Lake Waccamaw, Nature printing, Printmaking

Lake Waccamaw Last Weekend

20220820_083240Last Friday night we drove down to Lake Waccamaw. Three friends joined us – one was recuperating from knee surgery and the other two from a death in her family. So we made it as stress free as possible, which isn’t hard to do at Lake Waccamaw. Saturday began threatening to rain but it turned out to be a good day. We had a lot of clouds but the sun started peeping in and out.


Saturday morning we pretty much had a rolling brunch and my sister and brother-in-law came over for lunch. Lisa brought delicious sliders. I have to get that recipe from her. Susan braided my hair and Don’s hair into pigtails. Don’s hair is extremely long because he hasn’t cut it since 1996 or so. He made this yummy tuna dip so we anointed him with the lake name “Tuna Dip Willie.” Robin took the kayak out and later that afternoon we sat in the lake and had drinks. Nobody wanted to cook so we ordered out seafood from Dale’s.

The afternoon was sunny enough that we experimented with a packet of pre-made cyanotype papers. At first we were very pernickety about process and used the bathroom as a darkroom but later we found that less effort gave us the same or almost the same results. Everybody made at least two prints and I’m going to make an accordion book with them later. The Spanish moss made great prints.


Sunday was a back porch day. The gliders are back! Another rolling brunch with people going in and out of the kitchen to eat English muffins and bacon and sandwiches and junk food. Robin and Don had to leave us in mid-afternoon. Then the rain came, and I thought the house might flood, but it didn’t. The next day the standing water was gone.


Late that afternoon we had appetizers and dinner at Lisa and Tim’s house, and watched the birds at their many feeders. It was a fun evening. These boiled peanuts were huge!


Then on Monday morning, we relaxed for a few hours before cleaning up and hitting the road. We had enough time to stop at The Berry Patch (a.k.a. “The Big Strawberry”) to eat huge ice cream cones and buy veggies.

I’d write more but this is the second time I’ve written this post. WordPress is giving me problems. Later, gator.

coffee pot posts, Cyanotypes, Printmaking

Sunday morning coffee pot post

It has been a weekend of absolutely fabulous weather. Low humidity, highs in the lower 80s. The kind of weather that makes me wish I had gotten up earlier this morning. Of course, sleepy me would have disagreed – she wasn’t thinking about the weather; she was dreaming about hanging paintings on the wall. My husband’s paintings. That was a sweet dream. We had a room of blank walls and a whole stack of paintings, both mine and his. Almost as good as the reoccurring one of my tapestry weavings, in which I am cranking big ones out in a day, and weaving on unusual looms that I warp and weave in all kinds of crazy ways.


Yesterday afternoon Sandy and I took a free cyanotype workshop from Thea Clark, who is doing an art residency at the City Arts Center. It was fun and got us outside some and Sandy enjoyed it a lot. We’re going to get some supplies and take them to the lake. It will be an easy art project and we both have a lot of ideas. The only issue that we’ll have is the wind, but we’ll figure that out. I think that Sandy’s first cyanotype is frameable. He made it with a silk flower and money plant seed pods and bird feathers. On the second set of photos, I had less spectacular results on my first cyanotype because of having to move it around more, and the breeze blowing away some of the elements, but on the last one I piled on a lot of different objects and fibers and was able to leave it alone in the sun.

Days like these don’t lend themselves well to doing art inside, but I’ll go to the print studio for a couple of hours this afternoon, as I’ve promised myself I would do. I’ll spend some time on the hem of my tapestry.

I did some weeding in the back yard yesterday, but by this time the task is overwhelming and I’ll need some help. Maybe I’ll let it go until after the first frost because of the mosquitoes. I harvested some figs, which have been infested by Japanese beetles, but it is such a huge tree that there are plenty for the birds and bugs and humans. I noticed that a lot of the overripe and half-eaten ones are gone. I pulled up the rest of the evening primroses that had big stalks. I guess I’ll need to dig the new ones up. They are beautiful but too invasive if I can’t work enough back there to keep them under control. The guy who mows our “lawn” is interested in working more in my garden and at some point I’ll talk to him about what needs to be done.

