Sunday, June 29, 2008

intro to letterpress

more cuts!

setting up....

my letterpress print!

last sunday i attended an 'intro to letterpress' class where we learned the basics of setting up a simple letterpress form (well not really because we didn't lock any of the cuts or type) and printed on a vandercook press and a small manual showcard press.

our instructor, akemi, of kozo studio has been collecting letterpress type and cuts for 20 years and her collection was really cool. she had a lot of old business and organization cuts of old logo, government emblems and marketing tag lines.

for my print, i found a whale that must have been a mascot for a company and another student found the 'thank you' cut for me so that i could create thank you cards.

it was a really fun day and maybe in the next year i will take the 2 day intensive letterpress course that akemi offers. the one thing that felt a bit alien to me was that unlike other methods of printmaking, with letterpress you work with type and art that is already created (unless you send out your own art to be made into cuts) so your prints aren't 100% created by you.

a few more photos of the day are here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

luscious loire valley, france

the loire valley was the playground of the nobility. amongst the thriving vineyards that dot the countryside sit fairytale chateaux that were the homes of royal mistresses or summer retreats of the born wealthy.

things i love about france (and in particular, the french countryside)

  1. people sit down for their coffee. coffee isn't a vente non-fat latte caffeine-fix "to go". i suspect that's partly why bars and cafe's charge an exorbitant price for any drink -- they expect you to sit down for a length of time and enjoy your beverage while having a social interaction.

  2. open-air markets. we found an excellent weekend market in our base town -- tours -- where we were able to purchase beautiful cheeses and olives, fresh baguettes, an unusual variety of strawberries (the vendor was selling five different kinds!), and delicious red pears to have as a picnic at the postcard-perfect chateau of chenonceaux.

  3. environmentally-friendly! everyone at the market carried baskets or reusable bags to do their weekly shopping, all sourced locally. lights in hallways and bathrooms were all on timers, to switch off automatically within a few minutes. our shower in the hotel was a push-button shower (like the push-button faucets you get in public bathrooms) to save water. and the trains are uber cycling friendly, with lots of carriages holding special bike racks so that you can take your bike on-board.

  4. croissants!!! oh so yummmmmm. no one does them like the french!

  5. a real "joie de vivre." shops, supermarkets, gas stations and even (annoyingly) car rental places are all closed on sundays and even mondays. an inconvenience when travelling -- but in a way also very refreshing to know the locals probably spend their weekends with friends and family rather than running errands.

  6. no food chains! no starbucks, mcdonalds, kfc's, or chain restaurants in sight! you walk into a little restaurant and you know it's run by mom and pop. and while i love some of the italian eateries in london, it's a bit depressing to see them identically repeated in neighborhoods throughout the city, and even all over the country.

photos: the chateau of amboise on a very very rainy day; the cutest little french tea shop ever; view from the fortress at the top of chinon; gothic cathedral of tours; the gorgeous gardens and chateau of villandry (last two pics)

Friday, June 13, 2008

dream street

dream street

sometimes i dream about how lovely it would be to have a street where all the people i love would live all together. the little bungalows would be where my sisters and our significant or parents would live. the two story with roof top patio building would be an art/office. the high-rise is a place where friends visiting from out of town could stay and the long one story is a dog training/rescue rehab centre.

of course the environment would be priority number one on this street. each building has it's own sustainable power supply.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

feeling a bit lost

one of my most favourite illustrators kozyndan recently created a beautiful panorama. they write that this article about plastic was a starting point for the trash monsters that they've drawn in their illustration.

i consider myself pretty eco-conscious and i try my best to reduce, reuse and recycle, but the plastic ocean article that inspired kozyndan's panorama really shocked me.

the article talks about how plastics are making their way into our food chain. among more conventional info about plastics affecting wild life, it also says that:

that is so scary. what scared me even more is that i'm surrounded by plastic! just quickly scanning everything i own, my cellphone, tv, computer, pen, chair, desk lamp... not only is everything in my house plastic, all my food comes wrapped in plastic, my skin care and hair care products - plastic, junkmail - wrapped in plastic, ...i even own nylon clothing!

sadly, most of this plastic can't be recycled because there are no facilities to do this in ontario (and probably north america). and even if it is recycled, according to this article, virgin plastic needs to be added to the recycled plastic for it to be reusable.

the article made me want to stop all my consumption of plastic, but it's everywhere. i can reduce my intake of plastic things, but it seems like i'll never be able to cut out all plastic from my life.

and that is why i'm feeling a bit lost and sad right now. i'm living in and leaving a world that is filled with plastic that will never go away.