Bindingarts’s Blog

March 2, 2010

watching my step

Filed under: Uncategorized — Debra Fink Bachelder @ 6:32 pm

From the time New Yorkers take their first steps we are continually reminded to watch our step. There are broken sidewalks; gaps between platforms and trains; subway and sewer grates appear out of nowhere; and there are people to whom respect must be paid.

Our second lesson is “hurry up.” We are a blur speed walking but it can cause us to miss the sound of a small object, which just fell out of a pocket or dropped off of us, hitting the street. It isn’t until we are home that we realize we lost a key, favorite brooch or the button from our coat.

Being labeled Klutz from a very early age I learned to walk with my eyes cast down allowing me to spot and pick up bits and pieces of lost and found street gems. There must have been a purpose in owning them. There was a story behind the key, an occasion for the charm, a cause for craving “Orange Crush.” All the lost stories just twinkled from the sidewalks and parking lots, a bit scratched, slightly bent or tarnished but needing to be respected so I saved them and took them home to pay them respect.

 I’ve obviously grown up and the only reason I look down now is to look for street gems or to mind the broken sidewalks; gaps between platforms and trains; subway and sewer grates when I am lucky enough to be home. Otherwise I have to watch for mud, scat and manure.


February 14, 2010

My World Has Changed in Seven Months

Filed under: Uncategorized — Debra Fink Bachelder @ 10:06 pm


My brother is going to be okay: cancer is gone. Healing process is a long road for him because he’s not taking good care of himself. He needs a caring woman to kick his ass. I know it’s sexist but it’s the truth. I love him but he is pain in the…and his own worst enemy.  He has got to get well. He has devoted his life to saving others, he has got to fight to save his own.

Robin: She’s going to be okay, too. Undergoing radiation and living with cancer as if it were a chronic disease, which it seems to be.

My nephew is moving to Australia with his wife. Great opportunity but he’s the leader in his field and could stay in the States. Nothing like a smack in the head and those abandonment issues rearing their ugly little heads. May not see him again for many years.

I’ve been working with “my boys” through You Gotta Have HeART. Christmas was great thanks to The NY City Quilters quilt shop. Kathy Izzo donated fabric and hosted  two sessions in her store to to make NYC Christmas stockings for the boys. The Cincinnati youth group from Greenhills Presbyterian Church and my friends at Sames and Cook, a local coffee and antique shop filled them.

This house didn’t sell. Took it off the market and will put it back in the Spring.  Local hospital backed out on the agreement to purchase the small office building that housed hubby’s practice. Bad news: I’m stuck in this town–needed the cash to fix up the house in Akron. Good news, I’ve been using the rent check to finance a new venture.  I’ll tell you about it in the next post and I promise it won’t be seven months from now. I’m hoping it will be next week. Two at most. Life is Good. Really.

August 30, 2009

You Gotta Have HeART!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Debra Fink Bachelder @ 7:53 pm

On 2/18 I blogged about closing an arts program for teenage boys in a residential treatment facility in a small rural community in Ohio.  Well a few weeks ago a church group from Cincinnati on a mission trip to the facility fell in love with the boys and while searching for additional information, found my web page: and contacted me.  They donated $2,000 to restart the arts program.  I am applying for another Giuliani Foundation grant and if I get that we can continuethe program, although scaled back, for about 6-9 months.  Please read about the program and consider making a tax deductible donation to help bring art to these teens.

How Do You Keep Going?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Debra Fink Bachelder @ 7:43 pm

End of summer and I haven’t written in ages or painted for that matter either.  We’re packing to move and I don’t want to go unless it’s back to NY and that ain’t happening. My husband took a new job and closed a private practice, got screwed in the sale (I refuse to say I told you so because I really think, deep down, he knows) has me running boring errands and taking care of the practice as it winds down totally screwing up my days and  and in the midst of it all my big brother who is still in NY with the rest of my family,was diagnosed with stage III metastatic cancer of the tongue. Very bizarre considering he never smoked or drank or chewed tobacco. So I call my friend for some names and info because she’s well connected as is most everyone I know back east and she provides tons of valuable information and then tells me Oh, by the way, I’m stage IV breast cancer againafter 17 years. So I get thrown into a depression (I know how dare I since I am well) can barely get anything done don’t want to do anything except be home (NY) with my brother and friends or in my studio making stuff instead of packing it up and just start hating the world. I already hate Ohio.  No one here reaches out to anyone. My friends back east email and call as do my friends who were originally from the east but native fuckin’ buckeyes? Nope.  Anyway…so I’m refusing to get out of bed one morning (I allow myself to watch an old movie on Sunday mornings especially if it was a crappy night like when my husband snores particularly loud, the cat is restless and I’m having hot flashes in waves) and while channel surfing some preacher (I’ve been an atheist for a long time) says it’s not what you are going through, focus on what you are going to. Perfect for me but not for my brother, Bob, and dear friend, Robin although she’s at peace with it because she’s been battling a long time.  Bobby: it’s still raw and he’s in shock. Treatment will be very aggressive and I will be going home one week a month until he’s feeling better. 

