“Building Your World”

“Building Your World”

In a recent program at the Westwood Branch Library, children created their own worlds inspired by architecture, repurposed materials, and their own imaginations!

Participants engaged concepts of architecture, design, engineering, construction and environment, finding new uses for cast-off items, and recycling what could have been trash into  fanciful constructions of joy, wit, whimsy…and always, creativity.

Creating and using color…pipe cleaners, a wooden clothes pin, plastic and paint samples and cardboard ribbon spools!

Arranging a wooden cutout (left over from a furniture-making class) and a pipe cleaner on a project board…ready to add other materials.

Another young maker using the same wooden cutout in a whole different way. Clothespins and empty spools become hooks and clips for jewelry.

Drawing combined with unique packing material and plastic tiles topped by small spools form the visual structure for this young boy’s world.

Here the project board is used as a flat base, and din=mension is added with a gift box top, straws, and yet another employment of empty spools.

Participants worked flat on tables in the library’s multipurpose/community room, and most came at the start of the program, and stayed for its 1.5 hour entirety, allowing them time to truly play, design, experiment and build.

Lawrence worked what looked to be upside down on his project,

perhaps turning his project board base around to see how it was developing from both vantage points.

This lovely world of color, flowers animals and doors/flaps which lift up was created by a young girl of preschool age, working quietly in a corner with her mother. She made beautiful use of the materials, arranging cardboard, tile and paint samples and pipe cleaners to beautiful effect.  I would love to visit this world for a bit!

It was exciting to see children visualize wolds in real time, then create them concretely. I have to believe it was wonderful and empowering for the children and their adults as well.

“Let’s Make Books” at LACMA

“Let’s Make Books” at LACMA

It has been wonderful to teach a family bookmaking class: “Let’s Make Books” for ages 5 and up at LACMA (The Los Angeles County Museum of Art).

Parents can attend with their children, and spend three hours visiting and drawing in LACMA’s galleries, grounds and gardens, walking through its architecture, and learning about its collection, before returning to one of the LACMA Art Studios to work together on art projects related to what has been visited and viewed.  A total experience of art immersion!

In this class thus far we have made accordion books with pop-ups, “folded fan” books with “windows and doors”, flag books, and tunnel books. A grand time has been had by all, including myself.  It is wonderful to work with families, see parents and siblings interacting, and the grown-ups getting a creative break which hopefully will refresh and rejuvenate them when they leave LACMA, and return to their daily lives.

Folded fan book with “windows” that open.

“Playing” with washi tape.

HeARTfelt…

The tunnel book can fold up, stand up, and stretch.

Using LACMA exhibition announcements and postcards as part of the artwork.

Doors closed….

Doors open…

In process…

A colorful collection of magnificent tunnel books!


The creative endeavor of our kindly assistant…who played imaginatively with the tunnel book structure!

Kindness, creativity, imagination, play…these are the hallmarks of our program, and were in abundance during our class. Hurray for LACMA!

We have a bookmaking class for children aged 10-13 starting in early April…check it out!  We would love to have your children in our class…making art together.

CHAPTERS I : “Chromatic Interactions”

CHAPTERS I: “Chromatic  Interactions”

The wonderful Craft and Folk Art Museum of Los Angeles currently has on view “Chapters: Book Arts in Southern California” through May 7, 2017.

I had the opportunity of creating an interactive book for the show, one that potentially 8000 viewers/participants could become co-creators of by adding and subtracting color, pattern, graphics and text as they so chose.

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I created the flag book  structure from book board (covers),webe

watercolor paper (accordion spine), rice paper (covering the spine),webi

repurposed file folders (torn into pieces to “cover the covers” and folded to form the flag page pockets), linen thread (to stitch the flag pages/pockets), Lineco Neutral pH Adhesive (for gluing) ,webd
and colored file cards (to write and draw upon, and insert into the pockets in varied arrangements), to create  “Chromatic Interactions”.webc
I aligned the ‘windows” in the covers, with the windows cut out of the flag book pockets, 
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so that the file cards would read through the front and back cover apertures.webg
The results of offering the public the opportunity to express themselves through interacting with the book were fascinating.
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I was moved that participants were expressing their feelings about current events, and the “state of the nation”. webn
Some just got silly and had fun.
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Some asked profound questions…reflecting what is on the collective mind.webq

Some waxed poetic.webu
And one young artist expressed her feelings through creating a bookmark, as all the windows were filled!
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 Perhaps the greatest treasure of all…

Thank you Inez!

