Trip to Portland Pop-Up

After the historic events of last week my struggle to hunker down and get organized has been more massive than usual.  Deep breaths, let’s dive in.

Pop-Up Now II overview
Pop-Up Now II overview, room one

This is what an Artist Book show looks like at the 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland.  The show, Pop-Up Now II, opened last week.  Oola and I took the train down to Portland.  Lots of rain, but in spite of that lots of people turned out (this pict was taken early in the evening.  It got harder to move about shortly after this.)

As Laura Russell, the owner of 23 Sandy Gallery, and an artist book maker herself, says in the catalog: “It’s easy to make a whiz-bang pop-up, but book artists are adept at pushing further and rounding out the book with more context…a bigger story.”  And though the books are genuinely delightful in this show, the content that reveals something about the world of each individual artist is what Oola and I found most fascinating.

Susan Collard, Laura Russell, and Oola
Susan Collard, Laura Russell, and Oola

There are fourty-some books in the show, and not all the creating artists were present at the opening because these books came from both near and far away.  But — a few books to give a taste.  You can click on any picture to see a close-up.

Amy Lund
Amy Lund

Amy Lund‘s book is named Hygge (to the untrained ear it is pronounced a little like the sound of a klaxon horn — UUGA-UUGA).  But the meaning is full and deep.  Amy explained that in her Scandinavian culture it means something like creating a coziness for the family with simple gestures.  In her family it is important to make the time to gather together by candle light.  And, indeed, when you see her book in low light, the windows and door glow with a light from within the house.  So, since I couldn’t show that in gallery light, I include one of her pictures from the catalog.

Amy Lund
Amy Lund, Hygge

The walls of the house are constructed of the paper which she makes from old family clothing.  Everything about this book is warm and inviting, the palette, the texture of the paper, the Rosemåling or traditional folk drawing on the containing box/stand.  One of the works on her website shows stones over which she knitted cozies!  An image after my own heart!

Susan Collard
Susan Collard, Things to Make and Things to Do

When I found Susan she was looking at my work and she remarked that our books have much in common.  In addition to being an architect she has been making artist books for about 20 years.  Hers is a unique altered book.

I watched Susan demonstrate her book with pleasure and nostalgia for the rainy days when I could let my imagination romp in a doll home inside my home.  If you like playing with the house construct, you should check out her website www.susancollard.com and see both her other book constructions, and the before and after pictures of her work as an architect.

Bettina Pauly
Bettina Pauly, Grimm’s Fairy Tale Theater ‘Hansel and Gretel’

Having tried and mostly failed to register a front and back image on the same piece of paper using ink jet technology I was filled with curiosity (and a bit more) to know how Bettina got the front and back of her characters to line up so perfectly.  Her book consists of linoleum prints and drawings burned onto polymer plates and run on a Vandercook press at the San Francisco Center for the Book.  So there’s that, and I guess I will just have to be grateful for what I have, and muddle through the best I can.  It’s a look, and tight registration is a four letter word.

Bettina grew up in Germany with Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  For this book she settled on the form of the box theater which was popular in the turn of the 19th to 20th century in Europe.  Her book comes in an edition of 100.  I asked her about all the cutting.  She uses die cutting.

Bettina Pauly

It looks so simple.  But beyond the technical aspects of Bettina’s book lies — as with the other artists — the intimacy and enchantment of the experience, and the childhood pleasure in the imagination.  To see more of her work, visit bettina-pauly.com

Elsi Vassdal Ellis
Elsi Vassdal Ellis, When the Veil becomes the Apron

Elsi Vassdal Ellis is a monster artist book maker.  She has created masterworks which bear witness to war and genocide.  In this book, however, she researches with humor the innovations that were supposed to lead to more leisure time for women, but only lead to more work.  What “modern homemaker” does not recognize this one?

Elsi Vassdal Ellis

Elsi Vassdal Ellis

 

Judy Sgantas
Judy Sgantas, Uri Mwita Mama

Judy Sgantas and her husband have traveled to Rwanda where he is part of a team to do surgery for young people with rheumatic heart disease.  Her job is to work with the youngsters through the arts, including making books.  I did not meet her, but I was deeply impressed with the empathy she shows in her work and in her statement about the mothers of these children, their beauty, their dignity, their love.

Now, some of you may have been counting and you’ve noticed that all the artists I have discussed are women. This might seem unusual in a realm where women are usually under-represented as artists. In the catalog of 49 books I count 8 books by 7 artists who names lead me to believe they are men.  I think that this is not from any prejudice of the jurors.  My observation of shows, classes and lectures about the book arts is that male artists are distinctly in the minority in this field.

“Why is this?”, I ask Oola.  “I don’t know”, says Oola, “but maybe it has something to do with how small the monetary rewards are for work that takes sooooooo much time.”

Of course, there are other rewards.  There is the satisfaction of putting something together, something that is hard (or even mundane) to express in ordinary words.  There is the gratification of seeing your instincts and feelings come alive through the narrative.  There is the pleasure of finding your thoughts solidifying and clarifying through the process of making the art.

And then there is the joy of coming to understand more about someone else through their stories and interests.  There is the delight in discovering a commonality between you and that other artist book maker.

In the past many weeks we have been bombarded with media that ultimately shows a country (maybe a world) of people unwilling to talk to or listen to people who don’t agree with them.  People resistant to coming out from behind their barricades of “Crooked her” and “Evil him”.  This behavior is neither sane nor sustainable.  It is madness.  And truth-teller Oola knows that I am not immune.

But what the book arts tell me, through people like Judy Sgantas, is that there are non-confrontational ways to come out of our fox holes.  Not everybody wants to make a book, But we can and must find ways to start sharing our stories.

This exhibition will be available through Dec. 17, 2016.

A full online catalog  is available at www.23sandy.com/works/popupnow.  You can find the hard copy catalog there too!

23 Sandy Gallery

623 NE 23rd Ave.

Portland OR 97232

Hours: Thurs — Sat, 12 – 6PM and by appointment

503 927 4409

www.23sandy.com

It is a wonder-filled show.  Don’t miss it.

 

PS — I am learning that some of you don’t know who this Oola character is.  Actually she is a doll who has become my alter-ego.  She travels with me and sometimes says the things I am too “well trained” to say.  You can find out more about her and her shenanigans at www.jandove.com

Marble-ing in Port Angeles

This time the journey was to Dove Studio in Port Angeles where a group of us played around with marbleizing paper and cloth.  This is a technique I learned from Joan Flasch (the best) in art school years ago.  This technique is like the Fourth of July, full of oohs and aahs.

Marbleizing is a way to put pattern on paper, or fabric (or fingernails or car parts or tennis raquets…).  We limited ourselves to paper and fabric.  What you do is get yourself some thick water and float some paints on the surface.  Mess with it and then drop your item on top of it – gently.

Here is Pamela  placing drops of acrylic paint on the surface.

Pamela Hastings
Pamela applies drops of paint to the water (sized with carageenan) and watches it spread.

Magical!

Then she makes patterns in the paint.

Pamela Hastings

The room sucks in its collective breath.

You can see the images enlarged by clicking on them.
Katie Yeager
One of Katie’s works captured on Masa.

After a couple of hours of too much fun:

the usual suspects
Katie Yeager, Pamela Hastings, artist Francesca Cameron visiting from Portland, and Diane Williams

Everything a girl (or a cat) could want (notice the wine which Diane thought we might need) in the Wildcard’s Picking Parlour.

When everybody went home, Oola and I gathered up the leftover materials and played into the very small hours.

 

 

Road Trip to Tennessee

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.

Drum Leaf Binding

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”.)

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