Inaugural Letterpress Workshop at the Folk School July 09, 2017 16:35
I've just returned from an exhilarating week at the John C. Campbell Folk School after teaching the very first letterpress workshop there! I was invited to teach a book binding workshop (the Decorative Long & Link) back in January, and I was looking forward to returning in June to a brand new Book Arts building that's been in the works for over 5 years. The new building is a spacious and airy space with areas dedicated to printmaking, book arts, and papermaking. The main classroom has amazing cathedral ceiling and windows all around so that you don't miss the beautiful mountain view or the nest of little sparrows on the front porch.
The letterpress print shop is brand new and equipped with both platen and cylinder presses as well as a small etching press. Thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers, the entire space was set up just a week before the class began, and the Vandercook was moved in just 3 days before the first day of class! Needless to say, there's still work to do with organizing the space, the furnitures, type and spacing materials, etc., but the class ran smoothly, everyone had a chance to print what they wanted, and have plenty of fun while typesetting and printing.
I was so honored to be invited to teach this, the very first, class in the new building and print shop. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Folk School, it has a long and rich history starting with John C. Campbell and his wife Olive making preparations for a new school starting the in early 1900s. The school officially opened its doors in 1925 in Brasstown, NC, and still stands on the same land. In fact, I've stayed in Olive's farmhouse both times I've been there. The intentions of this school was based on the folkehojskole (folk school) in rural Denmark where John and Olive studied, where they emphasized non-competitive learning with no grades and no credits coupled with an atmosphere of community.
This kind of relaxing and joyful atmosphere plays a big role in making the Folk School such a unique place, and the kind of place where I just want to return to as much as I can. I've already agreed to teach again in 2018, and I'm planning on going this fall to enjoy it as a student. The hardest part is choosing which class to take: bread baking, beginning mandolin, making my own leather hat, whirligigs, or a wood engraving class? I wish I could take them all...
A big thanks to the amazing Cory Podielski for many of these great photos!
Craft fair season begins May 09, 2017 22:24
I'm finishing new work and packing up this week for the first craft fair of the season: The Handmade Market in Raleigh, NC. I've only been to this one once a few years ago, and haven't made it back because of scheduling difficulties, but I loved it because it felt like a bit of a homecoming; my parents live in the Triangle Area, and I still have dear old friends that live here, and make art here!
I have a spotlight on their site here - http://www.thehandmademarket.com/site/the-handmade-market-spotlight-jessica-c-white/.
I hope to see you in Raleigh this weekend, and don't forget to check my Calendar for more upcoming craft fairs where you can see my work in person!
New crankies, finally! March 28, 2017 21:10
After over a year of trial and error, I've finally made a few crankies that I can truly be proud of. I've been burning the candle at both ends for the past few months, cranking out (pun intended) as many of these as I could in time for the American Craft Council Show in Atlanta, GA last week.
I currently have two titles available, The Calling and Lead Army, and both have been posted in my shop. Because the photos just don't do justice, I wanted to post additional videos here. Enjoy!
Printing for the #Resistance February 01, 2017 10:56
Like many of you, I've been through an emotional roller coaster following the 2016 election. I was fired up to join the Women's March on January 21, 2017, and spent the day before in the printshop, releasing my energy into setting type and printing posters for the march.
The march organizers followed up with a campaign of 10 Actions in 100 Days, encouraging those of us energized by the march to continue by putting our voices into action. The first was to write to our senators and let them know our concerns, and I decided to print some extra special postcards that will hopefully catch the attention of our NC senators. I've made them available in my shop here.
This was my first time participating in a march, and the first time I've become actively political, beyond complaining and retweeting. I'm so proud of being a part of this movement, and plan on staying active as long as the fire continues to burn. At the same time, all of this has worn me out and I'm feeling the need to shut off the news, bury my nose in a good book, and get back to my work. Hopefully I'll find a good balance in the coming months.
Allegory of the Cave December 19, 2016 19:40
Thanks everyone for another wonderful year! I've focused a lot on prints this year, but starting in January, I'll be turning my attention back to the crankies! I'm currently working on one that will be a woodcut graphic novel that retells Plato's Allegory of the Cave through the perspective of a family of woodchucks. Here are a few sneak peaks at the sketches I've made so far, and I'll be posting regular updates on progress. Happy holidays and warm wishes for a wonderful new year!
