Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm trying....

to improve my egg-poaching skills. One of my weird winter projects...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gold Star Intro Class 09.

I have already alluded to the fact that this semester at CSUN I had the best class I have ever had. (yes, I have only been teaching for about four years, and only two-and-a-half post grad school, but they were still the best.)

On the morning of our final meeting/clean up, I was so delighted by the work I found on the drying rack that I had a fit of generosity. I brought in treats and bought everyone gold stars before our meeting.

Before the cleanup we took care of some shop reorganization I had been thinking about doing for a year, (it included moving cabinets, litho stones and tables!) and it worked out that the space we cleared was the exact size of a couch that needed a home.

Everybody wins!

They even humored me by posing for a group picture around the new couch.

Earlier this semester my students helped me install a show of prints made in the past three semesters. They also helped me print flyers, which coincided nicely with their silkscreen demos.

Erynn is graduating! I have worked with Erynn for three semesters, and this semester she was one of my awesome TAs. Now she is applying to MFA programs, and she packed up her plates, left her apron for future printmakers, and wandered off. (I'll see Erynn again, at Doily-fest '09, when I'm going to teach her how to crochet in a circle...)

The best day of the semester was when I arrived at work to find these notes "from" the inks, (which were donated to the shop, and needed some attention...)

Another MA candidate spearheaded the start of the CSUN Printmaking Society this semester. Robert jumped through many, many hoops to get this officially sanctioned by the University. Our first "function" as an officially-sanctioned-organization was our participation in the Art Department Holiday Sale, which of course came when I was at my absolute sickest. But while I was at home with my humidifier and chicken noodle soup, a couple of my intro students were not only selling their prints, but also making, um, signs to advertise the sale. When I got back the following Monday, I was delighted and amused by their signs...(as both my former print professors may attest, I LOVE big home-made signs. I was particularly fond of making WVU Printmaking Bowling Tournament signs...) Oh, they also put the "AWESOME STUFF" sign over my office door.

Awesome Stuff.

But even better than the handmade signs was the day that I noticed that these guys were all wearing matching shirts. It's a good sign when people sharing workspace start to think alike...

But seriously, I had the good fortune of witnessing some great teamwork this semester, and my spring 2010 intro class has a lot to live up to.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

"I just want to hang out in here."

This is what one patron of Unique LA shared with me, and it confirmed that I was doing something right in my set-up for the event.

As I've mentioned, Unique LA came just at the end of my nasty cold, and prior to the event I felt very pessimistic about how it would go. This was not only because I was coughing like crazy and feeling entirely drained of energy, but also because I had to leave a sad pile of unfinished books at home. I just didn't have as much work ready as I had hoped, and many of my plans had to be put aside. (from maybe-piles to probably-not piles...)

I also handled most of the event alone, which was not impossible...but sort of a bummer. (thanks again to Erynn for helping on Saturday!) Having to stay in the neighborhood of my own stuff, I took zero photos of the non-Michelle parts of the event. Unfortunate, but this thing was ENORMOUS, and very crowded (which is good-don't get me wrong!) so when I did venture away from good ol' booth 4015, I felt lost and overwhelmed, and a lot less healthy. So I agreed with the anonymous patron mentioned above: I was happy to remain in my own pretty space.

Wow, I just reread this, and it sounds so negative! Unique LA was GREAT, and I had a successful, profitable weekend...I just know it could have been better, and maybe if I do it again it will be!

I sold a lot of work, and I had a few really good conversations.

I like to think I made thousands of people happy, or at least several hundred.

I sold almost all of the books pictured below, plus more, and found it encouraging that the ones which were MY favorites were indeed the first to sell. (and contrariwise, the ones I'm if-y about are still cluttering up my home...)

I delighted (and was delighted BY!) people who appreciate stacks of paper and tiny, subtle things.

I fell in love with strangers who love books.

I saw a few familiar faces amongst the thousands of unfamiliar ones, and was glad when people told me "I know your work from Etsy," or "I bought a book from you at the LA Printer's Fair."

