Dec 212009
 

This pharmaceutical shrine has been a long-term recreational project. It still needs more work on the outside. Here’s a peek of (mostly) the inside, which is just about finished. Those are tiny Rx pads on the bottom shelf. The thing on the side that says “3 mg” is a pull-out display tray. I might put some more samples or pharma credit-type cards in it (yes, such things exist). I embedded magnets under the doors so that they shut with a satisfying snap.

Dec 142009
 

Finally, I’ve been able to spend a little bit of time here and there in the studio. After a longish period of not being able to do much, I’m trying to get caught up on some projects. For one, I’m completing a couple more copies of the Literary Cure (pictured at right). This particular small edition seems to be developing a following. I hadn’t realized that the concept of literature as pharmaceutical would resonate so well with others.

Here are some mini book blocks drying while clamped in small clothespins. They will be trimmed down and have covers added later.

Then they will eventually be put in capsules. Here’s another example of what the finished encapsulated books  look like.

There are also little book-like items with printing on them that are clamped and drying with the others (in the picture before last). They are miniature prescription pads for a pharmaceutical shrine I’m finishing up.

This is a sneak peek through one open side. Better pics of this will appear in a few days, hopefully photographed well enough so that you’ll be able to appreciate the gold-leafed interior and offerings.

And while I’m at my messy worktable, I’ll show a couple of my favorite tools that are sitting here. Top left is an ergonomically shaped teflon folder. It makes folding papers so much easier. The blue item is my British scalpel handle, which makes grasping the scalpel easier. In general, I prefer working with scalpels rather than craft knives.

More soon as things progress . . .

Oct 252009
 
Ok…this isn’t paper-based art, but Luke Jerram’s glass sculptures of viruses are fascinating. And he does touch on an interesting question in regards to traditional biomedical illustration. According to the website:  

“These transparent glass sculptures were created to contemplate the global impact of each disease and to consider how the artificial colouring of scientific imagery affects our understanding of phenomena. Jerram is exploring the tension between the artworks’ beauty and what they represent, their impact on humanity.

The question of pseudo-colouring in biomedicine and its use for science communicative purposes, is a vast and complex subject. If some images are coloured for scientific purposes, and others altered simply for aesthetic reasons, how can a viewer tell the difference? How many people believe viruses are brightly coloured?”

Jul 152009
 

I feel as if I am returning back to the land of the living. My original intention for this blog had been to focus on paper and book art to the exclusion of more mundane personal stuff, but I’ve been finding that hard to do. There is just too much overlap between what goes on with me and what I wind up doing (or not doing) in my work space.

Actually, when I set this thing up, I hadn’t planned to let anyone even know that I was doing it. I’d thought I’d just create a little anonymous spot on the web where I could motivate myself by writing about projects I was thinking about and about miscellaneous paper-related discoveries I’d made online. If anyone actually stumbled upon it and kept reading, swell. But I wasn’t aiming to share my life. Unbloggerly of me, I know, but that was my thinking.

 

Then, a funny thing happened. When I was doing the bookmarks recently, I had to put my info on the back of them. And, to my surprise, I found myself putting this blog address on the back. I’ve been using the Paper Chipmunk name as the imprint for my book work. I guess I’m embracing my inner chipmunk. And sharing my life…

 

In spite of a show coming up soon with the book arts guild I belong to, I haven’t been able to do much of anything for months. My health matters have been getting worse and worse. Not to sound melodramatic, but I’d reached the point where I was seriously pondering “my affairs.” As in knowing deep down the time had come to damn well get them in order, however one is supposed to tidy up such things. But I felt too unwell to even do much of that. The scariest part was nobody could really offer much of an opinion what was wrong. Some major endocrine stuff, among other things, was happening, but of a sort that should be controlled by taking artificial replacements from pill bottles. However, it didn’t seem to be working very well. And doctors’ patience runs out when answers don’t come easily. I felt like I was slowly dying, quite literally. My MD was probably hoping I’d be sucked up by aliens on my way home, never to reappear.

 

Then an amazing thing happened. My pharmacy was going to switch my hormone replacement with another generic brand. I have allergies to some ingredients in pills, and this new one had some questionable things in it. So, feeling annoyed that I was now going to have to pay a lot more for my meds, I grudgingly went on the name brand version of my rather common drug, hydrocortisone. Within half a day of switching brands, I felt better than I’d felt in a long time. People I hardly know have been stopping me to tell me how much better I look. Even the constant pain I live with, something that’s not supposed to be related, became a bit more controllable. The change has been remarkable.

 

I’m sharing my rather personal medical saga as a sort of public service. If your medication doesn’t seem to be properly controlling your problem as well as you think it should be, it might be the brand of your pills. This is actually not the first outrageous generic medication incident my family has suffered from. I’m discovering it’s a common occurrence. The ever-expanding generic drug industry seems to be largely a racket.

 

However, in celebration of feeling alive again, and in honor of pills, I have made a bottle of a pharmaceutical I am calling Codex. Why read when you can take your books in pill form? Each capsule contains a miniature perfect bound book. If things remain controlled, over the next year I plan to make an edition of 5 bottles of Codex. Or, rather, Paper Chipmunk Press will be issuing bottles of Codex…
As an aside, I digitally designed several of the miniature book covers. Although I knew they were going to be shrunk down too small to be legible, I had great fun coming up with faux titles. A few: Iatrogenic Horror: a Novel; Arts and Crafts for Phlebotomists; Doctors Kill… I think you get the idea.
Jun 062009
 

I’ve posted links to other people’s books on Flickr. Today I thought I’d add something of my own. I don’t have many photos of my book and other non-cut paper work on the web. Some things I need to photograph, but others I’ve simply parted with before making a record of them. At the moment I’ve been feeling desperate to get back into the studio to do some work, but I’ve been so unwell and exhausted that it’s almost impossible for me to do anything. It’s frustrating.

I’ve made books for many years, largely in the background to other things, mostly to be given as gifts. I’d always thought of them as not my “real work,” whatever that is. But then I began making books and objects as, partly, a way of dealing with the frustrations of living with chronic health issues. It was a way, sometimes, of making laughter out of pain. Book art just seemed like a perfect medium, for me, for such explorations.

This is my tribute to my medications and to the words of wisdom printed graphically on the sides of the bottles. Be warned.