August 2, 2012
Every few days I wander into the North Main Gallery in Salem, where my hanging books are displayed until September 3. Each time the exhibit looks different to me. As Ed Hutchins and I were working together to hang the show it was hard to have any idea of what I was looking at since the pieces we were hanging were so freshly finished. I imagine that this is true of anyone who creates something: that it isn’t until there’s some distance from the finished piece that it can be really seen by the person who made it.
I am relieved to say that I love the look of the show. The majority of the pieces are works that I think of as Drawing On Health, which refers a preoccupation pf mine, which is to stay healthy. This is a joyful interest, one that celebrates living. The attention that I lavish on to the herbs, fruits, greens, and veggies is meant to help me hold them more closely in my being. I hope this comes through and resonates, too, with the viewer.
Drawing these plants somehow makes me like them more.
After seeing the drawing above my friend Sarah told me that she thought that kale, which is quite nutritious, could save the planet because you can pick it and pick it and it keeps producing more and more: an interesting theory!
My favorite piece is nine panels long, dedicated entirely to blueberry season. Blueberries have a special nook in my heart, and I look forward to going to the local U-Pick places to load up for the winter.
Summertimes I would visit relatives near Scranton, Pennsylvania. During blueberry season Uncle Lou would drop off me and Aunt Jane on a mountain top, where we would pick for hours. If the crop was plentiful my aunt would be overjoyed…I can still hear her repeating, over and over ”Look at these berries! Look at these berries!” Then we would take those berries back to her lake house where she would make the most wonderful blueberry buckle on the planet.
Here’s a look at my wall of the gallery. The hinges between the panels are designed so that the they can spin. I used some different materials for the hinging, but most of them are cords which I dyed and knotted like this:
Another wonderful facet to this show is an exquisite gem of a catalogue, designed by Ed Hutchins and Joe Freedman. Here’s a peek at the catalogue:
I have a number of copies of these that I am happy to share for the asking: leave me a comment here asking me for one and I will get in touch with you, off-blog, you to ask for your address.
July 19, 2012
This Saturday, July 21, 2012,, from 3:00 to 5:00, there will be a reception (art party?) at the North Main Gallery in Salem as part of the Book Arts Summer In Salem event. Featured artists will include Johanne Renbeck , eight Salem area students, and me.
True to the nature of book arts, it was easier to take interesting photos of the pieces in the show than it was to take photos which actually gave a good idea of what the works look like in 3-D.
The exhibition of Joanne Renbeck’s books, in the spacious gallery annex, includes some structures that reference traditional bookbinding, but most of the room is filled with ethereal, hanging, books whose pages linger between opaque and transparent, offering different visual treats as the light plays with the surfaces while the viewer walks around the room.
On exhibition in the north wall of the main gallery are eight multi-dimensional tunnel books designed, constructed and editioned by students who, this spring, worked with Ruth Sauer and Ed Hutchins.
The subject for these books include “Fishing in the Rain,” “Welcome to Salem” “The Garden” and …..
…the Washington County Fair, which is the main event of the summer in these here parts.
And on the south wall of the main gallery are some pieces by yours truly. Most of the work that I created for this show reflected the fact that I like covering book board with my paste papers, that I like tying knots and that I have been trying to think about certain foods more, after having seen a TED talk by William Li. Long and thin, and, technically accordion books, trying to take photos of them just didn’t work out for me, but I liked the photos of the details.
Most of the foods that I drew were locally sourced, from my back yard, though some came from Slack Hollow Farms, and a few from the from the grocery store.
I’ve also put together a table of some of the books that I use as prototypes for the classroom book arts classes that I teach.
It’s such a pleasure to be a part of a show in this remarkable gallery located in this lovely town. Do stop in if you happen to be in the area.
Guaranteed, it’s worth the trip.
July 6, 2012
A longer than usual silence on the blog here….I have been busy at work getting ready to be part of a show nearby at North Main Gallery here in Salem. Johanne Renbeck has been busy, too, getting ready for the show. Here’s a lovely photo lifted from her blog, which she, unlike myself, has attended to while getting things together.
Johanne’s work will be exhibited in the annex gallery space. My work will be in the north space, along with eight tunnel books created by Salem Central School students who worked through the spring with Ed Hutchins, making tunnel books. I don’t have any images of their books to post just yet, but hope to find my camera a post some of these soon.
In the meantime, I am working on some hanging pieces and find that I have much to say about what I am working on. I have so many words in my head that go along with my wordless books, that I wondering about typing up paragraphs to say what I want to say, and posting them along with the work.
For instance, I will be showing a piece that looks something like the image in this photo, entitled Artists’ Block. To me, it’s sort of a funny piece, a pun even, because it is, in fact a block of boards piled together and connected together with a series of side hinges. I made piece as a response to my daughter asking me about the concept of an artists’ block. My point of view is that the more open that my own mind is the less likely I will be experience the dreaded drying up of ideas….so this book is a block only when it is closed. When it opens up it if full of joyful color and musings.
I need to close up this post and make dinner for my family, then, hopefully, get bacl to work, though here’s a detail of another image of a piece that will be hanging….
More to come….show opens July 21.
September 19, 2011
I’ve been pouring over these photos that I have taken of work done at a Book Arts Summer In Salem workshop, as well as pages from a very special book that created by students during this past winter while working at North Main Gallery in Salem, NY
One thing I keep coming back to is how the dynamic energy of the students is so well aligned with dynamic paper structures.
There is something about putting a big pile of colored markers on the table, along with paper and instructions on how to make pop-ups that, well, just go together.
One thing that I have really noticed, and have been inspired by, about the pop-ups made by Salem youth (besides the bold colors, the whimsy and the energy of the drawings) is how well these young people grasp the concept of using multiple elements in the composition on their pages. For instance, in the page above, there are animals on three different levels. Also, I am particularly enchanted by how the hats are layered and slightly intertwined and how they echo the tents of the landscape.
This boat is perched on a waterfall. The waterfall pops-up out from the page by being a basic box pop-up. But there’s more!
As the page opens the boat seems to be teetering on the edge.
The secret behind the boat’s movement is the V-fold that the boat is attached to from behind , creating a diagonal movement when the page opens, so the predicament that this boat finds itself in seems tangibly real.
Another way these students used the box pop-up dynamically is by making sliders that come out from behind the box.
It looks to me like the young artist here drew a tree or two on a separate piece of paper, created a landscape with a box pop-up, then cut out the trees that were drawn separately and, finally, added one to the box, the other to a slider element.
I so much admire the composition of these pages. It looks like there’s two pop-up boxes on this page,but what really makes this page striking to me is that the turtle (who had been upright and standing out on previous pages) is now upside down with just her little feet sticking up….and her crown floating away. The upside heroine with the splashes of red around her creates a bold and dynamic image.
I’ve put together an instructional hand-out for the two basic pop-ups, just in case you are now suffering from a touch of inspiration.
I’ll have this instructional sheet out in a day or two.