Saturday, May 30, 2009

the chair... still roaming the internet (& other things)

AFTER: the chair
It is now on shelterrific. Thanks to my fellow mad scientist of etsy, Polymath, for letting me know!

The other thing I learned from the MSOE, is rather depressing. Apparently, the US CPSIA bill means that some schools have decided that ROCKS (as in scientific displays thereof, to teach earth science) ARE DANGEROUS FOR KIDS. It was vaguely amusing when I was asked whether the old rock samples in the lab were dangerous... but when "safety" concerns become draconian, and education hindered, I cannot find it funny.

Hou: The Monkey, detail To leave on a more upbeat note, my fellow TCET member inkyspider or kootsac has a post on gifts for Geminis which includes my monkey print. Thanks Morgen!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

giraffe & dinosaur

Giraffe pillow - AnoukGiraffe pillow - Anouk reverse
So I logged onto my laptop to upload some photos of my latest giraffe and a prototype Euoplocephalus pillow. I really like the fabric choices. I went out yesterday to get some more white kozo paper from the Paper Place (last trip I was lusting after coloured papers so I have this shortage of white paper). I stopped in Type, next door, and bought The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments even though I am probably familiar with a lot of them, certainly all the physics experiments, and despite the rave review by Roger Penrose (the only author I have ever encountered whose book I actually ceased reading due to pomposity). It is illustrated! Also, opening it at random, I was delighted to read a crazed fan letter from Lady Ada Lovelace to Michael Faraday. I walked home, stopping at the Workroom, where I bought some fat quarters, including this fab floral backing the Euoplocephalus pillow.*

Euoplocephalus prototypeEuoplocephalus prototype reverse

The pattern though, needs simplification. Making sharp angles in a pillow is problematic. That's right, now I am doing R&D on pillows.

Anyway, I was delighted to see I had made two sales. So I need to pack up the custom giraffe as well as send a frog print to sparkle_debacle (Thank you!).

Also, I will see if I can meet K and D's friend (who is seeking housing in June so might babysit Minouette for me).

I have to think about what one wears to go to an international scientific meeting in the morning and then make giant dipoles in the lab in the evening, tomorrow. Steel-toes and a suit does not really work for me.

*This paragraph fails utterly to stick to a single topic, but that is the way it is.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Quail on the Town Pillow - Handprinted Patchwork

quail pillow front
I made a new pillow. It combines the popular line drawing of city homes, and the Echino by Etsuko Furuya fabric, a nice stripey fabric along with my block printed quail on a cotton patterned with calligraphy. The reverse is a textured cream fabric with a grey stripe and green minouette block printed tentacle label, combined with a funky vintage game bird fabric.

It is 12 inches (30.5 cm) tall and 13 inches (33 cm) wide.

My mother saw this print and said, "It`s a prairie chicken!"
I responded, "Right... uh.. it`s a quail. Q for quail."
My mother`s nostalgia for the prairie knows no bounds. I looked it up- a prairie chicken is related to, but not identical to a quail. Males have those nifty circular, orange unfeathered neck patches which can be inflated while displaying in the mating ritual called booming. They lack, however, the distinctive quail top-feather.

quail pillow reverse

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Enchantress of Numbers

Proofs of the Countess LovelaceThis is the on-going saga of my block print of Ada Lovelace (previously mentioned here and here). So, after drawing her on paper, and deciding that the equations did not look right on the gears, I re-drew her on lino with the equations around the circumference of the gears. Yes. Carving three equations with super- and subscripts is a new level of insanity in my printmaking. Enjoy!

Princess of Parallelograms
My first move was to print several proofs on sketchbook paper. Then I moved to Japanese kozo (mulberry) (11" x 14") paper. I printed the single block into two colours: silver and turquoise. I found that this was pretty, but not quite what I wanted; the colours were insufficiently saturated and the detail was not as visible as I wished.

Ada Lovelace prints dryingSo, I did a run on mauve Japanese gampi paper (10.5" x 15.25"). This time, I used gold for the gears and face with a mix of purple and turquoise for her dress.

