What the Hay-L is That?

November 9, 2014

This mysterious collection of guitar pieces limped through the door begging for help.  Wildcard of Wildcard Guitars checked it out and was asked “What the Hayl is that?”  “Should we just turn this into a 6-string guitar”? But the Wildcard noticed that the neck was off center and tipped. The instrument was well-made of Brazilian Rosewood (a rare commodity now) with good materials all around.  It deserved respect.

broken guitar

Stringed instrument with broken back on the driver’s side.

neck You see a white wired LED light that Oola gave to Wildcard so he could see what’s going on inside. He could see that there were broken braces inside.

At this stage Wildcard was involved with detective work:  “How did this happen and how can I reverse the process?”  “What are the weaknesses of the design and how much modification/reinforcement can I ethically do and still represent this as an antique?”

So Wildcard sent some photos off to Gregg Miner of the Harpguitar Foundation.  Gregg is a collector, player, promoter, scholar, and maven of Harp guitar — The guy to ask.  And he said “It’s a Dahlman theorbo guitar,  and it will be worth it.”

The Wildcard explained to Oola that Theorbo means there are extra bass strings on the guitar.

Wildcard didn’t know what would support the extra strings.  He thought the brace might be made out of wood, but Gregg showed him that in reality a stainless steel tube was the historically correct replacement.

Two head stocks

Two head stocks? Uncentered, tilted to driver’s side, Chewed up inlay, broken binding.  What the hayl IS that?

In the middle of this repair, the Wildcard was called away to Port Angeles, Washington, to find a place for his new workshop.  He found this space, a couple of blocks from the ferry to Victoria BC.111oak

The bottom three lower windows on the left will be the new Wildcard Guitar pickin’ parlour.  The three window cluster next to the center door will be Dove Studio.

Once back in West Oakland, the Wildcard resumed his repair.

Body-back repaired

Here the broken pieces are replaced and glued, and the binding restored and replaced.

stainless steel tube

Here it is with its stainless steel reinforcing tube.

with strings, ready to go

Here it is finished with strings, ready to play.  Its sound has a shimmering quality because of the sympathetic bass strings.

This is a guitar from the time of Debussy and the sound is reminiscent of the music of that period. This instrument was used as the bass in the mandolin orchestras which were popular at the turn of the 20th century. Classical music was played on this type of instrument.  Segovia played and recorded the same music on 6-string guitars.  Segovia became famous because of the recordings.  And today, Oola notes, most guitars are of the 6-string variety.

Mickie Zekley

Mickie Zekley

Here’s Mickie Zekley, owner of Lark in the Morning.  (The WildCard and I used to love visiting his shop of odd musical instruments in San Francisco.)  Here he is in the WildCard shop with his newly restored harp guitar.  You can hear  him playing 30 seconds of his own composition at https://vimeo.com/111315643.  The clip gives a good idea of what this instrument sounds like.

Mocking Bird Muse

October 8, 2014

You can click on the small images to see  larger versions.

Mom’s Memorial Prius now bears the dimples bestowed by “quarter-size hail” from a sudden thunderstorm that enveloped our climb into the Sierras during the last homeward trek.  Luckily nobody skidded off the road, and no glass was broken.  Scary though, when the windshield goes opaque with rain and hail.  Oola couldn’t see that part; she had her hands over her eyes for fear of the trucks.

It has been several weeks since the trip to Tennessee, several very busy weeks.  Among the results of all that activity is my newest artist book, Mocking Bird Muse.

Mocking Bird Muse - cover

Mocking Bird Muse – cover

Sometimes it takes a long time for a poem to ripen.  Mocking Bird Muse started as a poem about a prisoner/poet I knew when I worked as an artist at California Medical Facility in Vacaville in the ’80s. It grew into 2 books (each consisting of 4 one-paper books containing one line of the poem with photo collage) and a small one-paper book.  And it is no longer about a specific prisoner, or even about any prisoner in the conventional sense.

