Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week 43: Living with the Ghosts

   Have you ever lived in a haunted house? With Halloween coming up next week, ghosts, haunted houses, and unexplained phenomena are common topics of conversation right now. Though there is no real proof that ghosts exist, many people believe in ghosts... and quite a few folks have their own haunted house stories and stories of seeing ghosts! Who knows if it's true?... once you've experienced some unexplained eerie apparition, you never think of ghosts in the same way again. The book-of-the-week for Week 43 is titled Living with the Ghosts. Housed in it's own little book-like box, Living with the Ghosts is centered on a real place... an 100-year-old carriage house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania... and all the ghosts that inhabit it.

the box it rests in...
  A photograph of the wooden backyard fence, partially covered with ivy, hints at the lost stories of the building and the colorful ghosts that still haunt the place. Natural dyes, cochineal, walnut, madder, and osage orange stain the cover paper on the box and the book cover. They mirror rust and the fall colors of the ivy as they allude to ongoing change and transformation... yet with a ghostlike quality of semi-permanence.
the book inside its box case
   The text is hand written on accordion-folded heavyweight paper, which has been cut to form 3 recessed windows. The windows are really inverted box pop-outs. Photographs of two rooms inside the house...a bedroom and the living room... are pasted inside the recessed box pop-ups. Studying the photographs, decor is a mix of old and new things... a 1930's ladies' Panama gardening hat, an antique bed, prints and hat boxes... and their modern-day counterparts... photographs, pottery, books, and sculpture. Side-by-side, the very real objects of modernity abide alongside the relics of another time.

three window pop-outs...
The accordion folded pages can be viewed as single leaves of a book... opening like flower petals,

the book spills out of the box
or the entire structure can be stretched out... like a snake... or a boney skeleton.

Inside, the diary-like text is handwritten along the margins of the pages in train-of-thought style...  with grammatical errors and doodles included.
looking from the living room into the kitchen...
beside the bed, hat-boxes and jewelry boxes
the bedroom...

a line from the book states, "such are the gates of memory." 

Happy Halloween... May all your ghosts be kind.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week 42: An Open Gate?

   What constitutes a gate? Sometimes the gate is unexpected, unprecedented, or unusual. In the book-of-the-week for Week 42, An Open Gate?, the gate is one of those. Constructed as a swinging panel book, An Open Gate? is a poem which describes a series of six vintage photographs of a baby boy. 
the cover
  The cover of the book is painted with hand-ground earth pigments and natural dyes... cochineal, osage orange, and walnut ink. These colors reference the aged, pink hue of the photographs, as well as the creamy pink skin of the baby. The accordion-fold pages are made with gold cover-weight French Paper® which has been cut out to facilitate the swinging panels. The text was printed on Arches® paper with the Pearl letterpress using 18-point Crayonette font. The Crayonette font was designed by Henry Brehmer and released by the Keystone Type Foundry of Philadelphia in 1889. The ink is a shade of baby blue... mixed to resemble the little shorts worn by the baby in two of the photographs.

poem pages facing forward...
  On the front side of each panel is a poem stanza, which was affixed to the panel with double-sided tape. On the back of the panels are taped the photographs... taken in 1965 with a Kodak Brownie® camera. The panels pivot back and forth... so either photograph or stanza can face the reader. 

poem or photos facing forward...

Kodak Brownie Camera
If there's space, the whole book can be stretched out like a sort of picket fence.

stretched out...

The poem goes like this: 

An Open Gate?

Coming home late
to an open gate-
The song from the spoon
and a paper exploded room

His marvel of a ball
and a ball bearing wheel
Racing down the hall to
a cotton covered feel.

Seeing the hunger 
from being held
and hearing the squeal 
from having fell

Still we present ourselves
to history 
and wonder at 
the packaged mystery.

Stockings hung by a nail
hugged by that picket rail.
I remember, still,
coming home late
to that old open gate.

the first page...
moments in time...
the baby...
the unexpected gate...
an open gate...

shadows behind the gates
Even the littlest can sometimes become a gate.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 41: Open the Gate and What Do You See?

   Open the Gate and What Do You See? That's the title of the book-of-the-week for Week 41. The little book is a children's book for learning one's colors. Each page spread has a gate that opens and closes
a gate that swings open..
The little 5 x 5 inch casebound book is covered with pastepaper, bookcloth, and a letterpress title plate printed on the Pearl letterpress with a pressure print and 24-point Goudy type.
pastepaper for a pretty cover
Starting with the title page, each page spread has the gate pressure print, which swings open when the little brown paper latch is pulled.
the title...
Behind the title page gate is the dedication... to a cute little guy named Sam... who will soon be learning his colors... The dedication, as well as the text behind each gate, is set with 14-point Bookman type.
a dedication...
Each page follows the same structure, a repetition of the title: Open the gate and what do you see? and...
the gate and it's hinge
...then when the gate is opened, a rhyming answer along with a hand drawn illustration is revealed.
a bright red cardinal perched in a tree...
....a black and yellow buzzing, buzzing  bumble bee.
...bright green Jack-in-the-Bean stalks as tall as can be.
...a cool black can who's name is Marley. orange-filled boat sailing over the sea.
...a flock of gray geese flying south in a vee.
...a bunch of purple grapes as sweet as can be.
a tan buffalo hide stretched onto a teepee.
...a round white golf ball sitting on its tee.
a reflection of all the colors, ...a smart little monkey don't you agree?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week 40: Doors of Green and Blue

   The book-of-the-week for week 40, Doors of Green and Blue, is a travel log of a trip through France and Italy expressed as a series of photographs of doors and gates. In addition to the digitally printed photographs are collages from handmade paper, pastepainted papers, and collograph prints. The title was letterpress printed on the cover with 36-point Bookman type. The book was bound as a stiff leaf book with black book cloth for the hinges.

front cover, collage papers and letterpress title
opening the Doors of Green and Blue
looking in at the doors
blue iron gate in front of a green hedge gate in Le Croisic sur Mer
blue-green door in Sirmione del Garda
green door in Champstoce sur Loire
gate in Angers
bar door in Milan
graffiti door in Milan
carriage house door in the Loire Valley
door to the stables at Chateau du Pin
door to the gardener's cottage at the chateau
last page
blue door watchers...
In honor of green and blue doors all over the world.