You’ve Got to Check Out Anne & Mark’s Art Party This Weekend

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So what about Anne & Mark’s Art Party? Well, you should go! And I’m interrupting my planned blog post to tell you about it because you still have time… Go during the day on Friday, September 30th or Saturday, October 1st and/or go to the Closing Bash on the night of October 1 featuring Pivot – The Art of Fashion. 

Greg and I went on Sunday and had a great time discovering new-to-us artists and enjoying artwork from familiar artists and friends. The Art Party is an enthusiastic explosion of art!

Some of our favorite new-to-us artists include Linda Steenkamp  who made the artwork at the top of this post and Malia Landis who made this ceramic piece, below, titled “California Coast.”

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We were intrigued by the photos by Quinn Peck who used a layering technique where the photo was printed on multiple layers of media with different transparencies. The breeze catching the fabric top layer really caught our eyes and it created interesting changes in the image as you moved around it.

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We particularly enjoyed the photography of Charlotta Maria Hauksdottir and the way her images really captured the many activities that happen in a room in the course of our daily lives.anne-and-marks-art-party-2016-12-of-19

Greg was particularly enamored with the work by Gale Antokal. I had Gale as a professor years ago and am familiar with her work. Her subjects are ambiguous and imbued with implied narrative. Be sure to click her name and wander around her website.

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We were tickled to see the new work that Kent Manske has been doing since his retirement from Foothill.

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And new work from Nanette Wylde, also of PreNeo Press. Each of them master printmakers.

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We were very glad to get to see some of Robin Lasser’s Dress Tent series. We had hoped to go to Carmel for her show and now are even more sorry we couldn’t make it.

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It was also fun to see how Jamila Rufaro and Dotti Cichon are influencing one another on their collaborative work.

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And last, but not least, we couldn’t resist taking a shadow picture with this sculpture outside. I didn’t get the name of the artist, if you know, please tell me.

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To get an idea of how much art there is to see, just check out this list of visual artists. During your visit, be sure to see work by Stan Welsh, Sieglinde van Damme, Jody Alexander, Barbara Boissevain, Rose Sellery, Beverly Rayner, Brian Taylor, Jay Ruland, Nancy Sevier, and many more.

~Ginger

http://www.gingerburrell.com

 

“How To” Books That Deserve Shelf Space #2

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The studio is getting cleaner, but I’m still far from done. I’m afraid I’m having to undo years of bad stashing habits. Creating new strategies and new systems is taking longer than I’d like. I am, however, determined not to stash anything this time around.

In the meantime, here are the second five books that have earned shelf space on my new, cleaned out, bookshelf.

As a reminder, my criteria for a book staying include one or more of the following:

  1. Unique binding ideas
  2. The best photos and instructions for a particular binding
  3. A gallery of book examples with outstanding artists books.

In case you’re wondering about the first five, here are the “How To” Books That Deserve Shelf Space #1 from last week’s blog post.

This week’s five:

Making Books by Hand by Mary McCarthy and Philip Manna

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This book has outstanding diagrams and clearly labels everything. Excellent for a beginner and a good reminder for experienced artist. There are also several box structures that I find useful such as this portfolio, below. Apologies for the bad photo, the glossy black page and my studio lighting were not making friends, you get the idea.

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Books Unbound by Michael Jacobs

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This book is probably in my top 5. It does not have the clearest instructions and he does not use the best materials, but Michael Jacobs approaches bookmaking from a sculptural standpoint and the books and boxes he creates are truly unique.

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The Matchbox Marvel, above, is typical of his enthusiasm to combine book structures and boxes into interesting shapes and variations. His Specimen Book, below,  is one of my favorites. I’ve made this as a gift a few times. It is always a hit. A wonderful way to highlight a treasured (small) item.

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Also in my top 5, Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms by Alisa Golden

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This book is the most comprehensive on my shelf. If you’re only going to own one “How To” book on making handmade books – this is it. From basic accordion books to basic pop-up and move-able books, you can find something here to fit your ideas. If if you use scrap materials and patience, you can teach yourself any of these bindings or boxes.

