Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Card 2010: Inspired by Handel's Messiah

I've enjoyed a (well-deserved) break today. I'll call it a SNOW DAY because, indeed, it snowed today in Washington DC! I haven't witnessed this phenomenon in a long time, living in Savannah. I didn't know whether to be excited or worried. I was too chicken to drive on snowy streets so I enjoyed a white walk to the post office to mail t.o.t.c. packages today (with the added bonus of talking with my friend in Paris while I walked the winter wonderland.) So, I took some quiet time to design this year's Christmas card.

I have been listening to Handel's MESSIAH for the past several months. Lately, it's been an obsession. When I'm not listening, the epic phrases from Isaiah and Matthew, Luke and Malachi run through my head along with the dynamic melodies. For the past five years, the evergreen Christmas tree has been a constant element in my cards. to combine the Messiah and the quintessential evergreen? While listening to Handel's masterpiece, I arranged the most powerful phrases into form. Voila. In the spirit of thrift and efficiency, these are 5 1/2" x 8" postcards.
The trees of Christmases Past
The story of Handel's composition of MESSIAH is also quite inspiring: Click HERE to read.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Vol. 2 UNFURLED up the Jepson Stairs

I explained the book to people all day by saying...when the open it up, you can flip through the pages like a normal book. But it's an accordion signature, so you can take the last page and unfurl it - I looked directly in front of me - up the Jepson stairs! The image of that possibility stayed with me and, upon asking, the staff at the Jepson Center were gracious enough to let me in on their closed day to take these photographs.

The First Ever TELFAIR MUSEUMS Cool Yule Holiday Trunk Show

After a delicious breakfast at the Casa de Cat, including a big rich mug of hot chocolate, I was on my way Saturday morning December 4 to the Telfair Museum's Jepson Center for the Holiday Trunk Show. Unloading curbside, I heard the announcer one block away at the start line of the Savannah River Bridge Run where I could be found in past years. I felt the same nervousness as he announced "30 seconds to start."

It was a whirlwind of making and preparing for this show, then driving to Savannah from Washington DC. I was sleep-deprived and excited and a little anxious about whether my borrowed display props would work - including some vintage dishes from Cat and two bricks removed and washed from her patio. The frantic hour of setup was over and people began floating into the glass atrium to see the work of eight local artists and craftspeople. I lit up and stayed so for seven hours while engaging with friends and colleagues and new friends, speaking about my work and theirs, finding common interests - and of course common acquaintances because in Savannah, one degree of separation is the rule. I LOVE this part! My sometimes introverted nature takes a vacation and I enjoy talking about Savannah and architecture and drawing and preservation and architectural history and craft and Telfair and SCAD and Washington DC and Baltimore and maps and what's next for turn-of-the-centuries. I particularly enjoyed introducing the new book, 2 1/2 years' work, This is Savannah Vol. 2 - Jones Street. This was the perfect debut.

The Show was also a reunion of sorts for me, coming back to Savannah. Hugs from my friends and colleagues were precious. Meeting the other talented artists and admiring their work was inspiring. The Telfair staff and volunteers were helpful and gracious, even helping the artists unload and reload their cars. I was the last one out by about half an hour. It look me longer to shut down. Though bittersweet to see it end, I soon realized how exhausted I was and was only too happy, after a nice long visit at shopSCAD, to relax at circa with Cat and eat a huge hamburger - after making a calculated dash through the Christmas parade on Broughton Street. Savannahians love their parades!

I managed some quick photos - and one quick bathroom break - during a brief lull.
The "seconds" bin proved popular as always: $1 each or 10 for $5. At one point four ladies were huddled around the corner of the table. I joked that I needed a second table to adequately accomodate their intense bargain hunting. They promptly took over the nearby table earlier occupied by kids' crafting, spreading all the cards out for better hunting.

