Wednesday, April 30, 2014

ic! Berlin, Part II

Eyewear as Muse
ic! Berlin's Claude (Electric Turquoise) sunglasses
When I visited ic! Berlin's New York office, their Public Relations Specialist, Alexandra, and manager, Tanja let me try the coral tinted Electric Turquoise sunglasses.  They looked so beautiful that I was inspired to write this poem.

Orthogonal Glamour
By Suzanne Coley

Beauty is within us, but sometimes
it has to be revealed.  Bezier curves guided
by points of control, clean lines
no rough edges.  Smooth manifolds
etched with orthogonal lines project
onto glamorous plane.

Beauty is within us, no two profiles are alike
fourteen facial bones, eight cranial, form ovals
We all have our features.  Time is on our side
as Sight  Masters create new technological
devices to help us see.  Innovative frames
shaped to the contour of our experiences,
our cultures, our lives.

We come from different paved roads
some made of clay, some made of stone.
Beauty is within us, stuffed in divine ratios
Poet must speak with rainbows.
Revealing magnificent prisms of life in
His right palm he lets light shine.

Perspective lines reach their end at Glabella’s
point.  Polyhymnia gives us a new beat, makes us
want to dance and sing while Vision Master
spins the electromagnetic spectrum, offering
us new colors, new ways of seeing,
beauty re-computed on a glamorous plane. 

ic! Berlin, Part I

Art, Fashion, Inspiration
ic! Berlin's Zahara sunglasses
I was a little nervous when I got off the M train in Queens and headed to ic! Berlin's office on Steinway Street to review their eyewear for their upcoming collaborative project with students at FIT.  I grew up less than 2 miles away from there: I knew the area and its fashion history well.

I was raised in Queensbridge projects during the late 70s and early 80s when hip-hop, rap, and urban culture went from inner street life to main street life.  Before the big music deals and integration of urban style into fashion in the 80s, on weekends rappers were spittin' rhymes and everyone in the neighborhood was experimenting with style in fresh, innovative ways in Queensbridge's "River Park" and "Baby Park."

Visiting the office of ic! Berlin in New York evoked the creative spirit of those days.
ic! Berlin's S52- Wedding sunglasses
Elegant and lightweight, ic! Berlin's eyewear feels good the moment you put them on.  Their meticulously crafted frames evoke confidence and beauty.  They have a range of styles that are strategically cut on precisely measured angles to flatter many different types of faces. Experts at color theory, they select hues for their frames and tints that enhance complexions across the rainbow.  

ic! Berlin, Claude - Electric Blue

Founded in 1999, ic! Berlin is a privately owned company managed by Ralph Anderl.  Their headquarters is in Berlin and they have offices in Tokyo and New York.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Japanese Printmaking

Far off the beaten path you can find some amazing things . . .
 Evening at Ushigome by Koitsu Tsuchiya (1870 - 1949)
I recently visited the exhibition Imprints for Impact, a showcase of Japanese Printmaking at the Center for Arts Asian Arts Gallery, Towson, MD.  It wasn't crowded and you could take your time viewing original prints by renown Japanese artists such as Utagawa Hiroshige, Kawase Hasui, Koitsu Tsuchiya, Totoya Hokkei, and Takahasi Hiromitsu, just to name a few.
Meguro Fudo Temple by Kawase Hasui (1883-1957)
Meguro Fudo Temple by Kawase Hasui (1883-1957)
Wood block print on paper, published by Watanabe Shozaburo
Curated by Suewhei Shieh, the exhibition featured classically printed ukiyo-e woodblocks as well as modern Japanese handmade papers using various fibers.
Visiting the Shrine by Totoya Hokkei (1780-1850)
20th Century Impression from early 19th century design woodblock print

I appreciated the detailed history of each print as well as the printmaking technique used.
detail of Totoya Hokkei's Visiting Shrine
In the above print we see the embossing technique Karazuri or gauffrage.  Karazuri is a method of blind embossing (with a steady hand, pressing the paper with a barren into the non-inked surface and getting a 3-dimensional-like effect).
Sudden Rain by Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (1797-1858)
One of my favorite prints was Sudden Rain by Hiroshige which was a good example of a multicolor ukiyo-e print created in a traditional collaborative method.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Love & Its Synonyms

 acrylic and silver leaf cover, 2014
deconstructionist style covers of artist's book
Linocut printed on washi paper and an antique Spanish dictionary page
Linocut printed on washi paper with sumi inks

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Letter from a Broken Heart:
Silkscreen and linocut

Dear Dean,

What is love?  Is it that passion you feel when you first meet someone and a hot current runs from your fingertips down to your thighs.  Is it that anticipatory excitement you feel at the bottom of your stomach even if you haven’t eaten for days?

