Sachi's work in progress


Immediately after Sachi told me she thought she was all done with her flurry of drawing, she told me she just had her Madison flag to finish up. We've been getting lots of requests for a Madison flag but of course she added the Sachi spin to it. It is chock full of little icons! There are a few details yet to finish up (like the gold Capitol in the middle), but I love the way she put lake-related icons on the two blue triangles that are supposed to represent the two lakes. And, don't worry, she covered more than just the isthmus in the diagonal line that runs through. Look for this design soon! I think tote bag was the initial plan but I think I persuaded her to make a print and t-shirt... and maybe also stickers.


tarot preoccupation



Little did Lesley Numbers know what she was starting when she asked for tarot cards. First of all, she ended up getting such a great response that she gathered cards from 150 artists for two tarot decks. They are on exhibit at the Central Library and they are super cool. You can also check out #bubblertarot on Instagram for a sneak peek. 



I ended up making two for the exhibit at the Central Library and decided to continue to pursue the theme in my fill-in-art-journals endeavor (I have three quarter-finished books from my art workshop last October which I've been wanting to work on). I also made a couple samples for the April Night Light event. We'll have an assortment of supplies so you can stop in and collage your own tarot card. I found I really enjoyed picking a card, reading about its meaning, and then translating that into collage - kind of helped me work through the meaning in a more visual way (I guess that's what everyone is talking about with artist journals though I've somehow never really managed to follow through with one).



The office is in disarray and new products are starting to arrive and I haven't fully cleaned up from the holidays AND I got some new fixtures so I have to find space for all of that. Which somehow led me to the distraction of clearing out 8 inches of shelf space (everything counts, right?) and going through some old magazines for collage imagery. I found a stack of Victoria magazines - remember those? They were of great inspiration to me for a time, so it is interesting to revisit them and see the things that still call me and what no longer does. As is often the case, only about 10% of the magazine ends up in the collage pile so I am both distracted and cleaning up. But I think I'm making some progress towards winnowing my collage stash, moving the rest of my studio over to my place (from our parents' basement), finding room for all the things that were displaced when I put the new fixtures in. Maybe in a week or two, the fog will start to clear from my brain. This spring has ended up being much busier than usual. Normally the cold weather means time to catch up on things that slid during the holidays but instead I started the big new project of software overhaul. We are slowly learning our way around the new system. We've had our old software for over 10 years (which is ages in the software realm) so there is a lot of learning to do. But we're getting closer. 

And I spent Sunday morning assembling the first furniture piece. Eventually we are adding a second cash register so I have to make space for that. I do want to get some cute repurposed dressers to replace some on the sales floor but I just needed something functional with lots of cubbies. But, of course, that caused an avalanche of moving. I have a chronic complaint about retailers that they don't do enough with merchandising to really maximize their sales. As someone who might not be the best salesperson, I compensate by focusing attention on product placement. Besides windows, one of the easiest sales tools is rearranging, and, really, should be done more often. So I decided to practice what I preach and did a big/little overhaul. Switching the socks and accessories for all the little paper goods seems like a small task, but even I didn't realize how many small paper goods I had crammed on the two round tiered tables. Now they have a little more space. Round tables are my nemesis but I think I managed to get things looking all right. I do like the socks arrayed in a circle - now I just have to watch and make sure the sales stay strong. 



As I said, maybe in a week or two, all the dust will start to settle, though then it will be time to plan for our trip to the National Stationery Show...

job listing

Part-time Sales Associate

We are an independent paper and gift shop located in the heart of downtown Madison on State Street. We feature works by over 100 local and regional artists, as well as craft supplies for customers who are inspired to create. We are known for our Wisconsin-themed gifts, large selection of greeting cards and paper goods, as well as our political posters and pins.

We are looking for a reliable part-time sales associate and key holder to help customers and perform tasks that keep our shop running smoothly. Ideal candidate could commit to working through Jan 2018.
Duties include:
Greeting & helping customers, learning & operating our cash register, educating yourself & our shoppers about our products, straightening and restocking displays, light dusting and cleaning, following instructions on unpacking and pricing new arrivals, making buttons, stamping bags, assembling jewelry, opening &/or closing the shop during your shift, working on your own.

Friendly, helpful and polite, interested in talking to every customer. Self-motivated & able to accomplish multiple tasks with minimal supervision. Able to work 10-20 hours/week, evenings and weekends, Typical shift might be 4-5 hours until 7:15PM. Please note extended summer hours when a shift will be until 9:15PM Friday and/or Saturday. Experience handling money & basic retail tasks is preferred, but not absolutely necessary.

Our ideal candidate enjoys interacting with a wide variety of people, learns quickly and works independently.

Please drop off your resume at our shop (218 State Street) or e-mail it to

Thank you!

Bubbler fun



Treated myself to a little break from working on the computer and went to a workshop at the Bubbler last week. So much fun! I know this is going to sound silly, but I was so focused on the bookmaking part of the workshop that it didn't really sink in that there would be screen printing (even though it was Lesley Numbers). What a treat to walk in and see such cool screens awaiting our use!

First of all, Lesley Numbers is the artist in residence and she has so much planned! I was inspired just walking into the room and I highly recommend that you make time for a visit. I have never gotten to see such a large collection of her prints in one place and it was quite a treat.



We got to print paper with various screens and then Katharine DeLamater  (also of Polka Press) taught us a simple book structure which we made using one of our printed papers. And, yes, I confirmed that I am horrible at bookmaking. I just never quite get all the folds precise enough for nice square edges. But I'm going to be adding tabs and stickers and washi tape, so you won't even notice.



There are many other activities planned for Lesley's residency. I am particularly looking forward to the exhibit of Tarot cards and am enjoying the tarot card readings. But check out all the things that Polka Press has planned at their studio as well!




Hard to believe but I've actually had some time for collaging! Of course, that means the living room is even more disarray than usual - as there is one ongoing project of sorting through general collage materials (in four  bins, sorted by color) and now two extra boxes of the more precious collage materials that I usually take to workshops. I'm working my way up to just dumping the boxes of general collage materials. But not there yet. Definitely I could spend less time sorting through things... that said, sorting is part of the creative process. 

We are in the middle of a big software conversion at the shop so most of my attention has been on spreadsheets. Not very thrilling. I'm feeling rather anxious about making sure the transition is mostly painless for everyone else. Still, there's much to learn and much to do. It has been nice to go home at night (where there is no internet connection and thus no ability to do anything related to the spreadsheets) and just collage. Last night I hauled out the paints and added some texture. I'm working in three books at once - the three that I started at the Kelly Kilmer workshops last October. I have this idea of actually filling in the rest of the pages so of course I started in on everything at once. Up to a point, it is fine to work on several different pages in these early stages of just filling in, more or less assembly line fashion, but soon it will be time to focus in on just a few pages and add the detail work. 



I'm eager to play more with Sharpie paint pens and add more texture and drawing, though that's still something I don't have enough experience with to know for sure it will be successful. I feel like sometimes I get so attached to making things match - pattern or color - when there are times that adding a contrasting element would be of more interest. Maybe working on so many pages at once will force me to practice and experiment a little more.