The equations depicted around the gears relate how to calculate Bernouilli Numbers. This is not only because Ada published how to do this MECHANICALLY, but because she foresaw that machines would one day be able to work with SYMBOLS (like those used, for instance) and not just numbers!

Ada, Countess Lovelace

Enchantress of Numbers

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Victoria Day

Happy Victoria Day
Originally uploaded by the.minouette
I like this... with the skylights, I can watch the fireworks from the confort of my living room couch (or loveseat, or as F. insists the settee).

Have a great May Two-Four Canada.

Minouette weighs in

Minouette stares

Look into my eyes.
You will not start carving the lino.
You will get up and get me some fresh food.

Minouette mirrors cat lamp

Go towards the kitchen ... follow my gaze.

Minouette, lino block & post cards

Hey! Is that a bird?

see, Minouette, this is the camera

I see. Push the button and it records. The human toy appears useful for bird and raccoon surveillance missions. Hmmm......

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Spring Handmade Market

minouette table north end
minouette table south end

And my view:
my view of the prints and giraffesmy view of the pillows and magnets

I most enjoyed meeting my fellow artisans. I enjoyed talking with table-neighbour Jesse of All Things Small. The elder of her two sons (at 2.5) bought (with the help of his grandmother) bought one of my magnets. He was very specific about wanting the tiger, which made me smile. Seated behind me was Pam of lurearts. She had been at the Etsy meeting at the Work Room, so I had met her before. We swapped my Urban Dodo pillow for a gorgeous green and blue ceramic ring and a pendant from her shop. I also got to meet Emily of nestingemily. She is a multimedia artist working in two of my favorite things: ceramics and textiles (especially felt). I know that she is a friend of my friend Tanis- so it feels like a community of craftspeople, even when it stretches thousands of kilometers across the country. (Though Emily and I are both former residents of B.C.) Emily has had a lot of well-earned attention across the blogosphere, so I have been a fan of her work for some time. She told me she has been a fan of my prints for some time, which is really gratifying. We swapped one of my rabbit prints for her polar bear with lace texture in ceramic, who is dreaming (shown on an embroidered felt inset) of snow. I can not wait to put it up. Pam sent me a lovely thank you note and I replied how much I enjoy swapping with other creators - especially those who create things in media in which I do not work. Also, since my work tends to be all about COLOUR and pattern, I love collecting art which might be about subtlety of texture and delicacy of colour.

Thanks to everyone who came by!

Also, a shout out to the Trans Canada Etsy Team who was encouraging people via twitter to come by while I was busy at the show! Thanks, I really appreciate that.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Not that type of Demon

Maxwell's Demon- closeup Ooh! If I say I think it is a good omen that my Maxwell's Demon print turned up this morning on the craftster blog Angels and Demons round up, will you think I'm crazy? Demons, good omens? But you know, I never thought of Maxwell's Demon as sinister. He fights entropy and could counter the ultimate heat death of the universe (were he to ever succeed at his task). Like I explained to Blythechild, he's just a tiny, tidy, Scottish, Presbyterian demon. He wouldn't work on Sundays! But he works consistently from Monday to Saturday, fighting entropy. He's not after your soul - he's not that type of demon. He likes his tea with milk and sugar on the side - less entropy that way.

Anyway, I'm flattered to appear on the craftster blog! I haven't managed to make as much time for craftster of late, but I love their blog! Especially Mr. X Stitch (who deserves his own post and is an awesome addition to their blog team), and batgirl (Part Librarian, Part Superhero) is a sweetheart.

preparations for the market

So I went to the bank this morning (miscellaneous banking) and made sure to get some small bills so I have change for customers. This evening I plan to lug home two retort stands (you know, those vertical metal poles on a base you used in chemistry class, for holding things, once upon a time)*. (Sadly, I have to go out to the east end before going back to the west end, so these will be some well-traveled retort stands). I will use ribbons and miniature clothes pegs to suspend my prints. I have a collection of baskets for pillows and giraffes and such. I have a tin for displaying magnets. I have bowls for brooches and business cards.

