Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 48: The Garden of Peace

   So many fairy tales and old fashioned books begin with the words Once upon a time... but this week's book-of-the-week isn't an ordinary book. The Garden of Peace is an assortment of books, objects, and text... all housed within a three-section box that opens from two opposite sides. This type of box is sometimes referred to as an opposing hinge box, but this artist prefers to call it a magic box. And that is what this week's book is about... the possibility of magic... of a wish that was formed on a walk in the woods... the fantastical idea of a Garden of Peace.
the memory of a daydream..
   The lid of the box is covered with pastepaper of a lush green forest and tall leafy trees. The box sides, interior and exterior, are green floral Italian print paper. The three hinge strips are double-sided and made of moss green bookcloth and handmade German text paper digitally printed with the story. When the lid is opened to the right, two shadow-box partitions separated by the text-covered hinge strip are revealed. The top shadow box holds a little hand-wrought copper gate and a collection of mica flakes. The bottom shadow box houses a tunnel book of a path through a forest of trees. Each panel was cut by hand then painted with acrylic paints.
opened to the right...
beyond a copper gate...

tunnel book through the forest

When the lid is opened to the left, a single shadow-box in the center of the box, and two text-covered hinge strips are revealed. Inside the center shadow box is the little letterpress cord-bound book of mantras, The Peace Garden, from last week's book-of-the-week. 

opened to the left...
This the story of a walk in the woods... and a daydream...

a walk in the woods...
.my mind began to wander...
an Eden...
looking in...
Imagine a Garden of Peace, everywhere.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week 47: The Peace Garden

    The book-of-the-week for Week 47 is a tiny book... barely 3 inches square titled The Peace Garden.

A cord-bound book with a green leather spine piece, it's front coverboard is solid green handmade paper and the back coverboard is a colorful pastepaper. Inside, the endpapers are a moss-like collagraph print. The text paper was handmade by the German company, Hahnemuhle. Every page that doesn't have a pastepainted surface is letterpress printed over the entire surface of the page with the mantra...Come into this garden where PEACE grows. 

The type is 14-point Italian Oldstyle italic font, and the ink is a shade of brown. The type was printed uneven and smudged to indicate age, decay, and distress... as if the ideals within the tiny book were hard to obtain. 

The Peace Garden.
Just that.  
Imagine it. 

This book is part of a boxed set of two books and an object, all housed in a double-hinged, three compartment "magic box." More next week...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week 46: Gates of Paris

  Paris is called the City of Lights... La Ville-Lumière.  In the 1800's it was one of the first cities in the world to install gas street lights. Fifty-six thousand gas lamps lit the streets of Paris in 1860! At that time, that was more than anywhere in the world. 
   Still, the landscape of Paris is only the backdrop of the illumination of this beautiful city... Dating back to the late 17th-century, Paris has had a great part in the cultural change known as the Age of Enlightenment. It was during a stay in Paris in 1622 that Rene Decartes (founder of analytical geometry) wrote his first essay on method: Regulae ad Directionem Ingenii (Rules for the Direction of the Mind). The most famous Parisian of the Enlightened Age was probably Voltaire, the writer, philosopher, and historian. An entire set of volumes could be written on the brilliant Voltaire... who's real name was François-Marie Arouet. Actually, an entire volume could be written on his pen names... Voltaire was said to have used over 175 pen names! 
   Paris can be just as mercurial. The history books, novels, whispered back room intrigues, and center stage flamboyance tell its captivating story over and over again in a thousand different voices. This week's book-of-the-week, Gates of Paris is based on the impression of all those voices... whispered to this Paris visitor... standing on the Pont des Arts on a warm September night a decade ago.

a road map of the City of Lights...
   The book is fabricated with the swinging hinge structure, developed by Hedi Kyle and based on an accordion folded spine. The book materials consist of vintage maps from a 1954 Michelin® Tour Guide of Paris, a monoprint on Mohawk® cover paper, French® paper, pastepaper, silk brocade book cloth, and photographs taken off the pedestrian bridge, Pont des Arts, in Paris...

a row of gates swing back and forth...
When viewed from the front side, the swinging panels depict sections of a map of central Paris. The streets... angular yet sinuous, seem to switch back and forth in a prism of light and form, just as the book panels' swinging alters the view of the pages. The map serves as backdrop for the short poem, Gates of Paris, which was letterpress printed on the Pearl press. Black ink and a flowery font, Crayonette, were used. These relate to the ornate ironwork of the mid to late 1800's when Paris was rebuilt by Napoleon III and his Prefect of the Seine Department, Georges-Eugène Haussmann... who put in all those gas street lamps.

pastepaper and monoprint... of a rich and vibrant Paris
the photograph.... a night on the Pont des Arts
the River Seine cuts through and bridges lace it's span
This is the poem...
Sprawled across the 
Pont des Arts

Sipping red wine
and gazing at the stars

Across the rooftops
the Eiffel Tower
twinkles in the night

And the gates
of Paris
Open your mind

a silk brocade...

the lights off the bridge...

