art, book arts, dyeing, Nature printing, North Carolina, North Carolina beaches

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

This past weekend, Susanne and I went to a wonderful Zhen Xian Bao book class at Topsail Beach, NC, taught by Leslie Marsh and Kim Beller. The first day we spent natural dyeing with plant materials and indigo on paper and fabric. The next day was spent constructing the book, which is made with glue, scissors, and folding. The book structure is a traditional Chinese thread book made for the purpose of holding embroidery threads, needles, and the odd bits that might be kept for different projects. Ruth Smith researched this extensively and published books about it, and it is being taught by artists in the United States now. I took a class on this structure at Focus on Book Arts last summer, which I absolutely loved. Kim and Leslie put their own spin on it by adding more layers and the natural dye/shibori element. Of course, Leslie acknowledged the instruction of India Flint in her teaching of eco-printing techniques.

The big dilemma in making this book is that you have to sacrifice some images that you might love to be on the side that is glued down. The biggest one for me was the big box that makes the base and the cover. Both sides had their charms, but I had to pick one. The other can be seen on the bottom of the lowest box when the book is opened. I thought about embellishing the cover further, but I think that I will leave it alone other than brushing some Dorland’s wax medium on it to make it a little stronger and more weatherproof.

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

above: unbundling, trying out cover sides and the finished cover

I added the 70% silk/30% cotton thread to every bundle. I now have some dark and bright indigo threads to add to my tapestry, once I get them untangled. One groups of the threads I laid inside a bundle made a portrait of two humans. Fortunately I was able to preserve this image in the bottom of one of the boxes near the top.

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

More photos of the dyeing/bundling process:

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

Zhen Xian Bao by the Sea

Update: I don’t do Pinterest too much – too overwhelming and I don’t need another rabbit hole. If you are into it, here’s a great board on the Zhen Xian Bao book structure.

art, book arts, North Carolina, Wonderfulness

Re(f)use Exhibition at Artspace

Re(f)use exhibition at Artspace

Even though this Triangle Book Arts group exhibition at Artspace in Raleigh, North Carolina is much better seen in person, as any book art exhibition is, I took a few photos yesterday when Sandy and I visited. Book arts are so interactive – in many cases over half of what is there is inside a book! In the show, there were many forms of books, some folded books hanging from the ceiling, some hanging on the wall, others were sculptural, and others invited you to explore inside them. One even invited you to add to it!

Re(f)use exhibition at Artspace

All were constructed from materials “reused” that were at least 80% “refuse.”

There were many that I wanted to photograph but a camera just could not do them justice. Susan Leeb’s “Catalogue of Nostalgia” installation using an old library card catalog cabinet and cards could have easily soaked up an hour of my time exploring its drawers, but I gave up trying to photograph it.

Here are photos of my two books in the exhibition. “Flow” hung with a group collaboration and was difficult to photograph because it was very long and the lighting was odd. However, I loved the shadows cast on the wall by another hanging book, “Holy” by Lisa Gilbert, so maybe the lighting was perfect. First two photos are details of the front and back of “Flow.” Then the bottom, then a page in the middle.

"Flow" top cover and three pages

Back of "Flow" (detail)

Re(f)use exhibition at Artspace

Re(f)use exhibition at Artspace

Here’s “First the Seed,” opened to its first page. I really have to write in this book when it comes home. It’s like the book that refuses to be finished.

Re(f)use exhibition at Artspace

See the shapes on the wall cast by the holes in “Holy?” After this photo is a detail shot of “Holy.” I really love this idea of combining a piece with light and shadow.

Re(f)use exhibition at Artspace

Re(f)use exhibition at Artspace

I love the shadows cast by Barbara Livingston’s fascinating “Renovating the Library” also.

Re(f)use exhibition at Artspace

Kathy Steinsburger’s “East:West” really got to me, pictured along with other works along the back wall. Again, those shadows!

Re(f)use exhibition at Artspace

By the way, the other gallery exhibit with encaustic collages by Jane Wells Harrison is well worth the trip also. It made my husband and I both want to play with encaustic. I especially loved the map imagery encased under the wax.

Jane Wells Harrison at Artspace

Re(f)use exhibition at Artspace

The exhibition is on the first floor gallery on Artspace through March 3. You can see other photos by clicking on any of these photos to go to my Flickr page. There are too many to post here – I know I posted too many as it was.

book arts, Mixed media art, Reading, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018, weaving

Saturday morning coffee pot post

This was a busy week. First, here’s the tapestry diary as of last Sunday. I haven’t worked on it so far this week so it will be a simple narrow entry for the entire week and I’ll weave it as soon as I am done here.

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On Tuesday, I went to Seth Apter’s 52 Card Pickup class at Betty’s Creative Studio here in Greensboro, NC. I had not known about Betty’s before I saw Seth’s announcement on his “The Altered Page” Facebook page, and that was a welcome surprise since I was trying to figure out how to go to Lexington, Kentucky to take a joint workshop with him and my favorite book arts teacher, Dan Essig. As usual, there are way too many things that I want to do and sometimes the knowledge of this is overwhelming, since of course I can’t afford it all or take the time off for it all, especially between January and April. And yes, he is as nice as you have heard.

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This was a nice break from work, since it was fairly mindless and relaxing. We learned his process for making textured painted backgrounds on a deck of cards that had been painted back and front with black gesso, plus two slightly larger bookboard pieces to use for covers. Messy fun!

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The idea was that you would collage one side of the card and journal on the other side. The cards are not bound so you’d pull out a collaged card to suit your journaling mood or subject for the week. We didn’t get around to much collage. I got a little overwhelmed with the free stuff that was being passed around to choose from, since I’m trying to use or purge this kind of thing from my studio. There are still so many boxes of random papers in there!

