A couple people added my old wolf etsy treasury to their favorites list this morning, and it made me realize that it’s been a while since I’d curated a little list of cute handmade critters. I have been daydreaming of the printmaking I will do this year, and thus got looking at hand-pulled prints of animals… one thing led to another and before I knew it, I had 10 owl prints open in different tabs. Naturally a treasury was born; to our feathered friend, the owl, and the printmakers who illustrate them.
It’s rare that I need to be reminded about how lucky I am; I have a really good life, I know it and I am ever so thankful for it. Living in this beautiful country, in a safe home and being able to stay in contact with the people I love dearly, makes every day a blessing. So when an occasion like my birthday comes along, I am reminded of this fact even more so. Below are the generous and very thoughtful gifts that my loved ones gave to me almost a month ago now, for my 26th birthday. I am definitely spoiled rotten. From top to bottom: 1.An incredible Dutch pop-up & interactive art book, Verborgen Vogels, from my sister & brother-in-law 2.Incredible cast bronze owl hook, from my sister & brother-in-law 3.Hand-me-down wedding books, from my sister. 4.Discarded library book gem found and re-lined by my sister: John James Audobon’s entire Birds of America 5.A constantly-waving Queen, powered by the sun, from Olivia Delorme & Nick Oostyen 6.An illustrated edition of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species (so much better than my previous words-only copy), from my mother and father 7.A really special piece that once belonged to my great grandmother: a carved ivory tusk depicting a beautiful herd of elephants marching in a line. My mother graciously handed down this antique to me, which was assumed to have been acquired by my great grandmother’s brother, who constantly travelled the world. 8.Books right up my alley: The Moon of the Bears, The Moon of the Owls and The Charlton Canada Stamp Album & Storybook, from Marcus Jackson 9.Stationery, art and craft supplies from Carney Oudendag, my mother and my sister. 10.Three vintage finds, National Geographic’s My First Pocket Guide: Woodland Wildlife, Canadian Nature Guides: Mammals and Some Canadian Birds, from Carney Oudendag. 11.Custom-ordered, hand-made leather fanny pack by Loves Jules Leather (arriving in June), from John Helm …See what did i tell you? I’m ridiculously rotten!
It’s been over two weeks since I completed and sent in my Art House Co-op Limited Edition Sketchbook Project. Can’t believe I haven’t been able to share it on the blog yet… the spring is flying by so fast! For those of you who don’t know about Art House Co-op, or two of their previous projects that I participated in, then you may want to check out these links here or you can view or purchase my zines of them here. They are a fantastic organization that puts together great international collaborative projects. This most recent endeavour was a spin on their classic yearly project, except this time there was a limited amount of participants (only 5000) hence the name, “Limited Edition.” The L.E. project will be publishing a book about this special twist of the classic collaborative exhibition. The bound volume promises to feature at least one spread from each of the 5000 artists’ sketchbooks. I am looking forward to getting my copy, reading through all of the creativity, and attempting to spot both my submission as well as some friends’ entires. The theme I selected for my book was “Pictures & Descriptions,” simply because it was open ended and thus would allow me the opportunity to create pretty much anything when my idea or inspiration hit me. When I finally sat down and focused on the project, the theme influenced my intentions for the book far more than I had originally intended for it to. Of course I was going to draw animals, as I always do, but first I had to think about my direction for the book. As I pondered on the idea of “Pictures & Descriptions” the notion of a dictionary just kept coming back to me: simple illustrations with eloquent details about entities, actions and adjectives. The dictionary notion distilled further into thoughts about knowledge, book smarts, and wisdom. Naturally I thought of the owl: a symbol of insight, wisdom, intensity, spirituality and knowledge. As my ideas filtered further, I selected one word from each letter of that alphabet that related to the owl. The final thing I might add, before sharing my results, is that I didn’t approach my book traditionally… I created one large scale piece that folds down into the cover. The piece was made on a thick rag paper called magnani, and the entire image was done in graphite (even all of the dictionary descriptions are handwritten in pencil). Essentially my intention was to have a beautiful portrait of a wise owl spreading his impressive wings, while all of these dictionary pages that describe him, float up and surround him. Intrigued yet? Below is my sketchbook’s journey, including some progress & detail shots as well as final full view photos: And finally, here is my limited edition sketchbook in video form: As always, I very much appreciate your thoughts, reactions & feedback, so don’t be too shy to leave a comment, I would love to know what you think of the wise owl.