Sammamish Art Fair

Oola and I traveled East from Seattle to the town of Sammamish which was holding an art fair.  We joined up with Mark Hoppmann and Pat Chupa of the Puget Sound Book Artists at the town library where we hosted a meet-and-greet table to gently educate the public about Artist Books.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crows
Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crows

I borrow this photo from Mark’s page on Vamp and Tramp booksellers. Each extraordinary page is meticulously drawn and printed.  Each volume is individually sewn and boxed so that no two are exactly the same.

You can see more of his work at

Pat Chupa showed her Wonderkammer, a cabinet of curiosities.  I borrowed this image from her website because it explains her book so much better than any of my photographic attempts.

Pat Chupa
Pat Chupa, Wonderkammer

I showed my Book of Bon Bons, but it was hard to get most people to play with it.

The Book of Bon Bons, Jan Dove
The Book of Bon Bons, Jan Dove

The most popular aspect of our presentation was the take-away table where people could make a small accordion book to take home or to donate to the worlds longest accordion book being put together by PSBA.
Take away table

This table moved out into the aisle and got messier and deliciously messier as the afternoon progressed.  Sunny was one of our champion collager/stampers.


The table next to us was a little quieter (not that we were noisy in the library!)

Anne Shannon

Anne Shannon makes paper the old way.  At her take-away table she invited the children (and Oola) to make collages with her handmade paper.  We shared our amazement at the intensity of concentration at both tables, and a quality of inevitability in their collages.

One work was left on the table, and a cloud came over Anne when she explained to me that the boy who made it said he would “donate” it.  When Anne pressed him to take it home he explained that his father would only make fun of him for making art.

"donated" collage
“donated” collage

I think this is one of the saddest things I have seen in a long time; call it Portrait of a Spirit Being Crushed.

On a cheerier note we got to meet the Poet Laureate of Washington State, Tod Marshall.

Tod Marshall
Tod Marshall

Tod gave a mini writer’s workshop which probably could have been advertised better.  I wish that I could have attended, but felt obligated to my spot at the PSBA presentation.  Read about his newest book, “Bugle”.

Meanwhile, in another part of the city center there were more artists showing and talking about their work.  Two that captured me were:

Linda Gisbrecht and her bead embroidery

Linda told me a story which I quote here from her website —

I began creating bead work pieces as a result of a dream. In this dream, a wise old grandmother lizard promised me a necklace as a gift, and to teach me the craft. Upon awakening, I excitedly began to explore this media.  A few months after having this dream, I went home to visit my parents. After hearing I was now doing bead embroidery, my mother offered to give me a drawer full of seeds beads she had been saving. In response, to my surprise, she told me about how my great grandmother made bead embroidery handbags. I feel this deep connection with my ancestors through this craft.

Misako Plant and her washi dolls

Misako Plant
Misako Plant
Misako Plant
Misako Plant

When I got to her booth I was immediately thrown way back into a memory of my Father coming home from sea with the present of a porcelain doll in a silk Kimono in a glass case.  We got to look at it and we were warned this was no ordinary doll.  The beautiful doll from far away land was exhibited high up beyond our reach in her glass case.  The red of her kimono and the black of her hair and the gold hinges of the case became lodged somewhere DEEP in my psyche.

Misako’s dolls are made of Japanese paper (wa-shi).  She showed us how she wraps the paper around a cylinder and crushes it to give both texture and strength.  She called this “shrinking” the paper.

Misako Plant
Misako Plant

Love the energy of this dancer who is planted in rectangular strength but in whom everything is delicious movement.

Trip to the Antiquarian Book Fair in Seattle

Autumn Tree
One of the many reasons we love our new digs on the planet

In the soft rain Oola and I are getting an early start on our first solo trip to Seattle.  The deciduous trees are letting go of the last of the light that they stored during long summer days.

Being very careful to follow directions from Oola’s cousin in the black box we reach the Bainbridge Island ferry just in time to see it leave the dock.  No biggie; we gave ourselves plenty of time for the trip.  The wind is blowing over here on the Sound of Puget but we are warm and comfy while we wait.  It is going to be a good trip.

Images can be enlarged with a click.

Bainbridge Island Ferry
Bainbridge Island Ferry to Seattle

I won’t bore you with the details of circling round and round in Seattle to the maddeningly patient tone of Oola’s cousin in the black box.  Luckily traffic is so slow we don’t have to worry about making split-second decisions.  We finally get to our destination, the parking lot of some sports arena, and Oola takes the obligatory picture of the iconic Space Needle.

Seattle Space Needle
Seattle Space Needle and Frank Ghery’s Music Experience Project (EMP), thank you Pamela!

A short walk in the rain (Oola left the umbrellas in the car) then we stop, saying

Exhibition Hall, Seattle
“This must be the spot”.

There is a cast of characters out front and they appear graphic novel ready, but, hey, no problem.

When we get inside, it is a wonderful world full of booth after booth after booth of old, delightful, and very expensive books, maps, prints, and probably more.

