Monday, August 28, 2006

The Last Class of Summer

Above: Fish book by Giles Gunn, 2006. See the inside of the book here.

The class in my studio ended today. It was a wonderful group. Every person brought something interesting and valuable to the group. I really enjoyed this class a lot. Sometimes you just connect with people. I am a little sad that it has ended. There were different approaches, different ideas, different problems to solve. That makes it interesting for me. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to take photos of the work. I do have photos from my last class at Cubberley on my web site now.

I still struggle with how much to cover in a class. I want people to go home with a set of basic skills they can use with simple tools. I often feel I'm cramming too much in. I keep cutting things out, and then thinking of another technique that would be fun to cover. Maybe I need to start offering an advanced class once a year. I usually end up feeling things went well, but could have been improved. This time was no exception.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Did you forget!??

No, I haven't forgotten about this blog! I'm teaching a class in my studio on Sundays right now, and my schedule is weird. I keep thinking Thursday is Saturday, etc. You know. This coming Sunday will be the last meeting, and I'm a little sad about it. It's a very nice group of people.

I had some time in the studio this week. Yesterday afternoon I made a rock. It's a funny looking lump here, actually a two-part rock.

Here is is open. It's about 2.5 inches wide, and will be the cover for a rock book. I hammered it out of 18 gauge copper. It may meed some refining, and I'm not sure how to do the pages. But it was lovely to have some time to just focus on a project.

I am also trying to find a metal shear. I would like one that cuts up to 14 gauge brass, doesn't take too much workshop space, and doesn't cost a bundle. I haven't exactly defined "bundle" for my self. I just sold a book and am delighted to have unexpected money for tools. There is one in the Rio Grande catalog, which takes a lot of table space, but looks appealing. There is one in the Otto Frei catalog, which they may not have anymore, costs a lot, and takes very little table space. And I have a call in to a local place, that has metalworking tools. I hope they call me back today. After waiting for years to buy this shear, I'm feeling impatient to go ahead.

Today I want to make several fern book covers. I also need to get my slide application together for the Book Arts Jam. That is the next thing on my event horizon, and I am looking forward to it already. I hope to have a major portion of these books finished so they can be in the exhibition BABA organizes as part of the Jam.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

What keeps you from making art?

I made this box in Inge Infante's Box Art class. I wouldn't say it's the worst experiment I've ever done, by a long shot. But it doesn't fit with the work I usually "publish." (On my web site or in shows.) I like it, but I'm not satisfied with it. I want to make boxes and don't really know where I'm going with the idea.

I made a few boxes, mostly in my student days. I love boxes, almost as much as books. So why don't I just make some now? I have one on my workbench right now that is two-thirds finished. And abandoned.

I struggle with this. Due to lack of time, my cowardice and some other unknown factors, I can't just dive in and do it. I know I need to make some things that will be failures. I know the only way to start something new is to do it, make mistakes and learn from them. But knowing something is not the same as doing it.

How do you give yourself time to experiment and not be serious? Some very interesting discoveries can be made when you're playing. I can't always do it, so I can't give you an easy answer.

What sometimes works for me is to promise myself I will show it to no one. I plan to make absolute garbage, and then destroy it, or hide it. I have plenty of bad art in my studio. But I can't get rid of it, because there are ideas in it that I love, and will use in the future.

After writing this, I think I should go ahead and buy the metal shear I have been longing for. It time to get to work, right?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Photo Report

I have been struggling to get some decent pictures of some of my books. And I'm almost ready to eat my previous blog entry. It is hard, takes a lot of time, and reminds me how untechnical I am.

This was taken using the set-up shown in my flickr pages, with one change. I am hanging a black sheet in front to cast a shadow. Here is a pinhole photo of the set-up, from the camera's view point.

I took some photos a few days ago that I thought were really great, then I enlarged one on the computer and saw boulders of dust! Back to the drawing board. This probably could have been avoided. I have notes to myself in various places, but I often don't read them. I'm thinking a printout in the camera bag might help.

My current notes:
*Set the remote - it stays set until the camera is turned off.
*Check for dust - enlarge photo to 100%, dust shows like boulders.
*Check exposure - bracket even with the digital.
*I can sort of set up the shot and check it with the digital camera before taking the film shots, but the film camera needs some physical adjustment. It doesn't zoom like the digital and it is larger. So I can't just clamp the film camera into the exact spot the digital was in and snap the picture.
*Cloth hanging down casts a nice shadow.
*A piece of Davey board with string tied from corner to opposite corner, making it bow, makes a nice sweep for small scale.
*Maybe avoid black backgrounds - dust is invisible to the naked eye, but very apparent to the camera. Maybe the longer exposure needed for the black background makes the dust more apparent?

Here is my favorite photo so far.

Last night was the last meeting of my summer class at Cubberley. The students were great, and I will have some pictures of their books and maybe a few of the students working. I hope they came out, I had two camera batteries and they both ran out of charge quickly.

Last Sunday was the first meeting of a 15 hours class that I'm doing in my studio, so there will be photos from that class in a week or two.

I'll report back soon on the photo project.