read | challenge 2017.

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In 2017, I agreed to take on a Reading Challenge. I don’t normally participate in those kinds of things because I like to read what I want, when I want, but this one seemed interesting and reasonable and maybe a challenge is good for me.

The 2017 challenge prompted a read every two weeks or 24 books on the year in various categories, including a book translated from another language, one from childhood, one from school days, something more than 500 pages, a book that takes place somewhere you traveled that year…and on.

I started off slow–my first read was Tolstoy’s classic War and Peace, a 1300 page sweeping epic that actually took me well over 2 weeks to complete. And so, I got behind. I picked up steam in the summer, reading well more than a book every two weeks. But, still, it wasn’t enough to make up with starting a new job and picking a number of 500+ page novels.

I came really close. I missed completing the challenge by 5 books. And it prompted me to start a reading journal, in which I keep track of everything I read, when I read it, how long it took me, whether it was a library book, a kindle book, or a book I own, and some general musings on what I liked or didn’t like about it. I’m pleased it pushed me to really start keeping track of my reads in a unique way, and I’ll carry on.

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How do you keep track of the books you read? Do you at all? I never used to. And so, in this space, I’m going to also keep track of that process, too. Because this blog, while I hope I have a reader or two, has been a great long term companion to me, my makes, my likes, my pursuits.

See more (a sample) from my reading journal here. 

 

inspiration | notes.

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I have a lot of sketchbooks. Ones that are half filled, ones that are entirely filled, ones never touched. I start them, I stop them, sometimes, I finish them, whatever that means.

But, nothing is more special to me than the way I conceive of my music podcast, available at my other love, P+C. It’s a labor–and a form of art–to pick the list of potential tracks, to draw out what I think the artwork should look like, and to eliminate and create the final track list.

Occasionally, that book also turns into a sketchbook or a space to dabble–with new, small scale block prints, or quick little drawings.

What kinds of lists and sketches do you keep?

sketchbook | defend.

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I’ve been working on a First 100 Days sketchbook as a way to address my pent up anger and to try and put this time, and these feelings, into my artwork and express.

I recently made a #nodapl block print–an issue extremely close to me as a Native American. It should be an issue important to all Native Americans. This is my sketchbook reaction to recent news that the pipeline easement would be granted.

Resistance continues.

print | sketchbook

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This is one of my latest block prints that’s got me thinking and wanting to print it everywhere. It just needs fabric.

I tested it in my First 1oo Days sketchbook, which is a project I am working on to help me process and make art as part of my creative resistance. I call this one “Which way?”

What kinds of things are you doing? Making?

fabric | block printing.

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I recently took a block printing class, and despite my obsessive compulsive tendencies getting in the way of carving a perfect block, I learned a lot about the process and my work habits, too.

One of the most important things I learned about my own making adventures has to do with how much I have changed perspective throughout the years about what I’m creating, why I’m creating it, and how I’m creating it. When I was a teenager and in my early twenties, I desired to make certain things. The end product was what I coveted and I would learn whatever skills were needed to create that thing. And while I learned a whole bunch during the process, I didn’t focus on process.

This fabric block printing class showed me how much I’ve changed. While most in the class had a concrete idea of what they wanted to make and why they were taking the class (“I want to make hand printed napkins for my Thanksgiving table”, for instance), when it came time for me to share I hadn’t a plan in mind–I just wanted to gain the skills and come up with the ideas later.

I think I spent as much time in my sketchbook coming up with ideas as I did carving and printing on muslin.

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This type of printing is pretty meditative. As a child, I loved stamping and took a number of classes, became and embossing expert, and developed a pretty robust set of stamps. Now, I can make those stamps.

And while my initial block featured a really small pattern that was hard to execute on the first go around, I learned a lot about manipulating the materials to do what you want and need. It’s challenging. But I think I’m going to do more of this.

Have you ever tried fabric block printing? What have you created?

succulents + gouache.

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Sean and I have been messing more and more with gouache painting. Last Saturday, we decided to pain some succulents + cacti. Sean was really deepening his color palettes by layering and I was working the opposite by totally washing everything out since I want to be better with the water side of paints and water colors somewhat frighten me.

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I’m pretty happy with my finished product, but I can’t decide if I should have done a light background on the entire piece. It’s a first stab at the prickly pear and it will probably sit in my sketchbook forever, but it was fun to get painting again.

pizzas.

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Getting back to my gouache paints this past weekend, I fooled around with lightly washed color backgrounds and black and white pepperoni pizzas. Silly painting, but fun to spread out on the dining room table and paint again.

perspective.

Trying to get back to my sketchbook. On and off, throughout the years, I have been faithful to my sketchbook. Other times, not so much. But the sketchbook is the opportunity to practice art, doodle, think, write, be inspired. A lot of crazy weird things have come out of it.

So here’s a recent entry, in which I was practicing the art of perspective through a poppies exercise. I kind of like how sloppy it came out; it feels easy.

More from my sketchbook trails here. And drawings, here.

festival mixtapes.

My guy and I attend a lot of music festivals together. So, in honor of our summer trips (Bonnaroo and Pitchfork), I made him a usb-mixtape. They look like those old cassettes we used to spend hours recording for potential boyfriends, crushes, or best friends. But, these have a nice little usb pop out, making listening in the 21st century a zip.

This cassette cover is hand drawn, inspiration in geometrics from my sketchbook.