I continue to work at this press on Thursdays, making artist books and broadsides under the
imprint of ath’wart press. Each year I reflect on how fortunate I am to have discovered this
place and the printers who work here. Come by on Sunday and help us celebrate all that is offered!


Holiday Open House

Sunday, December 9th
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Free! Donations encouraged.

North Bay Letterpress Arts
925d Gravenstein Hwy SO
Sebastopol, CA 95472

Join us at the print shop for our annual open house! Festivities include: handmade
books and cards, printed artwork, food & drink, delightful conversations, shop tours,
and printing demos. See you there!

To the Westfjords

An unexpected and wonderful trip with Aegir and Linda to the Westfjords,
a rugged, desolate & remote, sparsely populated region of Iceland where
fewer tourists venture. Some highlights below:

Westfjords; our itinerary
Westfjords; our itinerary
Linda on ferry
Linda on ferry
western most point in Europe
western most point in Europe
Latrabjarg Cliffs
Latrabjarg Cliffs
Raudasandur Beach
Raudasandur Beach
Black church
Black church
Kleifakallinn - varda like sculpture who guards travelers
Kleifakallinn - varda like sculpture who guards travelers
varda 2
varda 2
hermit's view
hermit's view
cod heads for the fish soup market in Nigeria
cod heads for the fish soup market in Nigeria
seal by ocean's edge
seal by ocean's edge
camper by glacier
camper by glacier
westfjords view
westfjords view

Back to Iceland 2016

Iceland again!?! The first time I visited, I was struck by the rawness of Iceland's land—a landscape of elemental forces (frumkraftur) in shape of volcanoes, geysers, glaciers, rivers, waterfalls, ice and wind, continually unmaking and making itself. It's relatively pristine and unspoiled still (in spite of the recent surge of tourism) and  offers a great abundance of solitude where one can see and feel without.  It's a place where I can get in touch with essence, washing away the distractions of  white noise and visual disruptions: nothing is screaming for my attention—only empty spaces of blues.

Rebecca Solnit in her book, The Faraway Nearby, wrote that "These are the forces that will flourish no matter what goes extinct, where the poisons migrate, and how the weather changes. The sun will rise, the winds will blow, the waves will lick the shore, the earth will tilt on its axis so that there is more light in summer, less in winter, rains and snows will fall, if not as they used to, and the waters will turn to solid ice and melt again. This is the world that existed before life and will exist after us."

Beginnings and ends: to get a sense of what was and what is to come.  This is the place to feel that whatever it is—is not readily at hand but is there nonetheless.

So I've returned to Gullkistan for another residency in Iceland to explore and develop thoughts and ideas inspired on earlier trips.




Some of those ideas & hopes:

*A trip to Vestmannaeyjar islands, formed by volcanoes 11,000 years ago except for Surtsey, the newest addition in 1963. Want to see a beginning.  Heimaey is the only inhabited island. Its  little town and shelter island lies between klettur (escarpments) and two ominous volcanoes, Eldfell and Helgafell.  I continue to follow the winds of 'Eld'.

*A trip to Landmannalaugar, the largest geothermal field in Iceland. Its weird peaks are made of rhyolite, a mineral-filled lava that cooled unusually slowly, causing amazing colors.

*To revisit the land and stories of the beserkers on the Snaefellness Peninsula and relate to images of kami-kazi pilots of WWII and arctic terns.

*To search for evidence of driftage rights on beach shores (all the benefits of the ocean).

*To spot and photograph vardans, directional markers while traveling, walking, finding and sensing way.

*A navigational practice of the Vikings using icelandic spar (for sunstones). Some associations to consider: optics, light, refraction

*North American tectonic plate; relationship of Ca to Iceland on opposite sides (here(t)here)

*Collect basalt images.




here(t)here: another residency









Since May,  I've been away from my blog.  Back this month to report to you some of my summer and fall activities.


I'm off to Inverness (on Pt. Reyes peninsula in CA) later this month for another artist residency, this one sponsored by the Lucid Art Foundation.  And this time, intentionally close to home, for three weeks, solo without cell coverage and social media. So no reports during my time away but should have something to share upon my return.  Lots of prepping, finding that I will take more than I take to residencies afar and certainly a way to complicate an experience.




When I have traveled to residencies somewhere else,  I am often surprised by what I learn about my home. Three years ago in Iceland, I was awed by its raw landscape that had been shaped by volcanoes, glaciers, weather and its location in the Northern Atlantic. There I realized its connection to California--both lands edging the North American tectonic plate with Iceland on one end and California on the other. I wanted devoted time to experience my own landscape with this in mind.  Inverness, though not situated on the North American plate shares the San Andreas fault which separates the No American from the Pacific.  And like Iceland, its land has been shaped by invisible forces of the earth.  At Inverness, I want to further explore this connection.





I am also interested in exploring place--what it holds and what I carry to it. When I applied for this residency,  I wrote, "Using Inverness as a springboard, I will source possibilities for methods and materials from its history, stories and landscape. I will look at the archival remains--rocks and stones that hold the memory of the geologic forces that shaped the physical terrain. I will walk the terrain, feel its relief and make contour lines as I move through space. I will look at the scratches and markings of the rocks as well as their shapes.  I also will be on alert to ways of letting nature and synchronicity enter into my process. These will be my entry points to a 'process conscious' project working with themes of the archival and ephemeral."

