Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Another contribution from Canada and the Pacific Northwest USA

Oscar Bearinger from Killaloe, Ontario CANADA, writes this:

There were several archetypal street inhabitants of the city, identified by Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), the great social critic:  the flaneur (the strolling idler), the gambler, the ragpicker and the sandwich man.

"Empathy with the commodity is fundamentally empathy with exchange value itself.  The flaneur is the virtuoso of this empathy.  He takes the concept of marketability itself for a stroll.  Just as his final ambit is the department store [shopping mall], his last incarnation is the sandwich man."  (Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project)

Misty Haskins (formerly Arnold, congrats!) from Sprignfield, Oregon USA has this to contribute:

Granite and Pine, Maine coast
I've lived in a few cities, but never far from the coast.  Although I've now settled down far from my home state, when I really think about home, about my place in the world, this image springs to mind - a snapshot in my heart of a foggy morning on Cadillac Mountain, which overlooks the nearby town of Bar Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean.  I would go there sometimes hoping to watch the sunrise.  More often than not, though, the view would be entirely obscured by a thick, velvety fog and I would instead find myself daydreaming among the resilient trees and stones, wrapped in vapor, until it generally became light... close to a lively community, but removed just enough for some much needed introspection.  Upon discovering my puzzle piece is on the periphery of our print, I was delighted to be able to incorporate this image.   To be a part of such a vibrant whole, while maintaining just a bit of quiet away from the bustling city below, somehow feels just right.

And with that I'm done with this batch of arrivals. I have a fresh catch all photographed and ready to go, my last group! I can't believe I've done this nearly 100 times but here we are on the last 15.

The colophon should be something to savor. I have not yet decided just exactly how to publish this 100+ page beast. My eco-sense tells me to assemble a .pdf file and let everyone download their own.

I am also planning to publish that very same .pdf into a nice book for others to purchase and savor.
As I have it visualized, every page is a participant with a close up of their block, news included and the wise words I have received. Photos of the process scattered about, especially the upcoming printing party. And of course a nice picture of the overall print, albeit small and split into its five parts.
I think that will make a nice coffee-table book and give a glimpse into an awesome collaboration for printmakers and art lovers all over the world.

As I hear the rumors, you can make a blog into a book with Google tools so I will explore that solution as well. There is time for everything.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

North East in USA and South West in Canada, it's all relative

Occurs to me that I have been placing everyone according to my own geographical-centrism. I suppose we all have ourselves and where we live as "the" point of reference for the rest of the world, otherwise we would get hopelessly lost as we travel. But be assured I mean no ego-centrism when I refer to Canada as North and Brazil as South, it's just that I'm smack in the middle...always in the middle, it's all relative!

Wow, that was deep...
Anyhow, here are the latest two arrivals.

AEleen Frisch from Wallingford Connecticut, USA sends this little window into her world. The block is actually resting on a borrowed newspaper but it's all good.

And Randie Feil, from Victoria British Columbia in Canada sends this contribution. Randie did write a smart little ditty on paper about the crows and I will be updating all those as I type them:

I am very happy to report that I have now heard several "wait for meeeee!" from almost all the participants and looks like all but two at most will be making the extended extended deadline of February 29th.

That is a big relief because I have very few blocks to replace and, depending on where they are located, I can just carve a few lines to coincide with the outline.

As I reported a few days back, my paper sampler is here and I'm still deciding between the contenders:
-Daniel Smith Lenox
-Canson Warm White
-Stonehenge Warm White
All are equally yummy with the Stonehenge and Canson having two deckled edges and the Lenox (or is it Lennox?) having four cut edges. Time to ring up the suppliers and see what they have on hand. Plenty of time yet but I want to make sure there is leeway for backorders and also would like to lock in a price before all the carriers decide to double their shipping rates in tandem with the price of fuel.
Yikes, good thing I ride a bike!

