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.

Books1: Gossamer Wings: Books Which Waft

Books1: Gossamer Wings:Books Which Waft

In my obsession with,  as one roommate put it many years ago, “Putting things to use”, (“Debra, one thing I really admire about you is how you put things to use!”), I set aside that which I don’t use or recycle…and create from it other things.

As I continue my exploration and experimentation with bookmaking as a vehicle of expression, transformation and communication, I find myself playing with the simplicity of stitching, and layering materials in new ways to capture or transmit a feeling. The materials themselves are layered with meaning…

WEB1Gossamer Wings: brown paper, glassine (I think…this semi-sheer material just sort of came my way and I responded to its expressive potential), paint chips, a piece of found fabric (at Trash for Teaching in LA),  a piece of “scrapbook” paper from a pad, (from Michaels, I believe), and 10lb 100% natural  hemp cord.

WEB2It opens gently.  It wafts.

WEB1Maggie’s: more glassine (I think…again material that wafted to me from SAG…advertising academy award film nominees, because my husband Mark Henry Samuel is an actor, and in the Union…), exhibition announcements from old friend and painting teacher in France, the incredible artist Maggie Siner, and a brochure for architect Richard Neutra‘s VDL Studio and Residences. The accordion/concertina folded spine, and “fan” pages…create a…fan.  Which wafts.

WEB1PlaceMat: repurposed placemat with stitching, ledger paper from another era, and 10lb 100% natural  hemp cord.

WEB4The placemat cover provides stability, the lighter pages waft. Almost waft.  A slight breeze is required.

Waft  (not waffle) on!

Piecing Our Story

Piecing Our Story

FAITH_art2Faith Ringgold

Inspired by the “Story Quilts” of Faith Ringgold…I incorporated fabric collages into some classes and programs I  had the privilege of  teaching and leading.

WEB1The idea was to piece together elements of fabric…cloth…to express or depict aspects  of the maker’s life story. To “fabricate’ one’s story…to “cloth” one’s story in visual details…the definition can be rather loose.  Above, my sample expresses something of house and home…a broad theme that could encompass almost anything.

WEB1This fun and evocative piece created by a 17 year old makes beautiful use of aqua-blue wool…at least I think it is wool. As I get many of supplies at a place called “Trash for Teaching” , where companies’ left-overs or overstock is donated to be resold to teachers and others at very low cost,  I am not always sure of their origin. This artist did use paper for the face…extrapolating from a previous lesson on how to draw the face in proper proportion. She is also interested in becoming a make-up professional, so this piece may have played into that ambition and interest as well.

WEB2_2Totally different, but just as evocative is this piece that functions almost like a banner, celebrating the maker’s daughter. Balanced through the elements of color, shape and composition,  the use of the symbols of heart and arrow are  arranged to create the strong center of a radial design which continues and expands the motif of the arrow.  Arrow pointing to directly the heart? Seems like a rather clear story there.

WEB5These brilliantly colored feathers almost appear to emit light against the dark background.  Arranged in a repeating color pattern, the artist is careful to begin and end with pink,  containing the composition within that color horizontally, while flanking it vertically with luminous green, and thus employing the tension of opposites. Pink is a permutation of red, “light” red, (red plus white) which is the compliment, or opposite of green. The color story expresses the human story as a whole.

WEB3Two uses of the heart motif, one created through stitching, and another through the cutting and gluing of material define these two pieces.  Both hearts are tilted to the left, which gives them a dynamic feel of being on movement, and which in turn adds movement to the composition. Above  the deceptively simple composition of white and red on black belies the powerful associations of those colors. Below, warm hues of the  cool color of blue are offset by the soft pinkish-purple (which contains blue) in the center of the color scheme.  The piece is further enlivened by sharp dashes of back in the corners which radiate outwards, and black letters in the center set off by white, another system of opposites.

WEB4The use of the heart shape / symbol, as a central motif, the combination of different kinds of cloth/textile/fabric media, and employment of framing as a compositional device characterize the works above. Bows, pom poms, a scattering of smaller hearts and butterflies, and imaginative color choices are all at play, adding a layer of magic and whimsey to the feelings of hope and longing expressed in these pieces.

Web1AA Mom of two created this piece, which depicts her two children who also attended. Although she came in towards the end of the project, she was able to put together vibrant colors, and strong shapes which speak volumes about her commitment to her family, and tell at least a piece of her story. One strip of patterned ribbon is added which reflects the flowers, and ties the composition together by adding complexity and interest right in the center of the piece. This artist was very specific about which  ribbon she was going to use to achieve this, and with good reason, as the results are stunning.