29 February 2012

A black one

Nancy Natale, The Black One, 2011 (from here), 36" square - a double-page spread, though -
Lines that could be text, could be erasures. And the materials? tar paper, book parts, treated aluminum, oilstick, tacks, encaustic on panel ...

Erasure, letter by letter

The "Jasper Johns gets plastered" look of these letters is done by layering cut-out letters with polyfilla (gyproc) - each letter erases the one beneath -
A great idea from Liz Davidson's "Helvetica variations" in the letter-a-day project. The rest of her work along this theme is eye-opening -- do have a look at the drilled version, before and after it had a bath.

Book du jour - ink, graphite, print

When I finished printing my letterpress project on tracing paper, I started printing on some inky papers that were in my folder. Top left, black paper brushed with black Quink and streaked with graphite; others are newsprint with varying amounts and dilutions of Quink, with swathes of graphite on the lower left. At certain angles you can see the print on the graphite, at other angles - just dazzle or greyness. For the samples at top, the angle is important - unless the printed ink catches the light, it disappears.
At the top of the photo below, the final two pages of the "reappearance of words" text; below, printing on black paper with graphite rubbing, and printing on some strips of masking tape stuck onto a brown paper bag.
So many samples, and no clear direction ahead yet...

Book du jour - tissue, ink, and water

First, make your book - for these samples I've been working small, about 5cm square. This is a sheet of tissue paper (that happened to be floating around) folded and torn rather than cut. I drew lines with a permanent felt pen, first along one diagonal and on the next page along the other diagonal. There's some bleeding through the thin paper. Then, out came the spray bottle - 
 Left to dry (with a little help separating the wet pages) it looked like this -
Same method, but with a Muji calligraphy (brush) pen -
 To encourage bleeding, I put drops of water between the pages before inking the lines, but the spraying was all that was needed to get the ink to spread -
Not only was the ink not permanent, but it had a yellow component which leached out.

Different black inks, different colour compositions -- rather like the effects you get when discharging black fabric. Using bleach on various inks will be interesting.

And finally - the bag that the Muji pen came in - simply sprayed with water and left to dry -
It feels very solid.

28 February 2012

Library cat, Kensal Rise

A true library cat is a cat that calls a library its home.
This one might simply have been taking advantage of a sheltered place in the sun.
Amid ongoing cuts in local government services of all kinds, the Save Kensal Rise Library campaign continues.

Book du jour

A square book - catalogue from a photography degree show some years ago - with shiny pages. Some are now painted over and/or crossed out, awaiting further treatment with graphite.

On this page I put lines between the lines of words before adding white paint, then scratched out some of the words, able to see them only once the white paint had been scratched off. I kept a list of the words and phrases that had been scratched out -
Those words were then used to overwrite the layer of graphite -
In certain lights you can almost read the words ... which may or may not make sense or be of interest ...

Flocks of birds

Many flocks, and individual birds, in a video by Steven Siegel, whose day job is as a pediatrician.

At about 6 minutes 20 seconds, swans doing their long takeoff from a lake -
Wonderful images. Wonderful birds. Watch it here.

27 February 2012

Car boot sale

And the booty:
 A chinese puzzle, a grubby metal jug, a road atlas, a German-English technical dictionary, GM Trevelyan's History of England (1946 printing), and sheet music of undetermined date - the most recent of the three names inside the cover is 1975.

Quilters with guns - microtag guns, that is!

Putting together CQ's "Diversity" quilt; the theme is "British-ness" as this is for a European Quilt Association exhibition -
Sixty squares of 20cm chosen from the many submitted by CQ members, chosen to work together ... and didn't it take a lot of thought and rearrangement to get the squares to work together!
Those are the microtag guns on the table. They made the putting together possible - using the tags to attach the squares to a sheet of heavyweight Lutradur. Hilary then added basting on the back to make sure the squares didn't shift about. The result is truly "diverse" - see it at the Quilt Museum, 4 May until September.

Oddly put

Also seen (but not photographed):

Hot and cold meals
available all day

26 February 2012

Book du jour - letterpress erasure

The text is seeping back in - word by word, the type is being turned over and the hidden words are emerging. There's a system for figuring out what comes next, trying to keep some sense (and some suspense) in the text -

A sheet comes off the proofing press -
The italic words are one of those "accidents", and not an entirely happy one. At the end of the setting, 9 Es and 5 As were needed, and no chunks of unreturned Times 18pt could be found, so the options were to use a different typeface - for the end bit, or here and there throughout - or to use italic for some words. I think I made the wrong choice! After decades of editing in a house style where italic was NOT permitted for emphasis, I'm very suspicious of using italic at all. (btw, that house style also frowned on the use of "very" - and it's true, "very" is very seldom needed.)

