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!

webu

webmMoms,

webh

webi

weblNannies,

webo

webs

webpand Dads got into the act,

webq

webr

webn

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.

Advertisements

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“.

web2

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

web5

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

web9d

web4

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!

web8a

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“.

web1

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

web32

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.

web29

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!

Under the Red Read Canopy: The Big Read at Los Angeles Central Library

Under the Red Read Canopy: The Big Read at Los Angeles Central Library

On Saturday, May 21, 2016,  The Los Angeles Central Library held a “BIG READ” Festival, and bookmaking was a part of it!

WEBaCome one, come all.

And they came

WEBbBright-eyes youngsters

WEBtwith a merry heart…

WEBcElders and medical students,

WEBdYounger sisters and older after school enrichment providers.

WEBeFamily groups,

WEBfoverflowing  with talent!

WEBgThey cut,

WEBhlayered,

WEBiglued,

WEBjAnd made amazing use of the wondrous materials provided.

WEBlThe beautiful cover stock was filled with snowy pages,

WEBkand the pamphlet stitch was taught.

WEBmFathers helped their children,

WEBnand big brothers videotaped the process.

WEBoThe results were as varied as the participants.

WEBpEach maker has their own design sense, color preferences, material attractions.

WEBqAnd they expressed them,

WEBrdisplaying their creativity, imagination and aesthetic proudly through their books.

WEBs  They worked with a love, and a devotion,

WEButhat was a joy to behold.

Thank you.

This one is for you, Vic.

This Big Read Workshop is dedicated to art angels Victor Brown and Debbie Josendale, in blessed memory of Vic Brown.

Thank you.

MemoryMaking Books

MemoryMaking Books

In celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Santa Monica Public Library, I had the opportunity to lead a bookmaking program at the  Montana Avenue Library, my home branch of the SMPL

“Making Memory Books” was requested… a single signature style book, embellished with fabric.

WEBaLeather, denim, beads, as well as decorative papers and fabric scrap were some of the goodies laid out for participants to use.

WEBcThe signatures were already prepared, with holes punched. Once bound with the three-hole pamphlet stitch, the first and last pages were glued to the inside of the front and back covers, and the book was formed.

WEBiThen, the fun could really begin!  let the embellishment commence!

WEBkPaper, “eco-fi” felt, cloth, lace and leather transformed the book structures into unique works of art.

WEBdUpon request, a square shape was used, instead of the more common vertical  rectangle.

WEBeA mother daughter duo enjoyed adorning their book covers with butterflies.

WEBm

WEBfIs this a pink planet, surrounded by butteries?

WEBl

WEB2The inspiration for the project was a series of fabric covered sewn book models,

WEB8with cloth pieces applied patchwork style.

WEB1The colors, patterns, shapes and tactile quality of cloth and textiles can evoke powerful memories.

WEB2The effect can be pleasing visually, as well as tracing remnants of life stories barely remembered but held in the body, memory and emotions through the sense of touch.

These books, that may hold memories barely discernible to the maker, can now become the repository of new memories, as scrapbooks, photo albums, journals, or sketchbooks.

What a beautiful gift.

Happy Holidays, and peace and blessings for the New Year.

BookLand: The Classroom Becomes Studio

BookLand: Classroom Becomes Studio

Setting up the room before the Open House for the Summer School program in I am honored to teach for…All about making books..all the time.

WEB1Handmade books galore on display for parents and students to see, and get a sense of what we will be making.

WEB3Exploring the accordion fold…accordion books, “fan” books, flag books…

WEB4Color.

WEB5Light on Books.

WEB6“WOW THE SUN”…(text put together by a wonderful student with left-over letters last summer)

WEB7Double Flower, Double Fan and Triangle Books…with variations on the Flag Book.

WEB8Samples for “Steampunk: The Book!” class, for students going into 6th, 7th and eighth grades. Talk about time travel…

WEB8aSewn single and multiple signature books, The French Link stitch, felt made from recycled plastic bottles, and repurposed jewelry and ribbons.  Oh, and of course, the ever present hemp cord.

WEB8bAnother take on the Flag Book structure…textured covers and flag pages stitched with text.

WEB8cSamples showing use of zippers and laced edges…a hint of the medieval. Time traveling again. The small book to the left features the pamphlet stitch and incorporates the Turkish Map fold.

WEB9How much fun to set up all these materials…paper, paper and more paper, of assorted weights, colors and sizes.

WEB9aTools of the trade: scissors, clamps, clips, bone and wooden folders, glue sticks

WEB9dPiles of wonderful things, like

WEB9cStickers and ribbons and letters, oh my….

WEBft1Our “Fairy Glen” for Fairy Tales! class for our youngest students…entering Kindergarten and first grade.

WEBft2Through the window, beyond the “glen”, into the courtyard beyond.

It’s looking like a magical summer…here in BookLand, USA.

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 (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…