Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book Arts Tuesday/Abecedarian Gallery

Today's Book Arts Tuesday is the first of periodic postings of galleries which feature book arts. I am particularly interested in galleries that have a strong web presence in addition to a physical space. I applaud all who have a gallery that is open to the public and requires staffing, paying the rent, curating and mounting exhibits, and all the myriad tasks and expenses that go into making a gallery work. And extra kudos to those who make their exhibits available virtually to those who cannot attend like Alicia Bailey of Abecedarian Gallery.

Located at the north end of the 910 Arts Complex (don't I sound like I have been there which alas I have not) in Denver, CO, Abecedarian Gallery "exhibits and represents artists working across a variety of disciplines with particular focus on contemporary book arts, works on paper, collage and assemblage." The current exhibition, curated by Alicia, is Interactive Artifact. In her statement, she addresses the difficulties and joys of allowing viewers to interact with the work, an issue that book artists are most familiar with.

During my tenure as gallery director of Abecedarian my recognition of the immense appeal of sculptural interactivity in visual artworks has grown, alongside my respect for artists able to create such works. Inviting viewer interaction is a risky business, subjecting the work to wear and tear or damage it mightn’t receive if exhibited in a strictly hands-off environment or cloistered behind closed doors.

For this exhibition I am pleased to have assembled a group of artists willing to have their work viewed interactively. As book artists’ are who I most often work with, and as book artists’ are by nature more willing to have their work viewed interactively (a book after all is a form of interactive sculpture) this exhibit includes artists who often, although not exclusively, work under the umbrella of book arts.

As both practitioner and dealer in the field, I have spent much time (too much perhaps) pondering and debating the definition of artists’ books and exploring various answers to the question what is a book. Engaging as these musings and discussions often are, this exhibition has given me the opportunity to indulge my appreciation for well crafted, exciting, dynamic and kinetic works without regard to how they relate to bookness.

Visit Abecedarian to see this exhibit as well as many others. There is an online catalog for every exhibit as well as print and download versions that can be purchased. And check out the exhibition blog for a closer look. If you are a book artist, take a look at the Opportunities for Artists for news of upcoming shows and submission policies.

Visit susangaylord.com for a wider selection of my postings including the seasons, the garden, nature, and my artwork.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Studio Sunday/Light Box

I've had this light box for over thirty years. When I was doing a lot of commercial calligraphy, it was a frequent companion. Now it sits tucked in the corner and is taken out occasionally. I used it yesterday for combining a quote from Thoreau with a circle created in Photoshop. After creating the image, I printed it out. I taped a blank piece of paper on top. Using my favorite Pentel brush pen I wrote the quote from Thoreau around the circle created from a photograph of raindrops on leaves of grass. This was preceded by several other attempts so when I didn't like the "y" in my, I wrote another one above and made the correction in Photoshop. I scanned it into the computer and worked from there.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Arts Tuesday/DaCosta Hours

While I don't want to get stuck in medieval times, this week's post is again about illuminated manuscripts. It's the solstice and a time to reflect on the changing of the seasons and the turning of the year. A Book of Hours seems appropriate. The link is to the June page of the DaCosta Hours at the Morgan Library in New York. Created around 1515 in Bruges, Belgium, this little gem is only 6 3/4 x 5 inches (172 x 125 mm. The site allows for detailed viewing. Try it full screen. You can go through the year and see all the pages. And while you're there, check out some of the other offerings from the Morgan. The site is full of treasures.

The DaCosta Hours

Scribble/Color Book

Here's a fun book for the summer holidays combining two very different but equally enjoyable activities (at least to me)—the loose freedom of scribbling and the calm concentration of coloring.

The complete post, with a giveaway for those who comment, can be found at susangaylord.com.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Boston Bruins Who Am I? Book

I have joined Boston Globe columnist Brian McGrory on the Bruins bandwagon as they play in the Stanley Cup. You can read his great column, Jumping on the Zamboni, in today's Globe.

I was a huge hockey fan as a teenager but my interest waned when I went to college. It was hard to get my girls dorm mates to watch hockey on the shared TV. Plus the league had doubled in size a few years before and I had trouble adjusting. Growing up in New Jersey, I was a Rangers fan. My parents owned a luncheonette/corner store with my aunt and uncle. We sold magazines and the rule was that if I read them very carefully, I could bring home magazines and then return them. I read two hockey magazines a month. With only six teams in the league and two magazines a month, I knew the players well. In choosing my favorite Ranger, I went for the best looking one—Rod Gilbert who was also an excellent player. And if he weren't a Bruin, my favorite would have been Bobby Orr.

And now here I am loving the 2010-2011 Bruins. And what better way of jumping on a bandwagon than by making a book? In this case a Who Am I? Book about one of the Bruins players. I usually use a grocery bag panel for the Who Am I? Book but I wanted this book to be smaller. I used two sheets of used copy paper with the writing sides glued together and a coffee filter box. I found the Bruins logos and photo online.

Directions for a Who Am I? Book

in Spanish

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bookmaking Travel Kit

When the kids were young, we would bring a small selection of bookmaking materials on our family trips. You can make a kit per child or one for the whole family. And as always, don't let the kids have all the fun. Join them and make books of your own!

I think the three books most conducive to travel bookmaking are:
The Hot Dog Booklet
The Accordion
The Index Card Accordion

If you have access to the internet, look up the directions online while traveling. If not, print them out before you go.

Start with a large resealable plastic bag. I prefer the heavier freezer bags but a thinner weight would be fine. If you have some interesting bag or box you've been saving, use that.

Put inside:
Some sheets of used copy paper with writing on one side. You can also collect papers on your travels. Check out this hot dog booklet made with the program from The Office Convention in Scranton, PA.

Front and back panels from one to two cereal boxes

Scrap paper for gluing. I usually bring a thin catalog.

An Index Card Accordion Book accordion and index cards. I think it's easier to make the accordion at home and write/illustrate the cards and attach them as you go. You might want to plan for a page for each day. You can also have a picture on the front and glue a second card on the back with writing. I used a side panel of brown paper grocery bag for the accordion. You can bring 3x5 or 4x6 index cards.

A small resealable plastic bag filled with papers from the collage box. And do collect papers along the way. Brochures and flyers, chopstick sleeves, candy wrappers, etc.

Glue stick

Small scissors

Some pieces of yarn. I cut mine to be twice the length of the cereal box panel.

Markers and/or Colored pencils. I think I brought colored pencils more often than markers when the kids were small to avoid markers on car seats, clothes, and furniture but I do prefer the vibrancy of markers. Bring whatever you think is best. I got washable markers for this.

This is just a starting point. Add more things if you like but the point of this is not to make a traveling studio, just a simple kit. Sometimes the less you bring, the more creative you are.