Saturday, January 6, 2018

a flicker, a flame

2017 was ... 2017.
It was universally referred to as "a dumpster fire."
Then my state caught on fire. Everything, everywhere, there was soot and ash. (Benefit: some nice sunsets.)


However, it felt like a metaphor made real; it's hard to be an optimist when everything is, quite literally, burning. (In a twist of Robert Frost's Fire and Ice poem, while the west coast is on fire, the east coast is encased in ice.)

Into all this, enter the phoenix, a bird who rises, renewed, from the ashes.

This year's holiday edition pulls from the full history and mythology of the phoenix, from the medieval Aberdeen Bestiary

to the eighteenth century London Encyclopedia

to the twentieth century poet May Sarton

As the complications of last year's holiday card were still fresh in my mind, and in the hope of timeliness, I drastically simplified the construction of this year's edition, and used a very basic cut-and-fold technique.

It's a great pattern for introductory book arts classes and turning monotypes and prints into little books; there are many online patterns and tutorials: here's one.

Here's another (click on one-sheet-books).

And, in the spirit of getting things done, I embraced the relative simplicity of the project, and have sent the phoenix flying through the postal system.


The stamps for the eclipse -- a cosmic death and rebirth cycle played out this year -- seemed most fitting for the bird who is born in flames.


For 2018, a wish for flourishing: creatively, personally, spiritually.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

miss the fair?

If you weren't able to make it to the Printer's Fair, there's now a shop on etsy!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BookbindingLA




Sunday, October 1, 2017

Los Angeles Printers Fair

Come say hi! I'll be at booth B-17.

When: Saturday, October 14, 2017.
Where: International Printing Museum, 315 W Torrance Blvd, Carson, CA
Admission, $10. For more information, click here.

article: The L.A. Printers Fair is Like Coachella For People Who Love Letterpress 


In addition to the four editions of artist's books currently available for sale, there will be a selection of books for writers, artists, and doodlers, as well.



Browse a range of leather, cloth, and paper blank books, with blank, lined, or grid-line pages; as well as diaries and bullet-journals; or choose from the line of greeting cards. Some of the books for sale will be a part of the "Resist!" line, with proceeds going to the Southern Poverty Law Center.


If you want to just stop by and chat, that'd be swell, too.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

of books and meanings

There's nothing that captures both the limitless potential of the human mind and the existential meaningless of it all quite like a blank book. Books are repositories of knowledge, books are representations of everything that we haven't yet managed to achieve.

Neither of those lofty reasons are why I rarely make blank books. I rarely make blank books for the reason that most people never actually get around to using their blank books.

http://whitmanarchive.org/manuscripts/transcriptions/amh.00009.html
Resist Much, Obey Little
Walt Whitman

However, I will be celebrating my two-year-landing-anniversary in Los Angeles by participating the Los Angeles Printer's Fair, October 14, 2017, booth B-17.

Come say hi!

I'll have a series of blank books for sale, in addition to the more customary artist's books. There will be a line of items whose sales proceeds are donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center, so may the blank pages encourage you to pen a list of actions to take, congressmen to call, and manifestos to compose.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Notes on the Eclipse

Well, I spent the eclipse dealing with the residual fall out of a completely self-inflicted concussion. A lamppost was involved.

In much more exciting news, the music video for a prop job that came through the studio just dropped!

Foo Fighters: The Sky Is A Neighborhood
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRqiFPpw2fY







Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Calvino / Six Memos

Six Memos For The Next Millennium
Italo Calvino

. . .  When the human realm seems doomed to heaviness, I feel the need to fly like Perseus into some other space. I am not talking about escaping into dreams or into the irrational. I mean that I feel the need to change my approach, to look at the world from a different angle, with different logic, different methods of knowing and proving. The images of lightness I’m looking for shouldn’t let themselves dissolve as dreams do in the reality of the present and future . . .

In the infinite universe of literature there are always other avenues to explore, some brand-new and some exceedingly ancient, styles and forms that can change our image of the world. And when literature fails to assure me that I’m not merely chasing dreams, I look to science to sustain my visions in which all heaviness dissolves . . .


Friday, May 26, 2017

Two, two, two holidays in one! The New Year's / Memorial Day Extravaganza

Happy New Year!

This is quite the latest that my holiday edition has ever been completed. There are events a-plenty, on the world stage, and in the studio, that caused the delay. The files were designed and printed back in December — I picked up the completed stack on the same day that the pages for Family Style were ready.

