Thursday, February 26, 2015

Upcoming Workshops for 2015

Papermaking with Plants
10 AM - 4 PM
$80 members/$85 non-members
Contact for more information: Mary Mworka,

Learn to make art from your own garden! No experience neccessary. This class will discuss the basics of harvesting, cooking, and processing plants and forming into sheets of handmade paper. We will use some plants from the Botonical Gardens themselves, and participants are welcome to bring in contributions from their home gardens as well. You’ll never look at your garden the same way again!
To register, please visit here.

Hand Papermaking and Pulp Painting
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
March 28, Kitsune Community Art Studios, Half Moon Bay, CA
Cost: $85 Covers class fee and all materials
Contact for more information, or to register: Judy Shintani,

Learn the basics of making handmade paper in the European tradition. Students will the basics, from dry fiber to sheet formation, as well as techniques for embellishing bare sheets into works of art using a technique called Pulp Painting. Pulp painting uses finely beaten paper pulp that can act almost like paint to make brilliant imagery in handmade paper. When dried, the painting is an actual part of the paper, which can stand alone or be transformed further through drawing, printing, traditional painting, or whatever you can think of for a mixed media creation. This class will cover various pulp painting techniques including direct painting, stencils, collage inclusions, and other means of pulp-based mark-making. Techniques for making paper at home will also be discussed. Students will leave the workshop will a number of their own wet papers that will dry at home. No prior experience necessary.

To see images of previous workshops at Kitsune Community Studio, please visit here.

Hand Papermaking and Pulp Painting
1-5 PM
April 4, Rocinante Press, Oakland, CA
Cost: $80, covers materials and class fee
Offered through ExchangeWorks
For more information, or to register, please visit ExchangeWorks.

A class simliar to the one offered in Half Moon Bay, in Oakland, CA. Follow the link to ExchangeWorks to register.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Codex 2015

This past week was the 2015 Codex International Book Fair and Symposium, at which Rocinante Press had a table. During my last experience at Codex, I didn't have any sales at the event itself - they came afterwards. This year, I made my table and more on the first day!

Unlike last time, I did get a chance to get away from my table and see some books, but I didn't manage to take any pictures. However, my table was against the leather and paper dealers, so I was fortunate to spend a few days just eyeballing lovely goods.

The crowd on the first day was pretty insane - here's a shot from my table - there are tables full of books that are completely obscured by people!

I managed to catch a head cold at Codex, and my voice barely survived the week. Due to this, I only attended one day of the two-day symposium, needing the second morning to catch up on rest. However, here are my notes from day one - not always in complete sentences or thoughts:

Sam Winston, Building a Walk-Through Artist Book For the Victoria and Albert Museum

1) Trying to understand writing as drawing, use of Periodic Table and memory palaces.
2) Use of sacred geometry to create objects of worthy of worship - shapes based on everyday objects to reveal how we worship objects in everyday society.
3) How to meditate through word processing
4) All forms of externalizing memory have associations with black magic.
5) Response to a fictional book set in the future, in which objects were written about as if they were forgotten and humanity was trying to explain their history - objects such as a watch, SIM card, book.
6) Exploring the line between "crafts and concept" in contemporary art
7) Physicality of the book is increasingly significant as the physical book declines.
8) How to surmise a book in a light way?

