Eva Cassidy Sings the Flu

Last year Mary of Spring Leaf Press and I intended to continue our collaboration from 2012. Instead of doing monthly projects, we thought it would be prudent to complete four three month projects. We could devote more time to a book and have an end result that was intentional, finely crafted and multi-editioned (meaning more than two).

Turns out, that don’t work for us. Three months gave us time to define the parameters of our project and begin work. It also gave us time to get distracted by on-the-side conservation work, sewing silk dresses, family events, baking the perfect macaroons, The Walking Dead… you get the picture.

Despite life’s distractions, we each managed to complete one book exercise. As a concept, we chose a (then) current event to influence imagery and the lyrics of a song to act as text. I went with the winter’s flu epidemic and Eva Cassidy’s Fever.

At that time I was interested in playing with fiber and transparency. I used Japanese paper printed with my illustrations and information taken from the CDC’s website, cheesecloth and flour paste to build my pages. I did the same for the wrap around cover.

This project was time consuming due to the process I chose. However, I inadvertently added time due to human error. First, I created separate pages instead of spreads. While the former strategy was successful, the latter would have shortened the time I spent pasting significantly. I also spent a day working while it was particularly humid outside. I didn’t take that into account and ended up with a few moldy pages. I had to redo them. Grr. Lastly, perhaps the most galling mistake- I was working with a slightly warped ruler. Can you believe that! I kept making cuts that were not quite right. The answer finally dawned on me, but as a result my editions don’t have the margins I intended.

Overall, I am pleased with the way Fever turned out. It has a solid clinical feel and the gauze and texture of the cover and pages makes act of unwrapping it a little tense. The imagery, lyrics and flu trivia float amongst the pages, creating different levels of clarity, depth and the potential for multiple interpretations. A lot like a NyQuil buzz, actually.

Thank goodness flu season is finally over and we can begin to look forward to pollen allergies.

Fever; cover fever_titlepg fver_spread2 fever_spreadIV fever_spreadV fever_spreadVI fever_spreadVII fever_spreadVIII


(Space) Paste Paper

Not only did I have the opportunity to view a number of artist’s books at the Lilly and Fine Arts Library while I was visiting Bloomington, Indiana, I also made paste papers with Mary of Spring Leaf Press. I can’t wait to make more.

Directions as follows:

Mixture should be a 1(wheat starch):4 (H2O) ratio

In a double boiler, pour a small amount of water into pan and allow to heat up

Pour wheat starch into the measured amount of water and mix until the clumps are gone

Gently pour starch mixture into pan, stir constantly

After 1-2 minutes, the mixture becomes milky and begins to thicken to a pudding-like consistency

Keep stirring for a few more minutes. The mixture becomes glassy and bubbles begin to form

In order to test consistency, place some of the mixture on the back of a spoon and smoosh it against the wall of the pan- it should be stringy

Remove the paste mixture from heat and allow to cool

Wet a mounted screen and pour the now congealed paste mixture onto it

Work paste through the screen. This is the tedious part. The more you work the paste through the screen, the finer the consistency becomes

Massage paste with a paintbrush and add water until it reaches the desired consistency (make sure water is absorbed into paste before adding more water)

Add desired colors to paste mixture

For paper: secure a piece of mylar and place paper on it (for easy clean up). Dampen paper with a sponge, or spray bottle and begin

For cotton cloth: dampen both sides of cloth. Coat one side with unadulterated paste, flip to the other side and begin. If you use clear paste as the first color, painting other colors over it will result in a ghost image

Some samples: