Sandy Webster http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp Artistic Expressions Wed, 21 Jun 2017 13:51:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 83755418 My Mind This Week http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/my-mind-this-week/ Wed, 21 Jun 2017 13:51:29 +0000 http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/?p=3097 We are having some beautiful skies this week. It is the Summer Solstice here, Winter Solstice down under where I see they too have exquisite sunsets happening. It seems I am more in touch with what is going on down there than here according to my facebook feeds. It is the shared frustration with our…

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We are having some beautiful skies this week. It is the Summer Solstice here, Winter Solstice down under where I see they too have exquisite sunsets happening. It seems I am more in touch with what is going on down there than here according to my facebook feeds. It is the shared frustration with our politics as well as our interest in the arts that keep us in touch. The fears of “otherness” has put deep scars in not just our two countries but the world as well.

Ever since the seventies in the time of “free love” I honestly thought that we were headed toward a more enlightened way of seeing. Naive at best. And maybe it is being an artist, caught up in my own passions to visualize an awareness and then wanting to share.

It was sad to see an article by the BBC about how the truly American expression of quilt making has become so divisive here in this country. Conservatives squaring up against those who use the quilt form as expressions of opposition to our present government. How can that be justified? Objects, large objects made from the very medium that covers our bodies and “protects” us has always been one of the most expressive materials to make us think. Just think the Aids Quilt to start, then the narrative quilts of Faith Ringgold and others like her. I remember being so impressed to meet the young woman who was making quilts depicting the threatened owls of the Northwest through deforestation.

It is the responsibility of artists to use whatever medium is at our disposal to make a point. Whether the viewer likes it or not is hardly the point. I made this one after one President Bush left office and we were in the middle of another one. It is titled, “Lost Peaces”. The base cloth scraps were from canvases I had painted and collaged about the peace and calm of tai chi movements. Onto them I shaped fragile paper birds starting with the dove of peace coming in from the top right only to be shot down and added to specimen drawers full of his predecessors. Each of them tagged on the leg with a small excerpt from a gardening book why certain plants need to be kept away from other ones so as to avoid contamination of species. It is also filled with rusted nails lined up like armaments. It hangs behind me here in the office right now and only had one public showing. A textile show in Asheville where it was kept off to one end away from those that were more about cloth and surface design.

I will probably take it to the landfill after removing all those wonderful rusty nails….but not yet. It seems more important this week after reading the BBC article.

On another subject this week I just want to give a nod to the women who have touched me in ways few have. I am thinking of only three right now. One who is always there at the end of the phone or in person to remind me to laugh. She is always there before I knew I needed her to be here to listen, just listen with a scotch in hand. Another called last night, again with scotch in hand. She lives in Canada and we have known each other since graduate school twenty years ago. Her call was to commiserate about our pitiful state of politics in this country and how we have allowed ourselves to become so fearful and easily manipulated. Of course they have what most of us would consider the ideal leader sitting in their capitol while we have whatever this is…a combination of all the worst when there is such an absence of integrity.

And another who my thoughts are with as she struggles with perhaps the final stages of cancer. I never knew her well but I wanted her to know just how much I needed to hear her answer to a question I had asked myself for years, “Am I doing enough and am I doing it right?”. I would ask every older woman artist that I respected if they were constantly nagged by that question. Most said they never gave it a thought. One time a friend and I asked an online ouija board the same question and after several minutes…it spelled out “maybe”. How silly was that! But this woman who I spent little time with and so admired her artwork told me, “Sandy, it doesn’t matter.” I stopped asking the question after that and wanted to thank her for her simple bit of insight that had escaped me.

My art group meets here this weekend and I am forever grateful for their willingness to talk and listen to the things that matter. This week they will see all the specimens framed and the journal I am working on. And they will also understand the deep importance of the Land of Lethe map still tucked into its blank journal waiting for words.

So finally in this rather rambling blog are more of the specimen journal pages.

One signature is finished and I am well into the next one. It has been a great distraction working on this, an imaginary place to go. It works like tai chi and some yoga stretches. You come away from it refreshed and ready to tackle whatever is next.

The next few days I will be sewing clothes. Taking two shirts or more to make one I would wear. Sewing up fabrics I just had to have from Dairings in Australia and throwing out scraps that at one time seemed important and now have no reason for being here.

