Dec 29, 2011


* * * * *

I went to the park today for to soothe* my soul, it was the first I've been in quite a long time. It had also been a while since I'd taken my Polaroid out. There was thick cloud cover and the light was dim, but things felt good. I'm glad we are past the winter solstice. I'm glad we are done with the time of year that is for endings. We're sitting now in the season that is the peace and quiet of things already dead, we're done with the agony and loss of dying. Now we can sit and enjoy the stillness. Soon we'll be thinking of how new things might begin.

*At first I mistakenly spelled this word "sooth" - a not so erroneous error, as I did go to find truth.

* * * * *

Dec 12, 2011

crystal portraits finished!

clockwise from top >> tibetan clear quartz : tangerine quartz : amethyst

I just finished up my crystal portraits this morning! The black outlines on the tangerine quartz prints are drying as I type.

After a few failed attempts at realigning the old Tibetan quartz linos I scrapped them and started over. (So much better!) The newly carved blocks were much easier to register. It's very subtle, but I snuck a little yellow into the white ink along the bottom half of those guys and love the way it turned out.

Today would be a good day to take them out for listing photos as it's sunny and fairly dry, but as I said before, the black on the tangerine quartz is still very fresh and I don't want it to get all smudged and ruined. Dang. I really wanna get that part done. I'm definitely going to sell them as a set on Etsy, but can't decide if I should also offer them individually as they're quite small.

Nov 27, 2011

gournal share

Despite this being the most difficult time of year for me creatively, I think I can say I still got it. Though not technically from my journal, this diddy was born from the same mode of creation that I first practiced on my journal pages and so, feels kindred enough to be considered a "gournal" share.

During late fall my struggle to overcome the gloom makes successful creativity all the more rewarding, it becomes truly uplifting. Though I'm no stranger to SAD, this year doesn't feel as gloomy, sullen or miserable as years past. Just slow. Epically slow. There's just so much inertia to overcome! My body and mind want to settle into a cozy, hibernation like pattern of sleep - eat - watch - read - repeat, and I'm often oh so happy to oblige.

Interestingly enough the depths of winter find me more creatively stimulated than late fall and the holiday season. By January I usually come out of fall's energetic slumber and start gaining momentum, at least mentally; I sort through gathering inspiration and start formulating plans. In the spring time I start getting productive and continue to build momentum through summer. When fall comes around again I start winding down and my energy is ready for a restful period. By paying close attention I've been able to observe these seasonal changes in myself, though in a society largely disconnected from nature and natural cycles it can feel like useless information at times. Just when I'm ready to settle down for a rest I feel the pressure to be a'bustle with holiday productivity. I feel out of synch! Not with myself, but sometimes with the world around me.

Nov 15, 2011

blocking hexagons: a perfectionist's nightmare

It really was. I had to closet my perfectionist self for this one after the first four hexagons, if I didn't I would've driven myself insane. Other than that, it went well and was simple enough. I laid the hexagons out on a towel, shaping them as I pinned them down to the floor. After that I laid a thoroughly damp flour sack kitchen towel over them and ironed each until the flour sack was dry to set the shape. Then I left them pinned in shape for a few hours or overnight so they could set thoroughly. I don't know if this last step was necessary, but it felt right.

I planned on writing a comprehensive step-by-step of this process but the photos I took aren't very attractive, so I canned the idea. Getting a nice hexagon shape was fun and challenging though none of them are perfect, and I know that we block knit items to help make them the right size but... they aren't all the same size either. I know! But I didn't feel like being insane about it!

Above is a sketch of the final pattern, and below that are all the hexagons laid out as such! The slight size variation seemed to be a bit of an asset when I laid them out today, though it needs a bit of fine tuning, and we'll see if it's still an asset when I'm joining them with yarn instead of just laying them on the floor. Yarn color for the joining is still undecided (though, I'm leaning towards off-white) as is the method I'll use to get them together. Help?

Nov 11, 2011

all stirred up

I stirred up my life a little and now I find myself riding a wave of joy, delight and inspiration. I poked at the embers and now the flames are jumping up lively and strong. I recently gave my notice at the tea shop; I'll be done after Thanksgiving and I couldn't feel better about it. It's hard to express how I evolved there but I'll just say I feel more like myself than ever before. Many of the people who were there with me have become great friends or my chosen family. Miro was exactly where I needed to be for the past four years with exactly the right people, and now I feel I'm moving on at exactly the right time. I can tell because it's propagated this wave of said joy, delight and inspiration.

