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Tell-tale feminists

Hand-lettered illustration from the book "Dead Feminists: Historical Heroines in Living Color" by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring

Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color has been out in the world for a few weeks, and most folks have been excited (beyond our immediate families). A common response has been one of surprise: “it’s a real book!” Dashing expectations of a coffee table book, Dead Feminists is more than 180 pages of the women, history and social issues entangled in our series of broadsides. Questions about the writing process have come up, from assumptions that we worked with a “real” writer, or that Jessica did the writing while I illustrated. While we definitely worked with talented editors at Sasquatch Books who steered the book towards “real” bookness, both of us did the research, writing and photo research over nearly two years. We also both contributed imagery in the form of illustrations—hand-lettered images from me and beautifully-printed vintage cuts and patterns from Jessica.

The Woman's Bible, written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Many of our dearest Dead Feminists are writers, artists, or both– evidence that we all find a way to tell our stories. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who launched our series, wrote most of the speeches delivered by Susan B. Anthony. Some writers and their books are well known, like Gwendolyn Brooks and Rachel Carson—who both confronted ongoing challenging social and environmental issues—and their voices can guide us still. We have mere fragments of poetry from Sappho and carefully handwritten letters from Jane Mecom to her brother—they give us insights into their lives and eras when words from women weren’t often valued or recorded. In the chapter entitled Tell, we focused especially on women who had stories to share, like Virginia Woolf, who carefully crafted and composed both the pages and handset type for printing. Knowing the time and care involved, there is little doubt in my mind that the act of being writer and printer sharpens both crafts.

Historic image of woman printing, from the Library of Congress

Without the discovery of Rywka Lipszyc’s diary found in the ashes of a Auschwitz crematorium she would have disappeared from history. Sarojini Naidu dreamed of independence for India through her poetry (“Waken, O slumber Mother and be crowned”) and was revered as a nightingale, filling the night air with song. We hope you’ll explore these stories more in depth through the book—and for local folks we have some opportunities in the next few weeks to join us in person.

Dead Feminists event at Ada's Technical books, part of Lit Crawl Seattle

Here’s what’s coming up this week and next, when you’ll find us invading first Seattle, then Portland. You can find future events and more info on our events page.

LIT CRAWL Seattle: Book signing and artist talk
Thursday, October 27, 2016, 8 pm
Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe
425 15th Ave. E, Seattle, WA

A retrospective  exhibition featuring our series through broadsides and steamroller prints
Reception, book signing & costume party
Come dressed as your favorite historical feminist!

Saturday, October 29, 4 to 7 pm (the show continues through December 16th)
October 29 through December 16, 2016
School of Visual Concepts
2300 7th Ave., Seattle,WA

DEAD FEMINISTS and RAD WOMEN: joint author event
with Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl, authors of Rad Women Worldwide
Thursday, November 3, 2016, 7:30 pm
Powell’s Books on Hawthorne
3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR

LIT CRAWL Portland: Book signing and artist talk
Friday, November 4, 2016, 8 pm
The Big Legrowlski
812 NW Couch St., Portland, OR

WORDSTOCK: Portland’s Book Festival
Chandler & Jessica appearing on an author panel
with Danielle Dutton, author of Margaret the First
and Laurie Notaro, author of Crossing the Horizon
moderated by Elly Blue of Microcosm Press
Book signing to follow
Saturday, November 5, 2016, 1:30 pm
The Old Church
1422 SW 11th Avenue, Portland, OR

book signing and artist talk on the gorgeous Oregon coast!
Saturday, November 5, 2016, 6:30 pm
Beach Books
616 Broadway, Seaside, OR



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Let’s go sketching together

In-progress photo of Craneway Pavilion sketch by Chandler O'Leary

If you’re looking to bring a little sketching into your life, or you attended last month’s sketch outing and want a little training, you can learn the basics with me in July!

School of Visual Concepts photo by Chandler O'Leary

I’ll be teaching my one-day urban sketching workshop again at Seattle’s School of Visual Concepts on July 16—I only teach this workshop at most once a year, so if you’ve been wanting to get some drawing skills under your belt, this is your chance!

Materials for urban sketching workshop with Chandler O'Leary

In the class you’ll get a crash course in everything you need to get you on your feet and sketching. We’ll cover travel-friendly materials, tricks for setting the scene, finding inspiration on-the-go, and all kinds of drawing, watercolor, perspective and composition techniques.

In-progress photo of Chambers Bay Golf Course sketch by Chandler O'Leary

And of course, you’ll get plenty of hands-on experience with the chance to get out there and draw in the wild.

Students sketching in Seattle during urban sketching workshop with Chandler O'Leary

My favorite thing about teaching sketching workshops is seeing my students learn from each other. We’re all basically drawing the same thing, but since everyone has a different style, point of view and level of experience, the finished results are wildly varied.

