That Ribbon of…1

That Ribbon of…1

WEBa

It is fascinating to explore ways of integrating ribbon and tying mechanisms into book structures. An integrated tie mechanism encourages the user to engage with the object…opening and closing, tying and untying.

WEBb

In an ongoing process of attempting to meld bookmaking, decorative painting, conceptual, and “fine” art into the mysterious form known as the “artist’s book“, I am exploring the use of tissue paper and the like combined with adhesives to create a tactile, textured surface, and incorporating the ribbon or tie as an integral part of the piece.

WEBc

The textured surface combined with the ribbon or tie, can create a compelling, intriguing, and , incredibly satisfying object to gaze upon, to touch, to hold, and to use.

WEBdHere simple cardboard is covered with crinkled tissue once used to separate sheets of metallic leaf.

WEBaThis tissue, for lack of a better term, is thin, fine, ultra flexible, crushable, porous, adherable and absorbent. Perfect for texturing, which, when combined with adhesive, becomes almost like a glue itself.

WEBeHere, one ribbon defines the spine of the structure, while another is embedded between layers of tissue and glue, with tieable ends emerging.

WEBfHere gold cord is sandwiched between layers of adhesive-saturated tissue, connecting the two covers and creating a built-in tying mechanism.

WEBgThe thin tissue takes on the shape of the cord underneath it, creating a sculptural relief  or raised effect.

WEBjjpgA similar technique was used for this piece, with the ribbon is adhered to the surface, creating a strong graphic element.

WEBijpgEnds are left loose to tie the book closed.

WEBhWhat will go inside?

One step at a time.  We have to turn each page…in turn…if we don’t want to miss the in-between.

Which might be the most interesting part of the story…

T.B.C.

 

 

 

 

Pushing the Envelope

Pushing the Envelope

Using the form of the envelope to create an artist’s book can be evocative, provocative,  crafty, conceptual, fun, somber, expressive, “artistic”, creative, engaging, and baffling. As with many artists’ books, the question can be raised, “What are these for? What is their purpose? Are they meant to be read, observed and perused, handled, shown behind glass?”  And in the case of the envelope book “…sent through the mail?”

I don’t presume to answer these questions, and can imagine another post which delves more deeply into them.  In this one, my  intent is to share a few of my own envelop books, the materials used in them, some of the motivation, thinking and feeling behind them, and let the observer draw their own conclusions, and perhaps becoming inpsired to explore, and even create one of their own.

Note: in this post,  we see books created in the form of an envelope…as opposed to books created from existing envelopes, which is a whole other story. Also, hemp cord was used to bind the sewn books, and acid-free UHU glue sticks were used as the adhesive for anything glued on all the books depicted.

WEBa WEBbCutting, Folding, Stamping, Sewing…

In this book, the basic form is cut and folded, and a single signature is sewn into the last fold with a pamphlet stitch.  A single rubber stamp image stamped in varying ways is used to develop and adorn the piece, and delicate handmade paper containing plant material adds a finishing touch to the pages.

WEBdWEBaWEBbWEBcLone Stories Connect…Discover “I Think I Can”…It’s Everything

In the piece above, the basic structure is cut and folded from a sketchbook cover, and the pages created by a concertina/accordion folded paper strip glued into its next to last section.. The collaged elements, ranging from printed material cut from magazines,  personal writing, repurposed corrugated paper, ribbon scrap and copied illustration images, tell a story of pain and isolation with the potential of redemption through connection and story.

WEBa WEBb WEBcPainfully Animal

This mini book opens on four sides, with pages sewn in a single signature into one fold. Soft handmade paper is used both for adornment and  pages, attached with a running stitch which is threaded back into the sewing holes so that the two ends can be tied together. The single message greets the viewer right in the center. What does it mean? Well, ponder it for awhile, and notice your associations with the phrase, “Painfully Animal”. What does the term evoke for You?

