I’ve just signed up —at long last— for another printmaking class! Difficult to believe it’s been seven years since my scholarship to learn copperplate etching (intaglio) at Manhattan Graphics Center, which was my first and only foray into this fantastic ancient method of picture-making.
The class begins in November, with my same instructor as last time. I’ve still got a huge slab of copper which I didn’t get to last time, and I hope it’s still in good nick. Gotta check out my supplies to see what else I’ll need to resume the practice.
This time, I’m keen to get more exploratory in my work. In 2011 I focused on pieces that were intricately detailed and traditional (as you can see from these two prints). My approach involved a lot of hand work, using a magnifying glass to see as I worked. It was incredibly time-consuming, even before the acid-etching stage— which is where a lot of magic can happen, much like going into the darkroom with one’s negatives.
I want so much to write. I’d like to be still for a day or two; to draw. To draw at a rate more like I was in October— daily. Or nearly so. To have space for things to percolate and bubble to the surface from below.
Instead, I’ve been kept moving, pulled in multiple directions— and good ones. I’m feeling positive and interested in both the work and other pursuits I’ve been drawn to lately. But I miss the drawing, and its attendant writing.
I look forward to my week upstate at Christmastide, to be still some. And of course to time spent with my family and the animals. Wanders around the Farm to say hi to the Dudes*, take photos, and listen to the quiet of winter up there. Walk the fields. Watch murder mysteries with Mom; talk books and politics with Dad; see a movie with the brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. (Probably the odd game of euchre or gin rummy.)
Some quiet nights in the second floor with a big orange cat lying on the bed as I read or type away on my laptop. Maybe he and I will get lost in the attic for minute, time traveling through old things, cast aways in an uninsulated room where the occasional bird finds her way in but not out— leaving behind, at length, a pile of airy bones in the low-ceilinged space beneath the pitched roof. A room mostly neglected and filled with the memories of several generations. (My kind of room)
All these things will make me feel rested and calm; remind me that no one is ever at the helm in this world. Not for long, anyway, and there is a comfort in that. Just as there is comfort in watching slow snow falling on the grass, gone brown in the fall in preparation for the long winter’s sleep.
I impulse-bought a bunch of match books from a local shop. Cause it sucks when you suddenly find yourself without a lighter (as your friends are all secretly kleptos).
When I got home, I couldn’t get past how unsatisfying the design on the boxes was, and how I didn’t want to look at them (scroll down). So I set myself a little project, inspired by the book cover matchbooks I’ve bought at Word in Greenpoint (scroll down). Gold paint, some paper and a glue stick. Voila!
For mine, I just grabbed a bunch of paper oddments from my drawer of same, and started cutting them up. Below is a batch of ten, complete; there are different papers on the obverse of each. I reckon I’ll do more, cause it’s an oddly satisfying occupation for idle hands.
Back in September I completed a successful 30-day Kickstarter campaign to fund a 2015 card-calendar based on the signs of the Zodiac, re-imagined as heraldic house sigils (think Game of Thrones). I’ve received some lovely photos of the calendars in situ from some of my generous backers.
Magnets are a great way to display each month, as you can see above.
As I posted about a lot over the past few months, I’ve designed a calendar based on the signs of the Zodiac, but re-invented as house sigils or shields, complete with a house motto that distills the nature of each sign to a single phrase (as in the Game of Thrones series and the long heraldic tradition that inspired George R. R. Martin’s family house structures in his books). The grid of days for each month is not by the month, but rather by the days covered by each sign, as you can see in the photos.
The calendar consists of 12 individual rack cards —4”x9”, which can be trimmed down to 4”x6’ postcards, suitable for framing or sending at the end of the year. They’re printed on card stock with a ‘silk’ finish (a super smooth, luxurious matte coating). At $15 plus shipping, it’s a steal!