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Book Tour

Book Tour, Books, Strange Material

Greetings from Oakland!

It’s day three of our Make Your Voice heard tour, and Kim Werker and I are working away at a Peet’s Coffee Shop in Oakland, California.

Yesterday we had a fabulous day of touring San Francisco with artist Sonya Philip who gave a true tour with stops at Scrap San Francisco (@scrapsf), a non-profit urban recycling centre focused on reuse for artists, teachers and makers and food stops at famous Tartine Bakery and tacos in the Mission District (which are just famously delicious).

Following our first event at The Booksmith in Haight Ashbury, SF (see pic above) with Rena Tom, we were hosted by Lisa Congdon at Diesel Bookstore, a wonderful bookstore here in Oakland, California. It was a thrill to hash out topics of creativity, creative demons, ‘women’s work’, and creating in the age of social media with these amazing smart women to a full house in Oakland.

We also snuck in a mac & cheese dinner with the amazing knit lit author Rachael Herron, who is a total delight to talk to about life, writing, knitting and all things in-between. My head is spinning from such a wonderful couple of days. I’ve been instagramming my favourite moments as they happen.

Both bookstores are really perfect bookstores in the sense that they love books and the people who write them – we spent our time before the panel at Diesel writing on their lists of “10 Books that Influenced Your Life”. With handwritten shelf talkers (the recommendation cards that stick out from bookshelves) and attentive staff, both are prime examples of  why we need small bookstores to thrive and flourish – there’s a personal care that you receive as both an author or a reader that a big box store or online retailer just can’t replicate. I heart independent booksellers (and if you do too, check out Diesel’s Indiegogo for a refurb after 25 years).

Part of our adventure at Scrap SF was collecting materials for our workshop tonight at MakeShift Society San Francisco. Kim will be leading participants through creating their own Mighty Ugly Creature, I will follow this up with some creativity prompts, and Betsy will finish our Round Robin with her own thoughts on sewing and psychology. There’s still a few spots left, and you can register here.

Tomorrow, we’ll be catching a fight to be part of a panel at Powell’s City of Books in Portland for Design Week and a workshop with MakerNation. For details of Portland, Seattle, and our other tour stops, visit my event page.

Book Tour, Books, Events, Textiles, Writing Life

California, here we come!

A yarn bombing of Union Square by IshKnits, 2013

In less than 24 hours, Betsy Greer, Kim Werker and I will be in San Francisco! We’re so pleased to be starting our multi-city author tour Make Your Voice Heard: The Intersection of Craft, Creativity, and Activism of North America to celebrate our three new books. I hope that you’ll be able to come join us at an event, as not only will there be our trifecta of voices but we have some truly amazing people moderating our conversations!

Here’s where we will be (and who we will be with!) in the Bay Area:

Our Host in San Francisco Rena Tom

Makeshift Founder, craft & small business sage, and marketing editor of Anthology Magazine Rena Tom will be our host in San Francisco. 

SAN FRANCISCO – panel discussion
Wednesday, October 1st, 7:30pm. Free!
Booksmith, San Francisco, CA
Moderated conversation with Rena Tom
RSVP on Facebook

Lisa-6_lowres

Artist and illustrator extraordinaire Lisa Congdon (and author of the recently released Art Inc.) will be our host in Oakland. 

OAKLAND – panel discussion
Thursday, October 2nd, 7pm. Free!
Diesel Bookstore, Oakland, CA
Moderated conversation with Lisa Congdon
RSVP on Facebook

MakeShiftSociety

Lovely Makeshift Society – where we’ll be teaching creative workshops in Brooklyn and San Francisco! I’ll be teaching some writing methods to loosen your brain and ego for creative projects and I promise that it will fun and *not scary*!

SAN FRANCISCO – creativity workshop!
Friday, October 3rd, 6:30pm
MakeShift Society, San Francisco, CA
Hands-on Workshop (Purchase here!)

Betsy Greer will tour in support of Craftivism: The Art & Craft of Activism (Published May 2014). I will share Strange Material: Storytelling Through Textiles (Brand new tomorrow! October 1 2014). Kim Werker will tour in support of Make it Mighty Ugly: Exercises and Advice for Getting Creative Even When It Ain’t Pretty (September 2014).

Following the Bay Area, we will be travelling for panels and workshops in Portland, Seattle, Vancouver BC, Toronto, Philly (details pending), Boston, Brooklyn and DC. See the full tour line-up here: http://www.leanneprain.com/events.

Book Tour, Books, Events, Workshop, Writing Life

Book Tour Announced!

I’m thrilled to announce the details of my fall book tour with fellow authors Betsy Greer and Kim Werker.

Our brilliant publishers Arsenal Pulp Press & Sasquatch Books have partnered to send us on an incredible fall tour where we’ll visit 12 venues in eight different cities across the US & Canada. We’ll be participating in panels on craft, creativity, design and activism, and we’ll also be teaching hands-on workshops. In our workshops, we’ll be doing somewhat of a crafting ’round-robin’ and for my portion, I’ll be teaching story techniques for artists of all kinds, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.

I have to say that I’m in somewhat disbelief that this tour has come together is such a cohesive way. It had germinated as a half-thought that I had scratched onto a scrap of paper while working late at the night on a draft of my book, “Talk to Betsy and Kim about going on a book tour.”

