moving parts

moving parts still on the move

Freshly finished clamshell boxes for "Moving Parts" (image: Frederick Nunley)Two years ago, we launched Moving Parts, the yearlong collaboration between Pyramid Atlantic Art Center and CityDance. Since then, the ten participating artists and handful of tenacious volunteers have been creating an edition of 50 custom clamshell boxes that house each artist’s edition of 50 artist books.

Clamshell boxes drying under weight (image: Frederick Nunley)When you work on a project of this scale in 3-hour increments twice a month, of course it takes time. What a treat it was, then, to recently immerse ourselves for five full days in a near-final push to finish the edition.

We made a lot of progress, completing a fresh batch of finished boxes, and covering all remaining components (trays, cases, foil-stamping).

Once again, our über-volunteer Frederick Nunley was on the scene, lending not only his skilled handwork to the task, but steady and appreciated enthusiasm for the project.

A big thank you to Gretchen Schermerhorn for hosting us in Pyramid’s studios, and to others who showed up to help, including Kieu Lam, Sarah Levine, and Moira McCauley.

When I return to the US in a few months, we plan to finish the project. All that remains are some boxes and the project catalogs. With a little help from friends, these too will get done. And then it’s on to getting the edition into collectors’ hands, an even longer process!

impromptu installation

We arrived a week ago in Germany and are settling into our new home in the endlessly charming town of Königstein. While our household goods float across the Atlantic for four weeks, we’re rattling around in our empty house and making the best of our “executive expat” rental furniture package. No complaints, actually – so much nicer than living in yet another transitional place for a month.

In the meantime, in addition to navigating the myriad details of daily life in a language I don’t speak and culture that is noticeably different from the US, I’ll be working on small projects that I mailed ahead. Today, as I unpacked two boxes of art tools and materials, I thanked myself for sending the gift of something familiar and grounding: art!

One of the projects is to make progress on an edition of 50 miniature artist books for the Moving Parts boxed set. The books are small accordion-fold pieces that expand into a wearable tutu. The 234-inch long strips of handmade paper that will become tutus turned into an impromptu installation as I hung them from our second floor banister to unwrinkle.

View into my future studio on the first floorParis checks things outText is commentary on the connections between dance and lifeImpromptu installation of myTurningPointe accordion books waiting to be worked on

ballet is hot

Is it just me, or is ballet hot these days? And I'm not refering to the Nutcracker. This sense started nearly two years ago for me, back when I started work for the CityDance project. I noticed a trend in couture fashion that was ballet-inspired, with designers using lots of tulle, soft colors and draping. At the time, I thought it was just me having ballet on brain for a dance-related project.

Then this fall, I read about Rodarte's involvement in costuming for Black Swan and got pretty excited. This week, I bumped into this exquisite piece, Little Ballerina, by photographer David Eustace for the ANTHROPOLOGiST. Today, I listened to Terry Gross' Fresh Air interview with Jennifer Homans about her new book, Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet.

This all makes me very happy, of course. I was feeling a little nerdy about my obsession with sewing layers of tulle onto handmade paper. But now I just feel rather fashionable.

Moving Parts on the move (still!)

Photo credit: Paul Gordon EmersonIt's been a long haul, Moving Parts. It was a year ago July that we kicked off the boxed edition, and well before then that the idea was hatched and put into motion.

We've been steadily making progress, one clamshell box and one tiny artist book at a time - there's a dedicated handful of talented people who give of their time and talent bimonthly to make the boxes, not to mention the ten artists involved who continue to chip away at their artist book edition of 50.

So it's a nice lift when we get a little visibility and a reinforcement for our mission (to sell these lovelies to collectors and raise funds for Pyramid Atlantic and CityDance). Recently, we've been on a bit of a roll.

I'm happy to report that the edition has been accepted for consignment by both the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts and Vamp & Tramp Booksellers. The project's documentarian, Francisco Campos-Lopez, has some of his films (including Moving Parts) featured on SONY Worldwide's Professional Site.

book artists on the move

We're gettting there...ten book artists, each making an edition of 50 artist books for the Moving Parts boxed collectors' set. While some are finished with their edition, most of us are knee-deep in production. The artists of Moving Parts are: Beverly Ryan, Elizabeth Parthum, Gretchen Schermerhorn, Irene Chan, Kelly O'Brien, Kerry McAleer-Keeler, Leah Frankel, Moira McCauley, Patty Lee, and Paul Gordon Emerson

Here's a glimpse of what we're creating. All photographs are by Paul Gordon Emerson.


moving parts on the move

Things are happening with the Moving Parts project! We've now got an official blog, thanks to Gretchen, my partner in crime on this project at Pyramid Atlantic. And an upcoming documentary - a work of art in itself - complements of film maker Fransisco Campos-López and CityDance Filmworks. Check out the trailer:

We're making steady progress on the clamshell boxes, thanks to a growing number of volunteers at Pyramid and our "box jam sessions." It's been fun to teach this eager (and talented) bunch to make the beautiful boxes that will house each collection of artist books...and exciting to see the covered trays accumulate as they move through our production line. After only a couple of sessions, we're discovering who excels at the tricky corner cuts, gluing with finesse, and inventing jigs to speed our work. Production work has become fun!

Some launch-related events are planned, including a CityDance performance showcasing the pieces reflected in the Moving Parts artists' books on December 4 and 5, and a launch party at Hillyer Art Space on December 11, including artist talks, a CityDance performance, and Moving Parts boxed sets for purchase. Speaking of which, check out Paul Emerson's beautiful photos of the project.