Another comment I overheard and wrote down was, "See? That's where I got my art circles!"

According to the Unique Blog, over 6000 shoppers came on Saturday alone...and here you can see a few of them...behind the books...

The funniest thing someone said, (and I'm paraphrasing) was, "You make me feel like the most uncreative person!" I apologised.

I also liked it when one woman said, (nicely, supportive, in a positive way...) "I hope your Mom knows you're selling trash." This was in reference to the hanging stacks of paper, which are mostly made of my own scraps and pieces of old work and ephemera. I'll add that I believe my mom is delighted that I am selling "trash." I think my dad is too. They are big fans of "the bundles" (which is what I used to call these before I decided they were not bundles at all. Plus I like "the Stacks" as a library reference...) About three years ago when I was visiting my parents in Texas, I decorated their whole dining room with these hanging pieces at Christmastime.

My favorite comment was some gentleman who told me, "I like the way you see the world." Thank you: so do I. He and I also talked about my interest in making non-blank books, or "artist books" (a term I don't love) or "picture books" (a term I do love.)

In the works.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Awesome Stuff.

A few weeks back a couple of my intro students put this sign above my "office" when I was out sick. My head was pretty fuzzy when I first found it, but now with a clear head I have decided it is delightful, and I choose to believe it is evidence that some of my students like me. Or like printmaking. Or hopefully maybe both.

The awesome paper towels were spotted at the market when my brother was visiting. I really doubt they are as awesome as they proclaim, which makes me wonder if I'm as awesome as my students proclaim in cardboard and spray paint.

The AWESOME welcome-rug was spotted in Bakersfield on my last book-binding adventure up there.

Today I am eating tangerines in my chemical-closet/supply-room/office, and tying up end-of-the-semester loose ends. Almost all my grades are entered, everything is almost perfectly clean, and things are quieting down at CSUN. I am looking forward to the coming month. Looking forward to looking ahead (that makes sense) and resting, and making stuff, and not thinking too much, and having quiet michelle-time, and seeing family, and and and.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Oh my... was I ever sick! Sick and busy. Narcissistic as it may be, I had to document what my days were like there for a while...bundled up like this, feeling dreadful, but binding the hell outta some books. My apartment is trashed at a busy, sick, artist lives there. yuck.

Things are better now! Better! Better! BETTER! I'm better, for starters. Still a bit of a cough, but I'm not depending on cold medicine to get me through days or nights. ah. Well, maybe still the nights.

This is the end of the semester at CSUN. Today I got most of my grading done...I wasn't drinking coffee while I was sick, so today it hit me pretty hard. I also made a rather long list of things my students are going to CLEAN on Thursday! I plan on bragging about my awesome intro class in a separate post. later. tomorrow.

UNIQUE was great. I really was doubtful about how it would go, what with my illness and fatigue and all...but it was good, and I'm glad I did it. More about it in another post.

And what else? Rainbows. It rained on Monday and the LA winter that I love so much seems to have arrived. There is snow on the mountain-tops, and it is clear enough to see the mountains. People are putting up Christmas lights. LA is beautiful this time of year.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Unique LA.

Unique LA is this weekend! Saturday and Sunday, 11-6 at the California Market Center in downtown.

Unique is the largest independent design show on the West Coast, with over 300 designers and artists. Admission is $10.00, with partial proceeds going to a local non-profit. Entry gets you an exclusive-to-the-show limited edition tote bag, a free drink ticket, unlimited re-entry for both days, and access to free workshops.

I hear there's a photobooth, too...

Come say hi to me at booth #4015.

Sick. And "Plenty" at Happy.

I had a productive, yet restful thanksgiving break. But out of nowhere on Sunday a horrible monster took up residence in my sinuses, and I have been miserable the past couple of days. If I'm not making any sense in this post, its because of this beast pounding on the inside of my brain.

