Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Week 47: Sadie (in The Roundabout Waltz)

   This week's book, Sadie, is an addition to The Roundabout Waltz book. It is expressed as a little cardboard car with pastepaper cover and a black paper rooftop luggage rack. Slipped into the straps of the luggage rack is a tiny accordion book in which is printed the story of Sadie in the roundabout.

Sadie's pastepaper blue car on The Roundabout Waltz

the Sadie book as an unfolded accordion and its car carrier

Sadie's little cardboard car  can be affixed to any of the roundabout signs by a velcro button on its base. When the little book is removed from the luggage rack, the accordion pages fall open for easy reading. 

Sadie's car on an interior page roundabout volvelle

Sadie, open to title page

Sadie, pages 1 and 2

This is the story of Sadie...

   Sadie is 85 years old, has blue hair and blue eyes to match. She has driven her 1954 powder blue Studebaker all the way from Roxboro to visit her son, Bobby, his snooty wife Mildred, and her precious grandchildren, Abby and little Henry… who was a late-in-life child… 
   Sadie’s kept her two hands tightly gripped to the steering wheel at 10 and 2 the whole way, just like you’re supposed to; and never taken her steely blue eyes off the road. But Raleigh’s so much bigger than she remembered… Now, there’s this confounded Beltline which she's somehow got onto. The traffic is  swarming around everywhere! Cars honk and swerve around her as she moves steadily down the highway at 45 miles per hour, looking for a familiar road sign. 
   Finally she’s off that Beltline and driving down Hillsboro Street. She’s just passed State College… and there ahead is the bell tower, so St. Mary’s Street can’t be too far away. Then, it’s one turn to get to Bobby’s. Oh my! What’s this ahead?  
   Its some busy circle of cars in the middle of Hillsboro Street! Sadie stares at it, hoping it will disappear and the street will appear again, opened wide and straight just like she remembered. She stops at the edge it and stares at the circle ahead. Cars are driving around and around in front of her. Through her thick, gold-rimmed glasses she can see Hillsboro Street on the other side of the circle. Behind her cars are starting to toot their horns again. She needs to get to the other side of Hillsboro Street, so she puts her sturdy brogan on the gas peddle and revs the engine while her other foot mashes on the brake pedal. She waits amid all the honking until there are no cars in the circle. Then lets off on the break and inches forward.
   She drags the heavy steering wheel right to enter the circle, then pulls, hand-over-hand left…feeling herself moving around the circle like some backwards clock hand… then quickly, alert as ever! pulls hand-over-hand right as she slowly rolls onto the other part of Hillsboro Street. Her car has been moving around the circle at about 3 miles per hour, but her heart is racing. Sadie feels like she is flying!  Whew! She made it out! Finally she breaths. 
   She straightens out the steering wheel and continues on to Bobby’s house, thinking of the grand time she’ll have playing with the grandchildren, Abby and little Henry…sitting in her chair of honor, safe and still. 
                                                                The End

Sadie, more pages opened...

Velcro on the bottom of the car and on the roundabout sign

Sadie's car... going around the Roundabout and the story about it.

   Sadie is the first of five cars that move around The Roundabout Waltz book. All five cars have velcro buttons glued to the bottom so they can be moved around the volvelle pages like game pieces. They will be appearing as the weekly book in the coming weeks...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Week 46: The Roundabout Waltz

   The Roundabout Waltz is this week's book. The book is a poem about a particular location in Raleigh, North Carolina... the traffic circle at the intersection of Hillsboro Street and Pullen Road.

a tiny hand-painted sign on the pastepaper cover 
The cover of the 9-inch by 9-inch book is a bookboard case that is half-bound with silk bookcloth and pastepaper. A miniature hand-painted roundabout traffic sign is affixed to the middle of the front cover board.

title page and endpaper
   Inside, each stanza of the poem is handwritten on a volvelle (wheel) that is sandwiched between a folded piece of heavyweight paper to form a single-leaf page. The pages are bound with silk bookcloth by the stiff-leaf binding method. The background of each page is hand-painted with acrylic paints to resemble a bird's-eye view of the roundabout and the streets leading to it. As the volvelle is turned, the text is read through a cut-out window.  Each page also has a rotating yellow and black roundabout sign that is affixed to the volvelle. So, as the volvelle spins and the poem is read... so does the yellow roundabout sign.

close-up page 1
This is the poem, The Roundabout Waltz..

