The idea of combining book-forms really appealed to me for this homework project. I looked over the samples we made and decided to insert mini-pamphlets into a Venetian blind/palm leaf style fold. I really enjoyed the physical structure of both these styles, but I had some reservations too – would the book be able to close?
The theme for the book went through many iterations in my head. My first instinct was “found poetry” by collecting some tidbits of things I’ve read or heard. Then it became the “poetry of found objects” such as dents and cat turds. I didn’t feel much like concentrating on the alleyway behind my apartment for inspiration, so eventually it became more like “things you might find around the house” or even better! A Miniature Book of Things You Might Like to Find. This is the theme I finally decided on, and I was able to easily fill up the pamphlet pages with pleasant surprises.
On the reverse side of the pamphlet, I pasted a picture that shows miniature diorama of a front yard. I hope this visual ties together the miniature-theme. But really, I think it just looks nice when you prop up the Venetian blinds on their side. After I finished it all and tied it up with waxed linen thread, I was happy to see that the book closes perfectly – success!
Posted on behalf of Drew Robison)
The process for constructing my new book, Eight Lost Things, was similar to my approach towards all things. Ideas ride around in my head for a couple days before they find egress. It is pretty much a predictable process of idea germination, a straightforward activity. Once I discovered that I was going to write about the concept of lost from a variety of approaches, I came up with a structure of eight categories that captured some of the major ideas about “lost” things, people, time, etc. I gathered pictures to illustrate the categories of “lostness” using the Perfect Bound book format to assemble the book. I love finding lost images tucked away in the recesses of my mind—good luck charms of memory.
Dear Self, what not to do. Don’t use different weights of paper. The paper doesn’t lay right. I probably had the paper grains going in two different directions (warp fighting weft). Also, the duct tape was an after thought because my end papers were cut too short. Because I did not use a publishing program other than Microsoft Word, which I am probably using to 1/10 of its capacity to generate text and images. It came out really tacky.
What I did like was my cover design. I love painting freehand. I pasted the pleather to an old manila folder, and then painted it. Additionally, because I love spelling words differently, rearranging them and creating anagrams.
I also liked my book’s content.
I will be more patient with myself next time.
The word “LOST” immediately conjured up mental images of maps in a book like an old atlas. Originally, I thought it would be cool to make an antique-looking map of an ancient civilization wrapped up in a scroll. I wasn’t quite sure how this might qualify as a “book” exactly so I tried to broaden the idea to include the Turkish Fold and I changed the theme to space. I think I did this because space is the new frontier (of media and literature), and we don’t use maps in the quite the same way when star-gazing. I soon realized it isn’t actually as easy as you might think to find a square map of the stars (most of them are circular), and I wanted the map to fit the frame of the page. Eventually, I found a simple version of what I was looking for.
Then, I selected some paper from my stacks. I stuck with the antique-theme. I used some marbled brown paper for the inside and an off-black cardstock for the cover. For the cover title, I cut out the letters from the cardstock and glued white paper behind it. I wrote my name in black sharpie, and I think the white/black/off-black combo has a cool effect. On the inside, I pasted the words “How do you get from here…to…there?” in white text on black paper as a reflection of a question my book might ask. The Turkish fold is quite simple if you keep the folds straight, and I saw there are some cool, more complex variations of it (from doing some research online).
I like the final product because it mixes the classical and modern styles I couldn’t decide between. The look and feel of the old page contrasts with the astrological names of stars and the modern cover. If I could improve it, I would have used more distressed-looking, antique-style paper. Regarding the text, my intention wasn’t for this book to state anything declaratively. I guess I went with the poetic approach because you’re more likely to ask a question like this when you’re lost.
Posted on behalf of Drew Robison.
When asked to do any assignment, the default drive for me is culture. So when prompted to explore the topic of book artist, I “googled” Black Book Artists. The first site I explored was http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/09/10/bookartist.Once at the site, I perused the catalogue of names of artists and their representative works. One female artists, Bisa Washington’s piece titled, “In the Event Anyone Disappears,” was an homage to Nelson Mandela chronicling the liberation struggles of Apartheid South Africa , where freedom fighters could come up “missing” permanently or temporarily, having been detained by “law” enforcement officers. Another female artist, Dindga McCannon titled her work “A Week in the Life of a Black Woman Artist.” Each of the books demonstrated the intersection between the work as art and craft. By this I mean the artistic production of the book and the craft of depicting meaning.
In doing this assignment, I fought hard against my usual predilection to highlight a woman artist and chose instead, Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. I became so intrigued with his personal narrative of leaving the corporate white-collar job in the at ATT where he worked as a computer programmer and bought a printing press. He said he got his calling when he was forty years old Having had access to the corporate world, walking away was his liberation
At this point having watched the documentary produced by Laura Zinger, “Proceed and Be Bold” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i251DDffUzY . Please see at least the first 5 minutes. It inspired me to learn more about the trade and the allied industries, concerning the role of printing as a major industry. I have become a cyber-stalker (yes, Meredith, it’s true—all since last Tuesday) and I am versed in all things Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. Even though he refers to himself as a letter-press printer, his art is about remembering the historical atrocities, challenges, and victories of living in/through America’s race-inflected society. He calls himself a person who remembers “race” and the positive aspects of being Black. Please see this short You Tube video about his aesthetic sensibilities.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9NRCcRSLcE another site ishttp://www.printeresting.org/author/admin/
His book art is collected at major libraries and is housed in museums, but most days you can find him in Gordo Alabama “remembering” and making those memories public by creating signature posters and printing material that document what it is to be Black in America.
He doesn’t see himself as an artist, but as a person who proceeds in life to be bold to remember the things from the past that have shaped Black identity. An example of his work that explores memory is a book made in the form of a snake necklace. A book of African Proverbs, each of the pages is cut in the shape of a snake for wisdom and contains a proverb, something to remember. Another of his books is a “Whipping Stick” constructed out of Bible pages. Here he offers a biting critique at the brutality and the oppression created by the imposition.
After earning a MFA in 1997 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where he studied book design and paper making, he taught graphic design. Because he came of age during the Black Arts Movement, self-determination and power are important to him. One of his posters speaks to the power of controlling information through the press and the creation of books. He says that letter pressing is as important as film as a medium. Although he was trained as a fine printer, he subverts the process as a means of control. He will allow an error to trick up the page in the way a bluesman worries the line while playing the guitar to achieve the soulful quality.
The polemical and political nature of his art attracts me because it aligns to my own concerns about America’s insistence on amnesia. My artist statement, which I am still developing, deals with the transformation of identity from being African to being an American African or African American. I explore what was lost, hidden, recorded and recoded. My first book for this class, “Magic Book” chronicles that artistic trajectory.
Posted by Meredith Purvis on behalf of Koko
Hello, students! Welcome to our class blog for the Spring 2013 sections of Literary Publications. A few things to note:
- You will need a WordPress account to post to the blog. I’ll be collecting email addresses during the first class and then inviting you to be an author for the blog. If you have an existing WordPress account, you can use that for this class. If not, you will need to create one (but don’t worry, that’s quick and easy).
- This blog is shared by the Tuesday and Thursday sections, so please be aware of that. Although it’s more for me to keep track of, I think you’ll benefit from the shared ideas.
- You will notice that I’ve left the posts from the Spring 2012 classes in this blog. I encourage you to look through them for inspiration and ideas.
If you have any questions about this class blog, please feel free to contact me at meredith.purvis [at] ubalt.edu.
Having trouble getting logged in?
Check out this quick “How-To” guide I put together to guide you through the first-time log in process (it addresses both existing and newly created WordPress accounts): Getting Started With Our Class Blog