December 16th, 2014
Every day this month I’ve brought a stack of packages like this to the post office, fulfilling orders and sending my goods to every corner of the country and beyond. Normally this is the week that the orders taper off, as folks finish off their Christmas list or the holiday USPS deadline looms. This year, though, the orders are still coming in thus far, at an astonishing rate that keeps me busy the whole day, every day.
So I just wanted to pause a moment to say thank you—for your support for what I do, for your support of small and local businesses like mine, and of artisans of every stripe who make their living from what they create. I can’t begin to express what that means to me—except to keep making things, in the hope that it’ll mean something to you, too.
December 11th, 2014
I’m doing one last craft fair this season, and this time it’s at a brand new venue. Tacoma’s Museum of Glass is hosting its first-ever holiday craft fair, featuring 10 local artisans in the beautiful space of the Grand Hall. So if there’s something you still need to cross off your list, you can find it here:
Museum of Glass Holiday Craft Fair
This Saturday, December 13, 2014
10 am to 5 pm (during museum open hours)
1801 Dock Street, Tacoma, WA
See you this Saturday!
November 27th, 2014
We’re celebrating the holiday at a friend’s house this year—one who, I’m happy to say, was the perfect partner in crime when it came to hatching our crazy state-souvenir table settings idea.
Whatever state you’re in this year (whether literal or metaphorical), wishing you a happy, safe and delicious Thanksgiving!
November 20th, 2014
Well, I know I have a lot more prints to add to my 50 States series, but I couldn’t resist starting a card series to go with it. Eventually I’ll have all 50 in my collection, but for now I’m starting right here at home with a little Washington souvenir. You can find these cards in the shop—or if you’re local, catch me this weekend at Tacoma is for Lovers, our beloved, weirdly-named holiday craft fair.
Tacoma is for Lovers craft fair
Saturday and Sunday, November 22 and 23
11 am to 4 pm, free!
King’s Books, 218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, WA
See you there!
November 17th, 2014
Slowly but surely, this place is beginning to look like home.
Good thing, because the days are absolutely flying by,
the weeks passing me in a blur of time.
Neither the Tailor nor I could really take any time off from work for our move, so we can only settle in a little at a time. There are so many boxes to unpack, fixtures to mend, hidden spots to clean, surprises to deal with, infrastructure to set up—a million things to build and scrub and fix and dismantle and assemble and purchase and beautify and polish and rewire and dig up and plant and patch and strip and undo and restore and set up just so. Some parts of the house are perfect as they are; others need attention immediately; still others will just need to be lived with as-is for some years, until we can get around to tackling them. If I think about any of it too long, I go a little mad.
So for now, we’re focusing on the corners. There isn’t a single room that’s done yet, but little corners here and there are starting to shape up nicely.
These images, then, are little glimpses of what my days have been like lately, of the moments that have alternately focused and fragmented my attention.
Through it all, work goes on, as close to uninterrupted as I can make it,
while the hum of everyday life picks back up around me.
I’ve gotten in the habit lately of keeping my camera on a shelf behind my work table. It’s a good reminder that while forward momentum is nice—
—I need to remember to stop every now and again and take a good look at where I stand.
October 23rd, 2014
I wanted to let you know about some fun online articles I’ve been a part of lately. First up is one I’ve mentioned briefly before: the folks at one of my favorite travel websites, Atlas Obscura, have been doing a series of features on roadside attractions, featuring some of my sketchbook drawings. The series started with an interview about my Drawn the Road blog—
and has since expanded to a series of detailed features on some of my favorite roadside oddities.
My favorite part is watching their ever-growing map dotted with pins representing where I’ve sketched things. I hope to see that thing peppered with dots before long! You can find all the features to date here. Many thanks to Allison Meier for devoting so much good ink to my sketches!
The other series I wanted to share is one on a local architectural studies site for kids and teens called Roosterwax. When their president, Lauren Hirt, asked if she could feature some of my sketches on the site, I said yes simply because I was excited about Roosterwax’s mission. But I had no idea just how wonderful a thing I was in for when I went to look at the first post.
Each week Roosterwax features a different architectural sketch of mine—but the sketch is merely the starting point. Lauren writes a thoughtful and detailed post to go with each sketch, and analyzes my work the same way an art historian might—breaking each piece down into its technical and compositional details for students to investigate.
