Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Aesop's Fables, Part I

A Baltimore Tale
Book Arts in Baltimore 2013 is all about Aesop's Fables aka A9
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.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Center for Book Arts

Street of the Booksellers
Fragile by Dorothy Krausse, 2011, Edition of 3
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 
that occurred on March 5, 2007
by a bomb explosion.

Some of the Artists' Books on display at The Center for Book Arts
In New York City, 
Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here 
is a collaborative presentation from 
mid-June through September 2013
 at five cultural venues:
The Center for Book Arts

Friday, July 26, 2013


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 

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. . . 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Underwent a series of crises

each more intense and nerve wrecking than
the last one . . . 
Printmaking with collage from journal page, 2013 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Recordings of daily life

when polynomials turn
into language
Hand bound artist's books about cancer, Suzanne Coley

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

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.

Blue Nature, 2013 linocut postcard
On Tuesday, July 16th I mailed them to
Fortuna Postcard

an artist living in the city that houses
Handprinted postcard
I Never Thought I'd Be The One postcard
the work of my favorite artist -- Georgia O'Keeffe.

Postcards and handmade book with matching protective box ready for shipping.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tools of the Trade: Bone Folders

by Suzanne Coley

Bone folders are my extra fingers when binding books and making boxes.
Bone folders from my studio, Suzanne Coley
#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.
Bone folders are great for crisp clean folds and creases.  Suzanne Coley
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.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

626 - Marks Made with Pressure

Concerning the Spiritual in Book Arts
626 - Marks Made with Pressure, 2013 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 )

Monday, July 15, 2013

Letter from a homeless man

A year ago I was working on a series of 
handwritten letters 
"Letters from a Broken Heart"
handwritten letter from  homeless man
Letter from a homeless man, 2013
for upcoming series 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 to better explain things.  

My fingers are cold, I am about to leave the cafe. They have a 90 minute time limit here. They know me and like me.  I'm not picky like their other customers. Some days Angie brings me a meal some spoiled rich girl would send back. I would always say that the meal is perfect -- and then it's on the house. Angie's not here today, so I am going to take a walk. You know, city life. I always like city life with a garden, little red tomatoes, eggplants.

By the way, I am not sure why people say I am homeless.  I am temporarily without shelter - displaced. I am not going to make a big thing over it, but I just want to set the "wording" straight.  



P.S. You can leave my payments for the letters at the cafe. The address is on the other side of this napkin. If I am not here, leave it with Angie.  

P.P.S.  Who is reading this letter?

Letters from a Broken Heart Series
©2013 Suzanne Coley

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Handmade books, boxes and booXes

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

The little red book, Truth 7 that goes inside Ghost Whisperer booX.

Detail image of little red book, Truth 7
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.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gold Leaf Experiments

 Gold Leaf
Imitation vs. Genuine
12K gold leaf on handmade paper
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 find really good prices of 
genuine gold and silver leaf online.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

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.

F. D. Reeve

© Martin J. Desht 2013

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.

Monday, July 8, 2013

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

Published 1963, Mary Jane Gorton illustrated the cover and all 9 images in this book.

The best company is a good book.

Page 36,  Illustration by Mary Jane Gorton.  Page  37 "wise sayings".
I love her illustrations and designs.
Her use of positive 
and negative space
creates compelling and 
powerful compositions. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

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.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tompkins Square Park

breaks from city life
Triptych book, Summer 2009
cracked pavements 
three blocks south on

Handmade paper on cover 
where I search for beauty

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ghost Whisperer

Still working on the details
of my Book Art Boxes 
I will officially name
Black Boox:  The Ghost Whisperer

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