Sunday, December 6, 2009
The Art of Handmade Artist Books – Part Two
"Each friend represents a world in us,
a world possibly not born until they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
- Anais Nin
My friend Rita and I began an exchange of art on a monthly basis several years ago. We create art and exchange it, along with a letter of thoughts and happenings, poetry and quotes, and inclusions of interest. Each exchange becomes a page in on-going volumes of hand bound books. In the autumn of the year we also exchange a hand-made artist book. The editions are of two – one to keep and one to give. The world created by our exchange has enriched and expanded my life. There is an invisible path worn down between my mail box in the West and hers near the Great Lakes. Although we have never met face to face, we are the best of friends.
This year the book theme was completely open. I made my books from the papers I create when transferring paint on and off of paintings. Although at the beginning the transfers are created from totally random marks and shapes, once the paper begins to appear interesting I am more selective, and tend to the final stages with deliberate action. The Zen like quality of the marks, the quiet colors and peacefulness of the tissue pages on print making paper appeal to me. I look inward to find what will become my art. This book celebrates the new sense of freedom and authenticity I am experiencing in my work. The quietness allows me to hear my own heartbeat. I am trying to think less, and work more in tandem with the art that appears. These books have allowed me to experiment, and to push the quiet even further.
The title of my book is Stillness. I love stillness. I often work in the studio in outward silence, although I am always responding to what is happening on the surface in front of me, listening for what the work has to say. For me, stillness is about clarity, focus and purpose. It is a place from which I can create. In a bit of artistic license, I attached a very small Japanese bell to the outside of each book – a tiny single note of sound calling attention to the Stillness I suppose.
The technical parts of the books are a side stab binding of the soft pages made of tissue, BFK Rives print making paper, and a Japanese paper. The housing is a removable portfolio cover made of mat board, a commercial black paper and more tissue paper. The closure is a black cord with knots and bell.
Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found.