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This is a method that I will reuse, although I think that the next batch of papers or cards will be less busy so they will be easier to write on.

I started out the gate with some serious sinus problems and so I stayed home from work on Monday. I’m pretty sure that cleaning out and trying to repair the vacuum cleaner was the main cause, because I am getting over it too fast for it to be a cold. All that diatomaceous earth from the carpet flea treatment sandpapered the inside of my head. I made it known publicly that I would not be offended by the gift of a new vacuum cleaner for Valentine’s Day. Sandy, however, is Mr. Fix-It in his imagination and sometimes he does actually accomplish some of these repairs that he says that he can do, so I’m giving it until I get my year-end kickback check from Costco and then if it is not fixed I am buying a new one. I can’t keep up by using the attachments on the hose!

The rest of week I had my head down catching up on work, dealing with a lot of grids and spreadsheets, so that will show up in the tapestry diary entry for the week.

Sandy ended up going to the City Council meeting without me and speaking, among others, in opposition to the way the city is treating Cafe Europa. Sadly, I don’t think that much will come of it, but there are some passionate people on Jakub’s side so I hope that my pessimism turns out to be wrong.

Last night I finished watching “Godless” on Netflix, which I highly recommend if you can take violence that serves a purpose in a very well-written story. I have been a big fan of Merritt Wever since watching her play Zoe on “Nurse Jackie” so it was great to see her play a badass on this one season Western series. I thought that it was a touching story of redemption, with the twist of a town full of very strong self-reliant women. Sandy found it very sad, but he liked it enough that he watched it again with me.

I finished “Run” by Ann Patchett and am now reading “Straight Man” by Richard Russo, which is pretty hysterical, especially if you have had the experience of working in a small college or a dysfunctional academic liberal arts department. Not that ours is that bad, but much of it rings true.

I was planning to cut back the fig tree hard, like by half, and set up my little greenhouse this weekend, but it appears that it is going to rain for four days. Oh well. As long as it is not flooding, I will not complain about rain. It is time to start seeds and I’m going to give that another try this year. We’ll see how the tomcats in the house behave. If I can get a few weeks of good behavior from them then I can set up the greenhouse and move some seedlings out there.

Tomorrow I hope to write about the project that I’m doing in India Flint’s Bagstories group. It has been such a joy.

book arts, coffee pot posts, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018, Upcycling, weaving

Sunday morning coffee pot post

This time, with a full pot of coffee! Who knows where this might go?

Yesterday I made a sudden decision to get my hair cut. Nothing drastic, just what Mr. Robert at Leon’s Beauty School describes as “my annual shearing.” I love Mr. Robert. Anyway, it looks healthier and bouncier and it will probably get curlier again because the weight is off. However, when I looked in the mirror this morning my first thought was of Snape looking back at me.

Since I adore Alan Rickman, I suppose that is not altogether bad. I won’t dye it black, though. Maybe this summer I’ll do a wild color rinse. I’ve wanted to do that for a while.

I need to lay off the electronics late at night. This is an addiction that has to be addressed immediately. Even melatonin is not working for me. Last night around 1 a.m. I gave up and finished “The Loving Cup” by Winston Graham, the tenth in the Poldark series. Then I went to my bookshelf with the intention of choosing something less fluffy, and picked up “Tropic of Cancer” by Henry Miller. I bought it because I knew it had been banned for decades and it was the number one bestseller the year I was born. But after the first dozen pages, I realized that I am not wasting time on it. I hated it. I flipped through it for another thirty minutes, reading excerpts here and there. It will go into the stack to sell to the used book store.

The antidote to this is that I am also reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, but small bits at a time. All right, I’ll confess – it is my bathroom book. I want to keep a novel in the currently reading list, so taking a cue from “Big Magic” I’m going to read Ann Patchett’s “Run” next. As I finish novels, they are going to the used book store or the Little Free Library down the street. There are a few that I will always hang on to, like my Lee Smith, Joseph Mitchell, and Wendell Berry books. And any autographed books. But the book purge is going to happen and happen big. I already donated eight books on book and paper arts to the Triangle Book Arts member library.

I caught up on my tapestry diary for the week, weaving most of it yesterday. I thought that the rough brown yarn in the middle would be interesting to weave with, but it ended up falling apart as I wove. I think it may have been jute. So the rest of that will go in the paper bits bin for the next papermaking session. I hope that I’ll get to a little of that this year.

Tapestry diary 2018

I have work in two shows right now – a first for me! “98% Water” is currently in “A Strand, A Shape, A Story,” the Tapestry Weavers South exhibit at the Folk Arts Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina. I have two books, “First, the Seed” and “Flow” in the Triangle Book Arts show “Re(f)use” in Artspace in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Flow” is hanging as part of a collaborative work led by Barbara Livingston, and it is definitely my favorite of the two books I submitted. I will photograph it when I visit the show. Both shows are incredible, and the book arts show will twist your head about what a book can be. Opening reception for Re(f)use is on Friday, Feb. 2. I don’t know if I’m going yet. Feeling a bit shy and a lot agoraphobic about it.

Okay, time to get to work in the studio.

art, book arts, collage, Upcycling

Flow


I finished the insides of the panels for the Flow book today. Tomorrow I will finish the back sides, which will be much simpler. I messed around with laying them on the floor and switching them around to make them “flow” better. I can already see what I will change in the process for the next book, but I’m going to finish this one and send it off.

When it hangs it needs to be ten feet long so I’ll have to do math tomorrow!