Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

October Weekend Workshops: Containers!

Hi Friends,

The second and third weekends in October I will be teaching two container-making workshops at Binders. The first is a keepsake box, the second a collapsable container. I have made many of these for myself and others and if you've taken my classes, you've seen me use them! They are fun to make, beautiful to use and highly functional.

Weekend workshops cost about the same as taking a 6-week class, only the 14 hours are all compacted into a full weekend of intense play and instruction, rather than divided into six short evenings.

Read on for more info below. Fun fun fun!

Button Closure Weekend Workshop: Oct. 9th & 10th
Sat. & Sun. Oct. 9-10, Sat. 10:30am-5:30pm, Sun. 11:30am-6pm
Sale price until Sept. 24: $140, After Sept. 24: $155 | Min 4/Max 15

This little box is perfect for a man or woman looking to hold their favorite trinkets, stationary items, craft supplies, card decks and scoring pads, buttons, jewelry or cufflinks. The button closure is optional, as are the inner dividers. Build little feet for the bottom of your box as high as you like and tie it closed with any kind of elastic, leather, clasp or button. This box is very versatile. All the supplies you need to make this structure can be purchased at Binders right before the workshop. Our workshops are fun and fast! We'll have 2 full days to create your project and time permitting; we'll create a circular paper ornament and a miniature origami holiday tree.

Collapsible Container Workshop: Oct. 16th & 17th
Sat. & Sun. Oct. 16-17, Sat. 10:30am-5:30pm, Sun. 11:30am-6pm
Open to all levels | Sale price until Oct. 1: $140, After Oct. 1: $155 | Min 4/Max 15

This container, designed by Lisa Ellerin, has six sides and a hinged base that enables it to fold flat. It's sturdy and lightweight and is made of 2-ply chipboard and covered in decorative Washi Paper. All the supplies you need can be purchased at Binders right before the workshop. Our workshops are fun and fast! Make a big one to hold pens/pencils, brushes or paper scraps. Make a tiny one for q-tips or hairpins! Make a set of 3 or more and nest them together on your work surface to make a "hive" of sorting containers. We'll have 2 full days to create your project and time permitting; we'll create a circular paper ornament and a miniature origami holiday tree.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I've been Buzzed!

Thank you to Bride Buzz for this awesome write-up!

Anne Elser Calligraphy

Some of the coolest calligraphy we've ever seen...

Every once in a while we feel our passion for calligraphy fading. After all, it’s so traditional and old-school (not too mention expensive), that sometimes we forget why we love it so much. Then one day we come across a calligrapher like Atlanta-based Anne Elser and we quickly remember just how special and stunning calligraphy can be. Honestly, her stuff is totally insane.

Elser does everything from basic requests like envelopes and place cards to more intricate jobs like invite design and save-the-date creation. And her style is amazing. She can do anything from modern to romantic to super-traditional. And everything is beautiful.

Though she’s based in Atlanta, more than half her clients are from out-of-state, and the process is totally simple: Just look through her site (obsessed!) and then let her know what you love. She will create a few pencil sketches and then send them to you to get your opinions. You and she can work together until everything is perfect, then she will “ink it up” and send you a final image to approve via email.

Her waiting list can be long, and the prices aren’t low, but honestly, if you can afford it, you should definitely get in touch and see what she can create for you. It’s like adding works of art to your wedding vision. Hard to top that.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pencil to Pixel Directions

These are the directions I pass out to my Production class at Portfolio Center where we turn a pencil drawing into a crisp marker drawing and then into an Illustrator vector file. The whole point of this exercise is to learn to maintain the original energy in work done by hand when moved into a digital environment.

I got the original idea from this fabulous blog at Instructables dot com.

Examples of work created from this process can be found here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Anton turns four today! We're having a little party for him on Saturday. Doug's been away the first part of this week and so Bunny and I have had a lot of time together. We made a new and different kind of connection the other day that has me floored and wowed and in awe of our special relationship. Just when you think you can't get any deeper with your child, they do something amazing that pulls you in in a way you least expected.

Most of what he's been interested in has been cars and trains. But since the school year started, his interests have exploded. He's loving the idea of character play/role play. Every toy he loves has a voice, and it's my job to get into character when he says "Hiro? Where are we going today?" It's loads of fun. He also loves playing store or kitchen. I think for his birthday we are getting him a pretend grill. Mom and Dad are getting him a red guitar. :)

We are going on day 7 of visiting the koi pond and outdoor train set at Hastings. Six visits in a row!

