Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturdays With Meghan at The Museum of Printing & In My Studio!!!!

Meghan, MOP Intern, & Nancy on Skype
Every Saturday I enter the Grotto Studio at 10:00 a.m. and through the miracles of technology, I am transported to The Museum of Printing in North Andover, MA!

Before moving to Canada I had created a formal Archives Department for the MOP and had begun the accessioning process for a massive ephemera collection from the family of Edward Frey. This work was continued after I moved by another museum board member, Katey Corrigan. More recently we have had the assistance of Meghan Baily, a graduate student at Simmons,  who is learning the fundamentals of archives work. Each Saturday we connect over Skype. It feels for me as if I am back in the Museum for my Saturday, which is wonderful. I work in the my studio all day and Meghan works on the Frey Correspondence Collection. We chat and it is as if we are working together. I am able to answer questions and make suggestions. Meghan will be working with us on the Frey Collection through the end of this year. We are very thankful for her help and all she brings to this project.

Our end goal is to make all the correspondence and other ephemera from the Frey Collection accessible to scholars who are researching and writing on printing in the United States during the latter 19th and early 20th century. Mr. Frey created a curriculum for printing instruction that later became the foundation for what is known as "Print Ed" in the United States. During my time at GATCI I helped to revise this curriculum for delivery in the Community College System in the US. It is wonderful that the MOP has been gifted with this amazing collection.

Piercing signatures
This week has also brought me back into the studio to bind more copies of my artist's book edition, The Abecedarium for the Makers of Artist's Books.  All the signatures have been gathered and I am in the process of using my piercing cradle to make holes for sewing the signatures together. I have made several cardboard sewing cradles over the years and find it quite handy to have one almost the exact size of the signatures I am piercing. Here I am working on piercing signatures on my main work table.
Piercing cradle with signature and piercing guide

I create a piercing guide, measuring equidistant from the Head and Tail ends, and also measure carefully from the center to allow room for the tapes. The guide is then marked and placed over the signature in the piercing cradle for piercing. Most often one does not need to use tapes and a sewing frame for this small size of a book. I have decided to use one as this edition has dimensional elements to each page, and I would like to be certain I keep all the signatures in alignment as I sew. For me, this is easier to do when sewing on tapes on a sewing frame.

This week has also brought me a great gift in the mail. A good friend was in China recently and was able to obtain for me a number of Chinese "chops", stamps with specific characters. He also procured for me a lovely set of Chinese watercolour brushes and also Chinese Calligraphy brushes, as well as a stand! I have not done any hand Chinese calligraphy in many years. It was about 25 years ago that all my calligraphy brushes were packed in a box that fell off a truck during my family's move to Washington, Illinois. Those brushes had been a gift from one of my teachers, and my parents, and I never replaced them. I have a fascination for Chinese character construction and Calligraphy and have used Chinese "chops" in my calligraphic broadsides for years. Earlier this year my husband purchased The Chinese Calligraphy Bible for me. I am looking forward to using these brushes as I learn the characters again!

Each week as I return to the Grotto to work, my creative verve continues to expand. I find that with each breath I take, with each stroke I make, and with each book I bind, my heart soars with incredible abandon. I am so very thankful to be able to remain connected with The Museum of Printing folks, even though I am so very far away. I am also continually thankful for my studio space, all the supplies and materials that seem to find their way to me just as I need them. Most of all, I am thankful for the grace of God which permeates each creative action I take in my life. God has called me to be at this place, at this time, and to do these things, of this I am certain.

I am also certain that if we open our hearts to God's infinite wisdom and grace, her power and joy,  and all the love being showered down upon us, all will be well, and all will be well, with the peace of God, all will be well.