-- an unrelated photo of my desk after i reorganized it this summer --

The inspiration seems to be bubbling up and leaping out of me in all directions. I get caught singing nonsensically to myself/my cat, I miss drumming terribly, and I want to dance again. A few pals have recently complimented my writing, something I've always equally enjoyed and struggled with. The encouragement has given me new energy for words and has reminded me that writing is in fact a very important part of my process, one I shouldn't neglect. I find myself playing with words in my sketchbook in a lyrical sort of way as well as recording significant if not oddly isolated memories from my youth there. This new excitement in writing has also brought zines back to the forefront of my mind. I always suspected they might be an excellent vessel for my art and I'm beginning to believe it even more. Speaking of zines! Short Run, a small press fest, is happening tomorrow at the Vera Project; over 70 exhibitors will be there with their comics, art books, and zines. I can't wait to check it out and hopefully participate in the future!

I've been listening to a lot of Bikini Kill lately and during a discussion with a friend about what it takes to change the world I brought up Kathleen Hanna and how inspiring she is. Her bold, irreverent and unabashed expression of rage, trauma and sexuality is liberating. I wasn't lucky enough to have her blow my mind during adolescence (I probably couldn't have handled it anyway thanks to some deep denial) but I know she and Bikini Kill freed a lot of young people from such struggles and in doing so changed the world for those people. My friend and I came to the conclusion that becoming someone who changes the world is a journey of millions of small acts rather than a few large ones. It requires only that you be fully dedicated to your own truth and work to live it everyday. I guess I've been re-inspired to change the world by living my truths. That's a pretty big deal.

The subject of living one's truths brings to mind the moments when those truths are met with less than wholehearted support. As a creative thinker I find myself believing in, coming up with and expressing unconventional ideas. There are many words that can sit in place of unconventional here: radical, imaginative, revolutionary, brilliant, crack-pot, hair-brained, far-out, wild or outlandish all apply at some point or another. Not that I'm any kind of genius (not even close!), it's just that I can entertain, enjoy and learn from far-out ideas without being threatened by them or wholly losing my grasp of logic and reality. Still, I know what it's like to have my thoughts and ideas make someone uncomfortable; it's not terribly unusual for me to experience dismissal or criticism for expressing something challenging or weird.

The thing is, we'd never evolve or make progress without outlandish creative ideas. I would much rather be someone who works to direct the energy of their wild ideas into something productive and practical than try to breath a skoosh of life into a dead wet noodle of an idea. One of my instructors at AIS said something during critique that was the most valuable thing I ever heard come out of her mouth. I don't remember it verbatim, but she said to always work with the ideas that have the most possibility even if they seem impractical at first since it's easier to reign in a good idea than improve a bad one. Oh! I think her words were "you can't put frosting on shit." (Sigrid Cannon, ladies and gentlemen!) Anyway, my point is all ideas must at least be entertained, otherwise we condition ourselves out of creative thinking and spontaneous expression.

I'm just so enthusiastic right now, it's getting all over the place. Thanks for sticking with the stream-of-consciousness / loosely-related-themes in today's post. To finish up I'd like to express my extreme gratitude for all the beautiful, talented, loving people I find myself surrounded by. (That's YOU!) Also, lets all live our truths and change the world! :D

Oct 27, 2011

hex blanket stage one

Every fall my nesting and hibernation instincts kick in and I get the urge to make myself blankets. Makes sense, right? I got started at the first sign of such an urge this year and am mid-way through knitting a hexagon lap blanket. I'm using a big chunky 100% wool Burly Spun yarn from the Brown Sheep Company (thanks mom + nan!) in hand dyed "strawberry fields" and "forest floor." Red and green are my favorite pair of complimentary colors, though these yarns are so much more than just red and green. 

I found a really sweet pattern for knit hexagons at Cotton and Cloud. It's simple and clever and really quite easy to knit once I got the hang of the double pointed needles. The hexagons actually knit up circular and are then blocked into hexagon shape. I love-love-love this method, I found many-many patterns for knit hexagons while researching this project and this one made the absolute most sense to me and I think looks the sharpest. 

(Look at the range of colors on that left hand needle! Gorgeous!)

