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 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 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.


  1. Your cards turned out great. I'm sorry I didn't finish mine in time, but I definitely will finish them so I can use them! I'm getting started on May's project.

  2. Can't wait to see it Pat! send it in whenever you are done and I'll post it on the blog for all to enjoy! Thanks!