Tuesday we were at Michaels and he asked to get these two paper houses. We took them home and I brought out my good acrylics and good brushes. I put wax paper down on the counter and took his shirt off and watched him go. He was SO intense. Carefully considering which side or surface to paint which color. He was thorough and thoughtful. When they dried he picked out two cars to go with each house. He slept with them that very night. He loves to drive the cars up to the front doors and say "I'm home!" This makes me melt.

Sharing my greatest creative gift with him has been so enchanting. Here we are, making art together. It's an amazing feeling.

I've learned something. Give your kids the good paints and good brushes. Kids soft brushes are terrible and don't give you any control. Their work is better when they use better quality materials. Acrylics can be brushed off your hands easily with a nail brush and soap and water. They can also be scraped off the counter. They don't really stain. It's all plastic paint.

I hate tempera (kids quality) paints. Messy and weak bases that give you much every time and crack on the paper when you roll it up to transport. Acrylics dry quickly. So you can layer colors nicely. And they can thin colors with water that give a really beautiful layering effect.

I am happy!

Happy, Happy Birthday my beautiful boy. You are strong, creative, thoughtful, kind and generous. You are energetic, powerful, passionate and empathetic. Everything about you is a gift.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Hi. My name's Gunther. I am Anne's oldest cat. I will be TWENTY in January. Just like Olaf, I'm not allowed in Anne's bed. But I have been a very good cat for so many years and it's time I lived a little. So here I am with my furry white ass hangin out for all to see. If you don't like it, Anne, you can kiss it.

I still love to snuggle and love to howl in the middle of the night whilst killing pens and sterling silver napkin ring holders. I leave them on the floor for Doug to step on and crush. (He wears a size 13 shoe.) Anne's napkin ring holder has been hammered back into a circle twice now. She finally gave in and threw it in a drawer.

And I love her. And she me.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Hi. My name is Olaf. I am Anne's youngest cat. I am not supposed to sleep in her bed. I hide here every chance I get. She can't see me because I know how to camouflage myself in with the decor. If I hold still enough, she can't see me. She snapped this picture of her favorite William Morris needlepoint pillow and damn, if I don't know how to blend in.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pink, Gold & White

Another super-fun calligraphy job today. Working with white and gold ink, I filled "papaya" colored stock (from the Paper Source) for table number cards, escort cards and tiny table numbers that this creative bride from Athens cut out herself. Pure yumminess.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pencil Power

When I get a job, the first thing I do is sketch. Monograms are especially fun to sketch. I do a dozen of them, pick my faves and send them off to the client. A client approves one direction and then off I go to create the final.

Here are some sketches I did in the last session of Advanced Calligraphy, where we spent a couple of classes working on monogram variations. These are too much fun to throw away. So here you are.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Peaches and Creme

Updating materials for the bridal event I'm working on this month. I can't describe to you how much fun this is. :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Good Grief

After 3 weeks of a sinus infection, I finally got antibiotics yesterday. Put it off, shrugged it off, stayed busy, stayed distracted. Stored in that infection is grief over our recent move and the transition into new territory. I know who I was not. I left her behind in the house too big for us, the one we had outgrown. How ironic is that!?

Somewhere in the middle of my head, I knew I hadn't faced the fear of the unknown. Just being present to the uneasiness change can bring. Anton's first cold after a week back at school sent me over the edge. Made me still enough yesterday to sit and admit to the most fragile and afraid parts of myself. Grief can become infected if you ignore it.

I'm going to just let myself cry, I think. And try not to clench, but let it wash over and through me. I really couldn't move our household and grieve at the same time. So here's the opportunity to do so and yes, I'll take it.

I let go of so much. I let it all go. Now I have all this new space and energy for something new and I don't quite know yet what it is. I'm a recent graduate, scared to death of the future. What the fuck am I going to paint now. I have no fucking idea. I admit to not knowing.

I open to it all.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Monday, September 06, 2010

Enjoy This Book

Finally close to finishing my first Opened Book. This is bound using the Secret Beligian Binding technique. I finally broke down and used a curved needle to stitch the signatures to the inner lacings. I bent one of my binding needles over an open candle flame using two tiny pliers. Easy! Just wipe the soot off with soapy water and you're good to go.

The covers have a thin layer of one-ply chipboard attached that's smaller than the overall size of the 2-ply underneath. Front cover has a little window cut into the 1-ply so there's this delicate ridge your fingers can find and enjoy that gives the book sculptural appeal. Fabric is from Forsyth Fabrics and was made into bookcloth by adhering it to Washi paper with acrylic gel medium. Super easy and fast.

The elastic I got in the kids beading section of Michaels and braided three pieces together to make a stronger band. Stiching a vintage button to the front cover makes closing the book tightly fast and easy.

I also gave the covers extra width to make room for two elastic loops that can hold a pen or pencil.

I cannot wait to begin journaling in this book.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Bridal Bling

This holiday weekend is up in Rabun Gap and I've got three calligraphic jobs to work on. Sounds like I'm a workaholic but dang, this work isn't really work - it's play. The deal was that I could come up here and enjoy the festivities, while still getting what was on my plate accomplished. It's the best of both worlds. I am sitting on the back porch right now looking at a MOUNTAIN. I have all my inks, pencils, nibs and laptop / tablet and I am all set to go. This morning I was out here at 8AM listening to cows and donkeys. It is a beautiful environment for work.

We found Peter's favorite red felt hat he used to wear as a child downstairs in the basement. Put it on Anton's head and DAMN if he didn't look fine! He's wearing it today. Makes my heart melt.

Doug's sporting his vacation-weekend-no-shave-stubble look and DAMN if he doesn't look fine, too.

SO back to my work/play. I did the graphite sketch for this piece on Friday. Yesterday I inked it up in Illustrator. Things always look different when you change the medium and "trace" something. It changes and becomes something else. Somewhere along the line, I'm going to get better at retaining the graphite softness and warmth achieved by pressure and sensitivity with the pencil when I move it into Illustrator. I think there must be more play involved with gradients and blurs. I've got the Wacom tablet after all and could really start using the pen to draw with. Right now I just use the Pen tool with handlebars.

When comparing the sketch to final, you can see the compositional edits I made and how many of the strokes were shifted, left out or added. The piece looked better without the intro so I handled those words differently on the final. I'll post that piece later.

Tools! So much to play with and discover.

I am happy.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Mary Cassat would die

Doug took these of Anton today. Love the colors. Suddenly he looks SO big!
And the last one makes me want to give him a big zerbert in that lily white armpit!

CA Typography Annual Submissions

Okay Friends,

It's official. I am going to enter these two pieces into CA's Typography Annual. Wish me luck!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Oh, Graphite, How I Love Thee

I am working on a new calligraphic piece for the Atlantan Brides this weekend. Their next big bridal event is called An Evening of Bridal Luxury. It takes place at the newly renovated Roxy Theater in Buckhead and I'll be up front with my ink and quill ready to scribe each guests name as she arrives.

This is the sketch for the program artwork, which I am also designing. A menu comes after that and a few other pieces of signage.

I love my General's Test Scoring pencil with its lovely pink eraser. I sketch and sketch until the proportions are right. For the final, I use the sketch as a backdrop while I work, either in ink or pixel, it doesn't matter as long as the emotion and swing behind the graceful curves remains intact.

I am having a blast. :)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Opened Book

Last session at Binders I taught my first Bookmaking two class, where we focused on the book's interior pages as much as the cover and how it was bound. It was a lovely, cozy group and we made such beautiful pieces.

I've made so many books and recently got tired of considering the outside only. I write and sketch voraciously in all the books I keep for myself, but the ones I give as gifts rarely get used. The receiver feels too intimidated by the crisp clean pages to write anything for fear of "messing the book up." This makes complete sense to me. So I'm trying something new by altering the pages with a loosened structure that hopefully invites the user to fill the page themselves. To complete what I started.

I spend a few weeks altering these pages with a spray bottle filled with water and a drop or two of umber ink, a warm grey marker, .08 copic markers, colored pencils, etc. I lined almost all of the pages, cut windows, incorporated short sheets of both blank and washi patterned papers. I also mixed some already lined pages in with the ones hand drawn and included pieces of a vintage map a friend found for me.

I'm half way through stitching up the book. The binding uses the Secret Belgian Bound technique and the main stock is a Strathmore Drawing Smooth finish in a lovely warm shade of ivory. This I bought in a large pad and ripped the pages out and made smaller ones.

If I ever make more of these and try to sell them, they will cost a pretty penny to reflect the hours it took to make them. But they are beautiful. And if I can figure out a way to produce them quickly, I think I can lower the price enough to make them affordable.

Very exciting experiment this is. So much to explore.