Sunday, January 27, 2013

Week 4: Ballet at Six

   Dance! Children begin to dance before they can walk. They wave their hands, kick their legs, and swoop and sway By the time they can walk, they are twirling and leaping in joyful boogie waltzes. That is what this week's book of the week is about, Ballet at Six. 

A dancing lady from India on the cover...

Inside... "We join the dance...
"We move into the circle of learning...
"We become one with the tribe...
"And we are heaven-sent roses.
     It's a series of four etchings and handwritten text, bound in an accordion style that is a variation of the stiff leaf binding. The fabric soft cover is hand-dyed with dispersion dyes and woodblock printed with walnut ink. The paper is handmade Arches print paper. Sweet and happy, this little book makes you smile ...just like dancing.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Week 3: A Penny for Your Thoughts

   They say the value of copper in a penny is now worth more than the value of the penny as cash. How often do we find something that is worth more than it's value?  When it comes to thoughts and ideas, perhaps that makes sense. This week's book-of-the week is a nod to the current economic climate and is titled A Penny for Your Thoughts.
What thoughts are inside this little book?
The book has a cut-out circle window that passes through each page until the back page where the circle is filled with the picture of a Lincoln penny...

An array of colored pages with windows that open to the penny
Simple thoughts in this complex world of conflict and turmoil.. just simple colors and the images they elicit to the imagination...

Brown page for chocolate and coffee and cocoa... All Yum!

White page for pearls and fluffy clouds and snowy days...

Each page a different color.. pink for tutus, rosy cheeks and rabbits' eyes; purple for royalty, violets and pansies; beige for beach sand and vanilla pudding; turquoise for Indian jewlery and The Blue Mosque; light blue for summer skies, cornflowers, and fields of tiny bluebells...
Daydreams, really, just daydreams. That's what you get for a penny.
...Unless you weigh it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Week 2: Family

    What is it about family? Whether we are routinely and intimately connected to the lives of our family members, or if we are spread across the world like wafts of dandelion fluff... the connection of biology and upbringing creates a particular bond.  The second Book-of-the-Week is titled Family. This tiny stiff-leaf book that will fit into the palm of your hand, alludes to the powerful and long-lasting bonds that are created within a family.
Family portrait
 Watercolor paper pages and painted Tyvek® spine strips make up the little book that is a picture album of an imaginary family, The Redmans:
Grandma Lucy

Dad and Mom

Uncle Joe and Bubba
Sissy and Cousin Lou
Grandpa Joe and Auntie Betty
Baby Joey and Ahab the Fish
Spot the Dog and George the Cat

Family stories are a staple of mythology, religious text, and in my case... southern lore. The family is center to the human condition and most of my favorite tales revolve around family dynamics and the mundane day-to-day reactions and relationships. Our family heros, the obstacles and disappointments of life, the love and warmth of unconditional love are all part of that continuous narrative. With time and change the family stories play out in unexpected ways, yet they always remain a powerful statement of identity and soul with a bond that can't be broken.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Week 1: River Bottom

light on a river bottom

   A new year has begun and the Book-A-Week challenge books for 2012 are on display at the Pullen Art Center from January 2-31. An open house reception will be given from 6-8pm Thursday, January 17th, 2013 to chat with the artists, Jenny and Kathy, and to see the books.  You may be reading this blog from far away and not be able to get by and see the 104 books in person, but if you are nearby, I hope you will join us! Jenny and I have decided to continue our challenge but we have changed our objectives to include a Page-A-Week for Jenny and a Stiff Leaf Book-a-Week for me. I'll be concentrating on the stiff leaf binding, which is the binding I used for the Oyster Love book I made last year. Jeweler Betty McKim will join us by making a Link-A-Week. And.. we may have more challengers.. the year is young!
   This first book for 2013 is titled River Bottom. It's inspired by the beautiful creek that runs through the  land preserve beside Gray Bear Holistic Retreat Center in Hohenwald, Tennessee. Check out Gray Bear at I just spent 5 days visiting my friends Diann and Adam who have spent the last 20 years creating this lovely oasis in rural Tennessee. We soaked in the sauna and the hot tub, we cut wood and cleared brush from the land, we made books, and we walked along the beautiful Allen Creek on the 200 acre land preserve that they have pledged to protect.
River bottom by the cliffs
River bottom along the creek through the woods
River bottom by the waterfalls

When I created this book, I envisioned rippling water and currents of light reflecting through greens, and rusts of the forest. The cover is of pastepaper and seemed to portray the sunlight reflecting in the pool I visited at the falls of Allen Creek.
River Bottom cover of pastepaper
The sun's reflection on the river bottom
The pages are made of suminagashi...which is japanese marbling inks floated on water and then transferred to the watercolor paper pages as they "kiss" the surface of the inky water.

suminagashi pages

I dried the marbled pages by the fire and then attached them to each other with handmade bookcloth.

pages drying by the fire
looking inside River Bottom
the spine of River Bottom
   What's at the bottom of a river? At Allen Creek it's mud, rocks, water plants and animals, and detritus of the forest.  Many rivers have bottoms littered with tin cans and garbage... their waters filled with pollution and algae blooms, human waste and contamination of epic proportions. Let's hope the river bottoms in our world stay clean and alive. And if they are filled with the waste and wash of man and machinery, let's pray that they will survive until they have begin to heal and return to the pristine beauty of Allen Creek in Hohenwald, Tennessee.