Students sketching in Seattle during urban sketching workshop with Chandler O'Leary

Last year we all walked to South Lake Union Park, and I loved seeing what everyone chose to focus on in their sketchbooks.

Student sketching in Seattle during urban sketching workshop with Chandler O'Leary

We had both beginners and veterans among us that day, and everyone completed at least one full-color sketch (several went to town and came back with a whole handful of drawings!).

Student sketchbook drawings from urban sketching workshop with Chandler O'Leary

The really fun part is the end of class, where we all got together and shared our drawings. No two were even remotely alike, but all were completely gorgeous!

In-progress photo of San Francisco sketch by Chandler O'Leary

So if you want a fun kickstart to your new life as an urban sketcher, join us! Here are the details:

Urban Sketching: Learning on Foot
Saturday, July 16, 2016
School of Visual Concepts
2300 7th Avenue, Suite B, Seattle, WA
BYO sketching materials (a list of suggested materials will be sent when you sign up)
More info and registration here!
(Use the code GIVE_SMALL at checkout for a $25 discount!)

Note: unless it’s pouring rain, we’ll be sketching outdoors. Please dress accordingly, and plan to be on your feet! Bring lots of drinking water (and snacks if you need them), layered clothing, sunscreen, a protective hat, and good walking shoes. Last year it was 100°F outside, but thanks to everyone being prepared and smart about the heat, we still had a great time!


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Spilling the beans

Process photo of Dead Feminists book by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring

A year ago we told our families and closest friends. A few months ago we started whispering to colleagues and acquaintances. Lately we’ve been spreading the word on the down-low, at events and gatherings. And now we can finally spill the beans in public:

Jessica and I are publishing a Dead Feminists book!

We’ve been hard at work for months already, and the writing, editorial and design part of the process is entering the home stretch. But it’s still too early for us to be able to share many nitty-gritty details, but we can tell you that the book will be called Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color, and that it’s coming in October 2016 from Seattle’s very own Sasquatch Books.

There’s so much more to come, everything from photos to the cover design to sneak peeks to event details. But for now, enough things are still up in the air that we can’t show all our cards (or mix all our metaphors) at once. So to make sure you don’t miss any announcements, I suggest signing up for our mailing list.

More soon—we promise!

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Seven for seven

Orcas Island sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I can hardly believe it, but I’ve now lived in the Pacific Northwest for seven years.

Mt. Rainier sketch by Chandler O'Leary

In that time I’ve done my very best to see as much of the region as possible, and document it all in my sketchbook.

Yakima apples sketch by Chandler O'Leary

So in honor of seven years, here are seven sketchbook drawings—

Seattle houseboat sketch by Chandler O'Leary

—presented in no particular order—

Columbia River sketch by Chandler O'Leary

—of some of my very favorte places

Panama Hotel sketch by Chandler O'Leary

and moments

Tacoma sketch by Chandler O'Leary

in the place I now call home.

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Seattle stitches

Pacific Fabrics "Evergreen State" fabric panel illustrated by Chandler O'Leary

I’ve been sitting on this announcement for a little while, because I wanted to wait until the project went “live” for my client and their customers, too. Now that it has, I can show you the new fabric I designed. That’s right, fabric! This has been a bit of an illustration dream-come-true for me; I’ve always wanted to design for fabric, and it feels so good to feel the finished product in hand.

This all started when Pacific Fabrics contacted me to ask if they could license the Washington illustration from my (still in-progress) 50 States Series for use on a fabric panel. They wanted to create a Block of the Month pattern for their stores, and design a quilt pattern around my illustration. Both the Tailor and I have been customers of Pacific Fabrics since we moved here, so they got a big fat “yes” from me.

Pacific Fabrics "Evergreen State" fabric panel illustrated by Chandler O'Leary

To round out the quilt design, I created four more illustrations of local highlights, done in the same style as the state map. Then I finished off the fabric panel with a “ditsy” (tiny) tree pattern repeat.

Pacific Fabrics "Evergreen State" fabric panel illustrated by Chandler O'Leary

Then Pacific Fabrics had the panel manufactured at In the Beginning Fabrics. What I love best about all of this is how hyper local it is. Pacific Fabrics has been a small Seattle business for over a hundred years (they actually began as an ironworking company), and In the Beginning is also a Seattle company. Add me to the mix, and the whole project has taken place over about a thirty-mile radius.

Pacific Fabrics "Evergreen State" fabric panel illustrated by Chandler O'Leary

I popped by the Pacific Fabrics store in Seattle to snap a couple of photos (and drop off some prints and cards, which they’ll also be carrying in their stores!), and it felt good to see that everyone in the cutting line was buying fabric for the Washington quilt.

