going to reiterate previous posts and ask that you jot down your holiday shopping list tomorrow, wake up bright and early on Saturday, and proceed to the Detroit Urban Craft Fair. Do not pass Go, unless, of course, Go is on your way to the Majesitic at 4120 Woodward Ave. Detroit Michigan. If so, then feel free to collect that $200, you'll be glad you have it when you see the wealth of talent there. /end extended methaphor.

For a preview of the goods, stop in at DUCF's website or check out Detroit bloggers Perfect Laughter.

See you there!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

How to create a fully functioning print studio in a 1200 square foot apartment you also live in

reimagine your rooms.
(hint: you'll need twine and clothespins)

a sneak peek!

I'm getting ready for DUCF this weekend! I continue to be amazed tonight at how, nine years later, I'm still so in love with making prints.

Thanks for supporting my work and allowing me to keep on keepin' on.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sales on the Brain

I have a favor to ask. I'm starting to look ahead to online holiday sales and I'm hoping to conduct a little consumer market research first. I have mentioned that I am planning a week and a half sale of awesome online, and I'm wondering what type of sale I should offer. There's a poll to the right with a few options-- if you would take a moment to tell what kind of sale you find most enticing I would greatly appreciate it! Any comments you have on what you think works or doesn't work would also be wonderful as well!

I have hosted one online sale before-- a buy one, get one last winter. It went really well, and I'm inclined to throw a repeat, but I'd like to check around first. I'm curious to see if the sale type that wins is actually the one that will save potential shoppers the most money. Would you rather have free shipping on the goods your really like, or would you rather walk away with a lot more loot? Or take a discount on your whole order?

Maybe I'll do two days of each kind ;)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Back on the Social Networking Horse

I have decided to return from a slight (ok, several year) hiatus from social networking. You can now find me on Facebook.

You can tune in there to find updates on shows, sales, and new work! If your friend request has been sitting in my inbox since 2007 I deeply apologize.

In case you're here to find out about shows, next up is Detroit Urban Craft Fair! Click on fellow TJ artist Angela Duncan's sweet poster to visit the website and check out the amazing vendors Handmade Detroit has carefully selected to blow your holiday budget!

See you there!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I'm Putting Etsy on Notice.

I'm going to steer this blog toward the dark side for a moment, I hope you don't mind. The more I progress into the adulthood, the more I realize that I am a naive idealist. I grew up in a small town and I'm gullible. I believe people will be honest. I'm typically not skeptical of anything or anyone, and when the curtain is pulled back and the inner workings exposed, I'm always shocked and angry. Such is the case with Etsy.

When I first joined Etsy, I pictured a perfect network and community-- thousands of people in thousands of living rooms and studios around the world, making handmade items. Vintage sellers as people who are pulled toward finds, toward old things with stories. Maybe I have an overactive imagination, or am just a really visual thinker, but this is what I picture when I visit a shop, when I think of the site. In my mind's eye I see Etsy exactly as they want me to, with little cartoon drawings of bears knitting scarves and birds and featured sellers who make careers out of work they're passionate about.

I see this:

This is not the truth. Etsy has a seedy underbelly of users who are exploiting the site and its traffic of handmade and vintage customers. They're selling items as vintage that are most definitely not. They're selling cheap fishnet stockings and calling them 'craft supplies'. They're selling Olive Garden gifts cards and "vintage" plates from Anthropologie. They're buying cheap clothes on wholesale made in Asia and calling it a handmade sweater. This is exactly what Etsy isn't about, right? Mass production, imported bear figurines and Forever 21 sweaters are not what I signed up for. This is the figurehead of the handmade movement for all intents and purposes, and its becoming a dumping ground and a sham. I had no idea. I was gullible.

So you'd think that this isn't Etsy's fault, that people are hosting garage sales in their shops with items that are neither handmade, vintage, or supplies. That people are misrepresenting what they're selling. But Etsy is responsible. If they make these rules, they need to follow them. They need to enforce their own standards. They're not.

I would never had started selling on Etsy had it been billed as a place for online garage sales and mass produced garbage. Last I checked, that's what eBay is for. My work is inexpensive, but that's not the kind of venue I want it in. I pay for Etsy's services with the understanding that they will provide the kind of place they promised.

