Friday, October 30, 2009

October 30-newer work coming

While I am lining up shows leading up to the holidays, I'm working on some newer, promised pieces.
Reindeer and tundra....

Thursday, October 8, 2009

October 8-trifoldout(forget the hyphens)

The trifoldout

What's new....a follow-up email conversation with a customer produced the trifold-out, which has the same design of the cathedral card together with imagery from smaller foldout card. The front panel is cut out, second panel combines with the first panel to create image and opens to inside panels for writing.  Mails with regular postage and is a standard envelope size(A2). I made a number of these on a linen recycled paper that came in a ream of sampler paper and after looking at it for awhile made a slightly smaller version that has a more refined feel. -will post pictures of the next iteration for a comparison.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cupcake Camp on October 3-San Francisco

A friend clued me in to Cupcake Camp SF 2009 happening on 10/3
(See forwarded email at bottom of this entry.) I'm registered and plan to bring chocolate marmalade mini-cupx.
Email came through on Saturday, I'd just gotten back from a camping trip and thought, "well....why not? have and excellent recipe and some things to share but no mini-tins...hmm..." Following day being Sunday, I set out to the flea market with intention. My short list included cupcake tins, water shoes and whatever else might surface. It was dark when we get there but people were already setting up. We were really "late" because our ride had overslept. Walking the fence ritual turned up a find of $5. Yup, I found $5, very nice. Only problem with finding money on the ground in lucky, random fashion is that 1) a squabble ensues about whose money it is 2) one spends the rest of the time with the thought that more money will be found 3) every camera battery looks like a coin.
During the second walk-around, voila! there on a pile of stuff were several muffin tins of varying sizes, two of which were minis. How much do you think I paid for them? ;o)
If i get really inspired will make some gingerbread cupcakes, too.
hey! please come if you're in SF. This is SF's second camp.

Forwarded message:
I believe that BELFAST just had the first Cupcake camp in Europe in August. It was well documented on the news and in the various community contribution sites like flickr and utube.

TORONTO held one in January:

!!!!! POSSIBLE DANGER!!!!!!!
BEWARE of searching for cupcake info on the internet. You may get captured by picture after seductive picture!!!!
CREATE CUPCAKE SET: makes clever use of fondant from a Montreal Bakery

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September 24-photo shoot and styling

I started out this morning, puttering...almost always a good sign. Keep moving, stay focused and follow ideas wherever they may lead. My etsy site photographs are okay but I wanted to present fold-outs differently. And in this way incorporate some ideas for using them. This images together with the second shows them "plated."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

September 19-pumpkin patch and H'ween

Halloween is coming and so is a pumpkin patch fold-out card with jack o' lantern,
an early form of luminarios. Beautiful to see a whole field lit up with Jacks' dental work.
This preliminary image is more botanical...plants are so beautiful and gothic-looking sometimes.
Yesterday, up in the city a fence covered in flowering purply passion fruit flower was being lit upon by an orange monarch butterfly. Wow, what a feast for the eyes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September 15-returning to routine, dailies and fish

Show in Napa was Saturday. Huge lightning bolts, small amount of rain and gray skies to dampen paper and street fair but I had a great location on First, nice neighbors, interested customers despite all the weather weirdness. Set-up was at 6AM in the dark. I used a scaffold borrowed from a reluctant carpenter. The height was perfect once the back wheels were taken off and the whole propped up on the curb."i before e, except after c." ....weird.
Something very nice happened yesterday....Danielle of KoiKouture blogged about my koi fold-out. Here's the link

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September 1-retro post about pig and artists

Seeing my earlier blog entry with pig graphic reminded me of this past Sunday. There always seems to be a "theme" or as I like to think about it, whatever is on one's mind either consciously or unconsciously surfaces in "patterns" that we are quick to call coincidence.