Pablocito caught another mouse this weekend. He caught one about a week ago too, but my husband rescued that one from him and put it outside at the back of the lot. I wonder if it was the same one. I’m glad that Pablocito is a mouser, but we always feel for the little critters. Diego looks on with interest, but he was found in a ditch when he was about a week old so he never learned to hunt. We’d probably be overrun by mice if we didn’t always have at least one cat that was a mouser.

We’ve eaten outside a few times in the past couple of weeks, and it is nice to take advantage of the outdoor spaces. Yesterday we went to the Taco Bros. food truck at Oden and listened to The Mighty Fairlanes, a great blues band that has been around for decades. I noticed this on the back of the Taco Bros truck and knew I had to have a photo.


art, coffee pot posts, collage, Printmaking

Sunday morning coffee pot post

I’ll head to the studio after lunch, but in the meantime, I’ll do a catch-up post from this week. Which ain’t much, but this is my journal written to my future self to read.

Last Sunday afternoon when I went to the studio I decided to do much of the same thing – gelli plate printing – but on dictionary pages and with leaves that I found tucked into the dictionary. Thank you, past Laurie. It didn’t go as well as I expected, but the idea here is that I’m going to go to the studio at least weekly and do something, no matter what. Then I spilled a bottle of Golden raw sienna paint and so I spent the rest of my time painting everything in reach with raw sienna because I can’t stand to waste paint, especially Golden paint!

I pretty much ruined a lot of what I had done, but I picked up this monoprint from the mess on bookboard from an old book I had stripped down for parts and it reminds me of a weaver. There was one sheet with leaf prints that was pretty good.


I’ve pronounced this collage finished before but since its inspiration began with a song and then the death of our parakeet Liz, I started feeling like Liz would not actually enjoy eating bugs in heaven and had the bright idea of gluing down pearled barley over the bugs at the bottom. Well, that did not work out at all. So I scratched off the pearled barley and painted acrylic glass bead gel over the bugs to blur them out with something sparkly. I’m happy with it and I’m leaving it alone now.


Man, my brain and body this week – hoo boy. It’s hard for me to even write this post. I typed it’s when I meant its previously and that is one of my biggest grammar annoyances. I hope that I continue to catch them all. Yesterday when I went to the studio I had a persistent headache just bad enough to keep me from thinking clearly so I spent a couple of hours just painting bookboard and wooden panels for later use. I’m not sure what I’ll do later today.

I came home on Wednesday afternoon so exhausted that I lay down and took a three hour nap, got up for three hours, and then slept hard for another eight hours. When I got up for work I was STILL fatigued so I called in sick and got a covid test that afternoon. It was negative, as I expected because I am pretty feckin careful, but my co-workers encouraged me to get it. These allergies are getting to me and I know that I should go get a blood panel done soon. However, it’s not that unusual for me for my battery to suddenly run out of juice and have to recharge for a day or so. I have to get a new doctor soon because my doctor is retiring and I dread that. So far I feel fine today and I have definitely had enough sleep for once.

We went to the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market yesterday morning for the first time in a long time. I was able to snag a jar of marinated goat cheese from Goat Lady Dairy, which is usually one of my contributions to Thanksgiving weekend if I can get it. I bought some bath salts from Carol at Mimi’s Soaps because it is cool enough for me to enjoy my old clawfoot tub again, and I bought shelled butterbeans and zucchini from Smith Farms, and a pound of jumbo shrimp from whats-his-name – damn, I cannot remember. Then I went to Deep Roots twice because I forgot all I needed the first time. We had our favorite dish last night – shrimp with broccoli and onions and garlic and basil with a light cream/feta/parmesan sauce over fettucine. We have bought a ton of food in the past two weeks so I hope that we are stocked for a while.

