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 www.graybear.org. 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.