A Letterpress Weekend…

 

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Very kind and patient artist who was helping us with the new skill…

I’ve recently been itching to do something arty (as in drawing or something along those lines), and to try to scratch that itch, Superhero and I went along to the monthly First Friday Art Trail that is hosted by the arts organizations in our community. It’s a big event and happens once/month when most of the big galleries here in town open their doors on a Friday evening, rain or shine, and you can just walk around and see what’s shaking up in the local arts world. (There are also food trucks, which also helps gets us downtown on those evenings. Yum.)

As we were strolling around, looking at the hundreds of great artworks on display in both indoor and outdoor venues, I caught my eye on a flyer advertising a printmaking workshop for that following Sunday, and having seen some really good letterpress pieces hanging around town, decided to sign up for that afternoon’s activity.

If you’re not certain what letterpress art is, it rather looks like an early example of printing, and it’s a piece that typically comes out of an old-fashioned heavy iron printing press, and is usually heavily reliant on fonts and words of some description. (Naturally, as it’s a LETTERpress.) So off I trundled to see what I could learn.

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Some of the letter forms used to make the print on the piece of paper….

It was a very casual workshop set in a really well-lit renovated studio that used to be a former gas station (or maybe an old fire station) years ago. Now it’s this great creative space with really good light and with loads of space to spread out and do artist things.

It was a small workshop, only a few participants, and led by two printmaking artists who were very patient at all our questions and inquiries as we learned the process. It’s typically used for broadsheets (large pieces of paper) only printed in very small quantities. You may have seen examples for graphic pieces or perhaps a short poem with plenty of white space surrounding the words. I’d been dying to have a go at this, so was pretty excited to get to do it.

letterpress_workshop_June2017Seeing as it was more of “experiential” workshop than a 100% serious “teaching” workshop, we all got to try our hands at creating some postcards and notecards which, obvs, was very exciting because – ohhh. Writing materials! Each piece was pre-cut with a matching envelope with really good weighty paper that the ink would not be able to bleed through. (Pet peeve.)

(If you’re curious about my results, check out the pic on left. Most of playing with space and graphic design, so no worry if they don’t make much sense.)

Such good fun, and although it’s incredibly unlikely that I will ever get my own printing press (big, expensive, bulky), I had a great time and it really scratched my creative itch which was good. If you ever get the opportunity to try it, it’s pretty easy and extremely satisfying. (Instant gratification. Hooray!)

We’re just about to head off to Albuquerque, NM, and drive with my mum and sister around to look around so things might be quiet here on the blog for a couple of days. Fear not. I will return, and then we can catch up with reading, news, and all those other things that make a life well-lived.

 

March 2017 Reading Review

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March was a decidedly stronger reading month for me, but I’m not really sure why it was. I think some of it was that I read shorter page length books for the most part, but not certain. Most of the titles that I chose were NF (only 2 F titles this month), and, though I bow my head in shame, only two female authors and one POC. No really old books either as most of them were from the twentieth century. Interesting. (To me, at least. Maybe not so riveting for you!)

To the books:

This coming month will probably follow a similar reading pattern (in terms of number of books I read). Nothing too stupendous on the immediate horizon, but I’m looking forward to reading more titles from my TBR and less from the library. (My TBR pile is a tiny bit too high for my liking so I’ve instituted a book-buying ban for the next few months. We shall see.)

 

Update: I’ve bought two books this week. Must. Do. Better. 🙂

 

Catch Up Time…

catch_upWork has been a bit nutty in terms of workload, so my reading has had to slow down a bit. With my bad eye and being in front of a computer screen all day, I’m kinda tired when I get home. That plus I’m wearing contacts which means I can see great far away, but middle distance and close up are terrible. (Thus the not-much reading situation.) Hoping that will get sorted out as the days go by, but there’s quite a bit of fiddling around at the moment.

I spent a lot of today working on website issues which is, surprisingly, great fun and I really enjoy it immersing myself in HTML and other puzzles. There’s always something to do with a large website (such as work has), and I can get completely sucked in at times. I just put some tunes on in the background, and have at it. Rather fun.

Reading seems to have taken a back seat for the last few days. We’ve been catching up with some TV: Better Call Saul (irresistible sidekick series to Breaking Bad), a Netflix series called Case, we’ve started Planet Earth (BBC/David Attenborough), and then saw the Dave Chappelle special the other night. (Mostly funny, but way too many “rape jokes” for my liking. [It’s never ok.]  Dave – you can do better than that.)  ETA: I am completely off Dave Chappelle now, especially since I’ve seen his transphobic rant. Grr.) Oh, and the regulars: Bill Maher, Samantha Bee et al. I’m constantly amazed at what comes out of the White House every day, but only three and a half years to go.