Til next week. And if you have a friend who drinks single malt scotch, you have a good listener, a good friend.

 

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The Specimen Journal – Signature One http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/specimen-journal-signature-one/ Thu, 15 Jun 2017 17:29:27 +0000 http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/?p=3086 I did work on the Specimen Journal this week. Here is the title page when the wooden cover is turned back. There is a language to it but I have no idea what it is. It is doodling “letters and words” to look right in places one would expect to read information. I could not…

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I did work on the Specimen Journal this week. Here is the title page when the wooden cover is turned back. There is a language to it but I have no idea what it is. It is doodling “letters and words” to look right in places one would expect to read information. I could not resist and used a bit of metallic watercolors for the title. I also figured that it would be the most handled page of the book, so lots of smudges. Next is the first page of the first signature in the book. There are three folios to each signature and therefore twelve pages to illustrate in one way or another.

Here is the title page turned.

There will certainly be something in that large blank space because I suspect the author/illustrator/discoverer had a minor case of kenophobia or in art terms, horror a vacuii.  Both translate to a fear of empty spaces.

Now the next two pages:

On these pages we are introduced to the dragonfly like specimen. And admittedly I am influenced by Australia in my choice of trees and blooms. There is a close-up of the mating ritual to the left side of the right hand page and an explanation in something we cannot read.

I actually remember seeing dragonflies do this. It was one of those Annie Dillard moments where you feel compelled to look closely at what Nature is showing for a brief moment only. Otherwise I think she would be disappointed that I squandered the opportunity. Annie Proulx makes me feel that way when I don’t watch people closely enough. Both of them make me feel like a gawker.

And that center fold that I started with. Now there is a bit more to it. I added a butterfly and some more green to a bothersome empty space. The female is laying her eggs.

And then the page after that is where I have gotten to date. Before I introduce the life of another specimen I think I will return to location where the discoverer is. Some plants and rocks to finish off this signature. Maybe even a fetus look inside the dragonfly’s egg.

A predator would be nice. Something that might go for dragonfly eggs since once they have hatched, like in this illustration, they are as safe as their parents.

There is one thing I am noticing while doing this. My illustrating skills are just about the same as they were twenty years ago. If I was doing this on a daily basis I would expect some improvement. So maybe by the end of the journal it will look like the discoverer improved or he just handed the whole thing over to someone more competent.

It also really does remind me of the Voynich Manuscript, full of rather naive little drawings. I will keep at it and promise not to devote endless blogs to this project. There are lots of other things I could be doing and talking about and next week I can maybe show something else.

Til then.

 

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Journals http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/journals/ Sat, 10 Jun 2017 19:16:49 +0000 http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/?p=3076 Busy week outside of the studio but there have been some accomplishments based on last week’s blog. The Specimen Series now has the beginnings of a journal. On a shelf for a few years were two old pieces of wormy chestnut that had been cut into what could someday be book covers. They looked just…

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Busy week outside of the studio but there have been some accomplishments based on last week’s blog. The Specimen Series now has the beginnings of a journal. On a shelf for a few years were two old pieces of wormy chestnut that had been cut into what could someday be book covers. They looked just right for some very old book that had been recently discovered. Also in the closet with some book board I found three pages, very large pages, of a paper I bought from the often elusive paper store in Asheville that has been out of business for more than a few years now. They were some sort of book page paper, creamy in color and smooth in texture. I tore them into folios and found they were perfectly sized for the covers with no waste. But I did have to shape them to fit the covers slanted corners in the upper right.

See the papers here folded onto the covers and then the close up of the corner.

The pages look all rumply because I soaked each folio and hung them to dry. I wanted them to look more the part of an old field journal.  After they were stacked and fitted between the covers I could see how much had to be chewed away to make the text block fit the worn down corner. So I marked how far to sand them down on my small belt sander and then further hacked away at them with a tool used for texturing clay work. Potters tools can be quite handy in a studio that uses paper as a main medium. A rough cheese grater might have done the same thing but that was in the kitchen….not the studio.

So I went to the first full page of eight three folio signatures and made this first drawing/painting for the Specimen Journal. I want this book to show the specimens in a more natural habitat…more like what the discoverer would have seen while out in the bush poking about. Here is the dragonfly laying eggs in a quickly assembled nest.

