Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Art in Hot Springs


(Above: The first four artist books created using photos from Hot Springs National Park. The one with the twig along the spine includes pictures of trees. The one using formerly rusted, vintage damask is called Rust and includes photos of rusty water valves. The two-tones green striped one includes photos of the animals I've seen ... turtle, snake, doves, butterfly, and two skinks ... but not the chipmunks and squirrels; they're too fast! The one on the top is called Slate and includes those photos. Click on image to enlarge.)


(Above and below: Rust and Wildlife, open. All the books also include my clipped letters. Click on images to enlarge.



I’ve taken truckloads of photos since arriving in Arkansas and it occurred to me that I could have some of them printed at the nearby pharmacy for use in handmade albums. This seemed like such a great idea because I brought a nice stack of fawn colored printing paper with me for all the pages. The rest of the plan has been an exercise in improvisation.


(Above: Trees and Slate, open. Click on image to enlarge.)

This is a good thing, of course. In fact, my artistic mentor, oil painter Stephen Chesley, told me I was bringing too many things out of my studio. He suggested that I “simply go and be myself … making art from whatever is on hand”. While this is an interesting and likely worthwhile idea (especially for a gifted painter whose draftsmanship skills are unparalleled), I brought lots of stuff … but not necessarily the things I’d end up needing.


(Above: Slate. I made this one a horizontal opening book!)

I’m used to having plenty of scrap mat board and a professional cutter; clamps, weights, a hammer and an endless supply of nails; Yes paste; two-way tape; and photo corners. I had to purchase the last two items … but



… I talked my way into getting a free straight-edged razor from the framing department at Hobby Lobby and then cut apart my pizza box and other “trash” for the boards …



… used clothes pins to hold my album pages in place …



… and to continue as makeshift clamps while lining up the covered boards …



… and the stack of provided dinner plates as drying weights.



This worked for the books with fewer pages, but I wanted one larger album too. I used the spare tip from my fine-tipped soldering iron as a nail and a charcoal grill utensil as a hammer. It worked and I’ll post this book when it is finished! (The clothes pins fail me ... so I tied up the pages and covers with extra thread! That kept all my binding holes in alignment.)



Plus, I’ve started two multi-signature books … trying to use what’s on hand … improvising! So, what I brought wasn’t what I really needed … but it was close enough. It’s been an interesting experience. Also, I plan to post all my photos on Flickr! once I’ve returned home to Columbia! More photos of the newer, larger books coming!

7 comments:

Karen said...

I like this!! Looking forward to seeing the insides of these.

Els said...

Wow Susan! Not only an artist but a craftsman too!!!! Great books

Wanda said...

Beautiful! What a neat excercise as well...improvising. Yes, I think that it would have been difficult for you to NOT have brought a bunch of stuff...you are very used to having stacks of stuff...not to mention boxes and boxes of it. But you sure did a great job improvising and the books are stunning!

Elizabeth said...

Doesn't everyone use cereal boxes and clothespins to make books!!!
"Roughing" it was good for you Chica!!!
Seriously, your books are gorgeous!!! Well Done!!!!

Anonymous said...

How can you always make work so much fun? Love it, Mom

Lynn said...

You sure stay busy there. Are you getting any down time? Or perhaps that is not in the job specks?
Your books are terrific and your inventiveness and clever tools impress.

SONYASPHERE said...

Love the books! Your photographs are so CRISP!