Friday, July 12, 2019

Setting Up Cottage Studio!

We have been busy the past few weeks moving stuff over to our cottage in preparation for our Summer Holidays. I do not remember much of last year's Summer holidays, although I have seen the photos! This year my loving husband has been helping me to outfit my studio tables with heavy duty casters and shelving for materials storage.

Light Table is now proper height with great room to store supplies!

Work table is now moveable with all my paper making supplies stored beneath.
I have both my paper presses ready to go. We will be connecting the sink to the grey water system and running PEX plumbing to hook up the sink to our water system when we are there for summer holidays. Fran├žois already has the electrical system set up so that I can connect my little washer for making paper pulp inside the studio!

Here is a photo montage of how things are looking now!

Not everything is well sorted and put away, but I have my stone cutting desk set up and slate pieces are moved to the studio, ready to have designs applied and cut! It feels so wonderful to have the energy to think about making art again. I have lost almost a full two years to my illness and recovery. I am very thankful to be able to set up my Cottage Studio in advance of our arrival for Summer Holidays this year.  It means that I will not have to spend my first few days there setting up!

We still have one more trip to make over to take my typewriters that I need for making artists' books this summer as well as some paper and bookmaking tools, and books. Shifting creative space from the Ducks In A Row Press Studios here in Deep River to the Cottage Studio is always a bit of a chore, but especially more of one this year after my illness. After the Breast Cancer surgery, chemo and radiation, and the Auto Immune Encephalitis  (See movie, Brain on Fire to get an idea of what I have been through!) has affected my memory and the speed at which I can accomplish things.

Thankfully, we had help from our good friend Joshua Mayo who came and carried tubs of stuff up from the Ducks studio in our basement to the garage. My loving husband helped to load it all in the trailer and truck. We have one more trip this week and then all should be done! Normally I do all this loading and taking over to the cottage on my own, but I am not strong enough to make the trip over and back alone, or to unload everything myself this year.

I wanted to mention Helen Hiebert's website for you to visit. She is an amazing papermaker as well as a producer of exceptional video tutorials for the aspiring papermaker. She also offers online workshops and has wonderful books and original art for sale on her website. I was very impressed recently with her tutorial on making very thin sheets of paper and couching them onto 100% cotton fabric pieces for drying. The cotton provides an easy release of the thin paper which is not possible from pellon. Helen also has a marvellous blog, THE SUNDAY PAPER which is full of interesting news and links. Check it out!

The Museum of Printing is having the second QWERTY FESTIVAL on July 20!!! I was so happy to have helped a bit to get this going two years ago before my illness. Check out their website,, for more information. And remember, The Museum of Printing in Haverhill, MA is totally dependent on volunteers for operation, programs, and all of the events that they offer to the public. Check out their website Membership page and consider becoming a member this year to help support this extraordinary group of people who keep the history of printing alive!!!

It feels so wonderful to be active in my creative process again, getting ready for time in the Cottage Studio. I am not completely recovered, but I can feel that I am well on the way. I am excited about cutting slate, making calligraphy broadsides, and making prints and artists' books again!! I am so very thankful for all my book arts and calligraphy friends who have kept in touch with me through social media and video chats over this past year. My immune system is still compromised, so being in crowds of people (like church) is not recommended. I am still not able to drive to Ottawa for meetings, but hope to be healed enough by the fall to do so.

As I reflect during my morning prayers, I am so thankful to be alive and be healing. It has been a very long ordeal, to be sure, but I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is very bright and inviting! I feel blessed by God to have the creative verve returning to my life in such a positive and inviting way. I know in my heart that all will be well, and all will be well with the grace of God in her infinite wisdom, all will be well.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Finished Projects!

I have been recovering well over the past few months from nearly dying from autoimmune encephalitis after successful breast cancer lumpectomy surgery in March of 2018 and later chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Starting in January I began working on three major projects that have all just been sent out of the studio.

The first projects was a "mind map" as a collaborative group project for the CBBAG group I belong to in Ottawa.  Each of the 15 participants designed a map, reproduced a copy for each participant, and will be binding a complete set of the maps into a book. My contribution was a "Map to My Creative Soul."

The cover of my map was originally created on my Vandercook 01 proof press using foundry type and my collage printing technique. The type form remains in the same format on the press, and the paper is pulled one time with full ink and two additional times with ghost prints with three primary colours-yellow, red and blue. The paper is turned during this process to create the collage effect of the letter imprints.

The map I created had a number of photos of activities I have pursued in  my creative life along with images of footprints leading into the images, away from them, and into other footprints.

I included a "pop-up" image of myself on press in my studio and a calligraphy quote  about understanding life backwards but having to live it forwards! This was the first major project I had attempted since my illness and it was great fun. Each of the 15 participants will bind the copies they have been given into a unique volume. When mine is completed I will post photos here.

The second project was another collaborative project, this time for The Ottawa Press Gang. We had decided to create a Concrete Poetry Anthology book project.  Each participant would design a letterpress signature composed of concrete poetry and print 60 copies of their signatures. The signatures will then be collated and bound into volumes.

My signature consisted of a title page, colophon page, 4 individual poems and one collage print with three colours of an Emily Dickinson poem.

The final project was a collaborative book project, a signature for the Grimsby Wayzgoose Anthology. Each participant prepared 115 copies of their own creative signature for inclusion in this edition. My signature explains how I create letterpress collage prints using a single type form and printing multiple images of the form with three primary colours of ink, yellow, blue and red, and also turning the page after each print is taken to make a ghost print of the images on top of one another.

For the collage printed images I included photos of the  type form that was used in the proof press and the method I used to print the collage images letterpress. At the back of the signature I included an envelope with original collage printed samples.

The past two months have been incredible rewarding for me as I worked on these projects. I had to relearn some typesetting and printing skills to be sure, but I also had to learn some patience as I have not been able to work as rapidly as before I became ill.  Through this entire process I have had great support and guidance from wonderful friends via the internet and the telephone. Since my immune system has been so compromised I have been remaining mostly at home.  My lifeline has been video chats on the computer and wonderful, long phone chats with friends and family near and far.  I am so looking forward to being at the Grimsby Wayzgoose this year!

As I look back over the past year and realize how very thankful I am to be alive, I think about the grace of time in my life and how thankful I am to be able to enjoy time in my studio. I am thankful for the love and care of my creative friends who check in with me from afar and work so hard to cheer me up when I am lonely and feeling cooped up with all the heavy snow we have had. I think also about the grace of the time I have for prayer and contemplation in my studio as I prepare more creative work of my soul to share with the world. I know that I have many more months until I will completely well. But I know in my heart, that I am going to get healthy, and that all will be well, and all will be well and with the grace and love of God in her infinite wisdom, all will be well.