I tend to get ahead of myself. My hand will start hurting and I'll call Mommy, just to inform her and keep her updated. But then I tell her about the x-ray, surgery and three to six months of physical therapy that I've convinced myself will have to happen and she just waits and asks me if I want to work at the local hospital and diagnose other people with my untrained self.

This isn't a post about me having hypochondriac-like tendencies. The post is about a print because there's a story behind it. I used the Jamaican proverb, "One one coco full basket", which literally means that if you add coco (also known as dasheen, taro, or Colocasia esculenta) to a basket one at a time, eventually the basket will become full. This exact phrase wasn't really something I heard growing up because my parents aren't Jamaican. However, last semester I was texting the sibling and having a mini-panic about something (probably related to failing at figuring out the whola my future) when she sent me that proverb and helped put things into perspective.

I tend to get ahead of myself. I feel like I find new crafts and hobbies to get myself into (did you know that making dyes out of leftover vegetables is a thing and that crepe paper makes very realistic flowers?) yet still enjoy my old ones. There's a part of me that thinks I'm not allowed to be interested in so many things at once. I want to either like less things or see them all come together. People say that things work out. I trust and believe that things work out too but I always want to know how.

Which is why it's good for me to remember that things happen one at a time. So I better just relax myself and not try drive up my blood pressure. [This is the moment when everyone over forty rolls their eyes at me for thinking I know a thing about driving up blood pressure. =D] It's why I made this print - to remind myself and anyone else who relates to what I just said that one one coco full basket.

The project itself is a print in two editions. Both were printed on a 15/20 Vandercook press with wood type. The first is 8 in x 8 in, printed on Mohawk text weight paper, with a papyrus strip pasted on. The second is 8.5 in x 11 in, printed on collaged rice paper, with two of the papyrus strips and mounted on handmade paper. 

If you're interested in one, contact me through Facebook, Instagram or email kerencreates@gmail.com. The 8 x 8 is 5 USD or 600 JMD and the 8.5 x 11 is 10 USD or 1300 JMD.

The song is " I Got Now" by BrvndonP.

Thanks for reading,

Blogger Widgets

tl;dr - What I did in my book arts class this semester

I made my very first book in my youth out of plastic bags and printer paper following the instructions from a magazine.

Sophomore year, I met human extraordinaire, Sophie Schwartz, who told me about the Book Arts class during my photoshoot for folkmade (which apparently isn't a thing anymore (!) so I need to update my Shop link) when she saw my last journal.

This semester, I took the Book Arts class. We learned letterpress printing and then went into book structures. I made four pieces over the semester and I think it's easier to break up this post by each project. Most of this is for me to remember what went into each project - feel free to look at the pictures alone.

Brown So White, (with Fadwa Ahmed), 15 in x 17 in

We did a collaborative piece as our introduction to Book Arts. We worked in pairs to design a poster that used handset text and a linocut image. But what does it mean? We used a big and serious printing press, with rollers that we had to apply ink to and paper that we had to feed manually and a carriage that we can to turn to get the paper to roll over the form, and type that we had to set letter by letter. I mean, going through drawers with letters and spacings and putting the words together. My partner created the text in the borders and did most of type setting while I created the image and did most of the carving from the linoleum block. My partner printed the text in the borders first (vertical text! It's a pretty big deal), then we printed the image, followed by the main text and the result was our poster. The overall idea came from something our professor said about the lack of tenured faculty of colour at our school and asked, "Brown, why are you so white?"

No Wori, 8.5 in x 8.5 in, handset type with polymer image

This was my first individual piece and it took a lot more time than I thought. The assignment was to create broadsides in a ~fine art aesthetic~ using text and an image made from polymer. I wanted to use Matthew 6:25-34 because I have to remind myself not to worry on a daily (hourly) basis. I decided to use the patois translation of the Bible because: i) haffi big up my side any and every chance I get and ii) I thought the contrast (or perceived contrast) between patois and the fine art would be fun to play with. We were advised to make our image to point to the text but not be too obvious. I decided to use birds or flowers and then I remembered a doctor bird design I made in first year (life coming full circle).

First, I made the mock up on my computer. This involved a lot of resizing of text and images and working with the limitations of the physical press - eg. we only have a selection of fonts so I couldn't use something like Comic Sans even if I wanted to. I made a physical mock-up because moving the bits around helped me visualize it.

The next step was setting the text and preparing the polymer. It's fun when it works but not fun when you realize that you missed a letter or didn't mind your p's and q's (it's so easy to confuse p's and q's and d's and b's!). I ended up shortening the text to verses 30 to 34. I cut my hummingbird out on a scrap piece of rubylith and (with the help of a friend) exposed the polymer and prepared it at school (I didn't feel like paying money to have a company do it - bookmaking on a budget?).

The last step was doing the press runs (different times setting up and inking the press). I had four runs: one for the title and attribution (dark blue ink), one for the body (blue-green ink), one for the doctor bird (gold ink), and a blind emboss for my colophon (no ink). As much as misalignment issues frustrated me, there's something satisfying about feeling the impression of the text and image on the paper.

Plants We Love: A Sampler, 3.5 in x 5.5 in folded, 14 in x 11 in unfolded

We were supposed to make a one-page book and I wanted to incorporate my plant project. The images (scans of my paintings) and text are digitally printed. The tricky parts for this project were learning how to navigate Photoshop and InDesign (Sophie came to my rescue here), making sure things were aligned, turning things upside down so they would open correctly once I folded them, and making neat folds. The image on the back is mine and the border was me turning a mistake and making style. I made 9 of these.

