Monday, May 21, 2012

Books, Fairs & Woodland Wonders

example books 

Long ago and far away, I posted every week! I often hear myself saying - soon, my life will calm down as studio set-up projects are completed. I'm praying it does! I'm in much need of some dreaming time... but because of all the work, many, many projects are COMPLETE. The web site is mostly done, just tweaking it. The brochure for the studio is out and about and flyers for classes and events. There is a schedule of RavenWood summer retreats and workshops on the web site, and loads more about the many things I do that I don't necessarily share here in depth. And there is now a portal to the studio web site in the sidebar...

I'll be teaching a six week class beginning June 14, Thursday mornings, 10-12:30 

  • "Forest Forms & Fractals - Drawing, Mixed-Media and Nature Books in the Woodlands" for full details, click here.

If you are not local, but not too far away, there are several Saturday retreats and workshops starting on June 23 with: 

  • "Nurturing the Wild Woman/ Into The Sacred Grove ~ A day of healing in the forest" 
  • For a full list of retreats and workshops, click here ~ 

*There are a few wonderful places to stay right up the road that will offer specials to folks coming to RavenWood. 


I had a table for RavenWood at the Hilltown Spring Festival a few Saturdays ago. It 
was a beautiful, sunny day, the first one after a slew of rainy ones. I felt as though 
I had come out of the forest for the first time in months...




My table was in view of the center green where my friend, Beth, had a gathering 
of her puppets right before the Maypole dance. She did a beautiful, yet haunting 
piece about a polar bear trying to jump from iceberg to iceberg. Every successful 
jump got loads of cheering from the audience - a wonderful, engaging performance. 


Having a table at the festival prompted me to go into the studio for several days 
of bookmaking - to have examples on hand of what students might make in my class. 
What a blissful week of making! I continue to find immense joy being in my new 
space, and look forward to the completion of the REST of the necessary tasks before 
I will have regular time there. But there was that week!


I often teach bookmaking in my classes, but haven't made many books myself 
for years. Finally I had the opportunity to make a book that has been stewing 
inside me for years! "Branching" might be the start of a series like this.. we'll see 
when I get back in there! These were all made mostly as examples of the kinds of 
simple and sometimes sculptural bookbinding I incorporte in my teaching, and so 
some of the drawings were done mostly as filler. Some I like. The book of Patterns 
for example, is one that I made from pasting older drawings into the book. 

 "Branching", VClaff, 2012
"Patterns", VClaff, 2012

"Patterns - inside", VClaff 2012

 Book of Patterns - other side

A book of Drawings

 Inside "Drawings" 

And last, the Woodland Book:

Inside the "Woodland Book": 

The reverse "bleed" side 


 Things are greening up after a cycle of rains. Below is the view towards the house and 
old studio from the new studio steps, and a small wander around the forest and garden. 







A bit of attitude from dear Pasha cat...? We are relaxing on a bench looking at 
the mounds of red clover that completely took over the garden. It has since been 
weeded resulting in a pile up to my chest of moslty clover - no kidding . Some of
it was left in spots to harvest for tea. 






Amazing colors and patterns of the moths that collect by the 
front door offer much visual inspiration.



and the most magical of all... the Luna Moth. As I write, there is one
clinging to the front light. He's been here for a few days, fluttering at 
the screens by night, clinging to the house for the days. Such a short 
life, but, such beauty... 



47 comments:

  1. It sounds like you are leading a wonderfully full artistic and creative life. I love your studio and woods..a perfect place of inspiration and sharing. The books are gorgeous, the moths so amazing in their patterns and beauty, especially the lunar moth which I have never seen in real life. I am sure you will get lots of visitors coming to classes in that magical environment.
    Jenni ( Australia)

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    1. Hi Jenni - drumming up students, I do hope and soon!

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  2. so much to look at and marvel over. and what a magnificent cat...

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  3. All so healing feeling.........
    and a pink and white moth? what riches there!
    xx
    julie

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    1. Isn't she amazing? Pink and yellow, really... what a combination!

