Friday, August 30, 2013

Emulating Nature

layers of inspiration
concentric bands of light 
magnificent crystals
textured beauty caught in a frame

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Genuine sentiments

through the mail
Silkscreen postcard
When I sent these postcards
to my friend, she thought they were
one of my abstract designs.
Two color silkscreen postcards by Suzanne Coley
 The bottom two cards arrived first and
they made a really nice design when turned
upside down.
Sentimental Quadrilaterals (postcards)
 When all four cards arrived she
framed them.

I wonder what the recipients of my
six puzzle postcards think. . . 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Sentimental Quadrilaterals
Many of my handmade postcards and
postcards printed on watercolor papers
 come in four parts.
Back and front sides of postcards
 Each week a recipient receives a different
postcard with 1/4 of the image.
When all four postcards are received
a complete image is created.
Three color silkscreened print
sent through the mail.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Charlotte Elliott, Baltimore, MD

I would like to introduce one of my favorite
stores in Baltimore
Established in 2001 in the Hamden district of Baltimore
this antique, fine art, vintage clothing, and bookstore
is family owned and run by the Hays family.
Located in two adjacent buildings,
835 & 837 West 36th Street,
one store is filled with fine art,
first edition, rare, and used books.
The other store is filled with 
beautiful linens, silver, and vintage items.

I always say I am only going to browse
their eclectic mix of art, books, and linens;
However, when I leave, my wallet is lighter
and my bags are heavier. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

To Err is Human

I love visiting the Newseum in Washtington, DC
Everything you want to know about journalism:
recording, reporting, and 
photographing information is there.

Even the errors.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Shadow and I

Milan by Suzanne Coley
Just where my long road started out, it ends.
I stand alone and see my childhood town
Calling its kids and saying goodnight to friends.
And now the ruffled window shades draw down.

Old men and women, slumped in easy chairs,
fold up their papers, yawn, and cease to talk.
I know that only a tireless streetlamp cares
Where I, a ghost with fisted pockets, walk.

Shadow and I, we play a little game 
Of hide-and-seek, as we have always done.
Ten years ago I had a boy's nickname,
Voiced in the streets and known by everyone.

That name, those years, companions that I had --
Channing the fiddler and the girls next door,
The roughneck gang that drove my father mad,
Trampling his flowers in their relentless war --

Where are they now, so dear and out of date?
Old men and women yawn but do not stir
The burned-out embers, and the hour is late
Someone is calling but I can't see her.

"Sneakthief!" she cries.  "You've waited here too long,
Thinking of them, beside an old streetlamp.
Shadow will fall on you and he will throng
Your reckless head and beat you for a tramp.

"And when you go back home -- to your own home --
No one will know you.  Peering through a crack 
Familiar eyes will say, 'Too bad you've come,'
Familiar lips will mutter, 'Don't come back.'"

Going Back by Donald Peterson
The Paris Review, 1959

Monday, August 19, 2013

Artist's books and boxes

I love making custom made matching boxes
for my artist's books.  Here are a few:
Green book made for a wonderful lady in New York City, Liz.  
I've been experimenting with various textures
on the covers.  My goal: to create strong, sturdy, and
durable textures that would allow years of 
handling and the books still look great.

Restroom, artist's book and matching box, 2013
Restroom's cover is created with fabric,
acrylic paint, mulberry paper and dictionary
pages.  A layer of methylcellulose (a glue
and binder used to create paste papers as well
as book conservation) was brushed on top
to seal the design.  
Invisible, currently part of the Art in Embassies Program
The cover of Invisible was also sealed with 
methylcellulose.  I like this binder much better than
acrylic mediums as they tend to feel sticky.

Yellow Jazz, currently on exhibit at the US Embassy in Niamey, Niger.
Yellow Jazz is one of my favorite creations using 
pigments and acrylic mediums.  The cover started as a
paste paper and turned into a heavily textured
cover for the book and box.
Geometry of Chaos, artist's book and box
Geometry of Chaos: I used black acrylic paint
and mixed it with Golden's mediums and additives.

Maybe Golden will let me demonstrate my 
techniques with their products?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Periwinkle: when life makes me cry

at times
life makes me cry. 
poetry allows me to embrace these emotions.
philosophy allows me to put them into a logical form.
art allows me to record them.
Artist's books and Broadside ballads
Letterpress broadside
Letterpress Broadside ballad, Periwinkle
I created broadside ballads with 
left over pages from my limited edition
artist's book Periwinkle.

Why broadside ballads?
Traditionally, broadsides were songs or poems
printed on one side of a single sheet of paper.
From the 1600s to 1900s, broadsides were daily 
forms of street literature, and printers 
used low quality, inexpensive papers. 

