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Showing posts from July, 2013

Aesop's Fables, Part I

A Baltimore Tale
My biggest fans are children under eleven.Every summer I teach a group of children
book arts and storytelling.
This summer I took down a few children's books 
from my library and had
them select the ones they wanted to read.At first, they selected all the modern children's books.

After lunch when they were "playing," onechild pulled out an old, tattered edition of
Aesop's Fables and began reading it to the group.  They didn't stop reading and laughing until they reached the end.  
Lesson: We can learn a lot from children.

Armed with a Library Card

The Center for Book Arts

Street of the Booksellers On Saturday, I visited the Center for Book Arts to see their latest exhibition: Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here is a traveling exhibition featuring over 250 artists' books and 50 broadsides by artists around the world.
Organized by Beau Beausoleil and Sarah Bodman,  this exhibition is about the loss of the historic literary district in Baghdad that occurred on March 5, 2007 by a bomb explosion.
In New York City, Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here  is a collaborative presentation from  mid-June through September 2013  at five cultural venues:Alwan for the ArtsColumbia University LibrariesInternational Print Center New YorkThe Center for Book ArtsPoets House


Inspired by Nicolai V.  Gorgol's The Portrait

с тем, чтобы рассмотреть эти чудные глаза, и с ужасом заметил, что они точно глядят на него. Это уже не была копия с натуры, это была та странная живость, которою бы озарилось лицо мертвеца, вставшего из могилы. Свет ли месяца, несущий с собой бред мечты и облекающий все в иные образы, противоположные положительному дню (sic), или что другое было причиною тому...
He again approached the portrait to look closer at those wonderful eyes, and noticed, to his horror, that they were actually staring at him.  This was no longer a copy from nature; it was the kind of life that could have lit up the face of a dead man risen from the grave.  Whetherit was the moonlight which brought with it delirium of a dream and draped everything in different shapes contrary to the certainty of daylight (sic), or whether there was another reason for it. . . 

Underwent a series of crises

each more intense and nerve wrecking thanthe last one . . . 

Recordings of daily life

when polynomials turninto language

Reflections of a life once lived

short circuit through timememories

Handmade postcards go to . . .

On 6/22, I posted that I had three postcards left and I would give them away on July 15th.  I did.
On Tuesday, July 16th I mailed them to
an artist living in the city that housesthe work of my favorite artist -- Georgia O'Keeffe.

Tools of the Trade: Bone Folders

by Suzanne Coley
Bone folders are my extra fingers when binding books and making boxes. #1 Teflon bone folder - used for smoothing, pressing, folding, shaping.
#2, #3, #4 - antique genuine bone folders given to me by a retired master bookbinder, made in Germany - used for delicate work and conservation.
#5 - wooden Potter's rib - used for difficult spots in large boxes.  Great for smoothing and shaping.
#6, #7 modern genuine bone folders - used for scoring and turning corners when binding books.
#8 Teflon bone folder - nothing sticks to them and they don't leave marks.
My fingers may grip, pinch, and pick up things,but my bone folders are stronger, smaller,larger, rounder, skinner, flatter, sturdier,and can be sanded into other types of shapes.  
My bone folders score, press, shape,burnish, fold, smooth, and work the cornersand grooves of my books and boxes betterthan my pinky and index fingers.

626 - Marks Made with Pressure

Concerning the Spiritual in Book ArtsExperimenting with new formsand book art constructions.
(materials: handmade paper; 3 color silkscreen; acrylic paints; soft pastel sticks; stencils; hardboard; binder's board; PVA glue )

Letter from a homeless man

A year ago I was working on a series of handwritten letters called"Letters from a Broken Heart"I didn't think the series was as compelling asmy other works and I put all the letters, research,drawings, and journal in a box. 
Today I opened the box.

To Whom It May Concern:

I used to look like those urbane movie stars of the 50's. Dark hair, dark suit, dark shoes, cool smokes. Days full of life, work, and family.  I can't say it was one thing that changed it all, but a series of little things that turned into one big, huge, gigantic misunderstanding.  Yes, it was a misunderstanding. Like August trash left in front of your door and then you're locked out and have to sleep on it. Then there's a strike and a layoff. and everything dies like a neglected garden.
I don't mean to, I mean, well, I am not sure who is going to read this letter, so I don't want to spill all my business.  If I knew exactly what you want to know, well, perhaps, that would allow me t…

Handmade books, boxes and booXes

I finally finished the design templates for BooXesand the little books and handmade papers that go inside.

I still need to work out a few more details,but for the most part, I was able to achievethe rounded book structures I set out to create.
I found traditional binder's board and hardboard the bestmaterials for my 3D book structures.They were easy to carve and I could add a lot of paints and textureswithout compromising their shapes.

Gold Leaf Experiments

 Gold LeafImitation vs. GenuineGrowing up in NYC there were a lot of art stores, and itwas easy to get art supplies.  So when I was younger, 
I always bought what was in stock (at my price range),
imitation gold.
 When I began traveling 
I had to shop in other 
places for gold leaf.
I came across a new world of of gold leaf, the real stuff:
Genuine 12K Gold leafGenuine 18K Gold leafGenuine 22K Gold leafGenuine 24K Gold leafGenuine 24 double Karat Gold leaf
And they work great!

Amazingly great!
12K gold is a very light yellow hue and works well with dark colored papers.As you increase the karats, the golden huebecomes richer and deeper.
So what is the difference besides the richer colors?

Imitation gold is a mixture of copper, brass and zinc
and tarnishes and oxidizes (turns
greenish) if it isn't properly sealed.

 Imitation silver, which is aluminum
doesn't tarnish as much, but you must seal it too.

With real gold and silver leaf
you don't have to seal them.
They don't tarnish.

You can fin…

Светлая память, F.D. Reeve

F.D. Reeve (September 18, 1928 - June 28, 2013)A writer, poet, academic, editor and Russian translator, Mr. Reeve showed us the power of language.Mr. Reeve reflected on place and language in his essay,"Literary Place."It ends:In a final sense, all writing, all painting, all music and allart are only efforts to get closer to defining the one,ultimate place where we suppose we'll know exactly who we are.
Mr. Reeve's interview with the New York Quarterlyleft an indelible impression on me.He will be missed.

Full obituary in the New York Times.

Women Artists - 1960's

Positive Space
Every time I move, I realize how manybooks I have collected over the years.Last week I donated several boxes of books.  
While going through the titles,I decided to keep books written or illustrated by women who I couldn't easily find on the Internet and in museums.
Starting today, I will periodically write about them.
Mary Jane GortonIllustrations

The best company is a good book.

I love her illustrations and designs.Her use of positive and negative spacecreates compelling and powerful compositions. 

6 Moons

from laughter
the time must come when wewalk alone, see the worldfor what it is. learn how toread the motion of the moonswith our eyes closed.  

50 lbs of Vision

Today my vision weighed 50 lbs

Tompkins Square Park

breaks from city lifecracked pavements three blocks south onAvenue A toTompkins Square Park
where I search for beauty

Ghost Whisperer

Still working on the detailsof my Book Art Boxes I will officially nameBOOXES