Friday, December 11, 2015

3K ♥s!

It may be silly but I'm pretty excited! One of my goals for 2015 was to hit 3000 hearts on things from secret minouette places... which I did today! It really is the most encouraging thing and one of the reasons Etsy is a great place for selling handmade - it does come with a community of people who appreciate what artists and craftspeople do. Thanks to each and every one who ♥ my shop! And while I'm at it, thank you for following this blog, the 1008 who follow me on Etsy, 677 Facebook fans, 426 Instagram followers, the 4K Pinterest followers, and the 1614 who follow me on twitter! Part of my job as an artist is to bring my work out into the world and it's wonderful to see that people are interested and appreciate it. Coincidentally, EtsyCA sent out some love to their Etsy Made in Canada captains and I received a little gift in the mail today, so I'm feeling the Etsy appreciation!

Now, please excuse me... my toddler son has invented an animal which I must create in linocut form as soon as possible.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Catching Up

I haven't posted much lately! All of November was pretty well taken up with my preparations for the One of a Kind sale. Once again this year, I had a 5' x 10' booth, but this year, I was selling for the first 5 days, from November 26 to November 30. This are finally getting back to normal for me now. It's really quite overwhelming; the show is enormous. There are 800 vendors and tens of thousands of visitors. Even a 5' x 10' booth takes many hours to set up and to take down. Every day of the show, runs 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (except Sundays, which end at 6 pm... and in the second week, there's an extra long day). So, that means, with any morning additions or clean  up at the end of the day, vendors are typically working 12 hours straight... plus, we all have commuting time and lives and families and other responsibilities. It was very hard to be at the show on my son's 2nd birthday, though the family postponed the celebration for a week. But, it's also wonderful to feel surrounded by some many talented handmakers and to have colleagues and neighbours. Often being an artist or craftsperson is very solitary, and during the show, suddenly you are surrounded by people who are also creating and selling the work of their hands - and they are amazing people. My friend called us a sort of travelling circus, cause we have tents or booths and we meet up at different shows. Well, this circus is staffed with some of my favourite people. She also pointed out that with so many vendors, each and every customer is sort of amazing; he or she has chosen you, and what you create from all these incredible options.

It is quite extraordinary to meet the customers too! Sometimes you make a great connection. People return from show to show. One woman bought some framed prints, then returned two days later and bought more. One customer bought a several framed prints to complete a set from last year, despite the fact that she was moving the next week and needed to downsize. One teacher asked me if she could assign her students to drawn the flora and fauna of each province within its map, like my print series; I said I'd be flattered and I hope she'll send me images of their work. Or they tell you what interests them, or why they connect to your work. I have a confession to make. I create for me. I create because I have to. I create to express myself. I create to express ideas I think I are important or fascinating. I don't sit here thinking "my customer wants this" (with the except, of course, of custom orders, which I make too). Perhaps that's selfish, but I don't think that works.... trying to pander. But, I'm very grateful that the work I do does connect with people. And I do want to thank everyone who came by and visited me. Thank you so very much for supporting what I do!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Maria Sibylla Merian, Entomologist, Scientific Illustrator, Explorer of Gardens and the New World

Maria Sibylla Merian
Linocut portrait 'Maria Sibylla Merian' by Ele Willoughby, 2015

This is a linocut portrait of Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), leading entomologist of her day, traveller and scientific illustrator. She is shown complete with pomegranate branch and the life cycle of a morpho butterfly from caterpillar, to chrysalis in its cocoon to butterfly, inspired by her famous work 'Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium' - a process she carefully documented and explained. Each print is 11" by 14" (27.9 cm by 35.6 cm), on white Japanese kozo paper with collaged or "chine-collé" hand printed Japanese papers in beige, umber for the cocoon, caterpillar and two views of the butterfly in umber and blue.

The German-born naturalist came from a Swiss family who founded one of one of Europe's largest publishing houses in the 17th century. This allowed her early access to many books on natural history. After she lost her father at age three, and her mother remarried still life painter Jacob Marrel. Her step-father and his students trained her as an artist. She began painting insects and plants by 13. She wrote, "I spent my time investigating insects. At the beginning, I started with silk worms in my home town of Frankfurt. I realized that other caterpillars produced beautiful butterflies or moths, and that silkworms did the same. This led me to collect all the caterpillars I could find in order to see how they changed".

She married her step-father's apprentice Johann Andreas Graff, they had a daughter Johanna Helena, and moved to his home city of Nurenburg. She was able to contribute to the family income by painting, creating embroidery designs, and teaching drawing lessons to unmarried daughters of wealthy families, something which also allowed her access to the finest gardens where she continued collecting and documenting. She published her first book of natural illustrations, titled Neues Blumenbuch, in 1675 at age 28. In 1679, she first published her insect research in a two-volume, illustrated book focusing on insect metamorphosis. She moved twice to be with her mother after her step-father's death, then to join her half-brother at a Labadist religious community. She also split with her husband. After her mother's death, she moved to Amsterdam in 1691 and divorced her husband in 1692.

In Amsterdam, she was able to observe some of the collections of insects which had been brought back from Suriname. She became curious whether the life cycles of the exotic butterflies and other insects mirrored those Europe species she knew well. She was able to secure the city of Amsterdam's permission and and travel grant to travel to Suriname in South America, along with her younger daughter Dorothea Maria. She further funded her travels by selling 255 paintings. She planned a five year mission to study insects, making her perhaps the first person to plan a proper scientific expedition!

She travelled throughout the colony sketching insects and plants. She criticized the Dutch planters treatment of indigenous people and black slaves (though she relied upon amerindian slaves in her residence and her excursions, and brought a young amerindian woman named Indianin back with her to Holland). She used local native names for the plants and described local uses. Malaria likely cut her expedition short and forced her return to the Dutch Republic in 1701. She sold her collected specimen and in 1705 she published Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium about the insects of Suriname.

She suffered a stroke in 1715 which left her partially paralysed and died a pauper in 1717. Her daughter Dorothea published Erucarum Ortus Alimentum et Paradoxa Metamorphosis, a collection of her mother's work, posthumously. Both Dorothea and Johanna followed their mother's lead and became botanical illustrators.

