Art Break Wednesday: Just My Type

typewriting manual woodstock typewriter

My wonderful friend and author Kim Siegelson left this intriguing note on my artsyletters Facebook page last month:  “I found the coolest addition to your artsyletters set up today.”  Curiousity was killing this cat!  You see, in addition to sharing the writing life, Kim is the one I’ve turned to in past months for Etsy advice.  She has a lively vintage Etsy shop (two actually), and I love seeing what new items show up in Perfect Patina.  On my author blog in November, I shared another special gift she found for me and my appreciation for our vintage hunting adventures.

We finally met up at our SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle in Atlanta this past weekend, and Kim gave me my new surprise.  (Drumroll….)

typewriting manualThe Complete Second Edition of  20th Century Typewriting          

by D. D. Lessenberry and E. A. Jevon, published by South-Western Publishing Company in 1933.

I love typewriting manuals!  I have a couple others I’ve picked up in antique shops, but what makes this one stand out are the amazing illustrations of typewriters inside. (I couldn’t find a credit for these.)  Here are some more samples:

typewriter manual interior 1typewriting manual interior 2

Aren’t these great?







At art shows, one thing I’ve loved to offer is my old Underwood typewriter available for attendees to try out.  Especially kids – most have never used one before!  I make them type enough of a line to hear the magic bell…

Jessica and Wyatt try out my old typewriter, as my daughter and “assistant shopkeeper” Morgan looks on.

One of the first products I wanted to offer in my new art business last fall was some typewriter notecardstypewriter card RHB

This image was drawn with pen and ink (and some colored pencil and other media worked in as well) on paper I had painted to suggest a parchment effect.


In the mixed media department, I was delighted to find on Etsy a dealer from Great Britain who had parts from an old Remington typewriter for sale.  I’ve used these in a few pieces, and still have some left for future projects.  This collage I made and sold on Etsy incorporated some of these metal parts, my own typewriter image above, a vintage flash card, some vintage metal letters, and a line of exercises from another old typewriting manual that reads:

You typewriter - write it on your heart RHB

Write it on your heart that every day is the very best day in the year.”

I was delighted when a customer purchased this collage with the following note:

My husband is a “collector” of typewriters and we both love to live with our hearts so I cannot imagine anything much more appropriate for him than this framed piece.

Even more delighted when she kindly sent me a follow-up note as well:

Just wanted to tell you how much my husband LOVES the framed artwork and note cards. He opened it today and it is now placed happily on our piano. We can hardly believe how perfect the message and collage of unique items come together to match our lives.

Let me tell you, words like that fill my own heart and soul. I’ve been blessed to realize that beyond making items to sell, starting an art business has given me connections I treasure.  These might be the happy thought that my work has made someone else smile, or the special knowledge that a friend would pick up a vintage typewriter manual with dynamic black illustrations of old typewriters, and she would think of me!

Thank you, Kim.

Anyone else have fond memories of clacking away on a heavy metal typewriter (or those sleek electric ones that slid into the market)?  Do tell!


Art Break Wednesday (on Thursday!) – More Altered Book Collages


Somehow, Wednesday slipped right into Thursday over here.  I’ll simply share a few items I’ve just listed in my Etsy shop.  Here’s another literary red door, featuring an altered book from the 1800s and an original relief print, with vintage embellishments:

red collage door front 2 arch macl with watermark

It has a couple of lines taken from Archibald MacLeish’s “Ars Poetica”:

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

A poem should not mean
But be.

red arch macl with handred door collage arch macl inside 2 with c

Plus it has a cool illustration of an owl from an 1882 Reader.

I’ve also had a Fey bent lately. Here are a couple of altered miniature books as Fairy Doors.

(Fairy, Faerie – whichever you prefer!)
They also feature vintage metal elements, repurposed text/ephemera, and hand-pulled original block prints.

blue fairy door with window front with csmall blue fairy door inside with windows with w

Descriptions and more pictures of these are at my Etsy shop.


small red door inside 2 with wDSC05320 small red door collage front with w





Here’s another Thursday update, a variation:
b w fairy door 1 angled with wb w fairy door 1 interior

Thanks for taking a look!



