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Thursday, June 23, 2016

New Videos on Youtube

I was so immersed in the process for so many days—first filming (more than once) and then editing in imovie (pretty straightforward once I got going especially since I spent the time during the filming process to get full takes I could use) that having them up on youtube seems anticlimactic. But it is a big deal. I'm pleased to share them with you. The above video is the channel trailer that greets new visitors. You can find three videos on hot dog books: the basic construction, attached books to make a longer one and adding a bookmark, and using different size papers here. I hope to post a few more videos next week. I'll be letting you know about new ones here on the blog but you can also subscribe to my youtube channel to be notified when they go up.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My 65th Year-Part 5

I wrote my last post in this series on October 11, 2015 and have been thinking about the topic again as the end of my 65th year approaches. I turn 65 on September 17th. The first thing I’ll say is that true change comes slowly. On October 4 for my third post, I ended with this:

I have exactly the career one should have if one does everything her own way. I pretty much make the art I want at the pace I want and put it out into the world in the same way. I have a husband who believes in me and wants me to be able to do exactly that. I have grown children who have said the nicest things about how my art has enriched their lives. In the past two years, I have been contacted out of the blue by two institutions who wanted to purchase a Spirit Book for their collection, a design magazine from Taiwan that wanted to feature my work, and two institutions who wanted to show my work. How can I feel anything but gratitude? Well of course I can, and have, but it is foolish. With that recognition, that hard little knot has dissolved. I go forward into this 65th year with a new resolve to make the most out of these gifts and be thankful for them. 

Turns out I was wrong. That hard little knot had not dissolved. It was still there. I realized it when friends retired and I felt happy for them and bad for me. They were leaving positions with a sense of accomplishment and an optimistic view toward what came next with time to explore their own interests. I felt like I was still a child jumping up and down waving my arms and shouting, “Look at me! Pay attention to me! ” I was back to being an ungrateful bitch (65th year-Part 3) and a petulant child—not in public and not all the time but often enough. I knew it was counterproductive but I couldn’t seem to stop complaining about how my work didn’t sell (65th Year-Part 4) and on and on. 

It seems I may have reached the turning point I was looking for. It came after one of my feeling-sorry-for-myself sessions with my husband. It wasn’t anything he said. It was the look of hurt on his face. 40 years of trying to help me do the work I want and I'm not happy. That look may have been there before but this time I saw it. The next morning I woke up and that little knot was gone. This time it feels final. I think I finally understand that isn’t all about me. 

My life is mine but it is not a solo effort. I am what I am and have been able to do what I do because of the support first of my parents, then my husband, and now my children, not to mention friends both far and near. If I don’t have the openness and strength to be generous with myself, I am hurting them as well. 

I feel like I am really done—done with chasing after acceptance in places that don’t welcome me, done with not taking the time to savor the good things that come my way, done with not appreciating all the goodness and good fortune that is in my life. I may actually be growing up. We shall see.

Next 65th Year post—the end of workshops, the beginning of videos.

Monday, June 20, 2016


May we keep the freshness of now 
through the heat of the season 
and greet each day anew.  

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Studio Sunday-Video Update

What a difference a week makes. Above is a still taken from the one of the videos I filmed yesterday. I like the way I look—relaxed and comfortable. In last week's video efforts, I realize it was about both how I looked and how I felt. First of all, while bright lighting does wonderful things for artwork, it doesn't do much for the human face. I look so much better with natural light. But the biggest problem was that I didn't feel like the authentic me. I had spent so much time the week before thinking about all the aspects of the presentation that I lost sight of my goal—to share what I have learned over the years and love doing. I don't know that it would have been that noticeable to others but to me there was an element of salesmanship going on. I was trying to sell the viewer on the value of watching the videos and that's just not my style. I believe in the value of what I am doing. If the videos get it across, great. If not, my telling you how to feel won't make a difference.

The sequence of the week was:
I did some filming with my iphone. It used a Joby tripod for smartphone on a box and two books. I used the camera front-facing (like you would take a selfie) so I could see what I was doing. They came out well. I was excited.

I talked to my son. Told him how good I thought they turned out and how easy it was to work with the phone in selfie mode.

He said, "You don't want to do that. The front-facing camera is way lower quality than the normal view." I was not pleased.

I decided to do some research online. It turns out that one of the big differences between an iphone 6 (what I had) and the newer one, 6s, is the quality of the front facing camera (from 1.5 to 5 megapixels).

I was eligible for an upgrade and now have a new iphone 6s. It just didn't make sense to start this project with lower level technology.

Yesterday I spent three hours with my new phone and filmed a youtube channel trailer and what I need for three short videos. They're imported into my computer and renamed so I can tell which is which.

Now it's onto editing with imovie. When they're done, I need to do some organizing to my youtube channel and then I'll post them. I hope that will be in a week or two. We're on our way!

Thursday, June 16, 2016


Thanks to John Cutrone and his Book of Days post for the reminder that today is Bloomsday. Here's how John begins his post:

English majors, rejoice! Or, re-Joyce… for it is Bloomsday, the annual celebration of the James Joyce novel Ulysses, a large book whose narrative covers but one day: June 16, 1904, in Dublin, Ireland. Each 16th of June, folks all over the world (but especially in Dublin) follow the footsteps of Leopold Bloom, the main character in Ulysses. Bloomsday has become a journey and a literary celebration (and some cause for drinking, but this is nothing new amongst bookish types).

I couldn't resist writing out the word even though I've never read Ulysses and don't think much of Joyce as a person after reading Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation, a biography by Noel Riley Fitch of the publisher of Ulysses. What an amazing woman and what a selfish ass. The book would not be the groundbreaking one it was without her patience and determination. And don't get me started about Margaret Fuller and Emerson and The Dial magazine.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Studio Sunday-Patience and Strength

Here are two words that I will need as I move forward with my video series. My daughter and I spent a long day yesterday filming a couple of segments. She then spent time that night editing the videos in imovie. I felt so ungrateful this morning when I watched the first video and burst into tears. I had no issue with the content. I just did not like the way I looked. Who is this person?

I had done a quick video by myself with my iphone earlier in the week and I so preferred it. The fact that it was not as clear and sharp helped a lot. And I realized that as encouraging as she was while she filmed me, I was not as relaxed as I had been when I was alone.

I am going to back and redo them. I'm going to try them without lights and see if I can soften the look without losing the clarity. I know I have a lot of good material worth sharing and that I can't let my vanity get in the way. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Studio Sunday-Quote Book

When I make samples, I try to make most of them without calligraphy so that viewers won't think they need to do calligraphy to make the books. Sounds obvious, but when I first started teaching bookmaking many years ago, discouragement was often voiced. "But I don't know how to do calligraphy. My books will never be as nice as yours."

The above book is an eight page accordion made from one sheet of recycled copy paper with writing on one side only. I folded it in half like a hamburger with the writing on the inside, then opened it and glued the two layers together so it would stay together when I cut the arched shapes on the top. I used sharpies for the lettering and drawing.

I made the book to go in a photo to promote my upcoming video series. It was my daughter Kendra's suggestion that I have a photo chock full of books to use for promotion and introduction. The arrangement is getting there. I plan to tinker with it a little bit more and then photograph it on Monday with a good camera and lights.

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