Building Ink and watercolor wash Landscape Places Sketchbook Pages Urban Sketchers

Women’s Work: Rosie the Riveter and Super Wonky Singer Sewing Machine

Craneway Pavillion and Rosie the Riveter Museum, ink  & watercolor, 8x10"
Rosie the Riveter Museum (left) and Craneway Pavillion (right), ink & watercolor & National Park rubber stamp, 8×10″

When my plein air group met at the Rosie the Riveter Museum alongside Craneway Pavilion (a former auto factory where “Rosie’s” riveted during WWII) on the San Francisco Bay in Richmond, everyone else painted the bay view on the other side of these buildings.

But as soon as I drove into the parking lot, this industrial backside grabbed me. From the row of street lights to the giant smokestack and thousands of windows, I was sold. I set up, sketched and painted in the parking lot. Then I toured the museum. My mother, RivaLee was a “Rosie” and worked in an airplane factory in L.A. where she was known as “Riv the Riveter.”

Singer Sewing Machine circa early 1900s, ink & watercolor
Singer Sewing Machine circa early 1900s, ink & watercolor & gold pen

I don’t know what happened to my sense of perspective when I sketched this early 1900s Singer sewing machine in a warehouse full of antique industrial equipment. It was very heavy, almost impossible for me to move, so I guarantee it wasn’t lifting off the table or sliding downhill like it looks in my sketch.

As I drew I was struck by the beautiful decoration and the rounded shapes that seemed to echo the curves of the women who used them. What a lovely tool it is compared to the sterile, boxy, plastic computerized sewing machines of today.

Building Ink and watercolor wash Landscape Outdoors/Landscape Places Sketchbook Pages

Codex Book Fair at Craneway Pavillion

Codex Book Fair inside Craneway Pavillion, ink & watercolor, 5x8"
Looking into the Codex Book Fair in the Craneway Pavillion, ink & watercolor, 5×8″

I attended the Codex Book Fair at Craneway Pavillion (a former car factory, now an event space) in Richmond with some friends from S.F. Sketchers on a gorgeous, sunny day. The fair is an annual event where book artists and small publishers show their work. There were huge crowds enjoying the amazing art, although a few tables were empty because the artists or publishers got stuck in an East Coast snow storm.

The Park on the Bay by Craneway Pavillion, ink & watercolor, 5x8"
The Park on the Bay by Craneway Pavillion, ink & watercolor, 5×8″

After I visited the fair I sat outside on a bench and quickly sketched the view from the boardwalk by the building (above).

My favorite artist at the show was Andie Thrams. Her handmade, watercolor-illustrated, one-of-a kind books were amazing and inspiring. My favorite of hers was In Forests, which you can see page by page here. It really is a must-see for anyone interested in journaling and bookbinding, especially nature journaling in ink or watercolor.

Food sketch Ink and watercolor wash People Sketchbook Pages

Pork Bung Gut (?) at 99 Ranch Market

Mackerel and Tea Lady, ink & watercolor, 5x8"
Mackerel and Tea Lady, ink & watercolor, 5×8″

We made our annual pre-Chinese New Year sketching visit to 99 Ranch Market and the Pacific East Mall (an Asian marketplace) with some new sketchers who joined us for our  monthly Urban Sketchers First Tuesdays sketch night.

I headed first to the fish department and we ended the evening at the Ten Ren Tea Shop (sketches above) where there were so many interesting and colorful items to draw but for some reason I chose instead to sketch the very nice shop girl.

Poultry and Pork on the Hook at 99 Ranch Market, ink & watercolor, 5x8"
Poultry and Pork on the Hook at 99 Ranch Market, ink & watercolor, 5×8″

After the fish, I went where the Peking Ducks hang and was surprised to see a small pork carcass hanging there too (on the right above). I drew it first, and then found myself in a race with a woman taking down the ducks to clean up for the night. She won the race and I ran out of ducks so I copied the menu instead.

Could that carcass be Pork Bung Gut? Or is it what it sounds like (ew) and just wasn’t on display?

It’s interesting how different cultures are squeamish about different parts of the animal. I grew up loving my grandma’s roasted beef tongue, the chicken feet in her chicken soup, and my dad’s gribenes (pronounced “gribnis”)—like pork rinds except made from chicken skin. After removing the delicious crispy skins from the hot chicken fat that he’d rendered from them, he put the fat in the fridge to harden and then spread that “schmaltz” on his rye bread instead of butter.

None of those foods sound gross to me, nor does caviar, raw oysters (yum!), or rump roast, but please don’t offer me brains or intestines, thank you very much.

You can see my friends’ great sketches from the evening on our Urban Sketchers blog here: Susan’sMicaela’s, Cathy’s, and Ceiny’s, and my sketches from previous visits to 99 Ranch in 20012 and 2010, 2010, 2007.