Tennessee or Bust

July 28, 2014

Tennessee or Bust! We should have a sign tied to the back of Mom’s Memorial Prius.

In a way it seems strange taking a trip in reverse of the one that so many have taken to reach California.

Yesterday we stopped at a small park a little ways from Donner Lake and the town of Truckee. The park preserves the small valley on the Aspen Creek where members of the Donner family were stopped in their attempt to reach California by a snowstorm. Everyone knows the story of their battle with cold and starvation through that enormous winter. How Elizabeth Donner and Tamsen Donner starved to save their children. And how on the arrival of the rescue party, Tamsen refused to leave her dying husband, and was never seen again. Some say the group resorted to cannibalism to survive, some say they didn’t.

Donner Party

Campsite of the Donner Family

In the sagebrush there is a small pine tree dedicated by the Donner descendants to the pine tree that had formed the core of their make-shift shelter. The dedication tree stands alone on the slope, looking dead and mournful.

Oola noted this critter close by the dead memorial tree, It appears to be a moth. Anybody know what kind?

Donner Family camp

Moth at Donner family Camp

As it was getting late, Oola and I found a place to camp on Prosser Creek, which has been dammed to form a reservoir, and which is to all appearances nearly empty, due to the drought I guess. I was busy pitching tent when Oola declared the sky to be on fire.

Sunset at Prosser Reservoir

Sunset at Prosser Reservoir

We lay in the tent listing to the sound of distant thunder.

In the very early morning I watched Venus make her appearance over the rim of the Eastern mountains. After packing the tent, etc., I watched a family of young white pelicans take flying lessons from mom. One of them looked a little confused — or resistant to education —  but they were all beautiful.




Magic Carpet

July 25, 2014

Oola and I are packing for our road trip to Tennessee and the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.  Oola has dragged out the old magic carpet and is practicing.  Mom’s Memorial Prius has been lubed, aired, oiled, vacuumed, and is being packed.  When you think of it in the historical perspective the Prius really is something that would have been seen as magic transport.

Oola on magic carpet

Tennessee or Bust

But now, it is very dirty and not about to be washed soon.  The drought in California is much worse than anyone thought — even groundwater is showing the strain.  Right now, it is very anti-social indeed just to wash the car.

We don’t know what we will see but will keep you apprised of the Sierras, the desert, the Platte River, the meeting of the Missippi and the Ohio maybe, the Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, the Smokey Mountains, and other wonders as we encounter them all abounding .  And of course, Arrowmont itself and my teacher,  Daniel Mayer.  I’m taking his week-long workshop “Low Tech/High Octane: Printmaking for Artists Books.”  No computers!

We will post whenever wi-fi is available.




Gallery Management Class

July 22, 2014

Gallery Management class

I teach a class in Gallery Management connected with the Jerry Adams Gallery at Berkeley City College.  For some reason my class did not make it into the printed Fall schedule of classes, though it is on the online schedule (which is good —  IF people know to look for it!)

If you live in the area and are interested, or if you know someone who might be interested, here is some info:
MMART 224, code #44356, 3 units, Saturdays 1:30 to 3:20 plus lab
This is a late starting class, begins Sept. 6, ends Dec. 6;
Includes field trips
Please note: this class is not shown in the paper schedule, but it is listed in Passport.

Who should take this class?
• Artists who want to understand what is going on in the
exhibition background
• Anyone interested in possible employment in the
exhibition industry, be it in art galleries, corporate
event planning, real estate staging, and more.
• Anyone interested in learning-polishing-documenting
skills in
image preparation and archiving,
record keeping and simple contracts,
writing for publicity,
visual presentation styles,
graphics for gallery display,
and more.


Road Trip to Tennessee

June 26, 2014

Oola dons her party dress once again as we plan a road trip to Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinberg, TN.

Oola in her new prom dress

Oola in her prom dress

I’ve warned her that it might get a bit sticky/scratchy inside that bit of polyester and nylon fluff.  But she won’t hear it.

I am taking a workshop called Low-tech/High-octane: Printmaking for Artist’s Books taught by Daniel Mayer  whose work I have admired from a distance.  Check out his “Book Arts Jargonator”,  a movable text volvelle!  I think early August  will be a great week for making books.

We’re leaving here at the end of summer semester and traveling generally on the I-80 — I-70 path.  If anyone has any suggestions of interesting places to see along the way, we would be glad to hear of them. Please send recommendations in the reply/comments box/link at the bottom of this page.

