Monday, November 24, 2008

the next two weeks (plus)

Some upcoming events and shows:

Come by and see me at the upcoming Craft & Fancy Craft Fair! I'll be selling new "Heavens to Betsy" prints, the very popular "Bad Sparrow" books, and new broadsides with poetry by Mike Chasar - a fundraiser we've collaborated on for the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center, featuring a very vocal basset hound.

"The Bad Sparrow" scroll will be on display at the Metropolitan Center for the Visual Arts in Rockville, Maryland for their upcoming exhibit, "Illustration: Turning the Page." The exhibit runs from December 2, 2008 until February 21, 2009.

I will also be showing work at the Webb Art Gallery in their upcoming show of posters, "Higher Power". This show will be up from December 7, 2008 until March 1, 2009, and includes a private screening of MAKE -- a documentary featuring Hawkins Bolden, Ike Morgan, Royal Robertson, and Judith Scott -- by Scottt Ogden and Malcolm Hearn. Webb Gallery is in Waxahachie, Texas, 30 miles south of Dallas.

the past two weeks

Well, I've only been back from the Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair for two weeks, but it already seems so long ago. Some highlights include: Jana Harper’s presentation, “From the Dérive to the Digital,” where she makes a connection between the pacing in walking and the pacing in the act of reading an artist book; the "Democratic Organization" show that invited conference attendees to vote for their favorite democratic multiple; and a lot of great exhibitors (some of my favorites: Crooked Letter Press, Impratical Labor Local 917, and masumiEducational.
It was a very energized space, with an interesting range of book works from fine press to zines. I was one of the lucky students there representing the UIowa Center for the Book, but I'm already planning on being at the next one in two years, representing Heroes and Criminals Press. You can see more of my photos here.

Also in the past two weeks, I was invited to be featured in Fallyrag, an e-zine focusing on art, illustration, design, creative writing, photography, music, film and more. You can see my paper zine, Moral Code, in issue XI.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Making a book...

Lately I've been spending my time on restocking the Zine Machine, and getting back in in contact with our faithful zine makers. I've been thinking about the purpose of stocking a vending machine with zines, too, and the implications of even taking the time to make zines, and to encourage others to do the same. I've found this explanation from Booklyn:

"Reading a book educates. Making a book is an education.

Through the development of skills such as verbal and visual storytelling, problem solving, original thinking, and hand-eye coordination, bookmaking promotes literacy, creativity, self-expression, and self-esteem. As a medium and a message, bookmaking encourages the development of the voice, the ability to articulate it, and the means to make it heard."

Sometimes it's nice to have a reminder for why I do the things I do.

("Booklyn's mission is to promote artist books as an art form and an educational resource, to provide the general public and educational institutions with services and programming involving contemporary artist books, and to assist artists in exhibiting, distributing and publishing artist books." They are amazing.)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Linotype University VI

My head is swimming with all the information I learned from Linotype University, even though I could only make it for 3 short days (the entire workshop lasts for 7 days). We worked mainly on 3 Merganthaler Model 31 Linotypes, but we also learned how to cast type with a Ludlow, how to cast new composition rollers, and finally printed our cast type on a few various presses. I had a great time and will put this new knowledge to work at the Homestead Historic Print Shop, at least until it gets too cold to work in the barn. While I sort through all this information, you can see the photos here.

Linotype University is held each fall in Denmark, Iowa, at the Working Linotype Museum. I highly recommend it.

If you're not sure what a linotype is or how one works, Metal Type has posted this instructional documentary filmed in 1960 (shown in two parts).

While you're at my Picasa site, you're welcome to browse other albums ("Studio at the Vine" has photos of my new Kelsey 5x8).

Thursday, October 02, 2008

"Never Mind The Bears" Art Show

I'll be having an opening reception for "Never Mind the Bears", an exhibit of new and old mixed media work, during the Iowa City Gallery Walk tomorrow night. The details:

Friday October 3, 2008
at the Soap Opera, 119 East College St., on the Pedmall, Iowa City

If you can't make it for the opening, don't worry - the show will be up for at least a month, maybe two.

Sorry about the late notice, but I've been out of town at Linotype University and refurbishing a new (well, to me, at least) Kelsey 5x8 letterpress. More details, and photos, about both of those coming soon!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Art, Fact, and Artifact: The Book In Time And Place

That's the title of the upcoming College Book Art Association (CBAA) Biennial Conference, to be held here in Iowa City, hosted by the University of Iowa Center for the Book. We'll have talks, artist presentations, exhibits, demos, professional development, and tours of UICB and other venues in Iowa City showing work for this conference.

