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.