Engineering Eureka

It came to me in a dream – actually, I did think of it just as I was waking up Sunday morning. I had worried about the iPad slipping out of the covers from the bottom. I was attaching the bands horizontally on both those covers and the Kindle covers. It worked fine on ereaders, but I “saw” that I should be putting them diagonally on the corners for iPads to keep them from slipping. It worked great. I retrofitted one of the covers that had sold but not shipped,and I think that the buyer will be a lot more pleased with the secure fit of his iPad! See the old version and the new, below:

Jessie Voigts, Photographer and Friend

I’m lucky enough to know Dr. Jessie Voigts, one of my Girlfriends in Art, who recently sent me some of her spectacular photos, a few of which you can enjoy below. When she’s not exploring and visually celebrating Lake Michigan, she heads the organization Wandering Educators. You don’t have to be an educator to appreciate the treasure trove of resources on this site. Check out her blog, and read about her personal take on travel, learning, and the citizens of the world at large.
Many thanks, Jessie!

Nique o’ the day: domino closure/clasp

It’s one of those mornings with unexpected time to play around in the studio, and this is a small but useful discovery. I have some little wooden dominoes that I planned to use for closures on the journals and covers. I turned one over, sanded off some of the black finish, drilled some holes with an awl, and applied a paste of copper powder mixed with neutral shoe polish. It really came out well, much better than the photo (which was taken in a hurry on my iPhone). I think this has possibilities. – amazing

My friend Carol introduced me the this site – her stepdaughter works with this creative group. You can explore it for yourself, but be sure and read their statement of purpose. Their work is a fusion of all of the best media art and technology I’ve ever seen – don’t miss the Sony “Eye Candy” ad (screen shots above). I am going to show this to my students and hoPe that it inspires them – it did me!

Gotta know when to hold ’em . .and fold ’em

Kenny Rogers sang it – you gotta know when to walk away. I tried a new and unfamiliar theme last night, wanted to visit the 30s and Art Deco. It didn’t work from the start – I didn’t have a feel for the images or the era and tried to bluff my way through using color and line. Along the frustrating way, I learned a lot, particularly to stick with what calls you and don’t try to force your art in a direction that you want to control when you don’t feel the story. See the photos and the resulting cover-up. The first three show that it wasn’t bad — it just wasn’t RIGHT. As I’m always saying, there’s more than one right answer in art and design, but this wan’t one of them.
The more I read in the book Art and Fear, the more I realize this, taken from page 56, “One of the best-kept secrets of artmaking is that new ideas come into play far less frequently than practical ideas – ideas that can be re-used for a thousand variations, supplying the framework for a whole body of work rather than a single piece.”
I still have thousands of variations to explore in themes that I love – Asian, Renaissance, surrealism. . for example, the rooster (last photo) in the now-recovered false start of a cover has a lot of potential and a story to tell. Can’t wait to see how he turns out.

The crazy creative collage process – and why it’s fun

This morning I had intentions of finishing the insides of a completed collage cover to be called Cloister. As I took a last look at the front, I thought it needed one more gold strip so I tried it in a couple of places using logical rules of composition. There’s not a lot of conscious talk going on at this phase — it’s just whatever “art/instinct/create/process” is.

Before I decided, I happened to see a spare picture of Empress Josephine from a previous cover next to the one I was working on. Hmmmm…what a difference it made to the Cloister story if I included the portrait of an intriguing secular woman – an artistic “aha” moment.

I found a likely candidate in my Raphael book, innocent and young but definitely up to something. I liked her in black and white, but it was too jarring, so I aged her with a bit of walnut ink and applied her to a small raised panel and attached he between the two main figures.


The result? A new and stronger story – I love the art/collage process. It can “tell” you exactly what’s needed, sometimes by design and sometimes by the muse throwing in a happy accident. And it’s all done in a fraction of the time it takes to try and explain it.
There’s always more than one right answer in creating artwork, but this one worked for me.

Lights, Camera . . .

I am the first to admit that my photos of my work are not the best. I have problems with lighting because of the reflective surfaces. Recently I saw a table light tent setup in a Sky Mall magazine on the plane back from Delaware for $99 plus $20 shipping, but once I got home I found this one for about $35 by doing a web search.

It arrived today from Cowboy Studios via Amazon, and I’m impressed with it. The whole thing, including lights, tripod and four backdrops fits into a fairly flat 18×18″ case that unfolds to make the tent. i didn’t have any new work to shoot, but I took a photo of a rock (see last picture) – hey, if it stands still, I’ll collage it 🙂

End of commercial, but I definitely think this setup will make my photos better, and it’s certainly affordable and portable.

Thanks, Steve Bennett, for a wonderful article

San Antonio Express-News awesome book editor, Steve Bennett, has written an article about my Kindle covers that’s any artist’s dream – his insights and descriptions are right on. He could make a rutabaga sound interesting, but I’m glad he choose my work instead! Here’s the article in today’s E/N.
Steve gives a link to this blog and says that directions for doing your own covers for notebooks or ereaders can be found here – yes, they are in an earlier post. Here’s that link from August 2nd:

It’s a fun project, and you can change the measurements to make all kinds of handmade book covers or portfolios for your art or your children’s art or favorite recipes, or . . . . the possibilities are unlimited, plus you get to get in touch with your bad old creative self.

Again, many thanks to Steve (and to talented photographer Helen Montoya for her sharp photos and good tips on photography)!

‘Nique o’ the Day – Bone Folder

If you work with paper in any capacity, you should have this great tool. Traditional and beautiful to hold and work with, a bone folder is ideal for smoothing surfaces, creasing folds, and scoring. I have two, both real bone. They are not expensive, less than $10.

Here’s a place to buy online if you can’t find them in a local stationers or crafts shop.

From inspiration to production – bead/button closures

I have been having a hard time finding exactly the right bead/button closures for my ereader covers. This morning when I woke up early, the good ol’ muse voice in my head said, “Make you own.” I had everything I needed – old leftover polymer clay from my art teacher days that was still good, complete with roller, some gold leaf from collages, and assorted other stuff including some long-ago clay-building ideas remembered from my studies with potter Tracy Dotson. I am very excited with the results! Take a look at the first batch, all done between 6 and noon today! From now on, all of my handmade collage covers will sport handmade closures.