Sunday, June 29, 2014

St. Mark's Bookshop

A Cultural Experience
by Suzanne Coley

Established in 1977 in the East Village, St. Mark's Bookshop is the place to go if you are looking for small press publications, foreign & domestic journals and periodicals, and books on cultural theory, dramatic art, film studies, and graphic design.
St. Mark's Bookshop staff - Shauna
The oldest independent bookstore in Manhattan, St. Mark's Bookshop is owned by Bob Contant and Terry McCoy.
St. Mark's Bookshop, "Interesting graphic design and art books on this table."
For many book artists who are beginning their small publishing presses, like myself, St. Mark's Bookshop has been a life saver.  It has been an encouraging intellectual hub where poets, artists, designers, and philosophers can meet, discuss current events, and share ideas.
St. Mark's Bookshop has a very knowledgeable and personable staff who can help you locate an obscure critical theory book (that is probably on one of their shelves).
Drama section with Sam Shepard 
Staff confirmed that they are moving this weekend to 136 East 3rd Street.
I will miss their former home.  However, when I was taking these photographs and remembering all the wonderful and engaging dialogues I've had over the past 17 years, I realized that St. Mark's Bookshop is not defined by its location.
More than a building with books, St. Mark's Bookshop is a "living" cultural experience lovingly cultivated by its owners.  I wish them the best of luck at their new location and will be stopping by soon.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fortune Friday #7

Today, you are wiser than usual, 
silkscreen on paper
and also less anxious.
Lucky Numbers 6, 7, 27, 33, 44, 46 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Poetry Power Punches

étude for a limited edition artist's book
by Suzanne Coley
Poetry Power Punches, Main image for  Ook - Cells, 2002 - 2014

All races accepted
No discrimination here!

All religions welcome
Yes, we take all!

Bad credit?
Prison record?
Just got hired?
Just graduated?
We will TAKE you!

Life going great?
Life going bad?
Same thing to us, we got room.

Life meet Cancer
Got a complaint?
Cells can’t hear

Today I spent most of my day at the hospital and decided to present a series of Ooks I began back in 2002.  All the poetry has been written, all the images have been finalized, the storage unit has been emptied. . . 

*Poem: Cells ©2002 Suzanne Coley

Monday, June 23, 2014

Postcards - coming soon

Just finished the logo for the backside of my new line of postcards.
Grandma's Print Shop, postcards
 I am working hard to have them ready for an upcoming book arts exhibition in Baltimore.
Will keep you posted.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ideas vs. Reality

They come in dreams.  
Neat and clean. 
Finished and complex.
dry point on Arches paper,  6/21/2014 
You wake up and go for it.  
dry point on paper, 6/21/2014
A few days later, with a little more sleep, your first engraving is done.  Your plate is ready to be printed.
You pull out the ink and brayer.

You go through the process of making the ink just right.  You try different consistencies and colors, like you saw in the dream.  
Reality slowly begins to guide you.  You have to make a few adjustments.  
You try again, and again.  A few more attempts to make it right.  You skip lunch.
You still try to get something kinda like what you saw in your dream.  Dinner time is approaching.  You realize you are going to have to combine this process with another. Tomorrow.
studio skirt, Suzanne Coley
 You hang your skirt up for the next dream.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fortune Friday #6

Working together Works
Linocut on Chiyogami paper, 2014
Lucky numbers: 1, 5, 6, 14, 20, 24

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


When we put our art and our stories on public platforms, especially the Internet, we get all types of responses.  Yes, some criticism is very constructive, much needed and welcomed. Some is not.  So, I want to share this speech by Theodore Roosevelt.  

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

                                          Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic"
                                          delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 

May you continue to DARE!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Why I need botany lessons

Imprints of leaves from trees and shrubs are beautiful and make wonderful art.
However, before I visited Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, whenever anyone asked me about the leaves I used I would say, " I got them down the street, around the corner, from the big tree."
When you visit Hunt Institute and see their vast collections and speak with their friendly staff, you realize there is so much more to botany in art.
Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Duets Exhibition  Photo: by Suzanne Coley with permission
watercolor by John Tyley (Antiqua/England?, fl. early 1800s)
Image courtesy Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation
Hunt Institute has their annual Open House on Sunday, 29 June, and I look forward to seeing more rare books and speaking with their staff.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

In the Studio

deconstruction (ˌdiːkənˈstrʌkʃən)
Reconstructing a book in the studio
1. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a technique of literary analysis that regards meaning as resulting from the differences between words rather than their reference to the things they stand for. Different meanings are discovered by taking apart the structure of the language used and exposing the assumption that words have a fixed reference point beyond themselves.  (Collins English Dictionary)

I am interested in exploring how meaning is created through text and imagery.  How a word or a sign means one thing to one person and something completely different to another.
Drawing on the linocuts
How basic shapes can be combined and become layers of complicated meaning. 
detail of drawing on linocut
There is nothing like quiet contemplation in my studio to meditate on these questions.  
Carving a linocut
Every page has a story and a history. When I break down the structure of a book and deconstruct its sentences, its words, its letters, I still find that its basic form and history remain.
Reconstructing a book, Suzanne Coley
Remnants of what it used to be remain in its new construction.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Ex-Library Books

Recycling the covers of ex-library books
New life for ex-library book covers.
cover of artist's book
I have written about paper created with the pages from ex-library books,
but I haven't talked much about what I do with the covers.
Depending on the condition and size, I usually strip the boards.
 I cut the boards and rebind them.
After binding them I paint them.
 Touch: I am interested in the textures and feel of these books.
These covers are being prepared for an upcoming exhibition at a local bookstore this summer.
Red book created from covers of ex-library books
Created from ex-library books, each will contain an original story in the form of a poem with linocuts/illustrations.
This is a detail photo of the cover of the Red book.
There are about 10 more steps before each book is complete.  I will post them before the opening of the show.

Fortune Friday #5: Whistle . . .

Whistle while you work
Luck Numbers: 5, 6, 13, 14, 20, 34
Fortune Friday - linocut
Linocut and monoprint on paper, 2014

Linocut by Suzanne Coley, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ink Blots: Embrace your "U"

Embrace your Uniqueness
Embrace your "U"
silkscreen postcard based on ink blots by Suzanne Coley
 After writing the post on ink blots, I couldn't stop thinking about their uniqueness.
Ink blot postcard
silkscreen postcard by Suzanne Coley
Sometimes they look like spills.  Sometimes they look like controlled drawings.  Sometimes they look like human figures.  Different things to different people -- like art.
Inkblot drawings for silkscreens
Like art, we all have different styles, different mediums, different tastes, and different ways of telling our stories about life, love, hate, hope, gardening, cooking, sports, etc.
silkscreen postcard by Suzanne Coley
All of these art forms and stories are necessary to get a complete picture of the vast and diverse human experience.
Ink blots
silkscreen postcard
So Embrace your "U" - Your Uniqueness . . . your art and story are valid and necessary.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Correspondence from the studio

Linocut Postcards
hand printed postcards on Fabriano medioevalis watercolor paper 
Sentiments through the mail
Hand crafted envelopes for postcards
Crafted in Italy, Fabriano watercolor paper is great for postcards.  Sturdy and soft, they can be dyed  with color pigments before printing on them.  I send these deckled edged postcards through the mail without envelopes.  For a limited time I am offering them online.

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