And thank you to the wonderful Holly Jerger, curator, for this amazing opportunity to give CAFAM viewers a voice..I am looking forward to seeing what else they have to say.

“The Big Book”: Collaboration 1

“The Big Book”: Collaboration 1

Last summer I had the opportunity to do a collaborative book project with students aged 5-10….we called it “The Big Book“.

webaFront cover of “The Big Book

I constructed a “folded fan” style flag book…out of corrugated cardboard. I folded an accordion spine, attached a front and a back cover, and two pages inside, going in the same direction, which fanned out when the book was opened.

webbBack cover of “The Big Book“.

I used tacky glue to put the pieces together, then sewed therm in place with hemp cord, and finally, trimmed the whole piece off with patterned duck tape. I then primed all of the surfaces, and painted the outside (front and back covers and spine) black, and the inside white, with acrylics. I added extra strips of re-purposed corrugated cardboard for stability.

webdStudents embellished the cardboard borders which also added structural support to the book.

webcA student’s expression of gratitude!

webkWonderful advice!

weblSo happy to see this….

webqStudents embellished just about every inch of the book…playing with words, colors, textures, designs and materials.

webrI created the structure…but the young artists left their mark/s….and made the piece come alive.

Much fun was had in the process. Students learned not only about using materials on a scale larger than their other book projects, but also about working together, collaboration, communication and cooperation.  Skills needed now perhaps more than ever.

Good lessons for our times. For any times. For all the times of our lives.

The Sheltering Book Chapter 6

The Sheltering Book Chapter 6

I was honored to be one of 17 artists to receive an inaugural ‘The WORD Grant 2016: The Bruce Geller Memorial Prize” from the Institute for Jewish Creativity, a project of American Jewish University, to create, “The Sheltering Book“.

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The Sheltering Book will be a life-sized book structure which will become the backdrop for community bookmaking workshops drawing parallels between the meaning and architecture of the book, and that of the Sukkah. The project also explores the relationship between the public sphere and private space, whether that space be our personal creativity, where we create, or what we create.”Debra Disman

web2cThe Sheltering Book is composed of an accordion spine, front and back covers, and two movable pages on each side which open away from the center, creating a space for shelter, presentation, performance and sharing.

web3To create a Sukkah shelter, dyed and stenciled netting was spread over the top of the Book, held in place by pins.

web9dThe Sheltering Book was constructed out of corrugated cardboard, primed, base painted, and transformed with layers of semi-sheer paint applications in harvest colors, which played across the surface.

webiParticipants gathered in front of The Sheltering Book to create their own books,

webvand then share them, using The Sheltering Book as a backdrop, stage set, and human-sized performance space.

webbThe Sheltering Book becomes a synergistic process and experience for the community at-large, offering shelter, safe space, and creative inspiration for all who engage with it.

Let us hold the vision.

The Sheltering Book Chapter 4

The Sheltering Book Chapter 4

I am honored to have been one of 17 artists who received an inaugural ‘The WORD Grant 2016: The Bruce Geller Memorial Prize” from the Institute for Jewish Creativity, a project of American Jewish University, to create, “The Sheltering Book“.

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The Sheltering Book will be a life-sized book structure which will become the backdrop for community bookmaking workshops drawing parallels between the meaning and architecture of the book, and that of the Sukkah. The project also explores the relationship between the public sphere and private space, whether that space be our personal creativity, where we create, or what we create.”Debra Disman

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A “Sheltering Book” workshop was held at 430 Pico in Santa Monica, a building owned by the Community Corporation of Santa Monica (CCSM), who rents out apartments to families and others, and provides a range of programming to them. Our workshop was part of that programming, and was attended by families with children from preschool to high school. A group of volunteers provided a lovely buffet and supported the participants, who created books,  and shared them in the shelter of The Sheltering Book.

web9Covers and pages were prepped, and participants bound them together into a single signature book which they then added to with writing, drawing and collage materials!

web3I taught the pamphlet stitch, but this young maker jumped right in, and wrote his book before it was bound!

web4Working with images cut from magazines…

webgAdding letters to create words…

webbDeveloping the interior…

webhCreating meaning…

webmUsing the drawing materials…

webaweba2A future “Women in the Arts”…

webnSharing our books in the shelter of The Sheltering Book.

websRoom for creative work here!

webvHe worked long and hard with a devoted volunteer to spell out his name in letters culled from magazines.

web7Celebration! Showing our books within the pages and open “walls” of The Sheltering Book”…supported within its loving “arms”.