Gates of Paris, continues the theme of France... but really, the ideas and impressions can be applied to any place one finds fascinating. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week 45: Le Bistrot

Whereas it is most apparent that the multitude of Coffee Houses of late years set up and kept within this Kingdom...and the great resort of idle and disaffected persons to them, have produced very evil and dangerous effects; as well for that many tradesmen and others, do herein misspend much of their time, which might and probably would be employed in and about their Lawful Calling and Affairs; but also for that in such houses...divers, false, malitious, and scandalous reports are devised and spread abroad to the Defamation of His Majesty's Government, and to the disturbance of the Peace and Quiet of the Realm; his Majesty hath though it fit and necessary, that the said Coffee Houses be (for the Future) put down and suppressed..." -King Charles II of England, 1630-1685

   This week's book-of-the-week, Le Bistrot, is a tribute to the delicious foods of France and the atmosphere of community, ritual, artistry, agriculture, and history that make up the gate that is French cuisine. Unlike the sentiments expressed in the quote from King Charles II, the gathering of people around a table of good food and drink has been known to form unions, friendships, and understanding between people of all kinds... to instill and inspire ideas, creative thought, and progress, and to feed the spirit as well as the body. It is a gate...  Where would we be today if the French had felt as King Charles did?
the book Le Bistrot and its box case
   Many cultures have an equally delicious food culture.. so why is French cuisine so special? From the 
fields of delicately tended herbs and straight-rowed vineyards that are prolific throughout France, to the aestheticism of truffles and foix gras... the subject of French food is a study in dedication and excellence. UNECSO (
experts singled out French gastronomy as one of 178 "world intangible heritages," a “social custom aimed at celebrating the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups." -The Telegraph. 
Who doesn't love the thought of champagne, croissants, and creme brulee? 

windows of a french repast
   Le Bistrot is a three panel accordion book with pop-out windows, that stretches out to form a wall of visuals. Inside, the
 background has been papered with an Italian paper similar to wallpaper one might see on the walls of a French chateau. On the front cover is a photograph of the entryway to a small local restaurant, Le Bistrot, in Angers, France. A blue satin ribbon ties the coverboards together. Each window showcases a 
photo from  one area of French cuisine... the delicious native wines, the elegant pastries, or the eclectic homeyness of a favorite provincial cafe. 
Delaunay Pere & Fils (father and son) Vineyard and tasting salon in Loire Valley
patisserie (pastry) shop window in Guerande
Barbe Bleu (Blue Beard) Restaurante, Champtoce sur Loire
  In reference to the many told and untold stories that center around the tables of French meals, this book is housed in it's own book-like box. Covered outside with royal blue bookcloth on the spine and printed paper with a French motif, the drop side box is made to fit the small 5 x 5-inch book. Inside, the box lining matches the wallpaper lining of the book. A wallpaper panel with a blue satin ribbon lifts the book for easy removal from its box.

the bookish box 

inside the box

nestled in its box
Le Bistrot is covered on the backside with a collage print of a variety of French shop labels, alluding to the richness of the culture.
The other side...
You never know what you'll find when it comes to French cuisine...
....marzipan mushrooms in the window
Bon Appetit!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Week 44: Artists and Dreamers

                                            Enter through
                                            this gate

                                            And wash
                                            your hands

                                            In the

                                            Of artists
                                            and dreamers.

   The book-of-the-week for Week 44 is a slat book titled Artists & Dreamers. It's made with bookboard slats which have been covered on the outside with paper dyed with walnut and cochineal. The four slats are strung together with brown tinted linen thread wrapped around two vintage buttons. The title plate and text are letterpress printed on handmade Japanese mulberry paper with Oldstyle Italian Italic font.

all folded up, it fits in the hand
The interior paper is a watercolor painting with hand-ground earth pigments that were dug up on the grounds of an artist community in the mountains of North Carolina. It is the inspiration for the poem Artists & Dreamers.

earth drawing and letterpress poetry
a view of the mountain gate