Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Book It

Maybe it's the feel of the paper. Maybe it's the stories they tell. Maybe it's intimacy of the experience. Maybe it's the way they transport me to a different place. Books are just special. And these 3D books bring another dimension to the experience.

The first video shows the making of the 360° Mt. Fuji book created by designer Yusuke Oono, published by Counter-Print in Japan.

The second video shows artist Tauba Auerbach's pop-up book [2, 3] in a video filmed by Sam Fleischner.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Woman's Best Friend

If you know me, or even if you follow me on social media, you know my baby Arya is a super important part of my life. Arya is a goofball, sweetheart, amazing Doberman that I can't imagine being without. So yes, I'm a freaky dog mom.


Combine my love for dogs with my interest in science, and voilĂ —a genetic family tree for dogs! I first saw this great image in an article in Science magazine. A team of geneticists, lead by Elaine Ostrander and Heidi Parker at the National Human Genome Research Institute, collected and studied the DNA of dogs for over 20 years to gather the details shown in this family tree. And just in case you're wondering, Dobermans fall into a group (or clade) with Rottweilers, Black Russian Terriers, and Giant Schnauzers. Who knew?

Cladogram of 161 Domestic Dog Breeds

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

For the Love of Color

Moses Harris, The Natural System of Colours (1769-1776)

We don't shy away from color here at Pele Prints. When I look through our flat files or see our collaborations on the wall at a fair, I'm reminded firsthand that color is such an important element for me as a printer. Each project provides a different opportunity to explore the richness of color. As a collaborative printer, I'm often making color choices right alongside the artist. My own "color voice" combined with that of each of the Pele artists, acts as a thread that runs through the work in the studio.

Often, it helps to have inspiration when putting together color combos. For me, inspiration comes from the world around me and from the various tools at my disposal. Living in St. Louis, all four seasons in nature are a constant reminder of how colors can work and play together. The plethora of budding greens in Spring, the bright shades of the sun reflecting off the clouds in Summer, the harmony of color in the falling leaves of Autumn, and the calming subtle greys, whites, and browns of Winter. I'm also drawn to fabrics for bold color ideas. Indian saris and Indonesian batiks shine with saturated colors and beautiful jewel tones.

When I'm working with color and I get stuck, there are a couple of tools I go to for help. One is my trusty Pantone color bridge. Don't make art without it. The other is the Colour Lovers website, "a creative community where people from around the world create and share colors, palettes, and patterns." Whatever works to inspire...stay colorful!

Monday, May 8, 2017


"Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart." –Unknown

Stress is just a part of life. But like many of us, I can let it get the best of me. There are some pretty great tools though that I've added to my toolbox to help deal with stress. Whenever things get overwhelming, I turn to these. A reminder for me and perhaps a new idea or two for you...namaste!

Paper Lungplant, designed by Tim van Cromvoirt

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Print 3D

Traditionally printmaking exists in 2D world, surrounded by drawing, painting, collage, and even digital media. But the digital side has been rapidly changing over the last few years, and 3D digital printers have made their mark.

As a person who has always worked with their hands, I have a love/hate relationship with technology. Don't get me wrong. I'm by no means a modern-day Luddite, and I have incorporated many technologies into my studio practice at Pele. Not to mention that, strictly speaking, the presses I use were once considered the latest and greatest in the way of technology. There is a constant push/pull between my need to create by hand and my desire to incorporate newer digital tools. Most people who have worked with me have heard me talk about the importance of the "evidence of hand" in art. I believe there is such a thing as too perfect, and it's in the small imperfections where beauty often lies. Taking a phrase from the late t-shirt design shop Imperfect Articles, "perfectly imperfect" is a thing.

All of this said, technology provides an amazing complement to the handmade. And while 3D printing isn't exactly new, there have been huge strides in the last couple of years in expanding its scope, affordability, and reach. Following the Maker Movement reveals a seemingly endless string of ideas and innovations that I find fascinating. Some standouts include incorporating hydrographic film with 3D printed objects, designing intricate 3D shapes and designs using edible chocolate instead of plastic, and even creating 3D printed custom prosthetics for animals.

Seeing ideas like these gets the wheels spinning in my head. Who knows...someday we might just add a 3D printer to the Pele bag of tricks.

