Thursday, October 29, 2009


I am working right up until my deadline. Mary is coming to Phoenix tomorrow, and up until 7 p.m. I still had not finished all the pages. A lot of other things got accomplished: shopping for book cover materials, cleaning the house in preparation for her visit, grouting the bathtub.... but today I had to have all the pages done. We will only have five days to bind the book, IN THE TRENCHES, Hart Island, New York, and we still have to create the cover... but that is another story.

So today I started out recreating the back of the wonderful little Russian language cards I have in my drawer of ephemera. They were just perfect for this page, except the text on the back was upside down (so you could turn it over for easy studying). I wanted to be able to read the back through the paper, so you could know what was on the front in Russian. This page started out with an ink jet printout of a baby being delivered with forceps. This image is from a medical book from the 17th century. (It was printed on tracing paper and glued to the page.) It was so round and flower like, it reminded me of a rose bud, and so I added petals to give the feeling of a bloom, a bloom that sadly died all too fast, just like cut flowers. I wanted a line of text to fit into the stitched area and Todd suggested the delivery doctor's sad expression of "I am sorry to have to tell you..." It was perfect. I had added the dandelion (rub on) looking blossom to symbolize the fragility of life and the feeling that these dead babies memories have been blown away like the tiny spores of the flower.

This page faces the very, very somber photo transfer of parents mourning their dead baby. To me all they heard from the doctor's message was dead, dead, dead.... I could not bear to add anything else for their sorrow is all to overwhelming.

detail of transfer

I had not had great success with doing the transfers, but today for some reason it all came together. Maybe it has something to do with the cold weather we are experiencing.

So I admit, I was inspired by an artist that I have just found online who does a collage a day. This prompted me to make a small collage for the last page. I keep feeling like these "lost" children, these forgotten, had families who must have written letters, and communicated about their experience.

There is this empty feeling in me when I think that they never got to read a book, or go to school, or play, it's all so sad. I take some of this personally as I miscarried two babies in the early stages of my pregnancies, and sometimes I think of what they might have been had they not been flushed out of my body so spontaneously and prematurely and subsequently flushed down the toilet.

To symbolize the numerous babies that have been buried at Hart Island I just drew counting marks over and over and over.

This is the end of my pages. I cannot wait to see Mary and all the wonderful work she has done. She inspires and amazes me.

Friday, October 23, 2009


A quick sketch for a local health magazine for an article about bread. It was just so much fun to think about.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Here is some helpful advise for those attending the gocco printmaking workshop of Story Book Artists. This group was formed as a way to bring artists in the community together to share ideas and inspiration. This is our first event and I am excited to welcome you and hope we have a great experience working together. After the event we will collect one print from each person attending and we will work in earnest on getting a local show here in downtown Phoenix.

How to use the gocco "machine":

Before you start thinking about your artwork you can watch this short video on etsy that shows the whole process of making a gocco print.
Please note: we do not have the little strips of goo that keep the colors separate that they are showing in the video, so if you are using multiple colors, you may have some bleed into each other (actually, this could be a cool effect).

A few things to keep in mind:
For our first attempt in this gocco workshop we will be making one plate each. That means that it would be easiest to think of your design as a one color image like this:

If you are interested in using more than one color, plan out your design so that you can ink up one plate with multiple colors like this:

We will not be doing multiple plates to make designs like this (but maybe on our next workshop we can try it):

You can also hand-color your prints after you make one solid print like this:

About creating your template:
The final size of your print will be 4" x 6", so make your live area (the area that will print) within 3.5" x 5.5". Print your template right reading (that means if you are using any words you can read them regular, they do not have to be flopped). It is best to use a laser print or a photocopy and not an inkjet print, so if you only have an inkjet printer, make your art and then get a photocopy of it at the library or at kinkos. Keep in mind that solid black art for your template will work the best. If you have Photoshop or an editing program on your computer you can convert an image and give it an intense black and white brightness/contrast and maybe even use the rubber stamp filter to get your design to look like this:

You do not want to use an image that has shades of grey, like this, as that will not translate as a plate and you will get a lumpy looking, messy design:

Other information:
They say you can get 50 pulls from one inking... I think that is a bit high, but 30 is not unbelievable if you ink it up good. We will be supplying 10 sheets for each person. If you want to do more or use other paper, you will need to bring your own.

For the sake of time and cost we would like to limit each person to doing 30 prints and then allowing someone else to go. You can keep your plate in a plastic bag and if there is time, do more later. It will cost $10 each to cover supplies.

Some gocco artists on etsy:
I am linking to a few artists who sell there gocco work on etsy as examples. Please remember that these artist's works are copyrighted and cannot be duplicated.

artist inkmeup – single color gocco print
artist jenny s – single color gocco print
artist amanda blake – hand colored gocco print
artist jose pulido – multi colored gocco print

If you have any questions send me an e-mail. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


my first batch

Part of the getting together to do art with Todd is sharing food and cooking. We both love to try new recipes. A few weeks ago, inspired by the fact that the local bakery is now charging $2 for one english muffin, I decided to try my own. Following a recipe borrowed from Clotilde at Chocolate and Zuchinni, and her inspiration adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, I made my very first batch.

They were a bit dry and the dough too stiff. And I did what both of them suggested and instead of just cooking them on the stove top, I too, baked them for a little in the oven. Not needed. I made another batch a week later and used more milk, less flour and cooked them only in the pan. They were great.


Well, it is not quite round is it? When I got to the ceramic studio and opened this up it seems some of the clay around the top of the triangle slumped down a bit from the week before. Also the planning was not quite perfect and the circumference of the circle was not quite large enough to make it to the top. So I added more clay to fix the slumps and then did some decorative work by piercing the outer wall in a dot pattern, mainly to eliminate the possibility of it exploding. This piece is a replica of an exercise that i did a long, long time ago. Working out some of the things I did in the past sometimes helps me understand how I came to love working with clay. The three dimensionality of it is what I find the most interesting. And its wonderful flexibility.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


When we lived in Brooklyn in 2001, I wanted to create an identity and design for Jake and I that was personal. Using our initials, the PS and JS logos were created. We did not use them much as Jake was working full time at NYIT (New York Institute of Technology) and I was freelancing mostly for corporate accounts on Long Island. Then the World Trade Center was hit and a lot of things got put on hold. After that year we moved back to Long Island. I shelved the design and thought about its resurfacing again one day.

Now, here in the desert of Arizona, we are making a more determined focus on doing fine art and it was time to revive the sleeping logos. Jake has just launched a matching blog, STUDIO JS, to show his work.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


a three part medal

Questions: who did this belong to? Can you figure anything out from these clues yet? I will be posting some of the story soon. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Today was spent putting together an artist statement and bio. I gathered up info from my websites and blogs, along with looking at what some other artists do when they compose these kinds of writings. Like many of my artist friends and colleagues I am a shamefully negligent promoter of my own art.

Put someone else's product in my hands and I will have tons of ideas to help them promote themselves, make a website, blog, where to take it, who to call, how to brand... but for myself I seem to feel an enormous amount of shyness and cultural pressure to "not be such a show off." I am also struggling with where to start. Do you cold canvas galleries? Do you begin in your own backyard? Will you look better in a foreign country? Who really wants my work? Who is interested in this topic, style, media? There are so many things to think about.

Tomorrow I will be sending out two applications for submission of my work. I think I am on the right track.