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.