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Hello, I'm Rachael.

I am primarily a painter and paper doll maker and friendly multi-tasker/ troublemaker in Upstate New York.I've been keeping this little blog since 2004, I think. And there is hopefully a value in reading these words, looking at these pictures, clearly I find joy in writing 'em up and sending 'em out, even if I don't always have the time. I try to blog every once in a while but mostly I try to write a real letter every day (this year that is), draw and paint, sew, and instigate other people's creative endeavors.
Leave me a comment (I'm more likely to communicate directly than in the comments), ask me a question, do your best to share what you have to say, OK? Thanks

Links to places you'll maybe like if you...

Have a drawing problem like I do
  • Look at other people's sketchbooksat artists sketchbooks online

    Sew your own goofy clothes with little to no formal training?
  • Burdastyle at it's best is a super resource laden facebook for sewists...I'm balduffington here
  • The Slapdash Sewist shares her sewing adventures and inspires
  • Gertie's Guide for Better Sewing gives the best of the vintage and retro tips

    Are a working artist
  • NYFA has very very helpful resources

    are anywhere near Rochester NY interested in any of these things
  • This is the Rochester Sketchcrawl...

    And finally here are some of my friends
  • Genine draws joyfully as the world around her spins
  • Mark is just making stuff

    I'll be adding more links here but I have to find a few minutes in which I'll do that. Soonish, I bet.

  • If you want to be updated on this weblog Enter your email here:

    rss feed

    Monday, December 07, 2009
    Go see Paint Made Flesh and Paloma's Birds

    Courageous painters make the work they have to make. It is not always easy to look at and not always easy to find. This month, my city has two places to see good work. I see it as a little personal mission to let you know when I am pulled in, and back to artwork that needs to be seen. On little walls AND big walls.

    That said, some disclosure is in order because the small one-woman show downtown, The Birds, is the work of Paloma Ayala, and I've had the pleasure of knowing her for a few years. And the big show, Paint Made Flesh, is at the Memorial Art Gallery and I work there. I didn't do anything really to bring the show here but I also am far from objective.

    Paloma draws disturbing things for very good reasons. Some of them are here. I found myself drawn into the portraits in her bird show, but also baffled and confused and frustrated by them. Are these people in pain? Why are they so inside out, upside down? The drawings reward careful looking in many ways and I was so glad to see them. To be still thinking of them now.
    Paloma's show is up until January 6th and it's a part of a larger show considering the idea of Upside Down. Here's tha back of the card with more info.

    Paint Made Flesh is a different kind of show, but related in that in this group show, the curator chose 34 works by I think 32 artists. All of the work is post WW2, big name painters dealing with issues around the human body. I try to get in to see it often. Mostly, especially, particularly, to see this painting by Joan Brown.

    Joan Brown, Girl in Chair, 1962 American, Oil on canvas, 60 in. x 48 in. (152.4 cm x 121.92 cm) Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Ginter, EX2009.GG4.11

    See that painting lives in Los Angeles, and I live in Rochester, NY. And it could be that I would never see it. The thick paint, vibrant color, smart decisions. The way that woman SHOULD fall out of her chair- but she doesn't. Every painter/drawer I know who has seen this show, has a favorite and has picked up some ideas.

    Marie Via, the curator, was on tv about the show here. And the review in City Paper was smart and funny.
    Paint Made Flesh is on view until January 3. And if you come to the MAG next Saturday, you can join us for a fun Creative Workshop Open House, even.

    take care,

    Posted at 01:27 pm by balduffington

    Tuesday, December 01, 2009
    looked like this

    These are a few of Kerry's lovely pictures

    take care,

    Posted at 05:39 pm by balduffington

    Monday, November 30, 2009
    telling about show and telling

    This weekend I was among a great crew of talented, smart and very creative people (mostly women it seemed to me) showing art and craft at Second Storie. I didn't take any pictures, woops. But Kerry did and I oughtta get them soon. In the meantime though I have been thinking about what it feels like to show work you are proud of, work you are pretty sure of, full of stories you do and don't know to friends and complete strangers and I have some ideas...

  • It's easy to forget your mother's face or your best friend's name when a mazillion people are looking at you. Please, please don't feel bad if I flubbed your name. I flubbed everything. It was busy. I was a little scattershot.

  • Good display starts with good friends. My friend Scott made me a super cool rack set-up and then my friend Kerry made it look great. I just stood there and smiled and tried not to say "these are paper dolls" because well, that's the only thing that was crystal clear. That's my gift for speaking the obvious.

  • There is a strange logic, maybe a kismet to who connects to what. When a nice woman stopped to pick up this doll and told me it reminded me of her dad, we were both surprised that they both shared the name. Parker. And then Jan found the Jan doll. And well... it was just like that...

  • I got super lucky to have a very talented, calm, and organized -- also fun to talk to-- table mate who makes HAND SEWN cards. Her name is Dezirae and she is Re-Work studio. Each charming card made me want to write letters again. I will. I will. Dezirae does custom orders and the custom one she did for me gave me super bonus points with the husband during a very hectic weekend.

