Thursday, December 23, 2010

Daily Notes

I am eagerly awaiting the New Year and looking forward to being back in Nebraska, however, the anticipation of this move also reminds me that so much is still up in the air. To fend off anxiety I've been writing a note to myself every day. 
umm... is this too much information? 
I tend to fall into this routine when life becomes more scattered than usual, when big things change.  More often than not, my 'Maranda notes' aren't very exciting and consist of random thoughts, definitions, things I don't want to forget, and things that keep coming back, but I like to have this growing stack of souvenirs from this day and that day, a little bit of consistency and a task that keeps me paying attention. 
It works for now.
What tides you over?

dear maranda, try again. love, rice flour
dear toby, enjoy your rat. love, emily

My grandmother used to have a sign in her kitchen that read, "Fish and visitors stink after 3 days". With so many people bracing themselves for crowded homes and extended visits, I thought I would share a cartoon I found the other day while flipping through the New Yorker...


Thursday, December 16, 2010

And You Have Spoiled Me (Dear Wyoming, part 2)

A few highlights from our last day in Wyoming..

few favorite things
mural in Buffalo, Wyoming

And on it goes..

A big, big thank you to my little cousin, Kelsey Louise, for hauling me back and forth, back and forth from (to? to and from?) the airport over the past couple of months. She's been a life saver. Thank you, Louise!!

So things have been pretty busy since I've been back. Toby had his first 6th grade band performance on Tuesday night and it was very entertaining.. 
Awesome job, Toby!

Toby preps for performance with salad, pizza, and sweet tea
I've also found some more great job openings in Nebraska, so I'm in the middle of applications, cover letters, and on and..
Have I mentioned that I'm pretty good with puzzles?

My friend Michelle is coming to visit on December 27th. She's been teaching as an adjunct instructor (art) in Los Angeles since graduate school, so I see her once a year or so. I hear that she'll be around through the New Year. HOORAY! 
Hurry up, Michelle..

I realized that I didn't post the poem of the month for December. 
I wonder what other people memorize? 
If you have a favorite poem or a favorite passage then send me a link!        
I'm curious..

So. December. Learn more about Charles Simic here

The Prompter
by Charles Simic

The one who had been whispering
All along in this empty theater
And whose voice I just heard-
or imagined I did
Distracted as I was by my own thoughts.

God have mercy on my poor soul
Was to be my line, 
Which I couldn't bring myself to say
With shivers going up my spine
Like white mice.

And when I finally did get around to it,
There was no response.
A clap, someone chuckling briefly
Is all I had hoped for
And not this great sweep of nothing.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dear Wyoming, you have treated me well (part 1)

So we begin our farewells. Almost.

This past week has been full of exit paperwork, a presentation in the nearby town of Sheridan, finishing up projects, plotting spring plans, and filling out applications for those same spring plans.
... and I purchased a domain name for my website. Finally. 

We officially check out of our studios tomorrow at noon so each of us spent the day cleaning and packing. And now that the tools, all that paper, and all those plans are organized and packed away we're having a hard time deciding what to do with the next 36 hours..    

But of course!

It's late. Good night.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Well folks, looks like Wyoming bids us a warm farewell. 
This week the weather is supposed to reach the high 30's.. 
maybe even 40's! 

Speaking of warm weather, the 2011 Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics will take place on February 19th. My friend Laura Miller helps organize this event and has recruited Toby and me as participants this year! YIKES!! I'm nervous.
Though I may have to be pushed in (Toby, I can imagine that you'll take great pleasure in this!), Polar Plunge 2011 promises to be entertaining and exhilarating and a ton of fun! I think they'll have hot chocolate too.. and treats are always better when you earn them! Come out and join us in supporting Special Olympics in Kentucky! You can register with a team here

So aside from lots of good studio work, we've had a few great adventures over the past several days.

Last Thursday we made our way to the small town of Buffalo, Wyoming for some live music at the Historic Occidental Hotel.

The Occidental Hotel has been in business since 1880. Past visitors include Calamity Jane, Billy the Kid, Ernest Hemingway, & Teddy Roosevelt. One of the other residents and I were given a tour of the guest rooms and marveled over the period furniture, original hardwood flooring, clawfoot tubs, the tiny back stairwell for fellas 'making a quick stop' (ahem), and the plethora of visual prompts for recreating story after story..

Paisley dances with a spry 93-year old, hallways, great floors, & music

Other days:
more careful drawings and here along the way things

My writer friend Katey is the Associate Editor for a new publication called Trachodon. The first publication was recently launched so as a 'Hooray it begins!' we printed 40 small cards for distribution, to help spread the Trachodon word. Go Katey and John!!


And I can't help but think about how thousands of tiny letters actually make it to their final destination.
Maybe not always, but usually.
Nothing's perfect.

little things in big systems 
Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It all counts..

...even the little things.

I'd like to introduce you to Bug:

Bug has kept me company in the studio since day one (of course it's the same bug) and I'm sad to think that a week from tomorrow we will part ways. 

Bug poses for the camera

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Learning Curve: medium

Yesterday seems to have been the day for great quotes. 
I ran across several, including this one:      "That girl was as cantankerous as a corn cob pipe."   
There's been a lot of trial and mostly error for the past three days here in the studio.
Pronto plates = lithography = me = pronto disaster. 

HOWEVER, things are looking up. I have a long night of reprinting all the redrawn gone-wrongs. 
Thank you, thank you to all my skilled-planographic-printmaking-friends who have answered my SOS and walked me through this frustrating process. But for those of you that aren't printmakers, that could care less about pronto plates, fusion, and the tack of my ink, let's move on to some visuals:

Maranda draws carefully
careful drawing has breakdown and refuses to print

Maranda is frustrated so she bakes another pie,
 pumpkin with pecan/maple syrup topping

I hope this puts everything into perspective.
I've been making a few books. My friend Michelle C. Moode introduced me to Cave Paper this past summer and I've been using it to make some simple, soft cover books. For the past year I've been making mostly hardcover which requires a little more gluing, cutting, waiting, and corner turning. So these little sketchbooks are a nice change of pace.

mixing ink, making more woodcuts, and looking

And don't forget all the snow!!

Leaving the studio one snowy night

Being here has been such a great experience for me. I have come to realize just how much I rely on certain processes to "bring it all together". Those processes are unavailable here, which is good, so I am learning to be comfortably uncomfortable experimenting my way through this month. 
And shouldn't we all try to be more comfortably uncomfortable? 


It's my turn to make supper. 
We're having baked goat cheese and pasta with mushroom-pea sauce.