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  4. Always lovely to visit your world. At the moment I am swooning over your Woodland Book...and to be sure, the luna moth (which I've never seen in person).
    Wishing you joy in the calm that's right around the corner ;>]]

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    1. Thanks... I'm excited for calm and joy - and the inspiration that comes from teaching!!

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  5. Amazing moths in your neck of the woods. LOVE your Woodland Book!

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    1. Seems to be a poplular one... I've been amazed at all the incredible moths living in the forest here, I'm sure they've always been around, just seems I have seen more moths in the years living here than ever before.... so I wonder, do I have new eyes, or is the forest a magnet. Probably both.

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  6. Beautiful, beautiful! I love reading about your journey with your studio, I'm utterly jealous :P
    And I don't often comment, but I just wanted to say that I adore your work, your landscapes/trees are just so incredible, i'm amazed at how you manage to convey so much realism and evoke such feeling with just a few washes of colour! xx Nadia
    (and pasha is the most awesome looking cat! and seems like such a little character!)

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    1. Glad to hear from you and thanks for the feedback on my work. I was blown away by your latest work, so detailed. Like we are at different ends of the visual spectrum in a way.

      And Pasha cat.. well, yes a character. I now must keep my little alarm clock in the drawer of my bedside table or it is on the floor with the batteries strewn around. He now has several soft pillowy things to toss on the floor instead of the alarm clock. Seems to be working.

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  7. Valerie, your studio feels so very cozy, earthy and peaceful. hopefully someday i can attend on some of your classes and see your woods. it must be exciting to take your art to the festival. my jewelries will be travelling at the Faerieworlds festival in june, kindly Julia Jeffrey is taking them for sale with her art. I think is so very exciting!

    lunamoth, i would love to see one! they are such a beauties, i love their colors. they are faery moths, i think.

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    1. They very much are faery moths... so enchanting! Fun that your jewelry is getting to go to the Faerieworlds festival, too bad not you!

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  8. The books are so beautiful - love the birchbark cover on the woodland book! And you do have some very striking moths there - as far as I know, we don't have any similar kinds here...

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    1. The moths are a constant curiosity in summer, the other enormous moth along with the luna is one I wait for, too.

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  9. Your garden looks lovely - so tranquil and natural. The moths photos are wonderful, they are really beautiful creatures. It's hard to find time to write posts when life is full of things to do, I always intend to do more than I actually get round to but they take quite a while to put together so often I do them over a period of days. Yours are always worth waiting for though.

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    1. Thank you Rowan - glad you enjoy my posts.... it truly is a time commitment! And the garden is definitely natural. Sometimes I think its too wild and attempt to reign it in a bit. This year the clover was a good excuse to really get in there and edit!!

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  10. Oh!!! This posts brings me exactly what I need now: the inspiration to use all my skills and go on ... dancing. Thank you!

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    1. Oh, definitely go on dancing, Barbara - with brush and paint and tools and plates as well as your body!

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  11. Wow! all the new work thats pouring out of your hands, love all your new books & especially "Branching" the images flow so well with the structure of the branches holding it all together, looking forward to seeing where this leads you & that Luna Moth have only ever seen them in books and dreams...

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    1. Lunas are a wonder... I feel so blessed when they are here as I know not everyone gets to see them! "Branching" just came out in a flash. At first, I wasn;t sure I loved the drawing, but kept going, trying to find a balance between detial and open space. I like the way it works with the branches, too...

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  12. I love it when the fern fronds begin unfurling.... the oaks here are finally starting to come into their full green, such bright young uncurling leaves...
    Your books are wonderful! The branching book is beautiful and I particularly like the woodland book with the birch bark and lovely earthy green drawings. Hmmm I'd quite like to make something myself at some point, a book as much part of the landscape as the words and drawings within trying to speak of it.
    Glad the studio is going so well and hope your courses are nice and full of lovely inspired folk!
    Carrie... :)

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    1. Thanks, Carrie!! I hope my classes start filling up, too. I'm hoping the spirits of the forest will help me gather up a good crew for the summer.

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  13. Those books are just gorgeous, Valerianna, I fell in love with 'Branching' as soon as I saw it in the first picture! And your new studio sounds just wonderful, like Nadia, I'm very jealous!

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    1. Jealousy seems a good way to define what one really wants and to go for it! Are you still without a work-space??

