Show & Tell (blog)

  • Tonight marks the opening of Light Grey Art Lab’s Patches and Stitches show– I was really excited for this one. As you all are probably aware at this point LGAL is an amazing gallery, and every show I participate in forces me to step outside my comfort zone and try something new. This is a mix of old and new; in college I did a semester long project of embroidered textiles all about monsters, and in my senior year I screenprinted, appliqued, and embroidered on a series of pieces too.

    But looking at the amazing examples of embroidery out there nowadays got me really excited to break back into stitching and mixing paint and thread for some great tactile contrast.

    I originally planned to make two embroidered wall hangings referencing the old moral story of the Lady or the Tiger; but I didn’t quite anticipate quite how long it takes to embroider a single piece! Still, it was really a fun challenge to think about how to translate markmaking into thread– I learned a lot making this piece, and I’m excited to start making more (although I might try and mix printed cloth with embroidery–it’d be fun to make an embroidered edition or series!). I would love to play with transparent overlaid screenprint layers with embroidery, for example… I can imagine a Penguin Threads cover with that! Or maybe a solo show exploring ceramics, embroideries, and other 3D installation work. One day…

    If you’re in Minneapolis, please check it out tonight 8-10pm!

  • Hi everyone– I’m mentoring in the fall with Motivarti again! They’ve listed me as their mentor of the day– so honored! If you have a creative project (whether it’s narrative work, freelance illustration, or even taking some creative risks and trying some new techniques), I’d love to work with you to make the fall colorful and productive.

    Applications are open now– the deadline is July 26!

  • Rounding out the work I made as a response to 2014’s Light Grey Art Lab Icelandic Residency was a little accordion book that documented a few moments and thoughts from the trip. Pulling this book together was challenging and went through a lot of different iterations (first it was a Risograph* book, then a longer accordion book); with every compression (refining that puffin coupled with balancing freelance, teaching and mentoring duties ate up such time!) it began to be trickier to pick out moments to show. Again, when you pack dozens of amazing experiences in a handful of days, how do you pick and choose which were most meaningful?

    Including my sketch on the first page (which admittedly is way more refined than my actual sketchbook!), I focused on six moments from the trip– from exploring the fields near our farmhouse with the most fabulous Icelandic horses to leaping gleefully across huge squishy moss fields to one of my most quietest moments on the trip, focusing on the rock cairns I found myself fascinated by and would later build. To tie it all together, I decided to hint at a subtle horizon across the pages– it starts with the shadow of my trusty backpack and invisibly connects across rocks stacked in a cairn on the last pages. The pages flit between autobiography and fiction, as initially I didn’t really want to illustrate any of our group. But a couple of photos in Sólheimajökull (one of my favorite spots on the trip) really struck my fancy, seeing my backpack and pink hair light up against the grays and blacks of the scene. So I knew that I would wind up inserting myself into that image. That moment I chose to take a longer breath across two pages for visual punch– that dose of wonder as you round the corner and see your first glacier.

    There are still lots of things about Iceland I’d like to explore, so while this book is a finished object for now, I’m not done ruminating about it and thinking about what else I’d like to add. I guess that’s the fantastic thing about travel! My many thanks to Light Grey Art Lab– I have felt really lucky over the years to be able to take part in so many experiences with them, from gallery shows to workshops to now travel. To many more, my friends.

    You can buy Explorer’s Log and all the other art from the exhibition (including my dear puffin friend!) at LGAL’s shop! Don’t miss out!

    *I probably still will make that Riso at some point, or maybe after a couple more travel experiences and residencies so I can talk about travel! I am hooked.

  • Been slowly getting back into the swing of sharing things… These were some smaller, experimental pieces tied in with Light Grey Art Lab Iceland exhibition. All throughout the process of travelling and reflecting on this incredible experience, I couldn’t shake the fact that the landscape was so impenetrable for me. So much detail and ever-changing strangeness! I was in awe; but every time I sat down to draw from it I got stuck on the details in my memory and in my photographs.