“Bookworks 2014″ at the SFPL

June 20, 2014

Yesterday Oola and I took BART to San Francisco to help install a show of handmade books from the Pacific Center for the Book Arts right there in Civic Center, in the Public Library.  There was plenty of unpacking, lip smacking, list checking, and a little bit of worry that there wouldn’t be enough room for all 120 pieces.

I pulled a lot of guard duty, and Oola had the heavy responsibility  of the bathroom key for a while.  But….

There was plenty of sharing and caring,

Judy shows Momo her exquisite book of Kadish.

Judy shows momo her exquisite case and book of Kaddish.

and a few situational encounters.

How many book people does it take to level a table?

How many book-people does it take to level a table?

There were book installations big and small.

Just when we feared that there really wasn’t enough display space for all the work, Andrea – the Library’s guardian angel – produced more cabinets and tables.

Library cabinets

Cabinets saved from the old library, and they are magnificent!

When Oola and I finally limped home there was still more work to do on the show.  But all will be ready for the grand reception/opening this Saturday.  Come by and enjoy! This won’t happen again until 2017!

The show will be open until Sept. 6.

Bookworks 2014

Reception: June 21, 2 – 4PM

San Francisco Public Library
Skylight Gallery, Sixth Floor
100 Larkin St. (at Grove)


Google map

Civic Center BART, take the station exit farthest west.  You will find yourself across the street from one of the entries to the Library.


Drum Leaf Binding

June 16, 2014

Open Road is constructed on text from “Song of the Open Road” by Walt Witman. In the original book the images are linoleum prints.  I showed this book earlier in this blog.

In response to requests to know how to do drum leaf binding I took some picts while making a copy of “Open Road” using digital copies of the original prints.  I displayed my process on www.jandove.com.  Here is a re-publication.

Drum Leaf Binding, a relatively simple technique, is good for books of images where you don’t want binding thread distracting from the images. Also good for books with pop-up pages.
This is how I put the digital version of Open Road together:
01gluesupportpaper Each page was printed on lightwweight Asuka paper, and needed heavy backing. I applied PVA glue to BFK Rives. This mimicked the original which is chine collé.
02laminatepage Each print was laid into the glue,
drumleaf binding and pressed with a “heavy” book. I used waxed paper first, then replaced that with newsprint to facilitate drying.
04markcenter When the pages were dry, I marked the centers. “Measure twice, cut once.”
05score Because each page is two layers, I took steps to insure there was no unsightly crumpling in the crease.First step: score.
06startcrease I started the fold this way to minimize the dreaded crumpling.
07crease Finish the crease. I did this to all the pages.
08trimpage Trim excess paper on all pages.
09knockup Knock up the block.
10clamp-glue I clamped the block carefully between two boards, leaving the spine free, and I applied PVA glue. I worked the glue in and gave it time to dry completely.
11trimblock If you have a guillotine, use it. If not, put a fresh blade in your exacto knife and trim very carefully. It is important to keep the blade absolutely perpendicular to your cutting surface.
12gluepages Starting from the back of the book, I glued the backs of the pages together.
13gluepages2 Making sure the pages stick. I put the block under pressure again after every page had passed through this step. I let it dry.(“heavy”, Dude!)
14measurecover I used a scrap to measure how wide the cover should be.
15measurecoverspace That scrap also gave me the measurement for the unglued center of the cover. I put the cover together, weighted it, and let it dry.(more “heaviness”)
16gluefront I glued the back of the back page, leaving .5″ unglued next to the spine.That blur you see is my brush with glue.  I blame the photographer that it is not more clear.
drumleaf binding I placed the block – wet glue down – inside the cover, and pressed.
drumleaf binding I glued the back of the front page, leaving .5″ unglued next to the spine. Important to note: there is no glue added to the spine in this step, and .5″ of back and front pages are left unglued next to the spine.If you are making your own book, the measurements — of course — will be your own.More blurred brush.
drum leaf binding I closed the cover, made sure everything was aligned correctly, and put the finished book under pressure to dry.(“Self”, I say to myself, “Let’s not overdo this heaviness thing”.)

copyright © Dove 2014

East Bay Open Studios, 2014

June 2, 2014

In case you are in the Bay Area during one of the next two weekends — I will be showing my art with Jessica Phrogus, at her studio on 2220 Acton St. in Berkeley, June 7-8 and June 14-15 from 11AM to 6PM.

