Monday, April 13, 2015

Book I - VIII, Made during Open Studios

(Above:  My "home studio" after a busy weekend!  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

Last month I spent two days organizing my "artist shipping center" (aka "junk room" and location for storing everything from the 10' x 10' Pro Panel booth to various art installations) as well as my "home studio".  Last week Steve and I put in three days of intense scrubbing/sweeping/scouring/filing/pitching/pricing and all around physical labor ... all of these in anticipation of a big weekend. 

Well ... it's now over.  The weekend was wonderful.  Between the Elmwood Park Tour of Homes and Gardens and the 701 CCA OPEN STUDIOS events, we were slammed with visitors.  Max, our cat, played host, greeting everyone on the porch and insisting he be pet.  A nice high school student collected visitor zip codes (for the organizations' marketing and grant writing needs) just inside the front door.  Jasper Magazines, a free arts publication here in Columbia, were distributed while Steve and I manned the two floors.  It was lots of fun.

(Above:  Book I. 9 1/2" x 13 1/2" plus the dangling cord.  Antique book covers, zigzag machine cording, two old locks, a  chain, a key, assorted hardware.)

Of course, the main objectives for OPEN STUDIOS are to allow people into an artist's creative space, to show where art is made, to give a glimpse into the process, materials, equipment, and environment of a working studio.  My "home studio" is specifically for making 3D found object assemblages.  It is NOT my fiber studio.  There is no sewing machine ... but there really needed to be "something" that resembled the work I make in this space.  So, I set out an idea for a new series.  It's been rather difficult NOT to go into the space and actually MAKE the work ... until this weekend.  As soon as I started, everything just flowed.  By Sunday evening, eight pieces were hanging on the wall.  At least five more are laid out and waiting for my attention.  It was so much fun to finally screw and nail these pieces into existence! 

(Above:  Book I, detail.)

The work went quickly because I had everything ready to go, including a template for drilling holes in the covers of these antique Swedish book covers (circa 1900).  I'd already zigzag stitched plenty of cord to lace through the holes.  Sets of found objects sat waiting, side by side.

(Above:  Book II, 9 1/2" x 13 1/2" plus the dangling cord.  Antique book covers, zigzag machine cording, two old door-knob plates.)

(Above:  Book III, 9 1/2" x 13 1/2" plus the dangling cord.  Antique book covers, zigzag machine cording, two old screw-in hooks.)

(Above:  Book IV. 9 1/2" x 13 1/2" plus the dangling cord.  Antique book covers, zigzag machine cording, two old bronze-toned molds and two small, decorative feet (?) ... not really sure what these things are.)

(Above:  Book V. 9 1/2" x 13 1/2" plus the dangling cord.  Antique book covers, zigzag machine cording, and two, small, old, copper-toned door-knob plates.)

(Above:  Book VI. 9 1/2" x 13 1/2" plus the dangling cord.  Antique book covers, zigzag machine cording, and some strange, accordion-folding measuring device.)

(Above:  Book VII. 9 1/2" x 13 1/2" plus the dangling cord.  Antique book covers; zigzag machine cording; a match stick covered box in which were placed a clothespin, sewing machine bobbin, buttons, antique business check, circa 1890, and key all covered with epoxy; a tiny jewel box collaged with an old postage and ration stamp in which were placed a Mason's pins, a watch face, cross, and nails all covered with epoxy; and a harmonica.)

(Above:  Detail of Box VII.)

This particular "book" was made using two little pieces into which I poured epoxy ... over two years ago.  I'd totally forgotten about them ... until they were uncovered by the cleaning effort!

(Above:  Detail of Book VII.)

(Above:  Book VIII. 9 1/2" x 13 1/2" plus the dangling cord.  Antique book covers, zigzag machine cording, and an old rusty trap.)

This last piece was made using an old 110 conibear trap that my Dad gave me.  I thought I needed it for another project but ended up using a large rat trap instead.  (That piece is called, A Difficult Decision.)  So, finally, this cool thing is now "art"!  Thanks, Dad!

(Above:  The cording I made for these books.)

So ... how did I finish these pieces?

(Above:  The reverse of each "Book".)

I cut leftover pieces of picture framing moulding (used on the 107 Decision Portraits when they were framed).  The moulding was cut "on the side" ... exposing the "lip" ... and allowing the "face" to be glued to the reverse.  Every piece also has at least a few elements screwed from the front straight through the back and into the moulding.  Thus, these works are really staple.  Nothing is going to "fall off".  All the attached elements are either screwed in place for stitched in place with an extremely thin, flexible beading wire.  To cover up all these attachments, I placed a piece of acid-free foam-centered board into the moulding's exposed lip and screwed on two mirror hangers and a wire!  Presto!  On the wall ... perfectly flat!  Soon I'll have more to share.


Julie said...

I hope your Open Weekend went well. It was certainly a productive time for you. The books look good both together, so far, and individually.

Debbie said...

These are fantastic.

Margaret said...

Glad your open studio weekend went well. As for the book pieces...I confess...I don't quite 'get' what you're 'getting at'...

Back story would be appreciated! :-)

Yael said...

Hi Susan, I told you already that you are amazing, yes?
I get what you are getting at, these book covers are awesome!

The cloth pin in # VII - how well do I remember these from childhood in Germany! I wish I would have the basket full of these pins we had near the laundry line! I would send them all to you for fantastic use! :-)

Elizabeth said...

So glad it was such a success ! I am in the middle of setting up an Open Studios Tour for Fredericksburg> hard to believe it has never been done before!! I love your book pieces!! I really enjoy making my own cording and love the way you have used yours!!! You are humming along in your usual manner- Zoom Zoom Zooom!! Say hi to Steve for me!!

lindacreates said...

Amazing Susan! Bravo on your successful Open House. I love your found collections and how you displayed them. I wonder where they came from, what the owners were like, what they saw in their useful lifetime! If only they could talk, can you only imagine!!!!

Wanda said...

Congratulations! I'm so happy that the weekend was a success. And it seems that domestic chores gets your creative juices flowing...has the wild animal been tamed or just temporarily taught tricks?! ha ha I absolutely love the books. Especially the bear trap one. I love the earthy and "real". I love the cord. I had to smile when I read Yael's clothes pin comment. I still use clothes pins although most of mine have springs (not that that necessarily works better). The items that you have selected to be combined on the books is so interesting. It's so personal and makes my imagination wander! Very nice!

Mosaic Magpie said...

I enjoyed reading this post and the comments. In particular Margaret's comment....I think the "get it" factor in your work is best understood when you group/put together an installation. The threads come to mind...who (other than you) would have thought all those spools of unwound thread spilling from baskets would create something so thought provoking? The keys are another example each interesting but when you have 100 of them grouped on the wall, each with their own little differences, each portraying a different thought...WOW!
I know the visitors to your home/studio enjoyed their visit and had something to talk about with their friends.

Linda Laird said...

Love the books! I find that once I start a collage or assemblage, the ideas and combinations of images and objects just flow. I think the mystery measuring tool is a buttonhole spacer. Glad you found a use for that wicked looking animal trap.

Maggi said...

So glad that the weekend was a success. I really like the new book series too.