Thursday, April 30, 2015

Packing up

I am organizing my artwork to see how I want it hung and grouped, and packing everything up in bubble wrap to transport to the gallery. I have several hundred greeting cards and 30 framed pieces, ranging from 8x10 pieces to 11x14 sizes. My whole house has been taken over with art. I can't wait until it's all safely transported, hung, tagged and I can put my feet up and have a margarita.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

An artist, of course

Anita Witten, one of the founding members of the artisans cooperative where I have been a member for 15 years, is no longer active in our market. But she is a frequent and supportive customer. This is a shout-out to Anita who saw my new work before it was hung and offhandedly remarked that I should have a figure of an artist in the bunch. I did the V8 slap to my forehead and went home to make one right away: a painter holding a paint palette and a brush. (It was perfect timing; I had already made the figure but wasn't happy with her because I didn't feel like she was complete.)

And then I got a creative spurt and made a couple more, just two days before hanging my show, and while taking breaks from making some huge custom wedding orders of plantable paper. Phew!

Love this elderly person with silvery hair and a cane:

And this stretched-out one, walking fast with hair blowing:

I am excited to frame a butterfly in a separate frame, next to someone with a net. I think it will look really cool, hung side by side!

OK, now I am really going to stop. Time to start packing up to hang my show tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The front window

Store window displays are tricky things to create, and I am knee deep in creating one to advertise my show in a gallery. It is my responsibility to create the window display but it has to be attractive to pedestrians yet simple enough to be eye-catching to people driving by. I have multiple challenges for displaying my items. First of all, most of my work is small, from my A2 greeting cards to my pressed flower art, which are in frames that measure 8 x 10. In addition, the framed items are original works of art with real pressed flowers and can't be displayed in direct sunlight for the month-long run of the show. Add to that the tricky measurements on the window, which has a short panel of glass in the front with two pieces of wood that cut the visual field. The back of the display is a sliding door so nothing can be hung on it since it moves. This diagram doesn't convey all the quirkiness of this window.

Adding to the challenges, I have to pay for the display materials so I want something attractive and intriguing without a huge financial outlay. I came up with the idea of just taking my greeting cards and mounting them onto a poster-sized piece of paper in a grid to look graphically interesting. Hopefully it will draw people closer and then they will want to pop in and see more. I decided on black foam core since it is stiff and it will help the white cards to pop. I am using glue dots to attach everything and hope they can withstand a month of heat from direct sunlight.

Lucky for me, I know a handsome man who is also an artist and, unlike me, is very good at measurements, detailed work, and neat writing!

The last challenge is what to do with this piece of foam core so people can see it. My plan is to borrow an easel from an artist friend and prop the foam core onto it, then move it around in the window until I find the visual sweet spot. If all this comes together, I will be very psyched because I only spent about $10. Fingers crossed.

Monday, April 27, 2015

In the press

There's a good chance that this week of blog posts will focus on my upcoming gallery show. Buckle up, it's going to be an exciting week, starting with this: my exhibit announcement has hit the local press! Wahoo!

But it would be great if they got the dates right!!

And who said anything about a gallery talk?!

And why did they use a Santa Claus picture in April?

Oh well, still happy to get so much coverage and can't wait to hang my show later this week!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Paper pouches

Here's a great idea for a do-it-yourself wedding favor, graduation or something special for any party or event. It's a little paper pouch, easily made from paper that is folded and cut. The blog goes into detail about making paper by hand but if you want to make it easier on yourself, purchase some sheets of plantable paper from my store ( then simply cut and glue, and fill with ecofriendly items.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Hand paper making annual auction

Once again, Hand Papermaking magazine is holding its annual auction fundraiser on ebay. Each year, bidders compete for donated items such as unique papers, distinctive artwork, valuable services, rare books, useful products, historic artifacts, etc. Most of the offerings are unavailable elsewhere and related in some way to hand paper making. The auction is going on until April 30.

Among this year's offerings:

