Monday, April 27, 2009

Painting with All the Colors of the Wind

We took the canoe out today and stayed a lot closer to the banks of the river than normal to break the 42mph (!) wind gusts. Its amazing what details you find sticking close to the land. We pulled into a little nook filled with swamp cabbage and I found this little sprout growing out a rotting trunk.

On the way back we noticed the hearth of a long-gone home poking out of the trees-- we've canoed this stretch so many times, but hadn't noticed it until today.

We also saw maybe 30 baby turtles sunning themselves on branches-- when we paddled by they would plop into the river one at a time-- maybe the cutest thing I've ever seen next to last summer's ducklings.

I'm off to finish a few custom orders tonight and back to work tomorrow where we're making sprout-themed decor for next week's flyer-- I can't wait to show you!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday Chickadees

We did not go out on the river today as planned (because despite the fact that it is 80 degrees, there seems to be some kind of thunderstorm headed our way) so I listed some of the new work and cleaned house.

I spent a little time flipping through Etsy and when I came across Bee Things my jaw hit the floor. Shay and Jeff live in Dallas and make some of the most amazing bird themed screen prints I have ever seen.

Here's a sample of their shop:

chicadees eating!

a very handsome owl (I'm posting this one for you, Rachel!)

this one drives me to make weird compulsive noises due to sheer cuteness

with eggs!!

a lovely little stack

I haven't made a trade in awhile because I haven't really had the inventory until recently. Before I could even stop myself I shot them a convo about trading some of my work for the top one of feeding chickadees, and they agreed to trade for a few of my woodcut prints, so it all worked out really well and I'm so happy.

I originally thought it would be great in my bedroom, where we have lots of oranges and browns, but I might need to look at it more than that, so it will probably find a home in my living room art cluster.

In addition to their shop you might also want to check out Shay's blog where she shares lots and lots of photos of really beautiful things. I've already added it to my feed because I'm pretty sure that we have the exact same taste.

Thanks again Jeff and Shay for trading with me!
I hope you all have a great weekend!

*update: link to Shay's blog has been corrected. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wordle and Flickr and Twitter (Words I Never Thought I'd Type)

So we all know that technology grows exponentially, or else we'd probably still be saving files on floppy disks and I'd still be a member of Columbia House. I spend more time than I should on the internet and eventually find my way to the latest thingamabobs, though I'm usually not the first to embrace them. With that somewhat reluctant Onward Ho! spirit I thought I'd share some recent web discoveries.

1) Wordle
If you love type then you love Wordle, its that simple. If you occupy any web space than its also a great tool to ascertain what kind of image you're projecting. You simply enter any URL and Wordle spits out a cloud of words found on your site. You can arrange your cloud from there-- choosing layout (I went with mostly vertical) font (coolvetica) and color theme (asparagus)

Before I show you my Etsy site's wordle, I would like to discuss two slightly related other subjects:
1) Coolvetica is a spin-off of the world's first truly hardworking sans-serif font, Helvetica. Helvetica is so important that it has been the subject of a riveting documentary.
2) Thanks to a tasting at work I have been privy to the miracle that is grilled asparagus. Coat with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and throw it on the grill or even a Foreman and enjoy nutty, crisp and delicious flavors in five minutes!

Ok! Wordle!


I learned a lot about the words I'm choosing byWordling my Etsy site-- the most often used ones are the largest. In every version I tried I came up with the word print in huge letters, and I loved that in this layout it almost looks like a magazine cover.

2) Flickr
I've had a Flickr for awhile but I kind of let it hibernate. After recently applying for a show and trying to find a way to present my whole body of work in one conveinent URL it seemed necessary to go back to Flickr and make a set devoted to work I've sold at shows and online in the last six months. Everytime I come back to Flickr I'm amazed at how fast and user friendly it is-- though this happy feeling may just be a byproduct of its multi-lingual greetings... I love that part.

whoa, I make bright prints!

