Sunday, August 31, 2014

Week 35: Gated Community

little blue trim house...
   A neighborhood has many reasons for being loved... as does a town, a region, a state, a country. But when those feelings of connection and belonging shut out others, the area becomes a sort of gated community. That is the title and theme of this week's book-of-the-week, Gated Community.

Pastepaper and photo on the cover...
The book is a slot and hinge book, the same structure as was used for the Week 34 book, White Gate. The cased-in cover is covered with pastepaper which was  inspired by a little old house with blue trim in the Boylan Heights neighborhood of Raleigh, North Carolina. On the cover of the book is a photograph of a gate leading to a home in a small town in France. The pages are a smokey green handmade paper with hand painted imagery of iron gates and railings. The text was printed on the Pearl letterpress with 18-point Pacifica type.
Gated Community, title page
The hinge pins were hand colored with watercolor crayons and cut to resemble buildings. The accordion hinge strips have cut outs to suggest windows and doors of these buildings. Each page has been letterpress printed with the name of a city.

Each page has the name of a city, a gate, and a railing. The other cities are...

New York
Las Angeles
Tel Aviv
Washington, D.C.

Any city or any neighborhood could be on these pages.
the last page...
Open your gates.

Taipei, population 7 million

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Week 34: White Gate

   The book-of-the-week for Week 34 is titled White Gate. It has two accordion-folded spine strips which slip into the signatures through slots in the centerfolds and are held in place with stiff paper pins. The entire text-block is cased in a hard cover case with a silk book-cloth spine. The typewritten text is a poem about the unexpected twists and turns of life.  
image from a dream
   In addition to following this year's gate theme, White Gate began as a selection of 7 design parameters from Julie Chen and Barbara Tetenbaum's set of Artist Books Ideation Cards. (  When using this innovative creativity tool... which is really a fun game, the book artist is required to draw one card from each of seven design parameters: Color, Structure, Image, Technique, Text, Layout, and Paper. Examples of the choices for Color include "black and white; highly colorful, single color, monochromatic, least favorite, favorite, primary, and pastel." Each design parameter has this type of variety; so, many different sentiments and styles can be explored and presented in the artist book.

   For White Gate, the Color card picked was muted or pastel. The Structure card picked required a single leaf structure and the Image parameter chosen indicated the artist should use something redrawn, traced, or lifted from outside sources. In White Gate, the hinge pins were the single leaf elements and the imagery from an outside source were transfers from a 100-year old Japanese katagomi screen-printing stencil. This also added to the historical style specified by the Layout card.
title page and hinge
The stipulated Technique was low tech...a typewriter and stamps were used. Text was collaborative...thanks to; and the text Layout was one line per recto page... a traditionally historical placement.
white gate...
Finally, the Paper "ideation" card required use of pretreated, textured, or decorated paper. For the folios, the artist used Hahnemuele handmade textweight paper with a visible laid texture. The accordion strips were smokey-blue cover-weight paper from the French Paper Company, painted with white acrylic paint. The endpapers were vintage marbled papers. So, all seven design parameters were worked into this simple artist book about life.

katagome transfer on back page and marbled endpaper
This is the poem, White Gate...

White gate
no sign display
unknown future
uncharted way

White gate
silently luring
change enduring

Fate and Choices
life’s game to play

White gate
invisible door
writes the story
of evermore

the white gate of Fate and Choices...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Week 33: Prayer Flags of Peace

   The book-of-the-week for Week 33 isn't really a book. There're no covers, no paper pages that are flipped one after the other, no spine, no title plate. But it does have lines of handwritten words and a carved lotus blossom with woodblock border that was printed on the letterpress. There are a series of hand-dyed cloth pages that are sewn together...bound... with gold silk thread. And the book, Prayer Flags of Peace, hangs between two tall oaks in the middle of a North Carolina forest... So perhaps they are it's spine and the forest is it's cover boards.

the pages, stung within the book that is a forest
   The exact origin of prayer flags isn't known, though the ancient Bon peoples of Western Tibet are said to have used prayer flags in the 7th century. Legend says that thousands of years ago the Shakyamuni Buddha wrote prayers on battle flags which were then used by the devas against their adversaries, the asuras. Indian Buddhist sutras were written on cloth banners by 640 CE and made their way by Indian monks to Buddhist monasteries in Nepal. Actual prayer flags were in existence in Nepal by 1040 CE when they were used in shamanistic rituals to bring good fortune and protection as well as to invoke blessings, healing, and harmony. Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The Tibetans do not believe the flags carry prayers to gods, but that the wind blowing through the flags spreads the prayers and mantras into all pervading space. For that reason the flags are often set at high places, so the wind blowing through the flags will carry the blessings to all sentient beings.

