Upcoming classes

Front Image: ©2011 Nan Watanabe Seeker’s Path paper, fabric, plastic 4 5/8″ x 3″
Rear Image: ©2011 Leah Virsik Discovery acrylic paint, paper, Tar Gel 3 5/8″ x 2 9/16 x 5/8″

I’m looking forward to teaching with Nan Watanabe coming up in September and November! We’ll be two different book structures for each session. Enrollment at the Richmond Art Center starts August 16 by calling 510-620-6772 or register online beginning August 23.

expression through book arts
Leah Virsik & Nan Watanabe
Each of us is an artist with a unique point of view. In this session, we will amplify and weave your creative voice using content and book structures. Explore how content leads structure and how structure leads content, sparking ideas for project direction. Working with collage, paint, mixed-media and content of your choosing, you’ll create meaningful, one-of-a-kind artist books. Materials list. $15 materials fee to instructors. 10 students minimum. Bring lunch.

Class FA18P • 2 Sat, Sep 10 & 17, 10 am – 4:00 pm
RAC Member $90 • Nonmember $110
Class FA19P • 2 Sat, Nov 5 & 12, 10 am – 4:00 pm
RAC Member $90 • Nonmember $110

Center Front 5 by Leah Virsik
©2010 Leah Virsik Center Front 5 paper, muslin, acrylic, thread 5 1/4 square inches
I’ll also be teaching mixed-media fabric collage demonstrating a technique I learned from DJ Pettitt. I’ve put my own spin on this technique and over the past year and a half it continues to excite me.

mixed-media fabric collage
Leah Virsik
Layer painted papers, thread and ephemera on muslin to create flexible collages that can stand alone as wall pieces or folded to make book pages or covers. Simple bindings will be demonstrated. Bring sewing machine during last two sessions if desired. Materials list. $10 materials fee.

Class FA20P • 4 Wed, Sep 21 – Oct 12, 6:30 – 9:30 pm
RAC Member $90 • Nonmember $110

Bay Area Book Arts Jam This Saturday!

LA Travels
mixed-media book: (running stitch) beads, fabric, paper, thread, buttons, elastic, metal eyelet 3 1/4″ x 4″ x 1 1/2″ ©2010 Leah Virsik

Bay Area Book Arts Jam
Saturday, October 16 | 10am to 4pm

Foothill College
12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills, California
Free admission; parking $2

I’m looking forward to showing my work this Saturday, October 16th at the 2010 Book Arts Jam at Foothill College. As well as having books for sale, I’ll also be teaching how to make mini-postcard books at my table. Come for the day and stop by to say hello.

Book Arts Jam 2010 is a one-day regional celebration of the book, print, and paper arts, co-sponsored by the Bay Area Book Artists and Foothill College. This year’s event features an exhibition of artists’ books, an Exhibitors Showcase with work by more than 60 artists and craftspeople, artist talks, a silent auction, and a full-service onsite cafeteria. Remember, books make great gifts.

For more info, go to www.bookartsjam.org

Defining My Work

Mini Wallpaper Book

mixed-media book: (running stitch) paper, thread, wallpaper, beads, button, eyelet, elastic
2 5/8″ x 3″ x 3/4″ ©2010 Leah Virsik

My books are getting smaller and smaller lately. I’m using up scraps of paper, mostly and preparing for a class at SCRAP on Saturday, July 10th from 1:00 to 4:00. More details soon!

Still working through Alyson B. Stanfield’s Relatively Pain-free Artist Statement e-book. I’m on a tough question about categorizing my work. And partly I think because I have two different things I do… books and abstract paintings… which at times overlap. Currently, my book focus has been on binding books by hand. Some of my books are one-of-a-kind artist’s books but many are blank books. My blank books are one-of-a-kind as well with emphasis primarily on the cover and the binding. I really feel like I’m in the middle of my creative process and I’m not quite sure which direction I’ll go. I’d like to create more artist’s books but I also get a lot of satisfaction out of quickly making a handbound book. Lately, I’ve been making books as examples that I can teach.

