Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week 43: The Tree House

   There's a magic place in every child's backyard. Whether it's real or imagined, the tree house is something children know should be part of a home. Stories about tree houses in literature include the delightful treetop home of the Swiss Family Robinson, Tarzan and Jane's jungle abode, and the Ewok Village in the Star Wars trilogy. All of these literary tree homes have the enticing aura of a treasure chest... full of fascinating and charming features... absolutely irresistible and somehow perfectly reasonable... Because a tree house has the ability to morph into anything! That magic is the subject of the book-of-the-week for week 43, The Tree House. 
   The Tree House is a stiff board book printed on the Pearl letterpress here at Orange Lantern Press. The illustrations are lithograph prints of line drawings. The little book nests inside it's own tree house, an open structure which rises up from the Garden Shed box of Week 42. The four corner posts of the tree house are boxes which have been covered in paper dyed with walnut hulls. A piece of book board, also covered in walnut hull-dyed paper, is glued to the top end of the corner posts to make a sturdy frame structure. The etui box made for Week 42 Garden Shed roof rests atop it all. This is the poem of The Tree House...

The tree house and it's little book

Up above the forest pathways
above the frog holes
and the leaf piles
cradled in the treetops 
of The Woods
or some backyard

... cradled in the treetops...
this nest
this clubhouse
this lookout
this sky-ship
this play house
...this play house beckons.
Ascend the stairs
clamber up the tree limbs
or scale the ladder, 
scale the ladder...

up, up, up...
to this nest
this stand
this stage
this dias

...this stage...
Oh, Exhilaration!
the summit is reached
with a sigh
then breathing in
all the exhalations 
of all those leaves

...the summit is reached!
and the sky
so close by
kisses the cheeks
and busses the eye lids
in the Tree House.
...and the sky so close by...
   There's a headiness one gets when perched in a tree house. Who can say what causes it? What physiological phenomena are triggered by the slightly elevated stature combined with the open-air atmosphere in a largely green-hued aura? Is it just more magic?
treasures in the tree house...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week 42: Garden Shed

   For many homes, the yard and garden are absolutely necessary to the architecture of the home and the life of the family... They are the outdoor rooms. One small building which facilitates that outdoor life is the Garden Shed...the book-of-the-week for Week 42. Garden Shed augments the books already in the House series, Old House, Attic, Window, and Front Porch Facade.
Garden Shed with House series 
This week's book is stretching the stiff-leaf binding concept quite a bit, because it's actually two boxes stacked atop each other. The boxes, are known as etui boxes, from the Old French word estuier, meaning to enclose. These small ornate boxes have collapsable sides which fall flat when the lid is lifted; and traditionally, held sewing kit items, cosmetics, or other small articles. This same structure was used for the Week 32: Laundry Poem.

   The boxes can be shaped as squares, rectangles, pyramids.. actually, as long as the hinging is set so the walls close properly and also drop flat when opened... any shape can be made into an etui box!

Remove the roof-shaped etui box..and peak inside!
   This piece has a roof top etui which is shaped like a pyramid and opens flat. Inside is a space where dried flowers, leaves or collected seed pods can be stored. When the roof and eaves are removed, the walls of the bottom etui (the shed part) fall flat. Inside the shed etui are four folded star books... These are also glued together in the stiff-leaf manner by gluing the backside of one star folio to the backside of the next star folio.. and so on... Like many garden sheds, this shed seems to be jam-packed and bursting at the seams!
as the walls drop down, the star-book chapters are revealed... neat and tidy
Collaged onto each of the Garden Shed walls and each folio of the four star-book chapters is a cut-out from a vintage seed catalog. 
something for the garden on every page... the possibilities of a Garden Shed!
The four chapters are: Garden Plants, Herb Seeds, Vegetable Seeds, and Flower Seeds. Eventually, entropy takes over and the folded-star pages burst out! ....just like a garden might do after a summer of constant rain... 
Some garden sheds are neat and tidy... others, not so much!
everything stored inside...
At the end of the day, everything gets put back into it's place in the Garden Shed.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Week 41: Front Porch Facade

  Week 41 book-of-the-week is titled Front Porch Facade. It's the fourth book in the House series that began with Old House in Week 38. Front Porch Facade is a rhyme about a certain front porch.
Covered in antique marbled paper, pastepaper, and silk bookcloth
It joins the books Old House, Attic, and Window... 
the book, Front Porch Facade... beside The House Series box set 
   The book slides inside it's own slipcase... which also serves as the physical porch of the House.