WEBa WEBb WEBcMixed Media Envelope Book: Work in Progress

This mixed media message piece has been underway, along with a number of bookish siblings, for over two years.  It’s structure is cut and folded, like the first envelope book depicted in this post, and it’s graph paper pages stacked into a single signature, and sewn into the end fold with a running stitch as described above. The  painstaking, step-by-step process of developing the book’s content requires time and focused attention.

Every bit of image and text must feel ‘right’ in how it looks, what it evokes and where it is placed in the book. The ‘story’ that emerges, however non-linear, is discovered in the doing as much by the artist, as it may be later by the observer. Time itself is one of the most significant materials used, as such a piece can’t be rushed.

In these works, many aspects of the creative process come into play: patience and impulse, technique and tension, methods and materials, effort and evocation.

The medium of the envelope book may be on  a mission to become a missive to the outside world from the maker’s heart and soul, hands and head. If it gets a little heady, or crafty in-between, well, that might be just another aspect of this long strange trip we’re on.

Material World (4)

Material World (4)

One of the pleasures and deep satisfactions of bookmaking is delving into the visual, visceral, and tactile pleasures of materials.  Though many artists do not make the kind of money that allows for indulgence in what might be termed, “material pleasures”, we may be seen as materialistic…for materials are the very warp and weft of our trade.  We can find our way to the ineffable through immersion in the materials and techniques we choose to create with. Here I share some of my own investigation into the qualities inherent in materials that create texture. Though I am a visual artist, I find the sense of touch as powerful as that of sight, and am fascinated with how the two work together.


web1“A Stitch in Time Saves 9”, Flag Book, Title stitched onto flags, covers textured with crumpled tissue paper and adhesive, collage and repurposed beads stitched onto cover.

WEBaTextured Fan, covers covered with textured, painted and glazed paper, accordion spine made of repurposed Neutra VDL House brochure

WEB4“Brown Paper Bag”, Covers textured with crushed plain brown paper and brown paper bags, bound with hemp cord.

WEB4PaperPaintPlant, single signature binding, using paper containing plant material.

WEBcTeapot Book, Japanese Side Stab binding using thick highly textured handmade paper for covers, and drawing paper for pages, teapot rubber-stamped.

Synesthesia” isa rare neurological condition in which two or more of the senses entwine.”

The sense of sight and the sense of touch. How can we separate the two?  Does something feel like what it looks like, or does it look like what it feels like? Powerful questions for anyone working in the visual, or any realm of communication and expression.  Powerful stuff.

Material World (3)

Material World (3)

One of the pleasures and deep satisfactions of bookmaking is delving into the visual, visceral, and tactile pleasures of materials, and how to employ and combine them. The following shares one step of my journey exploring and investigating the qualities inherent in specific materials.   Though many artists do not make the kind of money that allows for indulgence in what might be termed “material pleasures”, we can be seen as materialistic… for materials are the very warp and weft of our trade.  We find our way to the ineffable through the use and exploitation of the materials we choose to create from.

The following books are created from basic but sturdy  cardboard, the kind that drawing pads are attached to, wrapped with a felt that is made from recycled plastic bottles. That aspect alone would lend these pieces a feel-good quality, but the fact that they become warm, fuzzy and strongly tactile books for some reason is currently irresistible to me. Playing with the single signature bound book form in this way has been pure joy. All the books employ the pamphlet stitch.

WEB1WEB2WEB3WointerSuite: Gray

This is a multi-signature (gathering of folded pages) book structure, even though each signature is composed of a single folded page, stitched separately to a piece of felt that was then glued to the whole inside surface of the book. The pages are high quality drawing paper  designed for pastels.


WEB1WEB2WinterSuite: BlueBlack

This piece is also a multi-signature structure, each signature composed of a single folded sheet, stitched separately to a strip of felt that was then glued to the spine. Two other cerulean blue sheets of felt were then glued to the inside surfaces of both covers. The pages are also pastel drawing paper, of a different sort. Yes, that is a working zipper on the spine. “Unzipped“?  “All Zipped Up“?

