Well, it’s been about a year since I first began writing haiku and making Japanese ink paintings to accompany my poems. And it’s been about six months since I launched my Makino Studios website to share my work.
I wanted to take a moment to thank those of you who have given me support and encouragement on this surprising, scary and exciting journey of becoming a poet and artist. Special thanks to those who have purchased my work; it's so great to know it has touched you.
Both for you early supporters and for friends who are new to my work, I would like to share some news about Makino Studios.
Coming Out to Play: My First Shows
First, I’m very happy to announce that I have back-to-back shows coming up, both in Eureka, California as part of Arts Alive! Humboldt friends, I would love to see you at either or both openings.
• This coming Saturday, September 3, is the opening for my first group show, a showcase of local book artists that will include four different book collections of my poems and artwork. I make these individually by hand using Japanese papers, satin ribbon, origami and more.
• My first solo show opens four weeks later, on Saturday, October 1, and will feature original paintings. This exhibit will include my new series, True Love Comes on Paws: Haiku for Dog Lovers. Details for both shows are at the end of this note.
Of Dogs and Honeybees: New Collections
I have several new collections of my work. These include the fun dog series mentioned above, about dogs and their delightful, exasperating ways. You can see the pieces in my online gallery or order a handmade book of this series.
Another recent collection is called Rich on the Tongue: Honeybee Haiku, inspired by my beekeeper husband. This honeybee series, viewable in my online gallery, is also available as a handmade book, made with Japanese papers and bound in the traditional Japanese style.
More Good Things: Prints, Cards and Custom Pieces
I now offer professional, offset-quality 11x14 prints of my pieces. A few of these signed, limited edition prints are available now, and other paintings can be made into prints within 10-14 days on request. I also offer blank greeting cards of some of my favorite pieces.
Over the past few months, I’ve gotten several commissions to create custom pieces for life passages, from birthday celebrations to housewarmings. It’s a very meaningful process to discuss the project with a client and then write a haiku and make a painting that goes to the heart of the situation.
For more details on any of these options, please see the store page. Also, I now have an online shop on Etsy.com where I offer my prints and cards as well as a few of my original paintings: this makes it easy to use PayPal or credit cards.
Spreading the Word
So far, I have not done any paid advertising or marketing, relying mainly on word of mouth. I’ve been so gratified by the early response to my work. A few examples:
• Following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March, the Eureka Times-Standard ran a big feature article about my work called “A Prayer for Japan,” which led to my first commission.
• A local Japanese friend translated my "Prayer for Japan" piece into Japanese and personally delivered copies to Japanese disaster survivors.
• Soroptimist International of Humboldt Bay invited me to speak to their members, and liked it so much they then commissioned a custom piece.
• The owner of Arcata's Apple store, Simply Macintosh, forwarded my blog post and piece on “The Zen of Apple” to the entire Apple Specialist community, immediately resulting in over 200 visits to that page from all over North America and the UK.
• People tell me they keep coming back to my website to find serenity, humor and inspiration.
If you enjoy my work, please share it with your friends. There are several ways people can connect with Makino Studios:
• Visit my website:
www.makinostudios.com (The site works best in Firefox or Safari)
• Subscribe to my blog, Drawing Breath
“Like” Makino Studios on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter (@Ant99)
Visit my online shop on Etsy
And if you’re in Humboldt, please come to one of my shows!
Thanks again for your support and feedback; it means the world to me.
Details on Upcoming Shows:
Opening Saturday, September 3, 6-9 pm, during Arts Alive!: North Redwoods Book Arts Guild. Eureka Books, 426 2nd Street, Eureka, California. My handmade books, prints and cards will be for sale. Exhibit runs through September.
Opening Saturday, October 1, 6-9 pm, during Arts Alive!: Solo Exhibition. Old Town Jewelers, 311 F Street, next to Mazotti’s, Eureka, California. My original paintings with haiku will be on display. Exhibit runs through October.