Friday, September 30, 2011

A Unique Artist's Book Edition: The Abecedarium is finally being finished!

ABECEDARIUM- "L is for.." opening
Over the past week I have been finishing the assembling and starting the  binding of my "Abecedarium For The Makers of Artist's Books," an edition I printed and began to assemble in 2009. It was put on hold twice at the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010 for health reasons. Then just when I was getting back to the binding process, we discovered we were moving back to Canada. Into a box the entire project went until after the move. I had no idea it would take me a year to get unpacked and the house settled. It was one year ago this past week that we moved to Deep River!

"P is for..." opening with pocket samples of parchment
"M is for...." and colophon 
I thought it would be an appropriate time to take up the Abecedarium project and complete it. over the past week I have sorted out all the signature leaves, put them in order, and tipped in all the illustrative, non-collage letterpress prints on the verso of each leaf. In addition to these images or objects, I have added gold sealing wax and alphabet letter seals to the appropriate page underneath the image or sample.

Each of the recto leaves contain letterpress definitions and collage prints of individual letters. The collage prints of each individual letter were made by inking the type form with three different colors of ink and printing the page three times while the ink was still tacky. When the collage prints were dry, I trimmed them all to size and tipped them into the recto leaves one at a time. These were all printed at my studio in Cambridge. On my website I have a slide show of the assembly of the "proof copy" of this edition along with a short video of the making of the letterpress collage prints.

Letter "N" collage letterpres
I hope to bind 6 copies of the edition each week for the next 4 weeks. During the process of printing the collage prints, I also took photographs of my letterpress form in the press for each letter of the alphabet. I envision creating a larger poster to advertise the edition with an A-Z design, using both the image of the type form for the collage prints and an also an image of the collage prints contained in the book. When I have the final edition numbered, sewn, and bound, I will take a new set of slides and post them here. It has been an arduous process,  to design, print, assemble, and bind this edition, but is has also been a great deal of fun!

"JOB 22:28" unique artist's book
In addition to working on the fairly large Abecedarium project, I also began to design and create a series of "unique" artist's books with Biblical texts. The book covers are made from pine, sanded and stained with tongue oil. The hinges and clasp are brass. The text has been completed  in hand calligraphy on arches 140# cold press stock. The verso is designed with Japanese rice paper and Chinese "chops" for stamping designs. I envision these artist's books as objects for meditation and prayer.

I have been blessed this past week with amazing concentrations of studio time. My creative verve and energy levels have been soaring. I think it has a great deal to do with the changing of the seasons. I love the changes in nature and especially love that I can pay attention to them here in the Grotto Studio in Deep River. Our trees all around the house have leaves turning the most amazing colors and the squirrels and chipmunks are scurrying about to gather and store nuts for the winter.

I too have been scurrying to get things arranged in the studio, materials and supplies organized, slate prepared for cutting, and project lists in order.  The Fall and Winter seasons are ones in which I can burrow into my studio nest, wrap myself up in my press, my papers, and inks, and make books and broadsides to my heart's content. As always, I am thankful that God, in her infinite wisdom, has brought me to this place in my journey. My path is clear, my feet are firmly on creative ground, and my heart soars like a hawk.

All will be well, and all will be well, and with God's grace and creative wisdom, all will be well.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Creative Verve & Random Thoughts for a Fall Studio Day!

The Collage Collaborative, Round 3, version A
Over the past two weeks I have been working on several projects in the studio, including my latest contribution to the projects within The Collage Collaborative, an international group of artists who work on collage projects together. One person begins a collage, and then it it sent on to others in the group for additions, before it comes back home to live with the person who started it. These projects have elicited wonderful creative interaction in the group!

This collage was started by Allen from the Philippines. This round, each artist created 3 identical collages and they were sent on to  3 different groups of 4 people for contributions. I was the final person to work on this collage. My additions included the tape with 'Palm of my Hand', the colored earth hands in the upper right, the little objects in the larger colored hands, the watch face, and the music across the bottom. For me this collage is all about dancing to the rhythm of life while holding the joy of creation in the palm of your hand. The eye hanging from the bone tail on the skeleton is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth to the beat of the music, keeping us all in time with our souls.

This was a great project to work on with our group. If you are interested in seeing the rest of the collage art as well as the mail art envelopes, check out the Face Book site for The Collage Collaborative:The Artist. Albums have been posted with all the different versions of these collages. As each project is presented and completed, I find my creative verve soaring in the studio!

Believe & Dance unique artist's book textblock
During the summer I began to make some small "artist's books" using stamp impressions and added elements. The one shown here will be titled "Believe & Dance". I have finished adding the text and elements, including my Chinese "chops", feathers, bits of lace, and vintage postage stamps. This is a unique artist's book. I have yet to select the fabric for the book cloth for the cover, but hope to have it bound soon.

I have a foil stamping machine and hope to create a stamped title and spine for this book. It is a book full of sparkle and whimsy!

I also worked on perfecting my creative techniques for small wooden book covers for unique journals. My little Dremel tools come in very handy for cutting, shaping, and polishing the wood pieces. In this example, I have diverted from my original ideas and sewn the covers directly to the text block. Still working on this idea.  I learned on this sample that I need to use my Dremel tool with a larger bit so that I have bigger holes for the sewing. I am also interested in creating books on wood veneer  with wooden book covers.

Nancy teaching Calligraphy in 1981
 In going through some old photos this past summer, I came across this photo from when I was an instructor at Clinton Community College in Iowa. Here I am demonstrating brush writing for my Calligraphy II course. I am 8 months pregnant with my oldest, Emily, in this photo! It is hard to believe that it is 30 years since I  taught calligraphy courses with over 40 people in each class!. I am working with the brush again regularly, and feel my "Catich" creative soul stirring more and more.

Cleaning paint off of blackboard slate
Each time I cut down a piece of slate, and begin to clean it for cutting an inscription, I am brought back to those early days with Father Catich. We worked daily in learning not only to make letters with pen and brush, but how to layout a text quote for an inscription and how to cut letters into slate.  This was my first love in the studio, given over so many years ago when the day-to-day waking dream took over my life. Now I am able to take the time to contemplate the creative verve that drives me and I plan to spend a great deal of time cutting letters into slate!

 This past week when walking down our back laneway, I spotted a pile of FREE items left over from a garage sale held by our neighbors. In that pile was a BIONAIRE dual filter air cleaner. It has carbon and ionic filters, and according to the website, will remove all the VOC's that come from my press inks and solvents from the air in the studio. It works perfectly and new filters are available locally. I have needed one of these machines but they were out of my price range. Now, thanks to my angels, I will be able to print in the grotto over the winter!

As I work away in the grotto studio today on Parkdale Avenue in Deep River, I am reminded of all the amazing blessings in my life. I have an exceptional international group of artists to work with in the Collage Collaborative as well as immensely talented artists here in our new hometown. I am blessed with wonderful equipment and supplies, a large studio space in my home, and a new studio building under construction at our cottage. My creative verve continues to soar, and my soul cries out with jubilation each time I work on a new project. I thank God for all that has been given to me and for all that I am able to give back to my world in the name of the most high.

All will be well, and all will be well, and with the creative peace of God in her infinite wisdom, all will be well.