Modern scholars now appreciate her pioneering scientific work as well as the beauty of her scientific illustrations. During her life time insects were still reviled and people still put credence in the Aristotelian idea that they were spontaneously generated or "born of mud". She meanwhile detailed the life cycle of 186 species and explained the poorly-understood or even unknown process of metamorphosis. Science was conducted in Latin and her publications were in the vernacular, making them more popular with high society than contemporary scientists. Despite her knowledge and original research contributions she was not really recognized as a scientist in her day (though Carl Linnæus (1707-1778), father of taxonomy, did cite her in his Systema Naturæ of 1753). It was very unusual for a woman in her day to pursue science, let alone travel the world in its pursuit. She was able to do so because she began her studies with the accessible - animals she could find in her own backyard, and become the leading expert on metamorphosis. During her great expedition, she also noted their habitats, feeding habits and uses to indigenous people. Her classification of butterflies and moths are still relevant today. She detailed plants, frogs, snakes, spiders, iguanas, and tropical beetles and was the first European to describe both army ants and leaf cutter ants as well as their effect on other organisms.

Her work had a strong influence on future scientific illustration. Her work shows great accuracy and she was the first to illustrate the complete life cycle of insects. In her time, funding her expedition and her unladylike devotion to insects was ridiculed, but she is remembered as one of the best insect and flower illustrators of all time. Her daughters and student Rachel Ruysch (1664-1750) all went on to be renown botanical illustrators.

Shortly after her death, Peter the Great saw and purchased a large number of her works in Amsterdam. Her portrait was printed on the 500 DM note before Germany converted to the euro. Her portrait has also appeared on a 0.40 DM stamp and two American 32 cent stamps. Many schools, place names, a scientific research vessel and a crater on Venus have been named in her honour.

One last tidbit (or two) for you history of science buffs: Dorothea's daughter, Maria Sibylla Merian's granddaughter married mathematician Leonhard Euler (1707-1783). Maria Sibylla Merian was also first cousin to Jacob Christoph Le Blon (1667-1741), painter and engraver who invented the four colour printing process (using an RYBK color model similar to the modern CMYK system).

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Botanist and Photographic Pioneer Anna Atkins - for Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace, 3rd edition
Ada, Countess Lovelace, 3rd edition linocut by Ele Willoughby
Today is the 7th annual international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology, science and math, Ada Lovelace Day 2015 (ALD15). I'm sure you'll all recall, Ada, brilliant proto-software engineer, daughter of absentee father, the mad, bad, and dangerous to know, Lord Byron, she was able to describe and conceptualize software for Charles Babbage's computing engine, before the concepts of software, hardware, or even Babbage's own machine existed! She foresaw that computers would be useful for more than mere number-crunching. For this she is rightly recognized as visionary - at least by those of us who know who she was. She figured out how to compute Bernouilli numbers with a Babbage analytical engine. Tragically, she died at only 36. Today, in Ada's name, people around the world are blogging.
You can find my previous Ada Lovelace Day posts here. 
This year, I thought I'd take the opposite approach from last year. I wrote about Marie Skłodowska-Curie last year, despite her fame and the risk that she was likely the only women in STEM that many people can name. I chose to write about her because it was artificial to avoid her; she really did make incredible discoveries and lived an extraordinary life. This year, I've selected a scientist who is rather new to me, and who was not an icon of science. She was nonetheless a pioneer. I've selected her because she is precisely the sort of scientist we forget - especially if female. What she did was important, and cutting edge in her time, and while it may not have been epochmaking it was the sort of important, incremental, methodical work which represents much of the scientific entreprise, and most of the advance of science throughout history. I believe the concept of the "paradigm shift" might be useful, but it is often dangerously simplistic and leads to a false narrative of a series of great men (almost invariably it is a man who is selected to represent the bringer of the new idea) revolutionizing science. Science, and its history, is more often much more involved, non-linear, over-lapping and interwoven than this type of narrative presents. Lastly, I love that this particular scientist was working at the intersection of art and science.

Anna Atkins with ferns
This is a portrait of English botanist and photographer Anna Atkins (1799-1871), née Children. It combines both a hand-carved lino block portrait in dark silver ink, and a screenprint of the silhouette of fern leaves in cobalt blue ink, mimicking the cyanotypes she was known for. It is printed by hand on lovely Japanese kozo (or mulberry) paper, 11" x 14" (28 cm x 35.6 cm). (c) Ele Willoughby, 2015

Anna Atkins (1799-1871), née Children, was an English botanist and photographer. She is the first person to have illustrated a book using photographs, Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in October 1843. Note that: not the first woman, the first person. She lived at a time when it was possible to be a self-trained scientist, especially if you were middle or upper class and received an education and the financial freedom to devote your time to pursue your subject. (The Mary Annings of the world, who managed to make a name for themselves in science despite her class, religions and complete lack of financial ressources, are rare indeed). She was raised and instructed by her father, a naturalist, and her social circle included those who were developing (no pun intended) the latest, brand new photographic technology. So, she was at the right place at the right time. But that doesn't take away from the fact that she had the knowledge, skill, insight and ability to immediately see the utility of the method for descriptive science and to document a specific field of sub-field of botany, with her collection of the algae (seaweeds) of Britain. I think this should be understood as equivalent to a modern-day scientist keeping abreast of other fields of study and rapidly mastering a new high-tech tool to apply it to her field. Even William Henry Fox Talbot, who who invented the salted paper and calotype processes, precursors to modern photographic methods, was not able to publish The Pencil of Nature the first commercially printed photographic book, until eight months after she produced Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions.

Her mother died when she was still an infant, but she was close with her naturalist father and received a much more scientific education than was common for women in her time. Her 250 detailed engravings of shells were used to illustrate her father's translation of Lamarck's 'Genera of Shells'. This translation was important to the nomenclature of shells, because her illustration allowed readers to properly identify Lamarck's genera. She married John Pelly Atkins in 1825 and devoted herself to botany and collecting specimen, including for Kew Gardens. In 1839, she became a member of the Botanical Society of the British Isles, one of the few scientific organizations open to women. She became interested in algae, after William Henry Harvey published A Manual of the British marine Algae in 1841.

