Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Very Blue Weekend

I taught my first round of screen printing courses at Blue House Ann Arbor this weekend! On Saturday we printed on t-shirts and tanktops using the oh-so DIY embroidery hoop method. This method is screen printing at its most basic-- use pantyhose, and old embroidery hoop, and some elmer's glue to create an image on your screen, then fill with ink and print! Results with this super-DIY process vary greatly, but is fun to experiment with nonetheless.

Today we covered two-color adhesive stencil screen prints (the same process I use for my own work) and we had a blast making eye-popping goldfish, serendipitous mushrooms, and a lovely flower in growing sequence.

All in all a very successful weekend! Thanks to everyone who popped in to learn printing--it was wonderful getting to meet and know you!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sneak Peek: Handmade @ Blue House

Good morning, everyone! Tomorrow marks a very special day-- Blue House Ann Arbor is hosting its inaugural event, Handmade @ Blue House, an afternoon jam-packed with fantastic talent. We hope you'll stop in, check out this amazing new community space, and support your local economy. Has the lovely weather nipped you with a spring cleaning bug? There will be art work of every stripe, style and color palette to throw up on your walls or line your shelves! Are you looking to add a little zip to your wardrobe as we stroll into spring? Jewelry and handbags will be plentiful! From stationary to coasters and everything in between, this event features a wealth of diverse makers from across the entire Metro-Detroit area.

In an effort to lure you over to the Blue House tomorrow, here's a special sneak-peek of almost half of this event's vendors!

Elana Levine
Little Sister Designs
Vesonite, Peridot Green Eyes Necklace

This necklace, measuring about 18 1/2 inches long, has a sterling silver flattened oval/diamond link chain. The pendant, measuring about 1 inch long, starts with a tiny faceted rondelle of peridot that connects to a brushed sterling silver ring. More peridot rondelles have been wire wrapped along (and a few even dangle above) the top of the circle, creating an umbrella over a tiny, faceted briolette of vesonite, that dangles in the middle of the circle. The green eye...the spotlight. Two more peridot rondelles adorn either side of the sterling silver lobster clasp. All wire and headpins are sterling silver, as well. The length of this necklace can be resized upon request.

Terri Graham
Miss Mossy
Vintage Relish Set Live Moss Terrarium
Mid Century Relish Set serves as an unique live moss terrarium.

Sherri (Green) Carroll
sparklepants industries

8x10 print

each collage is made up of little tiny bits of hand torn papers (maps, book pages, etc...) and ephemera. quite a bit of my current stock of book pages date back to the 1890's!!!

Rania Khalil
gold necklace: 40$

Nicole Ray
Sloe Gin Fizz
Sub(tract) Housing
it's funny what a few subtractions can do to a home. This is a print of an original drawing that I digitally colored. Sized at 8"x10" for easy framing.

Kate Kehoe
Chicaloo Photography & More
Beer Depot Coasters

Karen Mitzel
Silk dyed Easter Egg Kit
$10 (at the Mar 20 show), $12.50 (online, includes shipping)
"A super-easy, eco-friendly, reusable, tidy and surprisingly fun kit to make beautifully decorated Easter eggs like the ones in the photos. Uses locally-sourced recycled silk ties! There will be a basket of eggs dyed using this kit at the show so you can see first-hand some of the astounding results! Featured twice in 2010 Etsy Finds daily emails, and sure to be a hit with your whole family!"

Jill N. Hamilton-Krawczyk
Barrel of Monkeys

Jackalope Pocket Mirror or Bottle Opener/Keychain
A colorful design featuring the ever elusive Jackalope. Measures 2.25 inches and is available in two options-- a pocket mirror or a bottle opener/keychain combo.

Jenni Beamer
TinkerDot Designs
'Dear Possibilties' 12x12 mixed media canvas
Handpainted gallery wrapped canvas using acrylics, paper and lots of attention to detail! The saying "Dear possibilities, I'm listening..." mixed with the color and detail will hopefully leave you feeling inspired and ready for the World!