My abstract paintings, abstract expressionism for lack of a better classification, consist of many layers and elements, including paper, paint drippings and eggshells. I work on them without intention until I feel they are done. I’m motivated by color and texture and how they interact with each other on the substrate. My books on the other hand have a very specific intention, measurement and precision.  Lately, I’ve been experimenting a lot with sewing, embroidery, and quilting, incorporating these elements into my books. I try to work fast with a relaxed focus… working with the piece as it develops.

Make Your Own Simple Handbound Journal: February 7

office_supply_books
Raid Your Office Supplies! Make Your Own Simple Handbound Journal
Time: Sunday, February 7, 2010
9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (1/2 hour break for lunch, bring a bag lunch if desired)
Where: Frank Bette Center for the Arts
1601 Paru Street, (at Lincoln) Alameda, CA 94501
Fee: $45 members, $60 non-members. Plus $10 materials fee
(pay materials fee at workshop)
Click here to sign up via PayPal at the Frank Bette site.

In this class for beginners, you’ll create your own 3-section “pamphlet stitch” journal from commonly available office supplies including file folders, envelopes and paper clips. You’ll sew the sections, attach eyelets to the spine and secure your book with an elastic band or a button and string. You’ll then add elements to the cover and inside to make it your own. Take home your own unique handbound journal and a one-section mini-postcard book.

What to Bring: ruler, scissors, glue stick, pencil, a cutting mat and a bone folder. Also, bring a 4″ x 6″ piece of cardstock (or postcard) for a cover for a mini-book. Optional: Bring any elements you’d like to include in your book to personalize it. Some examples are: canceled stamps, rubber stamps, stickers, paper clips, ribbon, old receipts, shopping list, scraps of paper and handwritten notes. Limit these things to 5 1/2″ high. White inside pages and some ephemera will be provided.

About the instructor: Leah Virsik enjoys making books and painting. She has a passion for paper and bookbinding and daydreams about art when she’s not actually making it. She creates books out of new and repurposed materials and works with paper, fabric, plastic, metal, acrylic and collage. Learn more about her and her work by visiting www.leahvirsik.com.

Artful Mail Workshop

Make Your Own Artful Mail
In this workshop, you’ll collage, paint and sew your own postcards, make your own various-sized handmade envelopes and learn how to make a button and string closure for an envelope with eyelets and brads. The pieces you’ll create can potentially be mailed, framed, hung or put into a book at a later date. The possibilities are endless!

When: Sunday, February 28, 2010 from 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Bring a bag lunch, we’ll break for a half hour to eat.

Where: Frisbie Street Art Studio, 204 Frisbie St., Oakland, CA 94611 (Click address for google map) Frisbie St. is an alternative art space in Oakland, CA for artists to exhibit their work and for the community to gather to enjoy and create art together.

Cost: $55 (includes $10 for supplies) Reserve your spot by sending a check to Leah Virsik, 3934 Madrone Avenue, Oakland, CA 94619 or online via PayPal to leah@leahvirsik.com. Payment is processed as it is received. You will receive an email confirming registration. You can cancel up to a week prior with a refund of fees paid, less a $10 cancellation fee. Sorry, no refunds on cancellations with less than one week notice. If the class is sold out or canceled, your payment will be returned.

What to Bring: ruler, scissors, pencil, bone folder, glue stick and/or double-sided tape, eraser (I like Staedtler Mars Plastic)

Optional things to bring: a favorite envelope size to use as a template, punch, awl, cutting mat, fabric scraps, yarn, sewing machine, thread, favorite art supplies, paper for envelopes and collage: good ideas are scrapbook paper, wallpaper, junk mail, maps, large book pages, patterned paper, magazines, etc.

What will be provided: envelope templates from A7 to itty bitty, crayons, watercolors, brushes, glue, watercolor paper for postcards, a sewing machine or two, punches, fabric scraps, paper for envelopes, glue stick, double-sided tape, magazines, spray glue for thin papers, needles for sewing

Questions: Email Leah Virsik or call 510-418-9383

About the instructor: Leah Virsik enjoys making books and painting. She has a passion for paper and bookbinding and daydreams about art when she’s not actually making it. She creates books out of new and repurposed materials and works with paper, fabric, plastic, metal, acrylic and collage. Learn more about her and her work by visiting www.leahvirsik.com.

