inside the tentacle-made studios (Shawano edition)

So, I recently cleaned and reorganized my studio, and I thought that y’all might like to see one of the places that I work in.

This is my little work area with my glass for monoprinting and my giant cutting matte for paper and fabric and some of my inspiration–thingies.  Y’all can also see piercing cradle for bookmaking, an as-yet incomplete plushie piece, and some of my books.

There’s a lot of books.

And the best lamp ever.

To the left of my work area is my spinning wheel Vincent and my weird little cart with all of its little drawers.

Behind Vincent, you can just see my pastel box peaking through.

By-the-by, the table I use for my work area was my great-grandma’s.  My dad has told me stories about being small and hiding underneath it at his grandma’s house.

A close-up of the shelving unit to the left of my work area.

A close-up of (some of) my books.  Did I mention that there are a lot more?

My pretty, pretty lamp–and my Dress of Storage.

My sewing area-cum-staging area for my easel, which is to the right (no image for some reason).  I just found this old-school desk at Goodwill for $2.  I kid you not:  $2.

*inserts Better Off Dead “I want my $2!” reference*

Also, a couple of my fungoid owlets.

My (craptastic) dress-form and my freshly painted photowall…plus some stuff that needs to be redistributed around Hemlock House and the studio.  This is all to the right of the sewing area.

My nascent metal-working area.  I’m still working on getting it all set up.  It’s too the right of the sewing area.

The shelves where all my fiber stuff hangs out.  This is too the left of the sewing area.

The white bag has kozo in it waiting to be boiled and used.  Oh!  And check out my pretty cricket loom! <–I’m still working on the weaving-thing.

More books.  More fiber.  Toolboxes (bookmaking and regular toolbox).  Gesso and adhesives.  Rolls of paper and per-streatched canvases.  All to the left of Vincent and my main work area.

The big red-brown thing is my flammables cabinet.

In the distance, you can see the garage door of the studio ’cause my studio is a garage.  But!  It has a drain in the floor.

This visual jumble is my not-organized section–really, it’s more organized than it looks; it’s just that the water-heater and the furnace are right there.

The butcher’s block is actually my paper-making surface with my book/paper-press  sitting on top; it also has all of my paper-making stuff and fiber dyes hiding inside of it.  Hidden behind it is my double dry-sink, which is currently filled with alpaca and wool that needs to be processed.  You can also see my woefully inadequate sink and my studio spotlights.

A random piece based on 28 Weeks Later that has lived in several of my studios.

A piece that I’ve been working on:  zombie!Santa (in-progress).  Good for decoration from Samhain until Yule.

So, yeah, that’s pretty much  my crazy studio–except for the ginormous fabric bin, the Supply Room, and the as-yet not-working lathe.


Attacked by mechanical ladybugs. At least, it’s better than being rejected by a toaster.

I’m mixing my metaphors again.  Y’all know how that goes.

I’ve been reading Bella Tuscany again; I actually finished it a couple of days ago.  I don’t know why I needed to read this again, but in retrospect, it probably has to do with the way that Frances Mayes talks about the way art is alive and part of the everyday in Italy:  all the local chapels have magnificent icons of Mary and works by Renaissance Masters.

It got me in the mood to create the PowerPoint for Gnome’s Humanities classes and talk about how the definition of art has changed in such drastic ways and how art has inundated the everyday because there are artists that want their art to be part of everyday experience (like the artist consortium poketo) and artists who create monumental works for the everyday like Dr. Evermor (artists who are referred to as “vernacular artists”).  This everyday-ness has become so prevelant that Aestheticians have begun talking about “everyday aesthetics”:  the aesthetics of the hotel, the football game, the places and spaces that we live in every day of our lives.

I have these books that I always return to, that speak certain things to me, that change each time that I read them because, each time I read them, I’m a different person.  They’re battered and torn not because of abuse but because they have been loved shabby like a favorite woobie blanket or a ridiculously ugly acid-green sweater that was bestowed when a dear friend grew too talk for it and given with love because she knew that I would never grow too tall for it and would always love that it was ridiculously ugly ’cause that’s the way I am.

It explains why I have so very many books:  I need them close and physical and accessible.  It’s a physical pain when I desperately need to read something that’s been put away into storage because we don’t have enough book shelves yet or because the dear book-friend I long for has been buried behind so many other books that it can’t be found.

A month or two ago, I had a deep longing to read the first five-ish chapters of Owlsight by Mercedes Lackey because of Keisha.  There’s something about when she abruptly uproots her life with her family to become the town Healer that seemed like the exact thing to celebrate my first year anniversary in Wisconsin, and when Keisha learns to ground-and-shield for the first time, how she talks about never having dreamed of flying but always having dreamed of being an oak tree.  I know how she feels.

