“We Right The Book” III

“We Right The Book” III

I am honored to serve as Artist in Residence at Verdugo Hill High School in Tujunga,  CA (Los Angeles) for a group of 42 Senior English class Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) students.

Our project is entitled, “We Right the Book“, and is supported by an Artist in residence grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.  I am working with the students on a series of bookmaking projects during weekly workshops held right in the classroom from September – December, 2017. The students are also assisting with bookmaking workshops held for the community at-large in the Sunland-Tujunga Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.

We started with the basics: Accordion Fold Books, created from folding equidistant sections of material. We used “bright tagboard” for the folded pages, and assorted posterboard and railroad board for the covers.

Six wonderful student artists assisted in a community accordion bookmaking program at the nearby Sunland-Tujunga Branch Library/Los Angeles Public Library, passing on what they had learned to 28 participating children accompanied by

parents and grandparents,

some of whom also got into the act.

Materials for book spines and covers are laid out and ready for the young makers.

Supported by student artist assistants Angelica, Karen, Roxy, Lillian, Kai and Haroutyun, participants got right into the activity, choosing colors, folding accordion spines, adding covers and then…

perhaps the best part, developing their content! Writing, drawing, cutting, gluing, designing

The student assistants supported the young makers with their presence,

 interaction, distribution of supplies, and sample making.

Proud bookmakers show off their creations.

What a line-up!

This young artist integrated story and illustrations beautifully, keeping character details consistent.

In this book about striped snakes, the author carefully cut out all the stripes and glued them to the snake characters….a great deal of work and commitment.

Much effort went into this book about Star Wars character Kylo Ren.

The young creator had special support and guidance from student artist assistant Haroutyun, who provided excellent assistance and support.
It was beautiful to see.

We are looking forward to our next community bookmaking program at the Library, a magical place in and of itself, amplified by creative activity.  The student artist assistants will help to spread the word about how to make a flag book, and the results are sure to be magical indeed.

It will be beautiful to see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“We Right The Book” II

“We Right The Book” II

I am honored to serve as Artist in Residence at Verdugo Hill High School in Tujunga,  CA (Los Angeles) for a group of 42 Senior English class Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) students.

Our project is entitled, “We Right the Book“, and is supported by an Artist in residence grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.  I am working with the students on a series of bookmaking projects during weekly workshops held right in the classroom from September – December, 2017. The students are also assisting with bookmaking workshops held for the community at-large in the Sunland-Tujunga Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.

The project is designed to offer participating students an outlet for feelings, thoughts, hopes and dreams related to their upcoming transition out of high school, and into the next epoch of their lives.

We started with the basics: Accordion Fold Books, created from folding equidistant sections of material. We used “bright tagboard” for the folded pages, and assorted posterboard and railroad board for the covers.   We moved from their to the fun, kinetic and versatile Flag Book Structure, invented by renowned book artist Hedi Kyle.

 

“Ascend Descend”

“Do The Impossible”

The “ascent” of “Ascend Descend”

FOCUS

Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Magnet English teacher Amy Leserman joins in the flag bookmaking.

Stay tuned to learn how students from our bookmaking program took their knowledge to the community, assisting in a well-attended bookmaking class for children and youth held at the nearby Sunland-Tujunga Branch Library.

It was beautiful to see.

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!

A Taste for Texture II

A Taste for Texture II

I have a passion for texture…don’t you?  Ideally texture you can actually touch and feel, but visual texture too. Texture, the quality of the tactile, “HAPTIC“…these inspired this body of work.

 Inspired to create a series of textural, textual, and textured Flag Books, I used a series of simple techniques to get the “haptic” feel I craved.

i think texture is like that. We crave it. The sense of touch is elemental. Primal. it is not enough to see or hear something we are drawn to.  We are compelled to feel it…one way or another.

web5I used torn scraps of tissue paper applied with no other then Mod Podge, to create the texture on repurposed cardboard.

web1The collaged strip of patterned paper is stitched with jute cord, which also holds a piece of repurposed bead necklace which is strung onto it.

web6The flags are cut from a stiff window shade-like material, and they are attached to an accordion folded spine, repurposed from a brochure about Richard Neutra‘s VDL House. The spine is covered with transparent fabric ribbon. The text: “A STITCH IN TIME SAVES 9“, is, yes, stitched on to the flags with hemp cord.  It is also the name of this piece.

WEBaaFor the piece, “Narrow Bridge“, a similar process was used, with collaged images on the front, punctured by slightly uneven stitches that add another layer of both visual and tactile texture to the surface of the front and back covers.

WEBdThe repurposed cover boards were were textured with torn tissue paper, and adhered with Mod Podge, and a thinner tissue was used to add solidity, strength and presence to the tagboard accordion spine.

