A few of my favorite things

With a string of non-stop projects to kick off the year, I have been relying heavily on a core set of trusted tools and materials to keep things moving with minimal hitches. It's only through years of trial and error that a few of my favorite things have come to be.

To qualify, they must be excellent at what they do, comfortable in the hand, unfussy and easy to use, elevate or enhance the work, reliable, value for money, sourced from reliable vendors (most of which cater to the trade), professional-grade, and hackable. And I love when things from other realms, such as Yoga Paws, become the perfect solution. 

Here, in no particular order, are some of my faves:

 Taking measure of what I measure. Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018

Taking measure of what I measure. Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018

 How do I cut lots and lots of paper with precision? With a surgical scalpel, a Yoga Paw, and lots of fresh blades. Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018

How do I cut lots and lots of paper with precision? With a surgical scalpel, a Yoga Paw, and lots of fresh blades. Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018

 These little guys are worth their weight in gold! They're used to constantly in the studio: to flatten rolled paper, sooth the crazy warping that occurs when fire hits paper, align layers of dimensional pieces to create bas-relief wall sculptures, keep things nice and flat while drying, prevent stacks of gold leaf from flying around when the windows are open! Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018

These little guys are worth their weight in gold! They're used to constantly in the studio: to flatten rolled paper, sooth the crazy warping that occurs when fire hits paper, align layers of dimensional pieces to create bas-relief wall sculptures, keep things nice and flat while drying, prevent stacks of gold leaf from flying around when the windows are open! Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018

 One of my favorite hand tools, the Japanese screw punch. It comes with 9 brass bits that bite through paper, binder’s board, cloth and leather like butter. Mine gets a rough workout, as I use it to create hundreds of tiny holes in my burned paper wall sculptures. Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018

One of my favorite hand tools, the Japanese screw punch. It comes with 9 brass bits that bite through paper, binder’s board, cloth and leather like butter. Mine gets a rough workout, as I use it to create hundreds of tiny holes in my burned paper wall sculptures. Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018

 The endlessly fascinating assortment of adhesives and grounds for the paper- and book arts. Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018

The endlessly fascinating assortment of adhesives and grounds for the paper- and book arts. Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018

 By far my favorite archival tape, first introduced to me by the wonderful Julie Leonard during a book arts summer session at Penland. This tape makes all kinds of magic happen without the fuss of glue, including the illusion of control over materials that have a will of their own. Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018

By far my favorite archival tape, first introduced to me by the wonderful Julie Leonard during a book arts summer session at Penland. This tape makes all kinds of magic happen without the fuss of glue, including the illusion of control over materials that have a will of their own. Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018

 After running out of a coveted type of gold leaf from a supplier that is no longer in business, I've been getting up to speed on this material that is so key to my art practice. Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018 

After running out of a coveted type of gold leaf from a supplier that is no longer in business, I've been getting up to speed on this material that is so key to my art practice. Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018 

 The main tools for my burned paper sculptures. I have the respirator professionally fit-test every year or so to ensure complete protection from smoke, toxins from spray paint, and adhesives. You don't want to mess around when playing with fire - the fire extinguishers and fire blanket should be in this image too! Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018

The main tools for my burned paper sculptures. I have the respirator professionally fit-test every year or so to ensure complete protection from smoke, toxins from spray paint, and adhesives. You don't want to mess around when playing with fire - the fire extinguishers and fire blanket should be in this image too! Kelly M. O'Brien ©2018