Sunday, November 21, 2010

First Creative Work in Over Three Months!!




This is the first creative work I have done in over three months. I cleared the tops of all my tables yesterday and managed to get most of my supplies sorted, but not put away.

This morning I needed to make a calligraph for the St. Barnabas Holly Tea Raffle for this coming weekend. My photo does not do the brightness of the colors justice-I guess I was in too much of a hurry to take the photo!

It felt wonderful to pick up the brush and the pen this morning, even for this small project. My heart was racing by the time I finished and put it into the frame. The church ladies are very happy with the donation. I feel as if I have broken the ice for creative production in my new studio space as well as making a concrete contribution to our new parish. After having this creative activity this morning, my heart is excited about the calligraphic works that are living right now only in my mind.


 Most of my day yesterday involved setting shelves, organizing supplies, and getting the Vandercook Press in place.  I am limited at the moment for placing shelves on the wall as I can't seem to locate my drill bit for cement walls, I was able to attach my small shelves to a piece of wood below the window.

I love the space so far-the light from outside through the window above the Vandercook is pretty good for a basement space. I have yet to unpack all my type. I am very thankful that Merrill, from St. Peter's in Cambridge, helped me to pack up my type so carefully. Because of his careful work I am assured that all my type will be in good order when I am ready to print.


Slowly but surely I am beginning to find space for all my supplies and equipment. It will take me the next two days to get everything set in place.


I am very comfortable with the space between the worktables, and thrilled that I finally have my grandfather's carpentry bench back in my studio. it is going to come in very handy for all the wooden book-covers and boxes I have on my list to create in the next year.

My wealth of supplies still astounds me, especially since I acquired most of it from the "FREE" tab on Craig's List in Cambridge over the past year or so. I am really enjoying re-discovering things I packed so quickly in August and September.


My wall space is so limited here though as I have had to move my books into my studio space. This is going to take a good deal of jogging around over the next couple of months, but it will be fun.

I still have to organize a bulletin board space upon which to put all my photos and inspirational images. Over the past two years as I assembled them above my desk I found they became quite important to my creative process. I tend to gather pieces of fabric, sections from the newspaper, or quotes from my daily morning pages to add to the photos. Each of these sparks an idea for an artist's book section, which is why I hope to get the bulletin board in place tomorrow. Without these images in front of me I feel a great gap in my visual vocabulary at the moment.

More and more I am realizing how much I underestimated not only the time and energy it would take to reset my studio, but the emotional distress that I would experience during the process. Leaving my old studio was very difficult, but I had talked myself into accepting that I would adjust to the change. For the most part I have, but each time I unpack a tool or a can of press ink, I think about all that I experienced in Cambridge and how essential those experiences were to my own story, and how that story influenced my creative process. I miss John Kristensen and Firefly Press so very much, and my soul aches for The Museum of Printing. In my heart I know that we are where God has called us to be, and that I will adjust.

My feet are firmly on this path and my heart soars like a hawk when I think about the abundance of creativity I feel, the supplies and tools I have available to put to good use, and the wonderful blessings of our home and faith community.

In God's grace, all will be well, and all will be well, and with all God's hope, all will be well.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Paper Cupboard is DONE!!!



 My husband built me the most amazing Paper Cupboard in the "Grotto" which is the name he has given to my new basement studio here at 60 Parkdale. This Paper Cupboard is constructed to hold hundreds of pounds of parent size sheets of paper!!!


He made this with 2"x6" and 2"x8" pine. It smells delightful and is provides easy access to my paper and bookbinding fabrics.


This is the paper storage corner to the right of the new Paper Cupboard. The larger metal shelves were a gift from John Kristensen of Firefly Press in Boston and the rolling metal flat rack came from Trader Joe's. It served its' first life as a bread shelf. They were going to toss them and I snapped up three of them and took them home. I sold one, and gave one away before we moved.



 As I unloaded the 30+ boxes filled with paper, I divided the sections up. The top shelf has 10 sheets of each color for easy access, with the majority of the stock stored below. I also have a flat paper shelf in my main studio under the Hamilton drafting table for overflow.