I know its a free market-- that if I don't like the fact that Etsy is ignoring their own rules that I can go to many of the various sites popping up that provide identical services to sellers. The problem is that I'm already highly invested in Etsy. My merchandise bags and business cards are all stamped with my shop address on Etsy. I have regulars who buy from my shop, and I have a history of positive feedback that makes future buyers confident that they can trust me. To go elsewhere at this point would be very expensive.

So I wonder what Etsy's problem is, and there are two possible answers. The first possibility is that they simply don't have the staff to investigate or remove items that are inappropriate or flagged. I take issue with this reason because I continue to hear that Etsy is experiencing record traffic and profits. Its obvious the site is growing and will continue to grow-- and they should be able to hire the workforce to manage it, and keep up with its mission.

The second possibility is that these items and sellers, no matter how inappropriate, are good for Etsy's bottom line. Listings, whether legit or not, earn Etsy 20 cents. The sale of an item makes Etsy a commission no matter what that item is. Maybe they are turning a bit of a blind eye toward these items.

I do know that this stinks, either way. I feel like a bit of an idiot for buying into the image Etsy is offering. I know that if people have to wade through a sea of garbage to find my work that they won't bother. I know that if Etsy can't get it together they're going to get a reputation as a worthless place to try and find anything handmade. Everyone who invested in Etsy, in its mission, will be out of luck.

It seems like they have a limited amount of time in which to turn this ship around before it all starts moving south. I hope they do.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Goings On

I am so slacking on the blog front, its true-- but not because I haven't been busy! Here's a wee update of what's new!

I met my new friend Heidi at last year's Craft Revival, where she picked up some framed prints, and I recently put together a nice-sized order of work for her to sprinkle around her gorgeous home. She sent me some photos for you to peruse:

Robin's Nest, Forest Floor, Petoskey Stones and Bracken Fern in a block of four--with a swanky lamp I can't stop eying and a really cute orange tabby in the foreground!

Remus on white in the bedroom over a mounted plate makes for a
sweet combination against her soft blue walls.

Thanks again Heidi, for sending these photos in. Heidi is an interior designer by trade and a founding member of MICE, so I'm really honored that she chose support my artistic endeavors!

I will take this opportunity again to remind you that if you send in photos of your new prints I offer a 20% discount on any future print purchase from the Etsy shop.


Speaking of MICE, organizer Kate Kehoe is putting on a show next month to help raise money for its senior center. I will not be able to attend, but put together a poster for the event. If you're free you should stop in for this rare opportunity to support the arts and an important community resource here in Ypsilanti.


In other news...

I am working on a commission for Ann Arbor's own Carillon Chocolates. Alex, who runs the show over at Carillon, contacted me after the Jamboree last month to get some work up on the shops freshly painted blue and green walls. I am currently working on a series of 4 images (12 prints in all) for the shop with local/food themes that will be finished by the end of the month! The best part: I will be printing on the same burlap sacks the shop's coffee comes in, making the entire venture a green and happy one!

Did I mention I love this little shop? They roast all of their coffee in-house, use local vendors, and have a glass counter lined with beautiful confections-- just like your favorite childhood candy store. You will be transported, I promise. They're very conveniently located right on Main St. between Liberty and Williams-- I would highly recommend you stop in! (psst: they have $2
Lattes on Mondays!)


And a show update:

After I wrap up this sweet project for Carillon, I will jumping head first into holiday preparations, and at that point we might as well kiss this blog goodbye. (just kidding) Seriously though, I have my work cut out for me. I mentioned in my last post that I will be returning to the Detroit Urban Craft Fair on November 21st. Since then I have also been accepted to sell work at the Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale in Chicago on December 5th and 6th! This will be my first attempt trafficking prints over state lines, and I'm really excited to spend a weekend in the windy city!

And then the Holiday SuperSale of Awesome will commence in the Etsy shop!
That's the tentative name.

And now if you'll excuse me, I need to add 14 million tags to this post-- I probably should have split all of this information up over a couple weeks!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Make. and make and make and make

Wow-- Its really been awhile since I made a post of substance!
I had a quick string of September shows and have been a busy bee the last few weeks! I jumped back on the screen print train and made some new work!

