Thursday, December 03, 2009

Bi- and Uni-cycle love

I've almost run out of the "I heart your bike!" tags, so last week I got to work printing new ones. These have the same bike illustration, but I used "nice bike" for the text instead, after hearing through the grapevine that the heart ones are too girly for guys to use. Are these a little more gender neutral?

I ran into so many problem when I tried to letterpress them that, out of sheer frustration, I set aside the Kelsey 5x8 and pulled out the trusty old Gocco. I'd forgotten how much I love the Gocco, and I think you'll be seeing many more Gocco prints in the near future (as long as I can still find supplies for sale).

Along with the bicycle tags, I decided to include our single-wheeled friends, so here are unicycle love tags too! Both tags can be purchased at my Etsy site.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Banjo Boy

Just finished this drawing, for the "Be Still My Darlings" series. It'll be available at Rebus Works tomorrow.

Monday, November 23, 2009

new drawing

I'm working on some drawings for my upcoming show at Twist Gallery in Nashville, TN in January 2010. It's going to be a series of book illustrations, torn from a book tentatively titled "Be Still, My Darlings", about a journey involving fear, courage, and collapse. Here's a sketch of one part of what will be in this series.

Other drawings will include windmills, a banjo, ferns, a forest fire, and possibly a narwhal. You can buy a print of this sketch from Rebus Work's Daily Images.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I got blogged

I'm usually pretty startled when I find out that I've been on other people's blogs. Startled, and flattered. One that I was recently featured on is Panel Patter, a blog dedicated to comic and zine reviews, by Rob in Pittsburgh. He reviewed my Art School Chronicles zines, and was incredibly insightful - even gave me few things to think about, along with the fact that the final issue is way past overdue. For the handful of people out there who have asked about the conclusion of this story, yes it is going to be made, but no it will not be done anytime soon. I'm working on it, but it is definitely on the very bottom of my priority list. I know, not fair to all of you (and maybe not fair to me, either). One reason it's taking longer than the others is because I've decided to combine my 4th and 5th years into one book, and call it "The Graduater", because that's what I did. I graduated. And then the following year I graduated again. I'm done graduating now, so I'll put it down on paper in pictures and let everyone know how it went.

Another fun little blog I was featured in is I Dreamed I Saw, a blog of mostly images. One of my drawings made it to her "Grin and Bear" posts, of various bear drawings she finds intriguing. I must admit, I like her taste.  :)

(Art School Chronicle zines and prints of this bear drawing can be purchased at my Etsy site.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Big Questions

Anders Nilsen, my most favorite comic artist, has finished the next issue of Big Questions, #13. He's inspiring both visually and through the stories he tells. I definitely recommend you check him out.

Monday, November 09, 2009

blogging and tweeting

Last week I went to a workshop at UNC-A about marketing for DIY crafters, given by the fine folks at Figs & Ginger. They had a lot of good suggestions that got me out of a craft-hating slump, including the importance of keeping up with a good blog. So here I am, trying my best to be a good little blogger, and tweeter too. I've always tried so heard to keep my personal life out of these social networking doodads, but they have a good point - the only ones worth visiting are the interesting ones, and the interesting ones get personal. Don't worry - I won't let you know the details of my love life, but I will probably post pics of my cats. Consider yourself warned.

So, I'm feeling like a good little blogger now, but a bad little printer. I've finally finished my page for the Iowa City Ladies of Letterpress 2010 calendar, which was due on November 1st. Yes... 9 days late and they are still sitting here in my studio. They're so inky that I'm letting them dry overnight before I trim and package them to send out. I feel especially crummy since these are for friends and I knew about it since *May*. It'll make me feel better if you head over to the UI Center for the Book and inquire about purchasing one - all sales will help support UICB, too.

Speaking of Ladies of Letterpress, we now have set up a Scholarship Fund for members of LofL. If you'd like to help support this fund, check out our shop at our new Etsy site.

Friday, November 06, 2009

it's so purty

The website is new again! Really, it's mostly the same, but much prettier. I've cleaned it up, added new photos, used some photos for backgrounds, and updated the "Shop". Now you can see much more of what I see everyday - misty mountain landscapes, the fern garden, and an Edward Gorey cat sitting on the nipping press. Oops, that might have been cut out of the scene, so I'll post it here.

