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.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Spirits Under Glass

Spirits Under Glass ©2012, 10.75 x 8.25 x 1.25 inches. Davey board, Arches cover, acrylics, brass with heat patinas, beveled glass, 23 photos printed with archival inks, varnished. Bound with brass screw posts that have decorative brass heads soldered on. Book created to hold the photos taken with the handmade Zymo 127 pinhole camera in the Zymoglyphic Museum. The camera takes 127 format film, cut down from 120. On the left: The entrance to the Underworld. Right: A Creature made entirely of bones. In 2006, during a family "art camp," I started taking photos with matchbox pinhole cameras. This eventually led to making my own cameras, taking photos with them, and making books to contain the photos. Early on, while I was playing with the matchbox pinhole cameras, considering them a motivating "hobby" rather than an art project, I took some photos in one of Jim's Zymoglyphic Museum dioramas. These photos were so atmospheric I started trying to get Jim to make pinhole cameras and take photos. He did try some black and white film photos during one of our family "art camps." But he didn't enjoy the process. Later when I started making cameras and began to consider them as serious projects, I set up small scenes on my work table to photograph. Finally I decided to make my own Zymo cam and take the photos I thought needed to be taken in Jim's museum. That is this project, which may actually be almost completed.

Master Photoguide

This was my Dad's. At this point I don't know how much information in here is useful, but it's been an inspiration for my artist's books for years. You can see by the white paint splatters on the cover that it has been lying around on my work table a lot. Isn't it amazing what casual exposure from our childhoods can do? I love the dials and interactive quality of this little book. You can see more pages in my flickr set, inspirations.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lots of leftovers

I have been working on several books. One, titled Spirits Under Glass, was done last week. There were so many interesting metal scraps on my work table, left over from a variety of projects, I decided to make an all-metal book with some of them. Here is a selection of left-over parts that will possibly become another book after I take some photos of the two finished books. There is a larger panorama on flickr. Click on "actions" and then "view all sizes."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oneiro has its day

One of my books is on the cover of the Japanese version of 1000 Artist's Books! (Oneiro, top right) Pretty amazing! It never occurred to me that they could change the cover, although now that I think about it, all of Terry Pratchett's books have different covers between the US and UK. Maybe accordion-fold books are big in Japan? The top left book is in a real accordion, it's by Peter and Donna Thomas. Two other books of mine are in this book: Dinosaur Wave and zero to twelve. I am delighted! Check out the Amazon link - there are a lot of pages in the "look inside." It looks like a great book - very inspiring.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Open Studios fun

A visitor this afternoon took a photo of me with Tyrannosaurus photo ventris to make her buddy jealous that he couldn't come to Open Studios. I'm sorry I didn't get her name.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Open Studio - First 3 Weekends in May

poster for the gate, 2012 Open Studios Above: poster for the gate to my studio.

Silicon Valley Open Studios is coming up fast. We will be open all three weekends, May 5 & 6, 12 & 13, 19& 20, 11am to 5. It's a fun event, but fraught with stress for me. I always laugh at the idea that the hostess is supposed to make everything look effortless. Where do we get these ideas? I suspect they come from a time when middle class people could afford to hire "help." Or they wanted to give the impression that they didn't really do the hard work, even if they did. My assumed expectations can be an onerous thing. The entirely genial Zymoglyphic Museum will be open to the public on the same days. Together we bill ourselves as "Studio 19," which qualifies us as a group in the Open Studios catalog.

book in progress, Spirits Under Glass Above: parts for Spirits Under Glass

Here are my plans for the next 8 days: Friday and Saturday I will try to get some more work done on my current project, Spirits Under Glass, the book that holds the Zymo 127 photos. Sunday is World Wide Pinhole Photography Day, an event I cannot miss. Then I will spend the week getting ready for Open Studios. I have notes from previous years, and will use them to make a to-do list, in order of priority. It includes: clear off the big work table, set up the display, check the tags, make new tags if needed, clear off the shelves where I like to show some of my collections. This year I also need to hang another light, hang new prayer flags outside, and find my old jewelry work. I also want to make some more small books, like Bird Life. Oh, and I want to prepare a demo or two. The sign for the gate is already prepared, and I bought boards for a bigger display. Inevitably I am in the middle of a project that I will have to set aside. I try to make complete notes for finishing and store all the parts, tests, samples, sketches, in one box.

book in progress, Spirits Under Glass Above: filing the back for Spirits Under Glass.

