Hand Pulled Prints, Books, Drawings and More

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

The long awaited photos are here! Some of the books I made, students from my etching workshop, and Christmas photos.  I'd like to thank all the wonderful people who gave me gifts this year - not just the material kind. The support of my artistic community has been overwhelming since I began at Oxbow Press seven months ago and my family has been really stellar. Thanks also to my partner for allowing me to pursue my dreams, however strange to him they may seem.
yay for accordion folds

these books went to live with my new friends at the RCO

The Christmas Cards I made this year!

Alphonse and Ahab are watching it snow

Miles and Carol look at a print

John and Barbara pull a print off our press Harold

Mark's first etching - doesn't it look swell!

Look what I got in my stocking- Sparkly Santa Hat!
embroidered ornament for my mom
 Thanks to everyone who attended my workshops this fall! Etching students: I promise to make Member Etching Wednesdays a fact of life in 2011 and to never have more than 5 of you in one class at a time ever again! Thanks for your patience, support and confidence. Have a wonderful New Year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Cheer

Having a nice December, everyone? You should be! In times of turmoil such as this the spirit of Christmas (aka: the brotherhood of man and charity) is essential to being forthright, virtuous and conscientious human beings. 2010 has been a blockbuster year for me for many reasons. I was among the lucky (or at least well-planning) folks this year; I volunteered with an ecological and humanitarian organization in New Zealand, went from being un-employed to being over-committed, became dedicated to two prominent non-profit organizations in Reno, taught my first class, bought a car (for which I did the negotiating, yay!), rescued a stray, started my Etsy store in earnest, and began a blog.

Many of these things were only possible because of the many great people who came into my life. Some of these things I achieved with the support of my family and close friends. None of this year would have happened if I weren't a spendthrift. As much as I hate money (and love barter) it's an unfortunate necessity. Every decision counts - get fast food or eat ramen noodles at home (save $17.25), get your nails done or buy polish at the drug store (save $35.00 including tip), buy a big screen TV for your sweety on Black Friday or have a conversation about Christmas before November hits and decide to save for something big - like a trip to Japan or a wedding ring (save dignity, relationship, $480.52)

This may come out of the blue compared to the rest of my posts, but I can only print if I have paper and ink and I only get ink and paper with money. Printmaking is an expensive art form (compared to drawing anyways) but I am not happy or complete without printmaking in my life. Since I was a child it has been my ambition to become an artist, but I never thought about how to finance such a life. The solution was messily pushed into my face this year as I started at Oxbow Press - do something I love and find a way. Much of my success was networking, luck and devotion of time and muscle (especially a lot of time) but I did need a few dollar signs to back it up. The theme of this post is finding a way to live happy - money isn't the answer but it helps. If you save as much as you can whenever you can you'll soon find yourself able to do the things you love with greater frequency and professionalism. Use your funds to pay for workshops, supplies or studio space, or be a miser like Rachel and hoard until something REALLY amazing asks you to become involved.

Don't let money get you down. People understand, especially when they've been in your shoes themselves. So even though Christmas was a holiday invented by capitalist pigs in Britain during the mid nineteenth century, don't think you have to celebrate that. Spend wisely, not frantically, and your reward will be sweet. Remember, a gift you make by hand can't be bought in stores - it's special and you can personalize it for those you love. Happy Holidays everybody :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Busy Busy Busy!

Coming into Thanksgiving weekend I thought "I have a plan and am well prepared." The one thing for which I forgot to account was that plans must, and do, change. So! Thanksgiving was a nice holiday for me after the nail-biting weeks leading up to the Indie Reno Craft Fair. Encouraged by my success with the Fair I made many custom orders which were printed beautifully and are being picked up by their respective owners in the last few days before Christmas.

My work with the Reno Chamber Orchestra is stimulating, I've learned more about classical music in the last several weeks than I ever expected to know, and I've only just begun! The big event for the RCO is the Nevada Chamber Music Festival which is held every year in the last week of December. This year there will be several soloists in the Festival who will also perform later in the regular RCO season - Orion Weiss and Joan Kwuon - as well as many other great musicians.

Teaching has taken up quite a bit of my time - Intro to Intaglio:Copper Plate Etching and Aquatint was December 4th and 5th, and I just finished co-teaching a basic relief class focused on T-shirt printing this weekend. Intaglio was a lot of fun, though a bit more difficult to explain that I'd anticipated the students absorbed the information well and seem quite excited to continue developing their technique. T-shirt printing was also fun, though we only had a few people in class everyone printed very different designs. I now have seven Xmas gifts in the bag (thank you  - printmaking!) now I just have to remember how many more I have left....