Through her father, she was friends with both William Henry Fox Talbot and Sir John Herschel, who (amongst other things) invented the cyanotype photographic process in 1842. Within a single year of its invention, she self-published the first known book of illustrated with cyanotype photographs and was likely one of the two first women to make a photograph. She recorded her seaweed specimen for posterity by making photograms by placing the unmounted dried-algae original directly on the cyanotype paper. Atkins self-published her photograms in the first installment of Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in October 1843, and two further volumes in the next decade. She collaborated with Anne Dixon (1799–1864) to produce further books of cyanotypes on ferns and flowering plants and also published other non-scientific or photographic books. In 1865, she donated her collections to the British Museum.

I've shown her based on an early photographic portrait, along with some fern leaves which I've worked with directly, much how she illustrated her own specimen.

Have a look at her cyanotypes and a video of one of the surviving copies of her book.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Minouette at the Big Magic Pop-Up Toronto Etsy Street Team Market

Earlier this year, Penguin Random House Canada contacted the Toronto Etsy Street Team and to ask for help staging a little pop-up market. They let us know that they were planning the book tour for  Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, the worldwide bestelling author of Eat, Pray, Love, and since this book was all about creativity, what it is and how to nurture it, how to welcome ideas and how everyone can live a creative life, they thought that partnering with Etsy sellers was a great fit. We loved the idea of welcoming creativity into your life, and celebrating Gilbert's book with a handmade market. Thanks to Penguin Random House Canada for the invitation and our hosts Indigo at the event! The audience at the Isabel Bader Theatre on Monday, September 28th had a chance to shop the market of a variety of 22 different handmade sellers before and after Gilbert discussed her book.
They kindly sent me an advance copy of the book. I had thought I didn't need a pep talk about creativity, since I tend to feel compelled to create, but it was so enjoyable to delve into the question of the nature and source of creativity and ideas. My thoughts are a bit more hard-headed and unsurprisingly scientific than hers. I heard her interviewed on Q where she joked about her own pre-Enlightenment magical thinking take on ideas, which (whom?) she almost personifies - or imagines as a daemon. Thus I enjoyed her stories about her own experience interacting with ideas the way I love magical realism in fiction. The pragmatic advice, kindness and compassion which she brings to her exhortation to pursue the creative outlets that make you truly you is something I needed more than I knew, and I would recommend to anyone. You can read more about what Elizabeth Gilbert has learned about creativity and shares in the book on the Etsy Blog

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Minouette at Etsy: Made in Canada Toronto 2015

Me at the minouette table at Etsy: Made in Canada, September 26th at MaRS (photo credit: Peter Power)
Well, we pulled it off for a second year running! I'm really proud of the tremendous show we put on this Saturday. Totally exhausting, but it looked fabulous, there was a great crowd and a great feeling to the show. I love seeing that thousands of Torontonians come out to see our great local (and some farther afield Canadian) sellers and shop their handmade and vintage wares. I had several people stop and talk with me and when they realized I was an organizer of the show, volunteer that they felt it was the best craft show in the city.

Our enthusiastic fans began arriving at 5:30 am for a chance at getting a swag bag! This is the line outside MaRS at 7:30 am, when we already had 69 lucky people who would get one of the 100 swag bags. The swag bags were pretty awesome. I saw some of the incredibly generous donations from sellers before the bags were stuffed and was blown away... in fact, I started to worry that my swag offerings were inadequate. Some people really outdid themselves. (photo: Ele Willoughby)

photo credit: Peter Power

photo credit: Peter Power
photo credit: Peter Power

Throughout the day, there were eight workshops, free to the public - both DIY handmade items and how to assess and care for vintage items. I'm so impressed with what people will take on. One teacher volunteered despite also getting married and having her honeymoon this month. Another teacher sadly had a family emergency, but handled the situation with consideration and grace and quickly helped us find one of her friends and colleagues who could take her place. I'd like to thank all the workshop leaders and these three in particular (you know who you are!).

We had some minor snafus (last minute security requests for tables to be moved, brief electrical disruptions, missing chairs), but nothing we couldn't handle and we were able to get help from our hosts.

The crowd was as engaged as last year. I got questions like, "Is this woodcut? And this chine collé?" which pretty much tells me they are educated about printmaking. One shopper got excited and asked if a portrait was of Jane Austen. I had to tell her though it was the right era, the portrait was of astronomer Caroline Herschel, to which she replied, "Well, that explains the comets." There was a great mix of people of all ages. At one point, I ran into my son's pediatrician, who asked, "What are you doing here?" and I replied, "I'm running the show!"

photo credit: Peter Power
I think I should maybe sleep for a month now! But no rest for me. I had the Big Magic pop-up market already, on Monday (more on that soon), and I have my sights on the One of a Kind Show in November.

I've written a longer post about Etsy: Made in Canada Toronto on the team blog here. You should check out our #EtsyMICToronto hashtag on Instagram to see some of the amazing things which were there.

Thanks to everyone who came out, and made this possible! Especially my super fabulous collection of fellow organizers from TEST and 416Hustler, who are the best. Period. Thank you to all the talented vendors who made the show look and feel amazing and for all your kind words. I really appreciate it. Thank you to the volunteers (especially Becca, who helped me in particular), Pete for the great photos, and of course, Etsy Canada, MaRS, and our sponsors.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Storms and coffee, raccoons and books

Oh, poor neglected blog! I'm sorry I've been so busy. I spent much of August travelling through New England and the Maritime provinces and I'd love to share some photos (as soon as I have some more time and can get them from my husband's computer, where we dumped the data while on the road). After that, it's been non-stop Etsy: Made in Canada planning! We've been working on it since January and now it's practically here. Please do come out and see the show this Saturday, September 26th, 10 am to 6 pm, at the MaRS Centre Atrium at Collge and University if you're in Toronto. If you're not, you can find 33 other shows at cities across the country.

Keeling and the Keeling Curve I've even failed to mention other shows. My portrait of Charles Keeling was in Art.Science.Gallery's show about climate change, 'From the Mountains To the Sea'.

I have a coffee-themed linocut which will be exhibited as part of the Coffee Art Project at The New York Coffee Festival from September 25th – 27th 2015. The Coffee Art Project is a competition and sale, with proceeds going to Project Waterfall which brings clean water to coffee growing regions in the developping world. (If you're in NYC and want free tickets, drop me a line. I can't use mine.)

