Flags and Found Fun at the Fowler

Flags and Found Fun at the Fowler

WEB4aIt was a joy to teach aFlag Books and Found Writingworkshop at the Fowler Museum at UCLA last Saturday.

WEB3Participants created the Flag Book structure (invented by master Hedi Kyle),

WEB11after perusing plenty of samples,

WEB13experimenting with color, and expressing their own sensibilities.

WEB5Then filled their books  with “found” writing, and images,

WEB7garnered from myriad scrap, recycled and repurposed print media. assorted papers, drawing and writing materials, and their own creativity.

WEB10They played with pattern, texture, shape, font, similarities and contrasts.

WEB9pgThere were many surfaces of each book to consider adding content to.

WEB8pgEach student displayed an individual approach to color, collage, layering, placement of images, and use of text and image in their books.

WEB12Indeed.

WEB14This student cut letters out of paper patterned with…letters. (words),

WEB15integrating color, pattern, text and imagery.

WEB16They were focused!

WEB17This artist used the program from the museum about the current José Montoya show…re-purposing it for her book!

WEB18We used beautiful wooden tools designed for ceramics work, as our “bone folders“, to make our folds crisp, and “smooth” the process along (!).

WEB6This adventurous student even took off with the accordion folding technique, creating a second accordion fold book.

I was thrilled to hear what some of the participants felt about our workshop…

“….I really feel I have learned something useful. Thank you for offering the workshop.”

 “I enjoyed the flag bookmaking class very much. ….each of us produced something totally individual yet with the same format…. More, please!”

Yes, more indeed!

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Sending Bookish Love

Sending Bookish Love

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I led an hands-on Envelope Bookmaking workshop for families, at a building owned and operated by The Community Corporation of Santa Monica, or CCSM.

WEBfParticipants learned to make a concertina or accordion fold,

WEBggand attach it as pages to their envelope covers.

WEBiiThen came the fun part…

WEBhEMBELLISHMENT!

WEBaaMarkers, stickers, collage, ribbon…this is a mixed media project.

WEBcThis artist displayed not only a wonderful color sense, but tremendous patience, as she cut and glued on paper triangles mosaic style to her envelope cover.

WEBbb   This artist became absorbed in her writing.  Who is the lucky recipient of her efforts?

WEBd     The sky is the limit…or should we say the stars…

WEBeeProudly displayed…A very special Valentine, or some kind of communication.

BRAVO!

 

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.