Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More My Space

Another tour of my studio.

My books about cards and books.

My PG Arts at home on the radiator.

My color laser printer.

More supplies.

Card stock, paper, and enveloples.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend Project

This was a lazy weekend. There was a haze and mist throughout the whole weekend in NYC and I just didn’t feel like making any cards. I did get into a cleaning and organizing mood though. I have had an idea for a drop spine box to house all of my paper samples and so I decided to make this project to keep the handmade movement going.

The problem with drop spine boxes is that they are usually a solid tray that is fitted onto a base, spine and lid. The biggest problem for my case is that I need to reach into the bottom of my tray to get some catalogues that were going to be stored in the box. After some deliberating, I decided that the wall that would rest against the spine would be a partial wall so that I could lift the catalogs from the side.

I will have to say that I am a self-professed paper whore. I love paper and I collect lots of paper. Sometimes, I buy paper for the sake of buying paper without a particular purpose in mind. I fell in love with this paisley print (I bought it in three variations) but when I received it, I didn’t realize that the pattern was so large. I would only be able to use the paper on certain projects because the pattern would be too large for card making.

This project was the perfect project for this paper.

My weekend project.

My box with the side cut and samples

My box in its home on the shelf

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Welcome to My Space

Several people have asked me about my insistence on a clean workspace prior to starting a new card design so I decided to take some pictures of my workspace. I live in da Bronx near Yankee Stadium. For non-NYers that is about 20 minutes by subway outside of midtown Manhattan. The main reason that I live in the da Bronx is that it is less expensive and you can get more bang for your apartment rental buck.

I have the equivalent of a two bedroom apartment. The real bedroom I have converted to my “studio” or if you prefer—my craft room. What normally would be the den, I converted to the bedroom.

So here are some pics:

my desk after my last project

my magnetic strip holding card ideas

my gluing station and supplies

my toolbox

my toolbox opened

the top tray of my toolbox

I am rather proud of my toolbox because I made it from scratch and because purple is one of my favorite colors.

Love ya bunches

People always ask me where from ideas come from. Unfortunately, I don’t really know. I get inspired by many things: colors, music, designs, graphics, etc. I do know that I like orderliness. I like geometrics with a twist. I tend to be a happy person and I have a love of jewel tones.

Usually, I have a ritual before I start any card. I need to have a clean workspace to get started. I don’t know why but I do. I don’t like distractions on my work surface. Even if I work on a card immediately after having just finished one, I clean up my space and return all of my tools to their appropriate space—even if I know that I am going to use them again. Go figure.

I know—it’s kind of silly to put away my scalpel when I know that I will be using it again if less than two minutes. But I put all of my tools away. I sit down, usually sketch out the design, collect all of the materials that I will use, collect (or re-collect) all of the tools that I will use, put on some music, and get going. Minutes or hours later, I get done. I always make two samples of the card of the moment: one to put in my card journal and the other to send out.

If I know that I will be selling this particular card, I make all of the pieces for the card, wrap them up in newsprint or in a manila envelope, and put them in a storage bin. I do this because I usually get tired of a card after it is designed and made for the first time. By storing the parts, I can duplicate the card when I am bored or watching the Mets lose. In a pinch, I can steal one of the cards and assemble it for personal use when I need a card immediately.

Today’s card is a SCRAP card. It is a card that can never really be duplicated because it is made from leftover materials that I have saved from other projects. I have a rule when I design cards: I never throw away anything over 2 inches wide by 4 inches long. I have two bins that I save these scraps--one for paper and one for cardstock. When I need a card for personal use (one that I will not be reproducing for sale), this is where I start.

Here is a SCRAP card that I made to send to David this week. The interior is a popup with paper posies.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You Ain't Been Blue . . . No, No, No.

Today, I am sending out a little bit of my soul in the mail. I have mixed blessings today because I am finally sending out my Gocco Postcards for the postcard swap. After obsessing about the project for a little while now, I am going to miss this project. Of course, there is the anxiety (shared by several people I have found out) associated with a project like this but I am happy to say that I am glad to be able to move on.

I am designing my holiday cards right now and this will be the first year that I will offer Gocco cards. I have several people that have already ordered cards that I have designed but now I will be opening up to a different clientele by offering screen printed cards. I am afraid that this will totally send me over the top this year. Last year, I sold over 300 cards (which included several multiples).

I already have orders for 175 cards (including 3 orders of 25, and 2 orders 35). This does not even include the cards that I have to send out myself. I am hoping that I can speed up the process by selling Gocco printed cards because they are so much easier to mass produce but we will see what happens.

I can’t believe that it is almost October and I am already behind for the holiday season and I need to start designing Valentine’s Day cards in November! YIKES.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Oh What a Day

Yesterday was a most productive day. I finished two projects: a new card for David and my Gocco Postcard Swap. In addition to my projects, I managed to clean up my workspace (a little bit), and listen/watch the Mets lose (AGAIN).

I am mainly happy that I finished my postcards for the Gocco Postcard Swap. All that I have to do is wrap them up and send them in and I can wait for my surprise package with all of the return cards—it will almost be like an early Christmas present.

I do have to say that I am fairly pleased with the project although I don’t think that everyone will get the humor. The backgrounds were printed with the text of the words “dusty” and “rose” in burgundy ink. Once these were dry, I overprinted with a rose graphic in white. I thought about using pink ink but I was afraid that it wouldn’t be translucent enough to read the underlying text—plus, the white ink makes it look “dusty.”

