Monday, January 4, 2021

Running From the Nothing That Pursues

Running From the Nothing That Pursues

At the end of 2020 I took three online courses that helped me complete this project. They were ConcerTINa with Seth Apter, A Mark in Time with Jen Crossley and The Bookmaker with Roxanne Evans Stout. This project was an amalgamation of the ideas in these workshops but ultimate felt free to go its own way.

The project started with a tin (suggested in both ConcerTINa and The Bookmaker). My tin was a Tarreyton Cigarettes tin with a date incised in the back of 6/8/25. 

For the front cover I selected a holy water font and removed the Virgin's head and replaced it with a horse. I attached three corn on the cob skewers into the font and some jewelry behind the head. With the addition of some paint and papers, the front cover was done. 

On the back cover, I attached a glass lantern slide and some papers. The text in the photographs in the lantern slides says:

West New Brighton
Staten Island

November 16th, 1889

Dear Sir:

This morning came the photographs for which I am heartily obliged to you. They are beautiful works but as for the likeness I cannot judge. My likeness as always seems strange to me, and I am not aware of feeling as they look. But this I suppose is a universal experience. My wife likes the one marked 1909b more than any ever made of me, and that is the highest possible praise. There is, I am sure, something very elusive in my expression and yet you must have caught it, if my wife can say so much.

I beg to thank you sincerely for your kind courtesy, and with every good wish I am

very truly yours,

George William Curtis 

As it turns out, there is a Wikipedia for a George Williams Curtis of Staten Island, NY, which, in part, says: "George William Curtis (February 24, 1824 – August 31, 1892) was an American writer and public speaker, born in Providence, Rhode Island, of New Englander ancestry. A Republican, he spoke in favor of African-American equality and civil rights." The rest of his biography can be found at this link. 

When you open the tin, it reveals the inside cover of the tin and the cover of the book.

The inside cover of the tin has a lantern slide of an individual who is not Curtis. I decided that this guy would be a veterinarian. 

With the book removed, the inside back cover of the tin is revealed.

The book contained in the tin was made from card stock, handmade paper made from fern and eco-printed paper. The cover of the book is from an old edition of The Arabian Nights. 

Thus we have...Running From the Nothing That Pursues.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Not In This World To Be Liked: a Project Based on a Geoffrey Gorman Online Workshop Finding the Soul of Forgotten Materials

In October, 2020, I signed up for an online workshop with artist Geoffrey Gorman called Finding the Soul of Forgotten Materials.  The class was held on Zoom and was sponsored by Peters Valley School of Crafts.

Geoffrey Gorman

Here is the workshop description: "Experiment with innovative and intuitive ways of creating a variety of structures and forms using organic, found, and recycled materials. You are invited to think about shapes and forms that hold particular interest and bring these ideas to the workshop. Using unusual techniques to overcome construction challenges, everyone will explore a variety of forms created from your own favorite cast off materials. This class is perfect for beginners seeking an introduction to creating curious objects as well as intermediate and advanced participants wishing to reach the next level and break out of their comfort zone. You need to be familiar with using hand and power tools such as drills, band saws, and sanders."

The basic building blocks of the project is taxidermy foam. I got mine from Dick Blick. 

The foam is carved into the shape of the animal that is being built. Here is where I discovered carving foam to actually look like something is going to take some practice. After the carving, the foam is covered with fabric.

Next I collected the supplies for the construction including the box the would be the base.

Everything comes up smelling roses.

And, thus we have...Not In This World To Be Liked. My thanks to Geoffrey Gorman for teaching this form and the inspiration to create this piece. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

A Door To the Cluttered House of Memory: Seth Apter ConcerTINa Workshop

 Seth Apter provided an online workshop during the Covid-19 that he called ConcerTINa based on a tin with a book inside. Here is my effort, called A Door To the Cluttered House of Memory, completed in October of 2020.

I started this project by selecting my "tin": a Homart Fuse Box. In order for the pages to fit, I needed to remove the guts which will not be used in this project but created a pile of cool parts for the future. 

Seth taught how to prepare the surface of the paper so that it will be ready for book making.

I sliced up the pages as needed to create a long book that could reach the floor once the fuse box would be hung on the wall. 

Seth also taught how to use his embossing powders on metal.

For the rest of the project, I constructed the container, collaged the pages and secured every thing together. Please note: each individual pages is shown at the end of this post. 

Thus we have...A Door To the Cluttered House of Memory. 

The title for this project comes from a line (A Door Knocker To the Cluttered House of Memory) in the poem Limen by Natasha Trethewey.

Here are the pages of the book I created for this project. The book is a two-sided accordion fold attached to the tin.