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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," one child 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 Arts Columbia University Libraries International Print Center New York The Center for Book Arts Poets 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.  Whether it 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 than the last one . . . 

Recordings of daily life

when polynomials turn into language

Reflections of a life once lived

short circuit through time memories

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 houses the 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 corners and grooves of my books and boxes better than my pinky and index fingers.

626 - Marks Made with Pressure

Concerning the Spiritual in Book Arts Experimenting with new forms and 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 as my 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  BooXes and 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 achieve the rounded book structures I set out to create.
I found traditional binder's board and  hardboard the best materials for my 3D book structures. They were easy to carve and I  could add a lot of paints and textures without compromising their shapes.

Gold Leaf Experiments

 Gold Leaf Imitation vs. Genuine Growing up in NYC there were a lot of art stores, and it was 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 leaf Genuine 18K Gold leaf Genuine 22K Gold leaf Genuine 24K Gold leaf Genuine 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 hue becomes 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 all art 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 Quarterly left 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 many books 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 Gorton Illustrations

The best company is a good book.

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

6 Moons

from laughter
the time must come when we walk alone, see the world for what it is. learn how to read the motion of the moons with our eyes closed.  

50 lbs of Vision

Today my vision  weighed  50 lbs

Tompkins Square Park

breaks from city life cracked pavements  three blocks south on Avenue A  to Tompkins Square Park
where I search for beauty

Ghost Whisperer

Still working on the details of my Book Art Boxes  I will officially name BOOXES