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235 pages of instructions, diagrams and ideas!

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You’ll notice the next two books are also by Alisa Golden. There is a lot of overlap with the Making Handmade Books, above. Virtually all of the instructions and diagrams from the next two books are in the 100+ book. So… I wouldn’t recommend buying them, too. Unless you find them for a great price. What makes them worth having are the gallery/example photos that are not in the Making Handmade Books. I’m still debating whether they have enough value to stay on the shelves. But for right now they’ve earned a spot. When that shelf begins to overflow again, these are the first two I’d reconsider.

 

Unique Handmade Books by Alisa Golden

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Creating Handmade Books by Alisa Golden

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One more set of five to finish out that shelf and then we’ll move on to some other topics. In fact, I’m looking forward to my husband, Greg, writing some guest posts. One on lighting, which we’ve just redone in my studio and one on what it’s like to be in his role as a support system and collaborator for an artist.

You may have noticed that I haven’t talked about the Pop-Up “How To” books in that shelf cubby. I’m saving that discussion for November when the Pop-Up Now Exhibition opens  at 23 Sandy Gallery.

Do you have a “How To” Book  in your studio that I should have in mine? Give me some of your recommendations in the comments!

~Ginger

http://www.gingerburrell.com

 

“How To” Books That Deserve Shelf Space #1

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I’m in the middle of my studio clean out. It definitely got worse before it got better, but today I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or at least the floor in some places.

I’m being rather harsh in my clean out, I don’t want to do this again soon. Everything has to earn its space. Especially books. So far I’ve donated 4 bags of books to the library and I’ve got two more boxes of books to donate to the Bay Area Book Artists Sale on Sunday, October 16th.

In my studio I have one of those Ikea bookshelves with the squares to divide books. Above is a photo of one of two squares labelled, “Book Arts How To.” I thought I’d share with you the books that I think are worth keeping in my studio and why.

Most books about Book Arts include the standard bindings, Accordion, Coptic, Pamphlet, etc. In order for me to keep a book in this category, it has to have one or more of the following:

  1. Unique binding ideas
  2. The best photos and instructions for a particular binding
  3. A gallery of book examples with outstanding artists books

Today, the first 5. Note, these are in no particular order of preference. Rather the order they are on my shelf.

Book Art Studio by Stacie Dolin and Amy Lapidow.

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The primary reason this book gets to stay? The Limp Paper Binding. A variation on the traditional Limp Vellum Binding. I haven’t tried it yet so the book goes back on my shelf.

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re-bound: creating handmade books from recycled and repurposed materials by Jeannine Stein

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This book deserves shelf space for the gallery. Here two of my favorites by Elaine Nishizu and Judi Delgado.

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Next, Book Arts: Beautiful Bindings for Handmade Books by Mary Kaye Seckler

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I keep this book for The Raven’s Foot Binding. It is a fun and unusual binding and well described here.

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More Making Books By Hand by Peter and Donna Thomas

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While there are instructions about how to make books, this one gets to stay as a catalog of Peter and Donna Thomas’ artwork. Here one of my favorites, The Trout.

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Book + Art: Handcrafting Artists’ Books by Dorothy Simpson Krause

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This book is unique in that it has Thermal Bindings (bindings created with the use of heat)

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And Drumleaf Bindings, bindings created by applying glue to the spine. Neither of which I’ve done, but both of which look interesting and useful.

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Next week, the next five.

On a personal note, the wedding in Virginia Beach was wonderful, beautiful, sentimental. We’re still smiling from the joy we shared with Samantha and Jeff.

We also experienced Tropical Storm Hermine which turned out to be stormy enough to create some challenges for the bride and groom but also disappointing after watching all of the weather channel doom and gloom.  For fun, Greg and I went to the coast at took some Hermine selfies. Here is my favorite.