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  14. just so very very very Fine.
    every detail, and i LOVE the photograph of you in the bio...we have the same eyes!
    the website is a retreat in itself...so happy for you ~

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    1. Thanks, Grace - it sure didn't FEEL like a retreat when building the web site... love that we have the same eyes!

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  15. Oh dear V!
    The world that you have created is fecundly stunning!!
    I so appreciate the tour and I can only imagine the magic that will be made within yout Sacred Grove as you open your world to share with those of us lucky enough to take part.

    Gorgeous~

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    1. Thank you, Donna!! I look forward to getting the ball rolling... or maybe the pen scratching!!

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  16. Luna Moths and hand made books! What a splendid combination.

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    1. Glad you like the combination... !

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  17. Your books are wonderful - earthy and tactile. :)
    I like the polar jumps!! Yes.
    Luna Moth - he came to YOUR Light Val,,, how precious.
    I hope you enjoy every moment of his presence.
    Wish I could hang out at Raven Wood and drink clover tea with you...

    Your posts are a wonderful "full-course" feast as always - thanks for sharing your latest!

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    1. First day in a week today that I didn't see the Luna... might have gotten eaten, though I usually find parts if he did, or might have expired and, if I'm lucky, I'll find his remains. Yes! Tea in the garden at RavenWood, and then tea on the prairie... (but NOT in the long grass) Glad you enjoyed the feast!

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    2. Oh yeah,,, he may have been beautiful food. Dang...
      I'm hoping you'll find him though - well preserved.

      Oh, have I learned my lesson well - sometimes I think I'm immune to everything! lol. I'm finally better today.

      I must check out your website too.

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  18. Valeriana, I just love your posts so much and whether it be every week or every month I'm always full of anticipation for a gentle 'fix' of life at Ravenwood Forest.

    How wonderful to have a stall at the Spring Festival and your workshops at the Retreat look so interesting - if only I could transport myself across the ocean!

    Have you come across Lesley's blog Printed Material I wonder? Just looking at your lovely books and recalling your admiration of moths, you two would really enjoy each other's blogs. You can find her on my side bar under the Everyday Life & Creativity section.

    Jeanne
    x

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    1. Hi Jeanne, its warming to know that you enjoy it so here! Well if you're ever transported over here (hopefully by an airplane and not on your own steam) you must come for a retreat!

      Haven't seen Lesley's blog, I'll check it out, thanks.

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  19. your post overflows with good stuff, beauty, wild things and art. Such a joy to see what you are filling your days and summer with.

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  20. that pink-yellow moth is the beautifulest!!!!!!!
    never seen one like that ♥

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  21. LOL ~ the look on Pasha'a face is priceless! Maine Coons are so very expressive :~) Your books are both gorgeous and fascinating ~ spirit-filled, organic shapes and textures, much like those found in your forest! Lovely!

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  22. You've been busy! I love your books. All of them. The tactile nature of a book - art that you can hold, can physically interact with - makes them something particularly special.

    I'm always so inspired when I read your posts. Thank you!

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  23. You have settled in amazingly.. doesn't that feel great.. and everything is blooming inside and out... The very best for your workshops..
    Creativity has a way of bursting out allover.

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  24. Dear Valarianna, as usual, your world has come alive here for us and your books are glorious creations!
    thanks for sharing the wonder of the woods, your art and your home...
    roxanne

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  25. Amazing art-work, high quality. Wonderful photos of nature. Greetings!

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  26. I am in the same boat... I used to post blogs more often... and am finding it harder to get one done..but teaching workshops and trying to get your art work done take up time too.. very inspiring.

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  27. Wow - you've accomplished so much and are really making things happen! It's so inspiring to see your dreams come alive for you. Your website looks beautiful and what you're offering to other women is much needed so keep going!!

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  28. Oh Valerianna, I wish I had wings, those workshops sing to me, I don’t find anything similar near me at all. Sighs.
    I love your books, especially “branching” and the way the colour bleeds into the pages.

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I love reading your comments and sometimes I'm good at responding right away, sometimes not! Glad you had a wander here, I hope you found the mossy path soft on your feet and heard the call of the Raven.