I’ve never once dreamed of flying:  I dream of falling, of zombie apocalypses, of far-flung battles, and of a violinist I might have been once-upon-a-time in another life.

But not flying.

Okay, on my Kindle counts as accessible too.  I kinda carry my Kindle with me everywhere because I keep my favorite fanfics on it, ever at the ready:  like A Farm in Iowa.  I think I’ve read this fic (which is like 300-400+ pages long) 5 or 6 times since I moved to Wisconsin—because it always reminds me about finding Home in unlikely places and in unlikely people.

Wisconsin was like that for me.  Wisconsin is my blue-painted bedroom to lay my head down in when I’m cranky and hate the world or my farm after a long life of cranky and being misunderstood.

I like it here, and I like the people that I’ve met here.

So, yeah.  Welcome to the random thinking about books.  There’s thinking coming about The Parasol Protectorate also, but right now, I think that *waves hand* all of the above book-thinking is probably enough.

And, a bit revealing.

*feels exposed*

In a completely unrelated (at least, obviously related) event, I’ve been asked to join a group show at the end of April:  Circus Nerve.

It’s very exciting.  I had met the curator at a show at IQ’s (before it closed), so I know her a little (her name’s Natalie).  Evidently, she had been at the ARTgarage and saw my studio and work and asked me to join the show.


There will be more about this very exciting event as it unfolds.


Courage and cake!

Today is my birthday! *nana na na na*

So, yeah, birthday.  I’m kinda taking the day off.  There will be talk of art and shows and tasty, tasty cake on the morrow.

And books.  I have been doing thinky and longing things about books.

That should come a surprise to no one.

I’m also having the worst fit of having-gotten-into-something-that’s-making-me-itchy ever in the History of Everything.


Courage and cake.

The Fiction Project

So, as I’ve said previously, I’m participating in “The Fiction Project” which is described as

“Share a story.

Calling all authors, ‘zine makers, comic-book writers, diarists, poets and storytellers: Our library needs your words!

The Fiction Project is an opportunity to tell stories in a different way by fusing text and visual art. Add your voice to this year’s coast-to-coast tour and create new work grounded in the act of writing. After traveling across the country, the Fiction Project will enter into the Brooklyn Art Library’s narrative collection, archiving your stories to share them with the public.

Anyone – from anywhere in the world – can be a part of the project. To participate and receive a journal that will travel with the 2011 tour, start by choosing a theme to the right.”


My theme is “It will be fun.  I swear.”  I’m kinda trying to decide what to do for it.  They want 51% of the moleskin to be handwritten text (not a big deal), but I’m not sure what to write about.




I’ve been thinking about the zombie!bunny apocalypse or detailing the misadventures of Stymie (all Justin’s fault).


Maybe both?


I can see it now–haiku poetry about the ending of everything and death brought on the rotting, softly plophop of zombie!bunnies.


So cute.  So deadly.  So smelly.


In my defense, there hasn’t been a zombie!bunny novel yet (as far as I know); the best that I can come up with in that department is Bunnicula.  Obligatory Wikipedia article over————————->here.


Did y’all know that there was a third book in the series?  I mean, so few people know about The Celery Stalks at Midnight, but I’ve never heard of Howliday Inn.


Actually, there’s a bunch of Bunnicula books.  Maybe there’s a zombie!bunny in there somewhere?


With Stymie, I’m not sure what I would write about.  I have this weird thing going in my head that he’s very sad and morose–kinda like Eeyore–but that he bounced and drip-drops like one of those post-egg but pre-limb Digimon.


The Husband and I were also playing with Stymie’s plushie rendition and decided that he can fly, but in order to fly, he has to flip himself upside-down.  And, then, he kinda putputputs rather than zoooooooooooooms.


Maybe, that should be the plan; somehow, have the “It will be fun.  I swear.” as part of the shennanigans that Stymie and his other awkward friends get into and have little pencil/pastel drawings and plushie things in there.




This might work.


I’d still be happy for suggestions or prompts, so feel free to share or suggest.


*tra lala la las away*

presenting the quixotic postmodern

PPM:  The STD* You’re Most Likely to Catch
*Something Terribly Depressing


We all come by different streets:


We’ve all heard that “geek” is the new “cool” or whatever.


There’s a myriad of variations on this theme, and in away, that idea of many variations on a theme, many takes on a situation, is what post-postmodernism, or what I’m calling quixotic postmodernism, is about.


