Last Saturday night I perched on the edge of a workbench amidst a crowd of 75+ people and bundles of twinkly lights, listening to wonderful live music with a backdrop of papercuts. In my very own studio. There was beer being served in a restored airstream trailer down the way and groups huddled around firepits outside.
Last summer I became a partner at Twispworks in Twisp, Washington, and it couldn’t have been a better gamble. The 1000 ft space is part of an old forest service campus that has been taken over and turned into a thriving hub within our rural community. My neighbors are artists and makers, as well as the local radio station, newspaper, and alternative high school program. It is the perfect amount of interaction as folks wander through, checking out the open studios and native plant garden, or coming for a Methow Skills workshop and then staying to enjoy a bahn mi under the maple trees. Yep we even have a great food truck.
As part of my welcome into this great scene, I have been working on design and artwork for a new community plaza that is to be the heart of this place. My contribution includes 100’ of cut steel panels that wrap around the plaza. Right now they peak out of the snow banks, awaiting the completion of landscaping and construction phases. But as a tentative spring creeps in here, I see a little more of them every day and feel myself settling in to a wonderful new place.
Come visit when you are in the Valley. Twispworks is at the south end of Glover street and I’m the green door at the middle of Building 10. See works in progress, framed originals, and a full collection of book, prints, and cards.
*As you may have noticed ive been off the blogging map for too long. I have good intentions to be more regular in my reports. In the meantime follow me on Instagram @hannahviano to see whats happening in the studio and on the road.
So there is the old one, S is for Salmon, which has been out a little while now and is up for a Washington state book award this weekend. Cross your fingers that I win, or at least get to meet Tom Robbins, who is a finalist for his new memoir. Come join the fun, its open free to the public, at the stunning Seattle Central Library, Oct 10th at 7pm.
Then there is the new one! Presenting B is for Bear, on shelves Oct. 13th wherever books are sold. It is the same format and tuck-in-your-bag-ability as its predecessor, but with all new colors and characters. When I was first approached about this project, I said “awwww, no way, i dont think I do series” But they said, “we want you to make an alphabet that can be for everyone, not just those Northwesterners”. So I said YES and I look forward to seeing it ramble its way to the edges of our broad nation and beyond. In the book I try to mix a little bit of science, a little bit of silly, and a few of the things that most captured my imagination when I was a kid.
Give this new one a look, and maybe turn your sister-in-law in Des Moines onto it too. Ill be doing a little contest on instagram (i’m @hannahviano) later this month to see just where Bearshows up. If you happen to be in the media world and want a review copy let me know, and if you are wishing that I would come spread out my bits of black paper and jars of things like bear scat at your fave indie bookstore, also let me know. The list of book events is just solidifying but will be posted as things settle in.
We are having a different kind of Mondays. The bike ride to school is composed of mostly dirt road and the mountains are out every day. Our new home has been a hard place to love at times, with blast furnace heat by the fourth of July and wildfires on the ridges nearby for most of August. Then suddenly the calendar ticked over to September and the air cleared, nights cooled, school started, and this new life has begun. The first piece to come off of my work table is going into the Northwest Outward Bound auction, at their raucous Black Tie and Tennis Shoes fundraiser next month. It is a hope for early snow to cool all those lingering burns around here and throughout all too much of the west.
What exactly “work” looks like now is an ever evolving line of conversations. My next book, B is For Bear A Natural Alphabet will be on the shelves in a month and my retail items will show up in Confluence Gallerys gift shop here in Twisp in time for Christmas. The snowy winter rolls out on the far horizon with plans for an exhibit of work inspired by my springtime Inside Passage trips, and work on a flannel covered, wooly hatted mountain storybook.
Looking back at last seasons sketchbook, I found this ramble done in the Deserter Islands of Queen Charlotte Sound but very much the essence of our move to different Mondays.
“..a deserter from the world of the big mortgage and the small vacation, too busy and not enough time. Running downwind from that life to a new one that looks up at the sky and notices changes in the air and the beauty in feeling, being, doing, living high.”
