Wednesday, September 28, 2011

the wild lands

The wild lands were not what we expected, there, as we came out of the forest under a crescent moon, into a landscape white with snow, so carefully curated that each and every tree seemed hand-placed, pruned into shape. We had wandered in the in between lands of the woods for weeks, or for years, it was hard to tell which, for certain, when one is not yet to the wild lands but is well beyond the borders of civilization. When the woods had begun to thin, it was not certain if the instructions had been accurate, the wild lands were not so very different from home at first glance. The differences were slow to appear, then gathered momentum, until a Welcome to the Wild Lands sign would have been wholly redundant.

reading1493 : uncovering the new world Columbus created / Charles C. Mann. 

autumn, Indian summer monsoons

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I long to hear the cathedral organ playing: deep and hopeful. But it has been many years, so very many years, since those echoing sounds filled these cavernous rooms. When they first closed down the Cathedral, the silence was overbearing, overwhelming, but a beadle was still kept on staff, sweeping the cobwebs from the altar, opening the Chapel to inquiring visitors and scholars. It is true that even in those forlorn early years the silences were greater than the many small noises of the faithful, it is true that the vast majority of the building was closed up, undisturbed. Still, the appearances of these sporadic visitors, the desultory attentions of the beadle, kept alive the belief that one day the vast eerie silence would be filled with the petitions of the devout, the reedy voices of the boy's choir, the impatient shuffles of children ready to resume their daily life outside the confines of the Holy Ghost.

Stories for Nighttime and some for the day / Ben Loory (splendid book!)

countdown to the first day of autumn, red leaves floating on the pond

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


It is true that it was not my natural inclination to remain calm. It is true that it is my natural inclination to fuss and lose my temper and blame the incompetence of my companion, the government, and god. I knew this as well as my companion did, for when I started to agitate about general inabilities of the wider population, I was treated to the dreariest possible lecture on becoming lost in the woods as a meditation exercise about letting go of the need to control destination, the entirety delivered in a faux-relaxation yoga voice specially calibrated to appeal to my sense of outrage. And thus we kept walking, me grumbling about the inanity of being in the woods in the first place, my companion dropping in nuggets about the ephemeral nature of human existence and how artificial the construct of the self really is, until I became so annoyed with the philosophical bullshit that I forgot to panic about being lost in the woods with a granola bar and an apple remaining as my sole future sustenance.

thanks to The Ampersand for a shout-out to the Ligature Project!

join us next June! Gibbs2012 : Dia Lightning Fields, New Mexico

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Aerial Theosophy

Further work on the cosmology project, which even has an official title (see above):

The full-page-spread of the parallel texts can be downloaded
as a gigantic pdf file in ZIP form.
The full suite of accompanying cosmology prints can be downloaded
as an even bigger file.

Final sizes on all of this is about 8"x10". The edition of books (two volumes, 4 inches square) has been fully typeset, and is almost ready for printing.

Friday, September 9, 2011

in the studio

Summer studio projects: started with a commission for a book on local paste paper makers, then got a little out of hand. By the time the better part of an encyclopedia was sacrificed to the cause (not to mention a healthy portion of an appropriated ledger), it wasn't just a contribution to a portfolio of prints.

Artist's book specs:
-- texts : Beyond | How to do the impossible
-- (set A) : matted 8"x10" distressed Encyclopedia pages, with text printed onto onion skin paper (thank you, Warwick Press). Total set probably equals five prints and five pages of text.
-- (set B) : two volume set of 4" square books. Constructed using Timothy Ely's drum-leaf method, which allows full page spreads to be displayed, with no loss to the gutter or to sewing, and no need to worry about the verso of the page (basically, a Japanese binding, inside out). Alternating pages of prints with a page of text, in a 3.5" square. Maybe fifteen to twenty in total, or until paper or patience runs thin. Text printed onto off-white paper-vellum (translucent and crinkly).

What there is now: lots of prints. A basic design layout. Many, many paper samples for printing the text, following three months of looking for paper. Several marked-up edited copies of the texts (thanks GofR!).

What needs to happen: the texts need to be reconciled with one another, and imported into a page layout. A font needs to be determined (keening towards Bodoni). Oh, and they need to be constructed.

Does it need to be mentioned? The pastepapers are constructed using:
1969 Encyclopedia Britannica, volume C
an old ledger
very, very strong tea for pre-staining the papers
mica powder
black sumi ink
turquoise, brown, and burnt umber Windsor and Newton drawing inks
there's something blue in there somewhere
crystal salt

They were inspired by mildew and mold. It's been a rainy summer.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I knew not to be fussy; Mama had explained it all to me the day before, how we would wake up so very early and travel on the train with Papa, how we were going to visit my big brother and we might not see him again for a long time. I wondered why not, why we were traveling all three of us when it was always big brother who would take the train home on vacations and holidays, where we would play in the lawns beside the house or on cold days in front of the fire place, games of cards or story games or sometimes catch or hide and seek. But before I could ask why or how things were different Mama had already left my room and was off doing something else, something very important, and I had never been able to ask.

listening to Johnny Cash and the rain rain rain

Thursday, September 1, 2011

returning to the story

There is the detour that brought me here, for this was never my destination, this was not even a stop on my journey, did not so much as appear on my map, yet here I am in spite of myself, held in place by winds and roads that permit no exit, but always return me back to where I am. The ice melted and the rivers ran high and the bridges consolidated traffic to one or two streams of movement; I was packed and on the road like everyone else, had no reason not to follow the path so marked by the rushing waters and the opened roads.

decomposed Britannica pages

we were left with two bushels of apples and twenty pounds of peaches, our haul for the season