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.

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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!

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Color Me Eclectic

Color Me Eclectic

On a recent sunny and magnificent day, I took a ride South, then West, first to see a Client, then to return to my studio in the western part of the City.

Little did I know what house color adventures awaited me during this relatively short excursion.  From  the middle class, to the well-to-do, to the downright funky,  the inhabitants of this variegated city never cease to amaze with their use of imaginative, and I must assume, highly personal  combinations and placement of color on their dwellings.

Here is a bit of my colorful, and oddly poetic romp, from the edge of nicely heeled Monterey Heights, to the Pacific reaches of the Sunset District’s outer Avenues.

Pale green and pinky red: not exactly Christmas

Across the street and down the road from my Client, who has resided in the same earthy gold stucco home for at least three decades, in a neighborhood of many more stucco. earth-toned  houses, I saw the above brightly hued structure, nearly vibrating in its complementary red and green intensity.  I noticed it also, because I expected to see it clad in it’s former strong yet earthy orange, (still quite noticeable in the neighborhood), next to the house pictured  below.  It has since been painted, but managed to avoid a Christmas glow, because of the paleness of the green, and pinky quality of the red.  Some might say that the placement of the paler color on the foundation’s garage door makes it feel ungrounded, but making such claims is not the purpose of this post.  You may draw your own conclusions.

Orange sherbert and Chocolate plum...vaguely gastronomic?

This house is the red and green home’s  direct neighbor on its left.  No slouch in the bright color department itself,  it no longer coordinates with its vibrant neighbor, and perhaps, fades into commonplace next to it.  However, it still stands out and reads as bold amidst the browns, ochres, golds and ivories that dominate the street.  Credit should be given where credit is due.

You could forget where you are....

Out of Monterey Heights, and away from the adjacent St. Francis Woods, one enters the world of the Outer Sunset Avenues,  punctuated by alphabetically named  streets which slope down to the blue Pacific.  Concentrated Asian populations, among others, reside in this area, their cultures reflected deliciously in colors and architectural details, as well as restaurant cuisine.  While gazing at the Church above,  framed by some of the few trees that grow out here, one could forget where one is for just a moment, and imagine being in other lands across the water.

Yellow ochre against jewel blue sky

Artists, musicians, and other creative types also live beach-side, and it is not completely unusual to see self-styled architectural additions, mural applications, faux finishes, textural surfaces, and decorative painting treatments like the one above, brightening up the often grey Avenue climes with strong color and whimsy.

One side of the street...

Driving West, I noticed that both sides of the street in a particular block had stretches of colorful houses directly facing each other.  Above, the shiny blue car adds a counterpoint to yellow,  green and red brick building fronts.

And the other side of the street...

Brightly colored cars would have been a distraction on this side of the street, and taken away from the yellow, green, ivory, mauve and blue house hues.  Happily, the homeowners complied with the concept of “variety within reason”, and maintained a balance of unity and complexity through their choice of dark gray automobile.  Thus, viewers and passers by, such as myself, were saved from the potentially negative effects of  overstimulation….

Backside View: weathered, poetic pastels...

Some might find the pale,weathered backsides of painted Avenue buildings understimulating, which could lead to restlessness and boredom in the viewer.  However, to me, these pastel-colored patinas,  slowly fading over time in the constantly shifting weather and light conditions of sun to fog, to rain, to sun again, contain a grave poetry . Perhaps they mirror the ultimately somber poetry of our lives: no matter how brightly we color the exterior, the facade will fade and crumple over time.  All is eventually claimed by nature. But what color we can create in the meantime, as we paint the portrait of our lives, reflected in our buildings, neighborhoods, cities and art!

If you have the time and the inclination, tell me what you think!  We are all in this thing called Life, together.