The concept of my book was to connect Joan of Arc with poetry.
Creatively, this challenges me to use color and images.
This project was difficult to make. I made everything by hand with the exception of the images. I worked with spray paint in windy conditions and worked with a large project in some small areas. I succeeded in making a book that is unique and visually worthwhile although if conditions had been more suitable, I would have been able to redo the colored writing on the blocks with darker shades of blue and purple.
I tried to take advantage of the opportunity to work on a large space. I approached it sort of like Jackson Pollock in that I worked on the floor and visualized and made decisions with the project on the floor.
The book is linked to the content using images from Carl Th. Dreyer’s film The Passion of Joan of Arc.
I wanted as much as possible to be handmade so it would feel more authentic and more genuine as a written work with handwritten text than it would otherwise.
I chose the title “in delirium” because delirium is a state of inspiration.
If I were to make this project over again, I would watch the weather more closely to find out when it would be best to paint outside.
For my project, I am going to produce a triptych broadside featuring my prose poem in three parts, Carl Th. Dreyer Chooses Renee Falconetti for the Role of Joan of Arc. I will set my poem in front of images of Renee Falconetti as Joan of Arc in Carl Th. Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc using indesign/photoshop. My goal for this project is to make a piece of poetry that is heightened by images and format and that I can hang on my wall.
I plan to do this project for as cheap as possible. I can use indesign/photoshop here at school. I have large paper that I can use to print and a friend has the equipment on which I can print my work for free. After the broadsides are made, I will mount them to large pieces of bookboard that I will spraypaint either black or silver. The bookboard will cost about $20.00
My schedule is to finish my poem by the end of the week. Between April 14 and 21, create different versions and settle on a final piece. That gives me time to experiment with setting it on the board and to try different things with that.
I just spent a little bit of time looking at Peter Thomas and some of his stuff on his website and, regardless of what anyone might say about craft vs. art, charging $2400.00 for a handmade book deserves a certain amount of applause. That’s a skill that can pay some bills.
Peter Thomas’s books are neat to look at. It’s not my place to say that they don’t qualify as art but they don’t move me in any fundamental way. There’s no element of sensitivity attached to it that allows me to get inside of the work and see pieces of the person and identify with it on neither a cerebral or a visceral level. If a work doesn’t do that, then I don’t qualify it as art. However, somebody who would be willing to pay for anything off of his website surely sees something that I don’t and it’s not my place to judge that.
The concept for my midterm project was to take poems from Ted Berrigan’s The Sonnets and make a flag fold book out of them that would be more sculpture than book. I chose the flag fold because the way it weaves in and out was great for Ted Berrigan’s poems which consist of individual lines from other poems rearranged into new poems. I thought that the structure would also allow for new poems to emerge since the lines would weave in and out of each other. In terms of creativity and originality, I thought the concept was worthwhile in the sense that the project would “do something”. It would be an interactive experience.
The concept for this project seemed easy enough until it went into practice. The basic idea of the book worked fine. The pages fit okay and went in without much trouble but the exteriors I intended wouldn’t work correctly. At that point, I learned that the bookmaker’s best friend is Dollar Tree. Because everything costs a dollar there, it’s easy to budget. Also, it’s a great place to brainstorm and work out things that work and things that don’t work. All of the materials for making the books, aside from the pages and city drawings, cost a dollar. In total the entire set of books cost roughly $17.00. The pages were free and I had already had the supplies for the city drawings.
Crafting this book was not easy. Fitting the pages in was a painstaking process. I used tape to fit them in so that if I messed up fitting them in, I could just pull them out and put it back in correctly. Glue would have made this harder and would have made the mistakes visible. Also, the tape makes the pages removable so that the pages, both as lines and as whole poems can be interchangeable. Stenciling the city scenes was easy enough but coloring them was very tedious. My primary obstacle in creating the books was ultimately tedium. I had a relatively clear idea of what I wanted to do but the level of tedium required to bring the idea to fruition wasn’t expected.