Workshop Size: Limited to 7 people

Parking: There is street parking available, please allow ample time before your class to find a parking space.

Oakland Frisbie St. Bookbinding Class: Aug 30

Raid Your Office Supplies! Make Your Own Simple Handbound Journal

In this class for beginners, you’ll create your own 3-section “pamphlet stitch” journal from commonly available office supplies including file folders, envelopes and paper clips. You’ll sew the sections, attach eyelets to the spine and secure your book with an elastic band. You’ll then add elements to the cover and inside to make it your own.

When: Sunday, August 30, 2009 from 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Where: Frisbie Street Art Studio, 204 Frisbie St., Oakland, CA 94611 (Click address for google map) Frisbie St. is an alternative art space in Oakland, CA for artists to exhibit their work and for the community to gather to enjoy and create art together.

Cost: $35 Reserve your spot by sending a check to Leah Virsik, 3934 Madrone Avenue, Oakland, CA 94619 or online via PayPal to leah@leahvirsik.com. Payment is processed as it is received. You will receive an email confirming registration. You can cancel up to a week prior with a refund of fees paid, less a $10 cancellation fee. Sorry, no refunds on cancellations with less than one week notice. If the class is sold out or canceled, your payment will be returned.

What to Bring: ruler, scissors, glue stick, pencil, a cutting mat and a bone folder (available for around $7 at Michaels, Dick Blick and Paper Source.) Optional: Bring any elements you’d like to include in your book to personalize it. Some examples are: canceled stamps, rubber stamps, stickers, paper clips, old receipts, shopping list, scraps of paper and handwritten notes. Some materials will be provided.

Questions: Email Leah Virsik or call 510-418-9383

About the instructor: Leah Virsik enjoys making books and painting. She has a passion for paper and bookbinding and daydreams about art when she’s not actually making it. She creates books out of new and repurposed materials and works with paper, fabric, plastic, metal, acrylic and collage. Learn more about her and her work by visiting www.leahvirsik.com.

Workshop Size: 8-10 people

Parking: There is street parking available, please allow ample time before your class to find a parking space.

Turning 37 and The Creative Entrepreneur




Thirty-seven years ago today I was born. Today I’m contemplating that and all that I’ve experienced in my lifetime. I’m grateful to be here and thankful for a wonderful husband and to have been brought up in a very supportive family.

I’m working through Lisa Sonora Beam’s The Creative Entrepreneur and above are images from my own visual journal. I’m still working on the text. It’s in some places and not in others and I realize combining the writing and the visual image does not come easily to me. It’s something I admire in other journals and works I’ve seen and and so my attempt at it will give me an even greater appreciation.

Something exciting I’ve learned through this process is that papers or pieces that were treated as “scrap” or “messups” are no longer, they’re now given a new life in my visual journal. They are now a page in an actual book. It’s curious and makes we wonder about what else I can breathe new life into. What was junk at one point or even garbage and now has a new life because of you?

I’m really enjoying Lisa Sonora Beam’s book and the process of thinking differently. I’m working through objectives, strategies and tactics for 2009 and it’s much more detailed than I’ve ever made it. Really exciting stuff. I’m looking forward to the new year and what it brings. Interested in taking a class in Oakland with Lisa Sonora Beam? Visit her website to find out more about her and let me know! I’m looking forward to potentially hosting a class of hers.

I came across incredible signage at the ZTA Architectural Office in San Diego. Click on places, commercial and then ZTA Architectural Office to see pics.

Support Women Artists Now (SWAN) day is March 28, 2009 and is put together in part by The Fund for Women Artists. I’m excited. I’d like to do something to celebrate… something creative and with women. Interested? Let me know! For many years I’ve been inspired by others who inspire. It hasn’t been enough for me to just witness this, I realize that part of my mission is to be a leader, to connect and inspire others myself.