Hand Pulled Prints, Books, Drawings and More

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!