New print series - Beasts of Burden November 06, 2016 21:43
A few years ago, I picked up the book "Animals Looking At You" by Paul Eipper from a used bookstore and it reminded me of when I used to frequent the Memphis Zoo, when I lived just a few blocks away and could ride my bike there on "free for locals" Tuesday afternoons. I've lost my taste for visiting zoos, but I continue to think about animals and our relationships with them, in a similar way that Eipper wrote about his own thoughts on the subject back in the early 1900s. Something that entranced me in the same way many storybooks have captured my imagination is the way Eipper used images with captions to tell unusual, and sometimes confounding stories.
I've used this juxtaposition of text and image in my work for a few years, and this past summer I've decided to take it in a new direction. Instead of just referencing the idea, I've pushed my prints to become something like a "fake-out", where the work looks like it could be a page ripped from a book. I've titled my "book" Beasts of Burden, a phrase that returns to my work often. As of now, I've completely two prints in this new series: Cat's Cradle, where a young boy is playing the string game with a stag, and Elephant's Rope where you meet an elephant and her keeper. A third, about polar bears, is in the works. These two are now available in the shop under "New Work!"
Crankies! August 08, 2016 22:07
After making The Bad Sparrow crankie, I told Scott "it's the best thing I've ever made!" Needless to say, that was before Milo came along, but I still get so excited about making scrolls that can be cranked through a little box. I've been tinkering around with designs for how to make smaller, hand-held, personal crankies and I've come up with these sweet little 4" x 5" things. The images are digital prints of my drawings which are about 2 feet high by 6 feet long, so this method makes those giant drawings more accessible too.
I've been waiting until these are actually available at my online shop to post about them, but it's starting to feel like that'll never happen! The good thing is, I've been selling them as fast as I can make them, and the only two available right now are at Horse + Hero in downtown Asheville. Go on down and get your hands on one - they're fun to play with! More are in the works and should be available this fall. (Wouldn't one of these make a great Christmas gift? Yes, I'm actually talking about Christmas in August, sorry.)
Many thanks to Robert Batey for the awesome gifs.
A new store section - New Work! July 22, 2016 16:19
If you come to my shop often and just want to see what's new, you're in luck - I have a new shop section just for things hot off the press called New Work! Just added to this section today is a broadside I printed for an event at Asheville Bookworks, Vandercooked Poetry Nights. I was asked to create an image that compliments a poem by Gabrielle Calvocoressi, STAG. It's a beautiful piece of writing that really inspired me, and I'm so pleased with the finished print! Find out the details and get your own copy here.
New mini-prints July 01, 2016 21:45
With limited time to spend in my studio, I've decided to work on a smaller scale and started on a new series of mini-prints. So far I've completed two, each one at 6" x 6", with wood engravings and a short saying that has influenced me along my journey. They're currently available unframed in my shop here and I'll have framed ones available soon. They will also be available to see and purchase in person at Horse + Hero and the upcoming Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, July 21-24, US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville, NC.
Back home with Asheville Zine Fest May 03, 2016 21:58
I had the pleasure of combining two of my favorite things this past Sunday: zines and Asheville. My husband Scott and I decided last fall that we were done waiting for someone to create the Asheville Zine Fest, and it seemed as if we were the ones meant to make it happen. So we did it, and it happened: this past Sunday, May 1, 2016, at the Grey Eagle in the River Arts District!
I definitely had that nail-biting moment when we opened the doors and wondered if anyone was going to come to our party. They did, and there was a lot of love felt in the room for zines, books, art, and comics. As it turns out, a zine fest was much needed in our town and we had a fantastic group of vendors and a great turnout.
We also had a nice article written about us by Alli Marshall in the Mt. XPress - http://mountainx.com/arts/asheville-zine-festival-showcases-indie-publications/ .
We're taking a short break to recover and read our zine haul, then planning will get started for Asheville Zine Fest 2017! Keep up with zine fest news at our website, or follow us on Twitter or Instagram @avlzinefest.