In addition to the Ladder Fern on Burlap I've added a Huron River Bed print, and am planning a few more for the holidays on this medium. I have a really rad commission I'm working on this month entirely in burlap, so expect to see more of these in the future!

A nice two-tone print of branches-- titled August Branches, September Branches, October Branches. These hang great alone or as a group-- either with the same color combo or in mixing it up a bit!

I have been collecting images of rocks and minerals for years, but just recently hopped on the bandwagon and started putting them to use. Here's my take on agate-- also available in a soft, butter yellow.

So, I've been doing this for around a year now and have had plenty of time to notice trends in my work. I am attracted to neutral and bright images alike, but seem to sell neutrals in much greater numbers-- I think this has a lot to do with shop customers wondering if particular colors might match their space. I plan to continue offering prints in both flavors, but am focusing a little more on neutrals for right now-- particularly delicious soft browns and lush grays.

I am also continuing to work on screen prints that work well together-- here's a group I'm loving right now. The brown tones work really well together in all three!

I should probably also talk about how I'm tending to distribute work, since you're probably reading this entry and wondering why you can't find all of these marvelous new prints on Etsy. Balancing shows with selling online, retail, and wholesale/special projects has been kind of challenging as my work has picked up speed this past year. I usually have a plan for this sort of thing (who am I kidding, for everything!) but I have had a very hard time choosing where to center my focus, and have turned into a bit of a whirling dervish as a result.

Hopefully I get my business together and narrow my scope really soon. In any event, if you'd like to pick up a print that isn't on Etsy, drop me a line and I will arrange it. I am thinking a massive holiday sale is in order this year-- hopefully my inventory will hold out and I can offer a Gift One/Get One sale, because I think that would be really fun!

I'm also happy to annouce that I will again be a vendor at this year's Detroit Urban Craft Fair, so if you're in the area you can skip the shipping and pick up some prints in person! I'm still waiting on acceptance to a couple other holiday shows-- if I'm in you'll be the first to know!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

This Weekend!

This weekend you can find my work at the DIY Street Fair in Ferndale! Keep your eyes peeled for the Handmade Detroit booth! Click here for details-- this free festival includes music, local food/beer and a huge marketplace!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


The Jamboree was an absolute blast! September is flying by-- its getting busy at work as we do a little permanent art remodeling, I have two more shows this month, and a couple of custom orders. I am about to screen a whole mess of birch trees-- they have become a hot commodity all of a sudden-- in the meantime please enjoy the poster I made last week for this falls' MICE at the Market show. This is the third poster I've made for this show-- they're always so much fun to put together. This time around I wanted to play off the acronym MICE, so I put together a little maze.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

this weekend!

The Jamboree at Riverside Park is this weekend, and I'm so excited to be a part of it!
Visit: for details!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Print Preview: Forest Floor

I am in the midst of a printing break-- I've pulled around 100 woodcut prints off 5 plates over the course of last night and this afternoon. My whole right arm is very upset about the repetitive brayer and spoon action, and my neck is stuck in a downward position.

Here's a new guy from the bunch:

I think this is an autumn print. My sketch started with a single leaf, the oak in the center. Then I drew a few more, added an acorn, and before I knew it, I had the perfect ground cover on a brisk October day.

So I printed it up on this cardstock that's a cross between butternut squash and mustard yellow. And, to see what would happen, printed it on some kraft brown, white, and green too. They all look really different. I plan on attempting to hand color the white in a few days once my ink is dry. I don't usually care for this look, but it might just work with this one.

This print will be up for grabs this weekend at the Jamboree at Riverside Park, and on Etsy shortly. A couple of simple screen print editions were in the schedule for tonight-- hopefully my neck straightens out by then!

Monday, August 17, 2009


So as I've mentioned, I've spent some time over the last month or two working on a bit of branding by creating a coherent 'look' to attach to everything. I do a lot of this in my day job, so I get a little nerdy and excited about it. The fortunate part about what I do by day is that we get to change the merchandising look everytime a flyer comes out-- with my prints I wanted something that could last me at least a year... because consistency is generally a good thing. Anyway, first I started with a drastic redesign for my shop banner, which I carried over to and the blog. I found, fell in love with, and committed to using Turnpike, my favorite typeface as of late, occasionally mixing it up with a nice script that's easy to read (its called Little Days, and is free at Dafont I believe)

I'm loving a good mix of script and classic mid-century sans-serif right now, so these two make a sweet pair. I've been doing the same in my signs at work, but with Black Jack type face, because the changing line weights and crispness seem to work well on an advertising level. Here's examples.

