Nov 162012
 

The latest We Love Your Books exhibition, Minute, is now up at the University of Northampton. It includes my flip book depicting one minute on the clock. This year the exhibit in Northampton was selected from a larger online show, and views of it can be seen here. A catalogue can be seen and bought here. “Minute” could be interpreted in any way desired, and there’s some genuinely fascinating work here.

Aug 282010
 

The We Love Your Books “e-motive” exhibition of experimental and artists’ books is happening now in Milton Keynes. I’m pleased to have my small part in this (pictured below).

There’s more information and pictures of the entries at their website. Emma Powell, one of the organizers, has also put photos of the entries, as well as pictures of the show itself, on Flickr.

In addition, participants were asked to submit photos or scans from their sketchbooks as they worked through the process of creating their pieces for the show. These have also been posted as a set on Flickr.

Nice printed catalogues of both the exhibition and the sketchbook spreads are also available.

It makes me tired even contemplating the work that the organizers Emma Powell and Melanie Bush must put into arranging these shows each year. It truly does seem to be a labor of love. As I say, I’m pleased I can be a part of it in my small way (literally, since my laptop book is a miniature).

E-motives, my entry for e-motive
Jun 042010
 

The cover has a little more wobble than I’d like, and there turned out to be problems with the Tyvek cover—it was wearing on the corners. So I did some touch-up and coated it in matte medium, which seems to have worked. It’s not the texture I would’ve preferred, but still, my little book about online depravity is done. 
(An earlier post about some of the inside pages is here.)
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…?)

May 142010
 

I’ve had an idea that I’ve been hoping to turn into into a book before the We Love Your Books submission deadline in less than a month. The theme for their next show is “e-motive,” to be interpreted widely. The book will be about unsavory things people do online–“not everybody’s e-motives are as nice as yours and mine” will be part of the text.

I decided on a sculptural cover designed to look like a laptop. It’s made of bookboard and a little bit of basswood. For the keyboard and overall look of it, I scanned all the various sides of an actual old grey laptop and manipulated them in Photoshop. Even so, what could I use for a covering material that would suggest a laptop in looks and texture?

I had a hunch that Tyvek might just work. In Photoshop, I made a sheet-sized area to print from the scan of the laptop’s outer top cover. It’s a slightly textured-looking grey. I printed this onto the Tyvek with my pigment inkjet. Only it came out green, not grey. So I tried it again only using black ink. Not bad.

To hinge it together, I cut a plastic cotton swab handle into sections and fashioned them into a hinge attached to alternating parts of the cover’s inner edges. Through this I will thread a wire to hold it together. It’s still not assembled, but it looks as though it’s going to work. The reason the bottom half looks blue and streaky in the photo is that I had to rip the Tyvek off. It’s waiting to be re-covered. The keyboard will be added on top of that.

It doesn’t exactly feel like a plastic laptop cover, but it suggests a plastic-like texture, and is definitely not like paper. And the variations in the Tyvek add to a look of beat-up old laptop. We’ll see…

The book’s pages are going to fit into the screen area on top. Along with all the rest of it, I’m still working on those.

Background on Tyvek
Aug 292009
 

This is a cautionary tale. Consider carefully what you title your works. You don’t want to jinx yourself.

I mentioned in my last post that there was a story behind my 2008 entry to We Love Your Books. The theme for that show was “Re:” Any kind of subject based around a “re” word was suitable. I, in my questionable wisdom, chose to make a book object entitled Returned to Sender. This, for something that was going to require international shipping. You see the problem?
The book object itself was about bills. The full title was Returned to Sender (I Wish My Bills Could Be). It was an accordion of miniature parody bill envelopes, with nested flags cut through them of a finger pointing them back into the mailbox. To complement the American-style mailbox, I decided to portray the culture from this side of the Atlantic with my billing selections. One envelope, for instance, is from “Gigantica American Hospital” on Malpractice Parkway.

I finished my piece and mailed it off to arrive well before the deadline. There was also an optional group component that I decided to do as well, but I didn’t get that done as quickly as the book. Since I didn’t want to delay the important item, I mailed the book first. The optional group contribution, a paper-engineered tag, followed a few days later.
 