Part of the reason that this acceptance of many perspectives seems to have became/become/will become integral and important to many contemporary cultures is the emergence of the ideals of the quixotic postmodern.


The postmodern, from which the quixotic postmodern is formed, exists in a state of carnival and carnivalesque where all is inverted and mocked, discursive and a perpetual charivari.


Good words, yeah?


The quixotic postmodern takes this revelry one step further (okay, sometimes we zooooooooooooooooooooom ahead completely off the steps, but you get the idea), and not only appropriate the fun and whimsy of the postmodern, but also acknowledge that the subject-object dialecticism and mockery are recursive and dependent upon each other, that in being skeptical and suspicious, deprecating and mocking of that which is appropriated/subject-/objectified, the artist is doing the same to themselves and their interests.


In short, postmodernism is emo-with-a-butterknife-hipstery, and quixotic postmodernism is punk-destroy-the-world-because-everyone-sucks-(including us)-hip.


Yet there really isn’t the fatalism or nihilism to the quixotic postmodern that is usually associated with the postmodern.  Just a if-we’re-going-to-die-anyway-we’re-going-to-have-fun quirkiness; there is fun, liminality (and reveling in our liminality), and loads of bad jokes.


Have you seen the working title of this book?


There is a focus on self-pleasure and performative action.


There is reverent irreverence and a whole lot of autobiographical subjectivity/objectivity.


There is a desire for craft to match concept and for art-making to be an extension of self-awareness rather than the next money-making venture or political protest.  Although political protest/reform are completely within the purview of the quixotic postmodernism, there is a need to not take oneself too seriously.


A lot of times when we’re trying to change the world, it’s less about the world and more about us on a personal level.


For example, whereas the postmodern generation of the 60s and after felt/feel that two plus two didn’t quite equal four (Conkelten and Eliel, 11), the quixotic postmodern generation feels that two plus two equals five given sufficiently high values of two.


*gestures*  We also have a tendency to reference TV and movies and music and purely sub-cultural thingies at the drop of a hat.


While this might sound optimistic, it isn’t necessarily; rather, two plus two not equaling four implies that there is something wrong with the world and is frightening and disconcerting, and two plus two equaling five implies that there’s something not quite right with the world and we, as makers and thinkers and dreamers (<——soooooo cliché), revel in it.


In quixotic postmodern, art is multivalent and hypertextual, meta-everything (to the point where meta and hyper are all that’s left sometimes!) while the craft/concept aspects are individual.


Quixotic postmodern art is quantum, meaning that the quixotic postmodern and art exist because of an agreed upon reality, an accepted ideal.


The quixotic postmodernists are the successors to Picasso’s impatience with form, Duchamp’s insistence that the artist gets the final say in their work, Kandinsky’s use of his non-art interests in his art, Messanger’s disregard of the “rules” of art, and McCullough’s emphasis on craft and form.


We’re tricksters.


We’re impatient.


We’re going to do what we’re going to do because, sometimes, you have to be willing to go where you have been told not to go.


We’re brave.


We’re belligerent.


(Can I get a “We’re Dada”?)


We’re going to mock our art-teachers (be they people, books, etc.) with full awareness that we are mocking ourselves and the teachers we will inevitably become.


We’re comfortable with uncertainty and certain that uncertainty is all that is certain.


We’re grey even though black and white are easier.


We’re the products of pop culture and intellectual discourse.

always working: post-postmodernism in the studio

So, I don’t know if I have really said this were too many people can here it, but I’m working on a book.  The subject of this book is post-postmodernism and how it affects/effects different creative pursuits: art, craft, cooking, music, yada yada yada…


No, I’m not under contract; I’m just insane. \o/


This idea came about because I was trying to figure out where my art practice fit within the Fine Art World (FAW), and basically as the FAW stands now, I don’t think I do.  I’m conceptual but not so far conceptual where I’m willing to sacrifice aesthetic and form for concept.


And I keep seeing other artists, crafters, chefs, musicians, and writers who are concerned with the same sorts of things.  In particular, Faythe Levine and Cortney Heimerl, authors of Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design, have really begun to delve into these ideas of post-postmodernism without even mentioning the theoretical underpinnings.


So, ya know, y’all should read it.


But this *waves vaguely* is my idea.  I have the educational background to do it as well as access to several libraries, the aetherwebs, and my own devious, little brain.


Suggestions of books or articles to read, artists to look into, bands, crafters, chefs–anything and anybody that you think might fit–feel free to pass my way.


If people would even like to contribute to this text, even better.


I can’t guarantee that this book will eve be printed, but it will not be from lack of trying!