"Sold in the streets by itinerant vendors,
broadside ballads ranged in size from tabloid-sized
and larger sheets to small 4"x 8" slips of paper.
As a general rule broadside ballads were,
like newspapers, intended to be ephemeral,
and were usually printed on the cheapest, 
thinnest papers."
source: New York State Library
Street Literature and Broadside Ballads

Like most broadsides these days,
I use acid free handmade papers or
archival printmaking papers and
letterpress lead type for the text.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Nuns who create art, Part I

 "Stop the Bombing"
"Let's Talk"
"Handle with Care"
"Somebody had to break the rules"
"The clue is in the signs"
These are just a few titles
of Sister Corita's printed posters.
 Sister Corita designed hundreds of vibrant posters
that reflected American culture in the 1960s.

Come Alive! The Spirited Art of Sister Corita, by Julie Ault, 2006

Her silkscreened posters captured the social,
 political, and cultural milieux of the 1960s.

Sister Corita incorporated headline news,
stories, and advertisements into her art.

I saw an exhibition of Sister Corita's art
in Washington, DC at
and I felt I was back in the 1960s 
protesting for peace and justice.
Her work was powerful and beautiful.
Sister Corita wrote:
If we separate ourselves from the great arts of our time,
we cannot be leaven enriching our society from within.
We may well be peripheral to our society - unaware of its pains
and joys, unable to communicate with it, to benefit from it 
or to help it.  We will be refusing to care about the fight to 
free man that James Baldwin speaks of: "The war
of an artist with his society is a lover's war.  And he
does at his best, what lovers do, which is
to reveal the beloved to himself, and with that
revelation, make freedom real."
"Art and beauty in the life of the sister," p. 15

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Moonlight Love

What do you 
want, love. To be
loved.  What,

what wanted,
love, wanted
so much as love

like nothing 
considered, no
feeling but

a simple
forgotten, sits

in its feeling,
two things,
one and one.

March 1965

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dear earth,

I do salute thee with my hand,
Though rebels wound thee with their horses' hoofs.
As a long-parted mother with her child
Linocut and painting from artist's book Garden of Hope by Suzanne Coley
Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in meeting,
So weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth
Richard II,  (III.ii.6-10)
Wm. Shakespeare

Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Arts for Children

  The spirit of creativity in children
I love teaching children visual storytelling with
the accordion book structure.
Accordion books ready for art and stories
Children enjoy folding and putting creases in the papers.
Some draw from left to right.  
Some right to left.  
Some start in the middle.  
It is their story and they tell it the way they want.
I give them pencils, crayons, water colors, and lots
of encouragement to create images and tales.

Children are natural storytellers. 
One easy lesson children enjoy 
is creating inkblot drawings.
inkblots created with watercolors
They put ink drops on one side of the paper,
fold down the other side,
rub the paper with the back of their hands,
open it and they have an image.
Some accordion books drying
Looks like the Rorschach test?

Ask a child what it is and the stories are amazing,
and sometimes, surprising!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

In the forest . . .

Nature is my greatest inspiration
Poster by Suzanne Coley
Smile poster by Suzanne Coley
I love the colors,
the shapes,
the sounds

strolls in the forest
 mother nature's perfume

lilies, lavender, longing
all that is alive

Friday, August 9, 2013


Taking a break from making paper.
Dedicating more time to working on my 
relief prints and upcoming videos.
I feel as if I am going in a
new direction . . .

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Don't Look Now

Going through my old film negatives
and Kodachrome slides. 

I digitized one of my  Kodachrome slides and added text.

I still like using film whenever I can,
however film has become so expensive
to process.  I miss having a dark room,
but I don't miss all the chemicals.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

Socrates and Aesop's Fables

In Plato's Phaedo 
Socrates had a dream to write poems (verse).

After his trial, as
he was awaiting death, 
Socrates said, 
"[...] I realized that a poet, if he is to be a poet,
must compose fables, not arguments.
Being no teller of fables myself, I took the stories I knew
and had at hand, the fables of Aesop, and I versified the 
first ones I came across" 61b.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Handmade papers and book structures

Book of Contents 

I finally found a form for my
handmade papers.  
artist's book by Suzanne Coley
 I have been experimenting with different
forms to exhibit my handmade papers.
Even though the handmade papers
 are sturdy and textured,
exhibiting them without frames left them vulnerable.
Exhibiting them with frames really didn't show 
their intricately embossed designs
 and textures.
This week, I finally perfected the book
binding forms. 

 In the past, all of my artist's books have
had title pages, prologues, bodies or
"signatures" with stories and poems 
colophons, headbands, and 
hand marbled end sheets.    
These do not.  
However, these book structures 
really enhance my content and
 I am going to call them 
Books of Content.

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