You might recognize Black Jack from BohBon Soap's super-sweet packaging.

Speaking of soap, Chrissy at BohBon makes some heavenly soaps that are nice and gentle and smell pleasing and earthy. I'm a big fan of Gypsy Spice and Earth Mama Goat Milk. And, I haven't smelled Rifferaff's soaps yet, but Shannon wraps them in hand-printed paper and uses real Michigan honey in them and they look good enough to eat!

Last tangent, I swear. So when the time came to put together some retail packaging, I used these fonts again. This is some drawn and scanned woodgrain, with a title on the front, info and links on the back, and a cute little retro price circle. I added the leaf on the other side for some balance.

Next, I reimagined my business cards. For the fourth time this year. I'm not even kidding-- take a look!

The top left was my first card. I threw it together very quickly last summer, printed it on some cardstock, and cut it up myself. Late last year, I started ordering them from 123Print, which has a lot of sweet contemporary designs-- this one was perfect. When I was in a pinch because I never remember to order more, I spent an evening printing them up on my ink-jet at home on textured cardstock in a long skinny ticket size and cutting them by hand. That particular incarnation has the most info on it-- too much in my opinion. When it came time to COMMIT to a design for awhile, I decided that I wanted something that was simple and had a handmade feel.

I designed and ordered a self-inking rubber stamp from Vista Print (I scored a half-off deal and paid $8.99!) and am stamping these on simple manila shipping labels. I have been using these shipping labels to tag work for awhile, I love how simple and recognizable they are. My favorite part about these stamps is that they're the first that actually utilize printmaking in their production. I love the little imperfections between one and the next!

Now that all of these merchandising changes are wrapped up, its time to get back to work on the prints that they're selling!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

For the Win!

Hiawatha Birches and Robin's Nest are both currently featured and for sale on the prints section of the Renegade Handmade online shop! I have just one more of these left in my inventory at home right now, but I'm thinking about another similar edition for fall.

And I have another new woodcut in the works-- working title: forest floor. When its done I'll show it to ya! I'd also love to throw up some photos of my newly designed retail packaging and business card stamp one of these days! I really need to find more time-- hopefully this nice weather will subside soon and I can go back to holing up in the apartment with my ink and ideas. How do you people in temperate climates get anything done?!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Pendulum Swings!

I sometimes wonder if I have what it takes to make work full-time, because the process of creating is a bit tricky for me. I need everything to feel right-- I can't come home and dive in if I've had a bad day, or I'm thinking about my bills. My surroundings need to be organized and peaceful. And then, once everything is in place for the show, I have to pull back the curtain and not recite, but invent my lines.

And then I have to trust whatever story those lines tell-- sometimes they are pulled more toward one type of subject matter, or medium, or color palette. Sometimes I don't feel like I have a whole lot to do with what direction I'm headed in-- there's an intuition at work that just takes me there.

Such is the case with the recent prints. I've spent months working almost exclusively on screen prints, only reverting back to woodcuts when I need to pull a handful off the same plates I've been using since last winter. I've reopened and touched up a few new pieces, but haven't made anything new in awhile. Ok, that's not true, I did cut up a plate a few months ago and I hated it. I had been thinking about it for forever, and it seemed just fine when I carved it, and then I pulled the print and I hated it. That doesn't happen very often these days. So I told myself to put it 'behind the couch' as an art teacher once told me and come back to it later. Later turned into the better part of two seasons.

And then, like a spark, it comes back. Its hard to explain how this happens when you work in two mediums exclusively. I did come close to an explanation by way of a blog post by amazingly reflective an articulate fellow Etsy seller Allison Sattinger of Sunny Rising. If you compared art to real-world jobs (ha!) the two types of prints I make would be like working in related jobs in the same field-- say chemistry and physics. Allison's working life, in silversmithing and leather tooling, is more like bouncing between ballet and construction.