I've sort of been designing the blanket as I go, I started knitting the circle/hexagon pieces before I knew where I was going with them several weeks ago (actually I started a few last fall but never followed through). I figured out the pattern and layout for the whole blanket last week and just finished knitting all the pieces I'll need for it within the past few days. Next step is to turn all the circles into hexagons by blocking them, something I've never done before! I read up on a few different methods so hopefully one will work well and make the process relatively painless.

I haven't figured out how I'll put all the hexagons together once they're blocked... sewing? crochet? What yarn will I use? a contrasting color? maybe cream? If you've got a recommendation I'd love to hear it!

Oct 19, 2011

in progress :: crystal portraits

I've been working on my miniature linocut crystal portraits again and I think I totally nailed it on the amethyst!

I am so happy with the way these came out, even better than I hoped and definitely better than I expected. (They're only two and a half inches square!) Before I started the amethyst prints I had completed a run of Tibetan clear quartz, but now seeing the quality of the amethyst I'm going to re-carve and print them.

Each print in this series (a third stone is coming, tangerine quartz!) will be printed with two blocks, one for the shape and one for the outline. I've already carved down the outlines on the Tibetan quartz so the line weight is thinner and I'll reprint it in black, the shape will stay white but maybe with a little pop of yellow somewhere. Lining up the registration on the amethyst prints was fairly easy because I made sure the carved images on both of the blocks were positioned identically, unfortunately I didn't make sure of this on the Tibetan quartz blocks and the images are positioned at slightly different angles making proper registration much more difficult. Hopefully I can find a way to compensate for this with out having to carve one of the blocks again. I've posted this image before, but here are some of the drawings that started these portraits.

Oct 9, 2011

search ads vs. relevance

Etsy's had all this info about "search ads" up in my grill since mid-September, they seem like a pretty affordable way to get some exposure so I decided to give it a shot. With search ads you can advertise single items, a section of your shop, or your whole shop; when a shopper searches a term relevant to your item(s) one of your listings appears in a row of other search ads at the very top of the search results. It looks like this ➷ (the listings in the blue box are search ads).

I chose to advertise the BLOCK PRiNTS section of my shop, I went for the broke-and-just-experimenting plan and bought 5000 impressions for $5 over the course of a week. One day into my week of search ads I had a sale. "Jeepers!" I thought, "they really work!" And I rushed to my stats to verify that search ads got me this sale... but no, apparently search ads could not take credit. In fact I'd only raked in a view or two from search ads at that point. "What they hey?" I say.

Now, right around the same time that I signed up for search ads I started to pay more attention to the relevancy of my listings. Etsy recently changed the search results default from "recently listed" to "most relevant," meaning that instead of furiously relisting to appear at the top of search results, Etsy sellers are maniacally shoving hot keywords into their titles and tags to appear most relevant. (I won't go into the details of all this but if you want to know more there are lots of articles out and about.) So anyway, I had just spent some time rehashing the titles and tags on my block print listings so they'd appear within the first few pages of search results and THAT is what I think got me the sale.

Lets look at some stats for further illustration. The first set of stats are from my search ad campaign: 25 views, 1 favorite, no sales. (Pause for a moment to differentiate between "impressions" and "views" -- an impression is when your listing pops up in the blue box on the search page, a view is when a shopper clicks on that listing to view your item.)

This second set of stats is for my shop overall, little more than a week into October and I've been favorited 12 times (only one of those from search ads) - that's as many favorites as I received in the entire month of September! Interesting.

The search ad stats are great because I can see exactly what sort of traffic I'm getting from them, if there's a simultaneous increase in traffic and it's not from the ads then I know it must be from something else. In this case, I think it's from my work on relevancy. My listings are showing up sooner in search results and getting more views, and as I think the favorites show they are getting more views from people who are interested in them. Excellent!

I think Etsy search ads are alright, I just think time and effort spent on your listings' relevance is more worthwhile and effective. It does take quite a bit of time and effort though, and some real brainstorming skills. I found several EXTREMELY helpful articles at Handmadeology, probably couldn't have done it without these honestly.

If you care to share, I'd love to hear about your marketing adventures and experiments and what you've learned from them.

Sep 29, 2011


I finally got to listing the prints from my make-ation! I took them, as well as some new patches to Myrtle Edwards Park for a photoshoot - it was a humid 80 degree September day, I wasn't feeling too well, I was sweating like crazy and I really thought I was going to die of dehydration while I was there. It's ridiculous, I know, but that's the story! If there had been less trash floating in the sound I would've gone in for a dip clothes and all, but I settled for wading.

