Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Little Time in Steamtown

I just came back from the residency for the MFA program at Wilkes University.  I got my MFA there and had the opportunity to go back, teach and read.   It was a great week spent with amazing faculty and students.  I always come home more motivated and confident and ready to write.  While I was there, I had the opportunity to read at the Library Express at the Steamtown Mall in Scranton.  It was awesome--a wonderful venue that I hope to return to.  My good friend Barb also had a little party for me, including this amazing cake!

Huge thanks to Barb, Dawn, Laurie, Kaylie and all the wonderful Wilkes MFA people!  Making great friends is another wonderful benefit of the Wilkes Creative Writing MFA program!

Scranton also boasts the work of a Provincetown artist.  Herman Maril painted this mural in the West Scranton Post Office in 1941.

Scranton was a major player in the American Industrial Revolution.  The rail yards and anthracite mines fueled the railroad industry.  The Steamtown National Historic Site has a great collection of trains and the history of the era of steam engine rail travel.  Worth a visit!

 And all that time, Clovis was away at Summer Camp.  He stayed with his Aunt Suzi, Cousin Henry and the cats.  The days were filled with activity.

 Here he is looking cute on the bed.

Here he is taking a photo of himself.

Attacking the "new" Lambie (sadly, I forgot the old Lambie in a hotel in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina and Clovis has never forgiven me).

Snuggled nap time is always important.

And a few random shots thrown in for good measure.

I caught this painting class on the beach in Provincetown.  Looks like the days of Charles Hawthorne and the Art Schools of Provincetown!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Screen Test

They call Providence the "Creative Capital."  They don't just mean creative accounting when they say it.  There is a thriving and diverse arts community here and I got to edge my way into a little piece of it last night.  My wonderful neighbor Caitlin taught me the art and process of screen printing!  My first project was to make bookplates.  I have had requests from a few people that would like me to sign their copy of The Rebel Wife, but they live hundreds or thousands of miles away.  One reader asked if I had a bookplate I could sign and send to her.

No, I don't have bookplates, I thought, but maybe I can make some!

You start with a design.  I used an image of Clovis that I altered to look like a drawing, then I put a laurel wreath around his head.  The Apotheosis of Clovis, or something very like it.  The other pattern is taken from an abstracted Greek leaf pattern on an iron fence in Philadelphia around the Second Bank of the United States (designed by William Strickland and built about 1818; Strickland also designed the Providence Athenaeum!).

The design then gets photo-exposed onto a screen, which then becomes like a stencil for printing.  The process is methodical and physical.  I am really looking forward to continuing with experimentation and new ideas.  Next will be Clovis t-shirts using the laurel design!

The screen with the template photo-exposed onto it.
The wonderful Caitlin and Cristin at the AS220 Print Shop
A test print... 
Hot off the presses and onto the drying rack!
The printer at work
Post-printing screen...
I like to keep my screen clean.
The final beautiful product after being cut!
The bookplate at work!
I also had a great couple days in the NYC area.  I read at the KGB Bar with other alumni from the Wilkes University MFA program.  It was a great event!  I hope to be able to read there again.  Before the reading, I went with friends to a fantastic restaurant on Mulberry Street-Balaboosta.  It was fantastic!  Service, food, atmosphere, everything.

The back of the menu
Fried olives in yogurt and harissa
The most amazing hummus and pita