It’s been a while…

hasn’t it? I’ve thought often of my blog over these past few months and have been waiting to update it. Until life slows down, until I get back into my studio and into the swing of making books again after a few quiet months, until a quiet break from some summer travels…and now, recently, the weather has gotten so hot that I’ve hardly ventured into my sweltering studio to work.

So I guess I’ve come to terms with the fact that the time is now. To sweat it out while binding some new books and take advantage of free moments to be creative instead of dreaming of air conditioned spaces all day long. Summer has been fun, and full, and productive.

Sweet moments in the last few days include finding a huge cucumber growing in our garden, eating wild berries wherever they can be found, and happening upon a mama bunny with four little babies in our yard. When the days are so full of these little joys, it’s hard to feel like there’s ever enough time in a day to enjoy all that summer brings. And then, interspersed with all of this positivity, I’ll imagine a colder day, and feel like I wouldn’t mind if winter came tomorrow just to give some relief from the heat.

In short, the summer has brought a wealth of contradictions to my household…energy high and low, days enjoyed and endured. Today should be a good one. My plan is to pick blueberries, bake a peach pie,work in the garden, and get to work on some books.

Check the classes page for a July class in two weeks.

More news on new books to come, but for now, here’s a photo of the summer…I guess I’ve forgotten to take photos for the past few months.Lots and lots of love from RP.

For the Makers

 

I’m excited to share this recent interview that I gave for the amazing website              For the Makers. This really neat company was started by Katie Covington, an old friend of mine from high school, who now lives in New York and is buds with both of my sisters. You’ll have to check out their website for the whole scoop on what they offer and what they’re about, but I’ll say that what I love about them (aside from their extremely beautiful design and photos) is that they make creating breathtakingly lovely handmade projects super simple and accessible for artists and non-artists alike.

I love when I find out that old buddies are embarking on entrepreneurial adventures and succeeding in putting out more beautiful things into the world. Enjoy!

what happened in january

I have had some funny thoughts and reflections about the internet lately, specifically the idea that if someone wants to know what I’m up to, they should just ask me, instead of hoping to finding out via the internet. Sometimes I just get a little bit dramatic and indignant, you know, and sometimes I have evil thoughts about Facebook…Anyway, I was feeling torn about writing in a public forum about my personal thoughts, and even though I do write on this blog fairly regularly and really enjoy it, I think I needed to take a little break to reflect on my relationship with the internet.

So in the weeks that I was doing that, I had a few interesting experiences that I’ve wanted to share. Here is the last few weeks in photos, with commentary:

Andy and I took a trip to Newport, Rhode Island after the holidays. It was cold and windy but so pretty, and our room had a fireplace, which was amazing. This was outside of our room, and seemed to describe a wintery New England vacation in a nutshell.

Andy thinks that this one is pretty funny:

I met another bunch of enthusiastic bookbinding students and added a more exploratory component to this month’s class. There was so much creativity  to see and it was really neat to witness.

I’ve been working on my quilt and finished the top! Now I have to find fabric for the back and binding. I can’t wait to post photos when it’s finished.

The only other thing to report is that we got some snow this weekend! I’m so glad that this guy likes to shovel.

Lately

Well, friends, I hope that you can forgive my failure to blog for the past month or so (I’m pretty sure there are a few of you regular readers out there, aside from my mom:) I’ve been in one of those post-holiday ruts- you know, the kind that happens when the craziness of the holidays ends, and after months of daydreaming about slower days with time for relaxing projects you just can’t garner the energy to self-motivate? I think that this type of dilemma probably afflicts the self-employed the most severely, and January was a bit of a difficult month for this self-employed, super-emotional, highly sensitive person.

As I’ve mentioned before, making books can be hard on my body, and when the new year comes, I like to take a break from that brand of labor. My holiday daydreams included some home improvement projects for our home studio, which has less square footage and holds more than most other rooms in the apartment, and making a quilt (always on my mind these days, it seems), and reading books while lying in bed.

The home improvements and lying in bed reading books did happen in January without much effort. But the creativity and motivation for other projects that needed to happen was just not there. At this time of year, it’s important that I experiment with new ideas and materials that I might not have time or energy for in busier months. It’s also an important time to do my taxes and evaluate the past year from a business standpoint, noticing what was successful and what I’d like to do differently in the year to come.

But whoah, was I having a hard time getting moving. There’s an oft-spoken idea that sometimes we have to get to a dark place before we make a change. And last month, I found myself in that dark place, where I couldn’t think of what to do to get out of my creative rut, to feel useful and empowered, and to do something I could be proud of.

