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!

Photo-an-hour: birthday!

Ummm, when was the last time I did a photo-an-hour post? August I think. Yikes, time flies! I thought it might be fun to keep track of my birthday hours this year, so here goes...

Okay it's aaaalmost my birthday...

Alarm clock

10am - Slept in and then spent the morning in bed with books and friends.

Reading a book

11am - Still lounging. 

Tiger cat

12pm - Drove up to Worthington to my favorite sewing shop, Sew to Speak.  They were celebrating their 9th birthday!   (Those balloon letters say "sew" but it was windy, so you can't really tell.)

1pm - Still looking at fabrics.  I already bought a couple yards of the second one from the left (the blue/red/white floral).  It's my plan to make a little 60's a-line dress out of it.  I was tempted to get some of the one just to the right of it -- there are unicorns on there! -- but I tried to remember the giant pile of fabric sitting on my sewing table and just took a photo instead :-/  

Cotton & Steel fabrics

2pm - Came home to find a surprise birthday card from my friend Louise!  Thanks, Louise!!

Birthday card

3pm - While I managed to get out of Sew to Speak without purchasing ANY new fabric (whew!), being there inspired me to do some more work on fitting the muslin for the dress I'm working on.  

Sewing my muslin

4pm - Watering my tomato seedlings with my Mom's old water sprinkle bottle she used to use for ironing.  I love that my brother and I have all these old things from my Mom and Dad that we now use in our own houses.  

Orange cat with tomato seedlings

5pm - Drove to Springfield to hang out with friends for the evening and I was hoooooping the taco truck would be open so that I could have my favorite potato-cheese quesadilla.

Taco truck

Yes it was!!!

Taco truck

6pm - My friends, Vicki & Tom & their daughter, Dina, just got home from a trip to Morocco and came back with a new pastime: drinking very sweet peppermint tea made and served in the beautiful tea set they bought over there.  

Moroccan tea set
Moroccan tea cups

7pm - Off to the dance party!  Dina's dance studio was having a fundraiser and, well, you know me and dancing.  Particularly at low-key, non-night-club establishments.

Dance party sign

8pm - I put all my raffle tickets in #8 (my birthday is on the 8th) but still didn't win the wine and truffle basket even after they pulled five names out of the bag!!  I am convinced it's because I'll need that luck for something better soon.

Raffle tickets

9pm - Prince was our chaperone.  Gotta love that.


10pm - Finally called it a night after three hours of dancing.  I loved every minute.  I think I was the only person there who could sing all the words to "Ice Ice Baby." (Although I probably shouldn't admit that.)

Dance cookies

Afterwards, we walked over to Mother Stewart's, Springfield's new brewery & night spot.  They were having some big event with a lot of different bands making music and artists showing work.  They've got a bocce court!

Dina & Vicki

I bought this cup from one of the artists as a little birthday-present-to-me.  It's kind of teacup-sized, only without a handle.  I love it!  

Ceramic cup

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot to show you my birthday present slippers that Vicki & Tom got in Morocco... they're me, don't you think?

Purple Moroccan slippers

I loved my birthday!  John was traveling and with all the snafus Delta was having with the weather that day, I couldn't get out of Columbus to see him. But the day turned out to be so much fun...  reading, sewing, lolling around, dancing, friends!  I actually forgot I was a year older ;-)

Life Lately... Where did February go?

What’s been going on? Is it really spring already? I have to say that, aside from not having any snow, I loved February and I'm still thinkin' about it. Good things happened! 

Claudia with her camera

I got out with my camera.  A little bit.  This is still a struggle as it’s just so easy to shoot with my phone all the time.  I have to make a conscious effort to bring the “real” camera along when I go somewhere.  I’m wondering if it’s that I don’t like lugging around extra stuff (I don’t even really carry a purse.)  That said, my little Fuji XT1 is the size of my old 35mm which I used to take with me everywhere, so it's not like it's heavy or takes up tons of space.  I keep pondering these things as I go out for my walks.

Purple twilight
Griggs Reservoir at sunset

I’ve been making an effort to get outside even when it’s cold, and it’s nice to have Griggs Reservoir right across the street. I love the moods of the water. One of my favorite images is of the ice forming again after one of the thaws we had.  I swear I could almost see it freezing right in front of me.