I was amazed that all the boxes of paper emptied into this sturdy Paper Cupboard with no difficulty. I put the wooden pallet underneath and am storing the cases of velour paper on top of that.




I unpacked over 50 boxes of paper and supplies yesterday and everything fit into the new storage corner perfectly. It is amazing to see the floor of the basement in front of the main studio cleared of boxes at last!!!!!

The rolling rack is going to be wonderful when I make marbled paper and also for drying letterpress projects on the go. It will easily move anywhere in the basement studio area. The shelves are customizable, so they can be moved up or down according to the task at hand.




Opposite the big Paper Cupboard and shelf I have a chest of drawers and bookshelf. The bookshelf is filled with envelope boxes and business card stock and the chest of drawers is topped with cases of bookbinding vinyl paper. The chest of drawers is filled with bookbinding fabric, leather pieces, and smaller paper.


Everything fits!

This image shows the entrance to the paper storage area. I still have two cases of card stock and paper to put onto this shelf, but it is all going to fit.

All of the paper, materials, and shelving, except for the Paper Cupboard, was obtained FREE from Craig's List in Cambridge. I gave away 1/2 of my paper before I left to the Cambridge Arts Council. What I have left is just enough for all my projects for the next couple of years.



I am so very thrilled with how this has all worked out. Being able to have all the paper carefully organized and stored for easy access will make the world of difference to my work process in the coming months. My heart soared like a hawk yesterday as I unpacked all the boxes and placed the paper and bookbinding fabrics on the shelves and into the drawers. We have been unable to walk through the basement for a month without stepping over and around boxes. I am hoping to finish unpacking the rest of the 12 supply boxes, move the bookshelves in from the garage, and really get everything put in place!

My husband has been so wonderful to help design and build the paper cupboard for me in the midst of the craziness of our first couple of months here. Living with an artist is not always an easy thing, especially when that artist accumulates "stuff" to use in projects. He has been remarkably good natured through all of this process. Being able to have that kind of support makes all the difference in setting up my studio.

In Cambridge I was in a studio space at the top of our world, the third floor of the Rectory, but not everything was accessible to me easily.  Being in the basement is a new experience, but one I am warming to as each day passes. I feel that I am in the heart of the home in the Grotto Studio. Everything is easily accessible in one large room, with plenty of space for all my tools and supplies. I am enjoying putting all my things away-each tool or item has such significance for me. I remember the day the item came into my possession, the story behind it, and where it fits into my creative process.

My heart soars like a hawk as I build the nest of my new studio. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and in that light I am making books and creating beautiful manuscript pages in the Grotto. This move has been a long journey, months in the making, but my path is clear and my steps are sure.

All will be well, and all will be well, and with the Grace of God, all will be well.



Sunday, November 7, 2010

New Furnace!



I never thought I would get emotional about an appliance. However, I am very thankful for the new high efficiency gas furnace that was installed in our home this week. We have been waiting since September for the old furnace and oil tank to be removed, and this furnace to be installed.


It has a footprint almost 2/3s the size of the older oil furnace. The space left where the old oil tank was located will become my paper storage cupboard in the coming weeks.




The two men who came to install the furnace were wonderful. They worked for two days and did a marvelous job. They had to drill through our foundation wall to put in the new fresh air and exhaust conduit pipes and told us that our foundation has 10 inches of concrete between the plates of the poured walls. Very solid home.



It now seems very real to me that we are home. This last big piece of infrastructure to be put in place means that I can begin to paint walls and the floor in this section of the basement, and then build my paper cupboard, with help from my husband.

I have about 20 cartons of parent size paper and numerous boxes of smaller sizes that need a permanent, accessible home.

Being able to finally put all my paper and supplies away in the basement will help me make way for actually making art again. I am hoping by the end of the month to be well on the way to having our home in order.


