Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Boston Public Library
300 North Harvard Street
March 26-May 7
Opening Reception: March 26, 2-4 PM
I'm happy to have two Spirit Books in this exhibition of work selected by Marjorie Kaye of Galatea Fine Art in Boston. Thanks to Curator Ronni Komarow for beginning this wonderful tradition and seeing it through in great style for five years!
I won't be at the reception but hope to attend events which will be scheduled later.
Rumer Godden. When I first read it, it was the touching story of an odd boy who makes a kitchen Madonna for Marta who takes care of him and his sister while his busy architect parents were at work and misses her childhood home in the Polish Ukraine. It is a wonderfully unsentimental story of love, but also one of creative problem solving and using recycled materials. It's a great companion to the Flowers from the Collage Box project.
Monday, March 21, 2011
The book above started with a piece of recycled copy paper folded in half with the writing on the inside. The bottom started with the front or back panel of a grocery bag cut in half the long way.
My collage box is probably my favorite thing in the studio. When Jean Van Hutl in an interview in The Artful Parent asked me if I could encourage parents to do one bookmaking activity, what would it be, I answered:
The thing I would say is that every house needs a collage box filled with bits and pieces of paper. Mine has been a source of hours of joy for me and those who come to my workshops. I cut up any interesting paper that comes my way- wrapping paper from a package, paper bags, the inside patterns on security envelopes, origami paper, art papers, etc.--into squares about an index finger long (no more inches). I find that the smaller size wastes less paper and seems to stimulate creativity in a way that large pieces of paper don't.
BOOKS AND LINKS
Planting a Rainbow is a vibrant and beautiful book of collage flowers by Lois Ehlert.
The Parts of a Flower
Flower parts worksheet with a link to print a worksheet for students without the names.
This site goes into more detail. I like it because it illustrates the parts with photos.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
The pre-conference workshop was fast-paced and fun. The librarians worked with kids from 3 through high school so it was a diverse and lively group. As usual, we used grocery bags, cereal boxes, and used copy paper. We made at least seven books, five from the grocery bag. It's always hard in a two-hour period to get in as much as I'd like without being overwhelming but I think we did well.
On the day of the conference, I gave a talk called The Community of the Handmade Book from Ancient Egypt to Your Library. I originally put the word "community" in the title because it was the theme of the conference but the more I thought about it, the more appropriate I decided it was.
Although reading is a personal and private activity, I always do feel a sense of community when I sit down with a book—with the writer of that particular book, with authors through time, and with the rest of the world of readers. And the same is true for the making of books. In workshops, there is always a great feeling of togetherness as we all work on our books. With educators and librarians, there is also the community of purpose, knowing that what takes place in the room will be shared many times over with children.
After viewing books through history and around the world, a small collection of artists' books, and lots of examples of books to make with kids, we closed the session by making two simple books, each from a piece of recycled copy paper with writing on one side.
I did have time to do a little exploring of the city of Columbia. My hotel was in the Vista neighborhood which is full of restaurants and art galleries. SCASL was so kind to make sure I had company for dinner every night and I tried the local dishes of she crab soup and shrimp and grits (twice each) which I loved. The gift basket that was waiting for me in my hotel room contained a package of grits which I look forward to making at home. I got lots of advice about preparation.
I love old buildings, cemeteries, and trees and had lots to inspire me. The State Capitol Building was a short walk from the hotel and a beautiful building. The grounds had massive southern magnolias, palmetto palms, and blooming redbuds. I couldn't help but gather a small amount of material for possible use in a future Spirit Book. Across the street was Trinity Church Cemetery—old and beautiful.
View some of my photos from Columbia, SC.
Monday, March 14, 2011
For St. Patrick's Day, I wanted a project that wasn't about shamrocks or leprechauns and had traditional roots in Ireland. I found this in The Year in Ireland: A Calendar by Kevin Dannaher. The book is out of print but can be found on half.com and other sources.
Young girls and small children wear on the right shoulder "a St Patrick's Cross", consisting of a single or double cross formed of pieces of narrow silk ribbon stitched to a circular disk of white paper, nicked at the edge, and measuring from 3 to 4 1/2 inches in diameter. At the ends of the arms of the cross a very small bow or rosette is stitched and one a trifle larger at the junction of the arms; the more and the brighter the colours of the silk, the more handsome is considered the St Patrick's Cross.
Journal of the Kildare Archaeological Society 1908
I made my cross from a piece of white shirt cardboard. I used pieces of plastic bag instead of silk ribbon. Even though I make an effort to carry a bag with me shopping, plastic bags do seem to multiply. I went through my bag of bags before I took them back to the supermarket and selected ones with color to make the ribbons and bows. I cut narrow strips and tied them into bows. The plastic bag I used for the center wasn't long enough to tie a bow so I just shaped one. I stitched the plastic ribbons and bows onto the circle but you could also use a stapler.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Hedda Morrison was raised in Germany and in 1933, at age 25, went to Beijing to manage Hartungs Photo Studio. She lived and worked in China until 1946 and recorded the time and place through her black and white photographs. She photographed temples and palaces, street life, art and crafts, and food and entertainment in Beijing and also ventured further afield in China. In the book-related department, there are pictures of papermaking, bookmaking and selling, seal carving. The photographs are introduced by her straightforward text which gives a sense of the world she saw around her and reading between the lines, the open and intrepid spirit that she brought to her life in this foreign city.
Two places to learn about Hedda Morrison and her work are the websites of:
The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia
Harvard-Yenching Library in Cambridge, MA
Stick and elastic written directions (English and Spanish)
Friday, March 4, 2011
thegoodstuffguide.com. I do believe making books can be a key component in developing literacy and a love of reading. Not to mention all the fun!
Thursday, March 3, 2011
PoeTree at Rhythm of the Home
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Susan Rotolo is a book artist who was Bob Dylan's girlfriend in the early 60s when she was know as Suze Rotolo. She has written a warm and generous memoir about those days called A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties. While it is very much about a time and place and a certain group of people, there is much that speaks to the journey of growing up and understanding one's place in the world as a woman, an artist, and a human being. She concludes the book by saying "The creative spirit finds a way."
Susan's Book work
NY Times obituary
Guardian obituary (I think this is most complete)
Rolling Stone remembrance (by a friend and more a sense of her as a person)
Her own voice on Fresh Air with Terry Gross