Sunday, June 11: Reading & art talk

Join me on Sunday, June 11 at Phoenix Rising Printmaking Cooperative in downtown Columbus for a reading of my Flying Adventures book and accompanying art talk (which now has a proper title!): Creative Persistence: Lessons From a Long-term Project.  Details below.  Phoenix's address is 243 N 5th St, Suite 140, Columbus, Ohio 43215.  Hope to see you!  

If you're planning on coming, kindly rsvp to

News: Grant Awards | Upcoming Reading

Saturday, May 6 - Flying Adventures Reading at the International Women's Air & Space Museum

As part of the International Women's Air & Space Museum's Family Day celebration, they'll be rolling out the red carpet for a Flying Adventures reading from 10:30-11am.  The community event, themed "Soaring into the Future," begins at 10am and continues until 2pm, with exhibits, activities, and entertainment.  Admission is FREE. If the weather's nice, John & I will be flying up in the Starfighter so that folks can climb all over it :-)

On the wing at Mad River airfield in Ohio

On the wing at Mad River airfield in Ohio

 The IWASM is located at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland.  I only just discovered the museum last year... read my blog post about it if you'd like to know more.



Announcing two Awards from the GCAC!

"Congratulations!" letters

I am honored once again to be the recipient of two Greater Columbus Arts Council Artist in the Community grants. The first is a supply grant which will help me purchase frames for the Flying Adventures exhibit. The second is a generous professional development grant which will fund a private bookbinding workshop with Jace Graf of Cloverleaf Studios in Austin, Texas. I look forward to honing my skills!

... and, well, eating lunches around the corner at Il Chilito. Gosh that place is sooo good!

I've been to Cloverleaf a couple times already, one to help finish & send off a group portfolio project to which I'd been a contributor, and another to participate in an intro-to-basic-bookbinding class.  I definitely needed something more involved, and when I asked Jace if he'd take me on as a private student for a weekend, I was so happy he said yes.  I am thinking of using an exposed-tape binding for my new edition of Flying Adventures. No glue means my images won't peel off the inkjet coating in between signatures.  Plus I could really have fun with color combinations for the covers and thread. The photo below is one of Jace's examples of that binding style.

Exposed-tape binding

I can’t thank the GCAC enough for their continued support of this project and all that they do to support the arts in our city!

New Flying Adventures Website

I’m sooo excited to announce a new page on my website for my Flying Adventures project.  I’ve been working hard all winter to fit what feels like a million puzzle pieces together.

The Flying Adventures of Two Candy Cane Pen Friends

First off, last year the Greater Columbus Arts Council awarded me a grant which helped fund the purchase of my new printer --- yes!!  I now have a lot of paper samples to test out both for the new edition of the book and also the framed exhibit.  I was worried that there’d be a huge learning curve, but for the most part it's gone pretty smoothly.  Thank you, GCAC & the Epson p800!

Paper samples
Epson P-800

Flying Adventures has grown into what feels like an octopus of a project that now exists in several formats. It’s been difficult sometimes trying to prioritize what next step I need to take to move it forward.  In the fall I was able to get my illustrated reading & art talk together, and while I thought that working on a new edition of the book would be next on my studio list, what I really needed to do was start thinking about how I wanted to print and frame the exhibit so that I can start sending out proposals.  It was also time to put together a proper page for Flying Adventures on my website.  So, off to work!

I thought at first that printing would be easy.  What I didn’t realize was that while the printing itself wasn’t difficult, it had been six years since I first edited images for the book, and now I was seeing them in a different way.  I wanted less contrast, more shadow detail.  A warmer tone.  Then I thought, will I see this imagery differently every time I print a new edition?  Maybe so.

Pencil draft

I was also wondering if I’d need to use a different pen to write the text.  I looove my Pilot V-Ball extra fine (I use it for everything!) but with the exhibition prints being a little bit larger than the original book, I wasn’t sure if I needed a thicker line.  Thankfully I didn’t!