Last week I whipped up a second set of mountain patches again inspired by one of my watercolor paintings. These mountains are a little larger and made entirely from repurposed fabrics! (Old clothes, bedsheets, etc.) I really like them and I think the t-shirt fabric will wear well over time. See the listing here.

I also photographed a print that I have been working on for quite some time, I believe I asked for help with it in this post more than a year ago! Originally a collage from my first art journal, I think this print has more incarnations in it than I have yet to discover. I have two linos carved for this image: a positive and a negative. The positive is seen in the post I listed above and prints the outlines that made the illustration; the negative, which is this one here, prints all the space within those outlines. I was hemming and hawing over adding more colors/layers/textures/what-have-you and after feeling overwhelmed by it forever decided to stick with something simple, at least for now. The yellow ink on brown paper was a little difficult to photograph as shadows make it appear greenish, but it looks great in person. Listed here.

This next print is one of my favorites. It was inspired by a wildly visionary dream I had one night, a dream so vivid I'm still not over it. In the dream a mountain rose up from the ground against the night sky, the tallest mountain ever, so tall its tip reached the edge of Earth's atmosphere and reflected itself back, curving around the inside of the sphere like glass in a marble. This print is available in two sizes: 5"x7" on cover stock parchment or 4"x6" on text weigh parchment. Listed here.

Mission accomplished! I also gave my shop a make-over as I worked on all these listings. Before, I had the most direct or straight on shot of my item as the first photo shoppers see in an effort to stand out amongst other listings in search results, but I found the look overwhelming and too in-your-face. I changed things up so the initial photos are a little more understated, approachable or atmospheric. I think it's a great improvement!

According to Etsy my shop's birthday is approaching, tomorrow! But I don't count September 30, 2009 as the opening day for my shop, I listed a handful of items that day and didn't pay any attention to them or my shop again for the next six months, I suppose you could call it an experimental opening. Sometime in late March 2010 I got super motivated to revisit my shop and give it an honest effort, it's been a slow process since then but growth has most certainly occurred! As you can see above I've had 43 sales, I would love to make it to 50 before the end of the year. That's only 7 more sales, not a big goal I know, but a goal none-the-less. I would also love to be introduced to some new customers, so if you feel like telling a few friends about my stuff please do! It would be much appreciated!!What's up next? Well, I've still got those crystal portraits hanging around and I would love to make a print out of my oyster shell Zen experience, but I'm feeling like having a little collage/art time in and out of my sketchbook. Things could get interesting!

Sep 22, 2011


Not too long ago I started using Pinterest to collect images and inspiration I find during my daily regiment of internet-time-wasting. I'm quite pleased with it so far. I keep my usage pretty basic by just saving all my "pins" on one board instead of sorting them into multiple categories, I don't pin enough to require much strict organization. Plus, I like seeing these images that speak to me so loud and clear all together - it's easier to get a sense of how they relate to one another and to me. It's sort of like getting a glimpse into the mush that is my brain during a particularly creative or day-dreamy moment. Here's a peak at my pin-board:

You can see my full board here, or click the link near the top of the right hand column over there ➹. If you often come across images you're loath to see slip back into the internet abyss, or if you just have a collector's nature I totally recommend it. So far it works perfectly for its intended purpose and doesn't have the weird social-network vortex effect of sites like Twitter and Facebook. Odd that a site for collecting (hoarding?) images is the only one that doesn't make me feel like an addict.

Sep 16, 2011

razor clam + barnacle

A couple tidal friends found their way into my new and still enormous sketch book. The first, as you can see because it's neatly labelled, is a razor clam - a Pacific razor clam, more specifically. Johnnie and I were watching Chopped one night and razor clams were in the chefs' baskets. I bragged about being familiar with razor clams as my family made what seemed to be several clam digging trips per year during my youth to Westport, Grayland and Ocean Shores beaches - but when the close up came the clams on TV appeared a bit...foreign. I think they must have been Atlantic razor clams. I was rattled but I quickly drew up this clam completely from memory to prove that I am, in fact, familiar with razor clams. Pacific razor clams. 

