grown ups are like that....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

the feel of color part 2

There is nothing as wonderful as a brand new box of crayons. I bought the big ninety-six pack last summer, and it came complete with a built-in sharpener.

"They are for the kids," I told myself.

Yet I couldn't help but feel a little excited as I brought them home. I longed to open them, breathe in their scent, and make that first waxy mark on a blank sheet of paper.

My son was fascinated by the sharpener. We had to dig around in the junk drawer and the back of the craft box for some old worn down nubs of crayons to test out the new contraption. We soon had several very tiny, perfectly sharp and paperless little bits of color in front of us.

Next it was time to look over the new crayons themselves. "Mauvelous" was his favorite. I searched to make sure "Burnt Umber" was still there like when I was a child. It was.

When our examination was complete, we moved on to the coloring books. Once empty spaces of black and white began to burst with color. My daughter came in and joined us, and we spent the next few hours working on our pages.

When everyone finished I dove into a new task: color organizing. As a child I would arrange all the crayons, markers, and drawing pencils by color. I spent an inordinate amount of time sorting, categorizing, and subcategorizing by hue. Of course it didn't last. Within a week the organization I so meticulously created would crumble, almost literally. Crayons would break and their wrappers tear. The pencils would be out of order and the tips of the markers would fray and dry out. So of course, it wasn't long before the new box of crayons I had purchased for the kids became a mess of broken pieces scattered at the bottom of the craft box.

I was bothered to no end by this disarray, so a few weeks ago I purchased a set of colored pencils to use in my mandala coloring books. I guarded them carefully from the little fingers who would, I knew, beg to use them the minute they got wind of a new art supply in their midst.

I think the perfectly sharpened tips and organized color scheme lasted about one week.

"Please, please let me use them! I'll be careful I swear."

And so the seal was broken and now my lovely, colored pencils are scattered all over the dinning room table next to a stack of construction paper and a roll (my last) of Scotch tape. At first I felt angry.

"Those are mine! Can't I have ONE thing in this house that no one else touches?"

I felt like I needed to snatch them away, hide them, and protect them from those little people grasping at everything I have.

But the feeling passed quickly, because, really, who can horde color? How selfish would it be to keep "Cerulean" hidden away from those I love? What right do I really have to shove"Lime Green" or "Orchid" in drawer for no one to experience but myself?

After all, color is a shared joy. No one should be allowed to smother a rainbow.

You can read the original "feel of color" here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Copyright Brockport

I'm featured at the Democrat & Chronicle's Brockport blog today. Please go check it out. And thanks to all of my friends for your loving support. I'd especially like to thank Caurie Putnam for writing such a sweet, thoughtful piece.


Monday, February 14, 2011


Trisha Johnson won a handmade book!!!! Thanks for reading everyone.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Blank Page

Recently, I took a sewn book making class with two friends at a local art gallery. I was very excited, but even more than that I was scared. Of what? It was just a three hour introduction to a basic craft. What was so intimidating about that?

The class got going, and I felt so damn jittery. What was wrong with me? What was I so afraid of? But I dove in (over?) eager to learn everything and to absorb as much as possible.

As the class progressed I thought, "I am good at this," and I suddenly decided to make one for practically everyone I know. In my head I began picking out colored papers and delicate jewels for the spines. I mentally budgeted for beeswax and colored linen thread.

A few weeks goes by, and the three of us gather again to make more books, share supplies, and chat. My friends talk about their teaching jobs--one is a creative writing professor and the other an artist and instructor at the art museum. I listen to them talk about classes, about the pieces they are working on.

I push the needle and thread through the paper--stab, pull, tighten.

The scissors make a zip, sip, zip, sip sound as I try desperately to keep my lines straight. I don't want to waste the pretty and expensive paper we are using.

I look at my girlfriends, and they are so beautiful sitting there sipping their wine while I munch snacks, and I am grateful to have their warmth and beauty gracing my life.

It is late, well past midnight, so we close up shop and clean up scraps of paper and bits of thread. We examine what we have made and feel proud, good. I set the wine glasses in the sink, and put away the leftover snacks. My artist friend hands me an unopened bag of chips as she goes to leave.

"Nine pounds to lose, still, I say," as I decline the offer.

I brush food crumbs off of my baggy sweatshirt as we say goodbye.

I've made books non-stop since that evening. Some I've already given away, and a few I am saving for Valentine's Day presents. They sit in a colorful stack on my shelf waiting to be presented to their new owners. Their pages are blank and empty, begging for a story to be written.

*Leave a comment on this post, and I'll enter your name in a drawing for a hand sewn book. Drawing will be held February 14th.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Portrait of Noelía.

Please see the aaduna June 2011 issue to read this post. Coming June 6!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Please see the aaduna June 2011 issue to read this post. Coming June 6!