Ice patterns, frozen rive

My big February happiness by a longshot was singing jazz at the St. Francis pasta dinner.  Yes I bought an Elvis mic!  Yes I took a bunch of selfies with it.  

Claudia with pillbox had and Elvis mic

Yes I wore my pillbox hat and false eyelashes for the show.  (Thanks, Ardell!)

False eyelashes
Vintage dress and shawl

It went so well!  I was so nervous that I’d forget the words at some point but I didn’t. I loved working with Tony Hagood on piano, and the accordion really sounded so perfect with "Moon River" and "La Vie en Rose."  Thank you, John Marazita!

John Marazita, accordion

I suppose I have to think about what’s next with all of this. An open mic somewhere?  Not sure.  But I am proud of myself for preparing.  A year ago I just had a dream, but now I have some songs to make it happen. It was on the bucket list to sing "La Vie en Rose" in French, and I did it.


News at home?  I ran for a seat on our condo board and got elected!  You’re lookin’ at The Landings’ new Vice President.  I love where we live.  This is the name tag I made and wore to the pre-election meet-and-greet.

Owl nametag

Last month I finished the photographs and writing I needed to do to make a new webpage for Flying Adventures.  This was no small thing and had been on my to-do list forever.  I had to figure out how I wanted to print and frame book pages and do some serious thinking about where I want to bring the project and what would make a venue want to host it.  There’s information about the whole project now, including how I can tie a reading & exhibition into educational programming and community outreach.  I am proud of myself for continuing on with this despite how loooong it feels like it's taking.

Sewing. I don’t get very far when Sherman decides to help. Right now I’m working with jersey fabric for the first time, trying to sew some long-sleeve tops.  Success mostly.  But as I try to make one that fits perfectly so that I can archive my pattern changes, I get all frustrated figuring out how to make those changes. I told a friend I threw my sewing machine into the dumpster and gave away my fabric stash because that's what I imagined myself doing. Sigh. I am learning valuable lessons about patience, practice, and how to work smarter: step AWAY from the sewing machine if it’s starting to drive me crazy. (Duh, right? But I’m so stubbornly persistent.) Coming back to it the next day after a break makes all the difference.

Cat on sewing table

Been reading.  It still goes in fits and starts though.  Sometimes I devour pages, and other days it’s more like an afterthought before I go to bed. In my stack right now:  The Colette Guide to Sewing With Knits, Grow Great Grub, Easy Growing (both by Gayla Trail, my favorite gardening author), A Beautiful Mess (fun one about daily-life photography), and On Green Dolphin Street, which I just started.  I just finished House of Sand and Fog, which I borrowed from my brother.  What a story.  You know it’s heading for disaster but you keep hoping something good will happen instead… ooof!  


Oh yeah, with all that warm (barefoot in February!!??) weather, I couldn’t help but catch the gardening bug, especially when the seed catalogs showed up in my mail slot. Does anyone remember the Scholastic books catalog in grade school?  When that thing showed up I pored over those pages, folding over corners and circling books in different color pens based on order of preference.  The seed catalogs remind me of that.  I am probably going to over-order.  I can’t help it.  But at a couple bucks a packet, it beats having a more expensive addiction, right?

Gardening catalogs

Sooo… cheers to longer days and spring!!  How have you been?

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

Life Lately: January

I've never written a "life lately" post, so I thought I'd give it a whirl...

First off, I'm sooo excited to be making progress on one of my goals in such a big way already.  I am working on a song set for none other than the St. Francis Mardis Gras pasta dinner on February 25.  I'm still tweaking the list, but it's mostly standards with some fun ones thrown in for festivity.  Trying to memorize La Vie en Rose in French... wish me luck!

Here, Sherman is helping me pick out music.  "You have to start with Cabaret, of course," he said.

I've also been testing out papers, pens, and framing for the Flying Adventures exhibit.  The prints for frames are bigger than the original book, so I was worried that my handwriting would look too small or the ink line too thin, but it's working out just fine.  In the photo below I'm writing in pencil on scrap paper to see how the words will line up with an image. After getting that ballpark idea, though, it's a pen and no guide-lines.  I take a deep breath and just do it.