Ironically, for all my talk about making a quilt and how much I looked forward to it, I had to get to that place before I decided, out of semi-desperation, to get started on it. I just needed something to do that felt productive and not too hard. And it worked. It was crazy how much better I felt the first day that I started working on it, and the past two weeks have been easier because I have this new project that I look forward to working on in my spare time.

Now that my head is in a better place, I’m looking forward to sharing some of the other successes of January here, including another wonderful class of beginning bookbinding students and assorted little projects. A friend shared recently that we are gaining about two minutes of extra daylight each day at this time of year, which holds a lot of promise for the days to come. I hope that my buddies all over the land are staying warm, and optimistic, too, enjoying the longer days, and learning what you can from the dark.

I had the privelege of teaching a really lovely group of students last Sunday in my most recent Beginning Bookbinding class. I wish that I’d had more time to take photos, but the day really flew by…so much so that when I was at home the evening after the class, I felt a little bit sad that it was over so quickly. Flying Object is a beautiful setting for a class, and I did have a few very sweet moments of looking at my students from across the room, gathered around the table talking and laughing, and helping with one another’s questions when I was otherwise occupied for a minute or two.

I’ve been reflecting a lot, here and otherwise, about the holiday season and all the ways that it can feel overwhelming for me. Looking forward to this all-day class I constantly told myself that it was my last December event before I’d get to relax, so it was surprising to be in the midst of the day and feel calm and joyful. I love teaching bookbinding classes and feel excited and rewarded after each class, but often feel stressed as I prepare. And while I love the convenience and coziness of having a studio space in my home, I love to share the craft of bookbinding with others and realized that being in a crowd of creative people can make stressful times feel a lot more lighthearted and easy. Isn’t it funny how we learn the same lessons over and over? I constantly attempt to commit my newest re-realizations to memory, but I think that there must be value in lessons re-learned, or else they wouldn’t keep coming up.
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Although I did take it easy for a day or so early this week, I’ve found lots to occupy my time, including making even more books, planning another class for January, and preparing for a trip to North Carolina in a few days. I’m very excited to spend some time in front of a warm fire with my sisters, share handmade gifts with my family, and take a quick trip to Asheville with Andy after Christmas. We also got a Christmas tree for the first time ever, and it’s nice to bring a little bit of sentimentality into our home just as I’m winding down and enjoying the winter spirit.
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Hope that everyone is enjoying the shortest day of the year (ours is cold and rainy in the valley) and looking forward to the longer days to come.

 

a holiday tangent…

Rhyming children’s books are one of my secret loves (I’ve spent many an hour reading to amazing little people, and have been known to tear up every single time I get to the end of Yertle the Turtle…it’s such a beautiful story. Really…), and a particular children’s book is coming to mind at this moment, because of this time of year that we’re in, and how it makes me feel. The book is called “Llama Llama Holiday Drama” and there’s this great page, where the little llama is wrapped in Christmas decorations, that says “Llama Llama HOLIDRAMA!” I love that page. And I love that word. Why is this time of year so dramatic? Why am I seriously considering going to bed at 9:00? Well, other than for the very practical reason that I’m tired and cranky and had a long day? This is not really  my time of year to be practical, though.

My body has been aching due to my DIY notions of doing every step of the laborious bookbinding process by hand. At a craft fair this weekend, a customer attempted to compliment my hard work by saying that bookbinding requires a lot of physical work and that I must have a lot of strength. I responded that actually I have a lot of back pain. I said it with a smile, trying to be lighthearted, but…it was kind of a dramatic response if you ask me.

Also dramatic is my notion that I have to muscle through November and December in order to get my reward in the form of January. Today I just had to quit, and take a miniature version of the big break that I’m planning in a week or two. Thank goodness for the realization that it’s okay to be a day or two behind, and for the comic relief that came in the form of this blog post, which I happened upon as I was trying to find an image of the Holidrama page from the Llama Llama book. Enjoy.

exciting events coming up!

I’m really excited for these two events, happening in the next two weeks:

GOLDMINEIMAGE3

First, GOLDMINE, an amazing Pop-Up shop of wonderful handmade goods, is open next week only. I’m honored to be selling my books among such beautiful work. If you’re in the area, do yourself (and some hardworking artists) a favor and do some holiday shopping here.

GOLDMINEPOSTERAlso, I’ll be selling my books and more at the SOWA Holiday Market next weekend in Boston. This will also be a bad-ass show with more lovely handmade goods than you can imagine.

Your support of hardworking artists means so much! So do right this Christmas and support handmade.