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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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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!

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Seattle shenanigans

School of Visual Concepts Wayzgoose photo by Chandler O'Leary

Jessica and I (and our friend Caitlyn) were invited to have a table at this yesterday’s Wayzgoose at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle. We didn’t contribute a steamroller print this time, so it was fun to just be part of the audience outside, and enjoy the show! I love the sort of mischief that happens when a bunch of letterpress printers get together for a day.

School of Visual Concepts Wayzgoose photo by Chandler O'Leary

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Tricky registration

"Versailles Gossip" letterpress print by Chandler O'Leary

For the past eight months a stack of hand-printed postcards bearing my Versailles gals illustration has lived in the front pocket of my bag—sharing cramped quarters with my sketchbook and watercolors, ready whenever anyone asks for my business card. I’ll admit this sucker was originally designed as a promo postcard, but I kind of like the idea of a gargantuan, six-inch business card—even if you’d need a really big wallet to keep it in.

These days, the question I most often hear is “How can this be letterpress?” I’ve launched into so many long-winded explanations of the convoluted process behind this thing that sometimes I bring visual aids with me to art functions. Yes, I’m a nerd. I carry visual aids around.

Ahem. Anyway, soon I’ll be putting those visual aids to use in the classroom. If you happen to be a fellow Northwesterner, I’ll be teaching a letterpress class in Seattle next month that combines good old-fashioned line drawing with digital typography, and old-school hand printing with snazzy graphic design software.

Johann Gutenberg is probably rolling in his grave right this minute.

Hmm … well, before I get my cosmic comeuppance from the ghosts of my professional ancestors (I also know how to hand-set type, I promise!), here are the details:

Digital Design Meets Letterpress Printing
Six Mondays, May 4 – June 15, 2009, 12 – 5 p.m.
School of Visual Concepts, Seattle, WA

The class is already almost full, so hurry and claim your spot! Let’s give old Herr Gutenberg something to spin about.