Next, I'll make the book, and then consider whether the text can be used in a different way, or is worth resetting and reprinting.

25 February 2012

Ink everywhere

At the bus stop, for instance.

Book du jour - ink plus

Yesterday newspaper (very fragile, even pulpy, when wet) - today onionskin, with the addition of various pens and pencils and sticks of graphite -
 It didn't absorb the ink as readily as newspaper, even diluted with water. One or other of the pens wasn't permanent. The gold edge, though, isn't likely to have come from the gold pencil -
I did like the gold writing and used it for another onionskin book, this time torn against the grain (to see if pages would curl differently). What to write? The loopy line was quite satisfying - simple but varied in size, slant, spacing, and rhythm of writing. It showed through the page a little.
 It's tempting to dip the whole book into water, spine first, to see if the ink will dissolve and give off those orange "flames".

At the end of the second session, a total of nine books. Soon mounts up!

24 February 2012

Last week at college

It was mid-point review for the full-timers. Each person brought in a finished work. Before the group discussion, there was time to have a good read -
Then we put each item in turn on the table and spent 10 minutes talking about each work. The maker was not allowed to contribute.

A recipe to share - identical books that include upside-down text -
 A mysterious object and an unreadable (sealed up) book -
 Cut-out clothing from vintage photographs -
 An anthropomorphic object - an uncloseable book -
Wednesday's lecture was by Anne-marie Creamer, whose video of children dancing at a village feast-day was amazing - and to think she just happened upon it, a stop in a train journey, while having a coffee on a balcony above the square -
See more of her work on her website, including the "paper prologue" to the "Meeting the Pied Piper in Brasov" video - and the 7-minute video itself.

Thursday was a quiet, restorative day in the letterpress studio. My typeset "erasure" book is nearing completion.

Book du jour - inky books

The stapled spines of the free evening newspaper do have their uses... The spine was dipped in water and the foredge into black Quink - where ink and water met, the colour separated.

A smaller book similarly treated - then blotted before using the hairdryer on it -
At the end of the session, some very inky books -
 and one less so (completely dipped in water and then the spine dipped in ink) -
Not sure how this fits into "daily journeys" or "line as text" - just experiments, seeing what will happen if....

22 February 2012

Editing out

Thinking about artists who have destroyed their work...

Agnes Martin - once she found what worked for her, there was no need to keep the old stuff

Frances Bacon - hardly anything exists that he did before this work in 1944, "Studies for three figures at the base of a crucifixion" - he believed the early work failed to communicate the way he felt about the world -

Susan Hiller's ashes of burnt paintings (1973) -

Yukinori Yanage started as an oil painter but now works with ants, using them as a symbol of work, order and collective activity; sometimes he traces the wanderings of an ant in a confined space over a long period -

There must be many others destroying their work .... using knives or bonfires or overpainting or simply (frugally) remaking.

These reflections rise from reading on Judy Martin's blog: "The artists who have managed to get textiles into the main stream of fine art have been established as fine artists first. Even an artist such as Magdalena Abakanowicz now mutes her textile past."

Book du jour

Experiments with black paper, newsprint, onionskin - and wax, graphite, black quink - using frottage, dripping, flooding, rubbing... The quink makes coppery tones on black paper, and bluey tones on newsprint.

Thinking about dipping a little book into ink. Or, inking it page by page. Various types of ink.

Lucky find?

You don't expect to find a horseshoe lying on the Peckham Road.

But is it a horseshoe?

21 February 2012

Art I like - Lesley Dill

Some of Lesley Dill's sculptures use paper, some metal, some - like "A Spider Sewed at Night" - are wire -
Many of her works are voluminous (but unwearable) dresses, incorporating words -
Hinged poem dress
Her prints combine the body and language -
In an interview, she says, "You have to work; work to make money to support yourself, to make art you have to be ruthless and disciplined. After ten years of awful art I feel I got lucky. I went to galleries and made friends. Then I got accoladed with galleries. Its really important to exhibit your work."

She also says she reads all the time: "That’s part of the engaged reverie. The reading is where my work comes from. That’s how I found home, from language."

Often I find that reading the words "takes over" the visual aspects of the art, but not so much with Lesley Dill's words and work. Is this because the words don't read easily, and the shapes do?