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

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