I am tempted to fill this page up with other observations he might have made while watching. There is a language along some of the grasses and flowing on the page. A language of marks that would only mean something to the writer or journal keeper in this case. I rather like how the dragonfly folds his wings back and extends  the lower body to drop eggs. On the sequential page I will have them hatching and then move onto another insect’s life. The empty space on this page bothers me and maybe one of the butterflies should be resting somewhere…maybe not. If there are twenty four folios with four sides each that is ninety-two pages to fill with whatever occurs out there in the bush. I likely will have to do a coptic binding as the wood won’t take much sawing and cutting to use some sort of strap binding. But binding it all together will be the last step. The pages need to be painted first just for ease of handling.

And the other journal for holding thoughts and the map of Lethe is here. It is made of a thinnish pig skin with a simple stitched binding. The map is folded per the instructions I found on folding topography maps. Each section is numbered in case that might be important for referencing notes in the journal.

Here is the book:

One quarter of the map:

And the title corner:

I can put whatever I want on the map and so far of all things there is just two tall mountains drawn rather simply to represent our trip to China. Those tall old looking mountains that just appear rising from the Yangtze River. Funny how shapes of memories matter more than what might have happened there are more relevant.

Well that is where this week is. Tai chi, some yoga stretches, bit of treadmill with a rather dumb story on cd before wine and game hen later.

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Specimens Are Finished – I Think http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/specimens-finished-think/ Fri, 02 Jun 2017 17:57:51 +0000 http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/?p=3061 I have used up all the gessoed boards, so I must be finished with this series. Here are the moth, snail and water bug being silverpointed onto the gesso. And each one painted in watercolors. Then it was down to the last two boards and two more specimens had to be conjured up on a…

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I have used up all the gessoed boards, so I must be finished with this series. Here are the moth, snail and water bug being silverpointed onto the gesso.

And each one painted in watercolors.

Then it was down to the last two boards and two more specimens had to be conjured up on a white board and drawn in on the gesso.

And finished…well almost…bit more fiddling I think might be necessary.

But it is hard to stop with these.

My goal is to have a place to exhibit them. Each of the boards will be in matted frames on a wall. Then the specimens themselves are placed into a large flat file wooden drawer among leaf litter on a table in front of them. It would only take up about six feet of wall and table space six feet by three feet. It would be fun to “find” the bugs in the drawer. Also in there would be some of the bits of Nature that are in the first few pieces that are parts of my collection. Remember these?

There would be about twelve to fifteen pieces on the wall and a similar number in the drawer.

Anyway, it is hard to stop. So I was thinking maybe a field sketchbook of them in their natural habitat. Being hatched, eating leaves, whatever the discoverer saw them doing when he found them. It could be interesting with notes in some other language. Like the Voynich Journal….something strange but familiar at the same time.

Then I thought what about one of those children’s books where the upper and lower body can be changed with the flip of a page.

I think there is more to do with these little critters. But for now some touch up and putting them all into the frames that arrived this week.

I will see what comes up next. And of course there is always the Land of Lethe that needs to be considered.

Later.

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Tidying Up and Correcting Mistakes http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/tidying-correcting-mistakes/ Fri, 26 May 2017 18:47:30 +0000 http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/?p=3045 Last week I was showing the painting of the dragonfly in the Specimen Series. How I had used the UV protective spray and when done a second time the whole image was covered with a white mist that needed to be completely repainted. Well it turns out that I grabbed a can of the UV…

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Last week I was showing the painting of the dragonfly in the Specimen Series. How I had used the UV protective spray and when done a second time the whole image was covered with a white mist that needed to be completely repainted. Well it turns out that I grabbed a can of the UV spray by Krylon, which looks the same at a glance as the the Krylon acrylic protective spray. Somehow I just assumed that the can I could see quickly was the can I used the first time. Not so. After taking a look in my supplies closet, the can of acrylic spray was just where I put it down and then proceeded to put something down in front of it. Naturally I went for the then most visible can and it was not a good choice. Don’t use UV spray over acrylic spray.

So with that in mind I decided to do a bit of a pick up and put things where they belong. It is just so much easier to put something down than to put it away.