What else?

Ack! I need price tags.

And maybe a parts box for coins.*

If you are free and in Toronto, please come by and say hello! Wish me luck!

*Pretty sure I'll be the only one with this solution... but it makes sense, you know. Especially if you have a laboratory with useful equipment to borrow.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Process on the Princess of Parallelograms

Lady Ada Lovelace drawing

I don't usually post shots about my process of printmaking, but here goes. This is the drawing I made on Monday evening at the music for drawing soiree. Reynardin posted hers, so I have been inspired to share.

This is a drawing of Countess, Lady Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), who published the first computer program.* She worked together with Charles Babbage, the inventor of the Difference Engine and the Analytical Engine (the first - analogue! - computers), correcting his notes on how to calculate Bernoulli Numbers with the Analytical Engine. More importantly, she (a great communicator, daughter of mad, bad and dangerous to know Lord Byron) was able to understand and explain the workings of the analytical engine and the potential of computing machines. Her comments seem visionary to the modern reader. Babbage called her the Enchantress of Numbers and the Princess of Parallelograms.

She is shown in front of my sketch of one of Babbage's drawings for gears within his machine. Also included are some equations for Bernoulli numbers.

The image of her is inspired by a couple of well-known engravings. This will end up as a lino block, so everything will be reversed, when ultimately I carve and print it.

Ada Lovelace block in progress
So the next step is to draw the image on a lino block. I do not use any transferring techniques. I re-draw my image. This gives me a chance to fix and change things. For instance, I think she looks more like Ada now. Also, I haven't made a decision about including equations. Since she had nothing to do with designing hardware, I want to hint at software - specifically the mathematics. I was not convinced by the placement of the equations on the drawing. I had this brainstorm to write them on the gears; this would convey that the movement of the gears could ultimately make the calculations. Except, I don't like how it looks. The equations are not matched to the size of the gears... and there is no artistic license when it comes to equations. So, I have to think some more...

Like my stripey new shoes?

*Mysteriously, she looks like Faunalia's friend (and mini-me) Becca.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

mad scientists: horror most fowl

Gong-ji: The RoosterSo the Mad Scientists of Etsy were talking* about chickens (with the exception of a group of biologists who keep persisting in talking about about dissecting frogs... from which I really wish they would desist) and tyarkoni wrote,
"So here's my bit 'o chicken: I used to do a lot of acting in indie films, and one of my favorite (and strangest) was a spoof on horror films I did called "Zombeak!" It's a hilarious zombie/chicken movie & in one scene I had to deliver a monologue to a fake chicken possessed by satan! Talk about suspension of disbelief, phew."

Yep. Scientist-etsians are not like other people. I <3 the mad scientists. They have more off-beat life stories.

In other news, I sold a walrus print, yay! Reynardin and I persisted, though we had to wait in line in the cold (Hey! You there, yeah you, Climate - wake up! It is mid-May... enough with the frost already!) to get into to the music to draw to soiree, because as kid koala said, they "grossly underestimated how many of [us] wanted to draw". But draw, to music, we did.

*I mean really typing, or chatting online.

Monday, May 11, 2009

a plan...

1. Eat.

2. Go here:

3. Draw.

on-going birthday

Thanks to the Trans-Canada Etsy Team! The team just started their monthly round-up of birthdays of team members. Apparently, I am the only one born in May.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

the chair, now in German

The chair is now on pimpmyschwedenmöbel. I do not even know how you make these flickr slide shows, but he did.

