Tuesday, I taught another workshop with Forest Park Public Library. This was my second Valentine workshop and fourth card making workshop with them and like always, it was so much fun making cards with my community. (Thanks to my neighbor, Meghan, for the picture of me awkwardly sharing the fox folds!)
We made an origami fox bookmark, a folded flower, tiny accordion-fold hearts, a 3-D fish, and a simple watercolor card. The fox and the fish were the most fun, but also the most difficult. Should I attempt to share a how-to here soon? (The lighting is usually so bad in the wintertime for taking pictures, but we have a nice streak of sunny days coming up!
I have another letter writing presentation coming up in March in Batavia. It’s the third time I’ve given that talk, but it will be the first time in person. I’m looking forward to sharing some of my good mail and favorite supplies with everyone!
Last month, Naoto and I joined a Halloween origami class at Konbini & Kampai, a Japanese liquor/convenience store in Chicago. It was hosted by Ty Yamamoto and the Japanese Cultural Center. We have been wanting to visit Konbini and Kampai for so long, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
We learned how to fold a ghost and a bat, and thanks to this super-strong (but delicious!) bottled Manhattan, I was terrible at both! Thankfully we had someone at our table who was an expert and could walk us through a couple of the harder steps.
Konbini & Kanpai has so many unique beer offerings, and they have an amazing wine selection, interesting canned cocktails, and offer sips of bottled spirits from Japan and other places. Naoto had so much fun shopping and making himself a little 6-pack of weird beers to take home.
They also have a nice selection of Japanese snacks, and I would highly recommend the corn soup crunchy triangles to go with your bottled Manhattan.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering why Ty has a purple nose and a panda was helping Naoto at the coolers, costumes were highly encouraged! So, we dressed up as Ina Garden and Jeffrey! (The whisk really sold it!)
The origami workshops are a monthly thing, so we’re hoping to attend another one in the future. If you’re in the area, maybe we’ll see you there!
It’s that time of the year again–the scarecrows have invaded Forest Park. I finally finished mine last week–Trader Joe’s Guy is now standing in front of my house, startling me every time I look out the window.
Here he is with the REAL deal. Naoto got a kick out of him. I was pretty proud of my bag of groceries, which was made from leftover packaging of things we ate that week. I secured everything with packing tape, so hopefully we don’t create a trash issue on our block!
There are so many great scarecrows around Forest Park. You can find a map here (the link will only be available for October.) I’ve share a few on Instagram already, but I’m hoping to get out this weekend to see some more. This weekend is the Casket Races and it’s supposed to be in the 70s, so I’m looking forward to a last hurrah of nice weather in my charming little Halloween village.
I taught another card-making workshop at the Forest Park Public Library in August. We used paper folding, rubber stamping, and watercolors to make four cards that could be used for all occasions. It was so much fun!
Have I ever told you the story about the time my manager at Paper Source kept insisting that I teach the origami class until I finally asked her, “Why me? Because I have a Japanese husband and I learn by marital osmosis?” (She dropped the subject.) Well, the joke’s on me because now, every class I teach has some sort of paper folding incorporated into it!
This time, we folded an origami watermelon and this dahlia. The watermelon was my favorite because it’s so easy, and who doesn’t love a pun? The dahlia is also pretty simple, but it looks so elegant, especially if you make it with pretty patterned papers.
Then we used watercolors and a black marker to make a simple cake card. I bought these cheap pearlescent watercolors from Michaels and I love them. They have a lovely little shimmer and nice coverage. (There is a fancier Japanese version, too!)
And finally, we used rubber stamp masking to make the last card. Have you ever done masking? It’s such a fun way to layer your stamps! (Should I do a little tutorial?)
Naoto was one of my “students” so he took some pictures of the class in action. It was a great group, with everyone helping and supporting each other! I know I’ve said it a hundred times, but I love our library and I love teaching workshops there.
Garage Galleries 2022 is in the books and I’m finally recovered from a week of mad-prepping and a day of meeting new people and chatting with familiar friends about stamps, typewriters, letter writing, mail and more. I made a bunch of new cards (using the stamps pictured above) and I sold out of every one (except one design, which I am now convinced is a dud!) so I have to replenish my stock so I can add them to my website.
Here was our set-up, similar to last year (which I just realized I never blogged about!) I have so many styles of cards now that my two racks are full, and even my mini rack couldn’t handle the holiday overflow. I’ve come a long way since my very first craft show in 2016!
We did not host in our own garage this time like we did last year. Instead we moved into our friend’s garage with two other artists and Smokey Joel’s Red Hots. That’s right! We had a hot dog stand right behind us! This could explain why I have only a few pictures from the day–my assistant was too busy eating multiple hot dogs (and helping out!) to take pictures of the crowds!
Speaking of crowds, it was our most successful Garage Galleries ever–it was such a gorgeous day and we were in the center of town, so the foot traffic was incredible. Garage Galleries has become such an event–I mean how cute is this crowd of families and pups out enjoying art among the neighborhoods?!
I really did try making these cyanotype prints for fun. But then I remembered I signed up for our library’s Tiny Art Show. I decided to incorporate the vintage music and negatives print into my piece. I’ve been thinking about nostalgia a lot lately–a mix of watching Stranger Things and visiting my hometown and just existing in today’s cruel world…
Anywayyyyyyy…I have had this quote by George W. Ball in my journal for a long time, “Nostalgia is a seductive liar, evoking bowdlerized pictures of times past with all the shadows painted out.” So I distilled the point down to a few words and typed them out and added a shiny vintage Dennison star.
