bound in japan

My very talented friend, Kieu Lam, is embarking on a big adventure in 2011 to Japan. Bound in Japan will bring a community of non-native residents together in Japan to create, talk about, and exhibit their book art. The goal is to increase awareness about diversity and cultural issues faced by non-natives in a host country.

All of this - the travel and living expenses, book art workshops, materials, an exhibition, publicity - is being facilitated and funded by Kieu, and she could use a little help! For a very good cause (what could be better than spreading awareness about the book arts around the world? okay, the diversity and cultural awareness stuff is good too), please consider making a donation.

I can vouch for Kieu and that your money will be very well-managed and appreciated. C'mon...for as little as $2/month, you can make a nice statement about your support for the arts. And for $20/month, she'll send you a handmade hard cover journal AND monthly mail art subscription.

How cool is that?

For more info and to support the cause (all tax-deductible, mind you), click here.

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.

the healing power of art

Proof that art has the power to heal, The National Institutes of Health has a permanently rotating series of exhibitions in the Clinical Center Gallery. My work will be shown in three glass sculpture cases. In Three Acts will feature my artist books and paper sculpture. Curated by Lillian Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald Fine Art. Open to the public 7 am to 9 pm daily, January 14 - March 4, 2011. For more information, directions and parking, click here.

if you can make it in new york...

This was a big weekend for the book arts, here in the Northeast. I think we're all still recovering from the wonderfully successful Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Conference & Fair (more on that in a later post), and New York was buzzing with bookish delights at Printed Matter's NY Art Book Fair. I love that the art form is getting some attention in the blogosphere, even if it is from "one of our own," book artist Marilyn MacGregor.

thanks to pinkline project for video short!

A couple of months ago, we gathered together at the venue for this weekend's Book Arts Fair with a little handheld camera and shot this video short. It's a fun way to learn about the event. Thanks to Philippa Hughes of the Pink Line Project for being our interviewer, and Pyramid Atlantic's Gretchen Schermerhorn, Jose Dominguez, and Matt Sole for a great job.

Hope to see you there!

good advice: proceed and be bold

I'm sitting here watching the documentary, Proceed and Be Bold, about printmaker Amos Kennedy. The man is calling my name.

Amos left a well-paying career as a systems analyst at the age of 40, returned to school to get his MFA, and hasn't looked back. He's figured out a way to make a living doing what he loves and apologizes to no one.

Some Kennedy-isms I particularly like:

"What do I have to do in order to make my stuff?"

"Life is short. But as long as you got it, make something of it."

"Instead of being afraid to leave something you don't want to do, leave it and do something you want to do."

"Nothing is permanent, so why are you going to put your faith in something you have no control over? At least you have some control over your own life."

You can catch a local screening of this terrific film on November 6th at 1:15 pm here.

photo works exhibition opens this weekend

If you're in Denver next month and looking for something different to do, stop by Abecedarian Gallery. Owner/curator Alicia Bailey holds a flame for the book arts in the Denver Arts District, with special exhibitions in the Reading Room.

Photo Works opens this Friday with a reception and shows through Oct. 30.

This is the debut for my piece, In Case of Panic, an artist book about what I did to thwart a panic attack while driving over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

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.

autumn update from TurningPointe Press

Photo credit: Jim VecchioneTime again for a quick update on places you can find my work this fall. I've been doing these updates by email as a way to stay in touch with people I meet at book arts workshops, conferences and events. Can't hurt to post here as well, right?

Pyramid Atlantic 11th Biennial Book Arts Fair, November 5-7, 2010, Silver Spring, MD. Moving Parts project demonstration: Nov. 7, 1:15-2:15 pm

Beyond Text: Contemporary Books, invitational group exhibition, Montgomery College Cafritz Foundation Arts Center, October 15 - November 15, 2010, Silver Spring, MD. Opening: Nov. 4, 5-7:30 pm

Small group show, ArtSpring-Pyramid Atlantic retail store, November 4-7, 2010, Silver Spring, MD

Sequenced Fibers
juried exhibition, University of Nebraska at Omaha, October 1-29, 2010, Omaha, NE. Opening: Oct. 10, 1-4 pm

Photo Book Works
juried exhibition, Abecedarian Gallery, Denver, CO, September 30 – October 30, 2010

chaneling warhol part 2

Marty Ittner, in action at Pyramid AtlanticKnocked out some good solid prints last night at Pyramid Atlantic, under the expert and paaaaatient guidance of screen print Queen Marty Ittner. These are for my friend/trade buddy Jim Vecchione's portfolios (he's the talent behind the images of my work on this site).

Boy, did I learn a lot through this process: a) screen printing's not as easy as it looks (SO many variables contribute to all kinds of surprises), b) I tend to come up with complex ideas that are best simplified a bit, this project being no exception, c) being picky is a good thing (thanks, Marty, for insisting on super-sharp logos), d) I need to quadruple my time estimates when I'm doing something for the first time.