Sunday is market day and the flea market is held in the parking lot of a drive-in movie so there are lanes with little rises and gullies, where each vendor parks and sets up tables or puts it all out on the ground. In the back row is a regular, who has a big panel truck.  Three weeks ago, I'd steered clear of his space because he had brought a pig, which he unloaded, dragged screaming to tie onto the truck. It was not his pet pig... Animals do get sold there-caged rabbits, birds and every now and then, a puppy. 
And he does what many at the flea market do, which is to purchase the contents of a defaulted storage unit. The owner of the stuff that was being sold piecemeal is/was a realist painter calling himself Black Spit. An African-American originally from D.C. relocated to Oakland with two kids he's raising himself. Art supplies included a bag full of round-tipped brushes, commercial paintings on canvas and board, diaries and portfolios. I read through portions of his notebooks, drafts of marketing letters to Oprah, a musical group, it was clear he admired, etc.; and his unemployment form filed in 2008. I found it depressing and put me in kind of a sour mood.
I could have spent more time reading and looking through his sketchbooks and journals and contemplated buying some things but nothing would have benefited him.
I'm assuming a lot here, maybe he wanted to get rid of all this and found it easier to default payment and let someone else dispose of it. It all put me in mind of the accompanying story. And has inspired a major trashing and streamlining of my own notebooks and meanderings.

Monday, August 31, 2009

August 31-Monday

Jellyfish fold-out card coming soon.
There are so many different kinds of jellyfish with such vivid colors-otherworldly, floating and fluid. I admit to having a vague sense of their structure. They are more transparent than this so I'm playing with layers but want the color to pop and the liquid quality of the lines to translate.

Earlier in the day, I walked the couple miles to Petco for kibble and biscuits.
First, I should say that Yogi, the dog who came with me is a Bouvier and a real couch potato-lean but not a real spark when it comes to "exercise." We got to the store after a surprisingly brisk walk and without his characteristic halts. (These are a mystery since he freezes in place and will not budge.) His first move was to pee all over the stack of baskets at the door. I suspect that for the remainder of the afternoon, other dogs may have repeated this maneuver. The clerk rushed for the back and returned to hand me a wad of paper towels. Once inside the store, Yogi headed in any direction that suited him.
I don't know if he's been there before since his person objects to the prices especially since Raley's has  kibble for $2 cheaper. Anyway, mission accomplished. Exiting the store without a further watering, we only got as far as the corner and that's where we stayed until I called for a ride.

Monday, August 24, 2009

August 24-it's Monday (all day) completely random, musings

Yesterday was an exceptionally long day, beginning with 5AM wake-up call for the flea market.
I bought a wicker backpack purse on a whim then decided I didn't really like it and left it on someone else's pile of junk stuff...isn't that a physics or chemistry concept...displacement of mass? My other purchase was a small bag of "porcinas," the pig-shaped Mexican bread, which is fresh, tastes like brown sugar and ginger. There is a(n) Hispanic woman who has a booth at the market but she's not there every week. This is the only thing I ever get from her. The pink and sugar-coated breads have never really appealed to me besides how can you beat a pig-shaped gingerbread?
The theme this week was motorcycle helmets and bad books.
Afterwards, we headed south and moved the rest of my things out of my apartment nearly completing a move that has been in process for the past three. We didn't finish until 11pm then headed over to the pho restaurant by 24 hour fitness to have the worst meal Dennis has ever eaten...I felt kind of bad about this because it was supposed to be a "thank you" for helping me.
There was definitely a this-is-junk, this-is-treasure theme yesterday.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

August 20-birthday cupcakes

I used to work at a photo lab. That was awhile ago...just before things went digital so people took photos, brought them in to us and on the tech side, we printed everything. Not only printed it but color and density corrected each photo. It was more like being an armchair traveler or sociologist. I saw a lot of things without being a voyeur. Every celebration, always had a snap of the cake...didn't matter if it was a wedding, anniversary, going-away party or a birthday, there was always that one obligatory picture of the cake solo. And what did people do with these pictures of the cake?
This papercut is a birthday cupcake, an element from a fold-out card.
I've changed the purple frosting to pink, gotten feedback about the "caramel" frosting not being as appealing as the vanilla minty-looking one :o) *

One of my favorite blogs is
which is written from a professional cake decorator's point of view. The commentary with photos can be very funny. One of my favorite toys was an electric oven that came with miniature pans and mixes. Seems very suzy homemaker to me now and the concept of a recipe still eludes me albeit to say
I have a few cake wrecks in my own past. One was when I was 8 or 9, we had out-of-town company visiting, my mom had a migraine and her birthday was coming up. My six-year old friend and I decided to make the cake. This was a supervised activity. I remember there was some problem with the oven and the cake "blew up" while it was baking. Since this was a craft project, the obvious solution was to paste it together with frosting. The real problem in my mind at the time was that we couldn't agree on the color so we compromised by alternating very bright green with the very bright blue.
P.S.! August 18 is national cupcake for next year.