For the graphics, I chose a hand drawn cityscape colored with colored pencils. I chose a cityscape because of the urban setting of The Sonnets and I chose to make the graphics childlike because of the playful nature of the poems. I did the lines by hand and copied them onto cardstock. I wanted it to be as organic as I could make it without diverting from uniformity. The title for the book is Is There Room in the Room That You Room In? because I think that the books function as rooms, they have similar dimensions. It’s a line that repeats throughout The Sonnets, occurs in the selections for the project, and has a great sound to it.
If I were to make this book over again, what I would do differently would be to go to Dollar Tree right off the bat. It’s not only cheap and easy to budget but it’s a great place to be imaginative and brainstorm. I think I would have spared myself a lot of trouble if I had simply gone to Dollar Tree instead of trying to use stuff from Utrecht or Michael’s. In terms of construction, I would like to have had bigger boxes. It would have provided more room to fit the pages in and make the artwork more visible. Maybe if I had shopped around at a few different Dollar Trees I would have found some but I used what was at my disposal as a knee-jerk reaction to my idea. The light bulb went off and I had to buy them. The whole thing really came together when I went to Dollar Tree.
I’ve had to make some adjustments with my project. I was having some trouble getting the “pages” into the box because of the material I was using as background. Last night, I decided to use tape instead and I think it works better. I’m going to look for other patterns rather than the one that I used for the background. The box itself won’t be a shoebox but a box that I will make myself out of a material that I have picked out. As far as the text goes, I am planning to glue the text in on the strips. I haven’t found the kind of font that I want yet but will decide one by the end of the week.
As far as art vs. craft goes, I think there are several lines that can be drawn. For me, the key resides within emotion. If the piece actively emotes from viewer to viewer and projects layers of meaning to whomever takes meaning away from it, it qualifies as art. Any visual thing can be used in some way to become art, as we mean it in the visual sense. Other art forms such as music, poetry, etc. have a whole different set of dynamics attached to them. But in terms of what we do in bookmaking, there is potential for the dynamics of art to enter into the picture.
My project is going to be based off of Ted Berrigan’s The Sonnets. When Ted Berrigan made The Sonnets, he meant for it to be interchangeable. Not only in the order of the individual poems but also in the individual lines. My idea is to take three of those poems and use a book fold form to present them as both individual works and as combinations so different poems will emerge as the pages are pulled back. I want the text of the book in the fold form in a box. I will use board for this part. As far as decoration is concerned, I would like to use colored cloth, probably blue and red, for the interior of the box and probably the exterior as well.
Paper- I have enough paper to use for the project lying around or readily available so that will be no charge. I am using thicker paper for the project so that the pages will not only hold up but stay pretty stationary.
Cloth: Again, I have enough access to cloth that I can obtain it without paying.
Glue, Scissors, etc.: Again, I already have that.
Really, the only thing I see costing anything would be the board.
This week: Buying boxes and assembling them as well as putting in the hinges for the pages. I will also start putting the text down onto the pages. I would like the text to be handwritten, possibly in cursive, but I would like to see how the things look before deciding. I may print the text and cut the lines to fit the pages. I will also start putting in the interiors of the boxes.
March 4-10: Finish making the pages and the interiors. Get the pages assembled into the boxes.
March 11: Put finishing touches on the boxes.
I had a hard time with the found book. On the first book, I had a visual in mind that allowed me to drive the structure of the poem. On this project, I wrote the poem first. As a result, the finished product is more of an outline of what it could look like when I finish it (and I will finish it). I wanted a “newspapery” kind of feel and I thought the poem’s sentiment had greeting card potential so I grabbed a school paper and sewed it into a greeting card using dental floss. Another problem I had was that I was too attached to the poem to settle on any kind of “look” or “art” for it. I have a better idea of what I might want it to look like but I might have to make changes to the poem in order to accomodate the art of it. I enjoyed the frustration but I’m looking forward to giving myself some more freedom with the content and it might be a poem that fits better in another format.