Last weekend, I participated in my first outdoor show, the DECAF show in East Lynn Park (bit of a coffee theme here...). Saturday was, frankly, terrifying. RJH encounted some difficulty as the advance party, sent to set up my borrowed 10' tent

(thanks to some unsolicited but well-intentioned "help" we ended up with a broken frame).  I was managing okay with our jerry-rigged set-up until after lunch, when the light rain turned to violent, gusting wind and a sudden storm. It was the sort of weather where all sane people go inside. I was there by myself and called RJH for help. I didn't even have proper walls; we had suspended tarps. We ended up with the two of us holding the tent down, so it didn't fly away with the baby in the stroller in the middle of the tent to stay dry and safe. When the rain let up a little, I ran home with the baby and called my mother for help. She was able to babysit, so I could return... but by that point everyone was closing for the day and all I could do was mop up the mess. While I had to go through all of my prints and dry them off, damage was minimal because they are sealed in plastic envelops. It was just nerve-wracking. My friend Queenie said it was her first and last outdoor show. Maybe the risk of weather just isn't worth it for those of us who make paper goods. Luckily, the Sunday was beautiful. RJH re-jigged the tent with new and more thorough tarps. Hilariously, I had a raccoon visitor in my tent, presumably there to check out my raccoon high five prints.

After Etsy: Made in Canada I have one more thing to do before I can relax, and take a break. Next Monday, Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) will be in Toronto at the Elizabeth Bader Theatre to discuss her highly-anticipated new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. I'm going to be there as part of the Toronto Etsy Street Team pop-up market before and after the event! Penguin Random House Canada sent me an advance copy and it's really great. I enjoyed it much more than I imagined I would. I'm always a bit dubious of the bestsellers or blockbusters, because sometimes wildly popular means less than challenging, or middle-of-the-road and I haven't read Eat, Pray, Love. I also didn't think I needed a pep talk about welcoming creativity, but I think now that even those of us driven to create can learn to be more gentle with ourselves and open to creativity. We're also likely to enjoy thinking about the very concept. Big Magic reads like having a frank, free-wheeling discussion about creativity and what's she's learned about being an artist (both before and after acheiving fame and financial success). It's also a sort of caring, empathetic manifesto for why and how you should do everything to welcome creativity into your life. Her experience with creativity is as a writer, so she writes a lot about writing, though she defines creativity quite broadly and includes examples of everything from ice skating to ecology. I love the idea of celebrating a book about creativity by hosting a hand-made market at the book reading. It promises to be a interesting night. The reading is sold out, I'm afraid... but she's got some great things to say. You can catch some of her take on the creative life today on the Etsy Blog.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

High Five Elle!

High Five Elle
A friend emailed last week and said, "You may already know this but I just saw it in the August issue of Elle Canada :) Just wanted to share with you in case!" I did not know and was very excited! She included a pic from her iPhone so I got a peek... but I've been wanting to scan it and share it.

I walked several kilometers with the baby in the stroller, visiting multiple stores, but every one was still stocking the July issue. Finally, I got a hold of one. It's fabulous. It's in with an article called 'Elle Radar Canadian Special' about the 'next generation of artists, musicians and social-medial stars who are redefining Canadiana cool'. It's on a page with what's hip in Canadian whiskey (apparently), and facing Shad's music picks. It's the beginning of their 'Art & Design' section. So it's the perfect place to direct Canadians to come visit their nearest Etsy: Made in Canada this September 26th. Also, it's amazing to be singled out amongst that talented crew! I like their succinct review, "colourful block prints that are equal parts history lesson and tongue-in-cheek vintage Canadiana."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Koi Tattoo

koi tattoo
my brother's koi tattoo inspired by my linocut

My brother got my koi linocut tattooed on his arm! He has several tattoos. The only other print inspired one is 'The Great Wave off Kanagawa" by Hokusai, so I'm in good company. I always think it's a great compliment. I like how the tattoo artist has reinterpreted he image to suit the medium. My mother will not be happy with either of us, but he's a grown up and I'm flattered.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Keeling Curve, Keeling and the atmospheric CO2 trend linocut

Keeling and the Keeling Curve
Charles David Keeling and the Keeling Curve, linocut 12" x12", 2015 by Ele Willoughby

Sometimes, I take suggestions for prints subjects, especially the scientists series. This is a portrait of American geochemist Charles David Keeling (1928 - 2005) whose decades long observations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in air samples at the Mauna Loa Observatory were some of the first direct data to show the human contribution to the greenhouse effect and global warming. He was suggested for an upcoming Art.Science.Gallery show about climate change. The 'Keeling Curve' shown in copper and red shows both the seasonal variations (the wiggles) and the strong upward trend with time as CO2, a known greenhouse gas (which traps solar radiation), built up in the atmosphere. It turns out this is topical, not only because climate change is always topical, but this week, the American Chemical Society honoured the Keeling Curve as a National Historic Chemical Landmark at a ceremony at Scripps.

After completing his PhD in chemistry at Northwestern in 1954, he did a postdoc in geochemistry at the California Institute of Technology where he developed the first instrument to measure carbon dioxide in atmospheric samples. He then joined the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UCSD, where he remained for his career, as a professor of oceanography. He had good timing; 1957 - 1958 marked the International Geophysical Year and he was able to get IGY funding to set up a base 3000 m above sea level at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawai'i, where he put his CO2 measuring methods to work. He also gathered similar data series at Big Sur, California and in Antarctica. Prior to his studies, scientists believed that CO2 levels were simply variable, without the sort of clear patterns he observed. Between 1958 to 1960, we was able to show the daily pattern of change due to respiration from local plants and soils as well as the seasonal variations in CO2 levels; by 1961 it was clear there was also a strong upward trend in the 'Keeling Curve' which roughly matched the amounts of CO2 released by our own burning of fossil fuels.

The National Science Foundation cut off his funding, arguing that the results were "routine" though they nonetheless used his data to warn of the risk of global warming. He was forced to abandon his studies in Antarctica, but managed to keep the Mauna Loa experiment going. These measurements at Mauna Loa continue to this day and are the longest continuous record of atmospheric CO2. They show a rise of 315 parts per million by volume (ppmv) in 1958 to 401 ppmv as of April 2014 and this increase has been accelerating in recent years with serious implications for climate change.