Everyone always asks how I manage not to stress out about hand lettering the text without any using any guide lines.  I’ve been writing in journals since I was 12… I think I'm just used to it.  There’s a little bit of planning involved in that I pencil the text on scrap paper just to see where things might generally line up.  But then I just go for it.

Hand lattering text

To recreate the feeling of a three-dimensional, "open book," I create a signature of sorts by scoring, folding, and then sewing two blank pages to the finished print. I then hand tear the paper edges and bend the pages just a little bit so that the paper doesn’t lie completely flat.  After that I sew the whole signature to the mounting board.

Hand-torn edges

I found THE perfect frames - a 14x20 size, inch-deep shadowbox frames that aren’t too expensive.  What is it about seeing finished work IN a frame?  I got goosebumps when I held it up... it really does look like an open book!

Finished framed signature
Framing detail

This is what they’ll look like on the wall...

Installation view
Installation view

What’s next?  Finding places to exhibit, give readings and artist talks, and teach workshops.  If you know of a venue that might be a good fit, let me know!  Whether it's an aviation-related organization, an art center, school, or community program, I would love to bring Flying Adventures and its related programming to your neighborhood.  Visit the new Flying Adventures project page to find out more.

Flying Adventures  zine


I am happy to report that the debut reading of my Flying Adventures book at Snow College in Utah went well! I thought I'd be nervous but I wasn't, and I really enjoyed giving a talk afterwards about the history of how the book came to be and where it's headed.  The audience was so welcoming and asked great questions that made me rethink having taken out parts of the talk in the interest of timing.  They need to go back in.  What I thought was so funny was that everyone wanted to know what pen I'd used to write the text (it's a Pilot V-Ball fine).  I had one in my bag, since it is my absolute favorite pen, and they wanted to try it out and took pictures of it with their telephones.  This cracked me up.  Someone suggested I should ask Pilot to sponsor me, and it never even occurred to me that I am a pilot using a Pilot pen.  Sorta funny.

My first audience!

My first audience!

Students checking out  Flying Adventures  after the reading

Students checking out Flying Adventures after the reading

Answering questions after the reading

The small part of Utah that I saw was absolutely beautiful --- I've never spent any time there --- and I loved my stay at the Osborne Inn in Spring City.  After rolling in hungry late at night, I had a most delicious plate of their homemade chocolate chip cookies for dinner.  In the morning I woke up to such pretty light!

Curtains at the Osborne Inn
Door to the patio at the Osborne Inn

My photo-friend and art professor at Snow College, Amy Jorgensen, also runs the Granary Art Center in Ephraim. She was kind enough to give me a tour of their gallery space, which included 40 Moons, an exhibit by another photo-friend of ours, Elizabeth Stone.  I loved that I was able to see Elizabeth's work hanging on the wall after having seen it in a portfolio box when she first showed it to me last year.

40 Moons  by photographer Elizabeth Stone

40 Moons by photographer Elizabeth Stone

I also loved this installation by Stephanie Leitch called Interstices.  Long pieces of weighted string hang from the ceiling in a grid, and video is projected onto them --- the whole thing looks like shimmering rain, and you can see the window of the building through the strings.  I could have watched that all day.

Interstices  by Stephanie Leitch

Interstices by Stephanie Leitch

I tacked on an extra day to my Utah stay so that I could visit my friend Ben and his family.  When he first moved to Salt Lake, he posted these beautiful photos on Facebook of Antelope Island, and I knew I had to go!  So we took the afternoon and drove out.  The weather was moody:  on-and-off drizzle, dark clouds, sun here and there... even a rainbow.  It was perfect!  