More pictures:

Mocking Bird Muse - drawer opened to reveal Part 3

Mocking Bird Muse – drawer opened to reveal Part 3

Opened up it looks something like this:

The text of the finished writing is stretched by the images and constrained by the necessities of the origami-like construction.  The text of these books reads:

Part one

This Jesus is a GONE poet
who combs his hair in precise exclamations!!
This poet has been known to steal crazy time.
He flies a mocking bird muse.
He stares into the sun.

Part two

He drives a yellow bus.
His hunger is insatiable.
He eats flames.

I wanted to tell my father.

Part three

Mr. Funnywalk is not afraid of anything
(except what he can find in his own head.)
His own hands are tearing him apart.
Do you have any money?
What does this mean?
They say that somewhere along the way he lost his soul.

More pictures:

Mocking Bird Muse - Mr. Funnywalk and plastic hand

Mocking Bird Muse – Mr. Funnywalk and plastic hand

Mocking Bird Muse - selected page

Mocking Bird Muse – selected page

Mocking Bird Muse - Books one and two

Mocking Bird Muse – books one and two

Mocking Bird Muse - opened

Mocking Bird Muse – opened to 2 books and window

Mocking Bird Muse - Overview close up

Mocking Bird Muse – Overview close up

The construction of this book reveals a delicious geometry which I only dimly planned, but which gives me much pleasure.

In case you are wondering, the amulet behind the window consists of a jute-wrapped harmonica, a bottle of poppy seeds, a frying pan, and a red unexplained object which just looked right.

Mocking Bird Muse is digitally (and archivally)  printed on Asuka and hand bound.  Technically this book cannot be editioned because the amulet behind the little window is not repeatable, But I would be happy to entertain proposals for an EV.

You can see more of my artist books at http://www.jandove.com

Show-and-Tell at Arrowmont

August 8, 2014

For the past 4 days there has been some intense creative work going on here at Arrowmont.  Last night students put out the (mostly-in-process) results for an informal open house.  Here is a small sampling.


Derek Weidman, instructor

From the wood turning class Derek Weidman‘s students turned out wonderful creatures.  It boggles the mind to try to understand how these were created on a lathe.

Dennis  Hinds

Dennis Hinds, student

The wood turning facilities here are extraordinary.

Wood turning classroom at Arrowmont

Wood turning classroom at Arrowmont

From the papermaking lab:

handmade paper forms

handmade paper forms

From the history of ceramics class:

From the metal working studio:

And our favorite place of all:


Adam Neese demonstrates for guests


Kat’s book

Jan Dove covers stray red inkspots with "sutures"

Jan Dove covers stray red inkspots with “sutures”

We walked home to the light of a ghost moon.  (Some stayed and imbibed a bit of the other moonshine.)


Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts

August 7, 2014

Oola and I arrived in Arrowmont Sunday afternoon after an idyllic drive through rolling, green hills and short question-mark times in some surreal vacation “hot-spots”.  We found our bunks, unpacked and began to poke about.

Arrowmont admin and galleries

Arrowmont admin and galleries

To California eyes, used to the dusty, rusty tones of August, there is amazement that everything is so green and moist.  And even at this time of year — the flowers!


extraordinary flowers, even at this late date

And everywhere galleries, inside and outside:

Melanie Eubanks

Totem poles of past wood-turners

teachers' gallery

Gallery of work by this term’s teachers

The book in the vitrine is by Dan, our teacher this week.

Daniel Mayers

Daniel Mayers, from Arizona with Kat

Dan is teacing printmaking for book making this week,  His is a knowledgeable, patient teacher who allows one to go one’s own path (which the Oola in me certainly has done this week). Even at this basic level  there is a wonderful variety of approaches by students in this class, some of whom are seasoned veterans and some of whom are beginners. I hope to be able to show you a range of the work tomorrow.

Our classroom

Our classroom

This picture was taken on the first day.  Matters have expanded exponentially since then.

There are 5 other classes going on, making for a great mix of conversation at meals.

Melanie Eubanks

Melanie Eubanks, from Mississippi

Melanie is my roomie, thoughtful and not a snorer.  She is involved in a class in which they make work derived from historic models.  Melanie’s model for this is a Minoan wine vessel.  Tsk,tsk.  She doesn’t have a website to show more of her wonderful work.

