Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Week 34: Map of a Night Sky

   The book-of-the-week for Week 34, Map of a Night Sky, is a poem, letterpress printed on handmade abaca paper and bound as a stiff leaf book. Its cover is a collagraph print in white ink on black handmade paper.

the book
   The book is housed in a pouch-like case of loose weave flocked linen lined in green silk. In medieval times books housed in this sort of book covering were called girdle books, pouch books, pouch napkins, or pocket books. The term girdle book was specifically used because the book cover had a long extension which tied to the belt (girdle) of the user. Girdle books still in existence from those times are very rare, though they are depicted in a number of paintings from the 1400's and 1500's.

detail from The Visitation, 1490

To read more about girdle books, see the article, "Girdle Books"  ( or Margit Smith and Jim Bloxam's article, "The Medieval Girdle Book Project" in the International Journal of the Book (

in its fabric girdle book case

the girdle book cover with button and macrame flax closure
the girdle book pouch cover
When Map of the Night Sky is removed from its girdle book pouch, it can be read or opened and displayed as a moon-like sculpture.

reflecting the moon...
   The poem was letterpress printed on handmade abaca paper with 14-point Bookman type and black ink. An edition of two books were printed. A second edition of four books was printed on Magnani Velata mouldmade paper with the handmade abaca paper for the title page.

title page
This is the poem...

In this darkness 
there is
a boundless quantity of light…
It illuminates the footpath 
of time
and space
and energy 
and God.
It is all there 
in the map of a night sky.

And there,
Lamp of the Night,
shines the moon
a white slice cut 
from a sparkling black drape.
God or Goddess, worshipped 
from the first night...

Called Luna, Selene, Phoebae, Artemis, Hecate, 
Nanna, Chang’e, Mani, Menily,
Ibis, Chonsu, Tsukuyomi, Ixchel,
Mama Killa, Huitaca, Chia, Coniraya,
Alignak, Pah, Jaci, Metztli, Wadd,
Ta’lab, Nikkal, Napir, Sin,
Ilargi, Artume, Meness, Kuu,
Chandra, Ratih, Dae-Soon, or Thoth…

Still wields power over us
pulls the tides,
marks the days,
shadows the psyche, 
and watches over all the Earth
with Her one good eye.

In this infinity
there is a calmness
in the silent twinkling of a 
million trillion stars
some shining bright
some a dim flicker, 
some only a ghost… 

Polaris, Ceres, Saturn, 
Venus, Mercury, Mars,
Cassiopeia, Cancer, and all the Zodiac,
the Milky Way, Pleiades, and Ursas,
galaxies, astroids, and comets, 
meteors, black holes and red dwarfs,
the rising constellations 
and the falling stars…

Painted on the walls of caves
ten million years ago, 
chiseled in stone, scratched in clay,
scribed on animal hides 
and papyrus scrolls,
or rolls of silk, 
or bits of bone.

Still,  it shrouds the earth 
with a new scape each night.

Oracles, beacons, and signposts, 
the map of a night sky 
guides the adventurers,
delivers the seekers,
and for every person, 
pierces the darkness
with a sort of hope.

The End

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Week 33: Scavenger Hunt, X Marks the Spot

   The last book of the Scavenger Hunt series, X Marks the Spot,  continues the narrative by using physical elements collected during the entire series. The 4-wall drop box form is used as the format. The outer book board walls are covered with a map of France and the lid is covered with a mono print. Handmade red print bookcloth and a gold button create the title X and lifting catch.

a map covered box

4 walls drop down & inside more boxes of books...
In addition to the narrative, the X Marks the Spot box houses the boxes of the other Scavenger Hunt series books. 

blank walls for attaching the paper mementos 
The walls of X Marks the Spot can be positioned flat on a table or held up with the lid. 

remove the stack of boxes
   Because this artist is still in the midst of the hunt, the wall pages are still blank... except for the handwritten title on the inside of one of the sidewalls. Once the scavenger hunts have been completed, the paper ephemera... such as receipts, ticket stubs, flyers, and maps, will be affixed to the inner walls of the box. In a way, resembling graffiti art on a wall.

graffiti on a wall in Estrella, Spain

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Week 32: Scavenger Hunt, The Treasure Chest... Versailles

all the boxes... with the treasure chest on the bottom
   This latest book of the Scavenger Hunt series is titled The Treasure Chest... Versailles. The book is housed in its own two-chamber box with swing out double doors. Metal buttons serve as the doorknobs and marbled paper covers the outside of the box.
the opened treasure chest...

The inside of the box is covered with Japanese print paper and a collagraph print of red roses in a rich green bed. The collagraph print is also used to cover the little 5 x 5 inch accordion book, The Treasure Chest... Versailles. 

the book and the chest it lives in...
The cover also has the title plate and a collaged piece of a page from a vintage 1954 Michelin Guide to Paris that says ...........Versailles. A blue, green, and metallic silver ribbon tie around the book to form the closure.
the book and the boxes
When the ribbon is untied, the book spreads out to reveal maps of the Palace Versailles near Paris, France. Like the collaged piece on the front cover, the maps were taken from the same 1954 Michelin Guide to Paris. The maps were glued onto a strip of Magnani Velata text weight paper before it was folded into the little 6-panel accordion book.

maps of Versailles inside the book
   This most recent book of the Scavenger Hunt series deals with, and alludes to the many physical items which are collected on a scavenger hunt. Specifically, these are the items collected in the three actual hunts of this series... Finding the Caves, In Two French Cities, and About the Pyrenees.  The box is large enough to hold not only the little book, but any items collected while carrying out the scavenger hunts. The little book The Treasure Chest... Versailles was created to illustrate the term treasure by using one of the most exquisite (and expensive) examples of treasure in the world... the Palace Versailles outside of Paris, France. 

Versailles, (

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Week 31: Scavenger Hunt, The Culvert Puzzle

   The definition of book can be broad. For this week's book, a puzzle is used to convey the narrative...  In Scavenger Hunt, The Culvert Puzzle, the parts of a landscape that have been cut into pieces to be reformed into the whole image.  
The puzzle in a drawer with book as the title piece 
The pieces act as the pages of a book, but the interactive element of the book involves assembling the mixed up pieces into the correct position. 

the puzzle all mixed up
The image is a close-up view of the mysterious culvert described in last week's book, The Mystery of the Culvert. The book also is presented as a do-si-do book (one that reads forward and backward) because there is a different puzzle on the back side.
the culvert puzzel... 
After one assembles the puzzle of the culvert image, the pieces can be turned over to show a hand-drawn sketch of a map of the grounds of beautiful Chateau du Pin in Champstocé sur Loire, France.

Chateau du Pin puzzel
Forgive this artist for the delay in this week's post and any lack of intelligent content in the text. The past week has been spent in the wilds of France, hunting for mysterious culverts... among other things.

from the lily pond, looking at Chateau du Pin
To learn more about Chateau du Pin, go to