My mind is like a sieve these days - but my trusty journal has been more than adequate to make up for my lack of memory. How do you keep up with the challenge of daily life? I find myself grappling with reality daily, but for people who aren't constant daydreamers that may be less of a challenge. I explained to my friend awhile back that I have relatively regular cycles of attachment to the "real" world. Lately I've been far to absorbed with the details of my life, it's time to step back and work from square one again.

Stay in touch! More thoughts on keeping track of my stray brain cells and pictures from my last two classes are coming soon.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Attack

A video I enjoyed from etsy. Watch it here.

Well the dinner has been eaten, the kitchen (hopefully) cleaned and today is the famous Black Friday! This is a day when capitalism reigns supreme - people are lured, urged and incentivized to spend their hard earned monies on those fleeting and material things we call Christmas Presents. Why the jaded tone? A lesser known fact about Rachel is that she loves Christmas... a LOT. As a child I had the idealistic expectations I imagine most children have about receiving everything I'd ever asked for as rewards for my good behavior. My family was thrifty, as am I, but Christmas was the one day a year when every wish was fulfilled. No matter what the quality or quantity of presents I always felt I was being dropped into a cornucopia of opulence on December 25th. However, more important that the gifts under the tree has always been the ritual and the love behind this holiday. I would rather eat my mom's favorite cinnamon rolls or watch It's A Wonderful Life with my dad (for the 23rd time)than open a single present. But while we are fortunate enough to have some extra funds it is nice to get a gift for someone we love.
I dislike Black Friday only because I believe the best presents we give or receive are those that do not come wrapped up in special paper and ribbons. Friendship, loyalty, love and support are the true gifts man-kind should share on Christmas Day.

But there's nothing wrong with pumping a little extra juice into the economy if you can afford it. Personally I do not have the extra funds this year to go crazy with Christmas. I do have a lot more time and many skills which allow me to make hand-made gifts for my friends and family. However you show it, just remember that everybody loves and iPod but the gifts that matter are the ones you give each day.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanks Giving

Today I'd like to thank some of the people who have helped me get to where I am today. This list should be longer (if you didn't know I'm quite skilled at forgetting things) but I hope I haven't left out anyone.

My family - My parents are Susan and Phillip Kaiser, both teachers with the Washoe County School District. Ever since I was small they've believed in me. Supporting me as an artist, as an independent woman, and as their daughter my parents take the cake. Thank you for being there for me. My grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family have also been supportive of my work for many years. I wouldn't have the resolve and determination I do today if not for my family.

My teachers - Robert Blesse taught me book arts and Eunkang Koh taught me printmaking while I was a student at UNR. Both of these teachers expected more of me that I thought I could give and I am a better artist for it. Candace Nicol has been my teacher and press director at Oxbow Press and has inspired me to do better both as a person and in my art.  Thank you for making me do the things I didn't want to  - you were right, it was very constructive.

My friends - I have friends who are thoughtful, supportive, and experienced in Rachel wrangling. If not for my friends I would have committed myself to an office job years ago and now be a listless shell. Thank you for listening to me rant, helping me feel better about my work, and reminding me to get out and have a little fun sometimes.

My cats - Thank you for inspiring me by being stupid and intelligent, wasteful and thrifty, lethargic and energetic all the time. I hope you guys live forever.

And now for a treat! Pictures of Rachel in the workshop! Printing!
inking a plate for Christmas Cards

using the Wheeland Press - se llama Jesus

super wheel turning action!

Ta da! Shop tech uniform!
Thanks for watching everyone! Now go home and love your families!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shopping Begins!

Lots of things going on for me lately, but my shop is still up and running. Check out Velesia's Hand Printed Gifts to find the perfect present for your loved one this holiday season. Did you miss out on the Indie Reno Craft Fair? Just about everything I had on display at the craft fair is posted on Etsy. Looking for Christmas Cards this late? I'm taking custom card orders every day.

But you don't tune in to hear me sell you stuff, the other reason to check out my etsy store is that each book and print gets a few extra pictures. It's a great way to view my art and get a little extra info about individual pieces! I myself use etsy quite a bit to get my own holiday shopping done. Suprising deals can be found there this time of year.

So this is the big week - Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. There will be a 10% discount on everything in my shop this week to lure unsuspecting customers to my store. Just type in the coupon code Black Friday Etsy when you purchase and item to get your discount.

Otherwise I will be at Oxbow Press this afternoon, printing Christmas cards for my custom order clients. Come on by between 1 and 5pm to watch me work and get a tour of the shop! There will be lots of updates this week as I have a little time off thanks to the holiday weekend.