Due to the seriousness of these data, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lanunched their own worldwide CO2 monitoring program in the 1970s, including at Mauna Loa, alongside the Scripps experiment. After CD Keeling's death in 2005, the Scripps measuring experiment was taken over by his son, Ralph Keeling, professor of geochemistry.

Keeling received many accolades during his lifetime. In 1986, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1994. In 2002 Keeling was awarded the National Medal of Science, the highest award for lifetime achievements in science granted by the US. He received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement for his data collection and interpretation in 2005.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Thanks for all the hearts!

I like to take a moment to thank people who leave ♥s every time I reach a milestone. It's quite incredible to me: things from secret minouette places has surpassed 2800 hearts! Thank you very much to the 2812 minouette shop favoriters, 985 Etsy followers, 667 FB fanpage likers, 1391 twitter followers, 3956 pinterest followers, 205 instagram followers, and each of you who read this blog or magpie&whiskeyjack!

I remember reading, years ago, on kozyndan's old blog, that they felt that once you reached a thousand fans - people who would appreciate and purchase your artwork - that you could make a reliable living as an artist. I don't know what the true ratio of ♥s to fans who collect your work might be. Maybe half of the ♥s are people who just want to tell you that they like your style, and want to bookmark your shop, though they never purchase anything. That's still cool and much appreciated! Maybe it's more than half. But once you start to see numbers in the thousands, I think that means you've gotten to the right order of magnitude! Maybe you're only one tenth of the way there, but it's not a hundredth and it might be only a half or closer. Thank you thank you thank you.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bee Homes - linocut bees interactive audiovisual multimedia piece

For a long time, I've had some version of this in my head. This week I finally managed to complete my multi-bee interactive audiovisual multimedia piece... just in time for the Bees (& the Birds) show at Graven Feather. You may recall that a few years ago, I made a linocut bee in electrically conductive in (specifically Bare Paint, which I mixed with some block printing extender to get a better viscosity for making a linocut). I combined this with an Arduino microcontroller so the bee itself could act as a capacitative sensor. In simplest terms a capacitor is made of two electrically conductive - usually metal - plates with a gap between them. The gap can be nothing but air, or a variety of electrolytes.  If there was a wire between the plates, charge would flow freely. Because of the gap, charge builds up on one plate a dissipates at a certain rate to the other. The rate at which this happens depends on the capacitance, which in turn depends on things like the physical properties of the plates, electrolyte and the size of the gap. So, a capacitative sensor takes advantage of the latter to sense proximity, or, measure capacitance to tell you the gap between two "plates". In my case the "plates" are bees printed in electrically conductive paint and my hand. This is the principle behind the theremin (though, they are of course, a great deal more sophisticated, but the idea is the same)*. Here's an example of an earlier prototype from 2012:

buzzing bumblebee print prototype

So, I can use my linocut on paper connected to an Arduino microcontroller as a sensor, and use the Arduino then to trigger a audio response when someone approaches the linocut. A very simple speaker can be made from a current-carrying wire in a spiral, affixed to a membrane, next to a strong magnet.** So, above I made a speaker with a piece of paper, copper tape as wire and a magnet. The next step was to carve a spiral lino block and block print a speaker on paper with electrically conductive paint, which I did. Thus an actual print, a sheet of paper, becomes both sensor and speaker. I had planned to then make a piece which had multiple bees as multiple sensors which would trigger different reponses. I created the artwork in time for my show about bees in 2013.

The Bees, Ele Willoughby, linocut on various Japanese washi, 18" x 24", 2013.
I had planned to add sound to this piece, but didn't have the opportunity.

I had two issues. First, my prototype used only an Arduino. I was able to play back sound by keeping the recording length quite short and the sampling rate low. There's only so much on-board RAM. I could make multiple sensors each play the same recording, but I simply ran out of memory using only an Arduino.

Secondly, I got pregnant and chose to put electronics aside for a while. I couldn't find any reliable medical guidance about soldering electronics while pregnant or in the proximity of babies (as if there aren't in fact large numbers of engineers, scientists, artists and hobbiests who are women of child-bearing age, ahem!), but jewellers were warned to avoid lead solder, and I opted to err on the side of caution. Lead and developping nervous systems struck me as a bad combination.

So, now that my son is one and a half, I've had an opportunity to return to the idea. The obvious way to add more sound to a project is the off-the-shelf solution of adding a Wave Shield to the Arduino. This is a second circuit board which plugs into the first to let you control and play files from an SD card to a speaker. (Bare Paint has recently released their own microcontroller, the Touch board based on the Arduino, but specifically with their applications for their paint, such as capacitative sensors, in mind. This might have been an easier way to go... but I had an Arduino, so I chose to add a Wave Shield).

My bee lino blocks and spiral lino speaker block, along with the Arduino and Wave Shield. You can talk to the Arduino via serial port. I combined the open source code wavehc_play6.pde (which plays different 6 audio files when 6 different buttons are pushed) with ArduCapSenseBlinky.ino which employs a collection of capacitative sensors to trigger a collection of LEDs to flash.
To make an electrical connection from my 6 bees (honeybee, bumblebee, leafcutter bee, long-horned bee, blue orchard mason bee and sweat bee), which I block printed in Bare Paint with block printing extender on Japanese kozo paper, I sewed through the paper with electrically conductive thread. I wanted the speaker, magnet and electronics to be behind the sheet, so I needed to pass through it. 
I also printed each bee block on a variety of Japanese washi papers, to get the colour and texture of the bees and wings. This also hides the stitching/electrical connections. The story I'm telling with the piece is about how bees live here. We all know the honeybee, with its hexagonal cells in its hives, but it's not native to North America. Most of our native bees live in holes and burrows. They also come in a wide range of colours. So the other collaged, handmade papers, represent how the bees live, from the hexagons with the honey bee at the top in yellows, to the circles in blues and greens at the bottom. In this shot you can also see the spiral speaker printed on the reverse. The sheet is on kozo paper which is very strong, but not at all stiff. So I backed it with book board to have something on which to mount the electronics. My trusty multimeter is there so I can check that each bee does have good connectivity through to the digital I/O pin on the Arduino.
This is what's hiding behind the piece. I affixed a small box to hold the Arduino. There are six DIO pins at the top of the Wave Shield board connected to wires in purple, green, yellow, orange, red and brown. These in turn are connected using copper tape to each of the 6 conductive threads coming from the 6 bees. The threads from either end of the speak spiral are likewise connected to the speaker output and ground.
I made a short recording for each bee. I tried to find audio recordings of each different species. Back in 2012, Sarah Peebles directed me to some of her audio recordings on Reasonating Bodies. I also simply searched YouTube for videos of each type of bee. I combined these (using Audacity... which is pretty awesome freeware for simple sound applications) with my spoken words about the bees and save these as .WAV files which can be played by the Arduino Wave Shield. So I was able to say how though the honeybee might be our idea of the canonical bee, our "default" bee, it is in fact not native to North America, and many of out native bees are quite different; many are solitary, producing neither hives nor honey, and coming in all sorts of colours. You can see and hear my piece at the Graven Feather show the Bees (& the Birds), which runs June 4 through 27. I'll post a video of the piece in action later. You can find each of my bees prints separately here (and learn a little bit about each species too).