Carolee Campbell, Chasing the Ideal Book

1) Ninja Press, launched in 1984, had no specific literary agenda at the outset, but now has an abiding interest in contemporary poetry.
2) Books should embody the author's perspective, and extend the reader's world, understanding, and concept of the text.
3) Poetry does not impart information
4) Book needs to be a container to hold ineffability.
5) Talk focused on her book, The Real World of Manuel Cordova, which she felt she attained a perfect synthesis of text and form.
6) Uses Samson typeface designed by Victor Hammer. This typeface was selected because it slows the reader down and takes them out of the everyday. However, the set she used had some wear and tear, and she ended up sawing and kerning several hundred letters to get them to fit together as Hammer's did.
7) Amazon river image didn't match type, so she returned from research to the actual text. Since she'd been away from the actual text, it was like reading it anew. Since the poem did not mention actual locations, (although it was based on an actual person and their experiences in specific locations in Brazil), she could design her own map - and used the Green River of Colorado.
8) Text follows curves of river
9) Enclosure for book is based on map enclosures Campbell saw at Harvard - very wallet-like.
10) Book should conjure forth its subject and exist as a beautiful object in space.
11) Investigative bookmaking - spiral down to a clear design principle - the time it take is transformative - divided between rational and intuitive, between materiality and concept.
12) To print on kakishibu coated papers, Campbell had to put more ink on the press than what is usually necessary - had to make a really sloppy slurry sound.
13) Remember to spend deep time with poetry, and see folding paper as a way to move through states.

Robert Trujillo - The Challenge of of Collecting and Curating the Modern and Contemporary Book

1) Librarians should not just collect for their constituents, they should collect for the world.
2) Collections should be in-depth - have to collect for research, for teaching, for the future, for the world
3) Collect what is evidence of our culture - artist books are that - libraries need to collect expensive books - budgets are not reasons to not collect artist books - digital books are not reasons to not collect artist books.
4) Museums don't collect artist books like libraries do, although they should
5) Stanford stores some of its collection in state-of-the-art facilities in Liverpool, CA.
6) Important for teaching and research to collect artist's archives.
7) Regional collections should talk to each other - not all collect the same stuff - divy it up so the region is more enriched. Collections should also do this nationally.
8) Libraries should also collect archival aspects of making book - such as printing plates and digital files.
9) Libraries should collaborate with museums in lending out artist books for exhibitions
10) Libraries are caretakers, not owners, only owners in the broadest sense of the term.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Master Cheng's Catalog of Ink Cakes

In light of Hand Papermaking's issue on China, it seemed appropriate to share these now. So sorry for the crappy phone photos, but I couldn't help but be captivated by these historic ink catalogs! I came across them on the closing day of the Berkeley Art Museum's old building. I find it fascinating how something used to sell art materials becomes a relic and art work on its own. I wonder if the ink-makers ever envisioned that.

Click on the images for a larger picture.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Artists' Advice, A Compilation

During 2014, I started an information gathering process to better my survival as an artist. I've been fortunate to receive a few grants over the past couple of years, but I've also gotten plenty of rejections, like everyone does. Since I'm also the breadwinner for my family, I started thinking about financial planning, networking, and how to move on to more comfortable living.

Most of this advice is US-based, if any international readers, or other readers, have suggestions, I welcome them!


Ask Polly: How Do I Make A Living As An Artist?

Molly Crabapple's 15 Rules for Creative Success in An Internet Age

Sustaining a Lifelong Creative Career

Work-Life Balance


Planned Parenthood - because sometimes you need to get your bits checked.

How to locate low-cost mental health care in the US and Canada - by the ever-wise Captain Awkward, because sometimes you need to talk to someone.

What is a health insurance subsidy and do I qualify?


How to Brazenly Ask for Favors to Boost Your Career - by Jen Dzuira

Bullish Life - also by Jen Dzuira. Not targeted towards artists, but a good deal of it can be applied to managing an artist's career.

Financial Planning:

A Beginner's Guide to Repaying Student Loans

Hourly Wage or Project Fee - from Freelancer's Union.

Artists U - free downloadable ebook about making your life as an artist by Andrew Simonet. Includes advice on developing a budget and financial goals.

Dealing with a Fluctuating Income - by Christina Empodocles

Sm*Artly - Christina Empodocles' blog on financial planning for artists.

WAGE Fee Calculator

Career Advice

Should I Work for Free?

Standard Deviation: Should I Work for Free? (PDF)

The Artists' Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement (PDF)

To Exhibit or Not To Exhibit: A Decision Table

Freelancer's Union

Tips and Tools for Artists: What are Award Panelists Looking for?

Kickstarter School

Kristina Wong: "What lengths of self-humiliation am I willing to go through to meet my Kickstarter goal?"

Advice from a Juror

Copyright for Collage Artists
- specific to collage, but also a great overview of copyright law and common myths.