Viewing all of my work in one screenshot did the same thing for me as Wordle, but on a purely visual level. It also helped me realize that my shop photos have come a long way. On another slightly related tangent, I think that I might own the best point and shoot ever. Very seldomly does it not capture color accurately, and there are even times when I don't have to edit photos at all thanks to image stabilization and a really great little macro feature.

Anyway, you can visit the All Things Grow set right here.

3) Twitter
I've been on Twitter for awhile. I'm very bad at updating it (as you can see, I've done it exactly four times) but I thought I'd share the link with you... I'm going to attempt to update it a little more when I'm on the busier side of things and don't have time for proper blog entries.

Click here to follow me.
Or just look for the little tan station wagon flying around town like a bat out of hell and tail it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sharing is Caring!

Many thanks to Russian Doll Designs for sending me a photo of her copy of Braided Root, framed up and looking spiffy in her hallway all the way across the Atlantic in Newcastle on Tyne, England. I absolutely love it in that chunky white frame!

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but if you send a photo of a print in its new home I offer 20% any future print purchase-- in most cases that's the equivalent of free shipping!

Thanks Emma!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Craft Revival Recap

Craft Revival was a blast!

I had the chance to chat with lots of other vendors-- I carpooled with Rifferaff, sold alongside fellow Ypsilanti-ite Sparklepants Industries, met The Proper Peach and traded with Phantom Limb. Everyone was super nice.

Here's a few photos:

A view of my table in the morning-- this is the first time I
used lights and I really liked them!

Vendors prepping their displays

Woodland Creatures made by The Proper Peach

A view from behind the booth

I met all sorts of wonderful art lovers, and learned that seasons really do dictate what people buy. Purchases made last winter seemed to have more of a 'gift' theme-- framed prints, single screenprints, etc. Yesterday was all about strategic home decorating. I sold a lot of unframed woodcut prints and a lot of framed prints/screen prints in multiple combinations. I had an absolute blast helping people pick out pieces that worked together for them to put up in new apartments and redecorated homes. I feel really honored to be a part of helping people start a collection of original art.

In any event, I learned a lot. I've relisted available prints on Etsy and will add more throughout the week while I attend to a few custom orders and put the finishing touches on my piece for The Free Art Project. (More on that, including a sneak peek as we lead up to its release on May 1st.)

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Its time to push these newborn prints out of the nest and see how they fly.

See you tomorrow @ Craft Revival!
(or Monday on Etsy when I start listing the new work!)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ahead of Schedule at the Factory

I might actually pull this one off feeling organized.

I have screen prints to stretch, two clamp lights to finish spray painting (outside!) and inventory to inventorialize(?) in addition to making a few signs and some other odds and ends. I won't have to worry about packing the car with my table furniture since its still in the back of my wagon from the last show.

What's helped so much in this rush to the show madness has been the decision to stop using reclaimed frames. Most of the frames I own (and love the most) are vintage, and up until this point, I've used them almost exclusively. There's a certain level of fun in finding them-- driving to the one-day-a-week Kiwanis sale in Ann Arbor at 9am on a Saturday without brushing my hair, becoming a regular client on Resale Row, stumbling on other lovely treasures and so on. If I still practiced this method I'm sure I'd have found the solid wood mid-century coffee table of my dreams by now. And an entire Pyrex set. It was a fun, but time-intensive search. Then once I got the frames-- oh man. The things people do to wedge something in a frame- the nails and staples. I have a whole pile I could not resurrect once taken apart from the precarious situation I found them in. At the end of the day, the full time job was getting in the way of all of the time I wanted to spend thrifting, and I was starting to get frustrated at my lack of carpentry skills and time.

So when I stumbled on a gold mine of beautiful, modern, solid wood frames from a certain Swedish home furnishings empire at a huge discount, I spent a week thinking about it. At the end of the day the vintage frames were to find and put together, and I caved. I threw down a big chunk of change and took home enough frames to fill the closet in our office.