Monday, November 22, 2010


A million thanks to everyone who supported local artisans by coming out this weekend at the Indie Reno Craft Fair and the Oxbow Mini Xmas Sale. If you didn't get a chance to visit either event, check out some of my photos below. Also, visit my etsy store to buy books, prints, t-shirts, cards and more.

my stall at the Indie Reno Craft Fair - thanks Handmade Hustlers!

visit sometime!

Christmas card sets - I already have four custom orders!

A screen printed note card or book mark comes with each purchse

Mini Books - made from my leftover printmaking supplies

These books are for sale at the Oxbow Press Gallery and at Velesia's

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Featured in Local News

Thanks to good friends at the Reno News & Review and the etsy team Handmade Hustlers I am featured this week. Check out the article at the Reno News & Review website or pick up a copy at most coffee houses and schools around town. Most of the books in my photo will be for sale at the Indie Reno Craft Fair and the Mini Xmas reception - the Oxbow Press Miniature Xmas Sale reception will be a lot of fun and we are getting some good buzz so come join the fun.

Don't shop the Black Friday sales - buy local and hand-crafted goods from artists at either of my fairs.

If you attend the Indie Reno Craft fair the first 25 people to show up will get a bag of free goodies. Also, there will be a raffle with many different prizes including this yummy little accordion book I made.
Reno's first snow of the season

Winter has come to Reno and that means it's time to hole up and make art! I'll be working at the Press quite a bit to prepare for the Xmas Sale and the Fair so check out the Oxbow Press website for open hours - come watch me work! Also ask me questions about upcoming exhibits, workshops and events.
Alphonse says "hello"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Art Update!

Autumn has come to Reno and there is a LOT going on these days! A craft fair and an Xmas sale that will feature loads of my work, a new job with the fabulous Reno Chamber Orchestra, preparing for my own holidays with family and creating gifts early for my friends who get Christmas in the mail.
admiring the great quality of hand-crafted goods

the first 25 attendees receive free goodies like these

The Indie Reno Craft Fair is operating with full steam! Today everyone participating met up at the West St. Market downtown and Megan Berner of the Reno News and Review did interviews and took photos.

I also squared away a few things at Oxbow Press and did a cute little flier for the Miniature Xmas Sale. Students who have participated in Oxbow Press workshops and classes are encouraged to submit art to the sale. All the art on display will be available for sale beginning at the reception on Sunday, November 21st at 3pm. There will be food, friends and lots of cute art including books and cards by me and books created by some of my students who are also glass artists (can't wait to see what they'll bring!) among many others. If you like giving gifts of creativity this show is for you.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


You've seen some of my work, and some of the organizations in which I participate, but today I'm going to talk about artists and movements that have influence me and my ideas about art.

Since I was quite young I've always been incredibly sure that I would become an artist. I was fortunate to grow up in a suburb of Washington D.C., a city rich with cultural and educational resources of which my parents availed themselves frequently. The Smithsonian and the National History Museum were two of my favorites, continually challenging my young mind to learn anything and everything I could about the world around me. As I grew older I found I preferred drawing people to other subjects and tried to expand my talents in portraiture and figure drawing.

The use of line has always fascinated me, as has inherent subject matter. For strictly visual representations I drew much inspiration from Alphonse Mucha, a Czech lithographer who was made famous during the Art Nouveau movement for his posters and advertisements. His work features strong line movement and stylized borders and designs primarily showcasing young women. Though he often used vague inspiration for his pieces (for example, the seasons, or different flowers) he also did advertisements for plays, lectures and magazines where he used literature and classic characters for inspiration. Mucha was praised internationally for his beautiful full-color lithographs and eventually designed money for his homeland. He created a great deal of art, lived well into his seventies and had a monetarily successful artistic career - all fine examples for me to follow.
advert. for plays featuring Sarah Bernhardt including Medea

one version of "the seasons" by Mucha
Another artist who has inspired me is Aubrey Beardsley, an illustrator and printmaker from England who also influenced Art Nouveau. Heavy use of line, positive and negative space, and stark black and white images are definitive of Beardsley's drawings and prints. Beardsley's subject matter, however, is more twisted and pushed the boundaries of decency during his time period by reveling in sexual and exotic themes including Oscar Wilde's play Salome and the seedy relationships of characters in Le Mort De'Arthur. Though the British artist didn't live to see his 26th birthday he produced a huge amount of work which was both lauded and frowned upon by the community at large.
Beardsley fully illustrated this play by Aristophanes
Caption from Salome by Beardsley
My work follows some inspiration of these artists insomuch that I deal frequently with the female form, gender issues, and find inspiration in literature. Lately I have been printing a lot of cats - cats are fun, friendly and safe. Plans are under-way to create my next body of art exploring female heroines - the "Joan of Arc" complex, Lysistrata, ancient and contemporary views of "strong" women and different ways of defining power and strength with and without the lens of gender.