As you were, carry on...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ontario Canada and Baltimore Maryland bring us two more city blocks

Louise Cass, from Toronto, Ontario CANADA, says this about her block:
This is simply the view of downtown Toronto (with a smidgeon of Lake Ontario) seen from my studio window! Also to be noticed is what used to be the tallest edifice in the world - the CN Tower!

That's a very cool image, a city within a city. I'm just delighted!

Amanda Gordon Miller sends her block from Baltimore Maryland USA refreshes us with her image and words:
I have lived or worked in a city for most of my adult life.  I find myself both attracted to and repulsed by the city, and this ambivalence made it hard for me to settle on a subject.  I'm very excited to be part of the City of the World Project, and so I decided that my contribution should focus on the positive.  I chose to show water, as cleansing, restorative, and regenerative.  The fountain image is based on a photo I took when visiting St. Augustine, FL, the oldest city in the United States and one of my favorite places. 

Thank you both and everyone else!

Links to remember for those who have not yet sent information about their blocks:
THE BLOG! Where everything happens:
The place to send information about your city block:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Two Ladies from Freeville New York to Birmingham United Kingdom

Fiona Humphrey from Birmingham United Kingdom brings us a very nice contribution.

And I thoroughly enjoyed a bit of news from the Kingdom! Geez, no wonder I'm so slow at getting the photos done! All these wonderful tidbits from lands far far away just catch my attention and I can't help myself but to stop and learn what's happening all over the world. One of the perks of my mad project, I guess.

Sylvia Taylor, another world traveler sends her block from Freeville New York USA

Nicely done!

I'm happy to report that I have now heard from all but very few and almost all the blocks are on the way back to me. Until I see where the "holes" are I can't really tell what I will do with the missing blocks. Sometimes I carve a "quickie" sometimes I just incorporate the piece into the background.

Assembly will commence next week and I'm seriously coming out of my skin with excitement. Well, not seriously, but nearly.
The task of assembly includes spreading my "map" over my work table first as a guide. Once my guide is taped up where I can see it, I grab the block "skeletons" and place them each on a matboard cut to size, where they will be later permanently adhered along with all their little city blocks.

Then the fun part begins; I grab each block and find its place in the puzzle, loosely placing them until they are all in their slot. All 102! and counting...
Photos coming up, you MUST be involved in the magic of watching each image come alive as the little pieces are carefully assembled.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

From my home state, Nevada USA to Tasmania in Australia

This contribution from Sarah Chvilicek in Reno, Nevada USA. For those who wonder, Reno is the northern counterpart of my home Las Vegas. Those two cities account for most of the population in the state of Nevada, home to mountains, glorious desert valleys and long peaceful roads under clean open skies.

Here is Sarah's city block:

Melanie Simon in Longley, Tasmania, Australia has this to say about her contribution:
I grew up on the edge of a city and now live out beyond the fringe, but still close enough to interact with it when I want; the best of both worlds.  Our city, Hobart, though a capital is relatively small and interactive with nature, squeezed as it is between a mountain and a river but I feel that larger cities become obsessed with themselves and tend to forget their necessary connection with the environment, trying to force everyone and everything to conform.  We would be well served to remember what was there before, embrace biological and elemental systems and work with them in a mutually beneficial way to create more fertile and diverse places.  My image is of moths native to our great southern forests who manage to flit in and remind us…

Thanks for the cool print!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Update and the Great Printing Party preview, prelude? pre-something...

Where I am
Let's see, last time I mentioned that I had ordered a few sheets of paper to savor and sample before I decided which to choose for printing. Well, the boxes arrived and I really meant to take a peek inside but first I had to clear my work tables.
That, of course required that I finish unpacking the remaining city blocks on hand, photograph them, wrapped them back up, logged them and placed them in their "wait-boxes".
I am happy to say I have caught up on all the photographing and the blog will be very busy from now until all the blocks are published!

All that accomplished, I now have a clear table on which to spread the paper, touch and feel every sheet and then decide the winner for the city project. And I will get to that this weekend.