*In fact, this is how the gravimeter I used for my doctorate worked too. Picture a mass suspended on a spring such that the spring force upward is balanced by gravity downward. Should the force of gravity change as you move the sensor (due to a large buried mass below, for instance) the mass on a spring will no longer be in equilibrium. The sensor was the most extraordinary, delicate, tiny, spun quartz spring terminated with a tiny piece of quartz coated in gold between capacitative plates. When the mass moved, an electrical restoring force was applied to the plates which returned the sensor to equilibrium. This restoring force could tell you the change in gravity, or, in my case acceleration (since I kept the gravimeter still, it was the seafloor which moved up and down).

**A good source of strong magnets: old hard drives

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

SciArt meet-up

Austin Monthly for October 2014 included my linocut of
Florence Nightingale in their write-up of the 'X Marks the Spot' show
at Art.Science.Gallery
Today I got to meet-up with a group of scientists/artists: Hayley Gillespie (ecologist, artist and founder of Art.Science.Gallery), Peggy Muddles (aka the Vexed Muddler, who works on the genetics of bacteria in lungs of CF patients by day, and amazing SciArt ceramics by night) and Rovena Tey (cancer researcher on mat leave and science-inspired cardmaking genius behind Handmade By Rovena)* and have a tour behind the scenes at the Royal Ontario Museum! The ROM is a rightfully famous museum, which boasts not only a world class archeological (especially Egyptian) collection, but a proper natural history museum, which has always meant that it was a research institution as well as a public museum. One of Hayley's friends from grad school is the curator of freshwater fish, and he was kind enough to give us a tour of the freshwater fish, and mammals and enlist his colleague to show us the invertebrate collection. Sadly, photographs were not allowed for security reasons (as it's best not to publicize the inner workings of a museum which houses some very valuable artifacts).

As token physical scientist, when the conversation turned to finer details of genetics and mapping family trees (if you will) of huge datasets of species, I felt like saying, "Oh! Bayesian regression! I know what that means!" with a little wink. The physical specimen themselves and the tour was fascinating. I could certainly relate to the problems of data archiving and preserving physical specimen, as these are serious problems for earth scientists too (especially the marine ones, as some ocean bottom cores need to be frozen and pressurized to avoid essentially melting or exploding, or both). I wouldn't have guessed that most of the ROM's collection of fishes is housed outside of the city, because that many tens of thousands of alcohol filled jars is deemed too great a fire risk downtown! It really is an incredible feat for these scientists to have even gathered all these species, let alone all the work of detailing and studying them, tracing their evolution, afterwards - and an invaluable resource.

We saw a few thousand sample jars of fishes, as well as some mammals (like bats) which are stored in alcohol. We saw their large collection of mammal pelts, which sort of takes your breathe away. The ROM is a museum of a certain age; at some time in the past they were gifted a large collection of mounted mammal heads (presumably from the estate of a hunter). I saw the head of a black rhino, now on the brink of extinction. It was staggering in size, even compared to the other rhino head. There were more heads of assorted quadrupeds than I knew how to identify.

I was pleased to happen to see a giraffe weevil along with a fabulous, large bronze sculpture of a giraffe weevil, on a plinth in the hallway between offices for scientists. I had only seen photos when I made my linocut. The invertebrates curator was an expert on leeches (which yes, are gathered the hard way... as any Canadian who has portaged a canoe through swampy water will be familiar). There were marvellous and/or scary arthropods including a mantis shrimp the size of my forearm, a roughly metre long South American earthworm, delicate and beautiful shell of a paper nautilus (or argonaut), adorable slipper lobster, and all sorts of other crustaceans... as well and swapped tales of fieldwork and labwork (mis)adventure.

Afterwards we were joined by Hayley's husband Cole (a psychiatrist) for a lovely lunch and discussion about that inspiring intersection of art and science. It was a real treat!

Hayley also brought me a copy of the Austin Monthly from October 2014. They included (part of) my portrait of Florence Nightingale in their write-up of the 'X Marks the Spot' exhibit at Art.Science.Gallery. It's always great to see my artwork in print, but I especially like that they've selected the perhaps unexpected. People will know her name, but as a nursing pioneer, rather than a statistician and data visualization pioneer, but she was both. She also brought me Ada Lovelace bookmarks from the 'Go Ahead and Do It' women in STEM show. Gabriel promptly ate one when I got home.

*We missed Glendon Mellow (aka the Flying Trilobite), scientific illustrator, SciArtist and Scientific American blogger, who couldn't make it.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Surveyors, an all-female crew in the American west in 1918

The Surveyors, linocut with vintage topographical map, 14" x 11", edition of 10 each unique, 2015 by Ele Willoughby

All female survey crew working on the Minidoka Project, Idaho, 1918.
I love when people approach me about doing a fascinating custom order. An artist, Krista Caballero who has been collaborating with many others on a project called Mapping Meaning which brought together "artists, scientists and scholars to explore questions of social, mental, and environmental ecology. Inspired by a photograph from 1918 depicting an all-female survey crew, the project is rooted in a five-day experimental workshop that takes place biennially on the Colorado Plateau." She wanted to thank her collaborators with the gift of a print and wanted to know if I could make an edition inspired by this very 1918 photo. Since one of the things I do is communicate science through art with portraits of scientists (with a special focus on women in the history of science) and I have also done a variety of earth science surveys and mapping, this is very much my thing. In fact, I worry sometimes about hagiography... about only present heroes and heroines, or perpetuating the myth that science is a series the story of a series of lone geniuses. Plus, those survey rods with their odd symbols are so graphic and tempting to one who makes relief prints.