Pacific Fabrics "Evergreen State" quilt pattern, featuring fabric illustrated by Chandler O'Leary

And here’s the quilt block that the lovely Anna-Beth at Pacific Fabrics designed for the Block of the Month program. I love how she created so many Washington icons from geometric shapes, and incorporated my illustrations into the design. I also loved being able to help develop the color scheme of the quilt blocks, based on the palette of my illustrations. I have never made a quilt myself (though I have dabbled a bit…), but I think I just found a good reason to start.

If you’re a quilter, or you’d like to try your hand at a Block of the Month program, you can find everything you need at the Pacific Fabrics website. You can have the patterns and materials mailed to you if you’re far from the Evergreen State, or if you’re local, club meetings centered around each block are starting this month at store locations.

To Anna-Beth and Debbie T. at Pacific Fabrics: thank you so much for bringing me on board, and for giving me such a great crash course in the quilting industry. To everyone else: happy sewing!


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Their favorite time of year

Christmas photo by Chandler O'Leary

Christmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearySnowy trees photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyPhoto by Chandler O'LearyTacoma photo by Chandler O'LearyChickadee Christmas ornament by Chandler O'LearyPhoto by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas in Ashland sketch by Chandler O'LearyPhoto by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyPhoto by Chandler O'LearyPhoto by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'LearyChristmas photo by Chandler O'Leary

To me this season is not about a certain day, or even a series of holidays—it’s a collection of moments. It’s those moments that I cherish above anything else—especially when they happen with the people I love best, in this part of the world I call home. I hope your season, however you might celebrate or mark it, is filled with the moments you’ll want to remember always.

Merry Christmas, and happy holidays, from our home to yours.

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Thanksgiving state of mind

Thanksgiving photo by Chandler O'Leary

Thanksgiving photo by Chandler O'LearyThanksgiving photo by Chandler O'LearyThanksgiving photo by Chandler O'LearyThanksgiving photo by Chandler O'LearyThanksgiving photo by Chandler O'LearyThanksgiving photo by Chandler O'Leary

We’re celebrating the holiday at a friend’s house this year—one who, I’m happy to say, was the perfect partner in crime when it came to hatching our crazy state-souvenir table settings idea.

Whatever state you’re in this year (whether literal or metaphorical), wishing you a happy, safe and delicious Thanksgiving!

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Messing about in boats

Seattle photo by Chandler O'Leary

At this time of year, the rainy season looms just ahead, waiting to drop like the proverbial other shoe. So any extra warm sunny days we’re given feel like a huge, magnanimous gift. And since this little slice of Indian Summer fell on a weekend, it felt like I just had to get out on the water, while I still had the chance.

Seattle photo by Chandler O'Leary

Clearly, I wasn’t the only one.

Seattle photo by Chandler O'Leary

In fact, it seemed like everyone and their dog had the same idea I had—but that’s fine with me. It seemed appropriate to share Lake Union with half of Seattle—after all, at this time of year, we’re all in the same boat.

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Seattle smash

SVC Wayzgoose photo by Chandler O'Leary

Friday was the perfect day to get outside and invade South Lake Union with a bunch of crazy letterpress shenanigans.

SLU Block Party photo by Chandler O'Leary

For the first time, the SVC Wayzgoose was wrapped up within the South Lake Union Block Party—so some changes were in order this year. For one thing, it meant a bigger crowd and a wider audience—all good things, if you ask me.

SLU Block Party photo by Chandler O'Leary

Also, there were provisions nearby!

Anagram Press booth photo by Chandler O'Leary

Thanks to the Block Party folks, I also got to expand my operations from a small table into a full ten-foot booth—which felt positively luxurious!

SVC Wayzgoose photo by Chandler O'Leary

So yeah. Between the perfect summer weather and the friendly, enthusiastic crowd…

SVC Wayzgoose photo by Chandler O'Leary

…I think we have a winner.

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New kids on the block (party)

Temporary tattoos illustrated by Chandler O'Leary

I’m spending today packaging goodies and bagging prints, because tomorrow I’ll be hanging out at the annual SVC Wayzgoose in Seattle. Since SVC is in the process of moving into new digs, this year we’re doing things a little differently: for the first time, the Wayzgoose is wrapped up into the South Lake Union Block Party. We’ll be taking over a hunk of pavement near 9th and John, where SVC will be hosting artist booths, printing demos, and their annual Steamroller Smackdown. Here are the details:

SVC Wayzgoose (South Lake Union Block Party)
Friday, August 8, 2014
12-6 pm, free!
Near the corner of 9th and John (on the edge of Denny Park)
Find me at the Anagram Press booth (#71, in the Wayzgoose section)
More details and map here

See you tomorrow!