Antiquarian Book Fair
Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair

Oola and I have a free pass because we are volunteers at the Book Arts Guild table so we go there first.

Mare Blocker and Selene FisherAlready in place are artist Mare Blocker (left) and that force-of-nature and cat-herder Selene Fisher (right) who organized our part in this book fair.  A few of my books are for sale.  More on that later.

Our neighbor is Carl Montford of Seattle with his tiny, functioning letterpress machine.  On which he prints his tiny, incredibly precise wood engravings.  Exactly the right size for Oola!  But wa-a-ay beyond her skill set.

There is time before my shift to do the walk around.  And here are only a few of the magical things I saw.

Phillip J. Pirages,  Fine Books and Manuscripts

Cokie took out some of the pages to give us a close-up look.

Pirages makes it clear that they do not cut up books to sell the pages.

Antiquariat Botanicum

Far West Maps and Books

farwestmapsA Wildcard favorite — old maps.  This booth was presented by Myron West of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Nudelman Fine and Rare Books

Susan told us that Nudelman Fine and Rare Books has a special interest in work from the Guild of Women Binders which flourished in the late 1800’s.  Click here for a video of Phillip Pirages talking about the Guild (8mins).

It WAS a good day, after all.  My eyeballs are FULL.  Oola is asleep now, but on Sunday we continue our trip eastward to Sammamish, WA where an Arts Fair is going on and there is work to be done.

And, yes, something did happen to one of my books at the Book Arts Guild table.  More to come.




No new journeys yet, but Oola and I are planning to brave the traffic in THE BIG CITY in two weeks to visit and/or volunteer in the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair, then on to the Sammamish Library in Sammamish WA for an artist book show-and-tell.  Both adventures will be as a member of the Book Arts Guild in Seattle.

In the meantime, I have not been twiddling my thumbs.  Having become intimidated by a large project which I embarked on early last year, I have been trying out stuff on a smaller scale and thinking of the work as “studies”. Here are three:

You can enlarge any image by clicking on it.

Study 1
Study 1
Study 1, detail
Study 2
Study 2, detail
Study 3
Study 3, detail


The finished sizes of these studies are about 18″ x 26″ x 4″.  They are developed from my electronically drawn figures, digital photos, and rubbings of street features, all in Photoshop.  They are then pigment printed on Habotai silk on an Epson 9900.  I sew the borders on to the central image, then attach the small stones using iridescent fly fishing thread.  I embroider slashes in the silk with cotton thread and “suture” them with binder’s waxed black linen thread.  Other materials include transparent film, silk-wrapped branches, silk-wrapped coil, copper wire, telephone wire, lead fishing weights wrapped in waxed cotton thread.


No physical road trips lately, but here is an offering of an artist book I just finished.


It started from one of those dreams some of us are plagued with, the one where you drive round and around and either never get back to the beginning or pass the beginning/end repeatedly.  (And what a road trip that would be!)

It is also about a memory of a specific experience in a place that no longer exists.

It consists of two physical parts. The first is a small accordion book of artist written text. The second is the carousel construction in which the universal dog tries and tries to get through the fences to the memory in the trees.

Motherhouse, artist book
Motherhouse in linear form

Motherhouse, artist book


Motherhouse, artist book

motherhouse, artist book

Some of the vignettes behind the fence might seem oddly familiar. A couple are secrets or very personal. The viewer is invited to get very close to the fence to figure out the stories.

Some of the vignettes behind the fence are familiar. A couple are secrets or very personal. The viewer is invited to get very close to the fence to figure out the stories.
What is happening behind the rich man’s fence?
Some of the vignettes behind the fence are familiar. A couple are secrets or very personal. The viewer is invited to get very close to the fence to figure out the stories.
A very sheltered moment

And the text, which does not configure exactly stanza to panel:

Some of the vignettes behind the fence are familiar. A couple are secrets or very personal. The viewer is invited to get very close to the fence to figure out the stories.

To place memories on
a long-lost map.
How quiet the air
all that long night vigil!
At the time
they could not understand
the stillness of the dead.
Hoop of long white skirts
Turn, turn, turn, clap.
Turn, turn, turn, clap.
The accordion, the dance.
Long sighs of
olive trees
rise from an ordered plot.
Freedom –
another illusion smashed.
It was always the
Even now
universal dog
tries to find the way back
to something long unfinished.

To see and hear a one minute video of this book in action:

Can anyone point me to a laser cutting resource in the great Northwest?  If not, this hand cut book will be a one off.



Marble-ing in Port Angeles

This time the journey was to Dove Studio in Port Angeles where a group of us played around with marbleizing paper and cloth.  This is a technique I learned from Joan Flasch (the best) in art school years ago.  This technique is like the Fourth of July, full of oohs and aahs.

Marbleizing is a way to put pattern on paper, or fabric (or fingernails or car parts or tennis raquets…).  We limited ourselves to paper and fabric.  What you do is get yourself some thick water and float some paints on the surface.  Mess with it and then drop your item on top of it – gently.

Here is Pamela  placing drops of acrylic paint on the surface.

