Know your ABCs

image_2 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 Bear shows 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.

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Mayday

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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

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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.

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In the bookstacks

“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.

IMG_2911IMG_2918And 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.

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Salmon and Salal- A Northwest Alphabet Project

         In the 1980s a woodblock artist called Mary Azarian went to work in a rural one-room schoolhouse in Vermont. Finding it bleak and uninspiring, she set strait to work making a set of alphabet posters for the walls depicting rural life and objects.  The alphabets’ fame spread and later the Vermont Board of Education commissioned sets for every school in the state.  After falling in love with her work and this story, I started to look around at my own sons pre-school and the other learning places in our lives.   Despite many fancy alphabet sets on display at kids’ stores, I kept coming across playrooms and library corners without this most essential literary tool.  I would guess this is a product of extensive budget cuts and a culture of teacher-out of pocket expenses for anything “extra”.

So I proposed  (to the CityArtist grant committee at Seattle Office of Arts and Culture) to make an alphabet set using papercut technique and then transferring it to silkscreen to reproduce the copies by hand. The 20 set first printing would be donated to schools, libraries, and community centers in the greater Seattle area.  5 of these locations would be chosen to do an in-person “demonstration”.  This visit will include me introducing the alphabet by reading through the letters, bringing in show and tell items related to the images, and describing creative process of making the posters from field sketches to long hours in the  printshop.  I would also bring a small silkscreen setup so each child/person can pull their own small print of a favorite letter.  These demonstrations are going to be  be kicked off with a family friendly presentation at my local Ballard library, ( October 13th 2pm)  to explain the project and art making process to community, friends, and family. …. Watch out those Salmon specimens are slippery!

 

To my great delight this project has taken flight and will also be turned into a book  to be published by Sasquatch press, still a year to go on that process but ill keep you posted on release dates.  At the moment i’m busy silkscreening the last of the letters and compiling my list of childrens’ programs who will receive the handmade sets, if you have a worthy place in mind let me know with a comment, i need them to be spread out all around the city.

For those of you who have run off to Port Townsend for October, ill have a bunch of pieces in the  “Black and White” show at  the Simon Mace Gallery. See EVENTS page for details.

 

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