January 8-10, 2009

"Fearful Asymmetry," Randall McLeod, University of Toronto
"Enfolded by Holes: a talk on book openings," Tate Shaw, Preacher’s Biscuit Books and University of Rochester

The list of confirmed participants include Book Arts superstars such as Betty Bright, Julie Chen, Inge Bruggeman, and Daniel Kelm, along with our very own superstars Julie Leonard, Emily Martin, Tim Barrett and Gary Frost. The complete list, along with more information can be found at this UICB site.

I'll be there, helping with a large-format papermaking demo with Elizabeth Munger and Kathleen Tandy, and giving an artist presentation on my work, "Unbound: Book Art Without the Book." It will include squirrels and scrolls.

As Gary Frost would say, "Be there and be square!"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Please excuse my effete pamphlets

I was trying to figure out how to spell book art today; bookart, book-art, or book art? I'm also confused by artist book, artists book, artist's book, and artists' book. So, I did some googling to see how others spell the words (knowing full well that there isn't one standard just yet). I came across a definition of book art at , and was amused to see that they had managed to reduce the definition down to one paragraph - not an easy task! What surprised me even more was this tidbit in the definition:

<< John A. Walker (Glossary of Art, Architecture and Design Since 1945, 1973, 3rd edn., 1992) writes that it ‘refers to publications by individuals or small groups of artists whose background and training is in the visual arts rather than literature. These publications are usually small in size, slim, white, often effete pamphlets, journals, or booklets issued in small editions and marketed via art galleries rather than via bookshops … Frequently the text and illustrations are minimal and the majority are not splendid examples of printing or binding.’>>

I don't know when he added this definition of book art in the Glossary, so maybe it held water in 1945, but by the last edition in 1992 maybe the editors should have noticed that there are many artists books out there that are not "small in size, slim" or "white". As for the rest of the definition... what a jerk. (One could argue that most paintings suck, too, but that's not exactly how paintings are defined.)

For a better definition of artists books, I prefer Wikipedia's version, or this discussion on the Book Arts Web.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Great Northern Printers' Fair

Mark your calendars - the Great Northern Printers' Fair is coming up soon! Some info from the Briar Press website:

The Fifteenth Annual Midwest and Great Northern Printers’ Fair will take place at Printers’ Hall, on the Old Threshers Grounds in McMillan Park, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa on Friday and Saturday, September 19 & 20, 2008.

Come and join 100 or more other letterpress printers for this great annual event. Friday will consist on an Open House at Printers’ Hall and everyone is invited to come and ‘play’ with our equipment. Saturday will start with a Swap Meet in the morning, followed by an auction just after lunch. The awesome steam powerhouse in the museum building next-door should be operational on Saturday as well.

For complete information, go here. The photo is taken from the Midwest Old Threshers website.

Thinking of going but don't know what to wear? Might I suggest Angel Bomb's new t-shirt design that states "Lead is not dead." It's not really a new design, just new, friendlier colors. I have the original orange, which apparently was a problem for many people, but I'll admit it - I have a fondness for orange t-shirts.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Poster, books, tattoo, and one octopus

Currently working on a new poster for the Iowa City Barn Dance with a fellow printer at Browncity Press. Also, thinking about what to submit to the College Book Art Association's Bi-Annual Student Awards 2009. Interested in submitting something? Click here for the prospectus. Finalists will be on display at this year's conference, Art, Fact, and Artifact: The Book in Time and Place, in January 2009, to be held right here in Iowa City.

While looking for inspirations for a new tattoo, I found this:

Found atBibliOdyssey. Originally used in an ad campaign for Anagram Bookshop in Prague. Nice, huh?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Website update

Finally, after dragging my feet on this project all summer, the Heroes & Criminals Press website is updated! Along with minor changes to the "Shop", Links", and "About" pages, I've added lots more to the gallery pages, including recent posters, prints, and bindings. I even included my most recent project, a box covered with the paper from a hornets' nest, completed while at Penland.

I have a few events coming up this fall: I'll be showing work at the Soap Opera during Iowa City's October Gallery Walk, and I'm participating in a Crafts Fair in November at Home Ec Workshop. I'll post more details very soon!

We have finished the 2008 edition of the Homestead Rocket at the Historic Homestead Printshop in the Amana Colonies, so stop by and pick one up while it's hot off the press! The print shop will be open every Saturday from 10am - 4pm until the end of September.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Penland detox

After a few days back from Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, I'm finally starting to feel like my normal self again. I had an incredible time working as Julie Leonard's assistant in a boxmaking class for Session 5, both exhilarating and exhausting. Every day was packed with so much activity, each night was spent chatting with new friends over wine as if entire weeks had passed. I also got the opportunity to show one of my Bad Sparrow scrolls at the current exhibit at the Penland Gallery, "Is that Supposed to be Funny? Wit, sarcasm, and humor in craft" It's up until September 21, so stop by if you're in the area. Because the entire scroll couldn't be shown in the gallery space, I made a little codex 'touchable' version which turned out to be a big hit. So, I am now starting on an edition of those which should be available later this fall.

