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.
My friend Shirley sent me a British children’s book from the 50s that is (more or less) about human evolution. She thought it looked like perfect material for an altered book.
A couple of months ago, a call went out from MarinMOCA for their annual altered book show. I got out my scissors. A little natural selection, anyone?
I gutted the book. It has some basic human biology in it as well, but I decided to focus on the evolution bits for the sake of cohesion. I mounted the cutouts with dry adhesive onto stiff paper. Then I arranged the chosen elements into layers.
I cut out several identical black frames from stiff black Strathmore paper and folded two accordions from black German Ingres (the stuff is strong, but thin enough to fold into a nice pliable structure). I anchored the cutouts onto the paper frames.
Then I added hinges made of the Ingres onto the back of each frame.
I used 3M 415 double-sided tape for mounting. Why use glue when it can be avoided? Especially when there’s a good archival alternative.
The downside is it has no open time for repositioning. Stick it once, and it’s there forever. That’ll keep you on your toes. Additionally, I hadn’t made a tunnel book in a long time. I’d forgotten that it can feel like binding a Slinky. Eventually, however, a rhythm emerges and it’s not too bad. Also, I quickly remembered that the best way to handle double-sided tape is to not peel off the backing paper all at once after positioning. It’s best to line up the page into position and then slide the liner off the tape as you go:
On the up side, I’d also forgotten how theatrical and fun a finished tunnel book can be, especially a larger one like this.
The finished tunnel is a tight fit into the original cover. If I’d had more time, I might’ve considered altering the spine to fit more properly. On the other hand, this way seems more in the altered book spirit.
I’ve had a few original (not altered) tunnel projects sitting around half finished. Now that my appetite has been whetted, I want to make more tunnels!
If you’re near the San Francisco Bay Area, consider checking out the 3rd Annual Altered Book Show at MarinMOCA in Novato, where Modern Marvels: Man will be on exhibit. It opens April 21. More details are on their website.
My exhibition opening at Eureka Books turned out to be quite enjoyable. I reconnected with friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in quite a few years, and was genuinely touched by the enthusiasm of many others. I hadn’t been sure what it would feel like to spend an evening seeing, and talking about, my paper mosaic collages from years ago along with the books I’m doing now. But it turned out I was glad to have the opportunity.
It’s been so long since I’ve shown them here at home that many people hadn’t ever seen them. I’d been a little afraid it was all going to be eclectic to the point of bizarre, but in the end I thought it all went together well.
But I shouldn’t speak entirely in the past tense. The show continues for the rest of the month. But it’s shrinking a bit–most notably, there is now only one bottle of Codex capsules left out of what began as an edition of five. I do so love people who buy artists’ books! See ’em while you can.
|Hidden Clue by Sarah Wallace Scott at Abecedarian Gallery|
Needless to say, I was quite taken with this particular item, Hidden Clue by Sarah Wallace Scott. Says Sarah,
“In my process of working with paper I found that I could make faux taxidermy using only paper. The problem was that no one could tell the difference. I tore out the pages of a used book and started attaching them in the same way as the other paper to make a more obvious paper chipmunk…”
Paper chipmunk taxidermy aside, I should add that there is work from quite a few interesting people in this show, including fellow blogger Anna Mavromatis (who has blogs about her book art as well as more ephemeral matters).
|Leif Parsons/NY Times illustration|
I’m going to be having a show next year at Eureka Books.
It isn’t happening for a while yet, but I’m bringing it up now because the bookshop was mentioned in the New York Times on Sunday. The author of the piece, Amy Stewart, is one of the co-owners. It’s a true, and funny, story involving the store and Humboldt County’s most famous agricultural export.
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).
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.
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|
I went down to San Rafael to see the Art of the Book exhibit at Donna Seager Gallery before it closed. It was wonderful and truly inspiring.
I also found it reassuring. I often feel insecure about the little imperfections in my books. It was enlightening to handle work by some of the book artists I admire most, and to see that theirs, too, splay or have stitching that is not quite perfect, or windows that are just a tiny bit crooked. It’s good to be reminded that those little idiosyncrasies can add character and warmth to a piece.
The show has come down, but is still online (via the link above). Note that there are two pages of pictures.
I also got to stop at California Carnivores in Sonoma County, my favorite plant nursery of all time. It was quite hot during the trip home. It wasn’t safe to leave my new babies in the car when I stopped for coffee, so they came in with me. For some reason, people stared.
A good friend recently went to Wales and England for a visit. The Lambeth Palace Library was on her itinerary. This is the historic library and record office of the Archbishops of Canterbury and is the principal repository of Church of England historical documents. It’s one of the earliest public libraries in England. It was founded in 1610.
They are currently having an exhibition of rare manuscripts and documents in celebration of the library’s 400th anniversary. It sounded like a stroll in paradise for book lovers.
Today I got an unexpected box in the mail. Nestled inside among all sorts of wonderful books and ephemera from the UK was a shrink-wrapped copy of the lushly illustrated Lambeth Palace Library Exhibition catalogue. Oh my!