A few weeks after, I shyly mentioned the idea to Kim while meeting for sushi and she responded enthusiastically. Now, six months later, we actually have a tour schedule with an amazing roster of designers, curators, and artists as hosts. We’re all amazed at how this has come together.

Here’s the nitty-gritty of our tour:

Make Your Voice Heard: The Intersection of Craft, Creativity, and Activism

Betsy Greer will tour in support of Craftivism: The Art & Craft of Activism (Published May 2014). Leanne Prain will share Strange Material: Storytelling Through Textiles (Forthcoming October 2014). Kim Werker will tour in support of Make it Mighty Ugly: Exercises and Advice for Getting Creative Even When It Ain’t Pretty (Forthcoming September 2014).

As event times are confirmed, I’ll be updating details on the Upcoming Events page of my website. In addition to my travels with Betsy and Kim, I’ll be participating in additional events on my own in Vancouver, Courtenay, and Seattle and they’ll be listed there as soon as I confirm with the venues.

Book Tour, Books, Events

Strange Material has a cover!

A month ago, I debuted a cover design for my forthcoming book Strange Material: Storytelling Through Textiles on my Facebook page. Here’s what it looked like:

StrangeMaterial_OLDcover_400

The rejected cover…so close, but it didn’t stick.

My publisher, the book designer, and I thought we were ready to go (they even put up an Amazon sales page with cover #1) but then feedback came in from the books sales representatives that they thought the cover was “too academic” and we abruptly changed course.

While I really liked the old cover, which featured the work of a number of artists who are featured in the book, the new cover is stunning. It features “I wish I were with you” a piece by the UK based artist Rosalind Wyatt, which is stitched with a letter that Winston Churchill wrote to his mother when he was a teenager. Rosalind replicates the young Churchill’s handwriting with her stitching, and the bodice is stained with ink blots and mis-starts, much like the original letter.

What do you think? Which cover would make you inclined to pick this book off of the shelf?

There have been a lot of exciting developments in planning the book tour for Strange Material. This October, I’ll be on the road with authors Betsy Greer and Kim Werker on a EIGHT city tour across the US and Canada. Look for us in Oakland, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, Philly, Boston, and DC! I’ll be publishing the full schedule of events in the next few weeks as all venues are confirmed.

Book Tour, Books, Publishing, Writing Life

Anthologized: Betsy Greer’s Craftivism

Last Spring, amid working of drafts of my upcoming book  Strange Material: Storytelling Through Textiles, I managed to squeeze in a few other writing projects, including a personal essay on embroidery and community called Stitching It Together for Betsy Greer‘s new anthology Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism.

Without giving away too much, the essay discusses my experience of teaching craft, the value that I see in it, and how communities can come together around making.

I feel honoured to be included in a book that really is a whose-who of the current craftivism movement – among my favourite parts of the book are an essay called Don’t Get Angry, Get Cross-Stitch by Jamie Chalmers, the beloved Mr. X Stitch; and an interview with Maria Molteni of NCAA New Works, a fibre artist that makes nets for forlorn basketball hoops;  and an essay by filmmaker Faythe Levine (the brains behind Handmade Nation and more recently, the Sign Painters movie) on craft as a method of empowerment. This is truly a wonderful collection, and I’d recommend it even if I wasn’t involved in the project. The more time I spend with this book, the more I find to re-read and savour.

The past two weeks have also been busy ones for me as I’ve finished book edits on Strange Material (cover art debuting very soon!) and I’m planning a highly-creative, East Coast/West Coast book tour for the fall with Betsy Greer and the fabulous Kim Werker of Make it Mighty Ugly.  If you know of a tour venue that we must visit in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, DC, Toronto, or New York; please drop me a line in the comments below.

 

Crocheted cherry blossoms
Book Tour, Books, Speaking Engagements

Vancouver to Courtenay

Crocheted cherry blossoms
Photo caption: Cherry Blossom photo by Jeff Christenson

I have two free public events this week:

Tomorrow night I will be at the Roundhouse with Ann-Marie Metten and Lenore Rowntree discussing the Joy Kogawa House Cherry Blossom Project for the Vancouver Community Arts Council’s ‘Eco Arts Salon’ series.

This is a free event held from 7-9 pm. I will be showing some examples of yarn bombing and knit graffiti and we’ll also discuss the benefits and challenges of the cherry tree project. Bring your knitting needles and crochet hooks, we will bring the yarn.

Participants will get to knit or crochet some pink cherry blossoms from yarn (or pompoms if you’ve never knitted before!) to donate to Kogawa House’s fund-raising campaign.

On Saturday the 26th, I’ll be in the Comox Valley, aka my hometown, talking about subversive craft at the Courtenay Library from 2-3 pm. This event will be very special for me as both my grandmother and mother have worked most of their careers at this library, and I spend a few years there as a teenager learning the Dewy Decimal system after school. I’ll be discussing the artists in both my books and answering questions.

Both Hoopla and Yarn Bombing books will be available for sale and signing at both events. In the coming weeks I’ll also be at the Burnaby Public Library, Seattle’s Urban Uprising, and Vancouver’s One of a Kind show. See my events page for more details.