I proposed portraying these women and incorporating vintage geological, topographic and seismicity maps of the western North America, so that each print would be unique. All of the vintage maps came from the Geological Survey of Canada and were actually used in the field - as a tip of the hat to these women. I felt that any marking on the maps actually made them more app. The maps are also from western North America, and are decades old - a little further west and north, and later than these women worked... but they can be tied to similar pioneering surveying work. These hard-working women would have produced the sorts of data fundamental to producing the maps like these geological, topographic and seismicity (or earthquake) maps. The history of science is not only a series of exploits of well-known genius experimentalists, famous for their eureka moments; nor is it simply a tale of paradigm shifts brought about by wiser theorists who suddenly saw the need to shift the entire underpinnings of a given field of science. The history of science is also a tale of hard work by countless unknowns; an all-female survey crew from the early twentieth century seem especially unknown. We have no record of their names and they do not fit our preconceived notions of who explored and mapped the west, or who did fundamental scientific grunt work. I think Idaho in 1918 would still feel like the wild west and imagine these women to be quite fearless.

There are a few extra available here.

The Surveyors, linocut with vintage topographical map, 14" x 11", edition of 10 each unique, 2015 by Ele Willoughby

The Surveyors, linocut with vintage topographical map, 14" x 11", edition of 10 each unique, 2015 by Ele Willoughby
The Surveyors, linocut with vintage geological map, 14" x 11", edition of 10 each unique, 2015 by Ele Willoughby

The Surveyors, linocut with vintage geological map, 14" x 11", edition of 10 each unique, 2015 by Ele Willoughby

The Surveyors, linocut with vintage topographical map, 14" x 11", edition of 10 each unique, 2015 by Ele Willoughby

The Surveyors, linocut with vintage geological map, 14" x 11", edition of 10 each unique, 2015 by Ele Willoughby

The Surveyors, linocut with vintage seismicity map, 14" x 11", edition of 10 each unique, 2015 by Ele Willoughby

And do check out Mapping Meaning - there's some very interesting stuff there!

Monday, April 27, 2015

minouette on Etsy & the Etsy: Made in Canada community!

Carving a lino block in my studio during the Etsy Canada photoshoot!
(photo by Nicole Breanne Hudson)
A few weeks ago, we had a little photoshoot in my studio! As the captain of one of the largest teams in Canada, and someone actively involved in planning Etsy: Made in Canada, Etsy asked if they could profile me as a member of the made in Canada handmade community. The photographer Nicole, Tanya from Etsy, and my fellow Toronto Etsy Street Team leader, Candice joined me in my studio with the baby (who thought this was a riot!) and, Minouette the cat. Though she (Minouette) can often be shy, she seemed to have decided that this was clearly all about her, and she should be the centre of attention. She stole the show. I guess that makes sense, since I named my shop after her. Anyway, I'm honoured to get to represent so much amazing talent involved in Etsy: Made in Canada, and excited to be profiled on Etsy. You can find the main landing page for Etsy: Made in Canada at the link and read the profile, complete with a peak inside my studio on the community page here!

In my studio, Minouette stations herself on my desk, so she can be sure to be in the shot (photo by Nicole Breanne Hudson)
I was also flattered to see that BlogTO listed me as one of  The top 20 Etsy sellers in Toronto by category in 'Art' writing, 

Minouette's prints and cards feature woodcut illustrations of historical figures, zodiac signs, and fluffy animals. Relevant to Torontonian interests: this high-fiving raccoon ($35)."
It's been a good week for press for the shop!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Gregor Mendel and his Peas

Gregor Mendel with his pea plants
Gregor Mendel, 11" x 14" (28 cm x 35.6 cm), 2015 by Ele Willoughby
This is a linocut portrait of Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), scientist and Augustinian friar who posthumously gained fame for establishing many of the rules of heredity, fundamental to modern genetics.... more than three decades after his death (though even he didn't realize the importance of his crossbreeding studies). By carefully crossbreeeding pea plants and tracing seven characterististics (plant height, pod shape and colour, seed shape and colour, and flower position and colour) he was able to deduce what are now referred to as the laws of Mendelian inheritance. Apparently, pea plants were the most popular of his projects with his colleagues. His mouse experiments were frown upon by his bishop (all those copulating rodents!) and his particularly aggressive Cyprian and Carniolan bees proved an annoyance to his fellow monks and visitors to the abby.

He coined the terms "recessive" and "dominant" traits. Some of his findings are subtlely alluded to in the layout of the pea flowers, like a Punnett square depicting a cross between two pea plants heterozygous for purple and white blossoms - that is, purple flowers are a dominant characteristic and the first generation of crossbread plants will have all purple flowers, but the recessive white flowers can reappear in subsequent generations. The first edition is a variable run of 8 prints, each 11" by 14" (28 cm by 35.6 cm), on ivory Japanese kozo paper with "chine-collé" white and mauve paper.

Apart from completing this print this weekend, I unfortunately got to spend most of the beautiful Sunday afternoon inside, in line.  A few weeks ago, I was thinking that I don't get out enough with the baby and still had not used gift certificates I got at Christmas. It's a challenge sometimes to work around his meals and naps and get anywhere on public transit (especially if that means carrying him and his stoller up and down three flights of stairs cause so many stations are still not accessible in 2015!). So, I made a point to go to a certain shop with the intent of replacing my 10 year old, twice-repaired shoes. I found the shop mostly empty of shoes but I did buy myself a dress on sale, and went across the street and bought myself an organic fruit smoothie at the Big Carrot, which I shared with the baby. At the time, I thought I'd done really well. As locals will know, a server has since been diagnosed with Hep A, and thus, like hundreds of other patrons, Gabriel and I got to wait in line to be vaccinated. It's unlikely we've been exposed; we would have had to have been served by the particular person and he or she would have had to had improperly washed hands... but it's not worth risking (and the young can show no symptoms while readily infecting others). Not how I would have liked to have spent the first lovely warm day of the year... though I was kind of impressed that everyone took the public health advice, turned up, and waited patiently. The elderly couple behind us offered to push the stroller and hold out place in line so I could at least let Gabriel run around a little. He's not too rambunctious and people were patient with him, which I appreciated. It helps that he smiles at everyone.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Immortal Jellyfish

Immortal Jellyfish
Immortal Jellyfish, Ele Willoughby (c) 2015, 11" x 14" (27.9 cm x 35.6 cm)
This hand-printed linocut of the Turritopsis dohrnii is the only known animal to be able to revert to its younger colonial stage after having reached maturity - that is the full-grown T. dohrnii jellyfish medusa, if it gets stressed, or old and sick, can revert back to the polyp stage, form a new polyp colony and start all over. So in theory, the jellyfish can bypass death and this cycle can go on forever. The jellyfish is "biologically immortal"! In the real world, there are diseases and predators which interfere with the T. dohrnii's plans of immortality, of course... but unlike the rest of us, it's not an impossible jellyfish dream.