To do list
Next on the list is chasing down the stragglers. I am elated to report that at this writing I have only 12 blocks missing! This means that for certain there will be 101 participants.
I now have an extra clean block on hand to cut any substitutes I might need.
In the next two weeks I hope that I get at least half of those missing blocks back with carvings. If you are one of those stragglers, please think about just scratching a few lines on your block and sending it back! Or just send it back to save me work? Please Please Please

Here is my list of things to do on this project:

-Finish pics - done except for the ones that are not here

-Assemble Puzzle (oh boy!)

-Update spreadsheet

-Colophon start building

-Email stragglers (bad!)

-Carve outline

-Cut substitutes

-Order paper

-Start ordering mailing tubes from USPS

And of course, the Printing Party!
Preliminary scheming for the great printing party has begun. For those of you who would like to join in the fun, the sketchy plans right now are to get together in the Great Northwest city of Vancouver Washington, very near Portland Oregon.

My fellow scheme leader Sharri LaPierre is in the process of securing a printmaking studio with several presses. Another secret plotter, Barbara Mason, is planning on attending with her previous experience in this mad plot.
The tentative plan is somewhere on or around the second week of April. I hope to have everything ready to go as I arrive with a truck full of 600 sheets of paper, 5 large woodblocks composed of 110 little woodblocks, several cans of ink and a rather large roller. Good thing I have a truck.

I'm thinking the printing party will probably take about three days minimum, maybe four or five depending on how many hapless "aprentices" (ahem) we can seduce into helping out.

If you would like to attend, send me an email and keep in touch with the blog. All details detailed in more detail at a later date so stay tuned.

Midwest USA and an island in the Caribbean USA

Mark Vosmeier from Fort Wayne, Indiana in the USA brings us this clever contribution.

Great design!

Diane Cutter out in the ocean in her wonderful island in Ceiba, Puerto Rico USA, writes this about her block:

Doors and windows always intrigue me, especially those of colonial Latin America. I wonder about the inhabitants' lives, past and present.  I'm always on the lookout for an opening to see a little bit of the life that goes on in those cool, shaded interiors.  The inspiration for this block was from a drawing I did many years ago of a private patio entrance of an Old San Juan home.

Hmm, haven't gotten around to solving those puzzles but I will one of these days!

Thank you everyone for playing. Remember these links:
THE BLOG! Where everything happens:
The place to send information about your city block:
Thanks for playing everyone!
Update in next blog post...

Monday, February 13, 2012

News and blocks from Colorado US and Monterrey Mexico

Doug Haug from Colorado Springs, Colorado USA, says this about his block:

A few years ago, I took a road trip with my dad.  He was usually fine with eating at Dennys or Applebees.  On the first night, though, we were going to dinner, and not being able to see anything beyond the streetlights, it was difficult to tell what city we were in.  In this era of franchised burgers and burritos, corporate America tells us what tastes good.  Cy's helps my neighborhood buck that trend with their Alaska burgers.

By the way, the Westside Pioneer gives us more information onour town than the Colorado Springs Gazette!

And bunnies and tigers as a bonus! Those are from Chinese Lunar New Year Exchanges. They come throughout the year and sometimes we are surprised by arrivals from years past. Makes going to the mailbox fun on a daily basis.

Guadalupe Victorica from Laredo Texas and Monterrey Mexico often writes about the state of things in Mexico. Really amazing how art and lives survive in troubled times and places. She directs a project called Prints for Peace and somehow continues to sponsor and foster art, especially printmaking art, in the midst of the storm. Amazing.

Here is Guadalupe's block:

Hearing about troubled spots in the world makes me reflect upon how fortunate some of us are and how very peaceful our lives truly are. Every morning I walk my desert garden and think of the world's troubles while I hear the birds sing and the lizards scurry about and wish the same peace upon everyone all over the world.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cold country and then another trip across the ocean

Preston Lawing from Winona, Minnesotta USA says this about his amazing contribution:
This block is a nod to my time living in New York City in the 1970s and 80's, the influence of Edward Hopper, and the views from my apartment in Greenwich Villiage.

