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Ladies of Letterpress

Ladies of Letterpress book by Kseniya Thomas and Jessica C. White

This beauty arrived in the post a little while ago, and I finally remembered to put it down for a moment to take some photos to share with you. Our Dead Feminists are in a new book! Our friends Kseniya Thomas and Jessica C. White, who founded the Ladies of Letterpress organization and conference, have just published a gorgeous anthology of women printers with the Ivy Press and Princeton Architectural Press.

Ladies of Letterpress book, featuring the Dead Feminists series by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring

The format of the book is really something special. First of all, it’s huge—a whopping 11 x 14 inches—so you can really get in close and see the detail of all the work featured. Second, each page features a large piece on one side, and smaller images and background info on the other—and every page is perforated, so those who want to can turn their favorite pages into frameable wall art. (Not that this book purist would do that, but it’s a great idea!)

Jessica and I are honored to be a part of the book, and proud to be some of the earliest members of the Ladies of Letterpress community. Best of all, it feels so good to be in a book with so many of our friends and colleagues, and included with such great work being done around the U.S. So in honor of our community of printer friends, we’ve been given the green light to share our contributor’s discount with all our friends. If you’d like a copy of the book, you can order it at PA Press and enter the code LETTER for a 35% discount!

Ladies of Letterpress book, featuring the Dead Feminists series by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring

And speaking of community and the Dead Feminists, Jessica and I have a large batch of them on display right now at the gallery at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. (I don’t have a photo of the show yet to share with you, but when I get one I’ll post it here.) The exhibit is called The Contained Narrative, and deals with all the myriad ways books and broadsides tell a story—from the traditional to the unexpected. Nine of our broadsides will be on display (it’s been many years since we displayed so many at once!), as part of the “Book as Community & Collaboration” section of the show.

The exhibit is already on display, and timed to run through the 2015 Book Arts Biennial this summer—where book artists and visitors from around the world will see it. If you happen to be in the Twin Cities this season, here are the details:

The Contained Narrative: Defining the Contemporary Artist Book
April 8 through July 26, 2015
Star Tribune Foundation Gallery, Minnesota Center for Book Arts
1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN
Opening reception: Friday, May 8, 6 to 9 pm
Closing reception: Friday, July 24, 6 to 9 pm
More info and list of artists here

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In the pink

Rhododendron photo by Chandler O'Leary

The rhododendroon is the state flower of Washington, so it’s not like I’m not used to seeing them around town. But this pink monster, which practically dwarfs our neighbor’s house, is something else again.

Spring was never my favorite season before we moved to the Northwest (I’m more of an autumn gal in general), but what we lack here compared to the spectacular fall foliage of the East, we more than make up for with our spring color. I’m a convert—and reveling in all this gorgeous pink.

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Spring wares

Mother's Day nest card illustrated and hand-lettered by Chandler O'Leary

Thanks to all the prep and planning required for last week’s Wayzgoose, I’m all set up with a boatload of new inventory for spring. First on the list: something to send for Mother’s Day! If you’re looking for the perfect last-minute card for Mom, look no further than the shop.

Or if you’re local, there’s one more chance to stock up on Mother’s Day cards and gifts: tomorrow’s Tacoma is for Lovers craft fair.

Tacoma is for Lovers craft fair
Saturday, May 2, 2015
11 am to 4 pm
King’s Books
218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, WA

50 States cards illustrated and hand-lettered by Chandler O'Leary

I’ll have more than just Mother’s Day cards at the craft fair, though—like these new greeting cards based on the 50 States series. Oregon and California are the newest, and they’re already flying off the shelf. West Coast represent!

50 States cards illustrated and hand-lettered by Chandler O'Leary

Also, just so you know, I have an extremely high-tech setup for photographing my cards. Masking tape and a big ol’ sheet of paper: photo studio of champions.

"Paul & Babe" temporary tattoos illustrated and hand-lettered by Chandler O'Leary

I did go slightly fancier when it came to photographing my temporary tattoos, thanks to my fancy friends Mariesa and RJ. The tattoos are my favorite product to develop these days, and it’s fun to see how people react to them at craft fairs—turns out it’s just as fun to take pictures of them as it is to design them.

"Paul & Babe" temporary tattoos illustrated and hand-lettered by Chandler O'Leary

I forgot to tell RJ that I wanted him to wear plaid to complete the whole lumberjack look he generally has going on—but I needn’t have worried. The guy read my mind, and came through like a boss.

