Making Our Own Books: Together!

Making Our Own Books: Together!

I had the wonderful experience of teaching “MAKE YOUR OWN BOOKS’, an enrichment class offered at Franklin Elementary School in Santa Monica by the CREST Enrichment program.

webaThe sweet and talented students ranged from first to fourth grade, and had a blast making books of different sizes, structures and materials.

webcThey first bound together their portfolios, made of hanging file folders, then designed and developed the outside covers of these,

webegetting acquainted with each other, their materials, myself, and their own creativity and imagination.

webdThen we began our book projects…which included accordion fold books, flag books, fan books,

webbsingle signature bindings, and side “stab” bindings.

webfTo celebrate our achievements, learning and fun, we had a “last class” family event.

webtFamily and CREST staff were invited to Make Books Together!

webkDid we have fun making “double” single signature books, learning the pamphlet stitch, and embellishing up a storm!

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webmMoms,

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webi

weblNannies,

webo

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webpand Dads got into the act,

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webvalong with our delightful students…

webwand CREST staffers who got to take a creative break!

i will miss this class, and the open, fluid creativity of the students. I hope to have the opportunity to work with them again!

 Wishing everyone a creative and healthful New Year…and a celebration of the positive power of the Imagination. Let us imagine a better world…and Make It, Together.

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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 5

The Sheltering Book Chapter 5

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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, to create, “The Sheltering Book“.

web2hOpen to the world.

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” program was held at the , of the Santa Monica Public Library. The program was attended by participants from preschool to post school who created books,  and shared them in the shelter of The Sheltering Book.

webaThis kind patron helped Montana Branch Library Manager Stephanie Archer and I carry The Sheltering Book into the Community Room.

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.

webgA whole wonderful family of three generations…grandma, mom, and four fantastic, talented and creative daughters!

webbwebiReveling in materials.

webcCreative use of papert strips too create waving grasses, behind which cat’s eyes glimmer…

webtSharing with little sis looking on…

webewebkUse of magazine images.

webhShe has a beautiful sense of design.

webdGrandma gets into the act!

weblwebpCreating with Grandma…pretty in Pink!

webrSharing…

webmA children’s book illustrator…

webushares her creation…lovely color choices!

webnThis wonderful teaching artist claimed the time to create a piece about her own identity…

webvemploying buttons, collage, mixed media,

webv2to great effect…  webv4and sharing.

webxBeautiful use of leaves…

webx1outside,

webx3

webx4and inside, her book!

weby_1She strolled into the Community Room during a break, and jumped right in!

  weby_4A natural presenter!

levyweb6-jpgThis lovely couple go right into the expressive spirit…

levyweb2-jpgcreating about music,

levyweb3-jpgand other visions.

levyweb1b-jpgPhotogenic too!

This maker truly committed…

weby1using inspiration from the natural

weby2and the man-made worlds…

weby4and fully developing ideas

weby3within her book.

weby5Sharing…


webzThis spirited artist used to be a casting agent…

webz1and she has truly found a new medium within which to epxress herself…and vision.

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!

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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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The Sheltering Book Chapter 1

The Sheltering Book Chapter 1

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

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

For my project, “The Sheltering Book“, I am constructing 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).

Here is The Sheltering Book in process in the studio:

web3The book is made of corrugated cardboard, primed, base-painted and layered with paint washed, a paint effect, or decorative painting technique. Here boards are waiting to be painted, while the accordion spine

web2is readied to receive its wash treatment on the work table.

web4The base colors are Fine Paints of Europe primary colors, the paint version of the Pantone Color System.

web6Accordion spine made in two parts, with overlapped center.  Extra pieces added to the top to add height.

web24Because the spine was made of moving boxes, there were slits cut on either end. The end that became the bottom of the book was folded over and glued to create extra strength. (Not pictured here.)

web26 The slits and resulting gaps in the top were covered with board prepared in the same manner as the primed, painted and treated surface. The diamonds cover the last bit of gap, and became a design element.

web5Cover board before border added.

web9Cover boards with borders, glued and stitched to accordion spine.

web10Stitching cover board to spine. Interior view.

web8Cover board attached to inside of spine. Left side exterior  view.

web23Cover board stitching. Right side exterior view.

web14Left side pages glued to spine.

web20 Ready to glue left side pages.

web19Harvest colors: red-russet  covers, golden-yellow pages (complimentary purple on reverse- not pictured.)

web28The process: holes punched with awl, spaced with handmade cardboard template. Sewn with 48lb / 21.7kg natural hemp cord.

Please join us for one of the public bookmaking workshops!
  • Sunday October 16th 10 AM – 12:30 PM   The Braid Theater Gallery, Home of the Jewish Women’s Theater / 2912 Colorado Ave #102 Santa Monica, CA 90404
  • Thursday October 20th 7 – 9 PM, 430 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90405, A  Community Corporation of Santa Monica (CCSM) Affordable Housing Bldg. (This one is just for building residents and CCSM Staff).
  • 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!                                        

 
                                      
                                        

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…