The point of this? I’m out of my funk (depression). For me, what I am going to will be so much better than what I have materialistically and socially and I will be an hour and a half closer to NY and closer to TWO airports.  I just don’t know what my brother is going to so I can help him focus on it except we’re (the family) going to get him a calender with stickers to mark off his treatments so he’ll see an end to the hell.  A few months for the rest of his life? I just hope he’s destined for a long one.

June 7, 2009

Finding My Voice

Filed under: Uncategorized — Debra Fink Bachelder @ 3:39 pm

In art, when you have a style of your own you are said to have found your voice. Well if that’s the case then I pretty much can sing my heart out in photography, jewelry, books and cards but when it comes to watercolor painting I don’t yet know if I’m a soprano.  alto or contralto and if I’m meant to be the diva or content to take my place in the chorus.  Definitely NOT the latter.  I’m shooting for DIVA. I’m good. My instructor (Fred Graff)  picked my painting on the last day, last class critique, as the “best of show” out of 14 paintings. Funny since it was the one I was about to toss in the garbage can as we cleaned up to go home after four days of painting.  Since returning home, I’ve painted three more I really love–they’re posted on my website.

What’s the difference between now and 6 years ago, the last time I painted? I know, last entry I said it was four but I checked the date o n my last painting and it was actually SIX. Planning. I sketch better and faster. I do my homework: I look up (in a great reference book) which paints are staining, transparent, semi-transparent and opaque. I pre-select my palette and experiment with the mixes and layers in my notebooks before I start the painting.  I used to just attack the paper and start painting end up with crap, not understand why and hate it so I quit out of frustration. 

Why the change?  A few years ago I saw an exhibit at the Whitney Museum of Art featuring one of my favorite painters, Edward Hopper. One gallery was filled with sketches and studies for just one painting. I got it. 

Another MAJOR contributing factor, at the end of the 2003 workshop, the instructor left the room for a while and when he returned he came back and handed me a star he made out of mat board and on the star he wrote “courage.”  I still have that star.  This past workshop, last month, I was back in Fred’s class. Fred’s approach and personality made us all believe we could be painters and we could paint anything if we just kept working at it. I wondered if he remembered the star.  Anyway, this time I painted with abandon. I didn’t worry about every brushstroke. I didn’t give a crap about what everyone else was painting or how they were painting– my brush just sang as if I was tooling along the highway with the car windows rolled down and the radio turned  up.  

In a few more weeks, I’ll be ready to take the stage   for Holiday season 2009 and possibly  enter my work in some art shows. I want everyone to hear me so let the music begin.

Stay well. –Debra

May 18, 2009

I’m Painting Again

Filed under: Uncategorized — Debra Fink Bachelder @ 3:02 pm

It’s been four years since I touched a brush and I started watercolor painting.  I remember loving it when I tried it about 11years ago. That was shortly after I moved to Oyhio: I was looking for something to do so took a class that was advertised at a metro park in Columbus.  The ad stated that the instructor was from Brooklyn, NY so I figured I go listen to her “tawk” for three hours a week. I never touched a paint brush prior to that class–not even to paint a wall in my house (just ask my husband). Anyway, Helen Seigel taught the British Round Brush Bobotanical method. Beautiful. But I’m thinking if you want it to look like  exactly like the flowers, then take a photo. Yes, I am oversimplifying things. Helen is an incredibly gifted artist. Her artwork is to die for and she was a great workshop teacher (she stopped teaching workshops to find “real” work as a medical assistant to support her family). Anyway, I was hooked but couldn’t remember enough and was too depressed over the move to small town America to keep working in isolation.

A few years later, I took another class from an artist named David Ruckman at a local (40 minutes away) art center. I loved is work; much more abstract than Helen’s.  David said his biggest influence was an artist named Fred Graff. Again, I didn’t put enough time into it and was frustrated since the classes were only 2 hours long, once a week. Signed up again but dropped out due to schedule conflicts.  So, a couple of years later I’m roaming around an art show in Boston Mills,  Ohio and these wonderful abstract paintings stop me dead in my tracks. I start to talk to the artist and low and behold (actually I really wanted to write “holy shit!”) it was Fred Graff. What a nice guy.  I picked up one of his brochures, signed up for a workshop he was scheduled to teach the following year, LOVED it and, yup, didn’t follow through. 