I was talking to Jim (another artist in the print co-op) about my past local food activism yesterday and it reminded me that even though in the two big local battles I was on the winning side, I am very glad to let that go and concentrate on art now. It is interesting watching the global food supply bottlenecks – which prove the point that local foodies were trying to make all along. We need to strengthen our local food systems here and all over the world instead of relying on global trade for products that we could make here. (I just wish we could produce coffee here.)

It’s noon, time to quit writing, although I have more to say later.

coffee pot posts, collage, Mixed media art, Printmaking

Sunday morning coffee pot post

I stayed up way too late last night. In my defense, I discovered that you can borrow e-books from Internet Archive for one hour at a time. I’m not talking about just public domain books – library books from all over. Every now and then I shoot them a few dollars as a donation because what they do is incredibly valuable for the planet.

After I blogged yesterday I went to the print studio and played with printing on old book pages on the gelli plate. The best paper was from a 1954 paperback on how to sight read music. After I had starting printing on it, I realized that it was a really good reference for learning (re-learning) to read music, and I regretted tearing it apart a little. It’s astounding how little I retained about reading music from all my younger years of piano and percussion and saxophone lessons, but honestly, I never had a knack for it. Can’t say that I didn’t try, though! I saved a page on identifying the notes on the page and kept on printing. We have an electric piano among the many unused musical instruments in our house that my husband has collected.

I took photos at the end of my session, which wasn’t very long because I had other things to do, such as jumping off the dead battery in the Honda and a trip to Costco, which was kind of a nightmare. I have only been there once during the pandemic, and the number of people who whipped off their masks or wore them under their noses or on their chins was shocking to me. You could see the smirk on the young guy’s face in front of me in line. He had on a t-shirt with an upside down flag declaring his love for God, country, family, and freedom and a cross around his neck. It was more offensive than I am describing. I tried to stay back from him, although the woman with him was masked and friendly. It was crowded. We bought a lot of food for the pantry and the freezer, as we finally worked through the last bit of hoarded food from last year.

They had a good deal on socks so I bought two packs and I’m taking some down to the Interactive Resource Center.  Since I have become more frugal than usual these days, although not to the point where I’m shopping at Dollar General or Dollar Tree for food, I’ve been thinking about the needs of women who are really poor.  Spartan Pantry is right around the corner and it serves the students and staff of UNCG. (Isn’t it sad that UNCG staff is included in this distribution center? You’d like to think that we would all earn a living wage.)  So new underwear, socks, deodorant, baby wipes, menstrual supplies…I’m trying to think of things that people need but they have a hard time finding at donation centers. Sandy and I were talking about how we didn’t know how people made it with rents being so high. Our house payments were less than most people’s rent these days.

Anyway, here are photos of the monoprints I made yesterday.  I will keep a couple as is and use the others for backgrounds or collage fodder. I like the “Gospel Pearls” page and a couple more of the music pages. The one that is smaller and looks solid is a page from a 1894 book on agriculture. It was interesting to see how differently it took the paint than the others. It was more fragile, too.

Most of the stencils I used were bought from Mary Beth Shaw at Stencil Girl. Her stencils are high quality and she provides so many free videos on You Tube for instruction and inspiration. She is also a delight, seriously.


I also have a few little collages on hand down there to work on as the inspiration hits. I didn’t like these much so they are works in progress. As some point I plan to use Seth Apter’s embossing powders on them, but since this studio doesn’t have a ventilation system or windows that will open I will bring them back home for that. I think that I’m done with the one on the top right.


art, Printmaking

First Friday Indie Market


I will have handbound books, matted woodcuts, and a few cards (see below) on handmade paper. Susanne Martin will share my table and she will have handbound books and handmade paper. The event lasts from 4-9 p.m. Since the beach is probably a bad idea, come to downtown Greensboro instead! You’ll be safe from Hurricane Earl and have lots of fun at First Friday!