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~Ginger

http://www.gingerburrell.com

 

Cleaning the Studio Between Trips

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As I mentioned last week, we were off to Tucson for funeral. We went to show our respect and mark the passing of a man important to Greg and our family. Mike Enis was somehow related to Greg and his dad, although we couldn’t really tell you how. More importantly, Mike Enis was kind and welcoming and had terrific stories. He was also a wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather, a political activist, and a cultural historian and language teacher for the Tohono O’odham people. Mike also helped create a contemporary type of music particular to the southern Arizona desert, Chicken Scratch. It was an honor to have known Mike Enis.

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While in Tucson, we visited family, including our niece, Diana, who just started college at the University of Arizona. We were glad to get to see her sooner than expected, even if it did involve getting up at 4 a.m.!

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We also enjoyed some Indian Fry Bread (some of the best we’ve ever had), at “Indian Fry Bread Manna From Heaven” on St. Mary’s Road in Tucson.

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A trip to the Desert Museum in Tucson was inspiring both in terms of its beauty

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and also for this tree, which gave me some new artist book structure ideas. Can’t you just see this as a central binding structure with leaves/pages/books?

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And two more pieces of inspiration, the first, a statement by a young artist on the Tohono O’odham reservation about why he uses graffiti art. “Graffiti Art is not bad it is art. Graffiti Art is not tagging. Tagging is not art. Graffiti Art is a way for the next generation of our kids to carry on what makes us a tribe, what makes us “us.””

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And the second, a mosaic, in the Tucson airport. Dora, this made me think of you!

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And we’re off to the airport again for a trip to Virginia, this time for a wedding.

In the meantime, I decided that habits are useless without a usable work space. I’m terribly embarrassed to admit it, but this is what my studio looked like as of last Sunday.

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It is an archaeological dig/representation of the projects, classes, and ideas of the last year. In between caring for Marisol and keeping our day-to-day lives running, I met deadlines and got projects done, got organized for classes, and more on a just-in-time basis.

I am a packrat, I love keeping things “just in case,” and I have never met a scrap of paper I don’t love and need to keep. But enough is enough. I’ve filled bags full of things to donate and I’m being rather harsh about what has to go. I can’t create good working habits if I don’t have room to work. So this week is step 1. Clean out.

I’m still reading the organizing/habits book. It will go with me on the next airplane ride. And next week, I’ll show you the “after” photos of the studio and share about our trip to Virginia.

Hey look. Three blog posts in a row. This is starting to look a bit like a habit!

Are you a packrat? What determines whether or not something is valuable enough to take up space in your studio? Comments are welcome!

~Ginger

http://www.gingerburrell.com

 

 

On Being a “Real” Artist

Ginger Burrell Pyramid Box with Lotus Book SFSM

Well, here it is Tuesday again. And look, a blog post! I had to laugh when I realized I’ve been so busy since last Tuesday that I haven’t read any more of the book about getting organized and making routines. I’ll have to tell you about that another time.

When I was studying art in college,  I remember a discussion where a student pointed out that a “real artist” would let everything else in life go in order to make art. Art would come before family, income, chores, even eating.

Piffle.

This real artist made art this week, finished writing class descriptions, designed two new book structures, got her niece settled into college and just now booked travel for a funeral. This real artist is still terribly behind on a long list of things, but making progress.

Real artists have real lives. And if we’re lucky, busy, messy lives full of lot of people we love and who love us. And those people need us, need our time, and get in our way. Don’t even get me started on our pets.

To begin with, the college send off. I only cried a little bit. We were so focused on getting to the dorm room first so she could have the single bed in a triple room (success!), and getting her mountain of clothes, shoes and other supplies organized under said bed, I didn’t even have time to cry. And by the time the seven of us, who went to “help” her, had driven her crazy, she was so ready for us to leave, none of us cried. Of course when Greg and I got home we weren’t sure what to do with ourselves. And my first morning thought every day is still about what she needs, where she is, and whether she’s okay.