Signed Twinrocker Poster
Large Tapa from Tonga
Intimate Shifu Art
Kimono-Style Work Garment by Fukunishi Washi Studio
An Assortment of Vermont Papers
Lee McDonald Mould & Envelope Deckle
“Parts of the Body” Artist Book
A Day in the Dieu Donné Studio with Paul Wong
Kingsley Foil Stamper
Fine Press Book on John De Pol
Two Framed “Eyes of God” Paperworks
Two Su
Three Swatch Swap Books: 2010, 2013, 2014
Cannabis Press Miniature Books
Three Books on Paper Art
Paper Marbling Kit
Silver Anniversary Boxed Set
Leopard-Spot Paper
Fine Press Book Made by Kim Merker
Signed Book… “Japanese Papermaking”
Original Buddhist Manuscript
Three Books for Book Enthusiasts
Public Art Review Subscription + Back Issues
1999 “Aramco World” with History of Paper Article
1977 “American Artist” Magazine
“Papermaking at Hayle Mill 1808-1987”
Peter & Donna Thomas’ Miniature Books
Keepsake from 1993 “Friends of Dard Hunter” Conference
Collaborative Bookwork on Free Love
A Dozen Years of “Hand Papermaking”
Two Watermarked Sheets
Marble-Patterned/Water-Patterned Paper
Signed Book… "Japanese Papermaking"
Antique Paper Mould from Vietnam
Eight Books on Papermaking
Paper Conservation Services
Unusual Artist Book “Tropos”
7 Years of “Hand Papermaking” Magazine & Newsletter
1798 Guide to Papermaking, Published in 1948
Early Siegenthaler Booklet
“Equilibrium Study” Pulp Painting
Assorted Paper Publications
Three Mill Booklets on History of Papermaking
Two Recent Watermarked Sheets
Two Student Su & Sha
“A Lively Look at Papermaking”
“Betty’s Book”
Large Antique Sugeta from Japan
Eight Books on Typography
Jody Beenk Artist Book “Paste”
Katagami (Japanese Paper Stencil)
"Paper: Its History & Conservation"
Assorted Bookworker’s Hand Tools
Snow-Retted Banana Fiber
Illustrated Indian Treasures
Signed "By His Own Labor" Biography of Dard Hunter
Assorted Japanese Papers
“The Activated Page: Handmade Paper & the Artist's Book”
A Five-Year Subscription to “Hand Papermaking”
Wheat Straw Fiber
A Day in the Studio (River Forest, Illinois)
Sures/Whitehead Pulp Painting, “Conversation Piece”

You can check out photos and place a bid here:

Good luck!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Paper clothes

Clothing made out of paper, by designer Junya Watanabe, walking down a runway in Paris. How crazy cool and strangely beautiful!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Letter Bee Box

And speaking of Earth Day … I was so flattered when Patty of Furthermore Press on Etsy wanted to use my plantable paper earths as part of her letter subscription box for April. Here is one of her customers opening the box to see what's inside.

Hearing someone's reaction to my work is not something I get to witness very often since most of my customers buy my products online and get them shipped. So it was quite a treat for me. (Plus anyone who gushes over my work with a British accent makes me smile!)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day!

Did you know that Earth Day was originally celebrated just once a DECADE until 1990, when it became an annual event? Anyway, I agree with Josie for these Earth Day picks, especially my plantable paper seed bombs, that look like little globes!

And a very pleasing blue and green Earth Day treasury to perk you up!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Nooks and crannies

I love nooks and crannies in architecture and little surprise hide-away areas that make a home feel unique. We completed a bathroom renovation about a year ago and I finally got around to putting my jewelry in the secret little area that I designed in my cabinets (made by a local craftsman) to display everything so it doesn't get tangled. It was a funny area where the roofline angles down so I wanted to make the best use of the space with big cabinets for lots of storage. I am so delighted with how it turned out, especially my earring display with everything neatly hung so I can see it all at once. And it only took me a year to do it…

Monday, April 20, 2015

Boston Marathon

I have lived long enough to have experienced grief in my life: loss of loved ones, mentors, friends and pets, 9/11 and, most recently, the Boston Marathon bombing. What I have learned about grief is that it is not linear. It does not necessarily lessen over time, but can ease up and then double back and hit hard when you least expect it.

I used to live just a few blocks off of Mass. Ave., in a neighborhood perpendicular to the middle of Hearthbreak Hill on the route of the Boston Marathon. Every year, my friends and I would walk over and watch the runners and cheer them on. I hope someday that that event, my old neighborhood and all that is the Boston Marathon can return to a place where we celebrate the event rather than looking over our shoulders. With the recent trial of Tsarnaev, I bet this year has that circling back of grief for many people. My heart is with you today, Boston.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Invasive plants

Many papermakers make their handmade paper using plants as the fiber to make the sheet. It can be a lengthy process, especially when dealing with very fibrous plants. Some papermakers let plants sit outside in a bucket for 6 months and let nature break down most of the material to prepare it or the vat, while others cook plants in soda ash to speed up the process, which can be dangerous since it is caustic. No matter how you do it, it takes work, patience and time.

But there is a group of papermakers in Detroit who have thought of such a great way to help the environment while making handmade paper with plants. They harvest invasive plants - ones that are not native and have negative effects on our economy, our environment, or our health - from city parks, lots and green spaces. Then they travel throughout Detroit to offer paper making demos and workshops with plants like Phragmites, Honeysuckle and Garlic Mustard.

Artist Megan Heeres is involved in the project because, "I endeavor to make a large-scale installation that is biodegradable. After many years of making large scale works and installations, storing them and hauling them around, I have begun to question my role in the creation of more. This isn't a value judgement, but rather an experiment to determine how my work shifts when I think very consciously about the materiality from beginning to end. And how by involving community in the process of making, it will also alter the evolution of the work. The Invasive Paper Project is a continuation of my fascination with materiality, with time, with chance, and with play but in a more more community-centered setting in which ideas and outcomes can shift."