Going Big with the American Craft Council December 12, 2015 17:18
I got wonderful news this week that I've been accepted for the American Craft Show in Atlanta, Georgia, March 11-13! This is one of the four retail and wholesale shows hosted by the amazing American Craft Council, so I feel incredibly honored to be accepted into the show. For this show, I'm going to to set aside prints and focus on 3d work; mainly books. I'll have on display fine press books as well as artist books, and I'm currently in the process of making some small hand-held crankies (photos coming soon!) that will make their debut at the show. I will also have a full-size Bad Sparrow crankie on display, so if you haven't seen in it person yet, make plans to visit me in Atlanta next spring!
Conversations at the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands July 20, 2015 20:40
I'm still unpacking and recovering from a very busy Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, the second one I've attended as a vendor. I think my booth looks much better than my first, since I had more than two weeks to plan and prepare!
I built two display walls that looked massive in my little print studio but not so much in the giant booth. I'm also standing behind a custom built check-out table that disassembles easily for travel. A table for digital prints, a print rack for unframed prints, and a string of lights completes the new look. I'm pretty happy with the design so far, but I have lots ideas for how to improve the booth for the next fair that includes displays that show how the work is made, and maybe photos of my print shop.
The conversations with visitors is always the best part of these fairs. I got some really nice, and even poetic, descriptions of my work:
"It's the good dream you want to remember."
"It's what you'd get if Beatrix Potter crashed into Edward Gorey."
"You works reflects a highly refined sense of absurdity."
I often have a hard time describing my own work, so thank you!
I also have a delightful conversation with a fellow crafter about the stories behind our work. He asked for the story behind one of my prints, and once I told him, it became even better for him, and created the kind of conversation that my work provokes, which I absolutely love. This makes me wonder if I need to backtrack a bit on my previous post about explaining my work. I guess there's a difference between dissecting and explaining versus telling the backstory, but is that making too fine a point of it? Either way, let's keep the conversation going.
Steamroller printing! July 01, 2015 12:08
I'm working on a print for an upcoming steam roller printing day, to be held this fall at Asheville Bookworks! If you're not already familiar with steam roller printing: this is when a group of people get together, rent a steamroller, and make prints from oversized carved blocks that don't fit in most normal-sized presses. After carving the blocks, apply ink over the surface, place it on the ground (a nice smooth pavement preferred), then place a large sheet of paper or cloth over it, cover it with blankets, then literally drive a steam roller over it. This applies the pressure you need to transfer the ink from the block to the paper. I'll be documenting my progress here, starting with this, the first sketch. It's only 6"x6" right now, but will be enlarged and transferred to a 3'x3' block, to make a final 3'x3' print!
To see more about steam roller printing, check out this video of the 10th Annual Day of the Dead Steamroller Printing at The University of Montana, Missoula, MT. It shows the process from beginning to end, including an awesome print parade at the end.
What does it mean? June 30, 2015 11:07
Every now and then, someone will say "Hey, I really like your print _____, but can you tell me what it means?" My first inclination is to say either you get it or you don't, but that seems kind of rude. Chances are, if you like it, you get it and you don't need an explanation, but I'm guessing that maybe you want to make sure that what you're thinking it means is what it "really" means?
Truth is that most of these prints have a few different meanings, even to me, and then even more when I ask others to explain to me what they think it means. What you think it means is the real meaning. Really. And this is my favorite part of making the work that I make - hearing the stories created by other people explaining what it means to them!
I love the way Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor at the New Yorker, explains it on this blog post, where I discovered this E. B. White quote that says it all: “Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.”
So if you still want me to explain it to you, go ahead and ask... but keep in mind that you probably already know what it means.
Type on the Cob II with Ladies of Letterpress June 16, 2015 20:31
I've just recently returned from Type on the Cob II, the 4th Ladies of Letterpress conference, in Mt. Pleasant, IA. We decided to make it a week-long family adventure/road trip with a 10-month old baby in tow! We made a few stops along the way there and back, visiting small towns and odd museums, and had lots of picnics. (One of my favorites was The Museum of Appalachia - stop if you're ever passing by!) The conference itself was fantastic as usual, with plenty of presses running and ink flying. I was lucky to be ably to spend most of one afternoon at a Linotype with Tim Fay of the Wapsipinicon Almanac. I love hot metal, starting from my iron casting days at East Carolina U. Baby Milo was a real trooper and will soon be a road warrior like his dad. I'm worn out and don't want to see the inside of a car again for a long while.