(And, which DO you prefer – Fairy or Faerie?) ;0)

Art Break Wednesday: Artist Trading Cards for Pocket Change


ATCs with shutter

I spent much of the day at the home of lovely and talented artist Beth Rommel for our monthly art critique group meeting.  Beth has been working hard behind the scenes on the 6 Degrees of Creativity “Pocket Change” project.  Participants from all over the world have mailed in four Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) apiece.  Each will receive three different ones back, with the fourth kept to be posted and shared with the others, online and possibly in an ezine.

The theme for this project was:

Pocket Change is all about how simple and small acts can create and instill kindness, gratitude, and change.

I sent in my cards and am looking forward to  surprises in the mail later, plus seeing the whole group and learning how the creativity behind all of these cards – and there are hundreds and hundreds of cards – has enriched lives in small and large ways.  Grateful to be participating!

©Robyn Hood Black

©Robyn Hood Black

This was my first foray into ATCs.  I made mini mixed media collages using vintage materials and metal letterpress blocks as stamps.  These four are the ones I contributed to the project. (The other two might end up in my Etsy shop.) :0)

©Robyn Hood Black

©Robyn Hood Black

©Robyn Hood Black

©Robyn Hood Black

imagine ATC

©Robyn Hood Black

ATC back

I had a lot of fun making these, using materials such as a map from an 1875 geography book, an ad from a 1927 issue of Good Housekeeping, and bits and pieces of my own relief printing.  Many thanks to the organizers for putting together this offering of creativity to the world!


Art Break Wednesday: the Makers Summit


photo 3 makers summit MAKE

On Saturday, I tooled up the road a couple of hours to Greenville, SC, for the first-ever Makers Summit sponsored by Indie Craft Parade, held at a great elegant/industrial meeting space called Zen.   It was a day full of sessions and networking for artist-business owners.

photo 2 makers summit crop

Greenville is a special town to me, as my husband and I met at Furman University there and married a couple of weeks after graduation.  Our daughter is a student there now!  But back in the day, downtown was not exactly the destination spot it is today, with so many vibrant shops, restaurants, and a glorious park at the falls.  It’s the perfect location for a workshop such as the Makers Summit.

photo name badge

As you can imagine, it was a talented group of attendees enjoying some very savvy, talented speakers.  In fact, a little Googling online will take you to some professionally shot photos of the day by several who were there.  But maybe these pictures from my phone will whet your appetite to sign up when they do it again!

Speakers included Stephen Fraser from  Spoonflower, Grace Kang of Retail Recipes, designer  Justin Gammon, author  Amy Flurry, artist-entrepreneur and author Barb Blair of Knack Studios, Mail Chimp’s Amy Ellis, and Etsy’s own Kimm Alfonso, with a few other experts on hand to offer additional business advice.  Topics in the general sessions included branding and product lines, online selling, and expanding markets.

Kimm Alfonso from Etsy speaks about "Doing Business Intentionally."

Kimm Alfonso from Etsy speaks about “Doing Business Intentionally.”

One of the perks of the day was meeting fellow artists and craftspeople making a business out of their creative passions.  I had connected, through an Etsy blog, with Karen Sims Deady before the big day.

robyn and karen 1 makers summit

Robyn with Karen Sims Deady of KSDLuxe

It was fun to meet her in person and chat between sessions.  She has a gorgeous Etsy shop,  KSDLuxe, with contemporary artisan jewelry.  She’s also from Georgia, not terribly far from my neck of the woods.

I also had a 10-minute review of my Etsy shop with Etsy Support representative Nicole Bogatitus.  It was helpful to have professional feedback, since running an indie art business is at times like navigating without a map.  (And I found her comments encouraging for my first few months out in the big online world!)

Gatherings like this definitely help artist-entrepreneurs along the way, however.  Navigating by the stars is more adventuresome anyway, don’t you think?

Oh – and there were goodie bags to swoon for.  Just look at all this fun stuff:

goodie bag makers summit

When I finish playing with it all, I have to get back to business – the business of selling my art!  I’m thankful to have some new strategies to ponder and new peers to keep up with.


I’ll definitely sign up for the Makers Summit when it comes around again.  My guess is, we should all sign up early.