Thoughts.  Feelings.  Smells.  Touch.  Vibrations.  Yes, it is the vibrations.  Some type of electric current that shoots through your veins so fast that all you can do is shudder. An intense passionate heat! Not the kind of heat that I experienced in DC the other day when the temperature reached 106 degrees.  Not the kind of heat I felt when I got burned by fire when frying that catfish.  Not the kind of heat I felt when my blood pressure went to stroke levels, I broke into a sweat, and passed out on the concrete pavement. 

Love is fire.  Fire that starts out as a thought . . . becomes a beautiful flame.  

Fire, if not handled with care, will burn, scorch, suffocate, and cause total destruction.



©2014 Suzanne Coley
Letter from a Broken Heart series, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Letter from a Broken Heart

January 1, 2011

Yes, I still check my email to see if you wrote me.  To see if you are thinking about me.  If I wrote you each time I thought of you, you’d have 100 emails in an hour.  I miss our conversations.  I miss your warm hands underneath my skirt.  I miss your eyes looking at me as only you can do.  I miss your soft kisses on my neck.  I miss your soft toes on my thighs.

How are you?  What does your apartment look like?  It is empty?  Clean?  Waiting for the right furniture?  Or is it colorful and fun?  Do you live with anyone?  You must be seeing someone because you are too handsome to be alone.   Have you given your heart to anyone else?  I imagine her to be beautiful and tall.  Fun and kind -- all the things that you are. 

I hope that you are able to move on and find the love that you deserve.  I hope that you have lots of babies and your mate is kind and thoughtful.  I want all those things for you -- things I will never have.  May your life turn out great!

I was born July 21, 1980 and died on January 2, 2011.  How can I be dead and alive at the same time you wonder?  It's easy.  All you have to do is make the worst decision of your life and live with it until you take your last breath.

"Her Name was Joy"
linocut on map, (Inner Experience of the World)
©2014 Suzanne Coley
Letters from a Broken Heart Series, 2014

Life is a Journey

Linocut on London Underground Map, 2010 Suzanne Coley
Linocut on NYC Map, 2009 Suzanne Coley
Worldview, Linocut on antique Map, 2012 Suzanne Coley
Linocut on antique World Map, 2013 Suzanne Coley
Linocut on silkscreened Map of 9th arrondissement of Paris,  2009,Suzanne Coley
Pile of 20 original silkscreens of 9th arrondissement of Paris & stamps,  2009 Suzanne Coley

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Leaving textured marks and imprints. . .
Unforgettable, 2006 Suzanne Coley
I created this series of small abstract paintings with 22 karat gold leaf in 2006 after visiting Maryland State Parks and Forests.
detail of Unforgettable by Suzanne Coley
I recently took 20 of these small abstract paintings from my storage box, and will be placing a few for sale.
Unforgettable, textured abstract painting with 22 karat gold leaf
Looking at this series 8 years later,  I realize the experimental textures and marks on these works can be seen on the covers of my artist's books and boxes.