You can see all of my photos at the Ladies of Letterpress website here.
Two poetry broadsides in two months April 04, 2015 12:34
My days are all tied up with taking care of a sweet little guy, but I've managed to wrangle a little time to print two new broadsides in the past two months. I haven't yet posted them in my shop, but they should be up by end of the month. It's been so nice to take some time to print poetry broadsides, something that I love to do but don't usually find the time for. These were two projects intriguing enough for me not to say no!
"Stag" by Gabrielle Calvocoressi was printed in February for a Vandercooked Poetry Night at Asheville Bookworks. Printed from linoleum blocks and hand set metal type, 11x17.
"Lessons in diving and thirst" was printed in March in celebration of the first publication by Orison Books, I Scrape the Window of Nothingness by Stella Radulescu. Printed from linoleum blocks and polymer plate with hand coloring, 9x12.
Wrapping up 2014 December 11, 2014 11:08
Well here it is, the end of 2014 already! It's been another whirlwind of a year... I know I always say that, but I think this time I really know what it means, more than ever before. I only have one craft fair left this year, Crafty Feast in Columbia, SC this Sunday, December 14th, at the Columbia Convention Center. It's a big one - you don't want to miss it if you're within driving distance!
As of right now, I'm sold out of Quimby's 15 prints, but a new edition is on press right now and (hopefully) will be available there, and next week on this site. Also notice that my digital prints are now available framed! Just choose framed or unframed when making your selection to add to your cart. Photos are slowly being added.
If you're in Asheville, NC, I have a show up at Downtown Books & News on Lexington Avenue. It's a group show with the extremely talented Julie Armbruster and Tiffany Ownbey, and has been extended to the end of the year. So you only have a couple more weeks to get down there and see it!
Fair Season Begins with a Bang! October 23, 2014 23:09
October kicked off the craft fair season for me, starting with Oak Knoll Fest XVIII, a fine press book fair in New Castle, Delaware. I've been planning on exhibiting there since I first visited in grad school, and I heard through the grapevine that this may be their last one, so I just couldn't pass it up. Milo and Scott were a big help and we enjoyed our first road trip as a little family.
A week later, I found out that as a new member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, I had a chance to fill in for a last-minute cancellation at the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands! My head was still spinning from even being accepted as a member, but this was an opportunity that I just couldn't pass up. I feel so honored to be a member of this prestigious group, and to be able to show my work alongside so many talented artists and craftsmen! My booth needed a lot of work, but I think I pulled together a decent display in such short notice. I really enjoyed meeting the other artists and felt a real sense of camaraderie, and look forward to working with the SHCG for many years to come.
Technically, I'm taking the fall off from work, but really I'm just not teaching for the fall semester. In reality, I feel busier than ever, filling in my "free" time with craft fairs and workshops. I did get lots of puzzled looks from other parents when I'd tell then about my plans for this fall, but they were all too kind to just come out and say that I'm crazy. So even though I'm glad to have participated in these events, a word to new parents out there - take at least three months off from working, and I mean really take the time off! I'm already exhausted, and the holiday season is right around the corner...
The Tiniest Printmaker August 06, 2014 16:59
At long last, sweet baby Milo has arrived. He is the tiniest printmaker, at least in this house.
Needless to say, I will be a bit busy for a while with feeding, burping, and diapers, so orders might not arrived in the promised 5 days, but I'm still shipping out orders on a regular basis. So thanks for your patience and hang tight - your order will arrive!
PS - after a few requests, I suppose I should add a picture of Milo himself:
Horse + Hero in downtown Asheville July 18, 2014 15:48
If you haven't been there yet, you should definitely check out the new local arts & indie crafts shop in downtown Asheville, Horse + Hero on Patton Ave. They carry a lot of my work, including all digital prints, posters, journals, and stationery. They also carry paintings and letterpress postcards by my partner in crime, luckycreature.com! For now, it's also the only shop that carries my latest print, Anthem (you can also order it directly from my shop, of course).
New Journals in the Shop! June 18, 2014 21:55
I'm so excited to have a new line of blank journals in the shop! These colorful books have letterpress printed covers and are each hand bound with brightly colored linen thread. I've used one of my favorite papers, Mohawk Superfine, and packed each one with 64 pages - perfect for drawing, sketching, or writing with all types of media. Keep on the lookout for a few new designs I have in the works, as well as planners with the same designs, to be available later this year.