The slipcase porch is covered in pastepaper and marbled paper
Front Porch Facade in its own slipcase porch
Inside the little stiff-leaf book are the pastepainted folios and and the letterpress rhyme about a neglected  part of the house...

Looking down on the Front Porch Facade

paste paint, letterpress, and shadows...
This is the silly little rhyme, Front Porch Facade...

Front Porch Facade

The old swing hung
on the Front Porch;
an anniversary gift
from long ago

Promise of evenings spent
sharing the events of the day
and rocking to and fro

The hope was there
in those early years:
the perfect match for
the family life
the toasts, and boasts, and cheers.

So the swing was strung
from links of chain:
it hung as if to say
Here Lives a Happy Family
Come visit us and stay!

On the surface it greeted all
comers. It's thick enamel pate
the pure and simple whiteness
Welcome beacon to the estate.

But year after year it hung
forgot; the Front Porch for
distant guests, and
peddlers and beggars
not FAMILY like the rest.

The slats grew cobwebbed
and dirty - shrouded with
patches of mold;
and the old porch swing
just hung there
swung by the wind and the cold.

When the Front Porch was
newly painted
the old swing was taken down,
hung in a tree in the backyard
...perhaps a better place found.

Now, beside the Front
Porch door sits a
handmade oaken pew
a testament to faith and love
and covered in mildew.

beyond the Front Porch Facade...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Week 40: Window

  Windows are commonplace everyday structures that still draw attention and create interest. Many, many architects and craftsmen, from Le Corbusier to Louis Comfort Tiffany, have designed windows which are interesting and beautiful. Windows let sunlight and warmth into a structure. They let the person within see outside. They form a protective barrier and provide ventilation. All of these attributes improve one's view of the world or personal comfort. And I have always been infatuated with windows. This week's book-of-the-week, an addition to the earlier books-of-the-week Old House and Attic, is titled Window.

Window attached to the box for the books Old House and Attic
   Window is housed in a gusset pocket that looks like a window and has been attached to the box made for the Week 38 book, Old House. Black heavyweight Fabriano® paper and a sheet of stiff mylar were used to construct the gusset pocket. It has been designed so the little 3 inch by 3.5 inch accordion book slips right inside.
inside the gusset pocket...
The pocket flap (rooftop) of marbled paper, is held in place by tension caused by the rounded fold. It simply pulls out to get to the little book and remove it. The cover board has a photograph taken of some of the windows of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France.
a window pocket and Window the book
The accordion book is held shut with a black satin ribbon. When the ribbon is untied, the book expands into it's zigzag form, revealing an array of box-cut pop-outs which resemble windows.

opened up as an accordion book...
As the book is opened the side-view resembles a sort of gear wheel... a bridge... or a fan... all depending on how far back the covers are pulled... and your point of view.
opened... the view from the fore-edge

But looked at individually, the pages of Window are clearly about the windows themselves. Eleven pages of windows from all over the world are depicted. In buildings from historic eras to modern times... public, private, or communal... religious or secular... the windows not only let in the outside, but let us see in. These are a few of the stars of Window.

 Cathedral de Notre Dame, Paris France
 a chinese alleyway...
Musee des Beaux Arts in Angers, France
through a temple gate...

ruins of Bluebeard's castle, 1025AD France...
a Buddhist monastery in the Taiwanese mountains
sleek skyscraper and Taipei 101... window in Pittsburgh

Once the book has been viewed and the windows have brought to mind your own favorite windows, the little book can serve as a play toy.. moving the accordion body into a variety of lovely geometric shapes..
....opened like a flower
... and creating still lifes... 
A daisy growing outside your window?
...or as cat toys.

Charlemagne gets the book

Charlemagne eats the book
Windows are architectural elements which add immeasurable quality to buildings by letting the outside enter the interior of a structure, and thus forming a connection between nature and man. Regardless of the age of a building, this enlightenment can never be too small.

 the back cover: Taipei 2007 world's tallest building and almost ALL windows