If you haven't been to Penland yet, I highly recommend it. Just be prepared for some intense work and intense play. Oh, and the food is delicious. Go here if you want to see my photos.

Stopped in Asheville on my way home and visited Blue Barnhouse press where I picked up these sweet little cards.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mail Art call for entries

My dear letter-writing friends at PodPost are now working on a book about Mail Art. They've put out a call for entries for mail art and correspondence that may be published in this book, are you interested? Download this pdf to submit, and find out more about them at PodPost and superdilettante.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hi from Penland, this week's drawing

I'm having an amazing time at Penland for these 2 weeks, working as an assistant for Julie Leonard (and as a student) in a Boxmaking class. I'll tell more and post photos when I get home, but for now here is my drawing.The text reads, "Can you hear me now?"

This Week's Drawing

My partner Scott has been publishing a webcomic, Peas, once a week for the past year, and celebrated it's one year anniversary last Friday! I was so impressed by the show of dedication, I've decided to take on that challenge. So, here is the very first installment of "This Week's Drawing" (I know, it's a lame title... I'll work on it):This is an ink drawing on my own handmade Japanese paper (kozo). The text reads "a Sloth of bears."

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I've finally gotten around to updating my website, Heroes and Criminals Press. The gallery is still mostly older work, but at least the other links are useful (well, they are to me). I'll try to update the gallery images by the end of the summer, but just thinking about it makes me tired.

I've discovered what might be my new favorite color scheme:
These lovely eggs from the farmers' market were just so beautiful to look at. Too bad they're all eaten now.

This Saturday I will be:
but without the fancy threads. I'll be printing at the Homestead Historic Print Shop from 10am-4pm, come by and visit!

(thanks to BookNews for providing the photo)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

CONvergence 2008

This was CONvergence's 10 year anniversary, and they made sure to make it big this year, starting with extending the con to 4 days. I had a great time, and now am exhausted. Here are some highlights:

Thursday: Went to panel "Fanzines Invented the Internet". It was interesting to hear from guys who were connecting long before the GUI (graphical user interface) we're so accustomed to, and long before the World Wide Web. It makes a good parallel, since fanzines were started for the same purpose - to stay connected and share ideas with others with similar interests. They also talked about the shift from printed zines to online zines, but didn't say much about how the internet changed how printed zines are used today. They didn't even seem aware that printed zines continue to exist and be a vital part of independent publishing.

Thursday night we went to the Opening Ceremony where they did a very funny interpretation of Austin Powers, Cereal Mascot Smackdown, a panel on Paranormal as TV Journalism (I'm completely hooked on Ghost Hunters), and topped it off with a few room parties.

Friday: Started off the day at the Copyright: Ethics in Action panel. They discussed how confusing copyright laws can be, and each panelist talked about their own experiences with dealing with (or avoiding) copright issues. There seems to be a consensus that even though copyright laws were originally created to encourage creativity, it's become more of an issue of greed, and tends to stifle creativity in some cases. One panelist recommends that copyright rights be reduced to 40 years or the life of the creator, whichever comes last, and I agree. There was also some discussion about Creative Commons and copyleft, which I'm a big fan of, but the panelists suggested avoiding altogether because there are no real laws to back it up.

We went to a few more panels that days, but the the best part was probably watching The Super Inframan at the Cinema Apocalypse room. It's a Chinese knock-off of the Japanese Ultraman, and it's bad but completely hilarious. Later that night we went to the 22nd floor of the hotel to watch some distant fireworks, then went to see a performance by Solylent Theater (a comedy troop "made out of people"). Finished off Friday night with more crazy room parties.

Saturday: Slept in, then went to the Working in Comics panel. The panelists were a good cross section of comics professions: a penciller, an inker, and a colorist. The only drawback was that they all work for big comics companies, and there wasn't anyone representing an independent publisher. About halfway through the panel, Scott had a hard time breathing and I ended up taking him to the emergency room. They think it's either asthma or a panic/anxiety attack, so they prescribed an inhalant and 5 hours later we headed back to the con.

That night we went to the Masquerade, one of my favorite events, but there are always some amazing costumes that you see out and about, but don't perform in the masquerade. In fact, seeing all the costumes is probably my favorite part of the convention - where else can you see Mary Poppins, Superman, Santa Claus, and a Klingon having a drink together? We ended the night at Killer B's Improve Movie Show (like a live Mystery Science Theater), and skipped the room parties after Scott's rough day.