During the next four years, my schedule kept conflicting with Fred’s workshop schedule (actually step kids’ graduations, Paper Book Intensive Symposiums, Reach Out and Read, and the Society of Arts in Health Care) until this year. So last week I started again, loved every second of class, was mesmerized by his talent and generosity, touched by the kindness of the other participants and grateful to his wife Jan, for keeping us all on track and organized.

Oh yes, since I’ve been home I started and finished a painting, sketched a still life of sea shells (still thinking how I’m going to approach that one–may change the background); and am going to start another painting this afternoon (sketch is done).  Tonight , I’m going to gesso-up some sheets and boards…and I am taking an intermediate level workshop mid June.

May 3, 2009

Funny Sells

Filed under: Uncategorized — Debra Fink Bachelder @ 9:22 pm

First of all, forgive me readers for I have sinned.

What is your sin, Debra?

I have failed to blog for over a month.

What are your pathetic excuses?

Too much end of school year stuff, too many workshops re: business telling me I should social network more so I already feel guilty which drove me further into procrastination and depression, a FABULOUS trip to NY and the anticipation of that VISA bill is compounding the anxiety and, hm-mm…let’s see…oh yes the great news: the little nasty books I wrote that I won’t even let my husband and his family read is selling like hot cakes.

Pray tell oh sinner, what is the name of this nasty book?

You Realize You’re a Jew in a Small Town When…Volume I and Volume II.  Something in town just really pissed me off one day (well one day in particular) and I just sat my ass down and started writing. When I completed the layout I still had too much stuff left even after the edits so I designed the second volume. I posted its availability on the Book Arts List Serve and I’ve been getting orders ever since, the first of which came from the Jaffe Center for Book Arts in Boca Raton, Florida. Couldn’t have been more perfect.

The way to absolution: Keep writing the truth no matter how politically incorrect it is and eat chocolate.

March 19, 2009

Home is Where the HeART is

Filed under: Uncategorized — Debra Fink Bachelder @ 3:54 pm

I am fortunate to have a wonderful like and am grateful for everything and everyone in it. I have everything I need and almost everything I ever asked for except I forgot to sepcify: LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!

Small town living is killing me and after reading an article in The Wall Street Journal about  the physical manifestations of stress: shoulder pain, stiff neck, migraines, nausea…and recognizing that I indeed have them all, I booked a flight home.  I may no longer belong there either anymore but at least I can be among my own people. Crazy, hyper, pushy, in-you-face, let’s eat great food and then go to the art museum and get our nails done on the way back while we tawk about family and other mishigosh and tsouris and kvetch and nosh some more over cawfee and liberally pepper our speech with the “f” word and not give a s–t about the local football team. I feel better already.

Yes I’m going alone. My sister is picking me up at the airport. I’m going to see my brother and hopefully my niece. I have plans already to see old friends from Jersey (Joizee) and possibly a new one from Philadelphia–the City (as in NY, a.k.a. Manhattan, and NEVER F–kin’ called “the big apple unless you’re a tourist) is a great place to meet and schmooze and just be.  Of course I’ll be supply shopping and shlepping the camera.

In the meantime, I’m going to finish my taxes and clean up my studio so I can come back to this other home, batteries recharged and dig in. Actually I’ll be heading  to Cleveland to teach for three days.

March 16, 2009

I think My Technical Problems are Over

Filed under: Uncategorized — Debra Fink Bachelder @ 6:45 pm

After dealing with months of computer hardware and software problems, online shopping nightmares, out-sourced HP printer  techies who waste three hours of your life with live chat support that yields nothing (his question to me after dealing with a printer that kept chopping off 1/2″ from the right side of the page was “…(first he walked me through all the steps to get to the print set preferences–I was already there waiting for him) is the 8 1/2 by 11″ paper selcted?”  I was ready to rip his f–king head off.  Better yet, I’ll never buy HP anything again.

I emailed a friend who happens to be a tenured design professor at OSU. After explaining the situation he told me that it’s a common problem: Adobe Creative Suite is not compatible with HP printers. Hmmmm…  The next day I was talking to another friend about this and she said her mother uses Photshop Elements and she ended up buying an Epson printer because her HP was doing the same thing as mine.  So, after investing in a new PC, software, an HP printer, and other bells and whitsles (my favorite is the screen calibrator) I purchased yet  ANOTHER PRINTER!