Jennifer Ives
Polka Dot Belt Bag

The Polka Dot Belt Bag is made from a black, grey and yellow dot
fabric with a sturdy cotton grey lining. There are three interior
pockets and a magnetic snap closing.

Why it's special: The unique color combination of the big polka dots
catches attention. It's fun but classy. The black leather trim adds a
bit of an edge. Excellent for Spring and to spice up a black sundress.

12” Top opening from seam to seam
12” Tall
14” Wide across the bottom width
4” Deep
12.5” Drop on the shoulder strap

Jannie Ho
Chickengirl Design
Vroom Note Pad
50 sheets, 4" x 6" notepad with original illustration by Jannie Ho. Makes note taking alot more fun!

Courtney Fischer
Courtney Fischer Jewelry
Moss Cuff
Copper cuff with layers of mossy green patina

Christine Wilson
Christine's Beadworks (
Stanley Cup Redwings Beaded Bottle Cap Pendant
Made from a recycled Labatt's bottle cap, featuring the Redwings Stanley cup win in 1936, this beaded beauty can be worn as either a brooch or a pendant.

Amanda Schott
dang argyle
London Calling Bag
A charming bag, made of vintage lime green fabric, and features a vintage tea towel as its focal point. Yowza! Poppy colors in a perfect size to hold all your dang goods this Spring.

You'll find a wealth of information at this event too-- whether you're interested in learning a new skill, looking for a place to make or connect, or are shopping around for events to add to your social calendar, you'll find it all on Saturday.

See you there!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My favorite project of all

Oh, little blog-- where did the weeks go?
Strap yourself in, I have lots of ground to make up for!

I have long maintained a love/hate relationship with living in a four-season climate—meaning I hate it in the winter, am over the moon for the first days of spring, take full advantage of the summer, and mourn with the changing trees in fall.

This time around winter has been crazy busy-- normally this season drags by in the snowy north, filled with cold mornings scraping the car windows, white knuckle drives to work, and daily musings about why on earth I live here. I'm happy to say that this time around, winter was a complete blur. I hardly noticed the snow, and barely had time to miss the sun until I realized last week that it was suddenly beginning to make appearances!

My busy winter has everything with do with my work—I haven’t been printing until very recently, but have had a plethora of other lovely projects come my way. As many of you know, I have started working with Blue House Ann Arbor-- a sublime handmade studio created by an amazing woman named Siobhan Lyle. Blue House's mission is to be a sort of one stop shop for local artists and crafters. Siobhan re-imagined a graceful old home on Main Street, turning it into a place to create, gather, shop and learn. I have been fortunate enough to have a part in almost all of those ends-- I have been doing some signs for the studio, am selling my work in the shop and at its inaugural event: Handmade at Blue House, and, best of all-- I get to teach.

At the risk of sounding a little hippie dippie, I will say the act the printmaking-- the many, many steps that lead from start to finish, keep me sane. There's been a lot of attention paid lately to flow -- the art of being so fully immersed in one's work that focus, joy and concentration is at an all time high. It’s almost like meditation in a way, but with the focus on your work instead of yourself. I find this flow in printing constantly-- it’s a way of making that is simply set up, through the act of being process driven, physical, repetitive, and problem solving in nature, for this level of absorption to take place.

There are lots of reasons why I fell in love with printmaking and enjoy teaching it. Flow is central. Printing is also unique in that its history is just as much trade and craft as it is fine art. It operates within a set of rules, uses a wide and enticing variety of tools and materials, and follows a sequence. As someone who has always struggled to say “this piece of art is done” I love printing because it decides for me. You make decisions early in the process and live with them at the end—that resonates much more clearly with my personality. In fact, I have kind of brought that process over to anything I make. If I make a sign I draw out four or five plans first, making all of the choices—color, font, text size, before I start. By making all of my choices right away, I reconcile my imagination with my somewhat Type A personality.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you find yourself in a creative slump, or think you’re not that creative to start, give printmaking a try. If you’re in the area, consider giving it a try with me. :)