THANK YOU to everyone I was lucky enough to see and to meet at the Telfair Trunk Show and to Lisa Ocampo and the Telfair staff for their excellent organization and hosting!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Savannah Streetscape PRINTS

Introducing...13" x 19" PRINTS featuring several of the Savannah streetscapes I've drawn over the past four years, paired with A Map of Savannah, Georgia.
Here are the Jones Street blocks featured in This is Savannah Vol. 2. For posting purposes here, I've arranged the prints by block, north side of the street and south, side by side. It may be a nice way to hang them, ultimately. Available blocks include:
Jones Street: 200West, 100W, 10W, 10E, 100E, 200E, 300E, 400E, 500E
Whitaker Street: 500, 600, 700, 800
Broughton Street: 10W - south, 100W - south
Oglethorpe: 100E - north
Congress: 600E - north
State: 500E - south
Taylor: 200E - south
Gaston: 100W - south
Charlton: 200E - south

Available for purchase in MY SHOP.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Red Patterned Endpapers

This is Savannah, Vol. 2 is available with a variety of choices for endpapers on the front inside cover. In addition, I have a dull red German Ingres paper and a bright red Lokta handmade paper with some nice texture (not photographed). Take your pick! But don't take too long. There are 38 (of 50) Books left available...and I am on my way to Savannah to sell them at the Telfair Museum's Trunk Show this Saturday, December 4, 10-5 at the Jepson Center.

Drayton Hall: Palladio in America

I took a break from "book-binding my life away" to attend a lecture at the National Building Museum, Drayton Hall: Palladio in America last night with my friend, MB. (And I witnessed the President's 20+ vehicle motorcade on my way down.) MB and I were neighbors and friends in our beloved Savannah and have both recently relocated to Washington DC and enjoy exploring our new city together. The lecture was a unique opportunity to experience the merging of our new and familiar loved places, the Lowcountry and our Nation's Capital. For me, also the merging of my favorite historic house, Drayton Hall, a plantation on the Ashley River near Charleston which I enjoyed visiting numerous times while living in nearby Savannah - and my favorite museum, the National Building Museum. (image below) Executive Director George McDaniel described Drayton Hall as a time line, not a time capsule. This is precisely why I am drawn to the house. It is preserved, not restored; open as a protected ruin reflective of its 275-year lifespan, not a closed, secure re-creation of a certain period.
Touring the house five times has only led me to scratch the surface of Drayton Hall's history and mystery. I learned, among a myriad of interesting ideas and connections, that found within John Drayton's books was his detailed account of the furnishings of the White House which he visited while in Washington DC! Also of noteworthy discussion was the watercolor rendering, recently gifted to the house, of Pierre Eugene DuSimitier who painted Drayton Hall in the 1700s, along with plantation architecture in Jamaica and a few other notable houses in the new world. The painting shows a semi-circular colonnade joining the main house and flanking outbuildings (now gone) which is the basis for recent archaeological digs. I appreciated the archaeological approach by Director of Preservation Carter Hudgins, like the clues found within the proportions of the rooms. Drayton Hall's room proportions of 1:1, 1:2 and 3:5 follow the pattern of Palladio's designs.
The lecture is coincident with the Building Museum's phenomenal exhibit, Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey which exhibits the work of Italian architect Andrea Palladio in models and his own drawings and explains the repercussions in the UK and America of his aesthetic, the result of rigorous study of classical Greek and Roman architecture. Which brings us to Drayton Hall, arguably the first example of Palladianism in the newly formed United States of America. McDaniel explained the Palladian significance of Drayton Hall in the fact that no precedent had been found for the design of this house in either England or America and put forth Palladio's Villa Cornaro in the Veneto with its double portico. Palladio's books were found on John Drayton's library list. And this is just the beginning of the Architectural Detective Work...

