Inherent Vice

December marked the end of my year of monthly collaboration with Mary at Spring Leaf Press. Our final project emphasized communication without text, or representational images. Oddly enough, we both chose a similar technique to set the mood of our books.

I was reading about batik techniques and came across a process where one dropped wax on black velvet to protect the color and bleached out the remaining material. I decided to try the same technique with paper. I wanted my book to feel intimate, so I sized it to fit in the hand. I dipped the edges of each sheet in wax in order to maintain the original color and texture of the paper. Next, I saturated each sheet with black fiber reactive dye and while the paper was still wet applied a bleach solution. Although I directed the initial flow of bleach, the end result was unpredictable and each page was a surprise. I bound the pages with a chain stitch and made a wrap around case for it. When I flipped through the finished product, the pages gave me a sense of nostalgia and brought to mind polaroids with processing mishaps.

Mary and I are doing a second collaboration, with a new set of parameters for 2012.

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Valley of the doll

Often, when I begin a project I have (mislaid) hopes that it will be pretty. Instead it turns out… wrong. Not in a sense of craftsmanship, or intention, but in a sense of that ain’t right. Mostly, I’m okay with that and occasionally I turn out an elegantsugarpuppy. This isn’t one of those.

Her name is Heidi Hydra, aptly named by her new keeper. I’ve been intrigued by art toys for some time and, more recently, plush dolls. Heidi is the second of what was going to be a series, but I was distracted by other projects (Images of the first can be found here).

Heidi is around twenty-four inches tall, hand-dyed (fiber reactive) and hand and machine sewn from what was once a favorite linen skirt. My friend, Karen B., was kind enough to create her bustier and skirt (also from a pre-existing garment). Heidi has a small pocket over her heart and another where her head should be. I like to think of that one as a retractable stomach, like those of some echinoderms–  I know, every doll should have one.