Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Arts and a Bit of Weather

Last Saturday was a Puget Sound Book Artists' "Page Turning Event" at the University of Puget Sound Collins Memorial Library. We could bring our latest creations to share, and careful handling was invited. How great to not only be able to feast your eyes on such wonderful work, but to be able to pick it up and look through it as well. Most of Tacoma's Art at Work activities happened earlier in the month, and that might be why we did not get a huge turnout, but frankly I was happy with the less-than-huge crush of people. It gave me more of a chance to schmooze. I took my two little books made of hemp paper to share, and left elated and encouraged by the feedback I got from other book artists.  It's a great feeling to glance across the room and see someone carefully turning every. single. page. of Midnight Haiku. Wow.

My friend Lynne Farren volunteers as an art teacher at a local school, and here are some of the colorful books her students made. Aren't they fantastic?

  On the home front, we've had a bit of weather today. May I go on record as saying that this is about the saddest chaise I have ever seen? 

Ruth Gordon once said, "Never, under any circumstances, face the facts." Which is why I'm holding out for at least one more 80 degree day before 2010 is over.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Local Conditions

Please check out my friend Chandler O'Leary's blog, which is here, to see her latest artist book, called Local Conditions. And if you would like to see this amazing piece in person, it is on display in Tacoma at the University of Puget Sound Collins Memorial Library through January 21, 2011. This piece is truly something.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Progress Report

Remember this? I haven't forgotten it either. Still working on it. Very slowly. It is, however, progress, so no complaints.

Old Mr. Cauliflower Ears was certain I leaned this pinboard against the piano bench just for him. Well, of course I did. The fact that it was next to the french doors and therefore the best source of natural light on this stormy day was merely a bonus.

And I think the Tiger Chair is just about there. A coat of protective varnish and a couple of little brass chair braces to fix the tiny wobble, and we shall consider this one finished. And then we will remember to screw the seat on. And THEN we will consider it finished.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Seventeen Buddha

I finished my little Seventeen Buddha book today. It was the second experiment using the hemp paper. The front and back covers are hemp paper laminated to paper towel (ordinary kitchen variety). I wanted to strengthen the hemp a bit for the cover, and the paper towel was the correct colors since it was the one I used to wipe my brushes on as I painted the pages. Laugh if you want to, but I like it.  I used acrylic wax varnish, of which I am a huge fan,  for the lamination. The cover decoration is another piece of hemp paper left over from the previous hemp book project. The Japanese stab binding is done in the traditional hemp pattern using silk ribbon. The back cover has snippets of thread trimmed from the stitching inside laminated to it.
I carved a medicine buddha print block,  printed, sprinkled embossing powder, and hit the pages with a heat gun before painting them.

Then I stitched and added the torn silk. This kind of stitching is quite meditative, so it was important to me that I finish each of the seventeen pages before moving on to the next.
Some of the printing is clear, some is not. This was intentional, as was the decision to leave the backs of the pages in open view.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Life in these Parts

I have been a big fan of designer Cressida Bell since the day I discovered her. Granddaughter to some of my favorite painters, our shared interest in Tibetan tiger rugs only sweetened the deal for me. I bought her book about decorative painting as soon as it was published in the mid 90's, and have adapted her leaf designs to fit hand painted gifts for family members, but always in the back of my mind was that desire to do a big project based on designs from the book. This year I found the perfect project: a chair for a charity auction. Northwest Furniture Bank is a group of volunteers who collects and warehouses furniture, then distributes it, through qualified member agencies, to natural disaster and fire victims, domestic violence victims, and to certain other families in need. Next March they will host their second fund-raising Chair Affair, and I will be one of the contributing artists to donate a chair. I found an unassuming little chair at Goodwill for $4.50 and am transforming it into a Tiger Chair. It has been a bit of work, but a lot of fun. I painted some canvas to recover the green naugahyde seat, and am embellishing that with running stitch.

I may add a little something extra, in the form of a small tiger bag. It's a design that has been floating around my head as I work on the chair.  I find that when I am wallowing in artistic doldrums, it sometimes helps to apply myself to a more "crafty" project such as this chair. The painting frees up another part of my brain to dream up new projects.

In other news, our main bath looks like this right now. Buh-bye 1970's lime green bathroom! Work progresses, but those of you familiar with remodeling projects know how important it is to maintain a sense of humor in times like these. Especially when one is doing most of the work one's self, one's only other bathroom is the size of a postage stamp, and conversations are rife with terms like "sweat-soldering" and "junction boxes."
We have discovered that a large glass of wine at the end of the day helps immensely.