Last week I came back from a spectacular week-long residency at Spark Box Studio, run by Chrissy Poitras and Kyle Topping in Picton, ON. I was a lucky recipient of one of their Emerging Artist Residency Awards and I was so excited to see what the week would have in store for me. I documented my process of making a four colour reduction linocut, so this post is pretty image heavy. I’ll keep the commentary light and let the pictures tell most of the story:
Here’s my little work space. Each artist at Spark Box gets a private studio space and bedroom, but Chrissy and Kyle are open to artists claiming their own work space in the print shop or house. I picked this sunny corner in the print shop. The counters were too low to sit with a stool and too high for a chair so I improvised.
The shadow puppet show put on by Small Pond Arts was so impressive and inspiring. I would love to work on one of these some day. It featured shadow puppets and shadow actors and was narrated by a very engaging storyteller (standing on the left).
I ended up with an edition of ten, plus about 15 artist proofs. I kept a few of the bad prints and ripped up the really bad ones. It felt kind of crazy but also very cathartic! I think it’s really easy for artists to have a tendency to hoard and lately I’ve been trying hard to resist the impulse to hold on to everything.
Many thanks to Chrissy and Kyle for providing me with this amazing opportunity to relax, create and learn!
I’ve been thinking a lot about the future… thinking about what and how I’ll make in the next few months, what I’ll be up to a year from now and also, beyond, beyond. I have mixed feelings about planning my life. I realize that planning too much is pointless: we can’t predict how the world around us will shift, how we will change and along with us our desires and dreams. At the same time, I like to dream big and know I won’t get anywhere near my goals unless I figure out how I’m going to reach them. Planning can also be scary! What if that thing you’ve worked so hard towards doesn’t work? Or, perhaps worse, what if it succeeds and you HATE it? When your plans fall outside of anything mainstream, dependable or financially stable, you can almost hear the concerned mothers and fathers of the world tense up (however old and independent you may be); not the most reassuring sound.
Still, at this point, I’m excited about the new possibilities I am working towards, whether or not they turn out how they now appear in my mind’s eye!
To conclude this vague little post, here’s a few process shots from one of my most recently completed projects: a papercut comic about my late Grandmother. It will be published in the next issue of Broken Pencil!
My biggest lesson from this project? Nothing beats a sharp blade! Forget about size, shape, ergonomics… it’s all about the sharp!
Being an artist with another job means that time to make things is always precious and passes too fast. I just finished an intense (as in, very focused) and awesome bookbinding session in preparation for Canzine next Sunday. I managed to also force myself to take many process shots. I get so detail oriented and INTO IT when I’m working that it can be hard to remember to stop and pick up my camera.
A little update from my studio:
- I’m still in the process of binding books. Who would have thought that binding 200 books by hand would take a long time? Ha! I have completed almost 40 books, have another 10 close to done and another 150 to go after that. Last night I finished collating all the books!!! Collating means putting the pages in order. Maybe it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a dull process which requires a lot of space to lay out all the pages and a lot of time to put them all together. I also made headway on trimming the text blocks (the term for the stack of pages before they are bound). Only 130 blocks left to trim. Ha! It sounds like a lot, but with the beautiful ancient paper trimmer at my studio, it should only take a couple hours of work.
- I’m still eating great snacks! This is a picture from last week. I neglected to photograph last night’s snack repertoire, which consisted of salt and pepper chips, salt and vinegar chips and dark chocolate with hazelnuts. Yes, two kinds of chips. I had a lot of work to do!
- At the end of this week, I am leaving for Alaska for a month!! This means that production of books will slow down a bit (meaning they won’t be available online for at least another 6 weeks) but hopefully creative production overall will increase by a million. I’m so excited to hike, kayak, see special people and NOT WORK 40hrs/week!! Wooooo!!!!
- I spent some time updating my website. Hope you like it! There’s some new content in the Comics, Drawings and Books sections. Check ‘er out!
Here is a little look at a copy of Boom Boom Boom. I sold out of the copies I had ready for TCAF but there are many left to bind. I’m going to have busy hands for the next few weeks!
Japanese Stab Binding with a hinged hardcover
Title and endpages
An image from my story Wild Seed
Back cover 🙂
Meanwhile, in the studio…
Studio work is always made happier with a robust selection of snacks!
Today’s beautiful spring weather reminds me of the residency I shared with my friend Sara Titanic last April at Artscape’s Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts on Toronto Island. The Island! The studios are housed in the old Island school (our studio was the boys’ dormitory) and have plenty of haunting charm. The buildings are situated right near Gibraltar Beach facing Lake Ontario where you can have campfires, build sandcastles, skip stones.
In the background of this picture you can see one of my large india ink drawings, the first of a growing series. I haven’t posted any images of these yet because their large size makes them really challenging to photograph… hopefully I will figure it out soon.