Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Week 25: Scavenger Hunt, #1

   A scavenger hunt is a game in which participants are challenged to collect specific items or complete specific actions from a prepared list. A time challenge may be part of the list, or simply meeting each of the criteria (however long it takes).... might also be considered success. Wikipedia relates that game scholar Markus Montola has traced scavenger hunts back to ancient folk games. This week's book, Scavenger Hunt, is an artist's characterization of the scavenger hunt called life. That list of should do's, want to do's, how-to do's, wish-I-could do's,... that bucket list of things; and then all the other things that happen while checking off the items on the list... those things make up the whole list... which is really just another map... of this Scavenger Hunt. 
   The first step of Scavenger Hunt is its definition.... which is expressed in this small 5-inch by 4-inch traditional casebound book with vintage marbled paper cover and silk backcloth spine piece. The title plate was letterpress printed on an ink jet print of an old world map.

the cover.... starting out very traditional...

the spine piece of black Japanese silk backcloth... adds to the traditional look
Inside, the pages of creamy Magnani Velata Italian mould-made paper also have inkjet prints of the antique world map. These pages have been bound using the drum-leaf method, so they are somewhat stiff even though the paper is text weight. 

looking down on the old world maps....
   Before binding, the poem Scavenger Hunt was letterpress printed onto the page spreads using the Pearl press and 18-point Brush type. The ink was mixed to a dark sepia color to allude the historic origins of the hunt. 

title page.....
At one point the poem's letterpress is interrupted with a handwritten line. The insertion of personal mark-making into Scavenger Hunt is one of the aspects of completing the hunt! But until the rules are explicitly communicated....this fact is simply implied. 

The first step of the scavenger hunt is to define it with the poetry. This is the poem....

Picking up 
things  along the way

finding importance
in the pieces
left in place

by someone
or nature
or fate

...or God.

Life is a
scavenger hunt

win or lose
it's no matter,

the days are
the scavenged loot

turned to
the map of our

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Week 24: The Map of Change

      The Oxford Dictionary defines the verb change as 'to make or become different.' Its origin is from the 13th century Middle English and Old French, from the word changier.. or chaunge, meaning to alter, exchange, switch;  and further back, from the Latin word cambiare, meaning to barter.  A Celtic etymology is also proposed according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. Though many words fall out of use as centuries go by, change is not one of them. According to, synonyms include: adjust; alter; diminish; evolve; fluctuate; modify; reduce; reform; resolve; shape shift; transform; turn; vary; accommodate; adapt; alternate; commute; convert; diverge; diversify; merge; metamorphose; moderate; modulate; mutate; naturalize; recondition; redo; regenerate; remake; remodel; renovate; reorganize; replace; revolutionize; substitute; temper; transfigure; translate; transmute; transpose; vacillate; veer; warp; make innovations; make over; restyle; tamper with... But in real life, change can mean so much more. The narrative of a life, which includes changes good and bad, is colorful and complex and uncontrollable. This week's book-of-the-week, The Map of Change, pays homage to change in all its forms.

the fluidity of change, captured as paint
   The Map of Change is a single sheet of Stonehenge print paper which has been dipped in a marbling bath loaded with colors from a day of marbling. Golden® Fluid Acrylics floated on a carrageenan (seaweed extract) medium created the complex image. Colors were mixed with other colors... the marbling paintbrush never washed, but transforming the other colors every time it was dipped into a new color pot before being touched to the surface of the seaweed bath. Sometimes the paint-loaded brush was flicked over the marbling medium, so tiny round droplets of colored paint covered the surface... growing and shrinking as they reacted with each other.. Reacting, just like humans do. We are never without impact on or from others, and we are never without change.

