Saturday, August 25, 2012

Last Week at Penland

Today is my last day at Penland. It's sad to go but I'm also really excited to be home! So here are some of my favorite photos from the second week of my stay. First, the books:

Our class of 10 people made probably about 60 books!

We piled them all on the table at the end and did a photo shoot. Here are Diane, Katie, Nicole, and Laura Wait posing for me in between taking pictures of the books.

These are the two books that I made that I am really happy with. I already traded Night Walk on the left for a beautiful collage painting by Beth Kokol

This is a book that Laura and I made in collaboration with Jim Cooper's metals class for the auction. It has a pewter cover with raised letters spelling Penland 2012.

The last day of the session, everyone in the school shares their work in a gallery setting. It's wonderful to see all of the different work created in just two weeks! I especially loved seeing pieces that friends I talked to each day at meals had made. I took time to visit each studio at least once, but there was so much going on, there was no way to see everything during the session.

In an earlier post, I showed photos of guitars being built in the wood studio. One night, the two instructors, Wayne Henderson and Michael Peyton put on a concert. It was fabulous- what amazing musicians! 

Here are a couple of the completed guitars that were made in the class. Can you imagine making one of those in two weeks?!

This is a photo of the updo my hairdresser Barbara gave me for the auction. It was so tall, I had to duck through doorways! It was a very eye-catching look. I highly recommend Barbara for all your fancy hairstyles.

And lastly, here are more pretty Penland pictures.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The (Gigantic) Little Black Book

I'm still at Penland and I just have to share the collaborative book we've been making. At the end of every session, there's a really fun auction to raise money for scholarship programs. Our class has been working on a book for the auction called The Little Black Book. And yes, it's full of names and phone numbers (some of them our real names and phone numbers!) The process of making the book was interesting and shows how we generally worked in Laura Wait's class. So here it is from the beginning:

First we all wrote and painted on both sides of the sheets of paper in different areas.

Then Laura started cutting them down and we added more detail including  handwritten phone numbers and stories.

Then Laura cut, folded, and sorted them into book pages. Originally she planned to make two books, but the giant stack of pages looked really good together, so it became one fat book.

Here it is on the sewing frame- it's 2 3/4 inches tall!

At this point we all went back in and wrote our real names and phone numbers mixed in with the fake ones we wrote originally. Here's Clara Boza jotting down her own "good time" phone number.

And here it is done. 

Since this is a serious work of art, my class member Laura Martin wrote an artist statement for us.

Here is Ria who was very happy to win The Little Black Book at the auction.

There was one important ingredient in making this book that you might not have picked up on in the above photos. Here it is:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

First Week at Penland

I've been at Penland in North Carolina for one week of a two week book arts class. It's so beautiful here! There's often fog in the morning and I can resist taking lots of foggy photos. This building is The Pines where we eat all of our meals.

These are a couple photos from our class taught by Laura Wait. We started by writing with sticks and cedar shingles dipped in Sumi ink on full sheets of paper. We added layers of paint and writing and then cut the sheets up into book pages. The bottom photo is Laura demonstrating binding a book.

There are beautiful hand-made things everywhere you look around the school. This is a really long mosaic wall near the metal and clay studios.

Lots of the buildings are from the 1930's. They have lovely wood and stone details. There's a nice history of Penland on their website.

One of my favorite studios to visit this year is the Woodworking Studio where they are building guitars! The instructors are Wayne Henderson & Michael Peyton. The top photo is a guitar in progress. The bottom photo is a bluegrass jam session that happens often in the evenings in the studio. They sound incredible!

I couldn't resist photographing the dress forms huddled in the corner of the Fiber Studio.

And back to the Books Studio where I'm working. This is the book I just finished about a night walk. It's more subtle than usual for me, but I really like how it turned out.

One more fog photo! I'll post about the second week here toward the end of the session.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

What is YOUR story?

I'm on an airplane flying to Penland, North Carolina for a two week class taught by book artist Laura Wait. I'll be sharing photos from Penland next week. But for now, I'm still thinking about the LA SCBWI children's book conference.

I took notes from three different workshops about the importance of creating a story on the subject that is closest to your heart. Here are some of my notes:

Arthur Levine, Publisher of Arthur A. Levine Books:
He'd like to change the common phrase, "Write about what you know" into "write about you."
What is YOUR story?

