wow, it has been a really long time. and i have a lot of projects that i have been working on for the last 9 months to share! so here we go. in the spring detroit finally got it’s very own farm and garden store, called detroit farm and garden (that we will refer to as dfg from here on) opened by my friend and neighbor jeff. i, along with my talented friend nina created the logo for dfg. i made the center image for the logo and nina did the rest, including creating the font in the word detroit! after the store opened jeff asked me to come in and talk about creating some signage for the store. he had made two huge chalkboards that sit behind the counter. they are made from plywood painted with chalkboard paint, and he envisioned that they would house information on bulk items, new products, classes and any other pertinent information.
blank looming chalkboards
each chalkboard is 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. as i did some research on chalk i discovered that those handy chalk pens don’t work so well on chalkboard painted boards. they look great, but they leave a ghost image after erased, especially color pigmented markers, as the material is too porous and the pigment seeps in. they apparently erase just fine on a regular chalkboard. so we went with regular chalk, which is harder to work with in some ways than chalk markers. the first thing i did was decide how to divide up information and make a small to scale mock up of the boards and get a basic idea of how much room to allocate each area. then i figured out how big the text had to be for it to be legible from the door.
chalkboards being gridded off
using painters tape (one of my favorite tools to always have on hand!) i marked off the boards into sections and to make sure that the text was straight and evenly spaced.
left board sketched in
right board sketched in
after the board was gridded off i drew everything in with regular white chalk, which was sort of like sketching in with pencil. next i made sure that everything looked as it should and was spelled correctly.
starting to put color in
after the initial laying down of information i went in with the colored chalk to make it pop!!! and then many hours later it was finished and extremely colorful!!
it popped really well in the space as jeff was working with a limited color palette in the space, following the colors in the logo. you may be surprised to hear that a farm and garden store would have a color palette at all, but this is not your average farm and garden store! it has all of your farm and garden needs, and it is a very well put together store. there is a better photo of the chalkboards and the store itself in this slide show from the free press. this post is very process heavy, mainly because i personally love seeing how people do the things that they do, so when i remember to document the process i will post it here, as well as the final project!!
it has been raining a lot, with a sunny day scattered here and there. terrible weather for gardening and enjoying the outdoors, but fantastic weather for mushrooms!! patrick and i found almost 3/4 of a pound of morels in our backyard this week. signs of spring are also popping up everywhere, as i found the remains of a beautiful blue robin’s egg, the peonies are growing fast and the garlic is getting taller. i checked on our one remaining hive last week and they were still alive, but pretty weak. the cluster was really tiny and the queen had only laid a small amount of brood. we have a lot of weak hives at earthworks as well. i can only hope for the best, but it has been a terribly rough year for the bees so far. but now all the flowering trees are in bloom and i was woken up to the sounds of a spring thunderstorm, so hope is still alive.
and a few words, but not many.
this is what has been happening. unearthing garden beds from layers of mulch, lots and lots and lots of rain, harvesting the last of the kale and turnips from under the hoops, finding a nest of baby bunnies and then scaring them away, trying out new recipes, almost completing a sweater and realizing that it is way too big but not having the heart to rip it all out yet, flowers inside the house and a few outside, starting seeds for transplants, and a fancy fast new-to-me bike. happy spring!
it has been a while since i posted last. and since then spring has officially arrived!! yeahhh!! although we are under a winter storm watch for tonight, booooo. i have been a little distracted for the past few weeks, and haven’t been feeling all that well, so i did not have a lot to say that wasn’t cranky and full of self pity. but i have been keeping myself busy. i’ve been steadily working on my sweater, and got to the point where i divided for sleeves and knitted a few inches below that. i was so excited i put the stitches on waste yarn and tried it on. well, it ended up being about 8 inches too big! yikes my gauge was a half stitch off and it will only grow when i block it. so while freaking out i emailed nora, my lovely knitting guru and acupuncturist, and she gave me some advice, some of which i knew and didn’t want to hear. i needed to start over. i ripped it back to the yoke, and haven’t been able to start working on it again. but i redid my gauge swatches and found a better size needle and i will restart again this week (after i finish pouting).