This spring there is a frenzy of action, movement, and change in all directions….
1. I had an awesome time as artist in residence at the Portland Childrens Museum, and got to watch the spring blossom on long bike commutes and afternoon sketching sessions. There is an exhibit pulled from my time there which will be showing in their gallery space though July.
2. My new book Arrow to Alaska hit the shelves… Find it at your local bookstore, or on my etsy site when i’m back from #4 and #5
3. Last weekend I celebrated summer weather during a Nature Journaling class put on by Cedar Root Folk School. We sketched and rambled and wrote and enjoyed Marrowstone Island. Above is a fish-head collected during my drift exercise.
4&5 Not one but two trips up the Inside Passage to Alaska! Tomorrow I steam off on the mighty salmon tender Chichagof, for some kids on boats fun and a week of pouring over charts and current tables in preparation for trip two. The “R2AK” or race to Alaska is a wild idea dreamed up by the head of the NW Maritime Center in Port Townsend, WA. For its first year in existence, 40 teams will sail or row or paddle (no motors allowed) from PT to Ketchikan. The first team gets 10,000$, the rest just aches and glory. Its a crazy field of boats and competitors. Check out www.r2ak.com for full hilarious details. I’m team GRIN. Ill also be posting a bit on instagram when service allows (@hannahviano). Look for field sketches done along the way, and hopefully a show of artwork inspired by the journey in the months to follow.
Art is adventurous work these days, and i hope to keep it that way. Wish me luck.
Ive been working on an artful identification guide to 6 Northwest trees. They are some of our most common and types that all of us trailrunners, dogwalkers, and urban wanderers should know.
I was inspired by my own lack of knowledge, one of those “think you know but really dont” times. When my 5 year old can rattle off the tree species in Discovery Park faster than I can (thanks to the awesome Nature Kids Preschool there) then it gives me pause.
I received a grant from local King County arts funder 4Culture to make this set of images. They have been reproduced as a cardstock take-a-way, and piles of them will be available free for passerby at parks and outdoor recreation spots around King County in November. Sites include; Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center, Camp Long Visitor Center, Seward Park Aububon Center, Lewis Creek Park Visitor Center and the Ballard Branch of Seattle Public library.
If you are interested in seeing the set of papercut images full size and all together, and presented in a cool printed metal format….. they will be on display at Venue in Ballard through November, if not longer.
For a great book that is a beautiful and broad reference for us treehuggers, check out “Northwest Trees” by Arno and Hammerly. It has excellent pen and ink illustrations and sets each species in its place in the larger picture of our forests and history.
This weekend I get on the Alaska ferry for the 4 day ride north. The 5 year old and I have matching forest green sketchbooks, fresh and new to record whale sightings and sketch mtn vistas and perhaps draw schematics for new improved X-wing fighters. I am beyond excited to have time sprawling ahead to just notice and be.
Last month I jumped onboard to lead an Outward Bound course sailing the San Juan and Gulf Islands, and though it had many wonderful challenges and moments, the 2 weeks were far too full to stop and sketch around in the way I really love to do when on my own. Really I hike so I can find an amazing spot to sketch/ write/ watch the world go by. I ski so I can get up above the trees and sit on my gloves, drawing with chilly fingers and a hot thermos nearby. Art and adventure go hand in hand for me.
In an attempt to share this love of mine, I will be teaching a weekend workshop through the Cedar root Folk school. It runs the weekend of August 22nd and 23rd on Marrowstone Island (just down the road from Port Townsend). We will be roaming the beaches and forests, finding spots to sit and notice and turn observations and emotions into art and words. I will bring basic art supplies for each student and a number of other media to try out through the weekend. At each stop I will share new ideas and exercises to heighten awareness of our surroundings and start integrating art into the observations of nature lovers and nature into the practice of artists.
Come join! Sign-up is through Cedarroot HERE. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. (Sketch from a visit to Sitka, AK last summer)