Plants We Love, 3.5 in x 5.5 in, 84 in x 5.5. in unfolded

The compilation of my plant drawings in an accordion book. I handset the type for the plant names and digitally printed the other text and images. The most time-consuming aspect was the folding and gluing because I divided them into strips of 11 in x 3.5 in so that I could easily fold them into four. I was pretty ambitious when I started the project because I wanted to have 9 books (to give copies to people who have helped me out with my project). I made 3 (because time nuh unlimited and I wanted to come home). I have the materials for about 5 more so the plan is to go back and finish that up in my free time.

I wanted to print a mountain range on the back from a linoleum block but after talking with my professor and the TA,  I decided it wouldn't work out because the image would show through on the front. I remembered that I had nice paper in my room (with bits of leaves!). I ended up turning that into the cover for my book (because I’m cheap and didn’t want to buy book cloth). But! This led me to a ~blue~ version of the paper when I went to buy more paper. So I have actual Blue Mountains on the back of my book.

 That was a lot but that's what I made this semester.  I know a lot of my descriptions and explanations aren't 100% clear so feel free to ask me any questions you have.

The song is "No" by Nicolas Jaar.

I hope you're doing well wherever you are.

Thanks for reading,

Hi friends,

Are you ready for some high quality content?

Two Fridays ago, I put some of my plants on display at a Black Arts Gallery at school. I showed four of my plants and half (or all, depending on how critical I am of myself) were unfinished. I enjoyed myself (despite/including moments of tripping over my awkwardness) and the responses from people were encouraging. It was good to spend the night admiring work from other beautiful and brilliant black people on campus.

It reminded me of last year, when I showed my self-portrait (my baby picture surrounded by beads and the phrase "Pretty for a black girl"). I was nervous about showing that piece because it is so personal but the response from people helped me realize that at times art goes beyond me. Wow - I sound dramatic - but I hope you understand what I mean. I spend more time than I should wondering if there's any point to me making work and sharing it with people. I wonder if I'm selfish because I enjoy spending time in the studio obsessing over the right shade of green. I wonder if I'm vain when I talk to my friends about a new project or ask for their opinions on it. I wonder if I'm insecure when I post things to Facebook or Instagram. I know these are questions I need to tackle for myself and I know that they point to things I need to consider about where I find my validation and worth. But that's why it's nice to have moments when my work really speaks to people and they tell me that they appreciate it. The Black Arts Gallery last year reminded me that I have things to say and things to share and that many of those things will connect with people.

That's why it was nice this year to see people appreciate my plants.

The semester is wrapping up and I have paintings and projects to finish up. But it's all good because that's how it goes. I hope you're doing well, wherever you are.

The song is 'Fettucine' by 1K Phew

Thanks for reading,

Plot twist! Keren cleans before she does her weekly post. I won't say much because it's late and I'll ramble so let's get to the point.

Reading Bio lecture PowerPoint slides.

Writing Emails and text messages because I'm rubbish at responding to people when they send me messages.

Listening "Go Buck" by Flame =D Legitimately the song that introduced me to Christian hip-hop/rap artists.

Needing To wash my dishes (why I so dutty? It come like every week is clean I haffi clean sumn).

Hoping To meet up with more people this week.

Loving My friend's sermon this morning on Being Cured vs Being Healed.

Yes yes. I'm going to wash my dishes and then sleep friends. I hope you're doing well wherever you are.

Thanks for reading,

The plan was to write a few blog posts throughout the week but I didn't because life. It was a busy week (if you couldn't tell by the state of my desk). I also can't focus right now. I'm trying to do a reading but there's a strange country-rock music thing going on where I am. I'm bobbing to it though. I need to clean my desk - it's bad. And under my bed. And clear up storage on my phone. And my laptop. It's all good.

But! I did have energy-receiving moments related to things I made. 1) I met with a real life science illustrator to get feedback on my work. The meeting went well. I can draw. (I have to keep saying it to myself because I forget and I talk myself out of it and compare myself and and and.) I need to work on making the plants look more life-like though (more contrast, making closer things larger, more vibrant). I should do more drawing from observation - not just plants - for practice. 2) I finished a commission for a friend - a choker in a lovely brown-cream colour palette. (I used that bead mix to make a ring at an unearthly hour of the day.) She liked it and I'm happy.

Reading Some form of reading for multiple classes.

Writing Notes on those readings.

Listening "Nasty" by Vic Sage

Thinking Whether I could be a rapper and what my name would be.

Needing To clean. Jah know.

Feeling Kinda nasty. I need to clean myself as well as my room.

Loving That the weather has been decent and we had sun for most of last week.

Thanks for reading,

I'm rebranding! Nah. Not really. I just figured that "The State of My Desk" is a lot more realistic and true to who I am as a person. (Plus it helps me call myself out when I realize things like the empty cookie box had been on my desk for a week.) My Sunday Currentlys had a good run though.

I have to keep this one short and sweet. Last week was busy and I'm still catching up on work and readying up for this week. I have some ~deep and insightful~ posts in the making though. (Don't get your hopes up.) Once I ensure that I don't fail my classes. Thoughts about my interests and trying things that are intimidating and how life unfolds and being thankful that I can't see the future because I would just assume the fetal position fast fast. (Now that I think of it, I'll probably keep most of it in my journal and write a post about how many shades of green I've discovered in these past few weeks.)

Reading The readings for my conservation class once I post this.

Writing Notes from said readings.

Listening "Take Off"  by Derek Minor featuring Canon, KB and Ty Brasel

Thinking I'll probably need to eat before I sleep. (But I have a hard time telling when I'm hungry (!) I think I'll make some tea then.)

Needing To trust myself and my decisions.

Feeling Hype because of this song.

Hoping It doesn't take too long to fold clothes. (Not really a hope still. It really depends on how quickly I fold.)

Loving The love and jokes from people I spent time with this past week. (Good friends are a good thing.) +ginger mint tea because it nice like sugar and spice.

Thanks for reading,

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