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finishing and beginning… part 1.

August 19, 2008 at 6:57 am

The bread zine is done, I kind of gave away all my copies at the zine swap, but… I’m gonna make more. It’s still a rough draft, so if you’d like to try out the recipe and give me feedback (on recipe, instructions, design, etc), I will totally send you one: email me!

Here are some sketches of the beginning of a new project:

[sketches in chronological order L-R, click for a larger version]

This has been cooking in my brain for a while, but it all came together just now thanks to a false-alarm deadline. I wanted to donate a print to the AS220 print lottery, and for some reason I’d convinced myself that I had to make a brand new print for it… in a week and a half. So I thought about it, discussed it with Mr. Monti my patient and distractable housemate, finally got an idea from a book that’s been sitting in our bathroom for months, and started working frantically, late-late-nite, on these sketches. A day and a half later, I came to my senses and realized I could just give AS220 an already-made print for the lottery, and not have to stress out about it. Yeah!

The drawings, however, kind of ended up embodying an idea I’d been verbalizing (but not yet envisioning) for the print I am going to make through Tiny Showcase: “kitchen, ordinary life, view out window… but no cat, that’s too cheesy.” So now, after a meeting with my distant cousin Dan Wood, the letterpress printer who will be printing the image for TS, the idea has taken on its own life: there will be a small (er… tiny) letterpress version, available through Tiny Showcase in the late fall (?), and a larger screenprinted version, hopefully by late November.

There will be some nice, elegant differences between the two, which have their origins in our different printing methods. The letterpress version will be printed on rice paper, which would get all wrinkly if I printed on it with silkscreen inks. The colors will be different, and will also be used in different ways within the two prints: for instance, I’ll use gray/brown paper and print white on top of it, but since Dan can’t print white over dark with his oil-based inks, the paper he uses will be white. The transparencies will have changes and reversals to make this possible… etc.

[small sketch of the final composition, roughly…]

As I’ve drawn more on the full-sized drawing, I’ve gotten more and more excited about it. I’ve been looking at some Japanese woodblock prints, to inform the composition & other details. There’s a quote that goes along with the image (from that book in the bathroom!) which I think will be printed below it in both prints, large and small. The implications of the text resonate with everything that ended up showing up in the drawing… I think it will come together well, though it will be a while before I print my version of it.

not least: There has been amazing weather here in Providence for the past couple of weeks, an unusually cool and pleasant August. This makes all work and life so much more possible in our not-air-conditioned house, and the lovely days that mix rain and sun make the garden super bountiful.

also — the skies have been beautiful, tempting me out of the house for many bike rides!

click for the full image, looking north from Sprague St. in south prov:

…on the main secretdoor site, I updated the in progress page, and added a page for the near future, which, though already out of date, gives me a chance to put all (“all”) my projects on one page.

also, Jacob Berendes has finally put up an online catalog, where you can get awesome stuff from his Junk Store, including a poster I made and the classic “Worcester: Paris of the Eighties” T-shirt. If you like the stuff, buy it! and help HBML pay their rent & survive another two or two million years.

sticky developments

August 7, 2008 at 6:14 am

Out of the incredible ‘one-man’s-trash-is-another’s-treasure’ troves of my friend Rob C. comes this amazing stovetop “Stovey McTop”, which, despite being somewhat grubby-looking in this crummy partial photograph, is functional!

It’s pretty much exactly what we were looking for, for the Forbes St. kitchen project. An old-school, relatively heavy-duty electric stovetop, with coil burners (not the weird glass ones that are easily damageable and can’t heat up as hot…). It not only has a fifth tiny weird burner, as you can see in the upper left of the photo, but it has TWO large burners: important for a household which cooks meals for twelve people everyday in giant pots, and which, for the past two-and-a-half years, has scraped by with only one large burner on their stove. Hurrah!

Here are some drawings of the kneading process for the bread zine: made from photoreference pictures taken by Andrew P. It’s close to being done, now, with about 12 hours to go…

The bread zine is definitely in rough-draft form, even as I’m about to print up a bunch of copies and hand them out at the zine swap. It needs to be tested out by some people other than me; I really want feedback on the instructions and design, if they are clear and legible, and if the recipe works in other kitchens! So there will be a further, more finished edition after this one. I also have the feeling that the text and images from the zine are going to become part of my poster for the Sustainable Poster Show that Meredith Stern is organizing in Providence this winter. We’ll see…!

distraction? or project?

August 3, 2008 at 3:32 am

Well, the New Urban Arts zine swap is approaching, and I sideswiped myself into working on a zine about how to make bread. So I’ve been doing that for the last little while. I’ve never laid out a document consisting mainly of blocks of text before, so I’ve been constantly referring to Robert Bringhurst‘s Elements of Typographic Style, which Andrew lent me a while ago. It’s great — if I’d gone to school for graphic design I probably would have found out about it years ago — but I am delighted now to discover the many opportunities for distraction and nerding-out that exist within its covers…

I’ve been spending a lot of time at the computer, which is all right, but I am pretty ready to go back to actually drawing. The bread zine is going to be photocopied on good paper, possibly with a screenprint of some kind on the cover: 24 small pages of just one recipe for delicious homemade bread, that you can vary and adjust to your own taste, usable even by someone who’s never baked anything before. If you want a copy, let me know!

Additionally, I got a large fan, making summer a little sweeter:

(which happens to be the same model fan that inspired this project… hmm, I just realized I never put up any images of how that turned out…)

. . . Andrew brought me a giant jar of the burdock-root kimchi we started earlier in the spring. He and I made some more drawings, including, just yesterday, this one:

(a detail)

. . . and, I picked hundreds of green beans from my garden and made dilly beans, about which I can only say, home canning, though complicated, is easier than it looks, try it, try it, try it!

geographical expansion news: If you’re in or around Portland, Maine, you can now go look at and caress some of my posters and postcards at Eli Phant, a ‘handmade stuff store’ run by old friends, that just opened on the eastern end of Congress St!

I’ve been reading Lilah’s blog

…and I’ve been really psyched about Mickey’s comics. All right!

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