Oh, and I lucked out and got Garth Brooks tickets for this Sunday afternoon’s concert when he comes to town with Trisha Yearwood. (Heehaw. Very excited as he puts on quite a show, I’ve heard. Squeee.) Slightly strange to be going to a big concert on Sunday afternoon, but there you have it. Them’s the breaks sometimes. I’m dragging SuperHero DH with me, which means that I’ll owe him a concert in return. Slightly concerned that this might entail a Disturbd or Korn concert, but I’m crossing my fingers that it’s something a bit more palatable than that.

We also bought Daniel Tosh (comedian) tickets for later this month. He’s got some hilarious set pieces with some questionable pieces in between. He’s more good than not, so we’re going. Rather looking forward to him as he has no mercy for anything or anyone. Ever. You just sit there and cringe while you’re laughing and hope that he doesn’t pick on you. :-]

The outdoor pool on campus just opened this week. Naturally, the temperatures have plummeted to the 40’s since then, but there are plenty of sunny days ahead. Looking forward to messing around at the pool soon. It’s got a curvy lazy river which is awesome to float in after a long day at the office. Speaking of office, I actually now have air conditioning. I’ve spent the last two years sweating in my office year round, and now? It’s truly great to have a nice temperature at work. Thank you, lovely hard-working campus Physical Plant people!!

So – quite a busy weekend ahead and it’s busy-fun! Great combination to have!

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General Catch-Up…

catch_upEvery now and then, I like to do a general round-up post about what’s going on in my life. It’s a nice break to write about something else other than books and reading, and it helps me keep my life on track when I can see it as an overview. So – this post is one of those posts.

The weekend was so RAINY. I know, rain may be more common in your part of the world, but I happen to live in a semi-arid environment (almost a desert/scrub-land sort of world), and so rain does not come often. It tends to be rainy in May, but apart from that month, there’s not much precipitation coming from the sky.

So, guess what? It rained for almost a full two days over the weekend. It must have been a couple of inches, and it was pretty steady throughout, with occasional minutes of heavier rain. Normally, I love and adore rain, but since we have brought Nova (a young German Shepherd) home, we’ve learned that she is one of the biggest fans of rain and mud in the entire canine world. If there’s mud or filthy water or puddles, you can almost double-dog* guarantee that she will be in with all four paws for most of the time. I’m all for having a good time, but Nova? You need to wipe your paws when you come in the house. Muddy footprints *everywhere* and on our clothes from when she jumps up to say hi, and so the house has been FILTHY. Sigh.

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This isn’t Nova, but it well could be.

This rainy weather also meant that there were some good reading moments at my usual hangouts, and this was great. Got to get some reading and writing done (no ‘rithmatic though :-)), and I found this to be really satisfying. The past weekend had been spent completely re-organizing my bathroom cabinets and some of my bedroom drawers which has meant that some of this weekend was spent walking around admiring my now really tidy storage. (Am I the only person who does this?) The reorganization was one of the more satisfying ways to spend my time, and I managed to get rid of two shopping bags of bathroom junk which has freed up a ton of space now. Aaaah. Bliss to open the cabinets and see lots of empty space and what has remained now corralled in storage containers…

(One thing I’ve learned about organizing is that those canvas over-the-door shoe hangers are magnificent for storing bits and pieces apart from shoes.)

Reading has been happening as well. I finished Boyle’s Tortilla Curtain the other day. Incredible read and highly recommend any of Boyle’s work. (He is one of the more prolific writers so quality can vary, but most of his stuff is great.) That’s led to me prowling the TBR shelves (as you do) to find my next read which ended up being Mary Norris’ wonderful memoir/grammatical manifesto called From Me to You. Norris has worked at The New Yorker for years and is known as the Comma Queen (gotta love that title), and this is a fun read to experience. It’s good to hang with your own tribe every now and then.

Then I’ve been missing reading a classic of some kind, so I’ve picked up Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. Love it completely, but Hardy is so good anyway.