Is there an Adobe – Epson conspiracy against HP?  Why don’t HP and Adobe get together and resolve their issues? Is there counseling for software and peripherals? I feel as if I’m the only one stimulating the economy and it’s not as if I’m enjoying it. I prefer going green but loading up on plastic computer crap like printers isn’t exactly great for the environment or my conscience and bank account. Okay, tantrum / tangent done. 

I bought an Epson Photo Stylus R 1900 that uses archival pigment inks and has 8 separate cartridges. A friend and fellow photographer, Sonny Lewis, the guy who took my PR pix posted on my website bio page, came over to the house and made sure the printer, camera and software were all talking to each other so the prints are beautiful.  What does this mean for you? If you purchase my photographs or giclees, depending on the paper and size, I may be able to get them to you sooner. If you order my books, the inks are archival and much finer quality print and color.

The only thing left to resolve is the website–as of this afternoon it won’t let me edit its pages.  I already emailed the administrator.  Sometimes I long for the days of typewriters, carbon paper, bike messengers, letters…

March 1, 2009

Saturday Workshop

Filed under: Uncategorized — Debra Fink Bachelder @ 4:19 pm

Ahhh…nothing is more fun then a great group of people sitting around the dining room table making stuff!

Saturday, I hosted a workshop featuring Coptic stitched bindings. Two books, two ways. First a two needle method to create a “stub” book used to accommodate the build up from adding stuff to your book and the second a single needle method I learned a few years ago while out in Colorado  from one of my favorite artists, Laura Wait.  Sonny, Shirley and Helen sewed their tushes off. I pack a lot into a workshop–something I am going to reexamine. I want tot teach it all at once and give participants their money’s worth but most folks want  to relax a bit more to absorb the methods and use this time to enjoy themselves  and de-stress from a killer week at work.  There’s a happy medium someplace.  As soon as I build a large enough group of “regulars,” participants who frequently take workshops, I’ll split the groups according to their goals: retreat vs, gimme all you got and I want it NOW! Actually its groups that prefer surface design and content with the book structure vs, those who prefer focusing solely on the physical structure of the book, preferring to work in content after  they’re comfortable with assembly.

We did finish the two books and on time with  breaks for coffee, tea and soft drinks and cookies and chocolate and a FABULOUS lunch. References availalbe upon request.  Since I made the same main course for the last two workshops (different participants in both and I even made it for a dinner party I hosted between them) I’ve been hounded with requests for the recipe so here goes:  The name of it is “Lasagna Soup” and it came from the February edition of Family Fun magazine. 

I wanted it to sound more grown (snooty, actually) up so I renamed it “Deconstructed Lasagna.”  I also substituted: lower fat and/or part skim milk cheeses ; swapped all natural, Italian style chicken sausage for fattier  pork sausage; and low carb “Dreamfields” brand pasta for the regular stuff but do as you please. My husband never suspected a thing He woofed it down and when I started to explain that it was “good for him” he begged me not to say anything more. So hear it is…

Deconstructed Lasgana

  • 1.5 lbs Italian style sausage chopped in a food processor
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 4 cloves finely minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 TBS.  Tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes )
  • 2 big  fresh bay leaves
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 8 oz. fussili (sp?) pasta
  • 1/2 C fresh shredded basil
  • 8 ounces ricotta
  • 1/2 cup sharp grated cheese (Parmesan or other sharp imported Italian cheese  that I can’t spell  not the domestic powder out of the green cardboard container that could pass for the powdered stuff some people shake into their coffee.)
  • shredded mozzerella
  1. In a big soup pot, pour a couple of TBs of olive oil into the bottom, heat and stir the sausage, browning it for about 7 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, cook until soften about 5 minutes.
  3. add the garlic, cook about one minute
  4. add oregeno, red pepper and tomato  paste, stirring until paste begins to become brown.
  5. add can of diced tomatoes (not the can, the contents of the can) & the bay leaves & the chicken stock
  6. bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  7. add the pasta and coook until pasta is done–follow package directions,
  8. Mix ricotta and grated cheeses together.


  1. add a blob of the mixed cheese to the bottom of your soup bowl.
  2. add some mozzersprinke some mozzerella on top of the blob of mixed cheeses
  3. Laddle the soup mix on top
  4. stir
  5. Mangia!

Great with a slab of multi grain, crusty bread;  a fresh arugula salad,   great friends and a boat load of art supplies.

Oh, we did manage to have dessert but we kept it very light: lemon sorbet.  go to and check the workshop schedule so you don’t miss the next workshop or great meal. Ciao!

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