WEB1WEB2WEB3 WEB4WinterSuite: BabyPink

Fascinated by the use of Eco-fi felt, I wanted to see how felt pages would look and feel, and so bound this “BabyPink” book.   It’s 6 pages are created from a single signature of 3 folded felt pieces, stitched to a strip of felt that was then glued to the spine. A piece of off-white felt was  glued to the inside surface of each covers. The corners that were cut off the felt “wrapper” and other felt fragments were used for embellishment, in an effort to use the felt to its fullest. In this way, such activity becomes piece / peace work.

 There is something primal about doing this… primal as regards to materials, and creating the basic form of covers, spine and pages.  Even when open, the book remains  mysterious and primordial form in feeling. It seems to start at the very beginning…

Material World (2)

Material World (2)

One of the pleasures and deep satisfactions of bookmaking, is delving into the visual, visceral, and tactile pleasures of materials, and how to employ and combine them. The following shares one step of my journey exploring and investigating the qualities inherent in materials.   Though many artists do not make the kind of money that allows for indulgence in what might be termed, “material pleasures”, we may be seen as materialistic…for materials are the very warp and weft of our trade.  We find our way to the ineffable through the use and exploitation of the materials we choose.

WEBaFront view…closed and tied.

WEBbPeeking open, ribbons wafting

WEBcAn open book…

WEBdSeen from behind

Single signature binding with wrapped covers, collage, patterned paper from scrapbook pads, drawing paper, recycled shirt-weight cardboard covers, binding sewn with hemp cord, ribbon. Ribbon inserted through book, between cover board and wrapping and over spine.

Artists Books, The Book Arts, Bookbinding, Bookmaking, The Making of Books, however you want to put it, is fertile ground for this exploration/exploitation.  In this sense, we are turning even our language on its proverbial head. For what might be seen as negative, such as materialism (being “materialistic”) and exploitation (making use of and benefiting from resources) becomes an act of creativity, imagination and exploration through this transformative  process.  Which becomes ultimately, an act of expression.

Material World (1)

Material World (1)

One of the pleasures and deep satisfactions of bookmaking, is delving into the visual, visceral, and tactile pleasures of materials, and how to employ and combine them. The following shares one step of my journey exploring and investigating the qualities inherent in materials.   Though many artists do not make the kind of money that allows for indulgence in what might be termed, “material pleasures”, we may be seen as materialistic…for materials are the very warp and weft of our trade.  We find our way to the ineffable through the use and exploitation of the materials we choose.

WEB3Three Books in Bows…all dressed up and  ready to go. An exploration of textiles, papers, ribbons, beads, shells, repurposed materials,  collage, hemp cord, jute, nylon and bindings. Textures created with tissue and brown wrapping paper and adhesive, layering of transparent material over collaged two-color cover, and stitching. Detail added with recycled and found beads, a treasured shell, and gauzy, glittery, patterned and woven ribbon.

WEB1Two Friends…My own version of an “art pauvre”, …a simple structure of humble, repurposed materials existing quietly in the world. Single signature binding of recycled graph paper pages, using jute cord, covers and spine made of recycled cardboard, covered with scraps of recycled cloth. Repurposed ornament stitched to front cover with hemp cord. The pleasures and mysteries of the seemingly mundane and everyday.

WEB5Unzipped…so named because there is a zipper stitched to the front cover…(to be depicted at a future time if a good picture can be made of it.) Another example of my expression of “art pauvre”.  Single signature book with pages made from recycled paper,  covers and spine made of recycled cardboard, covered with repurposed cloth. Jute cord used for binding, and to attach exterior cloth to covers. Interior cloth strips/insets glued on.

WEBiWEBjZebra BookSingle signature binding with wrapped covers, patterned paper from scrapbook pads, recycled shirt-weigh cardboard covers, folded card stock weight spine, patterned gauze ribbon, embroidery thread used for sewing. Ribbon inserted through book, between cover board and wrapping.

WEBmWEBpLace 2… Single signature binding with wrapped covers, collage, patterned paper from scrapbook pads, drawing paper, recycled shirt-weight cardboard covers, binding sewn with hemp cord, ribbon. Ribbon inserted through book, between cover board and wrapping and over spine.

