Sunday, January 26, 2014

Week 4: The Miracle of Gates

India Gate, New Delhi, India
Arc de Triumph, Paris, France
     Though gates are often used as a means of keeping things separate and controlled.. such as border-crossings, airport screening areas, and cattle chutes... they also can have that curious aura of mystery, surprise, welcome, and tribute. The book-of-the-week for Week 4 is titled, The Miracle of Gates.
a pop-up book of gates...
   The Miracle of Gates is a pop-up book that explores gates with a variety of pull-tab pop-up mechanisms. Directions to make the various pull-tab structures exhibited in The Miracle of Gates can be found in a number of reference books including: The Elements of Pop-Up, by David A. Carter and James Diaz; Paper Engineering for pop-up books and cards, by Mark Hiner; and Pop-Up design and paper mechanics, by Duncan Birmingham.

The cover.. a dissolving scene of a tropical Eden..
The cover has a dissolving scene of the title that transforms into a photograph of a tropical rainforest when the side-tab is pulled.
... a dissolving gate to see the title
Title page of recycled word cut-outs
  The text is created from words to resemble those cut from magazines.... The first pull tab structure is a simple pull strip behind a window. My friend, Miriam, sketched the lovely little gate and stone walkway. Push or pull the tab to see what to do...
Keep your... edge
Keep your ....Passion!
The second pull-tab is a slot guided double slide. This image hides behind the gate until the tab is pulled. ...EXOTIC CURIOSITIES...

a mystery behind the gate...
tab pulled out: a creepy blue guy...
The next page is a slot-guided (single) slide of a boy behind a gate and a part of the text on the pull tab... Like the earlier page, the boy also moves behind the gate panel...
Tab pushed in.. a boy behind the gate
pull tab to see FUTURE..
Turning Your FUTURE More Than
Though not exactly a pull tab, the next page is a rotating wheel that requires a sort of pushing along...
a rotating wheel of traveling ANTS!
The dissolving scene of the cover is repeated in the next page...getting Your wish. The top scene is a cityscape of bleak apartment windows. When the tab is pulled, the scene changes to a lush tropical garden...
a sliding window..
a garden oasis...
   The last pop-up is a pull-tab flap. The flap rises when the tab is pulled and can be used to reveal a hidden image.
a WELCOME mat at the gate...
pull to see... the miracle
When the little flap pop-up is swung open, the words the miracle appear... 
Then turn the page, to...


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Week 3: Beyond the Swinging Gate

Aunt Elise's gate
   The book-of-the-week for Week 3 is titled Beyond the Swinging Gate. It's a movable book that transforms from a cross shape to a rectangle and back again.. each flip and twist of the page uncovering a new stanza of the little rhyme. It's a combination of mono-print and letterpress printing on Mohawk cover paper with an overlay of some pen and ink sketching.
as a cross... the cover and title plate

The little rhyme goes like this...

Beyond the Swinging Gate 

Shadowed garden
Eternal fate

Rows of memories 
Stalked straight 

Beyond the Swinging Gate

Flip open the cover page to see the rectangular first page spread...

open by unfolding the gate-fold pages, then twist counter-clockwise
the first two pages... a gate
third and fourth pages... another gate
rotate, unfold, and watch it transform...
Around and 'round this little gate-fold book goes. It's an endless circle of folding transformation.  The Swinging Gate  is really just a metaphor for life.

in the end, a cross of a gate 
the last gate

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Week 2: wall-GATE-wall

   It seems the central focus of 2014's book-of-the-week will be the word GATE. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines gate as: 1. a movable barrier in a fence or wall; 2. a city or castle entrance, often with defensive structures; 3. any means of entrance or exit; 4. a device for controlling the passage of something. Somehow, all of the coming year's books will involve a gate. That wasn't by choice... but more by fate. In Greek mythology, fate is personified by the three goddesses known as the Moirai. These are, Clotho, (the spinner), Lachesis ( the allotter) and Atropos (the unturnable). They control the thread of life for every person... their destiny in life, as well as the time and manner of their death.

   In this artist's life, Week 2 of 2014 has had the usual blessings and challenges, but also has been marked by death. Not directly, but close enough to feel much heartache and sorrow for the families and friends affected by the two (totally unexpected) separate events. Death is a powerful, mysterious, and intense part of life. In addition to the myriad emotions experienced, it is transformative for all involved. Though not all gates are related to death, it is most definitely a gate. When death happens in a family or a community, everyone goes through a gate of some sort; and what is on the other side of that gate is unique for each person. The book-of-the-week for Week 2 is titled wall-GATE-wall. It is dedicated to my friend, Georgia, and to the family of my friend Cheryl.
Cover of Japanese paper with a white satin ribbon bow closure
   wall-GATE-wall is an accordion book with hard covers and a white satin ribbon that ties in a bow on the spine side. Closed, it is only 4-inches tall by 5-inches wide, and a quarter-inch thick. When stretched out, it is nearly six feet from cover to cover.

cover with title plate and the accordion pages stretched out behind
Letterpress printed in white ink using 18-point Futura font for the word wall repeated over and over, and 36-point Caslon Bold font for the word GATE printed only once....the simple text of wall-GATE-wall has only two words... wall and GATE. It's printed on walnut-dyed paper which was off-set printed with black and sepia shadows. The hinges facing the front of the book are made of black Japanese silk book cloth and have been painted over with white gesso to resemble the letterpress printing. The hinges facing the back of the book are the same Japanese chiyogami paper as used on the cover.
the accordion wall...
All along the accordion pages, only the word wall is printed, so that the text image resembles a white picket fence.
a line of wall... across the page spread
At the next-to-last page the wall text is interrupted with the word GATE. Then, the wall text continues across the last page of the book.
across the page spread... a GATE
You can never really know when or where you'll find a gate in the wall... until you look back.