"Language, materials and natural energies of and from the place will inform my process. Like the rocks and stones that reflect frozen moments in a changing landscape over time, I will work towards shaping moments and find ways and forms that express the movements 'between'. "



img005 pic_sanandreasfaultzone_aerial_285x190




"Explorations with Urauchi" at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Silver Spring, Maryland








I have been invited to teach a workshop at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center outside of Washington DC this summer.  The description of the workshop is online under  "book arts" and you can enroll by visiting:

More about the class:

Explorations with Urauchi

a Japanese method of backing paper to cloth and/or paper

August 8 & 9,  10am-4pm

Urauchi is a procedure of pasting a paper backing onto cloth or paper using only natural fibers. Traditionally, this method was used to mount Asian scrolls and cover books.  Once backed, cloth and paper have more body and strength and are much easier to manipulate. The backing also provides a protective layer and prevents glue from staining the cloth when covering books.

In this workshop, participants will learn the simple procedure.  However, the focus of the workshop will be experimental and hands-on, exploring it as an art medium. On day one, a variety of materials will be sampled, treatments tried, and materials sandwiched between.  On day two, participants will make a sampler book with their experiments.

New Tools from Haystack

  fabrications digital facility at Haystack

More than a month ago, I returned from the open studio residency at Haystack in Maine; two weeks of uninterrupted time in three studios: graphics, wood and a digital fabrications facility.  I came home renewed and excited about  prospects for new work.   I went to continue further explorations with 'cutting' using new tools in the fab lab. Haystack established it in 2011 and was the result of a collaboration with MIT.  It includes a CNC router, laser cutter, 3D printer, milling machines, sign center and computer terminals,  and was staffed by two tech assistants from MIT.  I spent much time there experimenting primarily with the laser cutter.

tool of choice the laser cutter in the fab lab

There are two different cutting techniques one can employ with the laser cutter: vector and raster. Vector is more adept at cutting shapes out or into a material; raster tends to be used for engraving and making relief cuts.  I tried both and found that I preferred the raster images.  Some experimenting below:


rastarized repeat image of basalt to be a cover for a book

back cover of book using raster technique

My goal was to make work that looked like it was not done with a machine. Image selection and treatment of materials contributed to the look.  More examples below:

basalt images rastered on plywood treated with walnut ink, acrylic and organza silk

slice of basalt image rastered into book  cover treated with layers of book cloth and organza silk

Wind image rastered into treated book board with acrylic and organza silk

wind image rastered into painted book board. Line in image due to second cutting of board

I also spent some time in the wood working studio. While there I observed one of the participants working with stacks of wood and realized that I could use a similar approach with book covers.  Her primary tool was a scroll saw.  I came home and purchased one!

my new scroll saw!


Other highlights:

the "dead calm" of Maine










Open Studio Residency at Haystack

Recently I applied and was accepted to Haystack's Open Studio Residency. Haystack Mountain School of Crafts is an international craft school located on the Atlantic Ocean in Deer Isle, Maine. The school offers intensive studio-based workshops in a variety of craft media. The Open Studio Residency, now in its second year,  provides two weeks of uninterrupted time to work in six studios (ceramics, fiber, graphics, iron, jewelry, and wood) to develop ideas and experiment in various media.  The program accommodates approximately fifty participants from a variety of creative disciplines. Participants can choose to work in one particular studio or move among studios depending on the nature of their work.  All of the studios will be staffed by technicians who can assist with projects. Haystack's fab lab will also be open, providing an opportunity for experimentation with digital fabrication as a way to augment and complement  creative practices. This new artist studio, established in 2011 in collaboration with MIT Center for Bits and Atoms, offers another way of looking at craft in a broader context. I will travel to Maine for the residency that runs from  May 25th through  June 6th.  While there I intend to continue my exploration of "cutting" as theme and process as it relates to material and form. I intend to rotate among studios, observing and collecting sensory data from each of the crafts.   My question is how I can translate this data into new ways of seeing, using the new media in the fab lab. I don't pretend to know the possibilities but am curious to  explore other ways of finding forms that are referential to its making.


A Noticeable Void

A noticeable void in blog posts recently; yet a few things brewing in absentia: IOTA PRESS

Since my last contact I have become a coop member at Iota Press, a letterpress studio in Sebastopol whose proprietor is Eric Johnson.   An artist residency ( of sorts) in that I hope to experiment with the medium  and make discoveries along the way.  I am  drawn to this old  printing technology and particularly the "dents" that the presses make.  More to come as work progresses.

Mixing color at Iota Press

setting type on press bed


I return to Iceland on the 13th,  only a  jaunt  for two weeks.  This time I will circumnavigate the island by car, taking in new sites as well a visiting some favorites from last year's adventure.  More to come on the blog as I will post images from the trip as well as work inspired from this unique landscape.


And finally I ask you to mark your calendar for Cuttings, an exhibit of  mixed media constructions, artist books, and recent work inspired by my travels to Iceland.  I will be installing the show in October at Risk Press Gallery in Sebastopol.

Dates:  October 4 - 27 Opening: Saturday, October 5th   5 - 8 Closing:  Saturday,  October 26th  5 - 6:30

Off to Iceland

I leave on June 19th for the Gullkistan artist residency in Iceland. Lots to do as I collect supplies, make piles and muse on possibilities for work while there. The residency is located in Laugarvatn, a small school village 90 km east of Reykjavik. It is an agricultural area, close to some of the most popular tourist sites of Iceland and close to the highlands. The village of Laugarvatn has 250 inhabitants, one childrens' school, kindergarten, high school, and the department of athletic pedagogics of the University of Iceland. I've been told that there is one outdoor swimming pool and a good sports facilities inside and outside. There is a grocery shop, Lindin restaurant and summer hotels in the schools. The closest town is Selfoss, 45 km south of Laugarvatn.  Around Laugarvatn, there are farms and many summerhouses. map of Iceland



area of Gullkistan Artist Residency















Check in periodically, as I will use this blog to record my experiences there.

Holve artist studio

pile of supplies