On Saturday I taught a bookbinding class at the WNYBAC to a group of seven very cool ladies. We had amongst us a rocket scientist (yes, really!), a chef, a museum worker, a women's studies professor/writer/poet, an actress, a writer/homemaker, and an artist, a full range of ages, 20s–60s. The class had a great energy that I as a teacher just thrived on. In fact, it was the best class I ever taught, student-wise, and my performance as a teacher-wise! So many books were made, the class just took off with the techniques I showed them and ran.
I've been asked to come back for the winter session and teach another class or two, including a continuation of the beginner's class, so that is good. I am glad that they were pleased with how I did, too, obviously.
We managed to cover quite a lot of territory in the seven hours we had together, everything from that simple one page folded book to a single signature hardcover book with wrapped covers. Each student walked away with at least five books to take home; some were still working even as class time was over and I was walking out the door! (Alas! I didn't take photos... too busy teaching/binding!)
In other news, I haven't been making much art per se lately, although I have been pretty active over at the website Swap-bot, writing letters, putting little packages together, and even making the occasion art-like item. Actually, one of the things I was really pleased with was a doll quilt (not necessarily for a doll, but a quilt that is quite small, less than 24" on any side) that I made for a swap. I had a quilt top that I had put together a couple years ago and never figured out what to do with... so this was the perfect opportunity to use it! I really enjoyed the process of hand-quilting and see this as a potential new medium for me to tap my creativity. I'd see them more as art pieces than anything functional, at least at this point.
Not too shabby for my first time out. And wouldn't you know, I forgot to measure it, even? It's probably about 7" x 12" or so. I can always ask the person to whom I sent it.
Swap-bot has been good for me in that it gets me doing creative stuff, even if it's nothing "big" or "important". It's also helping me get better working with deadlines, getting things done in time because someone else is waiting on you. Not to mention, it's a nice place to "get around"—that is, to see and be seen, so to speak. More exposure for my work when people look at my profile and decide to visit my website or whatever. That's always nice. And there are some interesting folks there! (Some not so interesting, too, but isn't that the case anywhere?)
I'd say anything that keeps me making stuff is a good resource. Even if it is just things like handmade bookmarks and typed-out stuffing recipes and doll quilts.
In MORE other news, I'm signed up to table at the WNYBAC's Last minute gift buying panic marketplace on December 11 and 12. Here's their description:
At the main gallery, 1st floor of the Western New York Book Arts Center
468 Washington St at Mohawk in Downtown Buffalo
Friday Dec 11, 4-8pm and Saturday Dec 12 12-6pm
Free admission and open to the public
Artists, craftspeople, printers, & other handmade/self published/locally produced items. Perfect gifts for giving or hoarding.
So, if you are in town that weekend, you should stop by and check out all the lovely, locally-made wares! I plan to have available some of my old zines (hm, mayyybe a new one!), some little blank journals (hard and soft cover), and art. In fact, my idea is to make a new series of house paintings, but quite small so that they will be very affordable and accessible. I'm still working out what sizes and grounds would be best for these, but I do hope to churn out quite a few for the Marketplace (and beyond, like my Etsy shop). I'm excited about this! I tend to produce and perform best when I have a deadline.