Curious Cardigans Video

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March 29, 2010

I spent today getting mail orders together. If you have been waiting on a print, many thanks for your patience. Tomorrow and Wednesday I'll be in the intaglio studio again with Teresa James at White Wings press, working on my etching. In the meantime, I was lucky enough be interviewed by two very talented people: Nadine Nakanishi and Nick Butcher of Chicago's Sonnenzimmer Press. They have started a video project called the Curious Cardigans. It's a new artist series produced for the Show & Tell Show in Chicago. It serves to document some of Chicago's artists and their sometimes strange inspirations. Strange inspirations? Exhibit A, coming right up! So, for those of you who are curious about what I do at the Field Museum, here's a tiny glimpse:

Curious Cardigans Meet Diana Sudyka Video

Warning: Brief scene in which we visit the dermestid beetle room.

Inspired by Nature

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March 26, 2010




It's interesting to see how other artists are inspired by the natural world, especially when they work in mediums completely different from one's own. ELINtm from Bristol, UK makes objects inspired by lichens and mold. Yes, I said mold. ELINtm is Elin Thomas, an artist and jewelry maker. Thomas creates extraordinary objects that are decorated with tiny, exquisite crocheted lichens and molds. As someone that crochets, and as someone that has a lichen obsession, I am astounded by the beauty and detail in her work. Last year I was fortunate enough to snag a sale piece of hers. It currently hangs (grows out of) above the fireplace mantel (third photo). Visit Elin's shop on etsy here. Her blog is here. Have a great weekend. More etching updatery next week.

New Etching

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March 24, 2010






Oh happiness! I started a new etching at White Wings Press today. White Wings Press is run by master printer, Teresa James. Teresa and I used to work together at Tony Fitzpatrick's studio, Big Cat Press, a long time ago. It's really nice to have the opportunity to work with her again, and in her own shop. Today we began by discussing my idea, and then I started drawing on the first of what will probably be a five plate etching. We began with what is called a soft ground. A soft, waxy resist is rolled over the copper plate. Teresa and her assistant Will can be seen tending to this step in the second photo. After the resist cools a bit, a piece of vellum drawing paper is placed on top of the plate. By drawing on the vellum with a bit of pressure and a hard graphite pencil, line work is transfered in to the waxy resist. Once line work is complete, the copper plate is put in a bath of ferric chloride. The ferric etches the line work in to the plate. Right now things are looking real landscape-y. I'll try to post updates, and more photos as we progress.

Back from Austin, New Prints

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March 23, 2010


I was in Austin, TX last week for SXSW, specifically the Flatstock Poster Convention part of it. Thanks to all that took the time to swing by my booth! This week I won't be able to post much either, as tomorrow I will be working as a guest artist at White Wings Press, here in Chicago. I will finally get to begin work on my new etching! I'll be sure to post photos as things progress. In the meantime, I am very excited to announce that I have new batch of prints in the store. There are four new giclees: Yeti Drinks Tea, Two Rooks, Adélies, and Bear Mountain. There is also a new screenprint: Darwin's Finches. It is based on the last Darwin's Finches print that I made, but is a new drawing, colors, and size.

Northern Saw-whet Owl - Aegolius acadicus

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March 12, 2010


After meeting Noel the Saw-whet owl at the Univeristy of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic, I had to do a little painting. Saw-whets are one of the smallest North American owls, and can be found in highly coniferous, woodland habitats. They are nocturnal, of course, and prey upon small mammals such as mice.

Spring is here, and birds are migrating. Next week I am off to Austin, TX for SXSW. In the meantime here is a little poem I was made aware of last week. It's Avian Time by Reginald Gibbons, and wonderfully illuminates the work of the Field Museum Bird Collections Manager, and other bird collision monitors.

Members' Night, Mammoths and Spiders Oh My

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March 11, 2010



I went in to the Field Museum bird division this morning for my usual shift of working on study skins. I completed three today: two Connecticut Warblers (Geothylpis agilis), and one Magnolia Warbler (Dendroica magnolia). All were window kills from last fall.

The lab was the cleanest I have ever seen it. That was because tonight and tomorrow night are Members' Night at the Field. Scientists were busy scurrying about to get everything neat and tidy, and their displays set up. I stopped by a room with two entomologists setting up gorgeous specimen displays of various insects and arachnids (see above photos). I met one of the resident Mexican Redknee Tarantulas. It was a young (7 months) male; er, most likely male, anyway. Redknees can live up to 30 years. I am not a arachnophobe, per se, but usually like to keep a respectful distance from our eight legged friends. I was not afforded the luxury of distance when one of the entomologists, without asking, cheerily plopped Mr. Brachypelma smithi into my hand with a "Here ya' go!". The tarantula relaxed in to my palm, as I looked at its 2, no 4, wait...nevermind...eyes. I was calm, so it was calm. He was soft and docile, and I was little bummed when he had to return to his aquarium. I have a feeling Mr. Brachypelma will be working the crowds tonight.

After my close arachnid encounter, I wandered down to visit the new Mammoths and Mastodons exhibit, featuring the amazing, preserved baby woolly mammoth: Lyuba.

University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic

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March 08, 2010




This weekend I attended the ninth annual Doodle for Wildlife fundraising event for the Wildlife Medical Clinic at University of Illinois. Both me and my husband Jay happily donated various pieces of artwork for the auction, as this is a cause we enthusiastically support. The clinic relies heavily on vet student volunteers, and treat a wide range of animals. Some of the birds, mammals, and reptiles they rehabilitate are no longer able to survive on their own in the wild. When this happens they find caring homes for them, or they become residents of the clinic. As a result, they have a number of resident raptors. Some of these raptors made an appearance during the event as avian ambassadors of the clinic. There was Odin the Red-tailed hawk, Nokomis the Great-horned owl, Pistol the American Kestrel (by far the feistiest of the bunch), and a tiny Saw-whet Owl named Noel that stole my heart. Each had injuries that had been treated at the clinic. Any one of these resident raptors can be 'adopted' here. For my part, I bid on (and won!) a wonderful collage by a favorite U of I professor of mine. He's retired now, but he was the first to introduce me to the medium of printmaking, specifically etching. Speaking of which, I am excited to announce I will be working as a guest artist at White Wings Press in Chicago making a new etching! More details soon. In the meantime, consider making a donation to this wonderful wildlife clinic.

Poppy - Papaver orientale

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March 03, 2010


Continuing with the botanical theme of the previous post, here's a 4 color screenprint that I made today. I love poppies, and especially the scarlet red variety. I am ready for spring! The print will be available in my store.

I just finished an interview with fellow Field Museum volunteer Meera Lee Sethi over at Inkling. And while you are at it, check out Meera's wonderful blog The Science Essayist.

Botanical Inspirations

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March 01, 2010





I just finished designing and screenprinting tour posters for the charming band Clare and the Reasons.Inspiration for the image came from the delicate trills of Clare and Geoff Muldaur's music of course, but also visually from old botanical imagery; specifically the Clutius botanicals. These images were created during the Renaissance, and owned by Theodorus Clutius. Their creator remains a mystery as they are unsigned. Used for instructional purposes, they exhibit an astounding attention to detail. For example, the sage is rendered so beautifully that you can almost feel its soft, velvety leaves by just looking at it. The top photo is one of the Clutius images that served as inspiration, the center is the drawing I came up with, and the last image is the final, 4 color screenprint of a plant. Of course my botantical is pure fantasy, as it is a composite of several different plants.

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