Ramblings on Bookbinding, Photography, Journaling and Art
Art Unraveled kicks off in Phoenix tonight with a meet the artist event. If you haven’t attended, Art Unraveled is a week long art event that features classes taught by internationally known artists. There are over 125 workshops that cover a broad range of media like painting, book making, jewelry making, metal work, journaling, fiber/fabric arts, sculpting and assemblage.
I’ll be teaching three classes at Art Unraveled this year, Dug from the Ruins, a journal created from polymer clay; Work by Time, a coptic bound art journal with wood covers and the Inlaid Wood journal wood covers with small circular inlay.
If you’re attending Art Unraveled this year, stop by and say hello.
The Art Unraveled Auction Piece is continuing to take shape. I only have a general idea of what this is going to look like and I’m really just making it up as I go. I began with a the basic structure which I constructed out of ½” plywood scraps I had lying around. I painted the inside of each niche before attaching the front part of the structure. Once that was done, I added some texture to the sides I entertained the ides of texture all around but I’ve left the back unadorned because I think someone might want to mount it on the wall. I created sculptural elements on the front of the piece with epoxy clay and then gave the whole thing a couple of washes to give it some color. Now it’s sitting on my workbench while I ponder where to go next.
It’s graduation time again and a family friend, someone we’ve know since he was a wee tot has managed to survive the elementary school system and go over the wall. He’s a talented drummer and over the past couple of years he’s started to journal sporadically with a goal of doing it regularly. I thought it might be nice to bind a journal for him; maybe he’ll go to it more regularly if it’s more meaningful than an off the shelf sketchbook.
Zebrawood, Chata Kok, Maple Burl, Brass, Leather, 300 gm Fabraino Artistico 4-ply Polyester Thread
I’ve been working on a few projects that fit into the “as time permits” category this week and one of them is the piece in the photograph below. I’ve chosen to show it in its current state and from the back no less as an Art Unraveled teaser. One of the premier activities at Art Unraveled is a live auction; the purpose of the auction is to create a pool of funding that provides scholarships to attend Art Unraveled during the following year. Linda, the evil mastermind behind AU asks instructors to donate pieces to be featured in the auction and frankly most of my stuff is away in shows and galleries so I’ve decided to make a new piece to be auctioned off at AU. This piece is on its way to being a shrine and I’m not willing to say more about it at this point. I will show a completed photo of it sometime in the next two to three weeks once it’s done so stay tuned’ I’m hoping people will like it.
As a reminder, I’ll be teaching three workshops at Art Unraveled this year. This is the first time I’ve taught at this event so I’ve created a video introduction that talks a little bit about my work and the workshops I’ll be teaching.
As I was paint this mural, I knew in the back of my mind that it was going to be tagged at some point. There has been a lot of tagging activity in the Coronado area lately and I was fairly sure that the taggers would see the murals being painted in the Oak Street Alley as stealing their thunder. I got the call on Monday that it happened and frankly, I surprised it took a whole month. They tagged my robots and murals by Carlos Rivas, Yai and a couple of others. I had some free time this morning so I took a trip downtown and repaired the damage. It took a couple of hours but it’s back to the pre-tagged sate. Let’s see how long it lasts.
I was unexpectedly contacted by the folks responsible for the Art and Soul Mixed Media Retreats about a month ago. I’m happy to announce that I’ve accepted their invitation and I’ll be teaching at the Portland event in 2015. I’ve designed three new classes for the event and I hope that they’ll appeal to a large cross section of people who are interested in creating their own personalized art journals. I’m going to be focusing on wood books during this retreat because I think the fit into the ethos of the Pacific Northwest.
I’m calling the first book the Wood Spellbook and it features the all seeing eye of art in the center of the front cover. It features a book block sewn to a leather spine and covers fabricated for red oak and aged with some painting techniques. This will be a little larger than I usually teach, 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″but I think the size makes the design work and I’ll be teaching students how to paint the medallion the encircles the eye.
Book two is a little smaller, 4″ x 6″ and I’m calling it the Shrine book. The students will be working with Walnut and carving out a recess that you can build a tiny shrine in. The recess will have room for small photos, milagros, charms or other objects that hold magic or memories for the students. I’m really not satisfied with the size f the shrine on the sample I created so look for an updated picture in the next week or two, I’ll probably enlarge the shrine. We’ll finish up by using some easy painting techniques to add a nice patina to the covers.
The third class I’ve named Mr. Chunky and I’ve included it because I’m constantly asked about teaching a Coptic stitch. The thing about the coptic stitch, at least in my view is that because it’s an exposed spine sewing it’s meant to be “featured” as an integral part of the book. To that end, I’ve made Mr. Chunky thick, twelve signatures worth. That translated to a book block about two inches thick and it allows the sewing to be a dominant part of the project. I’ll be teaching a locking coptic stitch which creates a nice visual element and adds some sturdiness as well.
If you’re interested in seeing more photographs of the projects, check them out on the Workshops page.
This past week end the 26th annual Art Detour event was held in Phoenix, AZ. Art Detour provides broader exposure of artists by giving them a variety of ways to interact with the public. More than 100 spaces, including working artist studios, unique art spaces, galleries, cultural venues, restaurants and retailers opened their doors and make the two-day, arts scene event a must do.
“Detour-ists” were invited to visit artists’ private working studios not typically open for viewing, explore Pop-Up Gallery exhibits exclusively planned for Art Detour, and to discover the colorful mural scene on walls, buildings and fences throughout downtown. While you could see existing murals during the event you could also watch artists create new works as part of Paint Phoenix as dull walls were painted with new murals. Here are a few shots from walls located in the vicinity of the Hive Gallery at 2222 N 16th Street.
I went on a bookbinding binge the past few days. I finished up a few books I had started and set aside and bound several new books as well. In all, I completed about ten in the span of three or four days. I’ve been focusing on wood books lately because I acquired some more figured walnut and the chaotic pattern of the grain is very compelling. Here are a few examples of what I’ve been working on.
I created this for fellow artist Lisa Cheney. Figured Walnut, Milk paint, Twine, Fabriano Artistico, Irish Linen Thread.
Alder, Rosewood, Fabriano Artistico, Leather, Stone beads, Irish Linen Thread.
Maple Burl, Canson Edition, Irish Linen Thread, Leather.
(pre)Occupation, a collaborative show curated by Jo Novelli-Blasko opened at the Hive Gallery in downtown Phoenix last night. Jo asked to be part of the show some time ago and I had decide early on that I wanted to create something in addition to hand bound books. A good deal of the work I’ve been doing with polymer clay lately has been more sculptural in nature and while I really haven’t shown any of it, I thought it might be the way to go. Give the underpinnings of the show however, I didn’t want to create anything elaborate, or serious. A few months ago, I had a funny dream about penguins spilling out of my journal so I created a waddle of penguins for the show. The installation is titled “Levocetirizine” and it was fairly well received. Here’s a shot of the installation, the penguins, eggs and rocks were created from polymer clay, and the snow is corn starch.
In addition to the penguins I bound five new books with wood covers for the show. From the nine o’clock position moving clockwise they’re titled “A Crack in Time,” “Reclaimed,” “Banded,” “Untitled,” and “The Turquoise Twins.” (pre)Occupation runs through Sunday, February 16th at the Hive Gallery in Phoenix. If you can’t make it to the Hive, I’ll be putting up some better pictures of these books soon; once the exhibit closes I’ll be putting most of them up for sale.