Tacoma temporary tattoo illustrated and hand-lettered by Chandler O'Leary

And Mariesa’s outfit and gorgeous poise made my illustrations look super classy.

Tacoma temporary tattoo illustrated and hand-lettered by Chandler O'Leary

By the end of the day they were both saying they wanted to get the Tacoma tatt for real—

Tacoma temporary tattoo illustrated and hand-lettered by Chandler O'Leary

—and I can’t think of a higher compliment than that.

See you tomorrow at the craft fair!

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Goose step

Tacoma Wayzgoose photo by Chandler O'Leary

I only have a few photos of Wayzgoose to show you this year, because just manning my table had me so busy that I barely made it outside all weekend. I think making it a two-day event gave us a record-breaking attendance, and the weather came through to allow the steamroller artists to shine.

Tacoma Wayzgoose photo by Chandler O'Leary

So I’ll just leave you with a few snippets of the weekend’s highlights,

Tacoma Wayzgoose photo by Chandler O'Leary

and hopefully tempt you to come and see us next year!

Tacoma Wayzgoose photo by Chandler O'Leary

Many thanks to the fabulous artists and printers who make Wayzgoose the best arts event in Tacoma (not that I’m biased or anything…); to King’s Books and the Tacoma Arts Commission for making it possible; and to our founder Jessica Spring and her crew of volunteers for running a tight ship.

Tacoma Wayzgoose photos by Chandler O'Leary

Most of all, thank you to the many hundreds of lovely Tacomans (and Seattleites! And Portlanders, too!) who come to show their support for what we do. My favorite part of Wayzgoose is how every year it reminds me just how much I love my city, and the people in it.

See you next year!

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Goose-ified

Tacoma Wayzgoose photos by Chandler O'Leary

We’re ready for the Wayzgoose tomorrow—are you?

Anagram Press products by Chandler O'Leary

I’ve got a whole host of new paper goods ready to show you (look for some of them online next week), and you’ll find them at my Wayzgoose table this weekend. So if you’re local, strap on your printing apron and come on by for the biggest print event of the year.

See you there!

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PVD TBT

Providence and Boston paintings by Chandler O'Leary

I don’t normally do the whole “Throwback Thursday” (#tbt) thing on social media, but I stumbled across a good one today. While digging through a still-unpacked moving box for something else, I came across these oldies. These hearken back to circa 2001, back when I went through a phase of doing my urban sketching in oil paints, in large hand-bound sketchbooks I made myself. I switched back to watercolor and pocket-sized sketchbooks for practical reasons, but it was fun to see my old stomping grounds in Boston and Providence again, through the eyes of a painter.

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Get ready to rumble

Tacoma Wayzgoose photos by Chandler O'Leary

It’s that time of year again—the annual Tacoma Wayzgoose (our local letterpress and book arts extravaganza) is just around the corner! This will be the eleventh year of the event, and we’re expecting a record crowd. Because attendance has grown so much over the years, we’re expanding to meet the demand. For the first time ever, Wayzgoose will now be a two-day event, with artist vendors and steamroller printing on both days:

11th Annual Tacoma Wayzgoose
Saturday and Sunday, April 25-26, 2015
11 am to 4 pm, Free!
King’s Books
218 St. Helens Avenue, Tacoma, WA

Jessica and I are sitting out the steamroller printing this year, to give more newbies a chance to play, but we will both have tables inside. So make sure to stop by and say howdy, and see all the new goodies we’ll have there!

As always, I like to give a run-down Wayzgeese Past—and the list is getting mighty long! So if you’re new here and don’t know what a Wayzgoose is, or you just want to relive the glory days, here are my posts from previous years:

2009 (Tacoma)
2010 (Tacoma)
2011 (Tacoma)
2011 (San Francisco)
2012 (Tacoma)
2013 (Tacoma)
2014 (Tacoma)

All fired up? Good. See you this weekend!

The Tacoma Wayzgoose is a collaboration between King’s Books and Springtide Press with support from the Tacoma Arts Commission. Steamroller Printing is possible through a partnership with neighboring businesses Doyle’s Public House, the Harmon Tap Room, and The Hub. Many thanks to legions of volunteers who make this event possible, especially from our local institutions including Pacific Lutheran University, University of Puget Sound, Charles Wright Academy, Stadium High School and Tacoma Community College.