WEBfWEBgWEBhLos Angeles, California, Single signature binding with wrapped covers, collage, maps printed on multipurpose paper, patterned paper from scrapbook pads, drawing paper, recycled shirt-weight cardboard covers, binding sewn with hemp cord, ribbon. Ribbon inserted through book, between cover board and wrapping and over spine.

Artists Books, The Book Arts, Bookbinding, Bookmaking, The Making of Books, however you want to put it, is fertile ground for this exploration/exploitation.  In this sense, we are turning even our language on its proverbial head. For what might be seen as negative, such as materialism (being “materialistic”) and exploitation (making use of and benefiting from resources) becomes an act of creativity, imagination and exploration through this transformative  process.  Which becomes ultimately, an act of expression.

Books3: Bookmaking, Artist’s Books, and the Art of Emptiness

Books3: Bookmaking, Artist’s Books,  and the Art of Emptiness

I love to take materials that I have..either saved, given, or just sort of showing up in my life, and set myself the task of weaving them together into unique/one-of-a-kind handmade “artist’s books“…sometimes literally weaving.

The books below are single signature bindings, a signature being a gathering of folded pages, as the marvelous book artist, teacher and author Alisa Golden would put it.

To give the books more heft, I sewed boards, several of which already had holes in them, (because the were backings for sketchbooks, and that’s how the drawing paper was attached…through those holes), to the insides of the covers. Other materials were sewn where they seemed to need to be.

Animal“, repurposed board, paper and business card folder, hemp cord, ribbon.WEBbWEBa

BookShow“, repurposed board, paper and business card folder, hemp cord, collage.WEBaWEBb

Like White on Rice“, repurposed board, paper and business card folder, hemp cord, ribbon.WEBbWEBa

There is an intentional emptiness in these pieces. There is very little text in or on them, and the pages are primarily blank. They aren’t made to be written in either.  They just are. A pure exploration of materials floating through space, bound together, literally, by hand.

Books2: Humbleness and a Deceptive Simplicity

Books2: Humbleness and a Deceptive Simplicity

I have been exploring making simple books using  humble, recycled and repurposed materials that seem to “occur” (meaning, I don’t actively seek them out with a plan in mind) around me. I place these materials in service of a book structure such as side stab binding, and put them together in an instinctive, yet considered way. The materials must feel like they need or are meant to go together in a particular way, that I discover in the doing…

I realized at a certain point that these works could be seen to express the principles of Wabi-sabi…  “the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi

Embracing the “incidental” or existing patterns, coloring and marks on the  materials’ surface, I see what emerges.

Fixing Broken Hearts“:  found cardboard, repurposed paper, hemp cord, collage. Side Stab Binding technique. WEBbWEBaWEBb1

Full“:  found cardboard, repurposed paper, hemp cord, collage. Side Stab Binding technique. WEBc

Pencils“:  found cardboard, used pencils, tissue paper, Mod Podge, used book of matches, repurposed paper, twine, hemp cordSide Stab Binding technique.WEBdWEBeWEgfWEBf

What have you created from humble, repurposed, materials that show up in your life? (on your doorstep, in your mailbox, in your purchases?) Do you  embrace the philosophy and principles of Wabi-sabi? How do you use them in your work and life? What does Wabi-sabi mean to You?

“Artissima Transitiona” I

“Artissima Transitiona” I

Three years ago, for a number of reasons. my husband and I moved to Los Angeles…Santa Monica to be exact.   Since that time, I  have become involved with the making, study and teaching of artist’s books. I teach bookmaking around Santa Monica and LA County, and am continuously  evolving my own expression of this unique art form. Bookmaking, creating handmade books, unique books, artist’s books, and the book arts overlap as activities. In essence, they employ the form of The Book as an expressive vehicle.