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Watching: We’re riveted to the new Masterpiece show about Queen Victoria, and now I’m curious just how accurate the narrative is. (Cue reading Victorian biography I have sitting in my shelves…  In a minute…)

Saw a French movie called Elle which took some awards at the recent Golden Globes. (My recommendation is that you don’t pay money and time to see this film. So much violence against women that didn’t contribute to the forward movement of the plot…) One movie that more than makes up for that yucky experience is Hidden Figures which spotlights the contributions that a small group of African-American female mathematicians made to NASA’s early space flight program. (Really good film.)

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And then we’re in the process of researching new furniture for the living room and now narrowing down the choices to “really comfortable” combined with “not bad looking”… It’s not as easy as it sounds, let me tell you, but I think we have it narrowed down to a manageable number of pieces. The next step is to measure… We’re looking for a settee/couch set-up which sort of “hugs” you when you sit in it (as opposed to “bouncing you out” when you first sit down). It’s a lot of sitting down in furniture shops right now, but as I mentioned, we’re getting there. Hopefully something by the end of the month, which means that we’ll also need to sell the current furniture to make room for the new purchase!….

Know anyone? 🙂

  • See what I did there?…

Weekend Review…

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It’s been rather too busy for the last week or so, and so, some late working hours matched with attending all four graduation ceremonies this weekend plus having the attention span of a flea all add up to not very much reading for me, I’m sad to say.

And that’s ok, actually. Life is more than reading, sometimes, and it’s good to embrace other things now and then. So, there’s not that much to update you on wrt books. I have been picking up and putting down titles with abandon, and after rather too gleefully picking up a load of titles at the library last weekend, took them all back this weekend. I don’t know what I was thinking when I brought those home the other day. (Not only an optimistic pile, but also two 7-day loan books. Nuts, really.) Anyway, I think this week will be slower, I’ll have more head space for reading, and so I’ve been pulling together a (small) pile of titles for the upcoming week or so during the Christmas break.

book378aI can’t seem to remember all the titles off-hand now that I’m not at home, but I do know there is a collection of wintry mystery stories, Crimson Snow, edited by Martin Edwards and published by the British Library in their well-designed Crime Series. (There’s no sign of snow here, although we did have a slight sprinkling from the sky on Friday.)

I’m also trying to read a sort of fashion book, called Style Forever by Alyson Walsh. However, so far I’m not that keen on it and for a multitude of reasons, really, the most glaring of which is the appalling writing/editing that fill the pages. The never-ending grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are starting to annoy now – there were three in the first two paragraphs on the first page – so yikes. It’s also blindingly obvious in its advice, and the illustrations are terrible. (All the models have weird clothing and claw hands.) So, pretty sure that I’m not going to finish this. (I’m sure that Alyson is a lovely person, and this is not to denigrate her, but she is in the magazine business and so should probably know an editor or ghost writer or two.)

Alright, so talking about that title has moved it off my reading pile. Hooray for writing things out. And I’m honestly not sure what else is on the reading pile, so we’ll have to leave that discussion right there.

Moving on, we had a polar front move on down south over the weekend, and the temperature dropped 45 degrees in three hours on Saturday afternoon. It’s been very cold for us here in Texas (don’t sneer, people in the northern states), and so, of course, the kitties have been remarkably cuddly and loving indoors. DH’s brother came into town for a day or two, and so Nova Dog has been losing her mind and barking with her Outdoor Voice in an effort to control her environment. (She has not met the BIL before and thus is a bit freaked out by him. Well, she’s freaked out by everyone and everything, but especially this stranger in the house. The BIL leaves today, so we’re hoping Nova will calm down once that happens.)

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And then as mentioned, I attended four different graduation ceremonies at the university where I work for the December graduates. I am the Staff Senate President, and to represent staffers who were graduating, I went to each ceremony as part of the stage party. (Ooooh. Look at me!.. 🙂 ) It was fun for the most part, but my hand was a bit sore after shaking with five million graduates (especially the Agriculture majors). However, I don’t bemoan a moment of it because for each of these graduates, this moment represents a culmination of hard work and they may be the very first ones in their families to ever have reached that academic achievement. It’s a big deal and you can see it on their faces and on the faces of their relatives. Very cool.

So, now I am hoping that this week is much slower, that I manage to get a couple of things off the to-do at work, and then just chill out a bit. This time last year, I was just about to have brain surgery, so the mere fact that I’m not having this this December is a huge deal in making Christmas much much better! (If you’re having to be in hospital, I hope you have great pain management and a very short stay.)

Not sure if the Christmas decorations will get up this year, but the spirit remains the same. Hope yours is intact as well.