I want the framed prints to look like an open book so that they appear three-dimensional, not flat. I decided to hand-sew signatures and mount them individually in shadowbox frames so that you can see all the page edges and the fold of the paper.  I got goosebumps when I held up a finished piece... they look really good if I do say so myself!  Now to start working on 42 of them... 

I visited my brother in Florida a couple weeks ago.  We decided to start going through the boxes of family memorabilia that we'd left in storage after selling Mom & Dad's house.  We got through one box and found some gems!  Here I am with my Mom and our dog and cat when I was five.  I still have the same haircut lol.  And I still love picnics.

My brother just got himself a new office, which is exciting for him, obviously, but also for me because he asked me for my opinion on decorating and artwork, and wants to display some of my photographs.  (My first corporate gig - yes!)  We spent a Saturday afternoon at the Orlando IKEA looking for odds-and-ends (and had meatballs for lunch, of course).  I can't wait for it all to be finished!

I designed a print ad for him too while I was visiting.  I've never done an ad for anyone but myself and I thought it turned out pretty well!  Design work always feels like putting a puzzle together: there are all these independent elements you have to try to fit in a certain space and somehow make it look good.  I designed his website too, which made me realize that I'd love to do more website work.  (Need a site?  Let me know!)

Back at home it feels like there really is no winter.  I got to make that one snowman early in December but there hasn't been snow since.  It's terrible.  That said, I've been going for a walk every day and I'm always wondering what the river's going to look like.  Foggy one day, rain another, a crazy pink sunset... Before the big thaw it was frozen and every now and then you'd hear the dark echo-y twang of the ice cracking.  It was so eerie but beautiful.  Made me jump out of my skin every time.

I got out & explored Columbus a little bit this month too.  Finally went to check out the renovations at the Columbus Main Library.  Fortunately they left the foyer exactly how it had been.  I lloooove the foyer sculpture.  It just feels so grand.  I can't help it:  I always just want to jump off the second floor balcony and swing around on those things! 

The renovations are gorgeous.  Open space, lots of tables and hang-out spots, and a great cafe.  But I dunno, the main level just feels so empty.  I'm all for big spaces and minimalism, but you don't see any books when you walk in.  I know that libraries are about more than just books, but it feels more like the entrance to a museum than a library, kind of distant and institution-y.  Maybe they've got plans for the lobby that I don't know about...? Regardless, I will ALWAYS love our library.  It's one of the Carnegie libraries, and it's always one of the top-ranked libraries in the country.

I also decided I would finally figure out how to get to the abandoned bridge over route 70 downtown.  That's the LeVeque tower in the very-distance.  I found it!  It winds up dead-ending at the railroad tracks, which makes me wonder how long ago it was still in use as a road.

Every now and then we've gotten some sunshine, and I love the winter sun glowing up my orange tree, which I've had for over ten years now.  It started out as a little 6-inch Home Depot purchase and I just keep repotting it.  It's four feet tall and smells sooo good when it blooms.

Been reading too.  Flights to and from Florida were perfect for that!  I read Kent Haruf's Our Souls at Night, am in the middle of Andre Dubus III's House of Sand and Fog, and finished Jean Nathan's biography of photographer Dare Wright called The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll.  I can't remember where I came across the recommendation for that book, but I'm glad I did; it was such a fascinating read.  Dare Wright wrote children's stories about the lives of her doll and teddy bears and illustrated them with black and white photographs.  That alone piqued my interest... I didn't know her books even existed.  I'm always curious to see works of fiction illustrated with photographs instead of drawings. It's such a rarity!

Her stories, though, hinted at Wright's unconventional life, psychological insecurities, and unhealthy -- most would say, too close -- relationships with her mother and brother.  A "girl who never grew up," Wright explored her sense of self through photographic self-portraiture and lived in the world of the stories she created.  I don't know why a filmmaker hasn't taken Wright's story on yet. 

Anyway, this has been my January so far.  Too rainy (or too cold) to fly, but that's okay, I need to be in the studio!  I hope your 2017 is going well.  Cheers!

ps - A hello from Miss Kid whose mission here was to keep me from changing the sheets. Success!