I try to make pretty things and to make humans happier.
More attempts at lino block prints! This one was chosen as his favorite by a person quite near and dear to my heart. The eight of wands.
This card represents movement, quick changes, action, and progression. Ya got eight wands that are sprouting leaves flying super fast through air on the way to something big. You’re working warp speed on something you care about, making plans to accomplish something ASAP, or just going where the wind takes you quite quickly.
Another round of messing around with different colors of paper and ink, and cleaning up my carvings.
Here she is rockin out in a dope crown of stars, a lovely dress, voluminous-as-all-hell hair, a big ol belly, and a pomegranate in her hand. She has all the potential in the world and is ready to burst into creativity. She’s got a baby growing inside of her, ready to greet the world and learn and grow. She holds a fruit that’s filled with seeds, just waiting to be sown and recreate in abundance. She’s a symbol of grace, beauty, fertility, nurturing, and creation. Her neck seems to blend into the hills surrounding her because she’s very attuned with nature.
She’s got big things on the horizon that are gonna come to fruition before she knows it.
I think Seattle mound houses, also known as spite mounds, and what led to their creation, are one of the coolest, most surreal things I’ve ever stumbled upon. Seattle as we know it today was built up by the timber industry and prostitution (the earnings from which went to establish the first public schools here!). A fire in 1989 completely changed – and literally reshaped – the city. Twenty-five city blocks were destroyed in the fire – the entire business district, half of downtown. railroad stations, and wharves.
Seattle is hilly as all hell, and back in the early 1900s, horses pulling buggies and humans walking through town were having absolutely none it. It was annoying to maneuver through the city with those inclines. What does one do when just about everything around them is destroyed? Use that destruction to completely change the city’s landscape forever.
For around 30 years, more than 50 million cubic yards, or about 7,000 Olympic swimming pools, of earth were moved from the city to the waterfront. Self-capsizing scows were used to transport the earth to the sea.
Regrading the city essentially required full demolition of all buildings, including houses. At the time, it was referred to as “the largest and boldest municipal regrade project in history.” And the approach to destroying many of the houses was equally dramatic.
Many of the houses that were to be removed from the hill did not have to be torn down. They were simply undermined by a stream of water, and when they tumbled into the hole they were set on fire.
V. V. Tarbill, 1930
Most folks were jazzed because it meant when they rebuilt, their property values would skyrocket.
However, as the story goes, some residents were not so pleased with this plan.
ENTER: THE MOUND HOUSE
Some folks were understandably not all that keen on having their houses or land destroyed by the city. They refused to vacate, so the regrade literally happened up to the edge of their properties, creating a surreal landscape of enormous singular mounds as the earth around them was removed. Another name for the houses were “spite mounds,” because even in the early 1900s people were cracking hilarious jokes.
There are still remnants of these holdouts around the city to this day. (Mostly along Melrose if you’re familiar with Seattle)
Hi friends! I’ve lately been trying to work more on the “strong internet presence as an artist” thing since standing out in the world of art and crafting is a tough game. I love engaging with and supporting fellow makers of things – coming from different backgrounds and training and styles, making dope art, crafting things I couldn’t have imagined – and being able to share my work and make a name for myself.
I’ve been doing some research and figured I could share some of the things I learned with any fellow makers of things who, like me, might not be experts on the subject.
Establish what it is that makes you stand out in your field and own it! Your “brand” should encompass something unique about your art, or about you, so that folks learn to recognize your style.
Define yourself with a key phrase, and stick with it. It should be concise and unambiguous. Key phrases help connect with your audience in a way that a logo alone can’t.
Establish your aesthetic! Logos can be cool, but mostly importantly stick with a consistent look in terms of fonts, For example, the old UPS label wasn’t fancy at all, but through simplicity and repeated use, it became widely recognizable. Norman Rockwell simply used his own signature as his “logo.”
Each piece of communication has to be effective. Consistently use your key statement and logo/aesthetic on everything you create. For sending emails, throw your personal phrase or logo below your signature line. Make them prominent on postcards or flyers, and, of course, your website and business cards.
Here are a couple of folks who I think embody the journey from casually having a hobby to making a prominent name for themselves. Their online presence and consistency in both aesthetic and production of content definitely helped them build the presence they now have.
Alysha Littlejohn is a super dope craftsman and the founder and Littlejohn’s Yarn. She built out a strong YouTube presence in order to share crochet patterns, decor ideas, reviews, and generally cool crotchet-y mastery accessible to audiences across all skill levels. She emphasized that part of her success was “consistency and research.” Here’s some of what she had to say about her journey from casually crocheting for friends to ultimately having a wildly popular presence in the yarn world. Get it, Miss Alysha!
I’ve crocheted for years until maybe recently, like five years ago, five or six years ago, I began selling my own crochet items, and that progressed into blogging, pattern writing, and more, just from that.