The participants become the content and the characters of The Sheltering Book. Through their presence and their creations they people its pages, add meaning to its presence, and add life to its structure.Their story becomes its story, and vice versa.

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The Sheltering Book becomes a synergistic process and experience for the community at-large, offering shelter, safe space, and creative inspiration for all who engage with it. 

Let us hold the vision!

The Sheltering Book Chapter 3

The Sheltering Book Chapter 3

I am honored to have been one of 17 artists who received an inaugural ‘The WORD Grant 2016: The Bruce Geller Memorial Prize” from the Institute for Jewish Creativity, a project of American Jewish University, to create, “The Sheltering Book“.

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The Sheltering Book will be a life-sized book structure which will become the backdrop for community bookmaking workshops drawing parallels between the meaning and architecture of the book, and that of the Sukkah. The project also explores the relationship between the public sphere and private space, whether that space be our personal creativity, where we create, or what we create.”Debra Disman

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The WORD Grant, a project of American Jewish University’s Institute for Jewish Creativity, supports artists creating projects that explore Jewish ideas, themes, tradition, history, and identity. We believe in supporting a contemporary, vibrant, Jewish cultural landscape in Los Angeles.”  —The Institute for Jewish Creativity

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Made of corrugated cardboard, primed, base-painted, and treated with layers of transparent color, the Sheltering Book becomes a Sukkah With the addition of dyed netting stenciled with ferns, the “s’chach“, roof of the Sukkah.

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web2The Sheltering Book at The Braid Theatre Gallery, Home of the Jewish Women’s Theatre

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   Our first community bookmaking workshop was held at the lovely Braid Theatre Gallery.

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The Sheltering Book onstage, becomes a theatrical backdrop, a set, and a theater in and of itself, as participants create their books nearby,

web8using brilliant and beautiful materials.

web10aMother and daughter work side by side.

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web12Participants focus on”building”, then developing their flag books.

web13Documenting while doing.

web14web14aPutting together word and image,

web17color,

web19text and texture,

web16web20 themes.

web15and adding titles.

web24   Then we shared….in the safety of The Sheltering Book.

web22web25a web26a web27web31Was it a fluke that black was the predominant clothing color that day? Creating a striking contrast between Book and Bookmaker.

web21Glorious…and sublime.

…to be continued…

The Sheltering Book Chapter 2

The Sheltering Book Chapter 2

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I am honored to have been one of 17 artists who received an inaugural ‘The WORD Grant 2016: The Bruce Geller Memorial Prize” from the Institute for Jewish Creativity, a project of American Jewish University.

web1The Sheltering Book at The Braid Theatre Gallery, Home of the Jewish Women’s Theatre

The WORD Grant, a project of American Jewish University’s Institute for Jewish Creativity, supports artists creating projects that explore Jewish ideas, themes, tradition, history, and identity. We believe in supporting a contemporary, vibrant, Jewish cultural landscape in Los Angeles.”  —The Institute for Jewish Creativity

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For my project, “The Sheltering Book“, I constructed a “life-sized” book, to become the backdrop and inspiration point for bookmaking workshops! The book also draws parallels to the “Sukkah”, a small temporary  shelter used in ancient times for those harvesting to eat and sleep in during harvest season (part of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot which falls in October).

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Please join us this coming Saturday at The Montana Branch Library to make books and explore The Sheltering Book in community!

Saturday October 22nd 10 AM – 1 PM  The Montana Branch Library/Santa Monica Public Library  1704 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403

I will also be there with The Sheltering Book from 2 – 5 PM that afternoon for more exploration, bookmaking and sharing!

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Color In Mar Vista

Color In Mar Vista

Discovery! Painted utility boxes in Mar Vista on Venice.

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And a two-story mural.  Just marvelous. Venice near Sawtelle.

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homage to downtown los angeles

the many textures of frank gehry’s disney hall and environs…

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textural treasures revealed…