Go visit the new website here -

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

1st 'real' craft fair

I've just participated in my first 'real' craft fair, here in Asheville, land of craft fairs. I've been in two others in Iowa City, one set up by my friend Heather at Home Ec, and the other was the IC Book Fest, but I consider this one to be 'real' because I wasn't invited by my friend, and it wasn't a school event. The first two were definitely good practice runs for me - my table looked decent, I knew how to set up and take down efficiently, and I knew what to expect. Sadly, though, this one was a bit of a disappointment. It was an outdoor fair, and even though I was one of the lucky ones to get a table in the small space inside, the rain kept a lot of people away. Overall, not many shoppers, not many sales, and I'm left wondering if these craft fairs are really worth my time. There are a few more coming up, though, that are all indoors, and geared towards holiday shoppers. I'll try these, then I'll have some time to think about entering more before the spring fairs start popping up.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

finally... new rollers

Whew! After an entire summer of trying to get new rollers, they have finally arrived at my doorstep. These are shiny new composition rollers for my Kelsey 5x8, purchased from Tarheel Roller & Brayer Co., and it was a real treat to work with them after 5 months of getting the run-around from another roller company. The Tarheel guys were nice, friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, and when you order something, they make it and send it to you! Amazing!
A confession... I'm also a real sucker for little wooden boxes.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

best fortune ever

I don't usually collect the little paper slips from Chinese fortune cookies, but this one is just too good to toss.

Here we go.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

new studio

I'm finally feeling like I'm settling in to my new studio here in Asheville, NC. I still have some unpacking and organizing to do, but it's nice to already be printing in the new space. H&CP has a new website, too - check it out here. I've just noticed a few days ago that there are some layout problems, so bear with me while I get those fixed. I'm currently working on finishing The Lost Land, prints for the Old Maid exchange, and the month of March for the 2010 LOL Calendar.

Coming up soon - BookOpolis at Asheville BookWOrks. I'll be there, serving up refreshments and giving a letterpress printing demo. There will be a display of lots of amazing new work by printers and book artists, a talk by a local printer, and demos in every area. The event will be on Friday, Sept. 25th 6-9pm and Saturday, Sept. 26th noon - 6pm at ABW, 428 1/2 Haywood Road in West Asheville.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Dalek vs. Squirrel was one of the prints we gave away at the CONvergence letterpress printing demo. Another was the first in a new series, Flying Squirrels. This is the European Flying Squirrel, but I'm still considering the name - it might be changed to Ader Flying Squirrel to give homage to French aviation pioneer Clement Ader, who designed this gravity defying contraption.

I will try to have a few of these available for sale at my Etsy shop by September.

Overall, CONvergence 2009 was a blast. One of my favorite panels was about whether or not comics are literature. The answer? Yes, no, and maybe. Go to to see photos and videos of the 4-day event.

Coming up next, a show that I forgot to mention in the last update: I have few prints in "Bridges", an art show opening at the Em Space Gallery on July 18th in Portland, Oregon. This looks like an amazing new space for print and book arts - anyone who goes to see this show, please tell me all about it!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer events

Upcoming summer events for Heroes & Criminals Press:
July 3rd & 4th: Scott and I will be giving letterpress printing demonstrations on Friday and Saturday nights at ConVergence, a annual sci-fi convention in Minneapolis. Prints will be made on the handy-dandy Kelsey 5x8, and given away like candy. In the spirit of the convention's theme this year, "A Celebration of the Funny Side", we'll make one print of a Dalek-vs-squirrel showdown, and another of a flying squirrel (the inventive kind, that helped people create their flying machines). Let me know if you want dibs on any leftovers.

July 18th: H&C Press will have a table at the first annual Iowa City Book Festival! I'm so excited that I get to be a part of this, and let's face it, isn't it really about time that IC had its own book festival? It'll be held in Gibson Square, outside of the library's south entrance, and will include music, vendors, food, demonstrations, readings, and panel discussions. Come out and celebrate books with us!

July 28th: The Big Move. We'll be relocating to Asheville, NC and setting up a print studio and bindery in West Asheville. On to new adventures!