I’m like, people care about what I have to say, so therefore, I have to make sure I put forth good information, because I don’t want to lead anybody astray.
I realized you just have to be consistent, putting something out every single week.
You just can’t put out content one day and five months later put out something else. And also, you need to learn how to promote what you put out. People are not just going to find you. You have to make sure you can find your audience.
Robyn Blair Davidson, has done a knockout job of building an identity in the art world with her candy-ful, bright pop art pieces. She made one for herself, because she thought it was funny. Then some for her family. Then some more for her friends. Then even more for folks seeking her work out via her online presence. Get it, Miss Robyn!
“Friends and family were constantly asking if I’d make [a piece] for them out of their favorite candies. Everything took off from there very organically. I started getting custom orders, at first by word-of-mouth and social media, and turned it into a full-time business.”
Anywho, gave me some interesting things to think about and work on. Hope it was helpful for you as well!
Another (re-learning how to do this) lino block print of one of my favorite tarot cards. Here she is rockin out in a dope crown of stars, a lovely dress, voluminous-as-all-hell hair, a big ol belly, and a pomegranate in her hand. She has all the potential in the world and is ready to burst into creativity. She’s got a baby growing inside of her, ready to greet the world and learn and grow. She holds a fruit that’s filled with seeds, just waiting to be sown and create in abundance. She’s a symbol of grace, beauty, fertility, nurturing, and creation. Her neck seems to blend into the hills surrounding her because she’s very attuned with nature.
She’s got big things on the horizon that are gonna come to fruition before she knows it.
Or at least that’s what I like to think. Hope you’re doing well, friends.
More playing with block printing and tarot. Only feels right during snowstorms and a pandemic and quarantining to carve The Hermit.
The hermit lives high in the mountains where the stars shine brightly, symbolizing his heightened awareness of his own spirituality. He holds a staff in one hand to steady himself as he walks in solitude, and carries a lamp in the other to light his way. The light doesn’t illuminate anything at a distance, but keeps him aware of his near surroundings and reminds him that the journey itself is part of the wonder of life.
Or so I say. I dunno. Hope you’re having an excellent day.
It snowed in Seattle (a rare event!) so I strapped on some skis to make it one whole block down the street. The Boy was a fantastic commentator. Also, the skis I own are branded as the Luv Machines, so in their honor, I present this song.
I’ve been trying my hand at linoleum printing, starting off with my favorite tarot cards. This one, The Fool, is my favorite. Like lino printing, I’m also new at tarot, so better educated folks: please correct me if I’m interpreting this incorrectly.
The Fool is stepping off a cliff into the great unknown, but he’s quite jolly about whatever may come next. He’s got his small knapsack with the few things he needs for his journeys. He’s looking up to the sky and is pleasantly oblivious to the fact that he’s walking off a cliff. He’s got his trusty dog friend at his heels maybe holding him back from walking off a cliff, or maybe just being a bud along for whatever’s ahead. He’s got a neat lil flower that represents his love of beautiful and humble things. There are mountains in the background that will be hard for him to maneuver at some point in the future, but he’s not concerned about that just yet. He’s just happy to be here.
I love this card because I think carrying few belongings on an unknown journey with naïve joy and a trusty canine pal is absolutely wonderful. And I’m just happy to be here.
Gnawa music (Ar. ڭْناوة or كْناوة) is a body of Moroccan and sub-Saharan African Islamic religious songs and rhythms. Its well-preserved heritage combines ritual poetry with traditional music and dancing. The music is performed at lila, communal nights of celebration dedicated to prayer and healing guided by the Gnawa maalem, or master musician, and their group of musicians and dancers. Though many of the influences that formed this music can be traced to sub-Saharan West-Africa, its traditional practice is concentrated in Morocco. Gnawa music has spread to many other countries in Africa and Europe, such as France.
In a Gnawa song, one phrase or a few lines are repeated over and over, so the song may last a long time. In fact, a song may last several hours non-stop. However, what seems to the uninitiated to be one long song is actually a series of chants describing the various spirits (in Arabic mlouk (sing. melk)), so what seems to be a 20-minute piece may be a whole series of pieces – a suite for Sidi Moussa, Sidi Hamou, Sidi Mimoun or others. Because they are suited for adepts in a state of trance, they go on and on, and have the effect of provoking a trance from different angles.
Do you know how beautiful you are? I think not, my dear.
For as you talk of God, I see great parades with wildly colorful bands Streaming from your mind and heart, Carrying wonderful and secret messages To every corner of this world. I see saints bowing in the mountains
Hundreds of miles away To the wonder of sounds That break into light From your most common words.
Speak to me of your mother, Your cousins and your friends. Tell me of squirrels and birds you know.
