Sunday, January 21, 2007

A "minizine"

I'm participating in a swap on Swap-bot of ATC-sized "minizines" (although I would call them pamphlets). I had been pondering what topic my "zine" should address, and most of my ideas were potentially a bit too involved, when I saw that someone else in the swap made a zine of "Squirrel Haiku," which I assumed were her own verse. So I thought, hey, I write a lot of short poems that could fit in a little pamphlet like this. Since my poems are generally nature-oriented and, naturally, seasonal, I thought I'd pick a few for the current season, pair them with some of my photos, and, well, here it is. The requirement was only to make 8 pages, including covers, so I decided not to tax myself by attempting to do more than that (plus, I could only come up with five poems that were winter-themed and, even in this limited distribution format, publishable).

But now that I have done this one, I plan to do three more for the other seasons.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Altered postcard art

I came across a mail art call "Send Me Flowers" linked to the Mail Art Forum and thought it would be a good excuse to alter this vintage postcard I picked up at a neighborhood antique shop quite a while ago. It appears that the man is standing in a field of dahlias, so I drew a dahlia on it with a brown fine point Stabilo pen, then added the green leaf color with a Pitt brush tip pen and colored the blossoms with Cretacolor pencils. The pen at first seemed not to take very well, so I deglossed the surface with fine sandpaper, which scratched it up a bit, but that looks OK to me.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Doodle ATCs

Now here are some ATCs I cut from that full-page doodle. I am hosting a Doodle ATC swap on Swap-bot, so if this looks like your sort of thing, come on over and sign up! If it's no longer in the list of new swaps, go to all swaps and select ATCs and you'll find it.

A page of doodles

Last fall I was inspired when my friend Jennifer Menken filled a large sheet of drawing paper with a complex doodle, then cut it up and made mini art books from it, which she was selling at the Book Arts Festival. So now I have filled a letter-sized sheet of cardstock with a doodle and cut it into ATCs. I allowed myself some leeway to select the best cuts and so made 8 ATCs, whereas a sheet of 8.5 x 11 inch cardstock can yield 10 of them (ATCs, artists trading cards, are 3.5 x 2.5 inches, same as standard trading cards).

So, here is my full-page doodle. I carried it around in my tote bag for several days and worked on it a little at a time, usually at coffee shops and such, or when I had to sit and wait for any reason. I really enjoyed doing it.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

12 Drummers Drumming

Here we are at the 12th day at last, and here are the drummers who not only first paid me a call on the ninth day, when I drew nine drummers and then later realized it was supposed to be nine ladies dancing, but who also may account for the 10 lords leaping right off the page, coming as they do with their booming taiko drums right behind the 11 bagpipers.

Even though I only have nine drummers here, you can see 12 drummers drumming in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area if you go to a Mu Daiko performance--they really do have 12 drummers! (So why aren't they giving a public performance on the 12th day of Christmas? Someone really should talk to them about that! In fact, their next scheduled performance isn't until June.)

I am going to back off on the daily posts here now and turn my attention to my business Web site for a while; that's the Minneapolis Observer, or, as we have now redubbed it to match our print publication: MOQ (add "quarterly" to the previous), pronounced em-oh-queue, in which we explore the bucolic city, which may include taiko drummers, even though their thunderous sounds may not strike a person as particularly "bucolic." But if it's about nature, art, or wordsmithing in an unplugged and locally urban sort of way, then it is likely to catch our fancy at some point and show up in the quarterly.

If I may continue this unabashed promotion for just a while longer, since MOQ is mostly a print publication (isn't that quaint? -- aren't you glad I didn't say "bucolic" again?), if you would like to get a free sample issue, please send a request to me,, and tell me that you know about this offer from my blog, and I'll put one in the mail to you (so, obviously, you must provide your snail mail address--not to worry, I can't afford to do mass marketing by mail, so you won't be added to any mailing list; nor to any e-mail list). Single issues are otherwise $4 each, and a one-year subscription is $15.

Oh, and MOQ was nominated for Best New Publication in the 2006 Utne Independent Press Awards. We didn't win, that honor went to an excellent publication that also has a local focus, New England Watershed, but we still feel very honored to be among the eight nominees.

We had noticed that the winner and one other nominee (Conveyer, which is based in Jersey City), plus MOQ, have a decidedly local focus. As the editors at Utne put it, "Place is an important part of how we construct our identities, which is why it's no surprise that three of our nominees in this category seek to explore it. " We hope this is a sign of an emerging trend--you know: local is the new global. Not that we favor parochialism, only that we advocate a thorough grounding in and exploration of one's own surroundings.

Look for something new both here and at the Minneapolis Observer about once per week. If you like. I don't mean to sound bossy. Have a nice day and thank you for visiting my blog.

Friday, January 5, 2007

11 Pipers

Yes, this is only one piper, but that's because he got a little out in front of the other ten, who are following him. And making quite a din, which explains what caused the lords to leap so.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

10 Lords Leaping

Well, I have fallen behind by a day, and, as you see, the Lords have already lept, leaving only this jumble of shoes behind. (That scrap of paper on the right is the phone book listing for Lords, 10 of them--I numbered them, even.) What could have made them leap out of their shoes? Could it be the 11 pipers piping coming right up behind them?

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

9 Ladies Dancing

There are different interpretations of this song, as I have noted earlier, and I am sure that one of them at least has 9 drummers drumming. So I spent a fair amount of time today drawing drummers, then thought, wait a minute, that doesn't seem right. No, it is ladies dancing that is the more common version of this verse. Well, at least part of my motivation for doing this was to challenge myself to draw something every day. Since I already drew drummers, I figured I could move on to another art form.

I happen to like paper dolls, and especially paper doll chains, so I didn't mind starting over again. These dolls are 3.5 inches high and about 2 inches wide, so I cut a 3.5-inch strip from a sheet of 8.5 by 11-inch paper, allowing a half inch at either end to round off the hand of the first and last doll -- each strip made 5 dolls. I cut off the 10th one and used the poor thing as my guinea pig for drawing the face and such. I was going to paste them together to make one 9-dancing-doll chain, but decided it would be easier to photograph them in this arrangement.

Now that I have made this set, I am eager to modify the basic design. It's really rather fun. If I can figure out how to do it, I will make a template into a PDF to share. (Don't hold your breath! You might prefer to just figure it out yourself anyway.) If I made the face looking forward, instead of in profile, I could use rubber stamps of facial features, which would look rather cool, don't you think? The dolls would probably have to be a little bigger to be in proportion to the stamps, though.

After cutting them out, I decorated them with Sharpie pens, rubber stamps, and little plastic flowers.

Now is it 10 lords leaping or pipers piping next?

Monday, January 1, 2007

Eight Maids a-Milking

I am not up to drawing eight maids milking today, though I had some interesting ideas involving Rube Goldberg-like milking machines, maybe I will work on those for a future edition of the 12 Days of Christmas.

So, instead, I offer you an image of one maid milking. She lives in Kenya, and is the beneficiary of Heifer International, an organization devoted to providing people in need around the world with livestock and equipment to help them become self-sufficient.

To donate a heifer through this organization you need to give $500, or you can donate a "share" of a heifer for $50.

If that is a little beyond your budget, you may back up to the subject of the sixth day and donate a flock of geese for a mere $20.

It would not be a bad way to begin the year. Happy New Year.