Monday, July 01, 2013

Pinhole Photos and Cameras at Filoli

Pinhole photo of Late Cretaceous, taken with Tyrannosaurus photoventris pinhole camera
Above: Pinhole photo of Late Cretaceous, taken by Tyrannosaurus photoventris, my handmade pinhole camera that takes photos of the Late Cretaceous.

I have been invited to show my handmade pinhole cameras, Spirits Under Glass, and part of my old snapshot camera collection in the visitor center at Filoli, Woodside, California. At the same time I will have two photos in "Hidden Beauty," an exhibit of photographs, also in the visitor center. The show is up from June 25 to August 18, 2013. Hours are Tuesday - Saturdays, 10 am - 3:30 pm, Sundays 11 am - 3:30 pm.

Zymo 127 pinhole camera, built to take photos in the Zymoglyphic Museum
Above: Zymo 127 pinhole camera, ©2011. Camera built to take photos in the Zymoglyphic Museum. About 12 inches high. Altoids tin, brass, found spring, wooden dowel, brass nuts, fabricated, 127 film format. Spirits Under Glass, artist's book that holds the photos from the Zymo 127 series. ©2012, 10.75 x 8.25 x 3.5 inches. Davey board, Arches cover, acrylics, brass with heat patinas, beveled glass, photos printed with archival inks, varnished.

There will be two "Meet the Artist" days July 20 and 21, (10 am to 3 pm Sat., 11 am to 3 pm Sun.) Some of the photographers in the show will be selling other prints, cards and books on the "Meet the Artist" days. (I will not) There is an admission charge, which also admits you to the grounds of Filoli: Adults $15, Seniors $12 (65 years and older), Students $5 (college students, please present current I.D.)

Here is the postcard - both images enlarge.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Happy WPPD!

photo of garden fence made with homemade pinhole camera for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day
Above: our garden fence, taken on WPPD, 2013 with a Yorkshire tea tin pinhole camera.

Today is Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. I love the idea that people all over the world are out taking pinhole photos today, posting them in a community of like-minded people. There are no language barriers in photography. Having expensive equipment doesn't make you a better photographer in a world where discarded cookie tins and matchboxes are commonly used to make cameras.

photo of garden soil made with homemade pinhole camera for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day
Above: a device I made for sifting rocks out of garden soil, close-up with Twinings tea tin pinhole camera.

The internet brings us the world, for better or worse. In this case, it's for the better. No discussions about politics, no arguments about global warming, no movie star gossip. Today it's all about admiring each other's ingenuity and quirkiness.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Again with the Open Studios!

May 4 and 5, 2013 Studio 19 will be open from 11 to 5 for Silicon Valley Open Studios. If we are being honest, the large-sounding Studio 19 is really my work and my husband Jim's Zymoglyphic Museum. The strange and mysterious museum was the subject of my Zymo 127 photos. We both allow photography. There is more information on my web site.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Zymo 127 project is finished!

Artist's book that holds the photos taken by the handmade (by me) pinhole camera on the right. Book: Spirits Under Glass ©2012, 10.75 x 8.25 x 3.5 inches. Davey board, Arches cover, acrylics, brass with heat patinas, beveled glass, photos printed with archival inks, varnished. Bound with brass screw posts that have decorative brass heads soldered on. Camera: Zymo 127 pinhole camera. ©2011 About 12 inches high on tripod. Altoids tin, brass, found spring, wooden dowel, brass nuts, fabricated, 127 film format.

This is my Zymo 127 project, finished at last. I have been working on it for over two years. Now that it's finished I do like it, a good sign. The whole project consists of a pinhole camera I used to take photos in my husband's Zymoglyphic Museum, 24 photos and the one-of-a-kind artist's book I made to house the photos.

The idea for the project started in July 2006, during a family vacation we called "Art Camp," when my son suggested we make Altoids pinhole cameras. I loved the distortions and hazy atmosphere of the photos we took that week.

Above: matchbox pinhole photo, August 2006. A month later, when I was playing around with matchbox pinhole photography, I took some photos in one of my husband's dioramas, The Quiet Parlor of the Fishes. I thought since the matchbox pinhole cameras were so small, they could be lowered into the dioramas for a bugs-eye view. I liked the results so much, I knew I wanted to do this project. I did make several other pinhole cameras first, to test out my ideas and see how I liked working with them. They can be seen here.