“Squirtly”, copyleft Laurie O’Neill, 2010

augggghhhh, coffee pot posts, Printmaking

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Ah, a sweet comment from Albie Smith. What a wonderful way to start a Saturday.

So many things have happened this week. After I posted on Sunday, I messed around with my woodcuts and used my printing register for the first time. The two new proofs (Jake and a Spannocchia scene) were not to my satisfaction, but now I see what I need to do once I can carve again. They were pretty good, actually. I got the sly expression in Jake’s face in just a few lines. It was subtle, so I’ll have to be very careful when I refine it.

I printed off a couple of Mama Kitty and named it “Waiting for more.” Then I went to the studio, dug through the books and stuff on the floor from the shelf crash a few weeks ago to find my woodcut prints. Luckily they weren’t damaged. I piled these books up on the metal shelves next to the door. This will end up being a hassle later. Steve is framing a few items for us and he is matting my woodcuts from a couple of years ago. So I should have them for sale at the Indie Market Sept. 3. Susanne is either going to share the table with me or I will put some of her work out for sale, so it will be an interesting array of book and paper arts.

I opened the refrigerator and saw something that I noticed early in the morning but didn’t make a connection. This time it was obvious – there was water dripping from the top of the refrigerator. I opened the freezer and almost everything was thawed out. I’d sort of expected this to happen soon because it is older than our stay here (9 years) and it has been making clicking noises for a long time. But I hoped that it would last until the next Energy Star appliance rebate program in the fall. Luckily I had the little chest freezer that I bought last fall for paper pulp, and it had enough room for the few things I saved.

When I opened the refrigerator part again, it was warm and I hustled to get what I could into the dorm-sized fridge in the studio in the back. We had just enough time to get to Sears and order a new one that would be delivered Tuesday. I am very happy to have the excuse for a new Energy Star refrigerator with a lot more room. And I added a lot to the compost pile over the next couple of days. It was a bit sad to lose so much food but that fridge was badly in need of a purge anyway.

Then we drove to Summerfield to have dinner with Steve and Rita Maloy, and had such a wonderful time. Steve gave me my first full-time bookstore job and I worked with him for 6-7 years. We have so much in common with them both and they both are so funny – I laughed so hard. Almost everything they served for dinner was local – either from the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market or from their garden – and so delicious. Sandy normally would not eat eggplant and he asked for seconds on the eggplant parmesan. And blueberry sorbet! I never knew that could be so good!

Okay, so the next few days are spent going in and out of the studio a lot, and the door tends to stick. Finally I got most everything back into the house. I was finally able to get to making paper with the cotton/corn shuck pulp, and when I opened the bucket, it smelled bad and was beginning to rise like bread! Well, it wasn’t so awful that it was undoable, but it wasn’t pleasant. I didn’t want to waste it. Susanne’s husband told me on the phone that it would be okay after I dried it in the dry mount press, and it was. I added dill to the pulp to help with the smell while I was pulling it, and it was a lovely addition.

I cleaned up everything and took some items back to the studio to store, but huh? The door won’t open. The aluminum shelves had fallen down behind the door. I finally got back into the studio this morning, and I have another big mess on my hands. I had to push the door hard enough to bend the frame of the shelves to get inside. I was worried that I would break the door, but the only other way I could see to get in would have been to cut the bottom panels out of the door. With our mosquito problem, I did not want to do that.

Anyway, that is the saga of my totally screwed-up studio situation. I think that the only thing I can do is to 1) seriously purge to make enough room to move things around and 2) move the yarn to more lightweight shelves and put the heavy books and supplies where the yarn and light items are now.

And really, all I want is to spend this time making stuff. Really, universe, is that too much to ask?

OK, this is too long. I’ll start another post with my second cup.