As far creating art, inventing book structures and writing class descriptions, I was working on a version of my pyramid box with magnetic closures, see the photo above. This version, designed for San Diego Book Arts needed to have a book inside. I experimented with stacked books and was underwhelmed. I really wanted something that made you go “wow” when it was revealed. I played with a variety of ideas and finally ended up with this, a set of four small triangular books with magnetic covers. When attached to each other with the magnets they create this intriguing and complex shape that I’m calling a Lotus Book. I’m pretty tickled with it.

I also designed a star book with magnetic covers that sits inside this hexagon box. I’ll be teaching both books and boxes in San Diego next April in 2017.

Ginger Burrell Hexagonal Box with Star Book SFSM

Today, after I finish my blog post, I’m cleaning. My studio is in such disarray that I have to move things to find things and move things to make space to work. I’ve got a bunch of boxes mostly made that are overdue to Vamp and Tramp. That’s my next big project… After I clean enough to find my table.

As far as the book on organizing one’s life? I’ll take that in my bag when we fly to Tucson for a funeral. I’ll tell you more about the book, and Tucson, next week.

Wishing you a lovely week full of messy, loving people who need you and get in the way.

~Ginger

http://www.gingerburrell.com

 

Creating (And Re-Creating) Habits

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I think one of the hardest, and most important, things we can do as artists is create habits and routines to support our art-making. I’ve been creating, trying and ultimately re-creating, trying and often failing, to create habits and routines as an artist for nearly ten years.

Ten years. Wow. It doesn’t feel that long ago that I was truly terrified of calling myself an artist, let alone leaving the office work world to work in a studio and classroom. Along the way I’ve discovered that I am a master of distraction, procrastination and, perhaps worst of all, perfectionism. If you’ve seen the movie, Up, you know what I mean when I say, “Squirrel?!”

I love squirrels. We feed several of them at our bird feeders each day. In fact, I created a squirrel feeder by re-purposing a rabbit… See, there I go. I’ve been meaning to write blog posts for months. I’ve written dozens in my head. But since they’re never as well written as I’d like, and I don’t have exactly the right photo to post, or Ellis wants to play, or the dishes need done or there is an artists’ book I’m avoiding in the studio, no blog posts.

To be fair, and as my dear friend Karen would tell me, to be kind to myself, I have had a bit of a distraction for the last year. Our niece, Marisol, has been living with us and it’s been our responsibility to help her successfully make the transition from junior in high school to college freshman. With any luck we’ve taught Mari some things and she’s definitely taught us. And, next Saturday, our year of homework, worry, taxi service, cajoling, reminding and loving is coming to an end. She’s moving to college. Okay, well the loving and the worrying, that definitely isn’t coming to an end. As we’ve told her we will always do those things!

So I have the opportunity to re-work my schedule and the responsibility to improve it. I need to put into practice all the things I’ve been teaching Marisol. Make and keep a schedule. Keep a calendar. Fulfill responsibilities first. Stay focused. Squirrel?

Step one. I’ve put on my calendar as a recurring event, “Blog Post” on Tuesdays. Oh, I’d love to write them twice a week. Even three times. And I’d like each to be beautifully illustrated and inspire you deeply as an artist. But as my perfectionist self knows, if I try to meet those standards up front, I’ll never post. Instead of one blog a week, I’ll post one blog a month. Or every six months. Or year.

So, one post a week. Here it is. Next week I’ll tell you about the book I’m reading and the other habits I’m trying this time. And how I did my best not to cry when I left Marisol in her dorm room.

~Ginger

www.gingerburrell.com

 

 

 

New Class: Box Making Beyond the Rectangle

Join me for a new class beginning Friday, April 15th at the Palo Alto Art Center. The class will run for 10 weeks and we will make non-rectangular boxes including a triangle, a pyramid, a circle and a hexagon. Classes are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays. Sign up by calling the Palo Alto Art Center or enrolling using their online system. Only two spaces remaining in the class!

Below are photos of the magnetic pyramid box we’ll be making. Don’t miss out!