T. dohrnii are hydrozoans which begin life as a sort of free floating fertilized egg known as planula larvae, a sort of plankton. These settle on the seafloor and a colony of polyps, or hydroids, attached to the seafloor like a little garden of multi-branched soon-to-be-jellyfish. The jellyfish, or medusae, bud off these polyps, each a genetically identical clone to the next. The medusae swim freely until sexual maturity. After that, should the T. dohrnii face environmental stress, assault or simply age and illness, it can revert to the polyp form, found a new colony and begin again! This cycle can, in theory, repeat ad infinitum.

The "immortal jellyfish" was formerly classified as T. nutricula, which had also been confused with the similar T. rubra. It turns out that it's quite the challenge to tell one Turritopsis from another. Currently only one scientist, Shin Kubota from Kyoto University, has managed to sustain a group of these jellyfish for a prolonged period of time in captivity; in two years, his colony rebirthed itself 11 times! Wanting to avoid the mistake of confusing one Turritopsis for another, I was glad to read the New York Times Magazine profile of Shin Kubota and the Turritopsis dohrnii - so I could be confident their images were of the right animal!

Incidentally, googling "immortal jellyfish" turns up a lot of strange things, including harebrained anti-aging schemes and vampire fans.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Art shows: Sheep, Space & Bees

I feel so behind in my blogging. Sometimes wrangling a very busy toddler, running a business, making art and running a thousand-member team (thankfully with help from excellent collaborators!) and you know, basic life stuff, like buying, cooking and eating food seems like more than enough to fill my days. Recently, we had a bit of a photoshoot in my studio... and I don't mean with the official family photojournalist (aka my husband). Some of the things I do for things from secret minouette places and for the Toronto Etsy Street Team will soon be getting a little press. Can't wait to share that! All these things keep me very busy, but, I don't want neglect blogging. Let me play catch up.

Year of the Goat show at PROOF Studio Gallery in the Distillery District
Like previous years, I was happy to take part in PROOF Studio Gallery's international print exhibit celebrating the Chinese New Year. This year of course is symbolized by yang, an animal which can be translated as sheep or goat. I've leaned towards 'sheep' and included my Cloned Sheep (the 'Hello Dolly!' one) and Yang: the Sheep or Goat prints.  (I can see them in the photo: Cloned Sheep is the colourful one with the blue mat in the centre and Yang in three over to the right). The show ran from February 18th to March 1 at PROOF and then hit the road, visiting OCADU print department, the Ottawa School of Art,  Concordia University Mouse Print Gallery in Montreal and Muskoka Arts Place.

Local gallery Artisans At Work is hosting
Terra Nova & Friends Exhibit
Show runs through April 2015

Artisans At Work
2071 Danforth Avenue, Toronto
Hours: Mon: Closed; Tues & Wed: 10-6; Thurs & Fri: 10-7; Sat & Sun: 11-5pm
Terra Nova & Friends Exhibit: Mother Nature, Intergalactic & Extraterrestrial Art.
First Friday Reception: April 3, 2015, 7:30-10pm. Music by The Sidewalkers, licensed bar, treats, art, and local artists.

So, I've been framing some of my earth and space science and scientists prints for the show!

My friend (and fellow TEST leader) Christine Pensa is co-curating a show about bees in June with the lovely women of Graven Feather gallery, so I'm planning to show my bee prints there, perhaps including some new ones. See Christine's Art That Moves blog for more information, or to apply to the show.

Coincidentally, Art.Science.Gallery in Austin is also hosting a bee themed show. The Buzz Stops Here (April 18 - May 30) will feature encaustic artworks (which involves painting with melted beeswax) about the science and conservation of bees! The medium really is the message here. I've never tried encaustic, so I won't be participating in their show, but I've recently sent a big package of my bee prints to their shop the Supply Room, to be available during the show.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Women of Science bringing Science to the Public on Twitter

I was really flattered to be included in the io9 article by geophysicist and science writer Mika McKinnon's round up of all sorts of scientific women who are actively communicating science, in all sorts of ways, on twitter! She mentioned my science and history of science linocuts (including the tweet above), and listed roughly 40 others, both well-known and not. Just recently, I was asked by a couple of my mother's friends about twitter: why would one be interested and how can it take up one's time. It was one of those, "Why would you want to read, 'I ate a sandwich for lunch!'?" type questions. I gave a fairly standard reply that if that is in fact the only sort of thing a person tweets, you simply don't follow them; instead, you can follow @NASA. This round-up is a better answer; you can follow - and actively engage with - some of the most creative, knowledgeable and interesting, entertaining people out there. You can stay abreast of your own interests and follow those who work in radically different areas and are excited about topics which you might not even have known existed. If you're looking for great people to follow, and kick-ass women in STEM to boot, this is a good place to start, as well as the other lists she links to.

The #SciArt tweetstorm did put my work in front of new eyeballs and I'm also flattered to have gained new followers. Thank you to all 1258 twitter followers, 667 FB fanpage followers, 960 Etsy followers, 2700 Etsy , 3861 Pinterest followers, and 83 Instagram followers. I had to correct the numbers in the previous sentence twice, in the time it took me to type it (and I type quickly). It was quite amazing to find my work spreading so quickly and get so much feedback that I could barely keep up. If I failed to reply to you, my apologies; please try again. I usually do reply promptly and don't usually feel that popular. ;)