Here's an excerpt from her blog that sums up this duality in ways of making perfectly:

I cannot breathe in enough of the scent of leather
nor can I seem to tool enough....
The pendulum which had swung to silver for so many weeks has swung to leather
one field lays fallow while another is seeded and harvested -
that's the way to keep the earth full of nutrients
and the mind blossoming with ideas and activity.

I can relate entirely. So, my pendulum appears to be swinging back toward woodcut prints, which is too bad because I just bought a $40 gallon jug of screen print ink. Today I made a woodcut from start to finish, and I thought I'd give you a little 'making tour'

So first I draw the image on the plate. The plate is the same size as the paper the print will go on, so I decide on a border size first. Then I draw the image in pencil, and again in black sharpie. The black sharpie is great for this because you get lines with about the same weight as your finished product, not too fine in the detail department. Then I cut away all of my line work with a Dremel tool with small sanding attachment. This is where I depart from most relief printers, who use hand tools. The Dremel cuts approximately 99% of the time away from this process-- with the added bonus of not swearing under my breath or cutting my hands. The vibrating does require occasional breaks because your hand will go numb.

All carved away-- the Dremel cuts curves with ease, this would be nearly impossible with hand tools.

Next I make a frame from paper and tape with a hinge on one side. After I ink up the plate I can swing this frame over the print to prevent ink around the edges from touching the paper.

Then I squeeze some ink out of the tube, loosen it up with a palette knife, roll it out with a brayer, and ink up the plate. At this point I can see where I'm going to want to go back in with the Dremel later and touch up some leaves.

Then I put a piece of paper on top, push the ink into the paper with a wooden spoon and voila! Finished product. This is called Bracken Fern :)

Here's a close-up of the wet ink. I use oil-based inks because I think the texture is so must finer and smoother after the drying process is complete. This print will take around 2 days to dry completely, at which time the ink will feel and look almost like suede.

I've been feeling the need to switch my subject matter from one process to the other-- so in addition to seeing woodcut prints with ferns, leaves, stones and other subjects from my screen prints, I am starting to envision screen prints with the nests and rock formations and roots. Hopefully new inspiration with intervene at some point as well.

If you're looking for a more in-depth explanation of how woodcut prints work, I recently posted a PowerPoint tutorial to my web site that you can download or view online. Maybe your pendulum will swing toward woodcut prints too!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The End of Summer

I'm winding down summer with a handful of shows-- now that they're all confirmed, I thought I'd share.

First up!

August 14 & 21, 7-10 pm
Crossroads Summer Festival, Ypsilanti
Washington Street/Downtown
A free summer concert series Friday nights through August in historic downtown Ypsilanti. I'll be selling framed woodcut prints and screen prints two Fridays in a row!

Also in Ypsitucky, I mean, Ypsilanti:

September 4 & 5
The Jamboree, Ypsilanti
Riverside Park/Depot Town
A two-day festival over Labor Day weekend featuring lots of favorite local bands, artists and beers. Cheap admission, lawn chairs, and foot-stomping all on the banks of my favorite local river. I will be introducing new woodcuts at this show, in addition to screen prints.

And my first time selling work in Funky Ferndale:

September 19-20
DIY Street Fair, Ferndale
E 9 Mile and Woodward
Handmade Detroit Tent
A free 2-day show that celebrates the DIY ethic in everything from arts, music, food and homebrewing. I will be selling screen prints under the Handmade Detroit Tent. The Handmade Detroit Tent is code for: the most creative energy per square inch ever witnessed-- its really worth a look!

Not in Metro Detroit?
I have also updated the Etsy shop with some new screen prints from this summer-- more are on the way!

After spending the last few weeks putting my brand new retail vendor hat on, I'm happy to announce that my first batch of prints has been shipped to Renegade Handmade, an actual brick and mortar store in the spirit of the popular indie art fair. If you find yourself in Chicago stop in and take a look-- the last few prints from many best-sellers are there!

Other tricks up my sleeve:
- an online tutorial on how you can start making prints with bits you have laying around your apartment
- more retail
- if i can manage to keep up, the return of mixed media and embroidery into my work!