Thanks for letting me share part of my time in a great City of the World.

And the incomparable Andy English, wood engraver from Ely, Cambridgeshire in the United Kingdom not only sent his city block but a priceless collection of tiny jewels he calls prints.

This wonderful city of ours should have a printing press so I have used my block to celebrate the Victorian Albion hand presses that I use in my studio. We can see the wonderful medieval cathedral at Ely from our house and it frequently appears in my work and so I have suggested its unique profile through a window.

Perhaps I should say here that one of the most delightful part of this project is being on the receiving end of the generosity of so many participants.
The gifts, cards, deliciously hand-written notes, little prints, atta-girls, etc, etc... all of them really make me want to open the next package, scan the news from across the country or across the world, and delight in the "inclusions".

Many of you mention that I have amazing energy, and that undertaking a project like this one requires some degree of recklessness. Maybe, but reaching out to so many art-loving people across the globe and receiving their kind gifts and words is more rewarding than I can express in words. My energy is fed by all the love.

Moving right along!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

From the desert and the far East (not THAT far)

Wendy Willis from Phoenix Arizona in the USA comments on her city block (and my elusive sanity! LOL):
An urban swimmer enjoying a dip in a rooftop pool. I have a lot of swimmers in my work.  My vision for my City of the World block, apparently in a multistory building of some kind, was to envision an indoor pool where she is swimming laps.  I love collaborations and believe that printmakers hold a special place among artists - the most generous and sharing.  I am happy to be a part of such a great project and think that Maria might be a little "off" for taking on this heavy commitment.  Ahhhh printmakers.  Gotta love them!

Water in the desert, oh yes, I can certainly relate.
Love the newspaper photos, by the way, and who needs sanity? Sanity and reason get in the way of free sailing the wide ocean and tasting the sweet tang of an unknown adventure; be insane, I say! Just a little, anyway.

Alan Greenier sends a block from New Haven Connecticut USA and I strategically placed it in a forest of wrapping materials and little boxes to give everyone a glimpse of my studio these days.

More to come! I'm almost caught up on photos!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The beauty and mystery of printmaking paper

Okay, not that much mystery but I thought I'd make the title interesting.

I started to mull over paper choices this past week and have been doing some research online and off about what to use.
Puzzle #1, the Web was printed on Graphic Chemical Heavyweight paper which is 250 gsm, fairly smooth but with some tooth (rhymes!) and very white. Block and left print shown below.

Puzzle #2 The Great Baren Cairn, was printed on Stonehenge Cream because the design was more "organic" and because I like the way Stonehenge paper is more forgiving when printing.

Printing a conglomerate of pieces, as my good friend and helper Barbara Mason can attest, is a tedious problem. Some blocks have invariably and mysteriously shrunk, some are delicately carved and placed directly next to one that is not. Some require more ink than others but alas! all must be printed together.

In any case, I found Rising Stonehenge to have the right amount of tooth, softness, smoothness and ink "thirst" to be able to accommodate all the various blocks. In addition, it is fairly inexpensive and readily available.

Fast forward three years to Puzzle #3, the City of the World. Participant count nearly doubled at 114 and in order to make the pieces a a reasonable size, I expanded the design to five blocks. Each block will print on one 22 x 30 inch sheet of paper so each participant will receive a massive print spread over five full sheets. Quick multiplication...that's 570 sheets of paper plus some additional for sloppy printing, exhibitions, the Museum of Modern Art...(kidding, kidding).

Also fast forward in prices, Stonehenge is now a bit more expensive so I spent last week researching alternatives. I don't want to print on "cheap" student paper so I'm sticking to the 250 gsm weight as one guideline.
Another guideline was to go back to a whiter white but not pure white so somewhere along the warm white or natural designation. We don't want our City to be too cold.