The dragonfly is now framed and the art group came and liked the outcome. They are very encouraging with this series. Actually they have been very encouraging with their sharing and input for almost twenty years now. Members have changed over time, but the premise remains the same…”what are you doing and why?”

Then we get into the endless discussions of how well those intentions are visible in the pieces we are looking at. There is no talk of “how” something is done. That is a craft issue and not what we view as an “art” issue.

So after having two friends in the studio for a couple of days this week…one working on an etching and another on a bound book and box, I proceeded to make another specimen for the series. I love this one. He is a water bug designed to fit onto a seven by four inch gessoed panel.

Now when I paint him and these two below I only have two more gessoed panels to spare. They are a bit smaller and I will have to make smaller insects.

That bottom moth looking one was inspired by the bogon moth I saw so much of in Horsham, Victoria several years ago. And just this past March dodged them on the porch in the Grampians. They have such tattered wings on their lifeless bodies the following mornings.

Anyway collecting the bits and pieces is like a treasure hunt in the woods or just outside my door. There are countless ways these scraps from Nature can be used in assembling some imaginary creature.

On another note this morning, still a bit in the tidying up the studio mood, I had the chance to burn some old artwork. The poor pieces had been languoring  away in the storage room and had not seen daylight since perhaps 2005. So off they went to the burn pile. There was no sadness or even a catch in the throat. It actually felt good and I will do more when there is another fire reminding me to keep cleaning up and clearing out.

Also this past week I started a sample journal made from leather. A simple structure, nothing fancy. But it is designed to hold a folded map in the back. If you have never made a map they are quite interesting in their format and information on offer. Because of now dealing with my husband’s dementia, I decided to return to the idea of the River Lethe. Remember this piece that I did for an exhibit in St. Louis?

I think I called it Voyage on the River Lethe. Anyway it is a river in Greek mythology that flowed into the River Styx which took passengers to Hades or the underworld. If one drank the water from Lethe they became forgetful. So in this boat sculpture the passengers place their “luggage” in the hold as they take the next ladder down to the seating lounge so to speak. Fragments of what they remember are on their bodies. Fragments flow out into the currents around the boat. I like that the ferryman must have joined them as he is nowhere to be seen and the boat is a bit adrift without him at the helm. He probably also became thirsty. Here is a picture of the hold.

But back to the map and journal. I have titled the map, “The Land of Lethe – A Map of What May or May Not Have Been”. So I can put whatever I want on the map. It not need be accurate or represent any place in particular. My journal can be filled with random thoughts, in and out of order.

Below is a tourist map of Australia that I bought several years ago when they still had Australia Geographic stores there. I love the artwork on this map. Lots of places in the border for me to add my own drawings and paintings which I did in 2008. There is a fairy tale likeness about this map. It is engaging to say the least. Don’t you think so?

And the very best part of it is this disclaimer along the bottom. A disclaimer that seemed to be just what I needed to read for my Land of Lethe documented adventures.

“This map journal is an artist’s impression only and not designed to be used as a navigational aid. The artist and publisher do not accept any responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by any use of this map whatsoever.”

Isn’t that perfect! I am now planning on sustaining inconvenience. More next week and thank you if you lasted through all this randomness of the past few days.

 

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Dragonfly Specimen – Learning a Lesson http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/dragonfly-specimen-learning-lesson/ Sat, 20 May 2017 15:56:02 +0000 http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/?p=3035 I said I would work on the dragonfly specimen painting this past week. I started with getting the model set in front of my gessoed board and doing a quick silver point drawing. I had to make the long wings shorter to fit onto the board. I am not so sure it didn’t lose some…

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I said I would work on the dragonfly specimen painting this past week. I started with getting the model set in front of my gessoed board and doing a quick silver point drawing.

I had to make the long wings shorter to fit onto the board. I am not so sure it didn’t lose some of it’s dragonglyness with this this adjustment.

I did not have another large gessoed board to use and I knew that I could get this into the frame size I wanted to use. All I needed to do was get all those tiny vein lines in the fragile leaves and capture the the parts that make up his body. It seemed to take forever and the results were better than I had hoped. I do wish there was a small roller ball pen with a very light walnut color. The ones I bought in Australia and here are just too dark….too intense.