But the sinus monster isn't going to stop time. The end of the semester is in sight, and I have to pull myself together.

Anyway, check out the small works show "Plenty" at the cute little boutique "Happy." Here is a recent feature on apartment therapy. If you're able, come out on Friday and hang out in my neighborhood!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Crazy busy days.

My brother is visiting from Austin. We went to a childhood friend's wedding on Saturday night at the LA Cathedral. Like many good weddings, it ended with the centerpieces coming apart on the floor. I didn't drink much at all at the wedding, but it was a late night and a very very early morning.

Patchwork was Sunday in Santa Ana. And exhausting. Liz and I made some money...see?

Monday my brother and I spent some time running around town, and I started getting ready for this weekend.

Tuesday I taught. And critiqued.

Wednesday I made a turkey. My brother and I went to our Grandma and Aunt's for an early Thanksgiving. I cooked a really good dinner all by my little bony self, and it was thoroughly exhausting. I slept really well last night, but this morning came early again.

Today is teaching and more prep work for this weekend. What's this weekend?

I'm teaching another two-day bookbinding workshop at Surface Gallery in Bakersfield. Not ready, but looking forward to it.

I'm also getting work ready to take to Henry Road and a group show at Happy.

There are other things I am doing and thinking about and photographing. And the weather is getting pretty. And I'm looking forward to california wintertime.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Have I mentioned Patchwork? In Santa Ana? This Sunday?

You should check it out! Tell your friends to check it out! Support independent artists and designers!

My friend Liz Sherwyn and I will be sharing a booth. It'll be the fancy looking one.

I have lots to do.....and the slightest hint of a cold.

Monday, November 9, 2009

by hook or by crook....

My mom sent me an email. It said, "new blog, please!"

I have a lot to tell, really. Several posts worth. Tonight: Penland.

I made the most of the "opportunity" my required furlough days provided by running away to North Carolina. I was able to attend the Annual-Benefit-Auction-Crew-Chief-De-Briefing for the first time in the eight years I have volunteered for the Auction. It was a pleasant four hours with some other good leaders I know and love. I'm not sure I ever posted a link to the TONS of photos from this year's auction...

Oh, and Halloween. I made a bluebird costume. Here is some documentation from when it looked like a bluebird exploded in my livingroom:

I don't know where this sequin came from. Sequins were never part of the planning phase.

As one might guess, Halloween at an art/craft school does not disappoint.

Here's the finished bird with coordinating beer:

One evening I drove to Boone and had a lovely home-made dinner with my oldest Penland friend, Jeana Eve Klein. In 2001 we met at the school and have remained in touch through the years, as both of us have moved around the country. We've seen each other for a few short minutes the past few summers at the Benefit Auction. (But Jeana is a contributing artist rather than a lowly scullery maid...)

I spent a lot of time wandering the woods alone and writing long letters to friends. I took so many touristy pictures, I don't know which to share...

Nice, huh?

I went to Asheville with this guy on his day off. We spent hours in book stores and antique stores, and then we nearly made ourselves sick indulging in mussels and beer.

I have been watching the Prisoner obsessively since the day after my birthday. The show was first reccomended to me by my father, and then this past summer my friend Wes really got me interested. Its an amazing show, and I highly recommend it to you people, all over the place.

Wes suggested I hold off watching the final two episodes, "Once Upon a Time" and "Fallout," til my visit. Wes and I, and a group of other friends (who did not know the show) watched them one night at Penland. I'm sorry to be done with the show. I've really enjoyed Patrick McGoohan's face. And yeah, I know AMC has a new version of the show. I love you, Ian McKellen, but I'm sceptical.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Maybe Piles.

This pile makes me feel glad.

This pile makes me a bit tense.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


In less than a week I'm packing up my boa and running away to North Carolina for an adventure.

And what a lot of things I need to do before I go!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I like the observatory best when I can imagine I'm the only person up there.

This was one of those delightfully cool days we had last week. It has since warmed up again. Damn.

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