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.
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.
One mayday morning I woke up in a strange and almost empty house deep in bright green leaves. The house was still asleep, so I roamed. A stuffed iguana on the mantlepiece scared me half to death and woke the house with my 14 year old screech when It lept out from under my curious hand. Not stuffed after all…. Some things are surprising. Like the moment of calm in a week of busy-busy-rush-rush-what-are-we doing-with-our-lives. Suddenly time stops, the iguana blinks at you, and cherry blossoms fall so gently in our glowing, sunny city. It will all be just fine. Mayday can downgraded to a mere Securitae
Last week it was the HOH Haul trail marathon, my first, check, done, saw a bear. Now I am on to an epic framing marathon to get ready for all of my alphabet book originals to go on display and up for sale at CLICK in West Seattle May 8th. There will be a lively artwalk at the Junction ( 6-9pm) and me signing books, I might even bring the Octopus.
Limited edition prints of the letters will be available (by special order through CLICK). Also a few wispy winsome new pieces will be up and more to come as the show progresses. Its up for May and June, if you cant make it next Thursday.
If you are mostly wanting to make sure you see the Octopus in a jar that has been my traveling companion on the northwest book tour of late, come to my reading at Elliot Bay Books this Saturday the 3rd at 11 am. Wiggly kids welcome!!!.
Mockingbird books is the following Saturday at 11 if you are more of a Greenlake type than a Capitol Hill type, we love all kinds.
And after that, let the spring wind blow away your list of things to do.
“S is for Salmon” comes out today…. officially to be found all around in indie book stores and library shelves and of course online. Boy does it take a long time to get to this point, but it feels lovely to hold the finished product in my hand and see it going out to a new generation of little naturalists/artists/superheroes.
And as is the way of publishing, we are already deep in the next project coming 2015. It might be titled “Through the locks”. It might have a small naturalist/explorer/ninja fighter for a main character, and this might become the idea for the cover……stay tuned, and see you in the book stacks.
Click here to buy signed copies of “S is for Salmon” from me via Etsy, or shop your local indie book store.
Three months on the road, and in the sea…. a huge expanse of freedom. The desert had been wet and was in bloom. The winds were strong and sent us back to the beach to explore many a day, but we covered 6,000 miles by oars and wind and chevy van. And none of it was black and white.
These images are notebook sketches made with watercolor and ink along the way.
At home now the color sneaking into my life continues despite the grey weather. “S is for Salmon” comes out next week in full color! Signed copies can be pre-ordered now HERE.