beyond the GATE in the wall

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Week 1: The Gate

   Letters. They don't come in the mail as often as in the correspondence and text messages.. blog posts and twitters (twits?) are flying all around the blogasphere... but good letters (and good letter writers?) are hard to come by. We can read the letters of famous authors like George Orwell, Saul Bello, PG Wodehouse, F. Scott Fitzgerald,  Anais Nin and Henry Miller, Sylvia Plath, Evelyn Waugh, William Faulkner, Edith Wharton, Virginia bound books. They are an intimidating set of standards for putting pen to paper... Who writes like that? But sometimes a letter comes in the mail from a certain friend... or is penned yourself... and it is a conversational work of art. It is honest, insightful, personal, and spins words together like poetic prayer beads. That is the inspiration of this first book-of-the-week for 2014, The Gate.
The Gate book and its envelope with the letter from P.
   The Gate IS NOT one of those perfect letters with words that roll off the page like poetic prayer beads... but it is inspired by such a letter this writer received from a poetess wordsmith just last week. Like previous letters, the letter came in a reused envelope that was a patchwork of glued-on magazine cut-outs affixed to the back flap like sealing wax... and across the front too. The letter was a hand-sewn stab bound book with covers from a poster of an exhibition titled The Gates by the artist Paul NobleOn the front cover, in addition to the show title, there was a handwritten quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The world is all gates, all opportunities..." Opening the letter/book, this writer was enthralled as she paged through several typed pages of original poems and a narrative of a recent trip... On the border of one piece from the Paul Noble poster was another handwritten quote by Emerson "Every wall is a door."

 Ohh.  How did she know? The past week has been one, big, very blank, bare-like-the-trees, whitish-gray-like-the-winter-sky wall. Most artists have come to that wall. Some more than others. And now a letter comes in the mail and says the wall is really a door. Whew!

   This week's book-of-the-week, The Gate, is the response letter... also created as a book... with pop-outs, recycled artists' exhibition cards, photographs, pastepaper collage, and assorted ephemera. It is actually a thank you card... a thank you for showing this artist the gate.
FAN FAIR pop-out with collage pastepaper fireworks.
Page 2, the letter begins... "Cheri Patrice,"
Exhibition card... What is reality?
(Hyper) Reality folded out...
In addition to text and imagery relating to the definition of reality, another page uses collage images relating to vision, wisdom, and memory... in this case referring to a shared time at a creative mountaintop oasis years ago.
the eye, an owl, and remembering a place of enlightenment...

a photograph of a gate... Penland (School of Crafts)

the poem "Practicing not forgetting" in the original letter and Forget-Me-Not flower seeds in The Gate
a removable paper gate in The Gate; and the original letter with magazine cut-out of a gate by Michael Craig-Martin 
The Gate, covers are a map and marbled paper suggesting an aerial view of earth; with collage attachments: a bandaid, photo of a river,  and 1904 newspaper advertisement for "Daily Bible Readings" 
The Gate is a personal letter. It goes like this:

Cheri Patrice, Your card came today. I know the magazine cut-outs on the envelope - twin photos of the Eiffel- were for me. and the torso, squatting and hugging herself, the back curved like an embryo, arms crossed protectively across her breast - that torso saying take care of yourself, you are beautiful who you are - Those magazine cut-outs the sealing wax on the envelope - also reused- from Gagosian Gallery in New York. Are you saying TRAVEL? I've never been to New York City - not really- only a day trip once with my boyfriend when he was visiting his parents in Hackensack, then again after his father's funeral we drove over and got pizza before driving back to North Carolina... I gingerly pulled out the thick letter. From the binding I see it's a handmade book. A Japanese stab binding with thin white linen thread. The cover is recycled too. It is a broadside, cut up, that's so like you, piecing together life's jewels - of Paul Noble's - The Gates. and you've written in your lovely script "The world is all gates, all opportunities..." Emerson. I know you know all this, but can you see how powerful it is? How it says just what needs to be said and no more? This Gate came just as I'm at a wall stewing for 3 days over this week's book-of-the-week. It starts a new year this week and all the easy stuff's been done for the past two years of books. How to express it without wearing my heart on my sleeve? My amateur cartoons of  trains and silly animals sunbathing or marching up a cartoon birthday cake. But it's what I do. The line has a mind of its own. You take the time in your letter to explain who Paul Noble is -"a contemporary British, English artist who works primarily in pencil, in tones of gray on white." I should Google him - as well as Brueghel and Bosch - your knowledge of art has this itinerant artist humbled. So many gates pop up.
   I loved reading your narrative of your conference in Boston - walking along the old streets powerful in their ghosts and gates - and the contemporary ghosts too. Thank you for reminding me that the year had it's share of sorrow. Sometimes the paths take US, instead of the other way. Probably why I never liked roller coasters... too much like the path in control.
   And then you treated me with your poems. I drank them up. I can see the notecards in "Practicing not forgetting". I know that earnestness- that opening to the information of education... "the faithful copying on lined paper.." and then so many years later trying to remember and trying to forget. So sweet in its honesty.
   Though we haven't seen each other in what? 3  4 years? Your words, your images touch me to my core. And slowly the wall is crumbling to become a gate and I keep drawing cartoons.
Love and Ciao,
a paper train
   Like a toy train chugging down a cartoon track... the cycle of life does go on; and the walls we come to in life really do turn into gates. Sometimes the gate comes in the form of a letter.