Last Sunday, I met some friends and we went to check out the Tiny Art Show together. (We found Naoto there!) It was such a great variety of styles! Most people painted, but there were a couple who (like me) chose to go another route. I’m sharing some of my favorites:
Now my piece is back home on its little easel and I think I am going to display it with my other library art which just happens to match!
This week I’ve been experimenting with cyanotype printing JUST FOR FUN! I bought this set on Amazon because I wanted to experiment with paper and fabric. (You can also buy the pre-made sheets of paper if you want to keep things super simple.) I thought it would be more complicated to mix the components myself, but it’s pretty easy! You just add water to each bottle and let it sit for 24 hours. When you’re ready to make your prints, you blend the 2 components together in equal parts. It’s best to start out with a small amount to work with. (Separately the formulas last a long time. Once they’re mixed, the solution only lasts a few hours.) I’ve only used a few tablespoons for my experiments and I have plenty left to work with this summer.
This was my first day of experimenting. The bottom left sheet of cotton paper was my first try. I used postage stamps, Dennison labels, trading stamps, and my Japanese fern. I got some nice, clear prints but I knew I could do better. Next I tried some negatives and I got a nice outline (but no images.)
I tried a negative and a label on fabric, which was fun. And the square of fabric with the circle is a crystal old fashioned glass imprint.
The blue sheet with the random dots was my tomato test. It was around 5pm at the time so I think I need to try the tomatoes when the sun is straight up to see if I can get a better image.
After some reading online, I learned that the suggested exposure times on the package are not long enough. To get lots of detail, you need to leave your cyanotype out for much longer. So I left this one out for about two hours. It’s the Japanese fern, a feather from my yard, and a feather from Danielle.
I tried out vintage paper too. I put some negatives on a sheet of old music paper and left those out for over two hours and it was a success! You can see faint details of the Chicago architecture from these 2005 negatives in my personal collection.
You can see the details even better on this sheet that I left out from noon to 2:30pm. I even got the trading stamp details to come through!
I have a few more paper sheets and squares of fabric ready to go so I can keep trying new techniques on my sunny days off. My ultimate goal is to print a skirt or a t-shirt, but I want to have a better handle on what works best before I move onto high-risk clothing! (Also do you know how hard it is to find 100% cotton or linen clothes these days?!)
I’m teaching a card making class at the Forest Park Public Library on Thursday! If you are local, you can sign up here. It’s a drop in class, so people can come and make a card or two and leave, or they can stay and make all five. I have a couple of Christmas ones, but also some general winter ideas so if Christmas isn’t your thing, there will be something for everyone.
I am bringing a typewriter, rubber stamps, vintage papers, some origami, and glitter…plenty of glitter. (‘Tis the season after all!)
This is my third library event. (I don’t think I told you about the week I presented about letter writing with Schaumburg Library, did an online Valentine making workshop with Forest Park Public Library, and closed on a house, have I?) Library events are a lot of fun–a very relaxed way to learn, and free!
I’ll be back with more Christmas posts–holiday parties, workshops, and wholesale orders are keeping me busy these days!
This weekend, I’ll be participating (from a distance!) in the Madison Street Art Stroll here in Forest Park. Because of Covid, Garage Galleries was canceled and the wonderful organizers decided to try this instead. Several local businesses opened their windows to artists who will be displaying their work over the next week. My work is in the window of Local Yoga at 7234 Madison, a yoga studio right down the block from us.
Saturday, Naoto and I will be walking along Madison (wearing our masks!) to see the art and to wave to some friends we haven’t seen all summer. It’s funny how “normal” it feels to make some plans, even though it won’t be normal.
I’ve been working on setting up an online shop for my cards, something that is long overdue… It’s been a slow project listing everything…it’s fun work though! And I’ve made some new cards that I’ll be sharing on Instagram (@adamihasegawa) over the weekend and all next week.
I’ll share my window set-up next week, too. It was fun to put some of my window display skills to work again…though my display is much simpler than some of the concoctions I had to hang at my old job!
A crazy fun fact about our trip to Japan: it coincided with my pen pal April’s trip to Japan! We didn’t have a ton of time together, but we did spend an entire day doing a Pen Pal Stationery Tour along the Chuo Line out to the outskirts of Tokyo. Naoto and I did some of these shops last time, but I wanted to revisit them, particularly Hachimakura and Yamada Stationery, and to visit a new shop or two. Yamada is one of my favorite shops in all of Japan. They have stationery lines that are unique and harder to find in Tokyo. Their merchandising is so good. As you can see, there are so many nooks and crannies to explore and find more papery goodness! Some of my favorite things are on the rack above. They have a whole library line with washi tape, stickers, library cards and pockets, buttons…it’s all so good! Next stop was Torino where they don’t allow photography inside. (Don’t tell on us because apparently we took a few last time we visited…oops!) Fun fact: Naoto left his phone on the ledge outside of Torino and we didn’t realize until we’d traveled all the way to the next station. We thought it was gone forever, but nope…it was still there. No one touched it! It was very stressful in the moment, but afterwards, it gave us all a laugh, and of course reminded us that Japan Does It Better!
I’ll be back on Monday with part two of our day together! Hopefully it will be sunny enough this weekend for me to take a few pictures of my purchases.