(Step Three on the left; Final Product on the right)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What a Wasted Day

What started out as a creative morning quickly turned into an unproductive day. I had all of these ideas running around in my head only to find out that I didn’t have the supplies that I needed to complete them. Rather than redesign cards with what I had on hand, I fixated about the cards that I WANTED to make rather than the cards I COULD make.

So, I ventured into Manhattan (from da Bronx during the Yankee’s final weekend at the old Yankee Stadium which translates to bunches of people) to go to some of my favorite supply stores. Once I am in the city, I get an email on my TREO telling me that I am needed at work because some business needs to be done before the work day starts on Sunday afternoon.

In total, I spent five hours away from home and away from making things. I finally get the mock up done for the Chicken Soup card that I will send to David this week and realize that I don’t have any cup of soup packages. So I venture out through the crowds to the local supermarket and buy some instant soup. I get back to dry fit the mock up and realize that I bought cup of noodles rather than cup of soup. So I have to go out again to get the right soup.

Finally, having completed the card, I realize that I spent all day on a single card and didn’t even get to gocco print any of my postcards. Today, I will have to really get to business.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Waking Up Creative

Did you ever wake up and just feel “creative”? I was awake by 7:10 am and already had card ideas running through my brain. As I was in bed, all of these images and ideas popped into my head and I knew that the day was going to be dedicated to cards and other artistic endeavors.

I have decided that today I was going to do my first Gocco print on my postcard exchange. If things go well, I will let them dry and do the second printing tomorrow. If I get industrious, I will do the second printing later tonight.

Regardless, I am going to design and make some Get Well Cards and Thinking of You Cards for my friend David who is still in the hospital. I will also make a card for his partner Jack who has been on his side throughout the ordeal.

I have been told that artists should do some work every day (I used to follow this mantra when I was writing—my creative writing and writing my dissertation). Sometimes, I am so tired from my regular job that I just don’t feel too creative. Yet, I write in my subway journal every day as I am going to work or returning from work so hopefully that works for the creativity karma.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I am SOOOOOO Dense!

Sometimes I can be so dense, I amaze myself.

One of my friends is in the hospital recovering from brain surgery. I promised myself that I would send him a card a week until he feels better. I sent him two cards already and have fallen behind sending cards because of the work have I been putting into the postcard swap.

I designed a couple of cards but they really didn’t work out for various reasons. So, a week passed and I still hadn’t sent him a new card. Finally, I decided to wake up early and send out whatever I made—regardless of whether it was perfect or not. I came to realize that he would be happy to receive whatever I sent—it didn’t have to be perfect because it was the sentiment that was important.

Something amazing seemed to happen. When I freed myself from the need to be perfect, I ended up with a nice, simple card that I might actually add to my online store.

The interesting aspect of the design of this card was getting the odd cut on the right side to line up. Here is where the dense part comes in. I kept trying to get the off-cut perfect when all I had to do was cut the off-cut the same for both the card and the paper. What I needed to do was cut the opposite side (the straight edge) to show the reveal. DUH.

I will send the card today and will put it into a vellum envelope so that it can be appreciated as it goes through the mail.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Steps One to Four

I don’t know what I was thinking. I have finally completed the backgrounds for my Postcard Swap. I have been rubbing ink for so many days I have built up a callus on my thumb. My fingers are permanently tattooed with four colors of ink and now I leave a rose colored fingerprint on everything that I touch. ( The two color wash on the left; The four color wash on the right--finished background.)

The interesting aspect of the backgrounds is that each one is different. So, I will have 58 unique postcards to swap. Everyone will have two individual pieces of art. The funny aspect of it all is that each card was affected by the two biggest influences of this past week and weekend: Hurricane Ike and the Mets.

I was anxiously waiting for news from Hurricane Ike because I have family and friends in Houston, Texas (where I grew up and went to school). There seems to be some inadvertent eye of the hurricane swirls on the cards. Actually, I like the juxtaposition of curves and linear forms. Secondly, the Mets have lost their lead in the Eastern division by having a mini-meltdown in September (just like they did last year). So on some cards, there seems to be a more aggressive vibe.

This week I will begin the gocco printing and we will see what happens.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dusty Rose

I have always been intrigued with the color and term “Dusty Rose.” My mom loved the color and she had a rose patterned china that she called “dusty rose” which I believe was actually called “Desert Rose.”

Where do these names come from? Someone out there is sitting on their duff and tossing out obscenely trite names as they look at paint chips? Oh, that’s cinnamon toast. That is persimmon delight (which reminds me of Turkish delight from The Narnia series of books). This simply is Bohemian Blue.

So, for my postcard swap entry I decide to do an homage to Dusty Rose. The background of the card is a pigment ink wash in four colors that is applied with a cosmetic sponge. On top, there will be dictionary text gocco-ed in maroon ink. This will then be overstamped with a rose image (either in pink or white).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Postcard Swap

I have signed up for a postcard swap through one of my Gocco groups and I am a little apprehensive about the whole situation. Usually, I have done my own thing as an expression of my creativity. Ever since I opened up my own online store, I have had to think differently in terms of creating for the approval of others. What scares me is that now, with the postcard swap, is that I will be compared to the products that everyone else produces.

For those who don’t know, the way the system works is that you create a postcard and make copies for everyone that is participating. After all of the participants are finished by a pre-determined date, everyone swaps their products. In this case, there are 29 participants and everyone is making 58 postcards so that we can have two sets of each product—one to keep and one to send away if you so choose.

Not only will we be judged by the participants in the swap but also by the potential recipients of the postcards. What happens if no one likes my idea? What if people devalue my postcard in comparison to others? What if they return them and say—do it again, it doesn’t meet the artistic standards of everyone else?

I just don’t want to feel like the last person who gets chosen during gym class.