At the moment I am making ends meet by participating in the Indie Reno Craft Fair, the Oxbow Mini Xmas Sale, and my new position with the wonderful folks of the Reno Chamber Orchestra (because you can't love just one form of art!) so keep watching my blog and, if you are so inclined, comment to give me extra motivation. Thanks for following along and stay tuned for more of the above!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Independant Art Fair at the Governor's Mansion

On November 20th I will be selling my printed wares at the Indie Reno Art Fair sponsored in part by the VSA of Nevada and hosted at the Governor's Mansion down town on Arlington Dr. This lovely affair will feature the goodies of many local small business owners and Etsians. Find out more and look at the link to my Etsy shop - Velesia's: Hand Printed Gifts - at www.indiereno.com. Everyone who is participating in this art show is local to Reno, Nevada so come out and support your neighbor artists!

Some of the Prints I made during the Viscosity workshop will be for sale. There will be a wide variety of things to purchase in the way of jewelry, knit goods, and accessories. My stall will have hand-pulled prints, books, cards and T-Shirts. Prints will be available either matted and encased in a clear plastic display sleeve, or framed. Many types of books will be available including hard-cover machine bound books and my "mini - books" which are usually between 2.5x2" or 2.5x3".

If you miss out on the VSA Indie Reno Craft Fair, be sure to check out the Oxbow Press Mini Xmas Sale on November 21st! Everything sold at the Mini Xmas Sale benefits Oxbow Press but also students who have attended workshops and classes since we opened in June of this year. This sale will begin on Sunday and people will be able to buy art, hand-made books, and more right off of the walls at the reception and right up until December 24th.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Experimentation with Ink Viscosity!

Had an excellent class with Candace Nicol Sunday and Saturday exploring the possibilities of printing multiple colors with one plate by combining intaglio and relief techniques using Borco Board and different rollers. Three rollers were used and each were different in their softness. The class used a 20 durometer, a 35 durometer and a 60 durometer roller, each of which are made by Takach Press. The lower the durometer number the softer the roller.
Inking station for the Viscosity Class
Candace Nicol demonstrating layer techniques
 This was a two day class which focused on press use, inking techniques, and color combinations. Each student was able to mix a color and most learned how to clean the beautiful, and expensive, rollers that we used during class. Because of how quick this technique is, and how experimental, the class was very prolific in some very interesting ways.
Students mixed ink and tested viscosity

The other big variable is the inks, and that's where the viscosity trick comes in; when inks are particularly thick or thin they react differently to the plate, the paper and each other. By combining and layering inks, each with a different viscosity, we were able to create some beautiful prints.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Etching Class at Oxbow Press

This December I get to teach Intaglio Etching for my birthday! Nope, not kidding - I'll be instructing a basic etching and aquatint class the day after I turn 23. There are only a couple spots left, so if you're interested, free on the 4th and 5th, and will be in the Reno area in December check it out. We will have lots of fun and will be learning about all kinds of things! Mezzotint, chine colle, burnishing and scraping, acrylic and soft ground and more will be talked about and each student will etch, aquatint and print a copper plate during class time. Depending on the enthusiasm of the students I may decide to offer a one day workshop in advanced intaglio techniques.

Copper Plate and Printed Image by Rachel Kaiser
In November Oxbow Press will be hosting a Miniature Christmas Show. Anyone who has participated in a workshop or class held at Oxbow will be able to submit art objects for sale and display in the Christmas Show. All entries are due to Candace Nicol and myself before November 10th while there will be a reception for the exhibit on the 21st. Anything displayed will be for sale until Friday, December 24th (the mythic Christmas Eve!), please contact myself or Candace if you are interested in participating in a work shop or if you qualify to submit for the show.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yummy Book Arts

My multiple signature class went exceptionally well this past Sunday. Two enthusiastic students, Carol and Penny, and I made some lovely books incorporating some glass work they brought to class.

There will be a Christmas Show at Oxbow Press opening on November 20th. Anyone who participates in a workshop at Oxbow Press before the show is allowed to submit their art for sale and display in the exhibit. I will be making at least two small, hard-cover sewn structure books for the Christmas Show.

Hollander's is having a sale this weekend, 10% off all purchase items!  Sounds like it's time to stock up on supplies. These are just a few of the beautiful papers we used in my book arts class, I can't wait to see what else Hollander's might have in stock.

Thanks go to Galen and Carol Brown for allowing us to use this beautiful book press at Oxbow! Here the press is used by my class to prepare their text blocks for casing-in to their cloth bound hard covers; it has been indispensable for my book making classes.