Bryan Collier, illustrator and author and Laura Godwin, Vice President and Publisher of Henry Holt Books for Young Readers:
How do you get to your core? What do you know? Bryan's editor, Laura asked him this when he was just getting started with children's books.
But as Bryan said,"It's too big of a question." It's hard to narrow everything down and and find the story in it. You have to keep writing, drawing, and refining.

Jon Klassen, illustrator and author, and Steven Malk, Agent with Writers House:
Find out what you like and build it a story.

I've been reworking my story, Home about how the Earth is shared by all people, plants, and animals. It's going to be so much better! All along I've felt this is the book I need to make. Now I am encouraged to stick with it through however many incarnations it may take.

In my notebook below Arthur Levine's question, "What is YOUR story?" I wrote about my childhood influences. Both of my parents are scientists. My father is a professor of biology and zoology, and an environmentalist. When I was young, he did a lot of work on acid rain and mine waste products. I knew all about global warming before I started grade school in the 1970's.

My mother is a computer scientist but her big impact on me was her strong belief that all people should be treated equally.

And, well, I grew up in Wyoming. That's why I feel connected to the land. I'm a small town girl from a big wide-open landscape.

What is YOUR story?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

LA SCBWI Conference

The SCBWI Conference this year was great as usual. I took a lot of photos and I thought I'd share a few of them as a way to let you know about some of my favorite parts.

The Conference takes place in the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. It's a lovely hotel and I had a great time photographing the surrounding buildings, the view from our balcony, and the plants on their grounds.

I got to hang out with my friend Brooke Boynton Hughes on the left. And we both met Tina Kugler (in the middle) for the first time after knowing her for years online. This is us dressed up for the Hippy-Hop party on Saturday wearing flower crowns, peace tattoos, and loud paisley.

Tony DiTerlizzi was one of the main speakers this year and he put on quite a show! He started with an amped-up keynote during which he imitated himself as a 10-year-old by shuffling around the stage on his knees. His workshops were calmer and packed with information. He inspired me to buy his middle grade novel, The Search for WondLa. I'm a third of the way through it and it's fantastic!

During the Monday Illustrator's Intensive, he also shared an early portfolio, drafts of manuscripts, and a real treasure- his dummy for Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide. The artwork was very finished and the hand made  book was so full of gorgeous drawings and hand lettering! 

Bryan Collier also had some fantastic presentations including a very emotional keynote speech that caused all of us to fall in love with him. The talk he gave with his editor Laura Godwin of Henry Holt Books was very entertaining! They were a regular comedy routine and their "early morning talk show" format worked so well, I think they should start a TV show in their spare time!

Eugene Yelchin is not someone I was aware of before the conference, but what an interesting, articulate, and talented person! Here he is giving us some very detailed info about how to create space, depth, direction, frustration, and satisfaction in our illustrations. I took notes as fast as possible.

It's very hard to see, but in that photo above, Eugene is showing this spread from Melissa Sweet's book A River of Words that he called genius. Melissa was also at the conference and unfortunately I didn't get a picture of her. She has a beautiful energy and I also loved her workshops. I bought A River of Words about the poet William Carlos Williams- written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet who signed it for me. 

I also didn't wind up with a photo of Jon Klassen but here's the cover for his new book that isn't released yet. The humor in his books is dry and understated but oh so funny. Jon himself is a very humble guy who talks fast and makes a lot of jokes about himself. I loved hearing about how the concept for his new book developed- some stories come to you direct and some rather roundabout. But it's those roundabout ones that are more entertaining in the telling. Here's a blurb Publisher's Weekly did about This is Not My Hat.

Here's a photo of half of the room at the Portfolio Showcase. It can get a little overwhelming. So much art to see and so many people to elbow out of the way!

For me, the best part of the conference is getting to spend time with friends I don't see often. Here are my good friends and talented illustrators, Brooke and Tina talking in between sessions. 

I hope everyone who went had a great time!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

13 Princesses

These prints still need some work, but I'll have to tweak them when I get back from my adventures. Tomorrow I'm going to California for the SCBWI Conference. I'll try and post a bit from there!