Friday, September 29, 2006

Brass pinhole camera

Brass pinhole camera
Originally uploaded by bertmac.
I am so excited about this project. I plan to make some tools and objects. What better tool than a pinhole camera? And I could use the resulting photos in collages.

This is my first test, to see how bad the light leaks are, whether the idea works at all.

Next I will add some feet, a shutter and maybe a viewfinder. I already have an idea for the next one. Click on the photo to see my flickr photostream. There are two photos taken with this camera, and a view of the camera open. There is also more information about the exposure times, etc.

Gotta go! I want to work on the base tonight.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I knew that!

". . . And truthfully, what could be more important for any of us - art makers or otherwise - than to make work that matters to us, work so important that we give up other things in our lives to do it?"

This sentence is on page one of "The View From the Studio Door" by Ted Orland. Didn't I know that? Why do I have to re-learn these things? What a timely reminder. I have been trying to work on the rock book, but there is no joy for me in this series of books, with the exception of the original dinosaur.

This is the seventh event, on page 14 of Seven Extinction Events.

Normally I love making art. It comes out of my dreams and personal mythology. It allows me to be connected with my spiritual life. When I'm working I forget time and feel totally involved with the object. This is not happening with these books.

I like to start with the pages. Sometimes I am illustrating a dream, a myth I made up or some random sentence from a book that has a personal significance to me. As I work, I know what to do next because there is a story in my head. If I'm on Mars, I need a desert landscape and some Egyptian ruins. If I am walking to a foreign city, I might be lost and need stars to guide me. As I work on the pages, I begin to get an idea for the cover. In this case, I was thinking "rock book, volcano book, fern book" to complete the landscape for the dinosaur book. I knew there wasn't any content, but I didn't think ahead to the consequences. (I'm not doing "show the plants of the late Cretaceous." That is content, but it has no pull for me. I want to make art for emotional and spiritual satisfaction, not for the visual joke.)

I need to either find some content that I can believe in for these books, or set the project aside. It's hard to think about this. I have spent a lot of time on it. Does it make sense to go on and finish enough books to show them together in some way? Or should I cut my losses now and start something I care about on an emotional level? Maybe the question comes down to "do I want to please my audience, or do I want to please myself." I may be able to get these books in shows or published somewhere, but will I be proud of them?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Instruction Manual auctioned at Book Arts Jam

Instruction Manual for the Moon
Originally uploaded by bertmac.
On Saturday, October 14th the Book Arts Jam will take place at Foothill College. This is the event people ask me about most often.

From the web site: "Individual exhibitors participating in the 2006 Book Arts Jam include over 30 makers of artists' books, zines, fine press books, hand-made and hand-decorated paper, mail art, limited edition prints, and other book-related works. In addition, you can watch demonstrations in the following specific interest areas: letterpress printing, silkscreen printing, calligraphy, bookbinding using the herringbone stitch over cords, pinhole photography, and silkscreen printing, and participate in hands-on sessions on making pastepaper, designing and making edible books, and making mail art."

There will also be an auction of book related objects. The book above is my donation. I will also be doing a pinhole camera demo.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Flexible blizzards!

I didn't do much art this weekend. Yesterday I intended to start another fern book, but felt very uninspired. I did clean some in the studio, always a good thing. I went to the BABA meeting today. We made flexagons and blizzard books. It was a nice day, talking a bit to people, making some books. I came home tired and read a little before dinner. Lazy day!

These are the flexagons. I can't really show them in a good light, they are all about movement. Think of the cootie catchers you made in school. They are puzzles, you see the result and can't imagine how to get there. Sally Morgan taught this part of the class. Her Christmas card example was gorgeous. People begged to be included on her Christmas card list.

These are the blizzard books. The one in front holds pages without glue or sewing. I folded the top and bottom of the front cover in to make it line up with the pages. I think I like the frame-like quality of the back cover better. I loved the folding and the tactile quality of the papers. Debbie Kogan taught this part of the class. She had some amazing samples.

I'm not sure if I will be able to incorporate these structures into my book ideas, but they are fun to make. Showing all these books to my husband this evening gave him a good idea for a fun card to make for our niece. And I feel more excited about making the fern books now. It's sometimes good to get out of the studio and have fun.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Fern Book

I made a fern book this week. The cover is hammered copper, etched in ferric chloride. I patinaed it with liver of sulfur, brushing with a very soft brass brush between layers. The pages are 90 pound watercolor paper, colored with acrylics and Prismacolors. I painted and scribbled all over both sides of a single large sheet of paper. Then I sketched the fern pages around the edges of the paper (to keep the deckle on the bottom of each page). There is another view and larger images on my flickr page in the "Artist's books" set.

I originally thought I wouldn't put any content on the pages. I was thinking a "table of contents" page, some chapter headings, but no collage. In the end I couldn't stand it. I had to have some collage in there. These little bits of photos are from my pinhole camera. I have always been fascinated to see the backgrounds of photos in magazines. There are often odd looking shrubs, people glancing over their shoulders, stray dogs walking by. I love these little bits of real life in the middle of a set-up looking shot. We never have control over everything. That's what these little pieces of photos make me think of. Some are completely unreadable, just fuzzy green and blue shapes.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Dear Nancy and etching supplies

Months ago Nancy Rushton emailed me and asked if I know how she could make charms like these from Wells Ware.

I just found these instructions from Volcano Arts. Nancy, I hope you see this, I'm sorry I've lost your email.

In their "Metal etching tools and supplies" they also have ink pads with solvent based inks for etching on metal. I'm afraid I'm going to have to place an order. (Research, you know.)