Oct 112010
 

I’ve been away. I had to travel to a big University of California medical campus for what turned out to be some ok help from one department, and some patronizing and dispiriting non-help from another.

Alas, feeling down and wanting to console myself, I did a little shopping. Large universities, especially ones with big science programs, have bookstores with esoteric goodies. Coming all this way, at least I could pick up a few petri dishes, slide holder cases and watch glasses for later. I have some slides at home and was wondering what I could sandwich between them in the semi-translucent holders.

I think some of the petri dishes will become “cards” for friends. I’m trying to figure out what to use to write inside them that will suggest fuzzy and/or semi-translucent blobs of cultured bacterial matter. Suggestions are welcome.

The student checking me out at the bookstore asked if I was doing an experiment. “No, I’m an insane artist and I’m going to use these to make bacterial-looking birthday cards.” His face brightened considerably.

Sep 062010
 
Last night was the opening for the North Redwoods Book Arts Guild exhibition at Eureka Books. This has become an annual event over the last few years, and this was the best yet. It’s great that we have such an enthusiastic and supportive local spot for book arts here in our little corner of the world. Most of the books will be up for the month, including my pharmaceutical piece and the cat book noted below in recent earlier posts. If you’re local, come see it while you can. Members from as far away as Thailand submitted books. The books have also been posted on Flickr.
One of the problems, though, of having a show at one of my favorite bookstores is that I, not being so big into large social gatherings, had to keep fighting the urge to duck upstairs to hide among the shelves. At one point, temptation was too great and I discovered a marvelous FBI manual from the 70s on forensic investigation. I owe my friend Shirl, who likes to alter things with a deliciously irreverent eye, a present. I hope she’s not reading this. 
Nothing to do with art, but I tend to digress…during the evening my eye fell upon an old favorite, Ordeal by Hunger by George R. Stewart. The book is an account of the Donner Party, and in this particular version, there’s an appendix with a letter that 12 year old Virginia Reed wrote to the folks back home after surviving the ordeal. “My Dear Cousin I am going to write to you about our trubels geting to California…” 
Young Virginia ends by offering this bit of sage advice: “Dont let this letter dish[e]a[r]ten anybody… never take no cutofs and hury along as fast as you can.” 
Words to live by. Especially for those of us prone to digressing. 
May 182010
 

The miniature laptop, my recreational amusement of the moment, is coming along. The basic form is assembled. The keyboard will be resized and added soon. For a while it wouldn’t close properly, but that problem was solved with the use of a smaller diameter hinging wire. And the pages for the book, which will be housed in the “screen” and are meant to look like parody web pages, are just waiting to be put together (the mock ups are shown here). 

“How to stalk someone” turns out to actually be a popular search item on Google. I was thinking in terms of parody, outrageousness (although you’d think I’d know better, seeing as I’ve been harassed myself). After typing only a little bit of it, the rest of the phrase quickly pops up, suggested by the search engine itself. This is presumably based upon this term’s 5,190,000 hits. Um…..interesting. I think.




Etc…

(Ok–perhaps it’ll make more sense once it’s finished…?)

Jun 042009
 

I find it interesting that badges (or buttons, where I come from) are seen by many as having a kindred relationship to book art. For instance, there is a research project going on at the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England, What will be the Canon for the Artists’ Book in the 21st Century?They “aim to extend and sustain critical debate of what constitutes an artist’s book in the 21st Century.” To go along with this, there is a genealogical-type tree diagram available at the web site. Here, an attempt is made to illustrate how the book arts and related art forms are linked to each other. People who want to participate in the research project are encouraged to download the diagram and, if so desired, rearrange or rewrite parts of it to suit their own understandings of how these things fit together. As currently assembled, badges, postcards, cards, posters, and bookmarks are considered sibling offshoots to artists’ books. These are all things I’ve been involved with for many years.

The badges, though, almost make me giggle. I was the weird girl at my small high school on the Central Coast of California. I mean, the really weird girl. Come to think of it, in Jr. High as well. I remember giving speeches in 8th grade English class on topics such as “the Joy of Nonconformity” and “How to Make People Stare at You.” To give you an idea what life was like there, one of the great moments of pride for my alma mater was when our Future Farmers of America cattle judging team won a big trophy at a competition in the Midwest. This was the early 80s. Needless to say, I did not judge cattle. Nor did I fit in.

As part of my campaign of nonconformity and goading the locals, I saved up and bought something special for myself by mail order. I didn’t know anyone else at the time who had one of these miraculous gizmos. It was….a button machine. Oh, did I have fun.

I just came across some of my old buttons, now mostly rusted. If I’d only known then what I know now. When they looked at me askance, I could’ve told them I was a book artist practicing my craft.