Then the Family Style edition construction began, and it had some slowdowns related to margins and covering material, then I needed to finish the Amissa Anima ouiji boards, because I had postponed figuring out how to make the plinth-and-planchette window, then there were the deluxe versions.

And there was politics, which resulted in a certain amount of hiding under the bed.

Also there was (is) making a living. Conserving books, binding some editions. That’s pretty much ongoing, which makes my landlord happy.

Many people advised me to simply postpone or cancel the 2016 / 2017 holiday edition.

I knew I wouldn’t make my traditional January 1 mailing date; and the Chinese New Year came and went; then Valentine’s Day, then President’s Day, and I swore, oh, I swore, that I’d get them finished for the first day of Spring, or, at the latest, Easter. Then May Day came and went.

Oh, and I moved my studio down the hall. Pallet jacks being transported in the trunks of Honda Civics happened.

You know what, though? I BEAT my last deadline, which was the summer solstice. Perhaps this is the first time that Memorial Day can be considered “close” to New Year’s Day. Whatever. I’ll take it.

Announcing the 2016-2017 Holiday Edition!

Kites!

Last autumn, I was working on a vintage copy of Mary Poppins, which always makes various show tunes lodge themselves inside my head. “Let’s go fly a kite / Up to the highest height / Up where the air is clear / And send it soaring ...”

Also last autumn, Hiromi Paper held an afternoon kite making workshop, which I didn’t attend, but I wanted to attend, and I should have attended, and I still kind of hate myself for not attending. But I was already taking the Tim Ely workshop at the Getty, and so the learning-calendar was full.

My first website results provided kite templates that were definitely simple, but also, well, uninspired:
http://rhythmofthehome.com/homemade-kite/
http://www.redtedart.com/how-to-make-a-beautiful-kite/
http://www.handmadecharlotte.com/lets-go-fly-a-kite-2/

So then I went to the library, and found some lovely books, but they didn’t really have instructions, and a lot of the text was in Japanese. The best of these was Kites: paper wings over Japan by Scott Skinner and Ali Fujino, but, once again, there wasn’t much on How To.


What this book did provide was (a) the Italo Calvino quote that made it onto the wrapper; (b) proof that miniature kites were completely legitimate; (c) good outlines for the different shapes of kites. So many shapes! It also provided insight into the content that appears on the face of kites, and information about kites being particularly associated with the New Year celebrations (concept confirmation!).

Thinking about visual metaphors in Japan associated with the New Year, the Rabbit and the Wave most closely aligned with my own aesthetic interests, and combined two of my experiences from the previous summer: bunny tiles (bunny tiles!!!) at the Hearst Castle, and the beach. The wave itself I shamelessly stole and tweaked from a maybe famous woodcut series.



Yet more internet research provided a wealth of information about the shapes and patterns of different kites, but quite a few of the articles were in German. This didn’t matter, too much. I knew the name of the kite (rokkaku) would be the same regardless of language, and I didn’t need the text: just some decent diagrams!

http://www.drachen.org/teach/lessons?level=All
http://www.kiteplans.org/planos/rokkaku12/rokkaku12.html
http://www.kiteplans.org/cat_1/sub_17/
http://www.my-best-kite.com/make-a-rokkaku-kite.html


These answered my basic layout, proportions, and materials questions — originally, I was going to use bamboo skewers, but, after realizing how large a 1/8” diameter skewer was in relation to a very small kite, I decided to find something thinner and less bulky, and bought polyester boning, as used in textiles and costuming. I knew that it was specifically designed to be sewn through, and wouldn’t need to be notched or drilled like the dowels.

However, I was still having problems with the bridle — these are the strings that connect the spool of thread one holds on the ground, to the piece of paper flying up there in the sky. Where does one tie the cords? What knots does one use? How much slack or tension?

There are lots of online resources for rokkaku kites, but by far the best is Larry Green’s PDF from 2004. I wish I could find the page where I originally downloaded the file, but here’s the closest I can get:
http://www.johndobson.info/John's%20Kite%20Site/pdf%20files/Rok%20Bridle%20Guide.pdf
also at: http://arch.ced.berkeley.edu/kap/discuss/index.php?p=/discussion/2651/rokkaku-tipping-and-diving


However, even this compendium of information left me somewhat baffled. I took a field trip to visit Dave at the Kite Connection on Huntington Beach Pier, and he gave me confirmation about how to balance a kite so that it would actually take flight, and not just spin on the ground.



It was back to Larry Green’s knot diagrams (neither a Boy Scout nor a sailor am I), but they finally worked.


Lift off! We have lift off!