Saturday, February 15, 2014

Winter Studio Musings & Current Shows

This past month I was fortunate to have work accepted into a juried show in Barry's Bay, ON at the South of 60 Gallery. It is a wonderful exhibition of the work of pulp and paper artisans from the Ottawa Valley.  The work ranges from sculptural forms, paper casting, artist's books, fine letterpress editions and paper collage.

I was very impressed with how the curator,  Danielle Paul, organized and arranged this juried show.  She was careful to discuss with each artisan how they hoped to see their work displayed and if it was acceptable to have the work picked up by visitors.

The show will run through March 22, so please do check out their website and visit if you can!

The Entrance to the show on the left, Anne Moffat, Shirley, and Orval Miller from Deep River, the Gallery Vernissage.

My two works accepted to the show were The Abecedarium for the Maker's of Artist's Books, an edition of 26 that had one copy in the Sheffield International Book Arts Show in 2013, and The Alphabet Effect, a unique artist's book. Both works are for sale at the South of 60 Gallery in Barry's Bay, Ontario through March 22.

The ABECEDARIUM for the Makers of Artist's Books- Letterpress & Collage Letterpress Edition of 26.

The Alphabet Effect, unique artist's book. Calligraphic broadside, brush and pen, with hand marbled paper an brass pulls.

My dear friend from Canmore, Alberta, Dea Fischer, is a well known book artist in North America. Her website, The Starbook, is an amazing resource for anyone interested in book arts. She also maintains a page on Facebook and has course and book downloads available from the Interweave website.

This past November she invited me to contribute to a collaborative altered book project,  a "round robin," The Dictionary of Sorrows. This book takes an original leather bound Roycrofters edition of The Man of Sorrows as a base for the book. Each contributor completes their own interpretation in one "opening" of the volume.

My contribution to this work included letterpress, stamps, chinese chop impressions, hand illumination, and calligraphy. I worked with a variety of colours and gold infused ink to create the opening. The illuminated calligraphy quote was completed on a piece of handmade birchbark paper I made during a paper making/marbling workshop I held here in Deep River last year. The bookmark was made from black satin ribbon with brass bead additions and a painted metal key.

My contribution to The Dictionary of Sorrows.

The quote that I chose is one very dear to my soul.

No matter how deep your sorrow, you are not alone. 
Others have been there and will help share your load if you will let them. 
Do not deny them the opportunity.  
Amy Hilliard Jensen

After my mother's death in 1994, a year after my sister's death, I was cleaning her home. I found a piece of brown paper with this quote written in her hand on her kitchen table. My heart broke into a thousand pieces as I read the tattered brown paper. I knew then that she had been suffering more after my sister's death than I had realized. In a way, finding this quote helped give me the courage to return to grief counseling and to ask for help from those around me in a way that I was unable to before.  This piece of paper, left by my mother where she would read it every day, is now framed above my bench in my studio. I think of my mother daily, and thank God she was in my life then and now, and I thank God she left me this message to carry with me when I am having a bad day.

Through these past incredibly cold weeks, I have been unable to work in the basement studio on the press with any regularity. My difficulty in dealing with the cold and grey days we have been enduring has stifled my creative verve until this week. I have contented myself with sitting by the woodstove in the family room, reading books and working in my sketchbooks, trying to move myself forward in the creative process. The heart has been willing, but the body has been weak.

This past Monday I started back in the studio again, getting prepared to start work on production of blank journals, book boxes, and  the completion of three more artist's books that have been unfinished since before Christmas. My heart soars like a hawk when I pick up bits and pieces of each of these projects. I am no longer shivering in three layers of clothing trying to work in my lovely studio. The terrible cold has left us for a while, and we have respite from the ever deepening grey.

The days are getting longer and the amaryllis is blooming on the plant table in the family room.  The deer are still beating a path through the backyard to the woods across the way, and the squirrels are still trying to get into the attic, but I can feel the warmth of the sun strongly now. We have turned the corner and although we will have more cold days, and more grey days, I believe that we will be blessed with more and stronger sunshine than in past weeks.

As I begin to prepare for Lent this year, I know in my heart that my creative soul has survived the cold and the grey, and that all will be well, and will be well, and with the grace and warmth of God our Mother, all will be well.