  • There is never ever time to look at everything. I wish I had time to talk to every vendor or teach every kid to make dolls. But then there are these little interwebs to interweave us.

  • Real pros go straight from back surgery to selling their pottery.

  • At one point, I got the chills. It might be possble to be too cool and while I don't have it in me, an indie craft fair can be just that kind of super-hipster-cool-kid-cool sometimes. I mean we all sometimes get too concerned with all things aesthetic, when we feel like it's more important what we look like than what we do...well, then that's when we should all remember that we are awkward human beings doing awkward human things. Warm it up all you cool kids, but keep making the stuff you need to make.

    I'll try to put more dolls on my etsy soon and in the meantime, I'm happy to wait another ten months before I show dolls again, this time at the Artist Row at the Market again. Oh wait, there is Mark's cool show in North Carolina but that'll be different...more about that soon...

    take care,
  • Posted at 11:26 am by balduffington

    Monday, November 23, 2009
    preparing for Second Storie (think it out, write it up)

    My weekends are sundays and mondays. Which means that as I write this, I'm nearing the end of two very full days off of work. These days were on in my making stuff life. I spent the most part of yesterday getting to the bottom of messes and cleaning our home so I could concentrate today on getting ready for the Second Storie indie fest this weekend here in Rochester. It will be on the proper weekend- Saturday 11.28.09 and Sunday 11.29.09 at the Visual Studies Workshop building on Prince Street.

    I should have started earlier to plot and plan my doll display but well...I've been making dolls.

    I'll have over 50 dolls to show off, in a brand spanking special display rack I just commisioned from a good friend and expert metalsmith.

    Last year it was relaxing and interesting to talk to folks as they wandered by and well, these dolls are conversation starters (or at least they were last year as I talked to a couple of really memorable creative kids and a lovely older woman who has always collected dolls.)

    If you're nearby I hope you can stop by. Why? Well, I don't really do this to sell these dolls, I like to put them out so I can see what I made, so I can listen and look at how strangers are compelled or pushed away. To hear other people's stories strung from my silly paper people.

    We make things to connect to others. I'm off now, to try to make a special shirt, too, so that I can feel extra comfortable, extra proud should someone stop and talk to me on Saturday or Sunday as I sit among a cluster of creative people and watch as others look and hopefully play.

    take care and have a fantastic thanksgiving if I don't get a chance to post before-- which, well, is about how it has been going. Productive in my making but quiet on this blog. All things may change...

    best to you,

    Posted at 06:49 pm by balduffington

    Monday, November 09, 2009
    the illustrated journals of Janice Lowry

    So then above is a page from my current sketchbook with an old photo John and I found when we were last in Ithaca NY. We picked up some imaginary relatives and thought up some stories, I tried to draw this woman, even though it didn't work out so well.

    Today I saw that the Archives of American Art recently received a treasure trove of illustrated sketchbook journals from Janice Lowry. These are magic. Pure magic. From her to-do-listing to her uncensored drawings. Janice Lowry's website is still up and full of wonderful art, but sadly, she is no longer living, having passed away in September. Her friends and family have been keeping up her blog as a living testament to her creativity. This article helps put her in context.

    I just wish I'd discovered Janice and her art when she was still here, I'd have loved to talk books of drawings, but this definitely keeps me drawing.


    Posted at 06:29 pm by balduffington
    Comments (1)  

    Tuesday, November 03, 2009
    Rebecca Solnit at RIT Nov 4

    I live in a city with many universities and clusters of people who like to listen to lectures. The Caroline Werner Gannett series at RIT is the one I stalk. I try to get to each of the lectures because they are always brimming with ideas. Tomorrow Rebecca Solnit will be at Writers and Books first to read and then at RIT to talk about...well...I'm not really sure. Some mix I bet about her latest book regarding the communities that spring up in disasters, and her activism, and maybe Eadward Muybridge. But I'm reading (loving) Rivers and Shadows now so maybe I'm just hoping she'll talk some about his story yet I think even if she was talking about baked potatoes it would be interesting...

    I will bring my sketchbook and hopefully see you there.

    Posted at 09:18 pm by balduffington

    Sunday, November 01, 2009
    Hugh Botts talk today at 2 (and then on to Batavia)

    At 2 today I will give a little talk about the artist Hugh Pearce Botts to anyone who'll listen, anyone who comes to the Memorial Art Gallery for the What's Up talk. I won't start it by saying, hey, what's up? But I will spill the story of the artist and inventor I am still actively researching. I recently wrote a blog entry for the MAG blog about Botts and that's here.

    Usually when I talk in semi-formal situations I get nervous and prepare, prepare and then over-prepare. I make outlines and note cards and super-duper powerpoints. Sometimes i talk too fast. I decided to try to slow down. Instead of over writing and planning, I just looked. Thought. Looked again. Make a couple of sketches in my sketchbook and talked through the images to myself and my husband.

