Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Work in Progress

Before I sew this one together, I thought I would photograph the pages.
The paper is black hemp, and what looks like paint on the pages is actually fusible webbing (Wonder-Under by Pellon) which has been painted, then cut into shapes and fused to the paper.

Because my stitching is visible on both sides, I planned (loosely) each fused shape so that the stitching would make some sort of sense, front or back. I do use the term "make sense" in the very loosest manner. Let's just say it had to make sense to me. Below is a group of pages in sequence so you can see the fronts and backs:

And another group:

The book will be sewn over tapes. The tapes will be some crazy cord made from spun silk ravellings from Nepal. And when it is finished, I will take a more formal portrait, I promise. 
-- And if anyone wants to know a bit more about painting fusible webbing, let me know. It's an interesting technique, and I'm happy to share.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Studio Sunday

Weather may be frightful on the east coast, but here in the Pacific Northwest we are finally having a bit of summer. So today, the studio is al fresco.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Star Tunnel Book

As a child, I was a paper doll fiend. I carefully cut them from magazines, bought them with allowance, drew my own, and played with them endlessly. In my twenties, that love for small things had evolved into building dollhouse miniatures. In my 40's, I had drifted into painting theatre sets, which, like paper dolls, are a bit ephemeral, and like dollhouses, are pretend rooms for make-believe stories.

The moment I first laid eyes on a tunnel book, I knew that it was paper dolls, miniatures, and theatre sets all rolled into one. I have yet to produce one of my own yet, but believe me, the sketchbooks are full of plans. Big Plans.

Most Star Tunnel Books are based on a multi-layered accordion fold. Each fold is a slightly different width, with the smallest in the front and the biggest at the back, so the images have a three-dimensional look. The layers are held together at the front fold, often with a pamphlet stitch, and the books can be read by turning the pages, or, if the front and back covers are opened so they face each other, viewed like a piece of sculpture.

My friend Rochelle shared this particular book (circa 1950's ?) with our little informal book group. It appears to have four layers to each page, giving a wonderful depth to each illustration.  One would need to plan a book like this before embarking on construction in order to get the different layers right. I have been trying to figure out how one might plan illustrations in Photoshop, and then simply print individual layers on separate papers to get the 3-D effect, but at this point "concept stage" is as far as I have got. Someday....

I had written this blog post this morning, then had to rush off to a children's book class I was going to observe. (It was wonderful, by the way, but more on that tomorrow)While there I had the chance to photograph this star book, part of the instructor's collection. This book is not also a tunnel book, but I wanted to include the photos because it was such a nice example of the star book format.

This book incorporates pockets instead of tunnels in its pages. I believe it is a book about Mah-jong tiles. Here you can see how the book could be read by turning pages, or enjoyed sculpturally.

If you are interested in some instruction for building a book with this format, I suggest Bookworks, by Sue Doggett (pages 118-119) or
The Art and Craft of Handmade Books, by Shereen LaPlantz (pages 50-53). Ms. LaPlantz does discuss this format in her well-known Cover to Cover, but I think better instructions are in the Art and Craft book.
Now, go make one!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Oh That Streetcar...

This blog is mainly about my personal art, but which post of mine has gotten the most hits, according to Google Analytics? It's the one with the set photos for Streetcar Named Desire. Ha! Go figure.

Actually it is not surprising to a person who has ever faced an empty stage with a new script in hand. How many photos of Streetcar sets did I google, panic-stricken, after we unexpectedly parted company with our set designer? Lots, that's how many. Mega-lots. Fortunately Mr. B's brother, (recently Emmy-award-winning) Greg Carr, was persuaded to design our set, and he, too, looked at every other set design he could find online.

So, hello all you theatre mutts and scallywags. We were inspired by the great sets of others, and you are welcome to be inspired by us. Next up on my scenic artist docket is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for Tacoma Little Theatre. This morning I was madly googling "how to make liquids glow in the dark" and I can't wait to try out what I have learned. I'll post pictures in October.

And now back to my regularly scheduled program...

Monday, August 8, 2011

What Color is Your Town Today?

Well, OK, this was last week. Posting has been sporadic this summer, what with one thing and another. Last week I had to go in to the office early, in order to catch a ride to Seattle with Mr. B, in order to look at woodwork at a restaurant being updated, in order to assess scratches..well, you get the picture. Suffice to say we hit the highway as the sun was coming up, and I had my camera.

I tend to forget how fleeting the spectacle of a sunrise is.
And is orangeish-blue a color?