Invisible artist's book
textured cover of artist's book
And, my handmade papers.
handmade paper by Suzanne Coley

Friday, April 18, 2014

Forever is iridescent

Shining with several different hues when seen from different angles
Forever, 2006 by Suzanne Coley
I created this series of small abstract paintings with 22 karat gold leaf in 2006 after visiting Maryland State Parks and Forests.
Forever by Suzanne Coley, 2006
Golden, iridescent glow and textures are achieved with acrylic paints, reflective particles, and genuine gold leaf.
detail of gold leaf and texture
Inspired by majestic forests early in the morning after it has rained, this is one of my favorite abstract series.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Feeling Fuchsia

Communing with Hummingbirds
Feeling Fuchsia with a Touch of Purple, acrylic & tempera on canvas
garden view inspirations
nature's cycle of life on my windowsill
la primavera
one never tires to watch
magnificent colors of procreation
tear drop shapes hanging boldly
magentas, purples, deep reds
communing with hummingbirds

There are 110 known species of Fuchsia.  Named after the German physician and botanist Leonhart Fuchs (1501-1566), the bright colors of the fuchsia plant attract hummingbirds (to pollinate them).

According to Trinity College Dublin, "Fuchs’ interest in realistic representations accorded with the Renaissance ideal of naturalism, but it also served a practical purpose – he wanted his book to be a reference for his medical students and fellow doctors. While the images were cutting-edge for their time, Fuchs was not as revolutionary in the text, and his description of each plant’s medicinal properties still draws largely on the writings of Greek and Roman authors such as Dioscorides, Galen and Pliny." 

Woodcut from Fuchs' book De Historia Stirpium
Source: Glasgow University Library
Leonhart Fuchs' book De Historia Stirpium features 400 native European species of plants and over 100 domestic species.  What is so interesting to me is Fuchs hired three artists to document and illustrate from life the 511 plants in the book.  The artists were: a painter who used watercolor to illustrate the plants from life; a printmaker who transfered the illustrations to woodblocks; a second printmaker who carved the blocks and printed the images.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Monster Series

From Breakup
To Breakdown
dissolved by Suzanne Coley
Nothing Lasts Forever

hope. . .

Tuesday, April 15, 2014



 Always willing to listen.
They bring you joy!
They make you smile when you want to cry.
Accordion books given as gifts to my friends.   Thank you.
They make the struggle worth it.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC

Best Free Exhibit in New York City
Fowl Play at FIT

Red-Crown Cranes by Meredith Christensen & Lara Smith 
I like stopping by the lobby of FIT's Pomerantz Center to see student work.  Their concepts and designs are always innovative and inspirational.
Flamingo by Megan Finocchio &  Sean Scott
 During the month of April, Fowl Play is on exhibition and it is spectacular.
Flamingo by Megan Finocchio & Sean Scott
First year Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design students were given an assignment to transform mannequins into birds.
This exhibition highlights 17 birds selected from the many students studied.  They designed larger than life mannequins using feathers provided by Feather Place.
Feather Place's feathers are alluringly beautiful with intense hues and textures that make you want to sneak a touch.
Wood Stork with her bird of prey by Laura Pariot & Honglip Gang
In this exhibition, the students capture the enigmatic, savage beauty of feathers that evokes Chaucer's opening lines in Parliment of Fowls: The life so brief, the art so long to learn . . . 
The team of Honglip Gang and Laura Pariot presenting the Wood Stork
Like all the students, Honglip Gang and Laura Pariot created an impressive design that highlighted their bird's main characteristics: white wings with extensive black flight feathers, black bald head, grayish long legs.

Fowl Play, with its savage grace, shows how birds and their feathers can inspire.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Arts: Believe

The Beauty of End Papers
Believe, 2014 Suzanne Coley
Back in November when I wrote the post "Between the Covers" I didn't have a title for the actual series.
First working of Believe (with handmade paper), 2013
I knew I wanted to explore the intimate sensory discoveries (touch, smell, sight) that handmade books offer.   So I put the project down and waited, and waited.

24k double gold leaf
Gold cover   
A week ago, I revisited this book and saw how the light captured the nuances of the linocut print on the silkscreened Chiyogami  paper and whispered, "You have to see it to believe it." In this series I will take the word BELIEVE and explore how we Believe in ourselves.   How we Believe in our capabilities.  How we Believe in  . . .
Linocut in the light, 2014

Believe is such an intense word, and I want the gold on the cover to reflect that intensity.  
24k Genuine Double Gold Leaf 
I pulled out my prized package of  24k Genuine Double Gold Leaf, and added gold leaf to the bottom of the textured cover.
24k double gold leaf 
Gold leaf book,  Believe, 2014

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