december love it...nikki mcclure!

the day has come....nikki mcclure is our "love it" featured artist for december!!!!! how happy does this make me? let's just say there is a silly jig happening somewhere north of charlottesville.

quick recount, it went down like this: speaking to jessica, i said: "you know, the best christmas present i could wish for is for nikki to be our december feature" (insert sigh here)..... a few days later, literally, jessica writes me an email, and i quote: "are you still at home? if so, can you check the blog, started a post, see if you think it's good." so....i checked it asap and lo and behold, there it was, this interview and these pics!!!!!!! she was being very sneaky as we often are this time of year. i will not go on and on, suffice to say nikki's amazing inspirations and creations hang in almost every room in my home. not to mention that we also carry every possible nikki-related product that we can in o'suz . come see it all in person -- the calendar, journals, posters, and books make great gifts!!! and thank you, nikki, for taking the time to answer our questions!

the 2010 revive calendar!

a new collection of 15 different postcards.

our most favorite baby book ever -- the perfect gift for new parents.

for journaling notes about future projects.

what was your first job and how did you end up creating paper cuts?

My first job was at Taco Mamas in Kirkland. I was filling in for my older sister while she was in Germany. I was only 14. I learned how to cut tomatoes and make tortilla chips. It was so satisfying slicing a stack of round tortillas into sixths. Cleaning the grill was my least favorite part.

It's interesting to note that cutting was my favorite part. At first, I thought that this question should have been two as they seemed so unrelated.

Next came college. Library. Recycling center. Bird field work. Wetland education. Environmental education. Drawing cattails and ducks. Full-time art. Papercuts came from wanting black and white images that were easy to reproduce (pre-scanning days). I had been making linocuts and scratchboard illustrations but wasn't satisfied with either. "Try cutting it out of paper," my friend Tae Won Yu suggested. I did. And it was great!

what is your favorite piece/group/series in your work?

The last one that I made. The next one too, hopefully. I have many others. Pieces of some. The solutions to problems that are noticed only by me.

who or what inspires you?

My family and the work they do. Moss and micro ecosystems that go unobserved. Cooking. Gardening and making an edible yard. Farmers. Teachers. Parents. Persimmons. Crows' disregard for relentless rain. Nut trees. Seasons. Slippers and tea. Sharing. Mushrooms.

what three websites do you visit daily?

I sometimes read the New York Times and visit Olyblog, my local news ranting site. I am startled by the amount of time that I do spend at this machine.

making grape juice!

describe your ideal sunday.

Yesterday was Sunday. We slept in a bit, playing foxes with Finn in bed. Jay T. made blueberry pancakes (as he does every morning) and they were especially good. He made a fire. The house got cozy. I read some of Arthur Ransome's "Pigeon Post" to Finn and then we started cleaning up, taking care of messes made. It wasn't until 1 that we finally got out of pajamas and out into the world. We went to the Market and sat cuddled up eating tamales. It was windy and cold and sometimes rainy. We got a box of apples, chantrelles, salmon and traded for some greens. Back home we built a little fort in the back corner of our yard, combing the alley for wind blown fir branches to weave thru the fence and make a wind break. I spent an hour kneeling on the wet earth weaving branches, in and out, in and out. Finn found long boards and made a roof. Jay T. chopped wood and pruned fruit trees. I made some hot cocoa. A warm tummy really does the trick. We did more weaving and some baseball playing. "We want a catcher, not Margaret Thatcher!" is our favorite chant. Back inside. Dry pants put on and then off to friend's for dinner. I made brussel sprouts and kale salad. Everyone ate up the b. sprouts and were surprised that they could be so good. Then home. No bath for Finn as he chopped his finger Friday with his hatchet and he is still ignoring the gruesome wound. More "Pigeon Post" instead. Then finally a long, very hot bath reading "Crow Planet" and then sleep and strange delightful dreams.

what do you see outside your studio windows?

Two birch trees that I planted 10 years ago. Chickadees and juncos and finches and an occasional nuthatch and siskin feed from the birdfeeders that hang from the birch branches. My garden that grows kale and mint is full of maple leaves 2 feet thick. The kale stands tall above (lacinato). My studio shadows the garden so I really only can grow kale and mint. Sometimes peas and stray sunflowers. I see Finn's dirt pile and garden and toppled over Tonka trucks. I can look thru my house and see someone at my front door, but there is no one there right now, so I can't really see that.