Pamela Hastings
Pamela applies drops of paint to the water (sized with carageenan) and watches it spread.


Then she makes patterns in the paint.

Pamela Hastings

The room sucks in its collective breath.

You can see the images enlarged by clicking on them.
Katie Yeager
One of Katie’s works captured on Masa.

After a couple of hours of too much fun:

the usual suspects
Katie Yeager, Pamela Hastings, artist Francesca Cameron visiting from Portland, and Diane Williams

Everything a girl (or a cat) could want (notice the wine which Diane thought we might need) in the Wildcard’s Picking Parlour.

When everybody went home, Oola and I gathered up the leftover materials and played into the very small hours.



Murdock Beach

Did you ever see a round rock?  Not round 2D like a pancake. Round 3D like a perfect sphere.  Well I hadn’t,  so I was intrigued when some friends told me about a beach where you can find them.  So was Oola.

The place is Murdock Beach, (sometimes known as Round Rock Beach) off of Hwy 112, down a rough dirt/mud road to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Being that Oola and I are novices, my friends kindly showered us with examples.

Murdock Beach on a brighter day, minus tide
Murdock Beach on a bright day with a minus tide and with Vancouver Island in the distance

Here is a “round rock”.

spherical rock

It is called a “concretion” or a “nodule”. What happened is when a marine critter died, something about it created a chemical reaction in the mud surrounding its remains and the mud hardened.  There is a fossilized sea creature inside this rock.  Here is a youtube video to explain the phenomenon better.

My friend artist/quiltmaker Diane Williams found this one.

Concretion inside a matrix
Concretion inside a matrix
Artist and teacher, Diane Williams
Artist and teacher, Diane Williams.  She also organizes the art shows for the Library in Port Angeles.

You can see that if you take the spherical part from the matrix, you would have something that looks like a pitted avocado.  And that is what Pamela Hastings showed me, along with something that was created by a creature with different ambitions.

Pamela Hastings
Artist, Doll Maker, Pamela Hastings


That rock on the left would make a great head for one of her dolls.

Actor and sometimes teacher in musical theater at Cornish (and Pamela’s little bro), Hugh Hastings  found these.

Hugh Hastings
Hugh Hastings

There are more stones that look like “hot dogs in a bun” that hold fossilized items such as reeds.

fossilized reeds

My new friend, artist Katie Yeager found these spheres.

Katie Yeager
Katie Yeager

Then a few minutes later she displayed these with an explanation:murdock6

Here we have two balls, a tit, a penis circumcised and a penis uncircumcised.  (What is art without sex?  Nothing, I tell you, Nothing!)

Sound of throat clearing — Oola and I love rocks that have messages or drawings on/in them.  She found these strange drawings all over the place.

linear drawing on rocks
linear drawing on rocks

We didn’t find any pictures of Jesus’ face but this reminded me a little of octopus paintings from Minoan Crete.

snail trails on stones
Drawing of an Octopus?

If you click on the image to enlarge it, you may even see the artists!

BTY.  Murdock Beach is part of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  A sign indicates that rocks are catch and release.

PS Warning, the dirt/mud road contains surprise whoop-dee-doos, so unless you have a FWD, take is slow.  Take it slow anyway, and enjoy!

going home

PPS Warning.  Check your tide chart or wear your Wellingtons.  There is no beach at high tide.

Hinges and Collapsible Structures

Helen Hiebert
Helen Hiebert

Last week Oola and I made the trip to Tacoma to take the workshop Collapsible/Flexible Book Structures:  Paper Balloons, Tubes & Vessels with Helen Hiebert.

inflatable ball construction by Helen Hiebert
Inflatable balloon construction by Helen Hiebert

Creative chaos reigned for two days.  (You can view enlargements of the images by clicking on them.)

Oola photographing

Oola was in her element as was Bonnie Egbert, pictured in the background.

Elizabeth Walsh and Carrie
Elizabeth Walsh and Candice Litsey

New friends and connections.


Carrie Larson has the delicate touch to make the collapsible sphere work.  I, however, found myself — shall we say — temperamentally unsuited.  She has a new website not to be missed.


Steel-slinger Shoshona Albright experimented with lace paper.

Victoria Bjorklund
Victoria Bjorklund

In addition to experimenting with translucencies, photographer Victoria gave an impromptu demonstration of Image Transfer using Purell.


Shari Weatherby cutting the balsa for tiny shoji-like screens, and the same Shari experimenting with her eye catching binding.


Lily contemplates the possibilities of weaving and translucency, exacto at the ready.

Linda Marshall
Linda Marshall

Linda and I both ran afoul of Google map directions.  But we were not deterred. is Linda’s brainchild/project/adventure and the home of beautiful Japanese papers.

My favorite technique was this flexible hinge, a little like a Jacob’s Ladder, which makes it possible to present as an accordion screen or as a container.  You just have to keep your wits about you while you do the gluing. It is for sure I will use this on a larger project.

Beautiful variants on the inflatible balloon technique.  Oola says I have to get my act together and try this again!