Above: close-up of Zymo 127 pinhole camera. In July of 2010, I decided to make a pinhole film camera, the Zymo 127, which was dedicated to taking photos in the Zymoglyphic Museum. The name comes from the 127 film I use in the camera. Through much of the fall and early 2011 I took around 300 photos.

A photo of the Zymoglyphic Mermaid, ©2011. Taken with the Zymo 127 pinhole camera. See the other photos from the Zymo 127 pinhole camera here. Pinhole photography lends a mysterious air to the photos, which is perfect for the museum's dark corners that hold dusty surprises.

Spirits Under Glass ©2012, 10.75 x 8.25 x 3.5 inches. Davey board, Arches cover, acrylics, brass with heat patinas, beveled glass, photos printed with archival inks, varnished.
After I had photos I was happy with, I wanted to make a one-of-a-kind artist's book that was special enough to house these photos. So I started on Spirits Under Glass. The title is taken from a blog post Jim wrote about the ethnographic collections at the de Young Museum. He said "Encased in the sleekly modern architecture of the museum we see organic figurines, made of wood, clay, stone, or feathers, once living spiritual objects, extracted from dying cultures, forever frozen in action in their vitrines."

The legs help the book to work, it's heavy and the spine doesn't pivot easily as you turn the pages. They also raise the book up to the viewer, an effect I like a lot. And I just love the look of them, legs on a book are so funny.

Tripod for Zymo 127 pinhole camera, fabricated, brass, handmade brass beads, heat patina.
After completing Spirits Under Glass, I realized I needed a tripod to display the camera. The legs fold down when not in use, there are no other adjustments. You can see the parts before I brazed them together here. The nut is a standard tripod mount size.

Now that this project is done, I'm ready for a change from big projects and plan to focus on a few books made with leftover pieces of metal that have been in my scrap bins, some for many years. Here is one that I made last fall, taking a break from the stresses of Spirits Under Glass.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

My favorite photography magazine

I recently received my copy of Diffusion Magazine - a photo of the Zymoglyphic Mermaid was included in the Group Showcase section, page 67. This is my favorite photo magazine - it's an annual and worth waiting for. This issue is packed with 94 pages of great photos. They include all kinds of alternative processes, also some "straight" photography and some digital mixed with other stuff - it's amazing what people are up to.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Raging Debate - not at all political

Above: Book Arts Jam 2011

Jim and I have a debate going on. He feels most people don't plan their weekends until the week before. I feel they put things on their calendars months in advance. So we can't agree on the best time to send out notices for events like the upcoming Book Arts Jam. In the tradition of most married couples everywhere, we both just do what we want to do. :-)

This year the Jam takes place in a new and improved location - the Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA. Here is a map to Lucie Stern. There will be artist's books of all kinds, ranging from beautiful handmade books, to the weirder end of the spectrum.

Above: pages 5 and 6 from "Wave"

Perhaps you would like to see and hold my "Wave" book, made from scraps of metal left over from other projects. See other views of Wave here.

Above: detail from the Zymoglyphic "Quiet Parlor of the Fishes"

The Zymoglyphic Museum will also be at the Jam, with a portable diorama and other strange artifacts of the Zymoglyphic culture.

We would be delighted if you could come by and say "hello."

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Wave©2012, 3.25 x 3.75 x .75 inches Brass, copper, fabricated, rolling mill textures, heat and chemical patinas. Brass and copper book made from scraps left over from other projects. Some of these scraps have been around for 15 years or more. The binding is a series of square knots in waxed linen cord going through tube rivets. I did create three stars for this book, everything else is found. Chemical patina and heat patinas were added where needed. All parts were waxed as the book was assembled. While making Spirits Under Glass I began to admire all the left over pieces of brass that piled up on my bench. I even had some rectangular pieces of brass that could be used as pages. Making a book with things riveted to the pages can be tricky. The rivets show through on the other side of the page. One solution is to make the pages individually, as I did in Seeing Fish. The stars on the corners of the pages hold two pieces of formica back to back. Another solution is to try to arrange things on one page to be back-to-back with things on the next page, which of course limits compositional possibilities. In Wave I decided to just wing it. I tried to color the rivets so they wouldn't be too apparent, but the hammering that forms the rivet head makes the metal hard, shiny, and hard to disguise. The rivets holding the parts to the pages were made with ear posts, darkened with a torch before assembling the page. I also made tube rivets for the three binding stations. I prefer to make my own rivets, rather than buying things that have to be assembled with some kind of device. For larger rivets I just use 18 gauge brass or copper wire, forming the heads as needed. There are larger images and two more interior views here. A previous post shows the parts I still have after making wave.