August 5 - 9th: Thanks to the Grabhorn Fellowship, I'll be spending this week at Arion Press in San Francisco to learn the in-and-outs of how to run a fine press, along with a visit at the M&H Typefoundry. I'll be sure to post details and photos of this trip on my blog, so check back in mid-August for the nitty gritty.

August 29 - 30th: I'll be teaching a workshop, (Nearly) Non-Toxic Intaglio at Asheville Bookworks. We'll cover the basics of intaglio printing, plus we'll focus on using simple and clean materials like plexiglas and water-based inks. Printing that can be done in your very own kitchen, even if you have kids or pets! Go here to sign up. This will hopefully be the beginning of a long friendship with the wonderful people at ABW.

Starting in September, I'll be cranking out new work that'll be added to my Etsy site, and also will be making the rounds in various art and crafts shows in & around the Appalachians. I'll keep you posted on the details at my blog, and I hope you'll come visit me at one of these events.

Until then, I hope you're staying cool and enjoying the summer!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Lost Land in progress

I'm now in the final stretch of my big Final Project for the UICB certificate. I'm printing a short story by Lawrence Pun, a Chinese author based in Hong Kong, who was in the International Writing Program here in Iowa City last year. The story, The Lost Land, was translated into English and I'm printing it in both languages, to be bound in a dos-a-dos binding (two books that share one cover). The English version is printed from metal type from the Bixler Press & Letterfoundry, and the Chinese is printed from photopolymer plates made by Boxcar Press.
Here are some images of the printing process:

The cover will be decorated with 'paper' from a real hornet's nest!

This book will be on display at "The Printed The Bound The Finale" show at Arts Iowa City Gallery, 103 E. College St., in May. Come to the opening reception on Friday May 8th, from 6-9pm to meet the artists and touch their books!

Friday, April 17, 2009

MIMB on the move

Monumental Ideas in Miniature Books (MIMB) is now on display at the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory in Cleveland Ohio. It was recently reviewed by Douglas Utter in the Cleveland Scene Magazine, and you can read the review here. He mentioned my scroll, describing it as "about three inches high and nine feet long, it shows opposing armies of squirrels and rabbits, a raccoon, a ferret, several deer, an emu, an elephant, camels and a catapult, drawn in outline as if to be colored. It's a story (a little like The Iliad) of offense and incommensurate response, and about the questions asked of justice by accident and fate."


The Exhibition closes on April 29th, so make plans to see it while you can!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


The Monumental Idea in Miniature Books (MIMB) show, now on exhibit at Columbia College Chicago for the Southern Graphics Council Conference 2009, now has their website up here. The gallery space is small, but is in a great location on Michigan Ave. 5 blocks from Chicago Art Institute, next to the Hilton Hotel(the conference site for SGC). This international show of miniature books by 125 artists was curated by Hui-Chu Ying at University of Akron, with the help of her students. There are more photos at the MIMB flickr site.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Slay a bookbinder

I recently found this on another bookbinder's website:

Writing in 1898 Kenneth Grahame noted that:

“As a general rule, the man in the habit of murdering bookbinders, though he performs a distinct service to society, only wastes his own time and takes no personal advantage”

In 1904 he expanded on that thought, perhaps because some book had still not been completed/delivered:

“Not in that he bindeth books - for the fair binding is the final crown and flower of painful achievement - but because he bindeth not: because the weary weeks lapse by and turn to months, and the months to years, and still the binder bindeth not: and the heart grows sick with hope deferred.

Each morn the maiden binds her hair, each spring the honeysuckle binds the cottage porch, each autumn the harvester binds his sheaves, each winter the iron frost binds lake and stream, and still the binder bindeth not.

Then a secret voice whispereth: ‘Arise, be a man, and slay him! Take him grossly, full of bread, with all his crimes broadblown as flush as May; at gaming, swearing, or about some act that hath no resish of salvation in it!’