The book should have taken no more than a week and a half to get there. But more than two weeks later, it still hadn’t arrived. I received a puzzled email from one of the curators wondering if perhaps I’d misunderstood something? They’d received the little tag, but where was the book? I was mildly panicked at this point, but figured it was probably just sitting in customs. Hold tight, and they’ll release it soon.
 
But the book still did not arrive. The deadline for submissions came and went. The book could not be traced. It had vanished in the mail.
 
Then one day nearly a month later my husband went to our post office box. There was a package pickup slip for us. When he went to the window, the box containing Returned to Sender was brought out and handed to him.
 
Forty-five minutes of intense head scratching, computerized database checking, measuring, and postal formula analyzing followed… yet nobody could figure out why the box had mysteriously been returned. It had been properly packed. They were sure it had the right postage on it. Customs declaration was perfect.
 
The postmistress came out and joined the others scrutinizing the returned item. They all stayed past closing. Finally, someone found an obscure formula that stated if a parcel fell above a certain measurement in its circumference, regardless of its weight or other dimensions, it would belong to another, more costly mailing class. My box, they figured out, measured just slightly over this size. The people at our post office were flabbergasted. Apparently, some bureaucrat with a tape measure at the main sorting office in San Francisco had ascertained that my box was ever-so-slightly technically a teeny weeny bit above the official cutoff size, and had placed it aside in a pile for three weeks. Then, finally, it was returned for insufficient postage. At least this was all they could figure. They had never before seen anything like it.
 
My husband was an angel. He couldn’t get in touch with me and didn’t know what to do, so he wound up having it turned back around to England at an exorbitant express mail price (a bit ironic, seeing as the subject of the piece is bills). It still arrived before the show opened, but too late to get its picture included on the website with the other entries. (However, you can download a catalogue of the show and you will see it there.)
 
At any rate, the moral of this story, artists and artisans, is choose your titles carefully. Otherwise, they might come back to haunt you.
 
(Photos: Robin Robin Photography)
Aug 202009
 

Earlier this year, I decided to send something to the We Love Your Booksshow that was to take place, this time around, in Milton Keynes. I’d already been in two previous ones. Each year a theme is set (last year’s turned out to be a bit problematic—I will write about that in another post). The set topic this time was “Closure.” For a long while I’d had a line running in my head that I knew needed to be turned into a book, and this was the time. A friend had said to me, after I’d told him about a traumatic part of my life, that “That’s the sort of thing…it’s like, closure is for books. It’s not for a situation like that.”

Unfortunately, by the time I started acting on my impulse, the deadline was growing close, and I was in the middle of getting ready to fly out of town for a medical appointment (not a sign that things are going well…). Other deadlines were looming, mayhem was erupting (but when doesn’t it?)… But I decided I just had to do this. So, in a burst of inspiration, I laid out the pages for a case-bound book in InDesign, did up the covers, bound it…The thing was, I wasn’t intending for it to actually be read. What I like about We Love Your Books is the emphasis on “altered and experimental.” I glued and sculpted my book so that it never closes. The pages are permanently pushed up and glued into place. But in the midst of figuring this all out and gluing and sculpting, the end pages wound up crooked and not evenly placed. I could sort of fudge it—it was, after all, meant to look like an open book, and so the pages weren’t going to look straight. But I was mortified. If I’d had the time, I would’ve done it over. I anguished over it. Maybe I shouldn’t send it….but I want to be in the show… I packed it up and sent it. The book itself had been somewhat therapeutic to make, in its way. I decided, given the topic of “closure,” I was going to let this one go. And so it went into the mail. If the curators gasped in disgust when they unpacked it, they just wouldn’t show it. But then I’d had sender’s remorse. It just wasn’t good enough. I’m embarrassing myself….
And so imagine my surprise when I got an email the other day from one of the curators. A bookbinding supply place had sponsored an award for the show, and here were the two winners plus six shortlisted pieces. And I was on the shortlist.
Are we our own worst enemies?
Pictures of the show and opening were posted online.