Friday, August 14, 2009

August 14, 2009-not Friday the 13th

Brief hiatus from "daily" blog! I was away last week from Saturday through Saturday and of course, the return Sunday we attended "church" which is to say Dennis' version of it... the flea market.
Graphics on the left are variations of project I am working on right now- a card commission for a private school. The headmistress' office is very atmospheric and distinctive. The building is historic. A graphic of the door has been used before to identify the correspondence as coming from the school and more specifically her office.

I prefer the bolder, brighter colors with more asymmetric cropping but the muted, wood-tone palettes are probably more versatile and appropriate for fund-raising and thank you notes. The wood tones are sampled from reference photos that I took early on.

The first panel in black/duotone will be lased and form a "cut-out" with the second panel of color showing through those portions that have been burned away. Light passing through the cut-out creates another graphic in shadow. Hopefully to be reprised for luminarios!

Friday, July 31, 2009

July 30-Year of Ox/TX Longhorn

2009 is the Chinese Year of the Ox. This paper cut was
reprised for a University of TX longhorn custom card.
It was used as a congrats card for a freshman from his mum.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July 29-more character study paper cuts

Looking out the front window of his California bungalow, he and his cat can admire their pink flamingo. Why did this plastic bird along with a metal ball on a pedestal and deer grouping become so popular as lawn ornaments? ...those random "decorations" for an expanse of grass.

Monday, July 27, 2009

July 27-monday, Paris by way of stripes

cartoon paper cut couple with an awkwardness that flows. Parisian only because of the stripes, short skirt and beret. Most of my day disappeared fiddling with files, paper and tasks.
This image begs a story. The paper cut scanned a little blockier than I likes so I selected the paper, shrunk the form in by three pixels and filled with white then refilled with black.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

July 24-diving into the stream of conscious

After I finished my undergrad degree, with no particular plans but a strong desire to study further and with several months of grant money I went to Japan. It seems naiive and adventurous to me now. I enrolled at an art university that offered a printmaking seminar under the auspices of its oil painting department. Oil painting in Japan is a relatively new medium. Printmaking, though a longstanding form of visual communication and expression, was not held in very high esteem and thus relegated to seminar status. There were four students in the class. The interesting thing to me was that two of us worked in a stream of conscious way-drawing, erasing, creating and destroying until in that process of experimentation, we arrived at a satisfactory composition. The process of the other two students was markedly different. They would draw what they envisioned and change very little if anything from the initial concept.

My process of working has not changed so much. Today's paper cut and some of my more successful compositions have been born out of a scribbled line. Reminiscent of Rohrschach's inkblots, there is a puddle of ink, a scribbled line or a scrap of paper suggesting a form that yields a graphic.

wikipedia says that "...Rorschach's use of inkblots may have been inspired by German doctor Justinius Kerne, who published a book of poems, each of which was inspired by an accidental inkblot; and the French psychologist, Binet had also experimented with inkblots as a creativity test." Today's paper cut similarly to Fish Dreaming emerged from a scrap of paper cut away from another larger composition. I will post more of these "Rohrschach" paper cuts. The big hunks of paper are odd shapes but too large to throw out. I like the idea of using these odds and ends; it helps me to loosen up, be more fluid, less judgemental in my process and produces workable image. These paper cuts prompted this blog. The dailies are sort of like my version of a short story or rather there is a narrative with these that does not exist in say my botanical images. Today's image reminded me of the (fool)hardy fellows who go swimming in icy waters.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 21-tuesday and fish dreaming

This image was done on fragment of paper, the outline of the original square incorporated into the design. Some elements are awkward but overall it hangs together. -makes me think of someone daydreaming about being underwater.