Derby prosthetic legs

Hydrographic film

3D printed chocolate

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Art of Video Games

I've played video games most of my life. Sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. But they are always there, and they have become a major part of our modern culture as a whole. When I play video games, I can't help but to be drawn to the visuals. In 2012, the Smithsonian Institute curated an exhibition called The Art of Video Games, which celebrated 40 years of video game art. It truly is an art form, one to be appreciated like any other. Thinking about what I consider some of the best video games from a visual perspective, I have four standouts that come to mind today.

Fun – Loco Roco

Loco Roco is all about being a kid. The colors and simple shapes interact and move in ways that just make you smile. Everything about it playful and fun.

Beautiful – flOw

This game is mesmerizingly beautiful and simple to learn. Plus the amoeba-like creatures are right up my alley at the intersection of art and science. The game was designed by Jenova Chen and Nicholas Clark, and it was created as part of Jenova's MFA thesis.

Abstract – Dots

2Modern got it right when they said that Dots is a game that Damien Hirst could endorse (and other artists as well, I'm sure!). Just as the name implies, this app puzzle game consists of simple dots that the player connects.

Realist – BioShock

I'm usually not a fan of first person shooters, but the BioShock series has been great from the beginning. In this pseudo-realist world, intense story lines and apropos themes make for an addictive and visually stunning game.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Few of My Favorite Things

At the beginning of March, Pele Prints exhibited at Art on Paper in NY. It was such a beautiful fair, and I'm so happy we could be a part of it. One of the best things about the show was seeing so much incredible work in one place, up close and personal. I've put together a few of my favorite highlights to share here. Enjoy!

Pele Prints booth
(Carly Kurka, Jessie Van der Laan, Laura Berman, Xochi Solis,
Ken Wood, Alicia LaChance, Benjamin Guffee)

Tahiti Pehrson, installation of 17' hand-cut paper columns

Sarah Hinckley, watercolors at Littlejohn Contemporary

Valerie Hammond, paper installation

Dharma Strasser MacColl, mixed media on paper at Traywick Contemporary

Rashaad Newsome, lithographs based on dance performances at Tamarind Institute

Timothy Paul Myers (in collaboration with Andrew Barnes), life-size room installation constructed in felt

Steven Ford, prints at Dolan/Maxwell

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Step It Up a Notch

*Prepares soapbox*

Most of us have a political or social opinion. Many of us don't vote or participate in our government. All of us in this country have benefited in some way from the privileges of being in America. If you think that politics doesn't affect you, you are sorely mistaken. It affects each and every one of us. I believe that if everyone one of us stepped it up a notch in terms of civic and political involvement, this country would be a better place. That means if you aren't registered to vote, if you don't usually vote, if you have never called your representatives, if you have never marched or protested, NOW IS THE TIME!

In an effort to remind myself of how I want to move forward in difficult times, here is my top 7 list for stepping up:

  • VOTE
    In every election, no excuses. Those who came before us fought long and hard for this right, and many people in the world do not have this privilege. Don't take it for granted.
    Our representatives are there to do just that: represent. Whether you voted for them or not, they still have an obligation to do their job. If enough constituents consistently call and write their elected officials, we can make a difference.
    Get involved in campaigning for a candidate, whether at the local, state, or federal level. Become an election judge if you are able. Volunteer for organizations that lobby for the causes that are most important to you.
  • READ
    Do your homework. This means not relying on just one source for information. This also means taking the time to educate yourself on what bills are being voted on in congress and where your representatives stand on those issues.
    We all have a voice...make it heard. It's ok to stand up for what you believe in, even when it is not comfortable to do so. Learning to use your voice, especially when people assume you agree with them and you don't, is so important.
    If you are able, donate money to your favorite candidate, charity, or social organization. Whether we like it or not, money talks.
    Protest and march for those causes that matter to you. And then protest and march again for those causes that matter to your friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens. We need to support one another to make real change.

Someone said to me recently that it feels like a full time job to stay on top of politics right now. It isn't convenient. But many of us have taken for granted how easy it has been to be an American for far too long. There is such a thing as civic duty. It's time for each and every one of us to step it up a notch.