But here it is just after a quick spray with a UV protective spray.

The mat is an eleven by fourteen size with the opening cut to fit the subject. I let it sit there for a bit before anchoring the dragonfly onto another piece of book board cut to 11 x 14 inches in just the right position.

The next day I decided that my darks needed to be a bit darker. So I went over them. Then to protect those I gave it a quick shot of the UV protective spray. I did this in a hurry and left the studio.

When I returned the surface of my dragonfly now had a soft misty white film over the surface.

I had to redo the entire dragonfly and noticed that it was much harder to get crisp lines. All edges seemed blurred to me. Here is a detail of my starting to go over those vein lines.

It is now finished and will go into the frame this morning. Its first incarnation was better but this one will do nicely with the rest of the series. What I learned is that when it says to hold the can so many inches away from the subject when spraying, there is a reason. And I think there must be a limit on how many layers can be added to the surface. Certainly the odd surface of a powdery gessoed board.

So here it is before I clean and insert the glass.

I will show it to my art group tomorrow and the now encased Santuaries. I love the feedback from those who have watched and listened to my trials in the studio and the parts of my life that play so much a part of what I am doing. Two friends join us and stay over a couple of days to work in the studio. I am looking forward to that and getting back to the last two specimens that have been made up.

Be back next week.

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Filling Spaces – Boxing Things Up http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/filling-spaces-boxing-things/ Sat, 13 May 2017 17:05:45 +0000 http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/?p=3022 This was the start of making those little roofed houses with clothes lines. I was using older stamps I had made for a limited edition book based on Thomas Wolfe’s quote about the “familiar” and a self portrait image with the dreaded blackbird bringing messages. I used several small crow stamps that I carved as…

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This was the start of making those little roofed houses with clothes lines. I was using older stamps I had made for a limited edition book based on Thomas Wolfe’s quote about the “familiar” and a self portrait image with the dreaded blackbird bringing messages.

I used several small crow stamps that I carved as well. I was making houses to contain not only the images but the feelings as well. There was no need to have doors on the house. These feelings and the representative images are just always there, coming and going at will.

But I took all five houses, now called “Santuaries”, and put them behind glass in “landscaped” surroundings. Now the viewer and myself can be reflected in the glass and be part of the occupancy in the house. And I like the invisible barrier of a sheet of glass. It somehow “specimensizes” whatever is enclosed behind it. And I like specimens. They are meant to be examined, thought about, puzzled over.

Here are some of the finished ones.

These are all behind glass in deep wooden black frames now.

It seems I was putting things in boxes with special places for some time how. Like these four door treasure boxes based on a Chinese design.

Each section tells its own story, has a separate narrative that relates to the whole. And the center part that lifts out to unlock the other four sections has something that makes a sound. It communicates to the handler/viewer that something more is going to happen.

And this one. The Travelers Box. All about his collected memories and specimens collected in his pockets.

The Travelers Box was made to raise the question of whether we accumulate too many memories and then have to make a conscious decision of which ones to hang on to and which and therefore, who, to let go. I like the bits from his pockets next to his travel journey in the case. This piece sold at a book exhibition several years ago and I still like how it makes me feel when I see it. Do you see the image of the traveler coming home in his buggy behind his memorabilia? My travelers always seem to be men. I think they have more interesting things in their pockets. And pockets are so personal. More so than a purse or shopping bag.

Here is another one from the series of travel boxes I have in my office. This is Italy.

These boxes help me to only hang onto the bits that matter from a trip. Once the box is filled, all the things that didn’t make the cut can be tossed out. Sort of like distilling the journey to each place by making the appropriate size box after the culling has been done.

And one of my favorite series, The Curiosity Cabinets. I only have one left and it could be this one.

This next week my studio ceiling is getting repainted and I will probably get to that dragonfly.

Til then.

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International Printmaking Day – Working On It http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/international-printmaking-day-working/ Sat, 06 May 2017 19:30:34 +0000 http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/?p=3006 Today I was going to make a new dry point etching to stay in tune with all the other printmakers busy in their studios. BUT. Sidetracked with other things. This past week I did get all the white line prints out from my recent trip to Australia where I taught and demonstrated the technique. I…

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Today I was going to make a new dry point etching to stay in tune with all the other printmakers busy in their studios. BUT. Sidetracked with other things. This past week I did get all the white line prints out from my recent trip to Australia where I taught and demonstrated the technique. I love the carving into wood. It is that “scritchy” sound and with white line I can dip into the watercolors made from various travels. In this case, Australia.