WEBe

I have been the principal of my own decorative painting company, ArtiFactory Studio, for many years, primarily in San Francisco, where I resided, also for many years. In this post, I begin to share how I am finding ways to put these two forms together, one, bookmaking, often associated with the small-scale and intimate, and the other, decorative painting, often large-scale, which includes mural painting, glazing, faux finishing, gilding, and a myriad of other ways of “treating” the built environment, IE, the environment created by us humans as the setting for our activities.

d1

I hope to approach this subject in a series of posts, each showing a slice of what I am doing, and hope to do. I am fascinated with notions of scale, with materials, texture, space and design, as well as with the expressive, provocative,  and multidisciplinary nature of handmade books. In this post,  I will share how I brought techniques and notions specific to the field of decorative painting to the form of The Book in my own work. This process has been part of a greater transition in my life, work, business and career on all fronts.  Hence the post’s title” Artissima Transitiona“. The transition continues…

WEBa1Gilding, or the act of adhering metallic leaf over a surface adds a bit of bling, depth and dimension to an already complex surface on this handmade book cover. The gold rectangle also provides a focal point for the eye to rest on, adding order, focus and coherence to the piece. A piece of board was gilded, then added to the surface collage.

web1Texture can be a huge part of decorative painting. The artist manipulates glazes, paints and other materials over a surface to create both visual and physical texture. Here crumpled tissue paper is adhered to the surface in layers, giving it a satisfying texture, variation of color, and contrast to the look, and feel of the other materials used, which include cloth, hemp cord, beads and paper media.

WEB2The covers of this book are made of boards that have been dragged or “Striéd“, a technique by which paint or glaze is applied to a surface, and a large stiff brush is used to drag through it while it is still wet, leaving a up and down stripe-like pattern/texture.

WEB4Here a “brown paper bag” feeling is created by using humble brown wrapping paper (and bags) to create an earthy  texture on the surface of this book’s covers. Individual pieces of hemp cord are used for the binding, adding to the homespun simplicity and feel.

WEB5This book is created from boards that were originally painted with metallic paint and glaze samples for a client. I loved how these samples looked together, and added the rust, iron and verdigris sample pieces above them.  The rest of the book is made of paper with plant material flowing through it.  It  is bound with linen thread in a  single signature  (gathering of folded pages).

WEBaFinally, here is a book with an accordion spine; a “found” spine…meaning that I happened upon a design brochure, and its size, weight and color worked perfectly the book I developed. The covers are made of paper that has been textured, painted and glazed, then glued onto boards. The contrasting “edge design” is created by the addition of another painted and glazed decorative painting sample, glued on the open edge, then folded over, and glued onto the inside of each cover, giving it more stability, integrity, and visual interest.

I hope you will join me as I journey through this time of creative transition, exploration, and discovery. Although the waters feel uncharted, there are plenty of inspirational and provocative artists, makers and craftspeople to help light the way.  Here’s to diving in!

Book eSCAPE

Book eSCAPE

Traveling between the covers…

Long stitch multi-signature book…with button…learned from the great Jeannine Stein.

WEB1Signatures are gatherings of folded pages that nest inside each other.

WEB2Here you can see the six signatures clearly!

WEB3A bit of unexpected “paging” …vintage recipes…

WEB4sheet music…

WEB5and upside-down maps provide moments of surprise and pause.

Flag Book with Found Writing,  designed as an inspirational sample for teen students.

WEB1Vision Book…

WEB2“Take action…Like Nothing Else”

WEB3The movement of the book  makes malleable meaning of its words.

WEB4Type faces and fonts work with color

WEB5to underline the meaning…or create new meaning.

“Double Fan Book”,  a model for a life-sized “Big Book” that could be used as an presentation space.

WEB1Covers and pages fan out from an accordion spine,

WEB2creating spaces between them.

WEB3“Windows and doors” are cut into the planes of the corrugated cardboard surface, creating more moment and views.

web4The parts are stitched / lashed together with hemp chord.

WEB5The piece is designed to draw attention to the parallels between books and architectural spaces, and explore the connections between them.

I hope you enjoyed this  Book eSCAPE, and  join me again to travel between the covers and through the sheets…of cardboard and paper of course.