Monday, December 20, 2010

Creed and consequences: The making of "Religious History"

Even as I contemplate a "No new projects" New Year's resolution, I couldn't help but devote this week to fine-tuning the installation of two new works that'll be part of Artspace Out of Bounds, showing through January at Blackfish Gallery, 420 N.W. Ninth Ave, Portland, OR.

Born of serendipity and frustration with how religious conflict plays out (historically, now, and likely the future), the work above—entitled Religious History—combines an 1877 Christian creed with nails. I've since learned these four-sided old-school nails are called "cut" nails—even better.

After I stumbled upon this handsome but not readily accessible (it's in German, for starters) hardbound book and had an idea what to do with it, it was months before I got up the nerve to pick up the hammer. As a bookbinder, I felt a bit chagrined to "do harm." Physically, it was harder than I thought it would be. It also felt kind of good.

The opening reception for Artspace Out of Bounds is 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 6. I'd love to see you there! Regular gallery hours run 11 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Farewell, my pretties

The last of the holiday boxes left the workshop yesterday. I hope that they go on to make a lot of people's lives more beautiful. Here's a parade of the chiyogami (and a bit of suminagashi) splendor:

Friday, December 10, 2010

The editing arm of Ma Nao Books never rests

This just in from an author I had the privilege of working with earlier this year. She enlisted my help turning her dissertation into sample chapters for a book. It's always fun to edit something from the beginning of a project, in this case making it seamless and compelling for the acquisitions editors at a university press.

Not only did I get to learn a lot about the fascinating subject matter, but I got the benefit of experiencing someone's exhaustive research with fresh eyes. What a great story it is, and now it has a shot at a wider audience. The writer heard a yes this week. Congratulations!

On top of this vicarious coup, I just received another manuscript to edit—this time fiction.

In other bright news, I'll have a piece at The Arts Center in Corvallis in March. The show's called Un-Speak-Able, but I'm sure to speak to y'all more about it.

Speaking (again!) of shows, I hope to announce something soon about exhibiting in the Pearl next month. As it is for real—this looking like another hydro-heavy Oregon winter—when it rains it pours.

Monday, December 06, 2010

I can't think of a better way to mark my 100th post

... than to go off topic!

Inspired by my friend Michael's scintillating series on boring postcards (my only complaint being that the entries often veer into interesting), I recently came across one of my own while digging around in the studio.

Sure, my hometown's not the most visually stimulating place in the world, but this card goes out of its way to make the point. "Come to Helena," it seems to say, "we have fabulous parking lots!"

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Looking forward, looking backward

Thank you to all who came out for Artisan Holiday; it was wonderful to see you and, with the other artists in attendance, share the cheer (and latest chiyogami-covered goodness). Today I was actually at a loss as to what to do with myself, but of course I still have a couple of deadlines to meet.

It was so satisfying coming up with the final form for the family history project; this winter I'll plug away on the edition. Here's a walk-through:

A book can be chock-full of literary and visual surprises, but without a proper cover it looks so plain. Still, I love the utilitarian face of bare bookboard and judging from some recent publications (say, Barbara Tetenbaum's Half-Life, and ReadyMade magazine's shelf-worthy debut), it's becoming fashionable.

The text, laid out in InDesign, was interspersed with tributes from individuals, breaking up the long gray paragraphs and adding many different voices to the story.

Two soft CD pockets are sewn in on either side of the text, each capable of holding two CDs, which contain oral history, pictures, writings, and sound samples.

A gatefold in the center shows six photographs representative of three stages in the subjects' lives.

A finished product, with letterpress-printed title

50 copies to go!