Shamanistic Bonpo priests used primary colored plain cloth flags in healing ceremonies. Each color corresponded to a different primary element - earth, water, fire, air and space – the fundamental building blocks of both our physical bodies and of our environment. -Wikipedia

Finally, the prayer flags are arranged by color as follows: first is blue for space, then the white for air, next the color red signifying fire, then green for water, and finally yellow for earth. For the book Prayer Flags of Peace, a sixth color, purple was added. This color means a unifying element... the element of peace.  Each colored cloth is stamped with a woodblock print of a lotus blossom. Over each lotus blossom is a handwritten prayer corresponding to the color. At the bottom of each prayer flag is the mantra Um Mani Padme Hung...  a beneficial mantra... associated with the bodhivista for compassion... and the mantra recited to achieve perfection in the six practices... from generosity to wisdom. 

Here is what is written on the flags.

The blue flag says...

Peace, come in
enter through this gate  
and fill this place
with love 

Om Mani Padme Hung

blue flag
The white flag says...

Peace, sleep here
while dreams play out
the dramas of all times
and the white light
shines on the horizon.

Om Mani Padme Hung

white flag
The red flag says...

Peace, whisper the words
that will end all wars
in the hearts of man
and the kingdoms
of the world.

Om Mani Padme Hung

red flag
On the green flag is written...

Peace, fly in the wind
become like the breath
invisible,  irresistible, 
indomitable, inviolate
Surround us in Eden’s 

Om Mani Padme Hung

The yellow flag prayer says...

Peace, sing hymns
for the trees and the 
small creatures,
for the heavens and the earth
and for me.

Om Mani Padme Hung

yellow flag
And the last flag, the purple flag for peace prays...

Peace, spread your arms
and wrap the world
in understanding
and acceptance
for all.

Om Mani Padme Hung

purple flag

Prayer flags off a mountain in Nepal

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Week 32: Like Dylan's Gates

The Iron Gate at Penland School of Crafts
   There's a beautiful iron gate at Penland School of Crafts. It was made in 2004 by a group of ironsmiths, artisans, and sculptors in honor of the 75th birthday of the school. It's a huge mass of curly cues, doodads, and images... all tied together in one design of artistry. This type of gate was also the focus of a show, Mood Swings, in 2013 at the Halcyon Gallery in London by the singer/songwriter and sculptor, Bob Dylan ( Mr. Dylan has welded many separate and unique items into each gate. The gates, like the Penland Iron Gate, are beautiful... not just because of the skilled craftsmanship that went into each piece, but because of the diverse and complex nature of the elements. Somehow each element augments and enhances it's partners. This is exactly what the peoples of the world should aspire to do... to enhance and augment each other for our similarities as well as our differences. To honor that lofty goal, this week's book-of-the-week is a series of paper gates which have been assembled from a collection of common-place magazine cut-outs. It's titled, Like Dylan's Gates.

the cover
The cover board is covered in a sheet of vintage music... an homage to the poet/songwriter. A cutout of a 1950's era stove with the title, Like Dylan's Gates, letterpress printed on it serves as the title plate and is the first gate. The gates were pasted on single sheets of cardstock which were bound accordion style.. in keeping with the feel of a fence.

all six gates, spread out accordion-style
the to learn gate
the CANDYLAND gate... all good things
Shoes gate.. travel anyone?
Authentic effortless Impact gate... so tiring, have a seat
Relievers gate... meets your needs
The last gate in the book is the gate of watches and clocks.. it's meant to remind us to live in the moment. Sure, make plans and goals, but treasure every minute! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Week 31: The Gates Game

   The book-of-the-week is a game about gates.
The box
Inside the cigar-style box is a four-panel folded board which is covered in bookcloth. The title plate was letterpress printed over pouchoir. Pouchoir is a fancy word for stenciling... or in this case, pounding the surface with stenciling inks.
The game board, folded up
Inside the box is a tray for storing the game pieces and cards. There are question/challenge-like game cards and the reward  (GATES) cards... which have the added benefit of being quotations about gates. The player with the most GATES cards wins the game.

Cards and plastic people in the box
When opened, the entire box holds everything needed for a fun game of GATES! ... except the beer.

It's all housed inside the box
Game boxes can have lots of fun parts and bookish elements. This nifty game was the inspiration for the Gates game.
another example of a game box
A score book titled My Gates and a book of the rules are included also. The little 3 x 5 inch stab-bound book, My Gates, has blank pages for writing the answers to the question cards and the quotes... in case you can't remember them. The rules of the game are all letterpress printed in the little cased-in stacked folio book, GATES. 
books for playing the game
How to Play....
the letterpress printed board with pouchoir

more inspiration... a vintage game board from the 30's
Gates is a game about our own personal gates... choices, challenges, blessings, fate. 

a mountain gate, Mitchell County, NC
A quote from the game GATES.. "The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck." -Ralph Waldo Emerson