What I wanted to do was make a stitch line all the way around each print. Just a couple left to do. The thread I am using was purchased in the little town of Goolwa, South Australia from a fabrics and sewing shop where I found this French mercerized cotton just the color of Eucalyptus leaves. Here is another image of some of them.

I would love to print more of these and will later on. Now I just have to figure out what to do with the ones I have. Do I mat them? Mount them on museum board to tuck into archival sleeves and take them back to Australia next year to sell at a vendor’s table?

Actually what am I supposed to do with all the things that accumulate in the studio?  The things I make to keep my hands and mind busy as distractions of enthusiasm from other less exciting realities of life.

So on International Printmaking Day I spent the morning framing in deep frames each of the small houses I made with clothes lines a while back. They seemed unfinished somehow just hanging there on the wall. They were waiting for something I think. And then I thought maybe they should be protected behind a glass.

So naturally I framed up each and every one of the five houses. Then hung them back on the wall. It took all of five seconds before I thought they needed something else. (I really should have just done the dry point etching). Anyway now each will have a turn at getting an environment or yard surrounding the house. I don’t think I liked the plain white space around them….not much different than the white wall in the studio. And of course I had to not do just one and give it a good look. No, I had to frame them all before it became clear that I did not like them. Sometimes I think I am getting a bit slow.  It could also be the influences of living with dementia. But those are just excuses for being impatient. My “let’s just whip this thing out” days may have come to an end and I am just now getting the message.

So thinking about last week and my skeptical view of so many authors devoting time to telling the rest of us how to be creative, I did decide to gather some sticks. Stones will be coming. But with the addition of sticks from my wind blown yard and some thick PVA, I am landscaping the houses. Here is a detail of the one and only one pretty well finished today.

And here is what I have learned.

  1. I am not as patient as I once was.
  2. Glue takes longer than I thought to dry.
  3. Not just any stick will do.
  4. Cleaning the glass on the inside is a royal pain.
  5. Covering up glue smears require more sticks, more moss, more leaves, more time, more patience.

Next week I will get the other four finished. Then it is back to those watercolors on gessoed boards. Those wonderful combinations of sticks, stones, pods, etc. that make up my specimen series. The dragonfly will be the first one I get to.

And you can consider this week’s blog a creativity lesson for free on Sticks, Glue and What You Can Do. 

I am going to finish off today with a scotch and toast all my fellow printmakers who actually did stay on task today and likely ended up with some great editions.

And I will quite easily resist purchasing a “Let’s All Be Creative My Way” book while cleaning up the mess I have made in the studio so I can get on with my desire to be distracted with enthusiasm.

Next week some more newly landscaped houses and the watercolored dragonfly specimen.

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Bush Boro Book 2 – Finished, I Think http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/bush-boro-book-2-finished-think/ Sat, 29 Apr 2017 15:40:40 +0000 http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/?p=2993 It is the end of April. The Bush Boro Book 2 is complete, or at least I am thinking it is. The color of the sunset the other night is similar to the colors of the book. It is an iron-filled sky with bits of brightness. I chose eight folios and used six as the…

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It is the end of April. The Bush Boro Book 2 is complete, or at least I am thinking it is. The color of the sunset the other night is similar to the colors of the book. It is an iron-filled sky with bits of brightness.

I chose eight folios and used six as the text block that gave me twenty-four pages to work on or at least be aware of as I stitched into them. The other two folios were used as the concertina binding/spine and the last one to act as back cover, foredge protector and tuck in cover. See below.

I never know how a book should be bound until I finish it. I like how this one can be opened and the whole “bush” explodes out.

All it takes is the release of the cover from the front spine flap. Here is more or less the title page. The one thing about working with these contact prints is that they are just lovely left alone. And most people do just that – let the beautiful image be the story.

I wanted more of myself in the book so chose to stay with the addition of prints. These are those small dry point etchings using an umber ink. They were trimmed and stitched to the page where there was not something just too lovely to cover up. The edges of the prints were toned with a watercolor wash. I worked on each folio individually but keeping in mind the previous and next one in the order I chose for them to appear.

