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Studio Day!


Blake and I are getting work ready for our UNCHARTED TERRITORIES exhibition next month during the SGCI printmaking conference NAVIGATING CURRENTS.



First studio day for me in so long! I’ve been very busy with our seasonal rush at my day job and teaching DESIGN I at the University of Louisiana Lafayette on the side.

Any good studio day should start out with some snack-packing. I made egg and sharp cheddar sandwiches on Blake’s homemade rye bread. I also made a grilled cheese wrap and used some leftover curried chicken legs and rice I made earlier in the week to make a wrap by combining it with spicy brown mustard and arugula greens. We also packed some oatmeal peanut butter m&m cookies, some fruit, pretzels and wheat Chex.



On the way to New Orleans to work in Tulane University’s print shop, we stopped by 2 Lowe’s hardware stores to find the spray paint colors and the 1/2″ thick MDF board we needed for our project.

Blake’s been furiously working on a slew of new dino drawings. He got all of the figures “roughed in,” re-sized the images, and printed out large copies at FedEx.



He then cut out the shapes and taped them down to the MDF sheets and then went down to the woodshop to cut out the shaped blocks with the jigsaw Blake’s father, Daryl got us a few Christmases ago. It’s been one of our most handy-dandy tools along with a similarly gifted palm sander!




Since I’ve had no time, and I tend to work more fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, anyway, I got some charcoal and gesso out, pulled up resource images on the laptop and got to drawing straight on the block.




The heads depicted are an alligator, a pelican, a nutria, a river catfish and the current head of the Mississippi River Commission, Maj. General John W. Peabody.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, these pieces will be combined with the “river tubes” I’ve been creating out of re-purposed fabric in any spare moment I could find over the past few months. Blake’s multitude of dino figures will be playing “tug of war” with my larger hydra figure (assisted by a crab, as in the Labors of Herakles).


The “ropes” they’re tugging are the fabric tubes, which represent the previous pathways forged by the Mississippi River over thousands of years. The image below and others like it have been really inspirational to myself as well as the other members of the UNCHARTED TERRITORIES exhibition. They are from Lithographs created by Harold M. Fisk for the US Geological survey in 1944.

Here are some more images of Fisk’s amazing maps, created as a “Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River.” We once had the capability of downloading the full sized images from the US Geological Survey website, but the links no longer seem active. Perhaps they are still squirreled away somewhere on the interwebs.




2 thoughts on “Studio Day!”

  1. Again, fascinating stuff. I love those maps; cartophile that I am. Sometimes I wonder about all our manipulating of waterways and the resulting environmental changes. Keeping the Mississippi routed through New Orleans, and all those lakes made in my area, the SouthEast. I, however, enjoy the power from those dams and the lively New Orleans that I have had the opportunity to visit.

  2. Pingback: The Honeymoon is Over: An Exhibition of Works by Blake & Hannah Sanders « Orange Barrel Industries

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