Category Archives: links

In Support of Printmaking

Issue 3 button

My kids and I have been having fun with printmaking for a long while now, so I rounded up some older posts with various printmaking activities that could be used to complement those in Art Together Issue Three: Printmaking. First, though, I wanted to make sure to let you know that Jen is giving away a copy this week; she also shares her and her daughter’s experiences as they begin to explore the issue. I also have a guest post at FIMBY, for which I’m really grateful. Renee is wonderful to work with.

Paint Prints: This post from three years ago (!) demonstrates a version of monoprinting using an acrylic box frame and tempera paint. (My daughter was two. Goodness.)

Labeling the Studio: The kids and I used a slide-decal process–making our own using contact paper–to label all those glass jars we use to store pencils, markers, and so on. The directions are found in the book Print Workshop, which I also list in the resources for Issue Three.

Making Prints While the Sun Shines: Sun paper is an easy and striking way to experiment with making prints. (I like to use the prints in collages, too.)

Craft Foam Printmaking: I led this activity with a group of preschoolers in our co-op last year, and the results were fantastic. It’s a form of collagraph, which is one of the activities in Issue Three, except all the pieces are of craft foam.

How To: Freezer Paper Stencils describes the process of making your own stencil for a shirt or bag, and this post from almost three years ago shows how my boys used the process to design and create their own t-shirts.

Another practical application of printmaking: my daughter created her own cards to sell in order to raise money to give a goal through Heifer International.

A couple of months ago I described how I created the title for Issue Three.

And finally, last week I posted a tutorial on a way to use the gelatin plate to mimic intaglio printmaking methods.

Building up the Mail Stash

February might be a tough month for blogging, because much of the kid-involved art exploration going on here will probably end up in either my column or my e-zine. After those are published, the outtakes can and probably will end up here (we are exploring so. much.), but until then… I’m excited about the things we’re reading, doing, and planning to do, yet have to be quiet about it here.

mail stash at

However, I can share with you that I’ve been building up my mail stash! With odds and ends of time in the art studio, I’ve made lots of postcards to send out. These aren’t for swaps–as fun as swaps are, I think right now I much prefer the idea of sending out mail to people with whom I already have a connection. I can add a personal note and have the fun of waiting for it to land and brighten a day. I haven’t set a formal goal with this (because it’s a FUN THING), but I like the idea of trying to send out something every week. So while the kids were making Valentines, I made Valentine-themed postcards. When I had ten minutes downstairs, I collaged some Bristol board to turn into postcards. It’s like a quick hit of art therapy, and then comes the fun of sending them out to friends.

I can also share this: in case you missed it on Twitter, a get-to-know-me questionnaire was featured on the Home/School/Life blog last week. Check it out!

Friday Links on Saturday

Taken at Wat Arun by my husband, used here so I have a pretty picture to go with this post.

Taken at Wat Arun by my husband, used here so I have a pretty picture to go with this post.

Between Monday being a holiday and Wednesday being a snow day and tracking delayed and canceled flights, I thought Friday was Thursday, so I’m sharing Friday links on Saturday. Follow?! Anyway, just a few things I saw this week that I thought were interesting:

Take Care of Your Little Notebook by Charles Simic, tweeted by iHanna. I have multitudes of notebooks…a writing one, a project one, sketchbooks, the One With the Grocery List and Meal Plans, one in my bag at all times… (I sell little notebooks, too). I loved this piece. Evernote-on-my-phone may occasionally supplement but will never, ever replace an actual notebook for me.

Debunking the Myth of the 10,000 Hours Rule at Brainpickings. We’ve all heard the idea that 10,000 hours at one activity equals mastery, but this explains that it’s how you use those hours that matter–and that errors are a part of the process.

Related, On Doing the Work on Seth’s Blog is a reminder that you actually have to do the work to learn anything. “Learning is not watching a video, learning is taking action and seeing what happens.”

Speaking of learning, as soon as I saw Sketchbook Skool (and yes, the misuse of “k” is driving me nuts) tweeted by Jodi Wiley and I checked it out, I decided to sign up. I’ve been wanting to take a drawing class, and I was really clicked in to the idea of an in-person class with a live, right-there instructor and classmates that I could talk to in real time. But the figure drawing class I had my eye on is $500 and 45 minutes away for something like 10 weeknights in a row. I wasn’t actively looking for an online substitute, but when I saw this it felt right–I use my sketchbook a lot, but I’d like to be more organized about it, and I really like the aspect of seeing how others approach theirs. This is not the same as a figure drawing class, not at all, but it will scratch my itch for a drawing class and, of course, it’s $400 cheaper and I don’t have to spend 90 minutes in the car every week.

Last but not least, there’s a new homeschool magazine debuting soon, Home / School / Life, and I was approached by the editor, Shelli Pabis, to write an art column. I very excitedly said yes. The magazine will be available in print and digital format, and the first issue will be available this spring.

Have a great weekend!

Friday Links

countdown chain at

Our countdown chain. (Get it? Links!)

I retweet lots of interesting things that pass my way on Twitter, but I thought it might be nice to collect them in one place. Given the title, it sounds like maybe I’ll try to do that weekly. Maybe. It really depends on the week now, doesn’t it?!

For this week, though… a hodpodge of interweb goodness for your enjoyment:

Squam announced their 2014 retreat schedule and classes. I am drawn, oh-so-drawn, to September’s retreat this year. The classes look fabulous. It’s always held over our anniversary, though, so I never really feel like it’s an option. Maybe it is for you, though?

Ellen posted a roundup of bag tutorials at The Long Thread.I have 1, 2, 3 Sew, and I’m not sure why I haven’t made the market tote yet. This roundup reminded me I want to (and all the included patterns have links to online tutorials).

Still on the crafty front, Diane at Craftypod is offering to swap a back issue of her Christmas zine for a holiday card. I mailed a card to her yesterday. This is a pretty hard offer to pass up! Plus I’m happy to add her to my list–I’ve taken two of her classes, and she runs my fantasy football league (where I have a fantastic team on paper that manages to lose every week; I’m the Gary Kubiak of fantasy football–an in-joke for you fellow football lovers).

For you fellow makers and do-ers, Seth Godin’s post Trash Talking Important Work is an excellent read. “In fact, this is an important thing you’re about to do, and denigrating it undermines the very reason you’re doing this work in the first place.” Go read it, if you haven’t already.

If you need some reinforcement that your passions are, in fact, worthy of time and effort, read the poem Your real quest over at Bentlily. You want your life to “thunder with joy,” don’t you? I need to print this one out and tape it to my wall.

Moving into one of my passions…there’s a great portrait of Piet Mondrian, taken by Arnold Newman, on the deCordova website. He’s the Featured Artist in the current issue of Art Together, and I love his evolution towards simplicity in his work, the distillation down to the bare minimum of what he felt was necessary. Although to be honest, my favorite of his is an earlier work, The Grey Tree. Those lines!

And finally, if you are feeling overwhelmed by the chorus of “I want!” at this time of year, despite your best efforts to place your attention on the non-material portions of the holiday season, take a look at Christine Carter’s post Are We Wired to Want Stuff? It helps to understand what’s going on (warming–she gets into brain chemistry!) so at least we can talk about it. And admit it, even as an adult, it’s hard not to want, even a little bit, at this time of year. Christine explains what’s going on.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I’ll be back on Monday with my Giveaway Day post. See you then!