Monday, January 21, 2013


This past weekend was both the opening for Proof of Some Existence at ECHO Gallery in Calistoga, and the reading and signing for Thread Loves Paper at Mrs. Dalloway's Books in Berkeley. Fortunately for me, they were scheduled so as to allow me to make it to both.

Mrs. Dalloway's Books is one of the few bookstores I've ever been in that devotes a small section to Book Arts, which makes them totes awesome.

Emily spoke about the overall project, how it started, and discussed how many of the artists featured learned sewing skills from family members, not in art school, and that such techniques are often seen as a lesser form of art compared to say, painting, sculpture, etc....and that she saw it as a feminist action, publishing this book, featuring these artists who made this work and felt it mattered. At the close of her talk, she was asked to read a short section of text that stood out. She selected a section of text by the always insightful Erin Sweeney.

Below, some books on display for the event, including some by yours truly.

Emily also invited me and another artist to come up and say a few words. I tried to talk about how I see paper as a reference to nature, and anything done to paper - sewing, puncturing, marking - becomes an invocation of the human hand. And so, in my mind, paper with marks on embodies the interrelationship between the natural world and humankind's affect on it.

Once the talk was over, I stayed to mingle for a few minutes, then had to get on the road up to Calistoga.

I originally had intended to exhibit more work, but I didn't want to crowd these two pieces (see previous post on their making). Yet, I received the sweetest compliment from J Kirk, who told me that he wished they had more work up.

I spent the evening trying to focus on feeling grateful and fortunate. Not only for these opportunities, but for the community around them, that makes such events possible and nurtures my spirt; people like Emily Marks, Ann Trinca, Kathryn Reasoner, Oscar and Azalea Aquilar. I feel like I spent so much of 2012 overwhelmed in a whirlwind of to-do lists, I must remember to enjoy and appreciate what I have. The most integral, and sustaining thing for me as an artist, heck, as a human being, is always community. It's difficult, when I'm overtired, when I'm always feeling rushed, when I'm juggling so many things, to remember to just be, and yet it's what I need more than anything. I've been in a cycle of working all the time, I'm trying to transition into a more present state of being. So here goes.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

This is here

Some work in progress from late last year (Christmas Eve to be exact!) as I prepared for the upcoming show at ECHO Gallery. This piece above is one of two seven-foot long pulp paintings/prints (see previous post) that I'm going to be showing as part of that exhibition. Behind me, you can see my studio assistant, Izzy.

The base fiber for this piece is a combination of Andean Pampas Grass seed hair and (drumroll please) flax I grew myself! The pampas grass was harvested near Miller Knox, less than a mile away. I had a moment while making the base sheet, standing and working in my backyard a few feet away from where I grew the flax, and all I could think was, this is here. Really here, from here, grown here, made from this place.

The colored pulp is actually made from a pair of grungy overalls that I used to wear all the time in grad school - any of my Book Arts buddies will remember them. Some of it stayed straight blue, but some was pigmented green and black for other parts of the image.

When exhibiting handmade paper, it's often difficult to make a viewer, particularly a non-papermaker, understand that each sheet often has a hidden story. Here, this is flax I grew, it is a record of the sun and the soil, here, this was my overalls from a certain period of my life, when I think of them I remember school, what I learned there, the community of fellow artists I shared space with and got to know. Making paper can be like making a quilt out of old clothes, art forms that transform narratives and memories while launching new ones simultaneously.

As a final note, a reminder that the Carbon Corpus project is still looking for investors! Visit here or contact me at michelle(at)michellewilsonprojects(dot)com if you are interested in being a part.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A dream of reason

One of the blocks I carved this past weekend that was printed on a piece for Proof of Some Existence, the upcoming show I'm a part of at ECHO Gallery. My interpretation of Goya's Dream of Reason. Click on the image for a larger picture.

ECHO is located at 1348 Lincoln Avenue in Calistoga, CA., and our opening reception will be on January 19, from 7-9 PM. Hope some of you can join me!

On another note - the Carbon Corpus project is still looking for shareholders. Please contact me at michelle(at)michellewilsonprojects(dot)com if you are looking to invest!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Upcoming Workshop-Linoleum Block Extravaganza!

Linoleum Block Extravaganza!
San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art Print Center

Thursday, February 21, 5-9 PM,
Saturday February 23, 10 AM - 5 PM
Sunday February 24, 10 AM - 5 PM

Open to all, this workshop is a great introduction to relief carving and printmaking. Students will learn how to carve and print their own single color blocks from start to finish. Linoleum block carving (linocut) is similar to traditional woodblock carving, giving imagery the same graphic punch but in a more accessible and easily carved medium. Perfect for all experience levels, this relief carving technique can stand alone or be incorporated into other print techniques.

Workshop fee includes one 9”x12” linoleum block, inks, and general studio supplies. Students required to bring some specialty tools estimated to cost $10-$15, on the first day of class. Printmaking paper (Rives BFK) is available for purchase at the ICA. Includes one FREE Open Access Day (a $120 value).

To register, please visit here.