"Book of Bon-Bons" by Jan Dove and "Vessel Book" by Jessica Phrogus

“Book of Bon-Bons” by Jan Dove and “Vessel Book” by Jessica Phrogus

You are welcome to drop by.  I will be demonstrating the Coptic Binding technique intermittant with making some paper puzzles from my Bon Bon book.


Check out Jessica’s wonderful Seminole dolls and drawings.

Seminole Dolls by Jessica Phrogus

Seminole Dolls by Jessica Phrogus


A Memory of Maya Angelou

May 30, 2014

Oola and I and a few ex-convicts who still remember were saddened to hear of the death of Maya Angelou.  Here is a story we all shared in.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

In the early nineties I was working as a fine arts administrator at the Northern California Women’s Facility in Stockton, CA.  (This was about the time Oola was born.)

A community women’s organization got a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to bring writers into my program.  Among them were Tillie Olsen, Joan Baez (the mother), and Maya Angelou.  My job was to clear the administrative hurdles in the prison to make the visits run smoothly.  Everyone was excited about the visits of all the authors, but especially they were aflutter about meeting Ms. Angelou.

One afternoon, shortly before the visit, my clerk came into the art room laughing her *** off.   “Ms. Dove” she spurted,  “Do you know why so many inmates are signing up for this talk.  They think that the great painter Michelangelo is coming!  I just had to tell someone he’s been DEAD for 400 years!”

The evening of the visit came.  I escorted our guests to the chapel, which was filled to overflowing — I had done my best to disabuse the population of the sculptor/painter’s visit.

Ms. Angelo was the personification of dignity, elegance, authority, and kindness.  And she was funny.  Her audience roared at stories from her life; I still remember her telling of first imbibing Silovitz (“WHITE lightening”) during a dancing tour in Eastern Europe.  Skillfully she brought her stories around to the concept of true humility — not saying or thinking “I can’t; I’m not good enough.”  But proclaiming through one’s existence, “I am, and this is what I am.”  Her message couldn’t have been better targeted or presented to the women in that room.

Now, part of the audience was non-inmate.  Most of us were in the standing-room-only section.  But there were a small number of us “civilians” who wanted to bask in Ms. Angelo’s light.  In particular I remember  a chaplain wagging his annoying tail feathers.  Ms. Angelo deftly handled the situation as she was walking back down the aisle.  She directed the audience’s attention to those of us who had done all the work and were standing quietly by the door.  She pointed us out as examples of true humility.  I felt myself wrapped in her warm embrace.

The Book of Bon Bons

May 11, 2014

Flexagons.  For the past few years I have been taking delight in playing with these geometric puzzles.  You start with a flat piece of paper.  Add a little fold, a little glue, and voila! — three or four pictures where you thought there were only 2.  Well, actually, it’s a little deeper than that.  First discovered/invented by mathematician Arthur Stone, these little mysteries have fascinated children and adults alike.

I showed them to fellow residents at Blue Mountain Center last summer, and guest artist Beth Thielen encouraged me to make a book of them.  One of the best roads to creativity is curiosity, the other is play.

The Book of Bon Bons, artist book

The Book of Bon Bons

still from "The Book of Bon Bons" video

still from “The Book of Bon Bons” video

Here it is.  Only it is interactive.  It is art that is meant to be touched and played with.  Easy to see that it’s difficult to show in 2D, static time.

So I took to working with beginning Video Production students at Berkeley City College.  It was their first project. They came up with the story and shot the video.  It was amazing to see them organized – by their teacher, Rachel Simpson – and swarming on the project.   The Mysterious One made the music on his altered banjo;  I provided lunch on the day of the shoot, and then edited everything down to 2.5 minutes.  The pocket you see in the center of the book cover is for the DVD.

But, you can see this video online at either my Vimeo account https://vimeo.com/94102647, or at http://www.jandove.com/pages/bon-bon.html.  You will find more stills on the jandove site.



Women Artists of the World interview

May 9, 2014

The blog of the International Foundation for Women ArtistsInternational Foundation for Women Artistshas published a generous interview that they did with me and Oola.  They highlighted some words that I share with my students

That which you loved as a child, that is your truest instinct.  Abandon it and you will never be happy.

If you would like to read more, go to: http://ifwartistsblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/interview-jan-dove/

There are some compelling works and artists on this blog.


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