    So instead of trying to focus in on realistically nailing the space I thought back on the other wonderful part of this trip; the people I shared it with. Many of my photos were of my peers peeking at details, collecting samples, snapping photographs, soaking it all in. For much of the trip, it felt like we were alone in the world left to explore this strangely lovely place. So these pieces involved me getting back to carving rubylith into the shapes of explorers, moss and stones and then overlaying them on top of abstracted versions of the photographs I took, letting colors happen by chance. For the last piece, I wanted to make sure I had a little piece of my husband Mike’s experience on the trip too, so I lettered a little thought he had based on walking through Þingvellir.

    I’ll share the last piece (an accordion book) later this week!

    PS: Have you looked at the work from the exhibition? It’s really fantastic.

  • On Friday, Light Grey Art Lab is hosting the opening for the 2014 Iceland Residency Exhibition. I took part in the experience which was one of the most mind-opening inspiring things I’ve experienced. I still have trouble putting it into words (let alone images!), and I’m glad to see my fellow residents knocked the visuals out of the park– they’re all incredible people I feel deeply lucky to have explored with.

    My contribution to the exhibition is a little looser/more experimental than I initially expected it to be; the landscape still baffles me and pulls my brain into a thousand pieces when I try to capture that color and detail. So my work for the show bounces back and forth between figures and landscape, between 2D and 3D with an accordion book, a few images that pull colors and patterns from the photographs I took, and this needle felted puffin. He seemed deceptively simple when I sketched him out– but he proved me wrong! It took a couple of weeks of poking and filling and wiring to toughen him out, harden his rocks, abstract the patterns in the volcanic rock and mossy textures, and still making him stand proudly and fluffily atop it all.

    Hope you check out the show if you’re in Minneapolis!! You won’t be disappointed.

    Puffin Cairn, 2015.

  • The newest issue of Plansponsor is out and I got to make a little illustration for it. The article was about the many different ways to find/consume information and stay educated.

    Inadvertently, this piece turned into an unofficial cousin to the personal piece I made at the start of the year, The Seed-Savers. Funny how that works.

    Thanks as always to AD SooJin Buzelli for the project!

    PS: Interstellar Cinderella process post to come soon! I just taught my last class of the semester so I will be sharing a lot more now that it’s summer!

  • Hi everyone! Exciting news: the picture book I recently illustrated is now officially on the shelves! Meet Interstellar Cinderella, who dreams of fixing robots and having lots of adventure.

    I wanted to snap a few photographs of the book to share with you– on Friday I will have a full writeup to share the process and story of how this little book came to be and what I learned by making my first picture book!

    In the meantime, check out some press about the book at the following places online!
    Publisher’s Weekly
    Mr. Schu Reads
    Buzzfeed
    The Book Wars
    Nerdy Book Club
    Goodreads

    Want to read it? Pick it up at Powell’s or Amazon, or check your local library!

  • I’ve been posting little peeks of a jungle-themed zine up online elsewhere recently; unfortunately I have to put the project on hold for a bit while I juggle other project deadlines. Total bummer! But I wanted to share this little primate themed spread in the meantime.

    Stay tuned, I can’t wait to share more!!

  • Some recent editorial illustrations for Notre Dame Magazine’s spring issue– some interesting stories for these, from a topping out (beam signing) ceremony at a new medical center, to dealing with memories and a father’s brain tumor, and the power of family and friends to comfort the loss of a child.

    Editorial illustration is such a fun challenge– so is mixing up process a bit!

  • Hey everyone! I just wanted to let you know my shop has returned back from its… yearlong hiatus! (Oops!) It’s been a busy time but I’m excited to bring back these friends that debuted at Crafty Wonderland back in December. Screenprints, bandanas, printed ornaments, embroidered pendants, and new glassware too! And my Curiosity Brigade medal pin too.

    To check out these items and more, please go to: http://meghunt.bigcartel.com/products

    Thanks all!