Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May: Jails

Color: Highly colorful
Image: Abstract
Layout: Based on an historic example
Paper: Neutral
Structure: Innovative structure (tunnel book, carousel book, flag book, etc.)
Technique: low tech (stamps, stenciling, hand lettering, transfers, etc.)
Text: found text
Adjective: lyrical or musical

   The book for May is titled Jails. It meets all of the criteria for the Artist Ideation Cards... and was even created from a prompt by book artist Julie Chen during the recent Paper Book Intensive (PBI: http://www.paperbookintensive.org) workshop in Saugatuck, Michigan attended by this artist. The prompt was to fabricate a 3-section paper box from a single strip of paper, then create a book based on the structure. This sort of organic open-ended bookmaking...made with a few specific criteria, a short time period, and few materials can be a bit daunting. Adding the additional criteria of the seven Ideation Cards of the PaperButtons blog challenge multiplied the complexity of figuring out how to present Jails so the content was a cohesive book. In the end it all came together, and the simple eloquence of the issues alluded to in Jails somehow transcends its offhand beginning.

the front cover, pen & ink and stenciling  

   The front cover of the book shows an image as if looking out of a jail cell window to a colorful, beautiful world. Colorful inks and a window stencil were used to create the abstract images of the world outside the jail cell windows. Pen and ink provided the fine details of the windows. The title, Jails, is stamped over the window bars. A black stenciled grid and brushed on pastel inks create the effect of an old wall with shadows of fencing across. Protruding off one side of the book are a number of black loopy threads... alluding to the mysterious paths that lead to the creation of our own real or imagined jails, bonds, and all sorts of nets, webs, and strings of a sort.

the back cover.. with graffiti-style John Donne quote

   The Ideation cards also stipulated that found text should be incorporated into the book. The John Donne quote, "Be thine own palace or the world's thy jail" was chosen as the ending to the book of Jails. The quote is roughly penned onto the stenciled wall on the back cover board.. as if it were graffiti.

Just mastering the folded origami-style structure was challenging for this artist and took more than a couple hours... The structure is a variation of book artist Hedi Kyle's blizzard book. Book artist Bill Hansom is credited with coming up with this variation. Here is a link to a current exhibition of Hedi Kyle's 30-year career, which is being held at the San Francisco Center for the Book: https://sfcb.org/the-world-of-hedi-kyle. ...And this link shows Bill Hansom's books: https://www.flickr.com/photos/paperfolding/.

The image below shows the original folded three-section box with its rough design of how to make it into a book.. The original title was Prisons. The red threads as jail cell bars also refer to human beings. This was changed to black, focusing on the dark side of these jails rather than on humanity. The original book is messy... the paper is torn and wrinkled.. but the interior of the boxes, where the words are stamped, is white. This whiteness is retained in the final version. 

the raw materials: stamps, stencils, pen & ink, thread, & the first attempt (made in an hour at the PBI workshop)
The stamped, stenciled, and drawn images on the back of the paper are meant to embody the reality of these metaphysical jails... indicating that they are as strong and solid as if they were a real brick and stone jailhouse with barbwire fencing and iron bars.

The inked, stenciled & stamped paper strip, before folding into the 3 boxes
After folding the strip of paper into the box form, waxed linen threads were strung across the open face of the 3 boxes, the cover boards were glued with the cover papers, and then glued to the ends. When the cover boards are pressed together, the three boxes collapse and fold into a book.

folding or unfolding...
Pulling the cover boards out, opens the book so the three boxes form...

the back view

Our jails.

the front view

May humanity someday learn to break out.

The Artist Book Ideation Cards for June are:
Color: Favorite
Image: Self generated
Layout: Centered on the page
Paper: Single color
Structure: Accordion
Technique: Collage
Text: Found text
Adjective: Graphic
Wild Card: any one card may be ignored

Andrea Z. sent in her book for May using the Ideation Cards. Here are some photos and a brief description: "It's called "Chinese Poetry", a humorous approach to the fact that nowadays when talking about Chinese wisdom people mostly "rely" on the fortune cookies they receive after a good or not so good meal at their local  "Red dragon" or "Peking duck" restaurant. My May book is a flag book which resembles an old Chinese book, with horizontal writing on the cover. With its red paper inside, it is highly colorful  The text is indeed found - fortune cookie wisdom. The technique is low tech - the pages are glued.