These sweet little books are available now in my Shop, my Etsy shop, or the brand new indie art shop Horse + Hero in downtown Asheville. Just opened by the same folks who run the Big Crafty fairs, this shop is chock full of high quality art and crafts by local artists - stop by and visit, and tell them I said hello!
A Whirlwind in May May 25, 2014 18:42
How does that saying go... "in like a lion, out like a lamb"? Well apparently it refers to the month of March, but it describes the month of May for me. All three of my classes ended in mid-May, with stacks upon stacks of final projects, portfolios, and sketchbooks to grade. I also vended at two weekend craft fairs - Lexington Ephemera Fest (Lexington, KY) and Handmade Market (Raleigh, NC).
Glad to say that the next two months of my calendar involves a lot of studio time and preparing for the arrival of a little one - that's right, I'm due at the end of July! Needless to say, I have no more events scheduled until the fall, but I do have some new work in progress, so check back in my store for upcoming new prints, journals, and chapbooks.
New Shop Section April 28, 2014 22:40
The shop has a new section - Posters/Broadsides! Handprinted limited edition prints, but at a fraction of the cost of the fine at prints. I have a few more to add, plus a few in progress, so check back throughout the summer for updates!
Happy spring! April 01, 2014 11:31
I had a rare weekend of uninterrupted studio time over the weekend, and I took the opportunity to print these fun spring cards for the Ladies of Letterpress. Ok, I'll admit it - they were supposed to be new year's cards, but time slipped away, and then classes started, and suddenly I find myself printing new year's cards in March. No problem - I pulled out my trusty metal type and set new, season-appropriate text! They're not completely finished yet; my business partner Kseniya Thomas will be die cutting and scoring these so that they stand up nice and tall, like spring tulips, before sending them out. I really enjoyed this project, and I have a few ideas for something similar that' I'd like to make for my own shop, hopefully by this summer.
My work featured in Adventures in Letterpress March 08, 2014 17:04
I got surprise in the mail today - my copy of Adventures in Letterpress by Brandon Mise, featuring two of my prints! Unfortunately, the print featured on p.126, Hellfire, is out of print but there are few prints in the same series still available in my shop.
You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.com here. And while you're there checking out letterpress books, take a look at mine! (Letterpress Now: A DIY Guide to New & Old Printing Methods)
A Wedding in Croatia March 01, 2014 11:05
Well, I know I've said "no more wedding invitations" but I just couldn't say no to a family friend. This was a fun project that involved a perforated piece, the invitation details, that could be pulled away so that the map could be kept as a keepsake print. I really enjoyed this project, and I'm even wondering maybe more invitations could be in my future..... But don't ask anytime soon! I'm in the midst of teaching three classes at 2 different schools, plus a few collaborative projects. (If you're looking for a printer to print your invitations, I recommend checking out the Hire A Printer page at Ladies of Letterpress.)
The Bad Sparrow in Action! February 20, 2014 20:43
You can also see this video on YouTube here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKAiAgs878o.
Summer Schedule February 20, 2014 20:41You may have noticed that I've already cancelled two workshops scheduled for this summer, which means ZERO workshops this year! Sorry about that, but I have good reason; the biggest project I've worked on to date. I'll reveal this project later this year, probably late summer, so check back if you're curious! Please note that the workshops are listed as cancelled because I won't be teaching them, but they may still be scheduled with other teachers filling in for me. Check with the workshop venues to see if you can still register for the classes.
New Year, New Site February 20, 2014 20:35
Welcome to my new and improved website! Over the years, I've found myself using a few different platforms, cobbling them together to form a single cohesive site, but now I'm trying something new. This platform allows me to keep my info, shop, and blog all together in one place -- easier for me, and more convenient for you!
To check for upcoming events such as craft fairs where I'll be vending or workshops I'll be teaching, click on the Events tab.
Please note that I now have a fully stocked shop that includes limited edition prints from my new series Prudence and Patience as well as the digital reproductions.
If you'd like to see past blog posts (all the way back to 2006!), visit my archives here.
Thanks for visiting, and a very happy new year to you!