Next we have barnacles. Now, recently I took a stroll along the beach at Discovery Park with my friend Elliot when we happened upon a group of boulders half buried in the sand; normally they would've been underwater but they were exposed that day by a particularly low tide we'd come to see. The rocks were covered in barnacles and the barnacles were making that noise that they do - a chorus of light clicking, sucking and popping sounds, reminiscent of a bowl of rice krispies - when Elliot explained to me that barnacles gross him out. "GROSS!" he exclaimed over and over again. I don't remember why they gross him out but I made sure we looked at more barnacles during our walk back. These were drawn using an old timey Nat Geo image for reference whilst listening to "The Mollusk" by Ween.

Sep 9, 2011


I've been very much in the mood for doing and being over showing and telling lately, hence the deserted blog. Sorry! I'm going to attempt to catch us all up here, but I have to say, sometimes it feels really good to forget about all this internet business. Anyway, I haven't posted anything since July and now it's September, and in between it was August - month of endless funtimes and also my birthday month! You can see why I might be preoccupied. Besides, it's summer - who isn't preoccupied?

First thing I have for you are pics from my birthday camping trip to the Wilson River. Johnnie and I met Mike and Kari there for some free camping and splendid swimming. Kari fished while Mike and Johnnie constructed a bow and arrow from river sticks and fishing line (it actually worked!). I observed and failed to thoroughly document. Birthday girl's privilege. We stayed one night during which it rained, and so we constructed an impromptu shelter from one 5' x 7' tarp, two lengths of twine, one tie-down and a bungee net. Well done us! We then proceeded to feast under it like true camping champs.

Earlier in the month I finished watching Battlestar Galactica, reading The Return of the King, and got a new ID - all in the same day! Mundane events, yes - but together like that it really felt like the beginning of a new age. Here's the cover of ROTK to complete the set:

This cover lets us know that in this, the final chapter of the saga, shit's really gonna hit the fan. Raging volcano, BEASTS, banners and more BEASTS?? Methinks perhaps a war is on. I love the scratchy texture and line work we see on all three covers, it makes me think maybe there was some scratchboard or at least scratchboard technique in the making of the illustrations. If I can manage to find more work by this mystery artist I'll definitely share it here. 

In the realm of art projects, I rode the wave of my make-ation and experimented with block printing on fabric and started on some portraits of crystals from my personal collection.

I still need to test wash the horse patches to see if my inks will set properly on fabric. The crystal portraits I haven't been able to work on lately but I'm really excited about them. I was hyper critical of them right after I started, but since I've had a break from them I really like what I'm seeing!

I bought myself a new sketchbook as a birthday gift and it seems really huge! Like 300 pages huge! I was fretting over what sort of commitment I'd got myself into after purchasing it when I found my horoscope in The Stranger which read:
"Science writer K.C. Cole asks this question: 'How would you hold 100 tons of water in thin air with no visible means of support?' Here's her answer: 'Build a cloud.' What you have before you right now, Leo, is a comparable scenario. Your assignment is to materialize a phenomenon that from a certain viewpoint may appear to be laughably impossible. And yet, with the proper attitude on your part and nature's help, the project at hand is eminently achievable. It won't necessarily be fast and easy, mind you - but you wouldn't want it to be, because then it wouldn't be able to teach you all the precious wisdom it has to impart."
Quite applicable to small specific goals, like my sketchbook, and to larger more abstract endeavors!

Hmm, what else? More recently I went blackberry picking with my friend Elliot --

YUM -- and in a failed attempt at fostering, adopted this troublesome troublemaker, Miss Ralphie Starbuck.

More on her later, when she calms down a bit.

I still need to photograph and list much of what I accomplished during my make-ation, I also have supplies and packaging to find and purchase, but I'm still very much in the mood for art projects pure and simple and experimenting with new inspirations and ideas. Maybe as fall begins to roll in I'll catch the spirit of the new season and begin tying up loose ends and preparing my stores for winter. We'll see!

Jul 27, 2011


I was supposed to be camping on the Oregon Coast this week but when I got started on a couple projects this weekend I just couldn't stop... so I stayed! Call me crazy, but I think it's the best decision I've made for myself lately. I'm having a great time, look at the mess I've made:

All that productivity means new goods to be listed soon, that is if a little Battlestar Galactica doesn't get in the way. After recommendations from several good pals I dove in, and guess what? It's awesome! I think I'm going to sacrifice the next couple hours to finishing up the first season, and then I'll get back to work... probably. Stay tuned!