  ♦︎ In France there are lots of roundabouts. Intersections are not a choice but a dance to be joined. Like some waltz, turning left and left and left again until finally you exit right. ♦︎

page 2
♦︎ In France people are used to driving in circles... The cars move with finesse... choosing when to enter. Timing is important. The wrong move could cause an accident.  ♦︎ Everybody knows that ♦︎

page 3
Recently Raleighites put in a few roundabouts.  They're on busy streets; set so traffic will move more efficiently. Maybe the city planners imagined it would be like France. 

close-up page 4
But Raleighites don't know the dance. Sometimes they enter the circle too soon... Crash! or move too slow... Beep! Crash! or don't know when to exit... Beep! Beep! Crash! Oh No! 

page 5  
In Raleigh, when people enter a roundabout, in addition to making choices... they also pray they don't get hit. So the dance is replaced with Religion. Amen. 

The Roundabout Waltz book... in the middle of the street

According to city documents provided to the Record, there were 60 low-severity crashes between July 1, 2010 and May 15, 2011. For comparison, there were three between December 21, 2007 and July 1, 2008, prior to the construction of the roundabout.” -Ariella Monti, Raleigh Public Record, Sept. 12, 2011

Actually, there are a lot less collisions in the Hillsboro Street-Pullen Road roundabout lately... in 2015. Maybe Raleighites are learning the dance... or the prayers are working.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Week 45: Buddy the Ball

   The book-of-the-week for week 45 is a pop-up children's book about a runaway ball named Buddy. The book is titled, Buddy the Ball. In this archetypical journey cronicle, Buddy is unhappy with the way things are going at home so he takes off for better conditions.  His journey isn't as easy as he expected... he is almost smushed by the neighborhood garbage truck, falls into a manhole, then floats through the sewer with a bunch of scary leaves and sticks. He ends up in the neighborhood park where he is recognized by his owner... Sammy, who immediately runs up to Buddy and gives him a good, hard KICK!

the cover: Doug's pastepaper, handmade bookcloth, and a lithograph print title plate
 Illustrations on the page spreads and pop-ups are line drawings on polyester plates that were printed by the lithographic method then hand colored with watercolor pencil.  All prints were made on Stonehenge heavyweight paper and bound by the drum-leaf method. The text was lithograph-printed on separate cards then affixed to the pages.

the title page and front endpaper...

Page 1: box pop-up of the noisy toy box
Page 2: two pull tabs make wiggle ears.. because it's too loud for Buddy!
Page 3: architectural origami stairs...where Buddy runs away

pull tab Buddy: dodging garbage trucks in the 'hood

box pop-up with cut-out: falling into the manhole

triangle supported creatures... floating in the sewer with Buddy

V-fold Sammy, surprised to see Buddy!

triangle supported pop-up... Sammy kicking Buddy the Ball

The End.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Week 44: The Moving Map

   The book-the-week for week 44 is titled The Moving Map. This tiny collaborative story is written using the exquisite corpse writing prompt method. The term exquisite corpse refers to a collection of words or images which are assembled from separate entities to create a whole. In this writing exercise, a new writer created each successive page by using only their imagination and the preceding story line of the pages before it. With this type of story telling, there is no guarantee that the end will turn out as the initiator expected. It is a collaboration with passive influence of the separate writers. Six other writers contributed to The Moving Map... Michelle, Deb, Kim, Hie Yun, Sang Yun,  and Melissa. This artist provided the title and last page.

the handwritten title on the cover
   The book was handwritten in pencil, marker, and pen on a sheet of 80 weight drawing paper. The paper was folded and cut so it could be folded into an 8-page soft cover  booklet.

flat... with a slit inside
opening and unfolding

Each writer had one minute to write the content of their page before they passed the book on to the next person. Illustrations were permissible too. This is the story of The Moving Map...

page 1

page 2

page 3

page 4

page 5

page 6

last page
   Historically, the term exquisite corpse was created as a parlor game by surrealist artists living in Paris in the first half of the 1900's. The most famous of these artists included André Breton, Yves Tanguy, Marcel Duchamp, Jacques Prévert, Benjamin Péret, Joan Miró, and Man Ray. In the game, one person drew an image on a piece of paper then hid all or part of the drawing while the next person drew an image connected to it... and so on until an assemblage of imagery was produced. In writing, a similar result was achieved with words and phrases. The surrealists used the exquisite corpse form to prove the notion that randomness can play a role in creating meaningful art.

André Breton, Jacqueline Lamba, Yves Tanguy, Exquisite Corpse 1938

  Prior to this, the idea was used in children's books with the pages cut into sections. For instance, the top sections showing the head of a person or animal, the middle sections the torso, and the bottom sections the legs or lower parts. In these ineractive books, children could mix and match the images by turning the page sections to create odd and silly looking characters or story lines.

William Grimaldi, In The Toliet (1821)
On a more serious note, the first exquisite corpse may have been the flap-page anatomy book Catoptrum microcosmicum by Johann Remmelin (1583-1632). In this book, the detailed drawings of human anatomy were drawn from the corpse's of deceased subjects... the real exquisite corpse.

Whether The Moving Map is a collection of places in a dream, body parts, random images, or words... it is connected by the interaction of the people who experience it... as are all books.