I am happy to announce the debut of (Charles) Book & Record. A secret…one year in the making. We are releasing three music videos over the next couple weeks, the first of which was featured on the Juxtapoz online magazine, the next one will be on Geek Magazine. The third…well you’ll just have to stay tuned for that. Read more about CB&R in an interview we did with The Reader which just posted today.
Watch the video at our CB&R YouTube, and in the meantime, some video stills for your enjoyment:
It’s still healing and a bit scabby, so don’t mind the unevenness of the coloring. Oh, and that’s my own mole perfectly aligned to be the kittens beauty mark as well. After looking at his selection of colors I decided I wanted to do a purple and teal instead of red and light blue. I already have red on this arm and wanted to mix it up. The blue really *pops* when you see it in person, so the picture does little justice. It is the second addition to my right arm, and the fourth addition to the whole “collection” thus far. I can’t wait until it’s not puffy and tender so I can actually pet my new kitten ink.
Art: Zack Wentz (originally individual construction paper cut-outs)
Inking Artist: Dave Warshaw, Avalon Tattoo II, San Diego
Zack has a new literary magazine online, and I am here to say that you should go check it out. It’s called New Dead Families. In just a few days, he’s already gotten over 500 views, so he must be doing something right. He is currently taking submissions, but I suggest that you read the guidelines first. Here is small snippet:
“Surrealism, irrealism, fabulism, slipstream, magic realism, new weird (or “old weird,” for that matter), “speculative fiction,” science fiction and fantasy of literary quality*will all be considered. A sense of humor doesn’t hurt either. For instance: I’m still of the opinion that the unjustly forgotten Thorne Smith and Charles G. Finney were two of our finest, and am more likely to be re-reading them in ten years than many of the more “serious” authors I’ve also appreciated and enjoyed. Remember: Beckett wrote cerebral slapstick, and Kafka considered himself a humorist. Those fellows (also two of my favorites) are still with us because, beyond the bleakness, they still thought this whole mess was worth a few solid yucks (ie if you can’t laugh, you shouldn’t bother breathing).”
Of course, I am incredibly proud of him, so I had to share.
“Out with the old, in with the new old.”
I wanted to make clever and simple “save-the-dates” once we decided we were even going to do them in the first place. I wasn’t intending to, assuming that the word-of-mouth would be easier, until my father sat down with me and really reminded me that a lot of my family doesn’t “do” the internet or email, so it would be best to make a paper trail of our wedding plans.
So of course, my first thought was how to do it myself and make it cheap (and cute). Since Zack and I both happen to possess an iconic image about ourselves by way of personality, I figured I could use that to our advantage and keep it simple. Zack=Mustache, Shelby=Glasses. Easy enough right? I just had to add the save-the-date wording, the date itself, and a stamp.
I figured the first step would be to minimize paper. So that meant using a postcard with cheap postcard postage. I purchased 4 packs of Strathmore 140lb. cold-pressed watercolor postcards with pre-printed address lines to keep it clean.
Secondly, I would need to put an image on the postcard, several times over…and over again. This meant I needed a personalized stamp. For this, I used a postcard sized (4×6) linoleum mounted wood block to carve the stamp in. Granted, my only practice carving stamps with my little carving kit was on a floppy piece of eraser, but I figured it would be about the same idea (it was…sort of).
I sketched the inverted image with pencil onto the block, then started carving away. And carving…and carving…and carving. It took a lot more muscle and elbow grease than first thought, but in about two hours or so (I lost count) I had the finished piece. The only trouble I encountered was about two thirds of the way in I realized that I had sketched the date correctly (meaning: not inverted) and it was too late to fix it, so I just skipped it. I realized that I would just have to put the date on some other way, and thankfully I already had number stamps in my craft collection.
Here is the finished block after we had used it and cleaned it.
As you can see, the “T” kept getting a little too inky, as did the two hearts, but the more inky they got, the more the whole stamp became one image, rather than words and images. It was a strange and very much liked transition.
Next we started the inking and stamping process. We glopped on some black ink onto a piece of cardboard (I should have used a nicer surface, but I was excitedly working with what we had, as is my tendency) and used a mini-roller to ink the stamp. We then laid the postcard face down, flipped the stamp, and the PRESSED…HARD. Zack ended up doing most of this work, because I began the process of individually stamping “7” “1” “0” “1” “0” onto every single one with an individual number stamp. Very, very, tedious and somewhat hypnotizing. During this process I was seriously regretting that I hadn’t sketched the date correctly in the first place (but this would have eventually been a huge problem later – read on).
The first few were a bit splotchy until we finally got the right feel. I actually ended up liking a lot of the spotty ones more than the perfectly stamped cards because they felt a bit more real and nitty gritty and extra stampy or something. Here is splotchy one:
And a nicely pressed one (although not the best picture…I’m afraid my hands were a bit shaky at this point):
We had a veritable factory line going, and they spilled out all over the whole kitchen table, countertops, stove, and on top of drying dishes.
Here you can see that I tried several different styles of dates. A combination of slashes, dots, blues & reds. I ended up preferring the cleanliness of just a dot in between the numbers, and later changed most of them.
One note to add here, is that on the inside of the postcard there was a small piece of colored paper which had a few more details, and an artsy high-contrast photo of us printed off my home printer. That way, if the guest just couldn’t remember which friends of theirs were engaged (with a mustache and glasses to hint)…then they could figure it out when they flipped the postcard over. Apparently, as I later found out, the mailing process did rip some of these cool explanatory pictures off, but all is well; people got the idea (though, some family members still had to make a few phone calls to make sure it was us mailing the cryptic postcard).
There was one last hiccup: about two weeks after making them, we changed-the-date.
Solution? Dry-line white-out, my number stamps, and about one more hour of work. PHEW! This is why I’m glad I didn’t correctly make the date as part of the complete stamp in the first place, or else the whole project would have been a do-over and not quite such a quick-fix.
I can’t even think about the handmade invitations right now, even as excited as I am!