Invasive plant species and their effect on our ecosystem is serious, which is why I do not ship my plantable papers outside of the US - I do not want to introduce a plant that is native to the US but ends up being an invasive species elsewhere. I love that this artist is using noxious weeds to make paper in this time when our planet's temperatures and climate is changing, which can only lead to invasive plants multiplying even more. It may be a small gesture in the overall scheme, but every little bit helps.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

New greeting cards!

Yesterday I picked up my order for 8 new lines of cards that I just had printed from original artwork. So excited to package them up and get them into stores. Now that I have almost 20 different lines, I feel like I have enough to start considering wholesale orders that I have turned away up until now, so I can reach a larger market. Very exciting! Look for these new cards in my Etsy store soon:

Friday, April 17, 2015

HandsOn Suburban Chicago

So happy to have worked with this wonderful non-profit to create plantable paper hands for their event! I love how they added striped colorful straws and displayed them in mugs with tissue paper, all in the colors of their logo.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


The end of 8 days of vacation last week was a little bumpy. The 5 am hotel wake-up call never came (good thing we're early risers anyway); a little boy named Max kicked the back of my seat the entire airplane ride and complained about life so loudly that everyone in front of me started turning around and shooting evil stares at his parents; I got home with plenty of time to take about 15 packages to the post office but my printer thought it was still vacation; after two hours of trying to print out mailing labels and finally facing the fact that my dying printer had really died, I took a quick detour to Best Buy for a new one; I realized that while I was at Best Buy, I should have gone next door to AC Moore for something I needed to complete a custom order that had to be shipped that day … back in the car to AC Moore; after a successful post office run, I turned my attention to taking some glass out of a huge frame only to snap off the corner of the glass; in all of my haste to get everything done, I turned quickly into the space where nothing should have been but a drawer that I left open was occupying; after cleaning up the dripped blood, I admired my new printer (holy cow, you can email it from remote locations and print, and it will order new ink online when the cartridges are starting to run low!), picked up the book that I couldn't concentrate on reading when Max was kicking me and felt like I really clobbered the heck out that day.

Outtakes {aka my not so pretty day in pictures}

And even more good news. All that crazy running around helped me hit my goal for activity for the day on my FitBit! (That thing is almost as smart as my printer.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New scraps!

A box full of scraps - 34 pounds of paper that would have been discarded - came to my happy little hands today. Time to get cracking on sorting it, shredding it, making pulp and then plantable paper.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Sometimes it is hard to see how many seeds I put into my plantable paper once it dries. Some of the seeds are small and if the paper is darker, it hides a lot of them. Here are some freshly-made hearts that are still wet and transparent with the sun shining behind them so you can see just how chock full of seeds my papers are!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Painting outside!

I just returned from a vacation in the tropics where the temperature was in the high 80s every day, the humid air moistened my parched skin, and the ocean water felt like a lovely bath. But honestly, I will take a 70-degree day in the northeast, with the smell of spring in the air, any day over a tropical one. And no wind means it's the perfect day to spray paint some picture frames. #myfavoriteseasoon #whatelsecanIdooutside?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Chelsea and Liam

Since I made all of my wedding invitations by hand, I am always so appreciative of others who do the same. This bride was far more artistic than I ever was but I love how she used my seeded paper in the design of her invitations to her groom, Liam.

When Liam and I got engaged back in September, I started working out ideas for the invitations pretty much immediately. Inspired by vintage postcards, and illustrated tourist maps from the 1930, 40s, and 50s, I started out by designing the image for the front of the invitation card, I knew I wanted it to have a somewhat nautical theme and potentially incorporate a map of Wellfleet or Cape Cod. I also knew I would probably use watercolor to paint it. It took me quite a few different versions to finally come up with something I felt like really fit. Thankfully I had the help and guidance of my very helpful and objective friend LCM who gave me lots of creative input throughout the whole process. It is very exciting for me to now have them all finished, sent out and ready to share since I have been working on the project for the better part of a year.

For the actual card part of the invitation I wanted something with a deckle (rough) edge and a handmade look. I checked out a few different local art supply stores and websites but I couldn't really find anything I liked. After searching on Etsy, I found the store PulpArt which sells plantable handmade paper implanted with flower seeds. The shop owner worked with me to make a custom order of this beautiful cobalt paper.

I decided that since I had handwritten the outside of the invitation, I would also hand write the inside. I designed the writing, scanned it into my computer and printed it out on Alturo card stock paper and also bought matching envelopes in grey. I scanned the watercolor painting for the cover into my computer and had it printed. I then sewed each image onto the seed paper with my sewing machine.