Sunday: Woke up feeling ready to go home. Maybe 4 days of CONvergence really is too much? First we went to the art auction pickup, where I won a print of "Mouse with Pearl Earring", and found out that I'd sold "Hellfire". The we went to Iron Artist, where four artists and one puppet fight out an epic art battle. In the afternoon we went to see Peter Mayhew speak (Chewbacca), then to the Women and Comic Books panel. The panelists mostly talked about superhero comics they liked, and how so many people don't understand that even women get into superhero comics. But, I don't like superhero comics, so I didn't recognize most of the titles they talked about (except for a few that I tried but didn't like).

The biggest disappointment was when someone in the audience asked for recommendations of comics by women, or what to recommend for women friends, and there wasn't a mention of Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis". I thought about raising my hand to say something, but I thought too long and the panel was over before I got my nerve up. I also wanted to mention Alison Bechdel and "Fun Home", Lilli Carre's "Tales of Woodsman Pete", Renee French's "Micrographica", and Megan Kelso's "The Squirrel Mother" as some of my favorite comics by women artists. Oh well, maybe I'll be braver next year.

Oh! Next year! I can't wait...

(for more photos, check out luckycreature's flickr site)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Prints up for auction

Two of my prints, "Rising Waters" and "Hellfire", will be up for auction this weekend at CONvergence in Bloomington, MN (near the Twin Cities). What is CONvergence? From their website:

CONvergence is a convention for fans of Science Fiction and Fantasy in all media, and is held at the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota on the first full weekend of July each year. CONvergence is a production of The Minnesota Society for Interest in Science Fiction and Fantasy, a 501(c)3 non-profit organziation, and acts as an annual fundraiser for that organization.

A portion of the money raised from the auction goes to benefit this organization.

The prints:

I went to CONvergence for the first time last year and had a blast. I went to a lot of panels about art and comics, and was impressed by the creativity of the costumes and room party decorations. I hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Rural Incident postponed

The Rural Incident, a one-day art extravaganza that was scheduled for today in Oxford, Iowa, has been postponed because of flood complications. I've never been to past ones, but it's supposedly an incredible show with 30 artists and bands playing all day, so I'm sad it was postponed, but as far as I know not cancelled. I will be sure to post when it's rescheduled.

Here in Iowa City, flood waters are receding, but no one is allowed near the flooded buildings until toxicity levels are assessed. From peeking into windows I could get to, Center for the Book is nice and dry, even if the basement is about 5 feet under water. Here is how it looked on the day the river crested (photo by Craig Kelchen):

I can't get anywhere near the Art Bldg, where Printmaking is located, but I found some great aerial views at the UI News Services' flickr site.
It looks like the basment is flooded (up to the ceiling, for sure), but the first floor has been mostly spared. Maybe this will be a nice kick-start to renovation plans that have been dragging out for the past few years?

I like this shot, "Getting fresh air into the IMU."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Iowa City flood

Well, it looks like printing will be on hiatus for a while, maybe the rest of the summer.

Steps to the UI Center for the Book.

My studio at the printshop of the Art Building, taken from a distant parking deck. I managed to get all personal belongings out in time, except for the frame of my type case (seen in the window, on the left).

This may be a good time to reacquaint myself with the long-neglected Gocco.

There may or may not be an Art Show coming up in Oxford Iowa on June 22nd. I will update as plans are confirmed.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Ladies of Letterpress at Home Ec

It's a very last-minute announcement, but for anyone in the Iowa City area for tomorrow night, stop by and check out the Ladies of Letterpress show! We're excited to be a part of the Gallery Walk and Iowa City Arts Fest this year. This show includes 9 of Iowa City's best women letterpress printers displaying prints books, and recent projects.

Thanks to Home Ec for offering their space!

Monday, June 02, 2008

In good company

My limited editioned prints can now be purchased at The Shiny Squirrel.

You can also find some of my handmade books at Vamp and Tramp, under the imprint "Heroes & Criminals Press."

I'm thrilled to be in the company of so many amazing artists!

Monday, April 28, 2008

UICB Spring Open House

Hooray, we're opening our house again! This one's extra special, with calligraphy demos by Cheryl Jacobsen and her students, and a large-format papermaking demo by Tim Barrett and his students out on the front lawn. Yes, outside - these sheets are 3' x 7' and require teams of 3 people to make. Tim will be the official MC.

It'll look a little like this, with lots more sunshine.

UIowa Center for the Book
216 North Hall
Iowa City, IA

Friday, May 9th
3:30 - 6:30 pm
Food & fun

See you there!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Monster Alert

My monster will be one of many monsters in "A Friendly Altercation," a show where "artists band together to take on monsters, in a battle of creative proportions." Thanks to Jason Whitman for putting together this show, making the monsters, and for putting up with the artists.

Morning Times Gallery
10 E. Hargett St., Raleigh, NC

May 1 - June 2, 2008

Recep. May 2nd 6 - 11 pm