   The single line of text, The Map of Change, is also the title. The title was letterpress printed on the Pearl press at Paperbuttons Press using 30-point Bookman, italic type.

students' papers from a recent weekend marbling class...
   Earlier in the week, this artist taught a 2-day class in western-style (as opposed to Japanese suminagashi) marbling. For six hours each day, the students experimented with color and pattern as they began to understand the chemistry, art, and the magic of marbling paper and fabric. Mordents and carrageenan, surface tension and color theory all became part of the learning and community as the nine artists darted to and fro between tables and clotheslines, wash basins and ironing boards, paints and combing tools with their colorful dripping papers that moments before had been blank. Each finished piece was a perfect illustration of the day... it was a Map of Change.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Week 23: Word Maps

   Language is more than an assembly of phonics and syllables which can be interchanged from one dialect to another. Instead, a language embodies the culture and history of its peoples. Its roots go back to the earliest bits of communication...whether it be in pictorial symbols or syllabic murmurings of an alphabet. A language's origin may be centered on spiritual and religious contexts or on more plebeian, analytical relationships... or both. Phrases, idioms, and especially words... of any language... have a linguistic genealogy unique to that culture... Yet, there is also in many languages, if not all languages, the element of intermixing with other cultures. The English language is certainly a mix of many languages...  When looking into the background of words, it's as if a map were laid out before you. That is the basis for this week's book-of-the-week, Word Maps... Not actually tracing the etymology of words... but highlighting and celebrating the route that words take over time by focusing on words in the English language that relate to maps.

the set... book and box
   The book is housed in a book-like drop spine box which was made especially for this book. It is covered with paste paper that was created to infer a cacophony of voices and cultures. Red silk Japanese book cloth was used for the spine of the case-like cover. 

paste paper covered drop spine box.
The book itself was bound with an exposed French-link and kettle stitch binding, then glued to cover boards which were covered in Italian print paper. Over each signature is a small folio of either handmade Cave paper ( ) or a piece of a vintage North Carolina map, or both.

the spine and covers...
The text paper is a mould-made Italian paper.

old map and a line connect the word maps
The title page of Word Maps is handwritten with a Sharpie Marker.. the last line trailing onto the next page.....

the title page
   Inside the text block, folded pages taken from a 1950's Miriam-Webster's Dictionary have been folded into a turkish map fold and adhered to each page spread.  Their brittle, yellowed sheets are a contrast to the pristine white folios of the text paper.. showing the richness of age as part of their beauty.

looking in from the fore-edge

the schooner page...
Any words on the dictionary pages that related to maps, routes, or movement were circled with the Sharpie Marker and connected by a single line to the page before and after... so all the map words were outlined and connected.

map words, outlined and connected

It's fascinating and reassuring to realize the connections between languages and peoples of the world. ...To realize that even in this, where there are so many differences, there are Word Maps that connect us all.

the parts of Word Maps

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Week 22: Dear Friend, Someplace in the World

The book-of-the-week for Week 22 is a card titled Dear Friend, Someplace in the World. The title is handwritten on the envelope which is embellished with stamps collected from countries around the world. 

stamp collection finally used...

The card face is letterpress printed with the word thank you in nine languages. Each language is set in a different typeface. 

....Thank You! someplace in the world...

Starting at the top and moving downward, the languages and fonts are as follows: 

Shukria!               Urdu Pakistani    18-point Pacifica typeface

Gracias!                Spanish                24-point Art Deco Display typeface

Spasibo!               Russian               18-point Wedding Text typeface

Xie Xie!                Mandarin            36-point Bodoni Bold italic typeface

Grazie!                  Italian                 30-point Bookman Oldstyle typeface

Danke!                  German               30-point No. 1 wide typeface (possibly)

Arigato!                Japanese              24-point Flash bold typeface

Merci Beaucoup!  French                18-point Outlined Caps

Thank You!           English               30-point Bookman typeface

the letter...

   This is the letter...

Dear Friend,                                                                   Week   22, 2015

   I'm writing to thank you for being part of this world just like me... for caring about your community and loving your home, just like me.  I see it on a map, I hear about it on the news, read about it in books, and I imagine what it's like in your country - to be from there.  I imagine the famous places I would see if I had the chance to visit your country, and the beauty only a native would know about - and you could show me. I'm writing because even though your country is so far away and we speak different languages, I  know we are really so alike.  So, until we get the chance to meet, I've learned one word in your language.  It is Thank You!