Sunday, July 19, 2009
Artist Book – The Beginning
Artist books are wonderful places to explore, confirm, and celebrate one’s art. I usually make a couple of books each year in late summer and early autumn. I find I spend a lot of time on them – about three months from the start to the finish. Some years I made them of brown paper bags, creating a pocket for extra pullouts; some years the pages were made from nature prints I had done; and some years the pages were each an individual collage picturing a theme.
I’ve been thinking about how perfect my tissue paper transfers are for the pages of this years book. So in the past few weeks I decided on a format. I am going to use a simple Japanese side stab binding. The pages will be 11 inches wide (about 28 cm) and 4.25 (about 11 cm) inches high, of BFK Reeves paper which is a favorite of mine. The binding on the left short side will take away about .5 inches of the page. Therefore I have put the most interesting part of the tissue paper composition on the far right edge.
I am thinking of these as visual haiku. The appeal for me is the natural minimalism of the papers and the haiku format. I’m not sure what I will do with the opposing pages; perhaps some words, or fragments of poetry, a nature print or something found in nature. Each of these tissue paper pages will have added mark making of some kind to complete the composition.
I enjoy the process of book making. For me, a simple form is the best, allowing me to focus on the content which I find most engaging. I like to add a semi-transparent paper as the first and last pages. I have done transfers on heavier rice paper and can use that as covers. I have 14 pages started so far, and anticipate at least that many more. As I continue to work on these I will post updates over the coming months. I find there is a meditative quality to making artist books, repetition of the page format, thinking ahead to the over all content and theme, and the tactile quality that is afford when one picks of a handmade book. My books almost always serve as a means for me to celebrate my favorite season – Autumn.