My heart is heavy, missing family and friends in Iowa and Cambridge, but being "home" here in Deep River has many meanings for me. My spirit is at peace in a way I have not known since living on Bluff Blvd in Clinton, Iowa all those years ago. I feel settled and anchored in my creative life in a remarkable way. My journey here is just beginning, but like our foundation, has a sturdy, well built thickness to it that is hard to put into words.

All will be well, and all will be well, and with God's help, all will be well.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Setting Up A New Studio Is Like Building A Nest




I have been spending the past three weeks unpacking hundreds of boxes for our new home in Deep River, ON. Only this past week have I been able to unpack 1/2 of the studio boxes in the basement. I still have about 45 more to go. I can't wait to work on the rest of the house unpacking because we are having a new furnace installed on November 2, and I need my studio boxes out of the way.

In going through this process of preparing to move and moving I have felt a bit like I was in gestation while packing everything up in Cambridge, and seeing it go on the moving truck for two weeks. We arrived, and I had to prepare the new space by taking down one wall, painting the other walls and the floor, an then get things moved in. As I unpack each of the boxes and try to organize supplies, books, tools, and equipment, I feel like the birds outside who have been building their nests for winter. A twig here, a twig there, and bits of leaf to hold it all together.

I find myself filled with emotions as I pull out items I have not been able to use since early July when we knew we would be moving. Yesterday I put away my hand tools for bookbinding, and got all the shop lights hung. Each box yields bits and pieces of my studio from Clinton Street that need to find a new home. At one point this past week I realized I won't have room for some of my "inspiration" shadowboxes that I had in the old studio, and will have to work a new spot for them in someplace else in the house. Irrespective of this, each tool I put away, each piece of paper or book that finds a new home, helps me to build my nest; that warm, wonderful, peaceful place that will be the home for my artistic soul in the weeks, months, and years to come.

The great news is that I have a studio, and it is in my home, and I will be able to work in it each and every day. What a blessing from God to have space, tools, equipment, materials, and supplies to make art with within steps of where I live.

All will be well, and all will be well, and with God's great grace, all will be well.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Unpacking and Setting Up The New Studio

I am just now starting to get the new studio unpacked and set up. The movers managed pretty well, all things considered. We have moved into our new home in Deep River, ON, and my studio has gone from 3 smaller rooms in the attic of the Rectory in Cambridge to one nice large room, with extra storage, in the basement of our new home. Here are a few photos of the space before and after I started putting things into it last week.








I guess they posted out of order, but you get the idea. I painted the walls and the floor in this new space the week before our things arrived from the states. Moving in was very tricky-my large light table did not fit into the space, so I have to sell it. It is going to be a great space to work in, however, because I have every table set up with a nice amount of walking space in between.

The movers had the most trouble with the paper cutter. It has a new home now, and is out of the way of other work. My challenge today is to unpack the remaining 45 boxes in the basement and find places for everything. I have 30 cases of paper left, even though I gave away 25 cases of various stock before we left. I could not stand the thought of giving away all the paper I had gotten free, but it is a little overwhelming having all these cases of parent size sheets of paper in the basement on pallets. I plan to build a formal paper storage shelf after the new furnace is installed November 2-3.

This basement is very dry, has lots of light from the existing windows, and a two heat sources-one from the baseboard electric heat and one from the furnace. It will be a cosy place to work once we are unpacked and organized.

I find my creative verve is finally  starting to push on my soul a bit. We have been here since September 26, with all out things arriving on October 4-5. The utter madness of trying to live surrounded by boxes and nothing put away really takes it out of you.  I feel as if I have been living within an artist's book collage where all the pieces have not been properly glued down!  As I have unpacked my tools and materials, I find my heart racing with anticipation of being able to work in the studio full time again.

This move has been a good one for us in more ways than one. We have been able to see to dear loved ones who needed us here, which is most important. Some of the family issues are being resolved and we both believe we made the correct decision to be closer just in time. The new parish for Fran├žois has been very welcoming to us both and exciting things are already happening here within the faith community.

Although I am a bit overwhelmed with the unpacking, sorting, and getting things put away, I know that God has called us here in her infinite wisdom. All will be well, and all will be well, and with God's Help, all will be well.