Sunday, December 8, 2013

Week 49: The Peace Temple

  For people who love books, reading a really intriguing story can be like moving into the book.  The book becomes a sort of shelter... a house... a temple. This week's book-of-the-week, The Peace Temple, is based on that feeling... of living inside the book.
bamboo, paper, copper and string make the The Peace Temple
The Peace Temple is based on the Japanese Tanabata festival (Festival of Wishes), which is celebrated each year on July 7th, or August 8th. Mentioned in an earlier post (, on this day people write their wishes on strips of paper and hang them from trees and bushes outside their home, or on doorways, gates, and thresholds nearby. The paper strips make a beautiful cacophony of planer surfaces and text. .. a presence in the world and hope for a better one... 

The words on over 650 strips of handmade paper
A handwritten banner with the word...PEACE hangs from the central ridge pole of The Peace Temple. What better wish to make in a house of wishes? The Greeks and Romans built temples for their favorite gods and goddesses... places to meditate, bring offerings, study and keep the stories of the gods, carry out rituals, and pray.  So The Peace Temple was conceived and built as a modern-day temple for the gods and goddess of peace. In ancient mythology, Eirene was the Greek goddess of peace and Pax was her Roman counterpart.... Baldr was the Norse god of peace... and Vishnu, the god of peace for the Hindu religion. In our time, several individuals stand out as gods or goddesses of peace. On this week, especially, we are grateful for the life yet saddened by the passing of Mr. Nelson Mandela (July 18, 1918-December 5, 2013)
the center Peace banner... three feet long and made of handmade paper 
   So how was The Peace Temple constructed? The 10-foot tall bamboo structure fits together like a room-size Tinker Toy®. Right-angle bamboo ladders form the corner pieces, which are connected with bamboo poles laid on top and held in place with wooden pegs. The pyramidal roof is made of eight bamboo poles slipped onto wooden dowels protruding out of a wooded hub.. with a matching copper roof affixed to it's tip.
The roof poles snap onto the hub pegs... like Tinker Toys!
With very little effort, The Peace Temple snaps into place.

Raising the roof!
The pages of The Peace Temple are over 650 strips of paper that are tied to the rungs of the ladder-walls and the roof poles with string. The strips have been letterpress printed with BRUSH- or CASLON- font antique movable type... and say either I WISH or PEACE. The I WISH  printed paper strips are made of a very thin Japanese handmade paper that is tipped on the string-end with a variety of paste painted or marbled papers. This bit of color in the otherwise white structure, is reference to the spiritual and revered illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages... as well as the beautiful complexity of humanity. The PEACE printed strips are of Italian mould-made paper that is smooth and creamy.

hanging the strips to the wall rungs...
a meditation in tying the I WISH and PEACE pages...
   Now completed, the book stands in the Code X show at the Carrack Modern Art gallery in Durham, NC for another week. It is meant as an interactive book. People can walk inside The Peace Temple, move the pages with their hands, meditate, pray, or play. On Friday evening, December 13, 2013, The Peace Temple will be  part of an interactive music performance with musician Graham Cox. If you are in the area, you are invited to join the event from 6-9pm at 11 W. Parrish St. Durham, North Carolina.
The artist inside The Peace Temple
   The Peace Temple is an exercise in creating a book which is capable of acting as a book as well as a place to exist. The Penland School of Crafts will offer a class titled Living Inside the Book in the summer of 2014. This class will be taught by book artist Kathy Steinsberger and professor of architecture, Sara Glee Queen. Part of the course description reads... This course will expose the shared qualities of books and architecture in order to investigate the role that book structure and form can play in defining the “rooms” or spatial moments of a narrative.
a lighted tunnel with it's own story...