After deciding on the binding format and using a three hole stitch with the knot inside the folio, I thought I wanted to drop the prints further back. So using my mix of cornstarch paste and PVA I brushed on small additional patches of the contact printed fabrics.

The final step was to create my own “tracking” through Australia’s bush mark using a watercolor I made from the soils of that country. In this case, Bachus Marsh Salmon, a cheery pinkish yellow ochre.

I was thinking of adding text in some way but decided it was more than I wanted or needed. Maybe the next Bush Boro Book will have text. There are enough of these folios to make another three books if I use this format.

But I could use all of them by tearing them in half and having them hinged in a way so as to make a long meandering path through the bush. And text could also meander along…..AND the whole thing could be flipped over to take another walk.

Binding that particular experience is going to be fun to figure out….maybe a small suitcase or back pack-looking thing….maybe a passport holder…..maybe….

This book like Bush Boro 1 feels good in the hands. I think that is essential in a book – that it feels good. It should be inviting to touch and require manipulation, more manipulation than simply turning a page. Anyway that is my thinking.

One more thing on my mind this week. I see there are more book releases on how to think creatively. Did we ever need assistance with that? Did we ever need to give someone else money to tell us how to assemble parts that are likely just sitting there in front of us. Sitting there with endless possibilities and little prompting required. Even if we made something totally pitiful in appearance at least it was ours, and not part of an assembly line of someone else’s ideas. I think that I am at a loss on this.

Or, I could join the fray. Get a couple sticks, one rock, some glue and for a fee tell you what to do with them. Maybe, maybe not.

Til later.

 

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Week Two of Bush Boro Books http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/week-two-bush-boro-books/ Sun, 23 Apr 2017 14:33:02 +0000 http://sandywebster.com/blog/wp/?p=2978 I am back in the studio working on the second Bush Boro Book. This time I am using earlier dry point etchings of Australian outback scenes. Here is the first folio. These pages were done with using the leaves a second time in the contact printing technique developed by India Flint. I had used them…

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I am back in the studio working on the second Bush Boro Book. This time I am using earlier dry point etchings of Australian outback scenes.

Here is the first folio.

These pages were done with using the leaves a second time in the contact printing technique developed by India Flint. I had used them the first time on torn folios placed between wooden planks that were then wrapped with rags and steeped several hours in a bath with iron. Here is their first incarnation.

I tore more paper into folios and used them again but could not keep them in the bath for as long because I needed to get on the road. So they went from a sunny dashboard of two hours to a sunny window in my workshop area sealed up in a plastic bag. Color is less intense but still beautiful.

Because I wanted to stay with the theme of bush and stitching using prints, I ended up pulling out unsold small dry point etchings and then having to print more of them on my new XCut XPress machine. It was so easy and quick to do these.

I could print them close together because I am only using the image part..no borders. Even the one I wrinkled is usable because it will be cut into small images. See below.

Notice that I am still using scraps of the contact printed silks and wools from Beautiful Silks. I think my stitching is improving.

There was a question on one of the printmaking sites I belong to on facebook about stitching into paper. I was wondering how often I have done this and found quite a range of applications in my previous work.

In graduate school doing work that uses the local men’s clothing scraps with my presence among them being represented by the black stitched line.

A book about artist retreats and how exposed we are in the company of like kind.

A book using the words from letters between my mother and myself about leaving home.

Using the stitch to help emphasize the tenuous threads of friendships lost.

Each stitch representing a step on my scroll book about a daily walk.

And scanning in large graphite drawings to use as small prints in a book. Here the red stitching is used as additional interest and color.

I really had forgotten how often I threaded a needle to use as another way to make marks upon the page. It is very satisfying for me and since I come from a long line of women with threaded needles it comes naturally. Neither my grandmother nor mother were all that precise with their stitches and I suppose I also come by that naturally.

The second bush boro book will be bound somehow. I think eight folios is enough for it. I don’t want to do a coptic binding and try to find something more complex as a way of holding all that “bushness” together.  I will post when it is finished and periodically show images of new prints done on the press. Next I would like to make some dry point etchings with the intention being to watercolor them afterwards. No stitching involved.

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