But when the deed is done, and the floor strewn with fragments of binder - still the books remain unbound…”

Hah! It really cracks me up. On that note, I just finished binding a book. It's a sampler of 4 different link stitches and 2 different kettle stitches, bound on wooden boards. I used instructions from J.A. Szirmai's The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

International Edible Books Festival 2009

I'm helping out this year to create an exhibit of edible books for the International Edible Books Festival 2009! Sponsored by the University of Iowa Center for the Book, it will be held at the UI Main Library on Wednesday, April 1, in the North Lobby. Here are the details:

When was the last time you really devoured a good book? This year, the University of Iowa’s Center for the Book invites faculty, staff, and students to join us in celebrating the annual International Edible Books Festival by creating a delicious book to share with your fellow literary and food enthusiasts.

To celebrate this international event, the Book Arts Club is organizing an exhibition of edible books to be on display on April 1st (no joke!) in the North Lobby of the University of Iowa Main Library. There are only two rules; entries must be edible and they must have something to do with books as shapes and/or content. An entry fee of $5 goes to support the Book Arts Club.

To participate, drop off edible books at the UI Main Library North Lobby on Wednesday, April 1st, between 9-10am. They will be on display from 10am – 12 noon, followed by a reception and book tasting from 12 – 2pm. The awards ceremony starts at 12:30 pm, with prizes awarded based on Best Book Structure, Most Creative Literary Reference, and Best In Show. Also, all entries are automatically entered into a raffle for free sketchbooks from Blick Art Materials.

* The International Edible Book Festival is a yearly event held on April 1st throughout the world. This event unites bibliophiles, book artists, and food lovers to celebrate the ingestion of culture and its fulfilling nourishment. Participants create edible books that are exhibited, documented, and then consumed. Information and inspiration can be found on the Festival's home page at

Edible Books Submission Form (bottom right)

(the photo above is by Heather Hunter and friends, England: Thames, 2002)

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Some upcoming shows I'll be in:

RSVP has again invited the Center for the Book to have their annual student works show for the March Iowa City Gallery Walk in their store. The Gallery Walk is tomorrow night (March 6th), 5-8pm, downtown Iowa City. Participating locations, including RSVP, will have walking maps showing where all the openings are being held. RSVP is a lovely little stationary store located at 140 N. Linn St., next to the Motley Cow. I'll have on display a copy of The Bad Sparrow codex, "The Search" letterpress print, and some historical proto-book models (a papyrus scroll with hand-cut reed and a model of a Singhalese Palm-leaf book).

I also have a small scroll in the Monumental Ideas in Miniature Books show, on display now at Columbia College Chicago for the Southern Graphics Council Conference 2009, Global Implications. The gallery space is small, but is in a great location on Michigan Ave. 5 blocks from Chicago Art Institute, next to the Hilton Hotel(the conference site for SGC). This international show of miniature books by 125 artists was curated by Hui-Chu Ying at University of Akron, with the help of her students. You can see lots of great photos of them, the show, and individual books at MIMB flickr site.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CBAA 2009

The CBAA conference (Jan. 8-10, 2009) was an exhilarating experience. I met some amazing new people, saw dear old friends, and now have a lot of new ideas bouncing around thanks to the panels and demos. One of my favorite volunteer duties of the weekend was to help Veda and Meda Rives set up their paper/book work installation at the Arts Iowa City Gallery. The installation is down now, but you can see some of their work at Mirror Image Press.

A few other personal favorites:
~ Tate Shaw of Preacher's Biscuit Books and Visual Studies Workshop kicked off the conference with his keynote address about book openings, not only structurally but also as content.
~ Megan Berner, an artist in Reno, Nevada, showed how she transformed her book about daydreaming into a video.
~ Johnny Carrera of Quercus Press explained his process in creating "Pictoral Websters" a letterpress printed and handbound book that compiles dictionary images into one book.
~ David Berona talked about the evolution of the woodcut graphic novel, with images and text from his new book "Wordless Books: The Original Graphic Novel". He also introduced me to the Center for Cartoon Studies.
~ Amanda Nelsen showed a video of her recent installation work, where she used bundled squares of recycled junk mail to create 'pixels' of color.
~ The Moving Crew gave a synopsis of what they've been up to these past few years, from handing out fake passports to granting land in a gallery in Omaha.

This is just a smidgen of all the extraordinary conversations that took place in our little Iowa City during those few days. If you missed out on this one, keep your eye on the College Book Art Association website for the next, coming in 2011.