Parkdale - High Park

So the OB actually made a lovely Mothers Day Brunch. The DJ&K went to the DR, so it was just me and the OB&D and Mom (& the grand-dog, who nearly died of excitement). Then, I went to Trove and got some much needed shoes (as all current footware has extraneous holes... so I think it is okay to indulge in shoes). I took the Bathurst car south to King and along King, until everything came to a halt due to a procession from one of the Catholic Cathedrals west of Dufferin. The streetcar driver said, "I am opening the doors. I might be a WHILE." He sounded quite hopeless. So I wandered by the Worn Fashion Journal yard sale and only bought as many fabric samples as I could carry.* Wandering through Parkdale gave me a chance to photograph some of the graffiti and wheatpaste stuff that I have been eying.

cats, couple and flower
feline couple
Mr. Cat is checking out Little Miss Cat.
wheatpaste man
paint archeology
I love the texture and gentle faded colours on this wall.
little couple
wheatpaste message
bike heads These wheatpaste figures used to be men with motorbike-heads... but now they are all head. If you look closely you can still see the collars.
violin & vampire truck
This trunk has been on High Park Blvd. as long as I remember.

*I do not care what Faunalia says. I am not a fabric junkie. I need it. I do not buy more than I can carry... so like, it is not a problem... just a habit. ;)

Edit: If you are interested in the wheatpaste artist, coincidentally, the Wooster Collective published an interview with him today.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

cyclic time

love your dumpster I have been feeling this sense of déja vu, what with getting to see my high school friends so much of late. This was brought home to me today, going to see the Toronto Comic Art Festival at the Reference Library (where I spent a lot of my teenage years) with Reynardin & Faunalia" (we missed Someotherathena who was working behind the scenes, dealing with celebrities, of course) and listening to Faunalia talk about band practice.

Yesterday, I got to see Blythechild, Someotherathena, Reynardin & Faunalia for dinner at Sushi Time (mmmmm.... sushi), and all but B. continued to the Narwhal gallery to see the Tara McPherson show. She looks somewhat like the women she depicts. We ran into R.'s friend Theo & his wife Alex, so we ended up chatting until they closed the gallery. Our host was complaining about the shoe prints on the wall (were the filthy hipsters kicking the wall or posing with their feet up? We will never know.). (The image struck me as a peculiar hommage in the Sushi Time ladies' room. Maybe dumpsters need love too.)

Today, I went out to get some nice things for Mom and found some sort of festival on Roncesvalles. Many shops and restaurants were giving away free samples. A local restauranteur seemed very dismayed when I turned down spare ribs, but I felt stuffed with sushi from the night before. (Friends! Future reference: Please, do not let me polish off B.'s spare sushi after eating a plate of my own!). Then I went to the TCAF and met up with R. & F. I am glad that the comics community is so huge in Toronto, but I felt a little claustrophobic. I bought Kate Beaton's book (and she drew me a little Tesla and remarked on the unusualness of my name) and a few other items. We continued randomly eastward and ended up near Christie and St. Clair, thus had to indulge in some serious ice cream, despite the windy, changeable, overcast weather.
ice cream in the windweathered Dutch girl signfrozen desserts before the stormflags and dairy decor on Dutch Dreams

We followed this by a trip to High Park with the dog. Sadly though, the temperature had plunged. So we warmed up with tea and plans for the future... Really a delightful day. Looking forward to seeing friends Monday too at the kid koala music to draw to event.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

statistics and the ikeahack

I was looking at my flickr stats, because, as you may have gathered, I actually like time series analysis, like a good experimental geophysicist, and have a weakness for statistics on people who look at my on-line presence. So, here are some statistics for you:
Number of views of my photostream yesterday: 75
Range of daily views over the last month: 23 - 157
Number of views so far today: 1,610

That, ladies and gentlemen, cats and dogs, is what we like to call, an outlier. Life at the tails of the bell-curve of likely events. Where are they from? ikea hacker who has posted the chair today here. Thank you very much Jules (Mr. Ikea Hacker). That is more hits than I got from Apartment Therapy, which has a much wider readership, but I imagine this is more specifically the sort of thing that Ikea Hackers are interested in.

BEFORE: found chairAFTER: the chairDURING: found chairchair armchair sunchair seahorsechair frogchair koi

So if you have found your way here via Ikea Hacker, welcome. Do say hello. You can find many projects here involving my printmaking and patchwork, but only one Ikea chair. ;)