Sunday, November 28, 2010


DRAWINGS: 2008 - 2010
Limited Edition: 50 Books
This is Savannah, Vol. 2 is the second Volume in a series of drawings which combine elevations and perspectives to illustrate the architectural edges of the streets of Savannah, block by block. Vol. 2 is comprised of 18 blocks on both sides of the famous Jones Street, from Tattnall to East Broad. Jones Street is praised for it rich architecture as well as its lush tree lawns. It's almost decadent, just to walk down the street under the magnificent branches of the live oaks, dappled sunlight filtering through to cast shadows on the facades, building details, garden gates and walls that form the street wall. The details, often hidden from view by the wonderful canopy of street trees, emerge in these ink drawings. The original drawings are made freehand at a scale of 1"=20' to 1"=6' with a 1949 Parker ink fountain pen and printed onto natural cardstock. The "signature" (the book's pages) is bound into a hard cover under a sheet of patterned red paper in a variety of designs, some handmade. A pouch on the back inside cover holds a folded print of A Map of Savannah, Georgia.
Bonus Material!
This is Savannah Vol. 2, like Vol. 1 is an Accordion Book. However, this accordion signature is attached at the front only, so it can easily function as a standard book, turning page by page - Or, position the book in a super long hallway and gently pull the last page, pull, pull, pull to unfold the pages into one long continuous streetscape! At 9" x 12", Vol. 2 is larger than Vol. 1 and the drawings are larger and, if I may say so, better. You'll enjoy finding familiar buildings and appreciate the rich context of historic architecture - and details - in this renowned city. This is Savannah Vol. 2 is also a perfect souvenir, to remember Savannah and to share her with the folks back home.
Available in Savannah at the Telfair Trunk Show, December 4. Come see me!
Also Available at shopSCAD and in MY SHOP - or just send me an email.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Vol. 2 Solution

I spent some quality time (racking my brain) with the insightful and provoking comments from my friends, revising the Jones Street page layout. Here are the issues and resolutions:

1. The test prints proved the grey bar unsuccessful. The ink was not crisp around the white sketches, and it is impossible to print full bleed and retain the 11" width of the paper. I also agreed the grey fill lent itself to a digital feel, rather than the look of a printed page. And - I preferred the white space beyond the streetscapes, uninterrupted.
2. I recognize that the column of sketches, as it was, seemed a little rigid. I wanted to vary the scale of the sketches, but none seemed to work well large, as they were drawn at such a small scale, and the variation ultimately drew the eye from the streetscape which needed to remain dominant. So I varied scale selectivly and subtly, but kept the vignette sketches quiet, in their column.
3. The column seems at odds to the row of the streetscape drawings, surely. Once I looked at the block layouts in context with their neighbors, the columns appeared to mimic the cross streets between blocks, and they finally had a place, a reason for being as they were, in seeming opposition to the row.
4. Most of the blocks (those that are a full 300' long) worked well with the column layout but I was still at a loss on the three shorter blocks and one extra-long block at East Broad.
5. So, I focused on the necessarily wholistic design of an accordion book layout, not simply 11x17 pages, but (19) 8x11 pages that form a 160"-long layout. With this in mind, I shifted the first block right and allowed a gradual entry - and a subtle introduction - to Jones Street. I rolled the last three blocks together, slightly tightening the space around 300 and 400 blocks to allow for the 500 block (the extra-long one) to be a little bigger, though still not the same scale as the other blocks.
I think it was a good compromise, in that it honors the book's format as an accordion and also creates a pleasing composition, page by page. I'm glad design in a vacuum did not prevail - THANKS, friends!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Help me make it Perfect for the People

version 1click to enlarge

version 2
click to enlarge

I'm a little nervous about doing this: It seems a bit unprofessional, perhaps. But - Help! The book covers are ready for their signatures, and I am still waffling about page layout. Do the architectural detail vignette sketches work better in a column or in a row?
Often, when you design something, you are just too close to be your best critic. It is really important to me that This is Savannah Vol. 2 be Perfect for the People.
So - If you please...Which page layout do you prefer: 1 or 2?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thank You, Miss You, Happy Occasions

NEW Stationery!, hand-drawn designs for lots of occasions.
individually and in sets THANK YOU
Folded Note Cards
Mandalas, Snowflakes, Doilies...Beautiful...


Folded Note Cards

More Cakes! Inspired by my favorite bakery and the goddess of cake

Folded Note Cards

front (above) & inside (below)


Folded Note Cards

Vintage wallpaper paired with accountrements of home, in pale pastels

Folded Note Cards

Boy, girl, or undetermined as of nestles under a mobile hanging from a felt cloud.
Remember Pat the Bunny, anyone?
Folded Note Cards
It's good to take a break from straight lines and architectural drawings on occasion. I spent an intense and wonderful week designing all of these new note cards in preparation for the Stationery Party & Open Studio this Saturday. With help from my business partner, My Mom.