i have also been starting seeds and working in the garden. we had a beautiful warm day on friday and i pulled back the plastic on the hoops and discovered lots of spring growth on the spinach. i also planted beets, carrots, arugula, onions, and lettuce mix. i have some seeds started in the house and more ready to go. my crop schedule is all on the calendar, and seeds are organized. now i just need to make some spring tonic bee food and check the ladies. we have had one hive die in our backyard, and one survive. so i will most likely split that healthy hive this spring. at earthworks we currently have a 76% survival rate, although this is the touchiest part of the season, when a hive that survived all winter can bite it quite suddenly.
so now i need to keep myself motivated working on art, even though i am distracted by the outdoors. i still have not found a good way to manage my time effectively. i have a strange feeling that i will be saying that for the rest of my life. so for now i will leave you with another newer papercut of planting seeds!!!
this past week i was in between knitting projects. i finished one and was waiting for the gauge tests to dry for the next. i have been knitting so much lately that it felt weird to not have a project going on. so i decided to make something small with some yarn i had laying around. almost three years ago i made my first stuffed animal. i gave her to patrick, as he gets the brunt of things i make on a whim. well this creature still lives at out house, and i decided to make her a scarf. it is very small, ridiculous, and cute.
i think she looks warmer. in other news after the thaw of a two weeks ago, and before the other dump of snow last week i investigated our quick hoops in the garden. we actually had some lettuce, spinach, beet greens, minutina, and turnips alive. so i harvested some greens and turnips and we ate salad, and quick pickled turnips with dinner. de-li-ci-ous! anything coming out of the garden in february will taste good, just for the pure amazement of it.
even though true spring is still a ways off, i can feel it in the air. my thoughts have drifted towards damp earth, sprouting seedling and the rush of pollen and nectar. i checked the bees today at earthworks and had surprisingly fewer deaths than i had anticipated. they are anxious for spring, as am i. soon the maples will be blooming, and it is all downhill from there. the maples are the first real pollen source for the ladies, and a welcome source of protein. gwen (my beekeeping cohort) picked up a mass of shop lights from the hardware store for various growers in the area today (to start seedlings under) and dropped ours off to me after we checked the bees. so now i am thinking of making my crop schedule and plan, of mixing soil, making bee tea as a spring tonic for the ladies, the smell of fish emulsion and just looking for an excuse to be outside. i am thinking of the urgency of spring, but also reminded to slow down, inhale, and realize what a beautiful life i truly have.
check out more creative spaces here, as always.
i am currently working on a post about the hamilton wood type museum. but while it is in the works i will leave you with a photo of some hakurei turnips that i harvested from the garden last week!
first i want to say thank you to everyone that came out for garlic fest!!! we had a great time and it all came together in the end. i will post some more about garlic fest later on. this is about garlic art. patrick and i decided it would be a good idea for me to create some artwork to sell at the garlic fest. i did not have enough time to put something together to letterpress print, so i decided to do some screen printing. i of course have only screen printed on one other occasion, and i also have the amazing ability to make anything more complicated and harder for myself. so i decided to print two days before the prints needed to be done. i struggled a lot with trying to get old emulsion off the screens. there was one clear screen that i coated with fresh photo emulsion, but i spent hours trying to get the stuck emulsion off the other screens. in fact it is still on there, so if any one has any tips on recovering locked screens i would greatly appreciate it. the actual process of burning the screen and printing it went really well. after pulling my first print i was again amazed at how magical the process of printing is.
the prints started piling up and soon i was tip toeing through my studio because they were all over the floor. i also found that i became print happy. scrounging around the house for blank articles of clothing to print on before the ink dried.
the original piece of artwork is a paper cut i made then burned directly onto the screen. i did get the emulsion off of this screen but i had to take it to the car wash to power wash it out.
i sold 10 of these at the garlic fest, but made an edition of 33. so if anyone is interested in purchasing one for $15 send me an email at staceyspiderspun (at) gmail (dot) com they come on a variety of papers, so indicate a preference. in further news i will now be blogging at the little house blog as well.