Saturday, March 12, 2011

Studio Day Today!!!!!

My current project, an artist's book entitled, Almost A Nun, is coming along quite well. I created the graphic above from a photo of one pair of my old binoculars and added the type in Illustrator. The crux of the work is about private prayer in public places, and public prayer in private spaces. There will be three main sections of the book, referring back to the TRINITY, with illustrative collages, objects, and images from both my family history and the history of manuscript books of hours.

All of my artist's books spring from my soul almost fully formed. Most often I dream about making them for a period of time, then I begin "the looking" for the supplies I need to complete them. My daughter Kris refers to this as my "hunter gathering" mode. When I have acquired all the items I wish to have for the book, they are put into a box or a small tub as I ruminate on how it will all actually come together.

This process has been difficult sometimes for my husband because I have so much stuff accumulated for projects that are only in my head! Moving this past year has forced me to consolidate and organize my supplies and materials for books in such a way that they take up much less space and are more easily retrieved when I begin a project. I began documenting my process three years ago at the insistence of my younger daughter, herself an artist. She has long been fascinated by my "object oriented" approach to both art history and also my studio production.

I removed the cover from the book so that I could add elements to the design. The marbled paper came from a dear friend, Sam Ellinport, from Harcourt Bindery in Boston. The binoculars I photographed for the project were acquired from my close friend Alvin Lindo, and antiques dealer in Somerville, MA. And of course, the book from my grandmother.

All of these objects come together in my head before they ever are found and organized and stored for use in creation of an artist's book. This means that I have "stuff" throughout the studio and in my storage places in our home that is all dedicated to the making of an artist's book that is living only in my mind, in my soul, waiting to be born. Each object whether it is a piece of paper, a book, a bead, or a feather, has a story to how it came to live in my studio. Each object reminds me of the creative process ongoing in my head as I dream and the journey to find that which I dream about.

For me, prayer is like that in my daily life. I dream of praying, I pray when I wake up in the night for that ever present "call to nature",  I pray when I am doing the dishes or making a meal. Prayer is a part of the journey to find that which I dream about because prayer changes me in ways I almost can not fathom. I believe that the veil between this world and the next is very thin,  and that it is bridged by our dreams and by our prayers.

This book, for me, is a visual representation of that journey. It is an art object that can be held and interacted with in both tangible and intangible ways. There is the visual and tactile stimulation of holding such an object and the soulful response within the viewer to what is seen and held. I think if we open our hearts and our souls to our dreams, and to our prayers, we can have a similar experience.

I suppose this is another reason why I feel so driven to finally make these books, these works of art, from my soul. My hunter gathering period is over, at least for now. The seeds have been sown and the garden is finally bearing fruit.

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