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All the news fit to print

50 States illustration by Chandler O'Leary on Shoppe by Scoutmob

Already 2015 is shaping up to be a year of new projects and lots of changes—I have a barrage of new things to share with you, but rather than bombard you with everything all at once, I’ll stick to just a couple for now. For one thing, I’m excited to announce that a selection of my prints and stationery is part of the Shoppe collection at Scoutmob! So these days my normal stack of packages leaving the studio each week has gotten considerably taller.

Chandler O'Leary's shoppe on ScoutmobArtwork by Chandler O'Leary on Shoppe by Scoutmob

Scoutmob is a curated online marketplace of goods by independent makers all over the country. Everything on Scoutmob is made by artist-entrepreneurs—small businesses run by makers like me. So when they invited me to be a part of the collection, I felt like I was in good company. I’m inspired by the diversity of goods being made by independent artists—Scoutmob has everything from cards to art to jewelry to housewares to food and drink—and the collection is constantly changing and being updated. So whether you’re new to Scoutmob, or you’re a seasoned shopper looking for new favorites, stop by my Shoppe!

Collage of farm illustrations by Chandler O'Leary

In other news, I’ve been selected for a Tacoma Artist Initiative Program (TAIP) funding award from the Tacoma Arts Commission! This is the second time I’ve been funded by the Arts Commission (the first time was for my Local Conditions artist book)—and this time I’ll be creating a new body of work called Farm to Table.

As you can see above, I’ve been interested in agricultural imagery for some time, and the subject has been creeping into my work for years. This time, though, I’ll be focusing an entire series of illustrations on local, sustainable farming. I’ll be developing a collection of prints and cards in the next two years, and the project will culminate in a solo exhibition in October 2016. Look for more info and new images soon!

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Shelf life

Studio photo by Chandler O'Leary

You’ll have to excuse the grainy photos—snapping pictures in the basement is never ideal. But this shelf sure is—last week the Tailor built me an enormous inventory storage system, and over the weekend I finally organized my entire stock of stationery. It’s hard to see the scale here, but this monster is about 8 x 7 x 3 feet in size. (Not pictured: the giant metal print cabinets that haven’t arrived in the post yet, which will take up the rest of that whole wall.) I am one happy camper.

Studio photo by Chandler O'Leary

One of the pitfalls of manufacturing your own line of products is finding room to store the stuff you make. It’s only cost-effective to produce cards in quantities of 1000 or so—and when you multiply that by dozens of different items, you suddenly need a staggering amount of space for it all. For years I’d been limping along, sharing my workspace with my storage space, and making use of what little square footage I had by stashing items into shared boxes and then shifting and stacking and repacking those boxes endlessly. Every time I made a new product, I had to divide it amongst whatever nooks and crannies had a little space free. Reordering stock when it ran low was a nightmare, as I first had to check and make sure I didn’t have extra quantities hiding anywhere. More shifting and stacking and repacking ensued. And every time I did a live event, like a craft fair or Studio Tour, the prospect of taking everything out and putting it all back again made me want to tear my hair out.

Studio photo by Chandler O'Leary

So this, by comparison, feels downright luxurious. Now that we’re in the new house, I finally have separate spaces for working and storage. The studio (another work-in-progress, which is why I haven’t posted about it yet) is just for making things, and I have two annex spaces to house the things I make. For the first time ever, I can store the entire quantity of each item, and display every item for easy access. Now that it’s done, all I want to do is spend the day staring my new tiny OCD kingdom.

And best of all, there’s plenty of room to grow. I have big plans for the next few years, and not only can I see what sorts of things lie ahead—I can also see exactly where they’re all going to go.

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Weekend revels

Skagit Valley tulips photo and sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I took a rare day off on Friday, to get out of the studio and gather some inspiration in the…um..field.

Skagit Valley tulips photo by Chandler O'LearySkagit Valley tulips photo by Chandler O'LearySkagit Valley tulips photo by Chandler O'LearySkagit Valley tulips photo by Chandler O'LearyWhidbey Island photo by Chandler O'Leary

My trip turned into a mini-adventure,

Whidbey Island photo by Chandler O'Leary

full of Washington wonders.

Admiralty Head Lighthouse photo by Chandler O'LearyAdmiralty Head Lighthouse photo by Chandler O'LearyWhidbey Island photo by Chandler O'LearyFull moon photo by Chandler O'Leary

Catching the moonrise on my way home was an extra-special bonus, because it reminded me to set an alarm—

Lunar eclipse photos by Chandler O'Leary

—so that I could catch a nice postscript to the day’s excitement.