Antelope Island State Park
Antelope Island State Park, causeway
Dark skies, Antelope Island State Park
Grasses, Antelope Island State Park
Great Salt Lake rain, Antelope Island State Park
Collecting samples, Antelope Island State Park
Rainbow, Antelope Island State Park

Thank you, Utah, and everyone I met there, for making my visit so memorable!  I am looking forward to coming back again and staying a little longer :-)

"Flying Adventures" Debut

I’m pretty excited.  A few posts ago (you can read it here) I wrote about getting back to work on my Flying Adventures book.  Yes it’s been kind of a long and rough road getting this thing back on my project table, but this week is the debut of my reading and artist talk at Snow College in Utah and I thought it was time to finally start talking about my plans for the book.  I’ve been worried I’m going to jinx things if I start talking about it before I’ve gotten some exhibits/readings/successes under my belt, but I realize it’s time. Life is short!

To catch everyone up, here’s the nutshell version of the book’s history, and where I’m taking it next...

Soooo... I taught myself how to bookbind and made The Flying Adventures of Two Candy Cane Pen Friends as a gift for a friend after an adventure we had (Read a bit about that HERE.) (Or read the entire book HERE.)

At some point I realized this was going to be more than just a gift as it had turned into a huge project.  I made myself a copy too, and wondered how to share it with others.  Publishing seemed logical, but I had no idea how to publish a book, especially a not-very-mainstream one like this. So I scanned the pages & put it on my website, and also made a 40 page abridged version -- my zine -- to sell & give away. 

Things sort of fizzled after that.   Life was more important than the book for a while.  My parents died, and I’d been helping my brother take care of them.

Some encouraging news, though! … I received an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council for my work on the book.  This pepped me up again.  Then Chronicle Books wanted to see it!  Off it went:

Sadly, it was returned with a note: “Very charming, but we don’t see a place for it in our catalog at this time.”  I was pretty crushed.  If Chronicle - the king of quirky books - didn’t want it, what chance did it have?

Photo-friends I was with this winter said, “Hey! Your book hasn’t seen its day in the sun!  Find another way to get it out there!”   

So I thought of all the places & ways I might be able to bring the book to others.  Because, in the end, that’s what it’s about: connecting a project with people who will really love to see it.

I realized I was actually grateful that Chronicle hadn’t taken it.  It wasn’t ready to go out into the world as-is.  It had been a gift for my friend, not really intended for a larger audience.  So I am making a new book and then bringing it to others in more than one way:  I’ll offer “illustrated readings,” where I’ll read the book and project pages in a slideshow.  I’ll frame pages and create an exhibit so viewers can literally walk through the book.  I’ll self-publish a new zine.  I’ll partner with art & community centers, schools, and museums to offer workshops and availability as an artist-in-residence as I work on new book editions. I’ll bring it to the aviation community.  Who knows what other opportunities will come up?

One thing at a time. I took an inspiring workshop with bookbinding wizard Jace Graf of Cloverleaf Studio in Austin, Texas.  I left with all sorts of new ideas for how I might want to approach printing and binding and presentation.

Then later this year I spent a week at a friend's house and reworked the book layout.

Just as I was finishing it up and clearing off the table, I received an email from a photo friend/art professor at Snow College in Utah, asking if I’d like to be on their fall calendar of visiting artists.  Ever since then I’ve been hard at work on my reading & artist talk.

It’s finally ready to go!  At first I thought I’d just run through a “how I made this book” chronology, but I wanted it to be better than that.  I’m hoping to inspire people to think outside the box when it comes to getting a project out into the world.

After I’m back from Utah -- and a trip to Seattle to take some other photographs for the book -- I’ve got studio work to do!  I have to start testing out papers, both for the new book and for the exhibit.  I've got a whole stack of samples to get through:

The Greater Columbus Arts Council awarded me a grant to help me purchase a printer, for which I am ever so grateful. I’ve also found shadowbox frames which will be perfect for showcasing book pages in a three-dimensional format. 

And - Yes! - my new business cards came!  I’m excited to finally be able to hand out a card that represents more of what I do.  

Well, I'm off to the great wide-open West! I have never spent any time in Utah and I can't wait to see more than the view from the airport.  Come along for the ride on Instagram & FB...