The Grass is Green

Two posts within forty-eight hours! I win!

I finished April’s desperately overdue book activity a few days ago. The rules of engagement were: wax poetic and use a non adhesive binding. Choosing the text for this project made me crazy! Initially I wanted to use the poetry of a friend, but he wasn’t thrilled about others reading the musings of his early twenties. Then, I found some limericks written by my grandfather, but they didn’t seem appropriate. As I vacantly stared into the yard, bemoaning my lack of poetry, I noticed the grass, green and out of control. Ha! I went to the interwebs and found a poem related to grass. Carl Sandburg’s Grass (represented here with improper spacing. Apologies):

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.

Shovel them under and let me work–

I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg

And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.

Shovel them under and let me work.

Two years, ten years, and the passengers ask the conductor:

What place is this?

Where am I now?

I am the grass.

Let me work.

Gettysburg is all grass now. A visitor would never know that 7,000 soldiers died there and over 50,000 suffered casualties. I find the words somber, yet comforting.

I printed the poem on Murano paper and shredded it to be reminiscent of grass. The covers are recycled printing plates from a former project, sanded and distressed. The book is held together with a stab binding. I was hoping for a balance between manufactured and organic- the machine of war and the patience of the natural world. It lacks subtlety, but that’s what comes from playing catch-up.

Lost & Found

If my blog were a puppy, PETA would have locked me up!

I finally found time to take photos of March’s project with Spring Leaf Press. The theme was Things In a Box. I illustrated nine objects I lost during a particularly stressful school semester and pocketed them in a concertina book. The back of each object states what it was and where I lost it (and in some marvelous cases, where I found it).

I was pleased with the way the collage of illustrations and scanned imagery developed. However, I wasn’t entirely chipper about the outcome of this project. Most mistakes were due to human error (impatience!). I failed to get a crisp fold with Murano paper and the bottom half of the book is too heavy. Both miscalculations resulted in spine warpage.  And no matter how many times I cut and glue a cover, there’s always something! Something, in this case, being cockeyed placement. Grrrowl!

Exercise II: Push!

In the beginning of the year, my friend Mary at Spring Leaf Press and I decided to work on book exercises in order to improve and maintain our hand skills, inspire creativity and learn new techniques. At the beginning of each month we decide on our guidelines, which typically include a theme, a format and a time frame. The rules for February were as follows: teach or preach, zine, 7&7 (7 days to ideate and 7 days to execute). Additionally, the zine could include a found object and hand applied color.

I didn’t research this one. I went with my gut- 1970s punk rock cut and paste appropriated images with poor visibility. Since I was going with my gut, I chose the digestive system, its parts, functions and malfunctions, as my theme. I used images from the ground (one found object!), a lip-print and a current professional project I am working on. With the help of Photoshop, a marker and a copying machine I produced  a double sided four page spread that takes you on a mouth to ass journey through the GI tract. If you have the patience to wade through the copious and disordered writing.