Awaken your legion of nightingales— Let them soar wild and free in the sky. And begin to sing to God. Let’s all begin to sing to God! Do you know how beautiful you are?
I think not, my dear, Yet Hafiz Could set you upon a Stage And worship you forever!
Haven’t been having a great go of it lately, and if anyone who is also not having a great go of it lately needs some bleak landscape with a glimmer of a sunrise on the horizon, here ya go. Big hugs. I love you.
Inspired by our lord n savior Bob Ross. Another wintery day here with nothing to do but paint along with Mr. Ross – the best thing to do during a crappy pandemic-y, drizzly, political insurrection-y day.
I hope you’re all doing well and being safe and remaining sane. I love you.
It took over a month to finish writing all of these names of black folks killed by police brutality. I had only intended to use one small part of our fence for names, but as I kept learning and listening there was literally no space left to write after a while. I’m embarrassed that it took me this long to learn these names and the lives they lead.
Our landlords said my chalk art on the fence was causing harm and inviting vandalism and needs to be removed. I’ve sat and listened with people who have asked for chalk to write the name of their black friend killed by police violence. I’ve learned about every one of the lives of the folks whose names I’ve written. I’ve sat with parents who asked for help explaining to their children what is happening right now. I’ve cried with a neighbor when he brought flowers to put next to his dead friend’s name. This is not about me – this is about these black lives. Being told that chalk invites vandalism and needs to be gone just feels not great. My literal blood, sweat, and tears have gone into writing everyone’s name and I’d like to think of it as a work of art in support of BLM. I’m here. I’m learning. I’m listening. Your life matters.
These are the names of black people killed by police brutality. We’re all here to support this movement and amplify your voices.
Friends, Romans, countrymen, I have missed you! I hope you’re doing well in this bizarro moment in history. Gonna add some new art soon, but for now I present to you this amazing comic that describes how I view life more concisely than I ever could. Love you and hope you and yours are holding up as healthily and sanely as can be.
I’ve been teargassed, egged, sonic cannoned, flash grenaded, and helped pull folks to safety to treat wounds caused by police instigation in protests here in Seattle while working as a first aider recently and am very tired and haggard. But humans are just so lovely and deserve respect and kindness.
I had a choreographed gymnastics routine to this song complete with back walkovers when it came out in 2003. Every lady got at least a little bit of ancestral witch in her. Plz don’t forget. Collect those dope rocks or shells or dead plants or whatever gives you strength, my friends. ❤ R
Coreografaba(??) una rutina a esta cancion cuando era nina. Cada mujar/chica tiene por lo menos poca bruja en su persona. Colecciona las piedres especiales o los caracoles especiales o las plantes muertes especiales – lo que te da la esfuerza, mis amigxs. (Perdon..mi espanol no es perfecto :D)
Hello my long lost internet friends! Turns out I am not great at balancing working full time and trying to maintain a blog and make pretty Things at the same time. But I gots a new series of Things I’ve been working on and will be posting soon. How have you been? I hope you’re having a lovely day, friend. It’s nice to see you again.
Hello friends! I made another quilt square trio – this time in the spirit of the holidays. And they’re on cards! Would you like to send some to people you love (and help your internet friend pay rent)? If so, give me a shout (or swing by the holiday markets in Wallingford or Issaquah!).
I’ve found these squares to be so peaceful and meditative to work on. They make me feel warm and nostalgic for the midwest. They always take about ten times as long as I expect, but the act of slowly shuffling through scraps of paper I compulsively collect, laying out the geometry behind the pattern, and trying a million different shades of colors before finding the right one is a nice way to spend a day. Also, shoutout to my roommate for teaching me how to use a jigsaw to cut the wood for these.
Another homage to the skilled folks that make things to keep us warm and to the quilt barns I saw all over while living in the midwest for a few years. How cool to have your own signature square on a barn.
Cards and prints available as always (online or at the Wallingford Holiday Market in Seattle on Nov 30!) Cheers, R.
I’ll be hanging out and peddling my wares at the first ever (!!) Wallingford Holiday Market in Seattle, and YOU SHOULD COME HANG OUT WITH ME. Please? I’d be thrilled to meet you. November 30 from 10 am – 3 pm.
I’ll have some cards, prints, originals, journals, tote bags, and other things with my art on them. I’d like to think people that you care about would be thrilled to receive them as gifts, because I made all of them with lots of love and would be very happy to know that other people get joy from them.
I’ll post some photos of these alleged wares later, but if you can’t be there in person, feel free to shoot me a message and I’ll ship em your way.
It’s cold and quilts are nice for when it’s cold. Here’s a quilt square made of paper. My father makes very beautiful quilt squares out of clay. I’m ripping his idea off. Hi, Dad. Send me some photos of your clay work so I can hype you in exchange?
Got cards in the works for this new quilting series! Gimme a shout if ya want some.