July 22-wednesday's lily

Calla or Arum lily a la paper cut, which looks a bit art deco-"ish" possibly because of the treatment of the leaf.

It is originally native of Africa. The genus name is Zantedeschia, a tribute to Italian botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi. All parts of the plant are very poisonous.

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20-paper cut kit

Right-click the image and save it to your desktop, print it out on any decorative paper that has a white back. You can maintain the black frame around the paper cut or once you've cut out both pink and green areas, cut it away from the sides to float or back it onto another decorative paper. You can play with collaging different patterns and colors of paper once you have the basic outline of the paper. I often use black origami paper to give a flat, bold outline. Let me know how this works for you.

Friday, July 17, 2009

July 18-too hot? J.G. Ballard

It's the heat that's making me think of JG Ballard. He was brilliant. His book, The Drowned World is pretty disturbing...I read the first chapters and just found it so dismal but at the same time he describes perfectly that dragging around stupid feeling that comes with the heat....oh yah, torpor. That said, I will post this tonight in the cool.

There was an ad on craigslist soliciting artists... I have a dim view of ads written by the marketing guys AND requests for "ideas" or speculative work... But! I was working on my polar bear fold-out, believe in educational and environmental messages and materials so I went ahead and sent in the image to the left. There was NO response, not even an electronic form mail.

Would you wear this?
(If you see someone who is, let me know.) More polar bear images coming. I have two or three full papercuts of pbears ambling along the ice. Think cool thoughts and get busy.

July 17-friday, bird color and two variations

Two (stylized) renderings* of upward movement and birds in flight. I started with a pencil drawing, very loose and reworked it with color. The left is an earlier version. The right is a translation of the sketch into a paper cut. I like movement and flow of lines....sometimes, it seems to me that the drawing does evolve out of balancing lines. It feels sometimes very important to break out of that reliance, not only to challenge myself but also to avoid any formula of problem solving visually. It's an internal conversation or argument that I suspect makes me work more slowly and is full of that tension of creating and destroying.

An interesting exercise that I did with a paper cut was to photograph the stages in process and play back as an ImageReady file. -will post this in the future.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 16-forget me not, women's wear and another botanical

Forget-me-nots paper cut is used on women's shirt. Check out her collection. The ginkgo graphic is by me, too. I really like the asymmetric placement and secondary color! Wish more things utilized space in such a creative way.
The flowers are tiny and perfect blue. I saw them up on Skyline at a trailhead during botany class lecture and they've been a favorite ever since.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 15-tree pose, upward facing dog

...and one serious yoga student (Daphne)
makes for a slightly cartoony papercut.
There've been times when I have had a more consistent meditation practice and have wondered while setting the timer whether one could get "stuck" in a moment by coming in to the present.
Afterlife is a Japanese movie about a way station, that each person visits at the moment of death to select the one, sweet memory he will relive through eternity. Those people "stuck" there have yet to resolve something in their lives which will allow them to move on.
What memory would you choose to relive over and over again?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 14- road to fairfield

I've been traveling this road twice a week since May.
The highway runs outside of Fairfield along the estuary and bird preserve. Egrets gather in the dozens. They are still individual but not such solitary figures as they usually seem along embankments and on the median. Pelican flocks can be seen, too.
In fact, I was up here once before in January to deliver a couple brown pelicans from the San Mateo animal shelter. They traveled in towel-draped, dog carriers. Two of four birds that were moved up to Cordelia's International Bird Rescue Research Center.
Another volunteer brought the other two. During the winter, there had been numbers of distressed and downed pelicans along the California coast. At the time it was not clear why they were so sick. These birds were transported from the receiving shelters to specialized care facilities.

The wind is so consistent here that trees and bushes grow slightly bent as though reaching out rather than growing up towards the sun. If you continue on 12 east, you will find that otherworldly landscape of windmills. As for the sheep, I can not tell you where they crept into the picture but there they are.
This image is not quite finished as my intention is to add color, texture and possibly rework some elements.