I love the element of surprise in screen printing, which I hadn't anticipated at all. The interaction between digital image x screen prep x substrate (in this case, three different kinds of book cloth) x ink x how you pull any given print = who knew the image we thought would be our problem-child ended up being the one I like best?

Jim's portfolio covers, drying

Thanks, Marty, for helping produce something that I think Jim (and his clients) will love. Can't wait to bind them and put them to use!

unseen hands: women in the arts

Seems art is no exception to the lack of visibility women have received through the ages. The current exhibition, Unseen Hands: Women Printers, Binders and Book Designers at Princeton University is an illustration (thanks, Mark, for the heads-up!). I was first introduced to the notion of women's diminished visible role in printmaking by Susan King, whose work Women and Cars is included in this show. Susan was part of The Women's Building, a pioneering group of women printmakers in the 1960s.

Other opportunities for visibility are in the air. One of the films we're screening at the Pyramid Atlantic 11th Biennial Book Arts Fair, Who Does She Think She Is?, explores the issue on a very personal level. And then there's the new reality television show, Work of Art, where women and men have equal opportunity to shine or fail.

This is not a new issue and it shouldn't surprise me, since I come from the business world and well know the issues of women's equality in the workplace. So why are we still talking about it today? Instead of talking about it, I'd much prefer women just garner as much recognition, opportunities and success as we can earn.

pyramid atlantic books arts conference and fair

Things are starting to fall into place for the 11th biennial book arts conference and fair that Pyramid Atlantic hosts. In addition to a panel of exciting speakers and juried exhibitor fair, this year we're including a contemporary print component, four arts documentary films, and an art supplier marketplace. And the venue itself is a draw, in the just-opened Silver Spring Civic Building.

It's been fun to be behind-the-scenes as part of our feisty little organizing committee as we discuss and tackle all the components that comprise a weekend-long event. Our fearless leader, Gretchen Schermerhorn, is doing a great job at balancing a wide range of perspectives (and creative tension - a good thing), with getting things done.

I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for this event - it's where I first discovered that the book arts existed. I walked into the exhibitor fair on that fall day in 2006 and I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole into this fantasy world of mind-bending discoveries. An apt metaphor, since this discovery has shaken up quite a few things in my life.

Click here for event details and registration, and here for the latest news.

the art of hanging art

Just finished hanging an entire gallery on my own for the first time. Part of the deal here at Printmakers is that each member is responsible for completely rehanging the space on a two-month rotating basis. Not only does it keep the space fresh, it allows us to expose stored art that might otherwise be forgotten.

I had done a little online research beforehand, looking for some basic principles to guide me. I didn't find much, so yesterday, when I walked into the studio, I was feeling a mixture of curiosity and overwhelm - where to start and how, exactly, would this go? Nothing like jumping into the water with both feet!

With little other than instinct to guide me, I just started looking through bins and bins of art. It was interesting to step back and observe myself being drawn to certain pieces, and not to others. In my own work, I always need an inspiration - a starting point. It happened here, as well. I hadn't intended for this to be the case, but there was one print that caught my eye as a perfect companion for one of my artist books. Bam, I was off to the races and the ideas just flowed.

I also stuck with what I know at this point: color. I'm not an experienced printmaker or trained artist, so I didn't have a lot of "rules" or technique to show me the way. I do know color and "energy" and pacing, all of which seemed to flow, as I moved pieces around, experimented with surprising combinations and just got my hands on the art.

At the end of two days, I'm pretty happy with the results. I might look back on this some time from now with a more experienced eye and see things I'd do differently, but that's okay. Four of my fellow artists stopped in at various times today and were very encouraging, happy to frame unseen work that I'd dragged out of bins to hang.

What I'm most excited about is that I got to know more about each artist's work, taking time to really look at it. There are so many prints here, that it's easy to flip through them and miss a lot. I loved learning more about the ideas behind several pieces, as I interacted with the artists that were here today.

channeling warhol

I've been working with screenprinter Marty Ittner at Pyramid Atlantic to help me create portfolio covers for my friend Jim Vecchione, who shoots all of my work. My idea is to use Jim's images in a Warhol-esque way as art screenprinted onto bookcloth, which I'll use to make his portfolios. I think it's going to be really cool, even if the testing, trial and error is taking way longer than I anticipated.

Last night's tests revealed vast differences in how a grayscale image responded on various types and colors of bookcloth. A few surprises, no real winner yet, but more direction for next week's testing. It looks like simpler is better, eliminating some variables (e.g., black and white threshold images, no grayscale). Apparently Warhol did that, sticking with solid blocks of ink and color. So far, Marty and I are using black ink only, letting the bookcloth be the color.

Poor Jim - he's been so patient while I learn and experiment. Thanks for your patience - I think it'll be worth it!