I love seeing the mess in other artist's studios, so I don't clean up completely, or cover my storage with black sheets. Depending on how my time goes, you may see my metalworking area looking extremely messy.

The demos I have in mind are simple wire-edge binding and making pinholes (for pinhole cameras). If I forget to do the demo, *Please* remind me. I'm not always aware of the time. I'll probably take a poll on the day. I can always show you how to use a jeweler's saw if you ask. Or if you want to see a particular demo, email me at art at judithhoffman dot net and let me know. Demos are usually about 15 minutes.

There is an old-fashioned map here and a digital map on my Open Studios page. I hope you can come by.

Friday, April 06, 2012

New metalworking book - Heat, Color, Set and Fire

Spectacles for a Fish Goddess Photos of Spectacles for a Fish Goddess and You are the star of my heart are included in Heat, Color, Set and Fire by Mary Hettmansperger, published by Lark Crafts. pp 12 & 51. This looks like a great book - It made me think maybe I should make some jewelry - at least I am inspired to try several of the techniques.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thinking Ahead

Above: visitors during our Open Studios 2011.

Studio 19 (myself and the Zymoglyphic Museum) will be open all three weekends during Open Studios this year. The dates are May 5 & 6, 12 & 13, 19 & 20, from 11 to 5.

When I mail my work to shows, I don't get to hear people's comments very often. Actually talking to someone in person about what they see when they look at my work is so valuable. Even "oh my!" or "I'd like to get inside your head" provides valuable "fuel" that can keep me going in those dark days when I feel discouraged. And "This one doesn't work for me" also makes me think about why? Did I overlook something? Could I have done better? Or maybe it's their preference for a certain technique or material?

I recently had some good feedback from Alicia Bailey, of Abecedarian gallery, on In My Dreams We Travel in Boats. In her blog she said it had "a solidity of weight quite at odds with its subject." This made me think, again, about materials, goals for my work, how to distance myself from the process and see the bigger picture. I don't necessarily have answers, but it's good to be reminded to constantly consider these things.

All this is just to say that my primary goal in doing Open Studios is not selling things - it's contact with people and seeing the work through other eyes that makes the time and effort feel worthwhile.

To read a similar idea about the benefits of showing your work - and being able to talk to people about it - check out Alyson Stanfield's article on why exhibiting your art is good for you. She says "exhibiting your art allows you to have a dialogue with people about the work. You can’t help but learn and grow from these experiences."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pinhole Day is coming - do you have a camera?

This is one of my matchbox pinhole cameras. It takes 35mm film and is very easy to build and use. alspix has a great tutorial. Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is April 29th this year. You still have plenty of time to prepare. There is lots of interesting info on Without Lenses, including a great video by Nancy Breslin about pinhole photography. The Populist, designed by Nick Dvoracek, is another pinhole camera that takes 35mm film. If you have access to a darkroom, you could make Stewart Woodruff's oatmeal box pinhole camera that takes light-sensitive photo paper. Here's another camera that takes light-sensitive photo paper, and probably took me 20 minutes to make. Here's a part of my pinhole camera collection. This photo is on Camera-wiki's homemade pinhole camera page. Here's my entry for last year's WPPD. Taken with Tyrannosaurus photo ventris.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Zymoglyphic Mermaid, pinhole photo, taken with my handmade Zymo 127 pinhole camera, will be in the Statewide Photography Competition and Exhibition at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, CA. The show is up from February 18 to April 22, 2012. The artist's reception is February 24, 7 to 9 pm. You can see more photos in this series here.