Monday, July 13, 2009

July 13-monday, monday

Three views of a shell without color. Original sketches were made of a neighbor's collection. These were particularly complicated and I liked the challenge of seeing if they would translate into paper cuts. What kind of shells or creatures who inhabited the shell before being collected, I've no idea.
At some point, color will be added together with grains of sand and might as well add the scent of salt water.
I live inland but seagulls periodically remind me that the ocean is not far from here.

July 12- a day of rest, missed and the soybean

This is for Sunday and this papercut is of the soybean, a surprisingly graphical plant and an ingredient in so many foods and products, veg and non-veg.
One of my favorite foods is tofu fresh, which has a nutty, subtle flavor IF fresh. One "factory" in California still makes it by hand, i.e. San Jose Tofu, located in San Jose's Japantown on Jackson Street.

Okara is the leftover soybean pressings when the soymilk is extracted. It is low in fat, high in fiber, and also contains protein, calcium, iron, and riboflavin. It contains 76 to 80% moisture, 20 to 24% solids and 3.5 to 4.0% protein. On a dry weight basis okara contains 24% protein, 8 to 15% fats,and 12 to 14.5% crude fiber. It contains 17% of the protein from the original soybeans. (wikipedia)

Here's a recipe for for a traditional Japanese side dish called unohana
PS I am notorious for NOT following recipes so this dish is traditionally made with
addition of sugar, sake and soy sauce but I prefer Bragg's aminos(better for you, too)
season to taste and sautee the vegetables or add for flavor some sesame oil. yum!
Okara is also a really good ingredient to use in making veggie burgers and cheap, cheap since most tofu "factories" will either give you the okara or charge you pennies to carry it away.

Recipe for Four
1 cup okara (tofu lees)
1 carrot
3 green onions
2 Tbsp Bragg's aminos
2 Tbsp mirin
1 c. vegetable broth

Saute carrot, onion(shallots, green or leeks) in a little olive oil. Add okara.
Combine mirin, Bragg's aminoes and the vegetarian soup stock with the sautee
and continue to simmer on medium heat 'til liquid is absorbed.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

July 11-seahorse confetti and the aquarium

Seahorses are so elegant and graceful in the water! I remember as a kid having a dried one that had been purchased at a museum and I kept it like a treasure in a little plastic jewelry bag.
The initial paper cut was in black then used as an element in an underwater illustration for one of my fold out cards; and as a decorative element for party place settings. The ones on the left were lased in packets of hundreds for confetti!

Currently, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a special exhibit* called the Secret Lives of Seahorses. The site article mentions three ways one can help to safeguard these delicate creatures 1) don't buy them dried as mementos....2) help preserve their habitat and 3) follow this seafood buying guide with notes and chart on which shrimp to buy. Apparently seahorses get scooped up with certain types of shrimp so as a consumer you can avoid damaging the seahorse population and eat your shrimp, too.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Three Parrots-June 25 Thursday

This paper cut is an initial study for the fold-out card, Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, which you can view at
The book and the movie are excellent! Of course, if you are in San Francisco, you can see the local celebs yourself.

I call my paper cuts kiri-e, which in Japanese is "cut picture" (kind of like ori gami means fold(ed) paper.)

The card was created for an art show at Fort Mason in the city. I just, just finished it in time for that event and people attending the show said the parrots were there in the park that afternoon.

The Daily Papercut

Daily Papercut originates from a desire to chronicle a body of work; create a method of “publishing” these works; and have the additional satisfaction of engaging viewers more directly, more personally. Content includes an original papercut uploaded daily with its back story and production notes that accompany working.

I studied printmaking in Japan and began doing paper cuts there. Paper cuts frequently appear as elements in my more complicated digital illustrations.

These paper cuts are original, done daily and inspired by something within or without my personal universe. Please visit my illustration portfolio to view more of my work AND
Please visit my webshop at
to purchase the original and if interested, together with a set of notecards with the image.
(Crass? commercialism? sure.) The copyright stays with me but
the story is here and the papercut is yours. Thanks very much!