Expressive Adventures in Book Arts

Monday, July 23, 2012

Salem NY: Growing Books from the Inside Out

Not only can you see art at North Main Gallery in Salem NY, you can to create art as well, thanks to the inspired vision of owner and director Ruth Sauer who engages children and adults in exciting opportunities for art making in the gallery.

As an exhibiting artist in the current exhibit, BOOK ARTS SUMMER IN SALEM 2012. I was delighted to be invited to offer a workshop focused  on developing content for artist books.  What a pleasure it was to meet workshop participants and to witness the blossoming of their projects.

We began by imagining ourselves in a soft moonlit summer night, opening our senses and 
gathering in the energies and emotions stirring in the deep blue of evening.

Using acrylic inks and a variety of painting tools, participants allowed their harvest of
 sensations to fill sheets of rice paper. 

In companionable stillness, everyone found highly individual ways to express their visions. 

 We put the finished paintings in the sun to dry, 
while we cleaned the studio,

 Then we cut the dried papers into 12 pieces, 3" x 6" each.
Stacked with folds lined up, 
we glued the reverse sides of  page fore edges together to form flutter books.

Book makers elaborated on the basic flutter book
 by gluing additional imagery into the books,
by adding words, and
by building on to the structure.


We all delighted in the animated cascade of the pages spilling from our hands,
and in the translucent quality of the paper..

Thank you to all the inspired participants and to
Ruth Sauer for a morning of pleasure,
creativity and fun at the 
North Main Gallery
in Salem NY.

Friday, July 6, 2012


April showers fell belatedly in May and inspired some watery play.  We explored Suminagashi aka Japanese paper marbling.

Our plan had been to see what sorts of artist books the prints would inspire.  We never got that far.   We just couldn't stop making the Suminagashi prints.Each one was an exciting surprise.

Here are some of the prints we made. 
Josette Lee
Miriam Frischer

Pam Wright

Debbie Stone
Karen  Summerlin
Jo Renbeck
Lorraine Hartin Gelardi
(double click on any image to enlarge)

SUMINAGASHI HOW TO:  Be forewarned, Suminagashi is definitely addicting!

Put about one inch of water in a low sided dish a little larger than your paper. 

Dip a slender brush or a bamboo skewer in ink and just touch it to the surface of the water. 
     Use Sumi ink or India ink or any drawing ink made with shellac, or the new color suminagashi inks by Boku-Undo

Dip another slender brush or a bamboo skewer into a dispersant that will repel the ink. Touch it to the water. Watch the ink spread out.
Depending on the ink you choose, use one of the following:
water with a very very small amount of detergent, 
a small dot of white glue on the end of a skewer, 
the oils from your face or hair. (Just rub the skewer along the side of your nose or along your scalp.  Truly!)
You can use the Boku-Undo inks without a dispersant.

Alternate touches with ink and the dispersant. You will grow a giant bullseye that you can manipulate with one of your tools.  You will soon find other ways to vary the pattern.

Gently lay a piece of paper on the surface of the water.  Lift it away from the water by peeling it back from one side to the other.  Place it to dry on a piece of newsprint, or plexiglass.
Unsized papers work best.  
construction paper, 
some recycled papers, 
copperplate paper, 
Arches 88 paper,
Yosumoto "sketch paper" ( not their "painting sketch paper")

Change your water occasionally.  You will figure out the best frequency depending on when the prints begin to look blurry.  The whole process is one of experimentation, in which you have about 30% control at best. Another way to put that is that the forces of nature are contributing 70% of their best efforts on your behalf!

Suminagashi, or Japanese paper marbling is a low tech process that can yield some high impact results, even for beginners.