Expressive Adventures in Book Arts

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Busy February

BIRD BOOKS at Clinton Community Library
A fast pace drove Artist Book Gatherings in February.  We torn, spindled, punched, curled and other ways transformed the pages of discarded books into bird books to be used as decorations for the Clinton Community Library book sale. 
There's a gift in working fast.  One idea seeds another which in turn suggest new variations. And with all of us working side by side, the variations multiplied.  By the end of the Thursday and the Saturday sessions, we had created a huge flock of lively, imaginative bird books.  
Bird Book making at Clinton Community Library

Work in progress
Part of the flock that flew to the book sale.  
Some of the birds now flying at the library

Thursday book makers
One of the Thursday night participants said that while the conversations that wove themselves through the evening were delightful, she also liked the periods of companionable concentration when each person dropped deeply into her work.  Me too.

DRAGON BOOKS at Millbrook Library
In conjunction with my exhibit, Rune Messages, at the beautiful exhibit space at the Millbrook Library,  I was delighted to be invited to lead a book making workshop.  We made dragon books using Lokta paper, copper foil and ribbon.  Together, a lively group of 15 of us summoned the late winter dragons, some grouchy from snow, some  hibernating deliciously, others yearning for spring. It was a wonderful treat to introduce the fun of artist books in Millbrook and to watch spirited dragons come to life, each one full of unique ideas and inspirations.
Books in the making at Millbrook Library
Some of the Dragon Books.  Yes, they really do fold up to the tiny square bundles shown.

Two participants explore finished books.  

February also brought the second in a series of workshop focused, in part, on generating imagery for artist books.  People often tell me about their insecurity when it comes to drawing and painting.  Sometimes they recount unfortunate stories of misguided comments from adults that blighted art making early on.  Always there is a yearning in these statements along with the resignation to being "no good at art".  But there's good news.  Since three year-olds can feel bold enough to make their mark with crayons, markers and big fat brushes loaded with vivid colors without self censoring and agonized self judgement, there's hope for all of us. 
In these workshops, besides constructing interesting book forms, we are exploring some accessible ways to develop imagery.  What is interesting is that, whatever ones level of artistic experience, each person brings a certain touch or style to the process that then lends artistic cohesion to her book.  This touch or style happens automatically, and it lends something spirited to each person's book. 

Lorraine Hartin-Gelardi
Pam Wright
Santha Cooke

Josette Lee
Leonora Kovacs

Linda Goff
Not every approach to creating imagery is equally appealing to everyone.  This offers great opportunities in the workshop setting.  By defining what is unsatisfying in a certain approach, participants can adapt and transform the process to something more organic to their vision and their working comfort.   This happens to one degree or another for everyone in the workshops. It's very exciting and inspiring for all.  And fun!!