These new frames will make their debut on Saturday, and the online shop will soon be able to accommodate custom framing with any order. They look much more polished, but lack some of the character of a frame that's been beaten within an inch of its life and used to house a photograph of a duck in a party hat (true story). Sometimes I left the old art in the frame, just so anyone who takes it apart some day gets a sense of the life these four pieces of wood have lived. This sense of polish seems be true for my body of work this time around-- many of the woodcut images are the same, but on new, sturdier paper. The editions are more consistent, even, and neat. I miss the wonky frames, random fingerprints, and dinged corners a little. They contained a narrative all their own.

On the other hand, I learned printmaking in a purist environment. I was taught to craft my image carefully, ink neatly, and to print with clean fingers. I didn't appreciate learning the trade this way until I took a kind of 'anything goes' course, where the rules I learned about precision were thrown out the window. I admire amazing printmakers (like the very talented Annie Bissett, for example) who create images that pull this off so well, with so much patience. Its such a process-laden job to make a print that extra patience can sometimes be hard to come by. The small part of me that's a touch Type A is satisfied to see a marked improvement in craftsmanship in my own work... all it took was 8 years of practice.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Craft Revival Coupon!

I wanted to offer blog readers who might find themselves at Craft Revival this Saturday a little something extra, and here it is!

Print this little puppy out and you can take home a woodcut print on the house when you purchase any screen or framed print. Its like putting a new five dollar bill in your hand only handmade and prettier!

If you're like me and almost always out of printer ink, you can hand draw the coupon and present it to me on Saturday as well. I will honor either version, though I will treasure the hand drawn one a teeny bit more. Extra points if you use crayon.

I'm trucking along with everything-- tonight (I know its already 1am, shhhh) I'm screening colors on woodblock prints. Then tomorrow I'll finish that and start the endless finger numbing work of stretching screen prints and putting woodcut prints into those annoying (but necessary) plastic sleeves. I also plan on running approximately 3,000 errands.

The Case of the Mystery Screen Print Panel

My boyfriend recently acquired this crazy vintage screen print panel

and I immediately set out to try to learn more about it. Now I hate to toot my own horn, but I could make a sizeable part-time income as a professional internet searcher-- I am excellent at the Google. I thought I'd find information right away because its huge and really bold.

I poured over Pop and Op art screen printers and vintage textiles. I searched every single visual characteristic and visited countless pages on retro home decor. Eventually I gave up because this panel just didn't provide me with enough clues-- not signed, dated, titled. It was stretched well, but not professionally. So I'd totally given up and resigned myself to the fact that we'd always have this weird print we knew nothing about laying around.

Then today I casually opened up my Apartment Therapy SF Feed (I don't typically even visit the Apartment Therapy blogs because they go up so often its virtually impossible) and I saw

The exact same print! Well almost-- this one doesn't have that extra set of lines that ours does-- so I'm guessing its a little shorter. To see this ever so serendipitously after combing the internet for hours days earlier really freaked me out.

I've emailed the apartment's owner (an Apartment Therapy contributor) and am hoping she can help me solve the mystery. I imagine she probably found it rather haphazardly too, but you never know.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Craft Revival Lineup

Several days ago, (I'm a scoch behind on my posting duties)
Handmade Detroit announced the official lineup for Craft Revival!
Pay the site a visit and you can start planning your purchases!

Here are a few other show dates on ye' old spring calendar:

May 2: Spring Fling Arts and Crafts Show, Ann Arbor Learning Community
June 5-7: Mt. Clemens Art Fair (Alternative Craft Tent)
June 13: County Fair, Ann Arbor

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Yessa's First Sale

My dear friend Yessa makes amazing knit items and purse-stuffs (not sure if that's a word, but I like it!) that are cute, functional and really high quality. Some of her work is even hand-felted, and it is lovely. She's been on Etsy for awhile, but has yet to make that first sale.

(change purses in every color! The white with the
blue/brown/green stones is calling my name. )

I'd love to see her make her first sale, so I'm writing to let you know that if you are lucky buyer #1 in Yessa's shop then I will ship you a special surprise on the house! Write "Tell Marcy" in the Message to Buyer on ordering, and I'll get your info from Yessa and send it onto you.