The result is both flattering and humbling for me (and maybe a little nervewracking, since my drawings always have mistakes in them!)—I’m used to analyzing the work of others that way, but I’ve never experienced it myself.
Most of all, I love reading each post because it gets me to think like a student again. After a lifetime of drawing, many of the skills and tricks I learned in school (and afterward) have become ingrained, but I always feel like my sketches could be better. Reading each Roosterwax post is like having my own little private (and super kind) critique each week, giving me lots of ideas for improving as an artist. I can only hope that together we can inspire some aspiring architects, as well!
You can follow along each Friday, on the Roosterwax site. Thanks so much, Lauren—looking forward to the next installment!
October 20th, 2014
We’re all moved into our new house, and fully in the thick of unpacking and setting up our lives again. But despite a pile of work to do that stretches from here to next year, I didn’t want to miss my favorite season. So every chance I get, I’ve been sneaking out to take walks among the autumn colors. And all the while, a snippet of Robert Frost plays on repeat in my head:
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
October 17th, 2014
In a season full of big events, tomorrow is the biggest day of all, because that’s when the Tailor and I move into our new home. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this—we’ve been saving for years and looking for months, and we finally found the house (and studio!) that is absolutely perfect for us, in every way.
It’s going to take a goodly bit of time, elbow grease and TLC to preserve our little piece of historic Tacoma just the way we want to, but we’ve had a lot of good omens to remind us that we’re headed down the right path.
For one thing, we found a poster I designed already hanging in the basement—
—and for another, we’ll get to come home to this every day.
I’ll be whipping my new studio into shape over the coming weeks and months, so I’m sure I’ll have photos and stories to share as I go along.
* * *
Thank you to everybody who came to my reception yesterday! We had a massive turnout—I think we gave the library staff a nice surprise by filling up that gallery. Many thanks for all your smiles, hugs and support, especially on the eve of the big move!
October 14th, 2014
Both Jessica and I have solo shows on display right now, and while they deal with different topics, our similar personalities and interests made for a surprising number of overlaps. While we were marveling at how much our shows had in common with each other (which was especially funny, considering that neither of us saw the other’s exhibit until both were installed!), it occurred to us that it might be fun to have our receptions on the same night.
So we joined this month’s Third Thursday Artwalk and created a mini gallery crawl of our own. Here’s how it works: stop by my reception at the Tacoma Public Library first and pick up a letterpress keepsake. Then take your keepsake down the hill to Jessica’s reception at the Old Post Office (which is exactly 5 blocks from the library), and print a phrase on it with her antique printing press. Both events are free and open to the public. We’ll also have a small pop-up shop at Jessica’s reception, stocked with goodies related to our shows and also featuring guest artist Mare Blocker.
Here’s the skim milk:
Third Thursday Art Walk: Dual Exhibition Receptions
Stop 1: Drawn the Road Again
Solo exhibition by Chandler O’Leary
4 to 5:30 pm
Tacoma Public Library Handforth Gallery
1102 Tacoma Avenue South
Stop 2: reCollection
A Spaceworks installation by Jessica Spring
5 to 9 pm
Old Tacoma Post Office, north end of lobby
1102 A Street
Put on your walkin’ shoes, and we’ll fire up the press—see you on Thursday!
October 12th, 2014
This weekend was the biggest and best Studio Tour yet—and I even remembered to take pictures!
Well, sort of, anyway. I managed to document my space for the last time,
but then chaos took over. It’s a good thing I bought just about every last organic jellybean in the city of Tacoma, because we needed them!
This was the only “action shot” I managed to grab all day—most of the time it was so packed there wasn’t room to stand on anything to snap a quick photo. We blew last year’s record out of the water, with well over 200 visitors this year!
And then afterward the only photo I managed was the view from the floor, where I lay in a heap.
To everyone who came to bid the old house farewell, as well as the many new folks who stopped by for the first time, thank you so much for making the weekend an enormous success. It feels so good to be a part of such a supportive and enthusiastic community—I would not be able to do what I do without you.
And I’m already thinking up ideas for 2015. See you next year, at the new studio!