    If nobody comes I'll still have fun-- but I really hope people come.

    And then, I'll get in my car and drive to Batavia. One of my favorite people in the whole world lives in Buffalo, I live in Rochester and Batavia sits in the middle. They have diners there and turf farms. We'll eat in a diner.

    So today, then, I'll go from a discussion of the working artist in 1939 to a discussion between two artists who work in 2009. We both juggle our day jobs and our lives but when we meet in diners it's usually rice pudding, idea sharing, and drawing.

    Too bad Hugh and Myrtle can't join us.

    Tomorrow, I begin to begin to round up the almost 100 paper dolls I'll bring to the Second Storie handcrafted show Thanksgiving weekend and the family I'll make special for Mark's cool show in North Carolina...

    All gets done and I just have to remember not to talk too fast...

    Posted at 10:25 am by balduffington

    Saturday, October 31, 2009
    I like "I like your art"

    There's a fascinating new and funny pamphlet about the way people interact in the artworld. I like your art.

    I betcha global recessions do make people nicer about artwork.
    Oh and all the rules fall away.
    Maybe, except the rule that says you have to make art better and look at art longer. Those rules stay.

    Posted at 09:56 pm by balduffington

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009
    paperdolls, 13 year old fashion bloggers, and Ben Kweller (online too long)

    At this point, I have almost thirty of my paperdolls listed on Etsy. To do this I devoted a big chunck of my day off yesterday and my evening at home today. Sitting here on the computer, typing text into little boxes. It wasn't all loading dolls though, I found plenty of time to wander aimlessly over the squinternet and find ridiculous pleasures like the (new to me) love songs of Ben Kweller , particularly when his grandmother dances.
    Or the joy that is Tavi the young fashion blogger. Her buzz is here and her style (fashion and writing) is contagious and fantastic.

    Having a day job with some responsibility almost completely deprives me of random internet joy, particularly in the summer when it's better to wander walk after work than sit in front of a box. But even, so. There are limits to what is good for one's soul.

    A few paper dolls (like these ones) are listed, but forty or so are still waiting to be put up.

    Adonis (Oh Adonis knows his own beauty. He is followed around town day and night but loves only himself.)

    Beverly (warning, she's nekkid)

    And I don't know if I linked to the newspaper pictures that appeared yesterday and made me gush with pride. They're here.

    Also, Anyway, Stefan Sagmeister is coming to Rochester in a few weeks.

    Also, I am closing all boxes and turing off the world wide time-waster but thank you (as always) for listening.


    Posted at 08:51 pm by balduffington

    Sunday, September 20, 2009
    Fantastic day at Market (doll video, lovely things brought home, and honorable mention...for which I am honored!)

    Smiling from 8 am to 4 pm can be grueling, you kow. But I truly loved being at the public market today. All day. My friends (Molly, Colleen, Katie Ruth, Erin, Meg and Heather) and my husand (John) helped with everything from putting a tent up to writing the last couple of stories. And the weather was wonderful (sunny and warm).

    Colleen kindly made a little video of me in the booth and tomorrow I plan on putting some of the unsold dolls and their stories up on my etsy site. The video is here

    and here are some pictures of the dolls as they hung in the sun.


    Lots of friends came by and plenty of kids walked right up the dolls and smiled. I ended up winning an Honorable Mention in Mixed Media for my work. Prizes aren't everything but they do feel good.

    Because I was showing work, I didn't get a chance to see everything, but I did love the following artists for reasons I think are clear...

    humor and good craftsmanship
    Martha Schemerhorn makes Icon-o-Paks full of collaged goodies in a very witty and wonderful package. I love 'em and this one really hit home.

    Bags that Bite. These are great, toothy and funny, happily made bags by a woman who has sewing skills I envy.

    Fascinating connections between art, gesture and the human body (and work that resonated with my dolls)

    Pazione who makes art related to dance, movement and the human body.

    Cheryl and Don Olney who make bright and wonderful wooden dolls that I have seen for years and loved.

    For good paintings by talented painters
    Judy Gohringer (who won best in the painting category today) but who I couldn't find online. Trust me, her abstract paintings are lovely (colorful and inventive).

    Lorraine Bonohos who doesn't seem to have a web presence but she shows her work (figurative and evocative) around Rochester a lot.

    Rachel, who paints as Chicken Bone , although she did not paint any actual chicken bones.

    Ceramics and Fibers that I loved ...

    So much so that I bought a bag from Turtlefly. This wasn't just any bag, either, but a bag made of fabric perfectly matching my couch and my taste. I am so excited to carry all my junk in it!

    Two charming bowls by Vickie Hartman

    and (almost) a salt & pepper shaker by Kala Stein
    So then, another good show, another wonderful day in my life, and the joy of creating and connecting. That's also what kept me smiling all day.

    take care,

    p.s. big thanks to the friends of the public market for doing this!

    Posted at 07:09 pm by balduffington

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