WEBfThe same window shade-like material was used for the flags, which are stitched (embroidered?) in linen thread with the text, “”The whole world is A narrow bridge The important thing is not to Fear“–the essence of which was penned by the great Reb Nachman of Breslov  The inside covers are collaged with fabric scrap.

WEBb“Thin Ice” wears its title on its back cover. The repurposed cover boards are textured with crumpled scraps of brown paper bags, adhered, once again, by the inimitable Mod Podge. The accordion spine was textured and strengthened with torn tissue fragments, and the entire surface was painted in shimmering washes of silvery metallic paint.

WEBaThe front cover is stitched with a sort of maze, all stitching done with the thread pulled from the detailing on a decorative pillow that had seen better days. (Saved the pillow, repurposed the edging…)

WEBeThe text, or, messaging, “if you are going to skate on thin ice, you had better be able to walk on water”, is stitched to the flag pages (made from the same type of window shade-like material) with metallic thread, or cord.

Good advice, I think, for any of us…

Wave your Flag!: Teens Create Flag Books in Honor of The Big Read

Wave your Flag!: Teens Create Flag Books in Honor of The Big Read

As a program of The Big Read in LA, 2016, I taught a flag bookmaking workshop at Verduga Hills High School. The Big Read book is Ray Bradbury‘s “Fahrenheit 451“, in which firemen light fires to burn books, instead of rescuing them from the flames. Although published over 60 years ago, the book remains uncomfortably relatable to present day issues. Even prescient at times.

Conducting the workshop with the teens was great.  I loved it, the students loved it, the school librarian loved it, and the classroom teacher loved it.  Here are a few images of what the students made.

WEB10Students had a choice of “flag” pages: rectangles of uniform size, cut from tagboard in an array of bright colors, repurposed library return cards offered up by the school librarian (treasures!), pieces of  sketchbook covers, and  one off items such at the card above, painted in black chalkboard paint and adorned with red letters and numbers.

WEB3Students used a variety of materials to create layered meaning through text and image.

WEB1They mixed it up, playing with pattern, visual texture and color in their compositions.

WEB8A curated selection of quotes from the book were available, and a number of students used them in their books.

WEB7These young artists had the passion!

WEB6They spoke their hearts.

WEB5“Meaningful elements remind us to live”

WEB2“Pura Vida” = Pure Life.  Setting the intention?

WEB12The color combinations were striking, and students had the chance to see first had how the red accordion spine looked different pared with green….

WEB11and blue. This ambitious young artist reassembled the words that had been cut from this sketchbook cover, to striking effect on his book.

WEB9The Flag Book is a potent vehicle for personal expression, allowing for visual and verbal content on its numerous surfaces, places and spaces, in the form of writing, drawing, collaging, note taking, photographs, and combinations of any and all of these.

Once makers see and experience the possibilities, they are off to the races, their creativity limited only by time and space.

Let the flags of your own creativity, ideas, thoughts and feelings wave! Ray Bradbury did.

 

 

 

We Wrote The Book: Notes From the Field1

We Wrote The Book: Notes From the Field1

WEB1a

I am always amazed at the hunger people of all ages seem to have for not only making a book, but filling it. Often immediately. What they, You, fill it with, is called content. If you engage in this process,  you may find that the content of your book begins to resemble, uncannily, the content of your life. Or, it may just start out that way.

Whatever they, you,  fill it with, whether it be words, images, text, poetry, collage, drawings, painting, stitching, lace (!), the content created and the method, media and materials they, you, choose to use, inevitably expresses, and becomes part of, their, your, story.

WEB1b

I encourage a method of “Found Writing“, which may be similar to “Found Poetry”, as the process often yields up poetic self-awareness.

WEB1c

Makers simply respond to words, phrases and text they are drawn to, adding it to their book without self censure or judgment. The results are nothing short of remarkable: expressive, moving, and often a signpost as to the direction the maker is moving, or wants to move in their lives.

WEB1The “Flag Book” structure, invented by book artist Hedi Kyle, provides the perfect place for poetic text…

WEB2and images…cut up and reassembled in a new way through the book’s flag pages. Some content seems to be a message in a bottle, yielding up meaning as it is created and  contemplates, while some

WEB3 speaks for itself, in a very direct way. No second guessing  the message here, it would seem!

WEB2Above, students busily create envelope books, which will contain an invitation to their parents to attend our end of class bookmaking event…

WEB1Some brave souls share theirs.

WEB3Sticker letters are a hit,

WEB1and translate into the family activity, which employs the humble (OK- this is a fancy one I lucked upon in our local 99 cents store) file folder. You can use the manilla ones.

WEB2I usually insist on no tape,wanting the students to learn how to glue (UHU Glue Stics are a favorite- acid-free too) and sew, but do make an exception for the joys of washi tape!

In bookmaking, as in life, you can use just about anything to tell your story. It is all grist for the storymaking mill, whether you are conscious of it or not, so, why not get started???!!! You ARE the StoryMaker!