Ask a Manager - again, not targeted toward artists, but a source of information that can be used.

Tales from the Public Domain - Free PDF on the public domain told in comic book form, from Duke University's Center for Study of the Public Domain.

Intellectual Property and the Arts - from the College Arts Association

Fair Use or Infringement? - from the Graphic Arts Guild

Arts and Labor

Grant Space

Grants and other funding for individual artists

As a final note, I thought I'd include links to three artists' projects who have made selling their work an integral part of their studio practice:

Imin Yeh - BenJams

Lisa Anne Auerbach - Days of the Week Clothing

Andrea Zittel

Friday, January 16, 2015

Opening of Material Print Machine

Back in the rush to finish Future Tense, I did take an evening to pop over to the opening for Material Print Machine, the community run print studio at Omni Commons.

I'm just going to confess that I love print shops,(obviously), but there's something so sincere and powerful about a startup print shop, where the machines are all gathered from older shops and peoples' garages and Craigslist and other random places, and they all have some weird little caveats to make it all work, but dammit they don't let that stop them.

Above is their working 219 proof press, and that evening they were showing people how to run a piece of paper through it. They also had a little tabletop clamshell (pictured below) as well as standing C&P that needs some parts before it can get going - so if any readers can help out, please contact them.

They also had this offset machine that Grendl is helping them get going. Just seeing it made me miss Mandy and wish she could be there.

Here's to Material Print Machine!

Monday, January 12, 2015

"Living with Endangered Languages" at Root Division

2014 closed with a whirlwind, with the completion of Future Tense! Which is currently part of Living with Endangered Languages in the Information Age at Root Division, until January 31.

The opening was this past weekend, here's a bit of a sneak peak. Since I had to exhibit the book under protection, I included a video to show more of the piece.

It was also great to be a part of show with artist friends who I so greatly admire, like Pantea and Ali. (And my nametag would not stick to my dress for anything, which is why I stuck it on my arm).

I didn't get to photograph many of the other pieces in the show, but loved this piece by Irene Carvajal.

Future Tense will be debuted to the book arts community next month at the Codex International Book Fair.

Finally, a midst all this craziness, my studio was just featured on Hyperallergic!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bokashi Pulp Painting

Pulp painting and stencils are becoming contributors to how I make images, particularly the artist book I've been working on for the past few years, Future Tense (which is almost finished!) While making the final sheet of handmade paper for the book, I used a technique I called bokashi pulp painting.

Bokashi is a actually a term for a technique in moku hanga, known in the US sometimes as Japanese woodblock printmaking. It means a gradation of color. In homage to this technique, I have appropriated this term for a similar effect.

To achieve this effect, pulp paint is suspended in a vat of water. I don't use any formation aid for this, and I'm not sure that it would actually be helpful. The mold - without the deckle, is then dipped at a angle so that the pulp paint slides up the mold. The mold is not fully immersed, some sections remain above the surface of the water. You can see the pulp collected on the mold above.

Being pulp paint, the fibers collected in a bokashi pull are to fine to have their own integrity as paper, so they must be couched on top of base sheet - see above. Please note that the base sheet was pulled previously to pulling the bokashi pull.

It's difficult to see in the photo above, but the light blue transitions just barely, having slightly more pulp at the bottom of the paper. Also notable is the soft, watery edge of the pulp midway up the paper.

(I can't take credit for inventing this technique - back when I was TA'ing Papermaking at UArts, I remember one of my students, Danae, coming up with it, and just falling in love. So if she ever reads this - thank you!)

To contrast this delicacy, part of the print has a hard edge stencil. Below, the mold with the stencil on, and the remaining pulp after carefully peeling the stencil off.

For stencil sheets, I use foam sheets like these. Some artists use dendril or a thin vinyl material, I prefer the sturdiness of these. They also hold up great for re-use.

Below, the stencil couched on top of the bokashi pull.

The imagery didn't stop there - I continue to print on these paper. Here, after three layers of ink - two more to go! (Soooo close to finishing this book!)