I have, in my adult life, moved literally tons of objects from place to place. The decision of whether to keep or discard is ongoing and I fear my elder life will be ruled by objects, much in the way of my parents. This I find disturbing and I continuously work to rid myself of objects using criteria that varies hugely from year to year.
Some collections, such as art books, don’t come under scrutiny too often. The music collection morphs into another version of itself (records replaced by audio cassettes, those replaced by CDs and those transformed into MP3 recordings). It makes sense to keep studio materials even though my emphasis in the studio and thus material use has shifted course many times over the years.
One area I haven’t figured out how to manage is the mass of unfinished, unsold, unframed artworks. Somehow simply throwing them away doesn’t seem an option, and I don’t really consider giving them away either. Re-purposing is a favorite strategy; a project with a layer already rich with pigment and potential a rewarding way to spend some time.
This week I made A Little Book of Drawings (measures about 3x3x.5 inches). I started with old figure drawings on mulberry paper, cut them up and ordered them into signatures. Both before and after sewing the text block, I further worked the drawings with ink and some transfers. The signatures were sewn with a supported link stitch and hollow back cased in with a variation of a split board (or tongue and groove) technique. The book has a leather spine and handwritten title.
Here are some photos that show the various binding steps: the brown paper is a moriki that is attached to the hollow tube and then extends, creating the tabs (tongues) used to attach the covers. The white material with blue edges is 2 ply museum board used for the inner board (rather than actually splitting a board, 2 boards create the ‘groove’ where the tongue is glued in). The end sheets are then pasted down leaving a hint of the blue exposed. And, as you can see from the leather spine, I didn’t get it right the first time, had to detach and re-attach the leather. Fortunately I use paste with leather so re-doing the spine didn’t ruin the book. I am pleased with this book. It has a richness last week’s project did not; has evidence of my history as a mark maker, evidence of passable skills at binding small books. As I ponder this book, I decide that part of its success lies in the various qualities inherent in the materials themselves. Mulberry paper, graphite, ink, thread and leather.