My final candidates:
-Rising Stonehenge Natural @ $1.75 per sheet when bought in 100 packs
-Rising Stonehenge Warm White, same
-Graphic Heavyweight @ $1.54 per sheet when buying 500 or more
-Daniel Smith Lenox Warm White @ $1.45 per sheet when bought in 100 packs

I just bought some full sheets and when they get here I'm confident one of them will grab me and say "pick me! pick me!". Also I'm planning to call on the phone the various vendors and hunt for a good price on about 650 sheets.

Anyhow, just thought I would share some of the behind the scenes fun that I'm having while waiting for the last few stragglers. I'm finishing the photo taking this week and I will be all caught up on recording the arrivals.

More to come!

North and South again, all ends of the continent

Terry Sargent-Peart from Seattle Washington USA

I love the cyclist, very nicely done!

And Rachel Midori Sugo Miyagui, another of our Brazilian contributors from Santos, Sao Paulo, BRAZIL

The Tedium Report
As in anything in life, the more I do something, the better I get at it. All the hard work that it takes to unwrap, photograph, document and publish one of these contributions has made me a better photographer, more efficient record keeper and more proficient blogger. See? Every project is either a lot of work or a learning opportunity.

Also some of you have mentioned that I am disgustingly organized... well yeah, proudly so! It would be impossible to keep track of 114 city blocks otherwise so every tid bit of information is carefully recorded in an Excel spreadsheet.

From that wonder-program I export the mailing list in order to keep bugging everyone with my nonsensical blabber (a.k.a. updates). Also from Excel I can export to mailing labels for shipping (MS Word), to my web developing program (Adobe Dreamweaver) for web-page updating, and later to my publishing program (MS Publisher/Adobe Acrobat) for assemblage of the colophon.

Amazingly enough, I am old enough to remember the days when a program disk had to be inserted into a computer with 64K of memory and swapped with a data disk for periodically saving work.
Amazing, everything about technology is magic and amazing.

Carry on on the printing party to come later.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Two-T states in the US

Lynne Hubner from McKinney Texas USA says this about her city block:
Looking upwards to the trees, the buildings and sky our winged neighbors provide us with Good Fortune(Magpie), Peace(Dove), and Knowledge(Owl).

And Margaret Krakowiak in Nashville Tennessee USA sends this heart-felt contribution (you can almost hear them purring):

Thank you both and everyone

Monday, February 6, 2012

Participant Update

New page on the website to help everyone (especially me, let's just be honest!):

From that page you can check:
-If I received your block
-If I received your information
-Quick link to send your information

Thank you everyone! Keep working, we're almost there...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Two more, Tennessee and Ottawa

Andrew Gott from Chattanooga, Tennessee USA offers this:

Anyone who has spent time driving on virtually any highway in the southeast in the past has inevitably seen one of the iconic "Rock City" barns alongside the road, advertising the tourist attraction that the city I now call home is known for. While those of us who live here don't even give it a second thought, the distinctive profile of the mountain that rock city is perched on (Lookout Mountain) has stood above, and watched over, the city and it's inhabitants ever since it's founding, through many ups and downs. Now, the area is experiencing a renaissance, both culturally and economically, and while the iconic barns are slowly disappearing from the side of the road, Both Rock City, and Lookout Mountain- Still looking down at us as we progress into the future.

Debrah James Percival from Ottawa, Ontario CANADA says this about her piece:
I titled my block piece "The lookout on the Rooftop".  If I am wrong and the block piece is not a roof, well then I guess I can refer to it as "Snuggled In"

Good call, I'm pretty sure it's a roof!

And now! News from the City:

As all of you may know, the deadline for sending back your blocks has passed. I would very much like to wait for all the blocks to come in before I begin planning the date and time of the printing party.
However, I can't wait forever so I'm going to end the project at the end of this month. This means, blocks that have not arrived back on February the 29th, 2012 will not be a part of our happy City of the World.

I will send everyone an email with this same information in the next few days.

There are seventeen blocks missing from our city. We ended with 114 participants, so the return rate is a huge success! But I must begin the printing phase soon so please those of you who are finishing up...well, finish up!

Thank you everyone for playing. Remember these links:
THE BLOG! Where everything happens:
The place to send information about your city block: