Quite a while ago a friend gave me a book and said "this looks like something that you might like to work with." It's a strange book, beautifully printed on excellent paper. Each two-page unit is not printed front-and-back on one piece of paper, but on the same side of a long piece of paper that is then folded on the outside edge.
Even stranger is the content. Each eight-page section of the book has a single graphic theme, after which it switches abruptly to a totally different theme. Many use collage, some use computer-drawn graphics, some human-drawn graphics in various themes. Several of the sections include text that reminds me of my found poetry, pasted up in ransom-note style, some in French, some in English.
Sadly, many of the drawings and text are kind of sophomoric, the kind of drawings and remarks that I recall from seventh grade when there were 12 girls and 20 boys in our class, and the boys delighted in making rude noises and crude gestures behind the teacher's back. My challenge to myself was to embrace the good parts of the book -- its gorgeous paper and printing, and many of the non-scatological illustrations -- but obscure the outrageous parts.
The book sat around for a while as I pasted a few things in, but it wasn't until my recent week on retreat that the project took wings. Most of my work during that week consisted of sorting through piles and boxes of paper, deciding what I wanted to save and organizing it. I realized that I was coming across a lot of bits and pieces that were too special to throw out, but didn't really go into any conceivable art project. So I started to paste them into the book, and it started to take on a most engaging personality of its own.
The book isn't going to be just a scrapbook of random stuff; I hope it has some mildly artistic moments. I'll show you some of them in a later post.