Sunday, May 6, 2012

Getting Domestic

Upon returning from New York City a couple of weeks ago, I was pretty tired out. I had been working intensely on finishing up the artwork for The Golden Moth Illumination Deck (see the Kickstarter campaign for the project here) in order to get the artwork files to the printer right before I left for NYC, and didn't realize what an effect it would have on me. It was hard to fully enjoy New York - it just felt fast and full of too many people. Not to say I didn't enjoy elements of being in the city, but it made me realize for the first time that maybe I'm getting too old for it! Years ago I used to live in New York City while attending Pratt Institute and for a couple years post-graduation, and I do love Brooklyn - the brownstones, wrought-iron fences, and local character.

But I was happy to return home to Richmond. I've been taking a bit of a break from working on the Moth Deck project in order to get myself recharged. There is still more artwork that I need to complete, but the bulk of it is finished and the cards are printed! There's some finishing work to be done before I receive the cards and other products, and then I need to do some further finishing before they're ready to be packaged and shipped off.

In the meantime, I've been getting domestic - cleaning and decorating the house and working on the garden. It feels nice to put some energy into my home - a place I spend probably 80% or more of my time in. I've been framing artwork, some that I've kept stashed for a long time, and have finally started decorating the apartment more. The apartment is by no means perfect, but it's got its own charm. And it looks much more homey with artwork hanging on the walls. Here is one of my favorites called "Strawberry Kids," a linocut print by Amanda Kindregan.

Her work has a retro feel to it like old children's book illustrations and I love her colors. Next to the print is the curtain I sewed for the door window. It's not perfect, but looks much better than the oversized sheer purple curtain that was tacked onto the door before. And it was the first chance I had to use my old table-top White sewing machine.

I also decided to make a French Memory Board. I've seen them around before, and the idea appealed to me because I have a lot of postcards and little bitty art that I'd like to display, but I don't like to damage the artwork by taping them to the wall, pushing tacks through, or squeezing them with clips. The beauty of the memory board is that tightly-stretched ribbons are the only things holding the artwork to it, so there is no damage and artwork is easily interchangeable.

I decided to make my memory board different than other ones I had seen by using translucent ribbon. In some memory boards I looked at, the diamond pattern of the ribbon was jarring as it cut across a picture, and obviously you lose some of the image behind the ribbon. 

There are many online tutorials on how to make your own Memory Board. Here's a simple one. I used a pre-stretched 22" x 28" canvas. For mine, I also added 2 layers of cotton batting behind the cloth as I'd seen in other tutorials. This allows you to get the ribbon nice and tight against the cloth so it holds pictures better. I sewed my buttons right onto the board instead of using brads, which took longer than I'd anticipated, but definitely helps the ribbon tension so that the pictures stay put underneath.

 The drawing of the two creatures (foxes?) on the telephone was given to me by my sweet friend Katy O'Brien who I used to live with in Portland, Oregon. Visit her blog to see comic-versions of her adventures in Sweden last summer. She also sent me the postcard of a Moomin character in a flower field to the right of it. To the right of that postcard and underneath it are some pretty collaged cards that my sister Linjung made for me. She makes the best cards and writes amazing messages and poetry to go with them. And on the bottom left is a postcard of artwork by Irene Olivieri.

 Here is a "Happy Animal" doodle and an artist trading card by my friend Rina Drescher. I love the spontaneity and lively colors in her art and paintings.

 The March calendar page is by Chris Milk Hulbert and is from the 2010 Art 180 Calendar. The quote comes from 12 3/4 year-old Shaiheim Durham: "Art makes me feel regular" - a sentiment that speaks to me only too well. Art 180 is an organization in Richmond that provides at-risk youth with free art programs. I led a writing and illustration program last year, I keep meaning to post about it. I'll just say for now that it was tough in many ways, but it changed my life - no lie! The sweet fairy is by my friend (and fellow teacher at The Visual Arts Center of Richmond) Sarah Hand. Sarah illustrated the 2012 Art 180 Calendar for this year. Last year I illustrated the calendar, also using quotes from kids in the art programs. I just got a package in the mail last week from Art 180 - the calendar images I illustrated were made into notecard sets!

True that.


  1. Aijung, as always your posts make me smile and inspire me to create something! Cheers! Bairbre Aine

  2. What a great idea to use translucent ribbon on the memory board, I really like that. And what a fun collection of art ephemera you have.

  3. Thanks Bairbre Aine and Sharon!