Here’s Luke, fiber artist of great fame, who quilts people’s portraits using their clothing as “materials”.

The Quilting teacher, Luke

The Quilting teacher, Luke

Next door to us is the paper-making contingent.

The paper-making patio

The paper-making patio

More to follow.  Right now I have to acquire the skill of successfully exposing photos on water-etch plates.





Rock Art in Dry Fork Canyon

August 1, 2014

Since our itinerary brought us within a reasonable distance of Dinosaur National Monument, Oola thought we should see some dinosaur fossils. That sounded good to me so we stopped in the town of Vernal, UT ready for an adventure the next day.

There my eye happened on a brochure about some petroglyphs in the area. Ever the glutton for art, I thought we could do one tour in the AM and save one for after lunch. So we found our way to Dry Fork Canyon and the McConkie Ranch (the owners of which graciously allow the public to roam parts of their private land).

Since it was a cloudy day and what sun there was was behind the panels, and since I will not be returning here to re-photograph during this lifetime,  it is difficult to see these images.  I enhanced them (contrast only) in Photoshop.  Click on each image to see an enlargement.

A storm of the previous day left everything damp and cool. It had also produced a flash flood of which there was ample evidence. I found the well-marked trail and began to wonder about my ability to follow it. Twenty years ago, yes for sure, but now???…… The whole time as I grunted and scrambled, I though, “How am I going to get down?” Soon, with Oola urging me on, my greed overcame my good sense. And I said to myself, “Self, Quit Whining.  It’s better this way to help keep destroyers away from the images.”


a short but tricky way UP

When we came to the first panel, frankly I was disappointed. Without an overhead sun to cast shadows, things were hard to see. Then, as I squinted and stared, there came the first whumph!. Suddenly I saw the image, full of the visual intent of a human being who lived perhaps a thousand years ago, right here on this spot. KICKIN’ but … I have seen lots of Fremont Culture images, and these looked a little like a learner’s permit.

What are these two doing?

What are these two doing?

Still, having come this far I was not going to give up. Clambering about I found a few images that seemed to have been “enhanced” by much later hands, if I am correct, probably in a misguided attempt to “explain” the image, scratches instead of pits, “boots” instead of the typical “Fremont Culture” feet.

Then, I turned a corner and felt a heart-stopping “WHUMPH!”. This made all the sweat — and the price that I am going to pay tomorrow — as nothing.


Really, the original is so much more brilliant than the pict

It exudes authenticity, and the authority of the original maker-of-images. It combines painting with the chip-chip-chipping of the stone. It is a story from a past that I can never understand. I soon discovered more images of extremely good quality and form.

As I was looking, scrambling and looking, there came along the path a father-son duet. When you are with rock art people, you know you are with good people. We talked a bit, and Kevin, the father, advised me not to over-do it, that I looked very red to him. Though there was more to see, I decided it best to head back. Looking down it became apparent that some of my return would be by the seat of the pants method, inelegant but effective. Kevin and James soon returned and told me that they had seen an image of a bear. I was sore disappointed, in more ways than one.

The signs all say to stay on the trail.  But it is hard to keep one’s feet on the trail when the wet sandstone crumples under them. Kevin had James help me over the rough, slippy-slidey parts of the trail. They could have traveled much faster without helping me. And I am extremely thankful for their help. Man-angels still live, and chivalry will never die. (Oola is looking for the horse.)

Kevin and James from Houston

Kevin and James from Houston

Oola is dancing to know that there is so much individual good in the world to balance out the bad behavior.  This is probably why we haven’t disappeared as a species.

Kevin and James, if you are reading this, Newspaper Rock is south of  Moab, UT and if you walk into the canyon you will find many more hidden away, just waiting for you to clamber up.

Newspaper rock

Newspaper rock

If, in your tour of Utah,  you go through Canyonlands National Monument, be sure to visit Horseshoe Canyon.  You will not want to go home.


Horseshoe Canyon paintings

PS     (All bets off on the dinosaurs)

PPS   And Mysterious One, this is for you:



I knew you would want to take it home and fix it up!

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.




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


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