Friday, March 4, 2011

Where did February go?

 It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in my studio during the January blizzard commenting on getting busy. Well this did not happen. I hit a creative block in the midst of having several colds. I retreated to the warmth of the family room with our lovely woodstove. I have been reading "vacation for the mind" books as well as creative books and sleeping a great deal.

Well, we are out of wood for the moment, so this  past week I have come back into the grotto to work and finally unpack my type and begin making books again.

The image above is from a Trader Joe's greeting card I purchased the same year I bought my 3-wheel bike. I am aching to be riding again as well as being outside in the fresh air.  However, -20C is way too cold for this old red-head. My long johns and I have been staying inside, praying for warm weather and bright sunny sky.

Over the past couple of weeks I have made a great friend who supervises The Collage Collaborative on Facebook. This group of people works together in teams to create collage images. One person starts the project, then sends it to the next person on the list for additions, and so on, and the last person on the list returns it to the person who began the work. I find this idea of collaborative work fascinating and am hoping to try a project this Spring. Looking at all the work the members have completed over the past little while is inspiring to me.

A very good friend from The Museum of Printing in North Andover, MA, pointed out this very interesting project called LetterMPress. I have posted the link here on my blog page. It is a project that asked for funding from people through This project is to support the development of a virtual letterpress "AP" for the iPad and hopefully later use on the Mac platform. The video is very interesting to me as a book artist, trying to learn letterpress. I have good friends who are experts in the field of Letterpress Printing who are not impressed with this effort. However, I am excited to see someone who is trying to get "newbies" to graphic design and book arts interested in what it is all about. I am hoping that this excitement over the project will help people become interested in the true letterpress printers out there, like John Kristensen of Firefly Press, and Michael Babcock of interrobang.

Being alone in the studio has been very good for me these past weeks. Even though I have not produced much finished work, I have thought a great deal about my work process. My artist's book projects are sorted into bins, with items I need to transfer, copy to be set into type, and paper that needs to be trimmed. I have been thinking a great deal also about why I am so driven to create work that I am not sure anyone will see or let alone understand. I have no earthly idea how I will enter the conversation, so to speak, here in Canada once the snow is melted, and the air is warm, but I know for certain that this is what I must do. I feel that I have something to contribute, my own story to tell, in order contribute to the creative flow in the world from a spiritual perspective, and I think that is what keeps me so driven.

This typewriter is most likely the first ergonomic keyboard invented. It is from my father's collection of old machines. These past months I have been thinking a lot about what drove my father to not only run his business, but also to collect and restore relics of the past.  I think he did it because he wanted their story to be told with love and care. So much of our high tech society is a throw-away society. We have a toaster for a couple of years, and when it breaks, it goes to the dump instead of being repaired. My father made sure these older machines were repaired so that people could try them out and see how they worked. It was part of his story to tell-not to forget what has come before us in this world, and be sure to understand how what came before informs how we interact with one another, and how we build on that interaction for tomorrow.

I think I am driven to make art for the same reason. My story is one of extended family who are no longer alive, of creation and angels, and faith, hope and love. The works I create are meant to be held in the hand, close to the heart, and experienced as books and objects all at the same time. Each object in our lives tells a story, a piece of "rusty gold" as it were, and we must learn to cherish the story as we hold onto the object. Even if we have to let the object go, the story will remain.

In the weeks to come I hope to be better at telling my story here and also sharing my work process on all the projects I have in my head and on the desk. All will be well, and all will be well, and with God's will, all will be well.