Andrea's book, Chinese Poetry

inside, the flag book, Chinese Poetry

Monday, May 2, 2016

April: At the Circus

COLOR: primary
IMAGE: extracted from a single image
LAYOUT: random or unplanned
PAPER: single color
STRUCTURE: unbound (set of cards, series of prints, etc..)
TECHNIQUE: high-tech (letterpress, printmaking, etc..)
TEXT: stream of consciousness, free-write, or rant
ADJECTIVE: fragmented or mosaic

At the Circus... in its book-like box holder
   The book for the month of April is actually a game titled At the Circus. All of the Artists Ideation Cards criteria were met. The  three primary colors red, yellow, and blue are the focus of the game.. which is a set of cards that are played by matching the two identical cards. Each card set is a pair of lithograph images that focus on one of the three primary colors.... red, yellow, or blue... which are highlighted as something seen At the Circus. There are three different images of each color, making nine different images with two cards of each image. In total there are 18 cards in the game. The front of each card is a five-color lithograph of a red and yellow circus tent against a blue and white sky and landscape. Everything is outlined in black and printed on Italian Magnani® cream colored paper. The images were printed by polyester plate lithography and the text was printed on the letterpress with 18-point Crayonette font type. All of the cards are housed in a book-like box which is covered with a variety of papers... a mono print cover paper in primary colors, a red and gold Japanese chiyagami paper, and a yellow and red paste paper. A denim bookcloth covers the spine and the box is held shut with a magnetic clasp. The title plate is the same 5-color lithograph circus tent and letterpress title seen on the front side of each card.

The book-like box and 5-color title plate

Inside the box, the rules of the game are letterpress printed on a plane sheet of Magnani paper.. The rules are simply: (Start with images face down) Flip up cards... taking turns and remembering their placement... until you can match two cards that are alike. Keep matching until you miss one. The person with the most match pairs wins! The game was created as a learning tool for a certain little guy who is currently learning his colors and who loves games...

inside the box...game cards, a magnetic closure, and the Rules of the game...
 Before printing the images, the front side of the cards were printed with the red, yellow, and blue three-color circus tent... Two sets were made.. one for this artist.. and one for her grandson, Sam. This took all day and over 160 print runs! The circus tent was split into images of a single color... the red tent imagery was printed first on all 45 cards and hung in the sun to dry...

first lithography printing (red) of the circus tent side of the cards
Then the yellow tent imagery plate was made and yellow ink rolled out for the second printing... printing all 45 cards with the yellow imagery...

..plate and ink (yellow) for the second lithography printing
...and hanging those in the sun to dry quickly...

second lithography printing (yellow...)
before taking them back down for the third printing of all 45 cards with the blue imagery...

third lithography printing (blue...)

After the blue imagery had dried a bit, a final printing of the black outline of the circus tent was made on all 45 cards, and finally the title At the CIRCUS was letterpress printed over that.

 The plates for the circus tent and the images were drawn on polyester plates with Sharpie® Marker then lithograph printed on each card with black ink. Colored markers in red, yellow, or blue filled in the  highlighted parts of each image.

image side of all nine pairs of cards

Some close-ups of the card pairs...

the little dog and the blue hoop set...

the red clown car set...

the yellow lion set...

the seal and the blue ball set...

the elephants' red toenails...
The circus is a magical place for all ages. It never fails to surprise and thrill and is it's own book of stories! In our local area this past weekend there was a small circus that came to town...The Zerbini Family Circus http://zerbinifamilycircus.com/. I can't wait to take a certain little someone to see the circus with his grandma.. because the circus turns us all into wide-eyed two year olds!

The Zerbini Family Circus...

In April we received several other images of books created with the April Ideation Card criteria... Here are a few photos and the concept behind Andrea Z.'s book...

Andrea's book Distortions in it's clamshell box

the Distortions cards... What the wolf says...

"It is all about your inner critical voice - in my case I called it "the wolf" - how it constantly talks to you and wants you to believe that you're a failure and other things. So my idea was to give the wolf a voice, let him write down all the distorted thoughts - therefore the title "Distortions" - on individual sheets of paper with room for more cards in the clam shell box - 

The paper and the cards are hand printed using the technique of dentritic mono printing, which actually is squeezing acrylic paint between two glass plates, carefully lifting them up and very lightly putting a torn piece of water color paper on top.

The book cloth is handmade from a piece of cotton fabric I found in my stash. The words are stamped in a way that supports the idea of "distortion"... not even, but wonky and with different intensity."  -AZ

The May Artist Ideation Cards criteria are: 
Color: Highly colorful
Image: Abstract
Layout: Based on an historic example
Paper: Neutral
Structure: Innovative structure (tunnel book, magic wallet, carousel book, flag book, etc.)
Technique: low tech (stamps, stenciling, hand lettering, transfers, etc.)
Text: found text
Adjective: lyrical or musical

Wild card: any one card may be omitted.